Feb 212014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

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A court order has ruled that the police forces do not need any court warrants to carry out a full check on individuals they might suspect. The permit is originally applicable only during declarations of martial law to sustain public peace. Police chief of Ankara and vice-mayor had asked for an all inclusive “pre-emptive” permit last month and it has now been granted by an Ankara court.

The stated reason for police’s request was “to ensure national security and public peace, protect general health and general understanding of morality, as well as protecting citizens rights and liberties, and to prevent crimes, circulation of weapons or explosives that are banned from possessing or using, and to detect weapons and explosives”.

The permit concerns over 3 million citizens residing in central Ankara, and gives police the power to check and control the people, their personal belongings, vehicles and other possessions. The vagueness of the permit raises a lot of questions, such as, if the people will be granted their regular rights, like keeping silent or consulting their lawyers.

While this application will surely remind one of the infamous military coup days, which the  Turkish people are all too familiar with, it brings up a new term like “police coup” as the police forces enjoy a status which is above-the-law. They now have unlimited authority to harass and provoke people arbitrarily on the street. In a country where police violence has been a bleeding wound, this new pre-emptive permit will bring further trouble to already vibrant agenda in the country.

With a little more than a month until local elections, corruption scandal occupying the daily agenda with all its weight and newly approved censorship and surveillance bill, the streets seem to be the place that will decide on the future of the country; so the state officials are taking precautions to prevent any possible reaction against repression of rights and misuse of public funds.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Dec 172013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan

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In an atmosphere where people on the streets feel an absolute presence of police on every corner, daily life in Istanbul already has its tense moments. When there is no intervention into protests, very Machiavellian tactics are being played. At Ege University in Izmir just a few days ago, some students reported on the social media that far-Right supporters came to the Faculty of Arts and that riot police followed them shortly after. Not long after, when other students began reacting to the far-Right slogans, riot police started an “intervention” which resulted in gas raids and water-cannon attacks against students who reacted to the far Right. At the end of the day there were arrests of faculty members, and more people protesting against the arrests. Although it does not receive as much coverage anymore, police brutality and harassment still continues in Turkey whenever there is even a small protest of a few dozen people. I would like to draw attention to a few recent incidents. Every day it is a university campus or again the infamous “interventions” on Taksim Square.

A day passed, and this time it was Bogazici University in Istanbul. The most beautiful campus on Earth could also be regarded as the most democratic atmosphere in Turkey, with its traditional tolerance and peaceful attitude. I remember Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to the Bogazici University campus 2010, when thousands of riot police turned the campus into a hell, and this time for the first time in its history students were shot with water cannon at a protest meeting when leaving the campus. Riot police announced that “This is an illegal gathering, you do not have permission to walk this way.”

As the weekend came, with the pause between university working days, the new venue of police intervention happened to be a more familiar area –Taksim Square. Members of Besiktas’s Çarşı fan club – who played a major role in the OccupyGezi protests in June – were present at Kasimpasaspor Recep Tayyip Erdogan Stadium in the vicinity of Taksim for the Kasimpasa-Besiktas game. When Besiktas fans started marching to the venue, riot police and two water cannons followed them. After the game, they marched back to Besiktas escorted by police, who led peacefully up to a certain point when the police presence became too unbearable and provoking.

Another intervention took place in Gezi Park as the football game was being played. Since it was 15th December, the six-month anniversary of the death of half a dozen OccupyGezi protesters, about 20 people, including opposition members of Parliament, wanted to hold a commemoration ceremony in the park. But police announced “This is a highly sensitive spot where people are not allowed to gather without permission, so disperse the crowd or we will have to intervene.”

Although the park is officially open for public use, it is practically impossible. These kinds of protests, although originally they attract only a few dozen or hundred people, due to the police’s harsh treatment of protesters and interventions with excessive use of force they quickly grow into thousands. Police-state tactics revolve around every aspect of civilian life in a tense atmosphere where there is no strong political alternative to embrace the resentful people who are deeply hurt by the single-party rule (regime) of the last decade.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Nov 172013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Artists A.Signl, left, and B. Shanti of the artist group Captain Borderline paint their mural 'Surveillance of the fittest' at a wall in Cologne, Germany, Thursday. The painting, showing an American bald eagle with surveillance cameras watching a herd of sheep, is aimed at drawing attention to the spying program of the American National Security Agency.

Artists A.Signl, left, and B. Shanti of the artist group Captain Borderline paint their mural ‘Surveillance of the fittest’ at a wall in Cologne, Germany, Thursday. The painting, showing an American bald eagle with surveillance cameras watching a herd of sheep, is aimed at drawing attention to the spying program of the American National Security Agency.

Introduction

Revelations about the long-term global, intrusive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other allied intelligence apparatuses have provoked widespread protests and indignation and threatened ties between erstwhile imperial allies.

Allied regimes have uniformly condemned NSA espionage as a violation of trust and sovereignty, a threat to their national and economic security and to their citizens’ privacy.

In contrast, the Washington has responded in a contradictory manner: on the one hand, US officials and intelligence chiefs have acknowledged ‘some excesses and mistakes’, on the other hand, they defend the entire surveillance program as necessary for US national security.

Interpretations vary about the US global spy apparatus – how it was built and why it was launched against  hundreds of millions of people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ explanations abound, evoking psychological, social, economic, strategic and political considerations.

A multi-factorial explanation is required.

The Integrated Hypothesis of the Global Police State

One of the essential components of a police state is an all-pervasive spy apparatus operating independently of any legal or constitutional constraints.  Spy operations include: 1) massive surveillance over text, video and audio communications and 2) the capacity to secretly record, store and use information secretly collected.  This information strengthens political and economic leaders who, in turn, appoint and direct the spy chiefs.  The political and economic rulers control the spy-lords by setting the goals, means and targets of the surveillance state.  The US global spy apparatus is neither ‘self-starting nor self-perpetuating’.  It did not arise in a vacuum and it has virtually no strategic autonomy.  While there may be intra-bureaucratic conflicts and rivalries, the institutions and groups function within the overall ‘paradigm’ established and directed by the political and economic elite.

The Global Spy Structure

The growth and expansion of the US spy apparatus has deep roots in its history and is related to the colonial need to control subjugated native and enslaved peoples. However, the global operations emerged after the Second World War when the US replaced Europe as the center of world imperialism.  The US assumed the principal role in preventing the spread of revolutionary and anti-colonial movements from the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to war and crisis-burdened countries of Europe, North and Southeast Asia and Latin America.  When the collectivist states fell apart in the 1990’s the US became the sole superpower and a unipolar world emerged.

For the United States, ‘unipolarity’ meant (1) an impetus toward total global domination; (2) a world-wide network of military bases; (3) the subordination of capitalist competitors in other industrial countries, (4) the destruction of nationalist adversaries and (6) the unfettered pillage of resources from the former collectivist regimes as they became vassal states.  The last condition meant the complete dismantling of the collectivist state and its public institutions – education, health care and worker rights.

The opportunities for immense profits and supreme control over this vast new empire were boundless while the risks seemed puny, at least during the ‘golden period’, defined by the years immediately after (1) the capitalist takeover of the ex-Soviet bloc, (2) the Chinese transition to capitalism and (3) the conversion of many former African and Asian nationalist regimes, parties and movements to ‘free-market’ capitalism.

Dazzled by their vision of a ‘new world to conquer’ the United States set up an international state apparatus in order to exploit this world-historical opportunity.  Most top political leaders, intelligence strategists, military officials and business elites quickly realized that these easy initial conquests and the complicity of pliable and kleptocratic post-Communist vassal rulers would not last.  The societies would eventually react and the lucrative plunder of resources was not sustainable.  Nationalist adversaries were bound to arise and demand their own spheres of influence.  The White House feared their own capitalist allies would take on the role of imperialist competitors seeking to grab ‘their share’ of the booty, taking over and exploiting resources, public enterprises and cheap labor.

The new ‘unipolar world’ meant the shredding of the fabric of social and political life.  In the ‘transition’ to free market capitalism, stable employment, access to health care, security, education and civilized living standards disappeared.  In the place of once complex, advanced social systems, local tribal and ethnic wars erupted.  It would be ‘divide and conquer’ in an orgy of pillage for the empire.  But the vast majority of the people of the world suffered from chaos and regression when the multi-polar world of collectivist, nationalist, and imperialist regimes gave way to the unipolar empire.

For US imperialist strategists and their academic apologists the transition to a unipolar imperial world was exhilarating and they dubbed their unchallenged domination the ‘New World Order’ (NWO).  The US imperial state then had the right and duty to maintain and police its ‘New World Order’ – by any means. Francis Fukiyama, among other academic apologists celebrated the ‘end of history’ in a paroxysm of imperial fever. Liberal-imperial academics, like Immanuel Wallerstein, sensed the emerging challenges to the US Empire and advanced the view of a Manichean world of ‘unipolarity’ (meaning ‘order’) versus ‘multipolar chaos’– as if the hundreds of millions of lives in scores of countries devastated by the rise of the post-collectivist US empire did not have a stake in liberating themselves from the yoke of a unipolar world.

By the end of its first decade, the unipolar empire exhibited cracks and fissures.  It had to confront adversarial nationalist regimes in resource-rich countries, including Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Bashar Assad in Syria, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Khamenei in Iran.  They challenged US supremacy in North Africa and the Middle East.  The Taliban in Afghanistan and nationalist Islamist movements questioned US influence over the vassal rulers of Muslim countries – especially the puppet monarchs in the Persian Gulf.

On the other side of the imperial coin, the domestic economic foundations of the ‘New World Order’ were weakened by a series of speculative crises undermining the support of the US public as well as sectors of the elite.  Meanwhile European and Japanese allies, as well as emerging Chinese capitalists, were beginning to compete for markets.

Within the US an ultra-militarist group of political ideologues, public officials and policy advisers, embracing a doctrine combining a domestic police state with foreign military intervention, took power in Washington.  ‘Conservatives’ in the Bush, Sr. regime, ‘liberals’ in the Clinton administration and ‘neo-conservatives’ in the Bush, Jr. administration all sought and secured the power to launch wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans, to expand and consolidate the unipolar empire.

Maintaining and expanding the unipolar empire became the trigger for the White House’s global police state apparatus.  As new regimes were added to Washington’s orbit, more and more surveillance was needed to make sure they did not drift into a competitor’s sphere of influence.

The year 2000 was critical for the global police state.  First there was the dot-com crash in the financial sector.  The speculative collapse caused massive but unorganized disaffection among the domestic population.  Arab resistance re-emerged in the Middle East.  The cosmically corrupt Boris Yeltsin vassal state fell and a nationalist, Russian President Vladimir Putin took power.  The willing accomplices to the disintegration of the former USSR had taken their billions and fled to New York, London and Israel. Russia was on the road to recovery as a unified nuclear-armed nation state with regional ambitions.  The period of unchallenged unipolar imperial expansion had ended.

The election of President Bush Jr., opened the executive branch to police state ideologues and civilian warlords, many linked to the state of Israel, who were determined to destroy secular Arab nationalist and Muslim adversaries in the Middle East.  The steady growth of the global police state had been ‘too slow’ for them.  The newly ascendant warlords and the proponents of the global police state wanted to take advantage of their golden opportunity to make US/Israeli supremacy in the Middle East irreversible and unquestioned via the application of overwhelming force (‘shock and awe’).

Their primary political problem in expanding global military power was the lack of a fully dominant domestic police state capable of demobilizing American public opinion largely opposed to any new wars.  ‘Disaster ideologues’ like Phillip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice understood the need for a new ‘Pearl Harbor’ to occur and threaten domestic security and thereby terrify the public into war. They lamented the fact that no credible regimes were left in the Middle East to cast as the ‘armed aggressor’ and as a threat to US national security. Such an enemy was vital to the launching of new wars. And new wars were necessary to justify the scale and scope of the new global spy apparatus and emergency police state edicts the warlords and neoconservatives had in mind.  Absent a credible ‘state-based adversary’, the militarists settled for an act of terror (or the appearance of one) to ‘shock and awe’ the US public into accepting its project for imperial wars, the imposition of a domestic police state and the establishment of a vast global spy apparatus.

The September 11, 2001 explosions at the World Trade Center in New York City and the plane crash into a wing (mostly vacant for repairs) of the Pentagon in Washington, DC were the triggers for a vast political and bureaucratic transformation of the US imperial state.  The entire state apparatus became a police state operation.  All constitutional guarantees were suspended.  The neo-conservatives seized power, the civilian warlords ruled.  A huge body of police state legislation suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, the ‘Patriot Act’.  The Zionists in office set the objectives and influenced military policies to focus on Israel’s regional interests and the destruction of Israel’s Arab adversaries who had opposed its annexation of Palestine.  War was declared against Afghanistan without any evidence that the ruling Taliban was involved or aware of the September 11 attack of the US.  Despite massive civilian and even some military dissent, the civilian warlords and Zionist officials blatantly fabricated a series of pretexts to justify an unprovoked war against the secular nationalist regime in Iraq, the most advanced of all Arab countries. Europe was divided over the war. Countries in Asia and Latin America joined Germany and France in refusing to support the invasion.  The United Kingdom, under a ‘Labor’ government, eagerly joined forces with the US hoping to regain some of its former colonial holdings in the Gulf.

At home, hundreds of billions of tax dollars were diverted from social programs to fund a vast army of police state operatives.  The ideologues of war and the legal eagles for torture and the police state shifted into high gear.  Those who opposed the wars were identified, monitored and the details of their lives were ‘filed away’ in a vast database.  Soon millions came to be labeled as ‘persons of interest’ if they were connected in any way to anyone who was ‘suspect’, i.e. opposed to the ‘Global War on Terror’.  Eventually even more tenuous links were made to everyone…family members, classmates and employers.

Over 1.5 million ‘security cleared’ monitors were contracted by the government to spy on hundreds of millions of citizens. The spy state spread domestically and internationally.  For a global empire, based on a unipolar state, the best defense was judged to be a massive global surveillance apparatus operating independently of any other government – including the closest allies.

The slogan, ‘Global War on Terror’ (GWOT) became an open-ended formula for the civilian warlords, militarists and Zionists to expand the scope and duration of overt and covert warfare and espionage.  ‘Homeland Security’ departments, operating at both the Federal and State levels, were consolidated and expanded with massive budgets for incarceration and repression.  Constitutional protections and the Writ of Habeas Corpus were ‘rendered quaint vestiges of history’.  The National Security Agency doubled its personnel and budget with a mandate to distrust and monitor allies and vassal states. The targets piled upon targets, far beyond traditional adversaries, sweeping up the public and private communications of all political, military and economic leaders , institutions, and  citizenry.

The ‘Global War on Terror’ provided the ideological framework for a police state based on the totalitarian conception that ‘everybody and everything is connected to each other’ in a ‘global system’ threatening the state.  This ‘totalistic view’ informs the logic of the expanded NSA, linking enemies, adversaries, competitors and allies.  ‘Enemies’ were defined as anti-imperialist states or regimes with consistently critical independent foreign and domestic policies. ‘Adversaries’ occasionally sided with ‘enemies’, or tolerated policymakers who would not always conform to imperial policies.  ‘Competitors’ supported the empire but had the capacity and opportunity to make lucrative trade deals with adversaries or enemies – Allies were states and leaders who generally supported imperial wars but might provide a forum condemning imperial war crimes (torture and drone attacks).  In addition allies could undermine US imperial market shares and accumulate favorable trade balances.

The logic of the NSA required spying on the allies to root out any links, trade, cultural or scientific relations with adversaries and enemies, which might have spillover consequences. The NSA feared that associations in one sphere might ‘overlap’ with adversaries operating in strategic policy areas and undermine ally loyalty to the empire.

The spy logic had a multiplier effect – who gets to ‘spy on the spies?’  The NSA might collaborate with overseas allied intelligence agencies and officials – but American spymasters would always question their reliability, their inclination to withhold vital information, the potential for shifting loyalties. ‘Do our allies spy on us?  How do we know our own spies are not colluding with allied spies who might then be colluding with adversarial spies?’  This justified the establishment of a huge national vacuum cleaner to suck up all transactions and communications – justified by the notion that a wide net scooping up everything might catch that big fish!

The NSA regards all ‘threats to the unipolar empire’ as national security threats.  No country or agency within or without the reach of the empire was excluded as a ‘potential threat’.

The ‘lead imperial state’ requires the most efficient and overarching spy technology with the furthest and deepest reach.  Overseas allies appear relatively inefficient, vulnerable to infiltration, infected with the residua of a long-standing suspect ‘leftist culture’ and unable to confront the threat of new dangerous adversaries.  The imperial logic regards surveillance of ‘allies’ as ‘protecting allied interests’ because the allies lack the will and capacity to deal with enemy infiltration.

There is a circular logic to the surveillance state.  When an allied leader starts to question how imperial espionage protects allied interest, it is time to intensify spying on the ally. Any foreign ally who questions NSA surveillance over its citizens raises deep suspicions.  Washington believes that questioning imperial surveillance undermines political loyalties.

Secret Police Spying as a “Process of Accumulation”

Like capitalism, which needs to constantly expand and accumulate capital, secret police bureaucracies require more spies to discover new areas, institutions and people to monitor.  Leaders, followers, citizens, immigrants, members of ethnic, religious, civic and political groups and individuals – all are subject to surveillance.  This requires vast armies of data managers and analysts, operatives, programmers, software developers and supervisors – an empire of ‘IT’.  The ever-advancing technology needs an ever-expanding base of operation.

The spy- masters move from local to regional to global operations.  Facing exposure and condemnation of its global chain of spying, the NSA calls for a new ‘defensive ideology’.  To formulate the ideology, a small army of academic hacks is trotted out to announce the phony alternatives of a ‘unipolar police state or terror and chaos’.  The public is presented with a fabricated choice of its perpetual, ‘well-managed and hi-tech’, imperial wars versus the fragmentation and collapse of the entire world into a global war of ‘all against all’.  Academic ideologues studiously avoid mentioning that small wars by small powers end more quickly and have fewer casualties.

The ever-expanding technology of spying strengthens the police state.  The list of targets is endless and bizarre.  Nothing and no one will be missed!

As under capitalism, the growth of the spy state triggers crisis.  With the inevitable rise of opposition, whistleblowers come forward to denounce the surveillance state.  At its peak, spy-state over-reach leads to exposure, public scandals and threats from allies, competitors and adversaries.  The rise of cyber-imperialism raises the specter of cyber-anti-imperialism.  New conceptions of inter-state relations and global configurations are debated and considered.  World public opinion increasingly rejects the ‘necessity’ of police states.  Popular disgust and reason exposes the evil logic of the spy-state based on empire and promotes a plural world of peaceful rival countries, functioning under co-operative policies – systems without empire, without spymasters and spies.

Oct 092013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan

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Turkey is preparing for yet another controversial regulation which will continue suppression of its citizens’ rights and freedoms. The new regulation is to give police the power to detain people without a proper reason, on the premise that the detainee “might carry the risk of conducting a protest.” The detention period is said to vary between 12 to 24 hours, and the police would not need to get a prosecutor’s or judge’s warrant.

While the opposition in the Parliament almost univocally stands against this regulation, the government is able to pass it without any difficulty and legalize the already practiced behavior of policemen towards peaceful protesters with an additional power: preemptive detention. Preemptive detention regulations will be conducted in a joint effort by the Ministries of Justice and Interior. In addition to detention of civilians up to 24 hours without any proper reason, the penalties for resisting arrest and resistance to police forces will also be increased as a deterrent against future protests.

During the OccupyGezi protests amid the controversial Taksim Square regeneration project – which basically foresaw demolition of the last green space at the center of Istanbul to make way for construction of the 93rd shopping mall in the city – mass protests spread nationwide in 80 out of 81 cities and quickly turned into anti-government protests. The internationally-condemned police crackdowns on peaceful protests escalated tension and the brutality of police violence is still drawing reactions from the international community, NGOs and academia.

While global solidarity has been shown with the Gezi Park protests and calls to end police violence and respect basic rights and freedoms can be heard from everywhere around the world, the AKP government turns a deaf ear to the call of reason and continues with repressive laws and regulations against non-partisans.

According to the new regulations, individuals and organizations (mainly civil society NGOs) will be strictly monitored and members would be detained for 24 hours if the police suspect that they may hold a protest demonstration. To prevent civilians from returning to the original protest plans, police will be able to ask for an extension of the detention period.

Apart from raising the prison sentence for damaging public property to five years, the new regulation also presupposes establishment of a board to monitor malpractice within institutions.

Opposition members of the Parliament initially described the new regulation as being against the rule of law, as well as “the mark of a police state” and “beyond fascism.”

This regulation, when implemented, will be the most basic enemy of rights and freedoms, leaving every individual’s choices, lifestyle and security at the mercy of whoever rises to power and decides for everyone else. It is a pity that civil society in Turkey has learned the value of the right to protest only recently, but the government fails to see the democratic worth of this lesson and refuses to comply with international human-rights standards.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

MORE UPDATES RE: TURKEY @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Aug 142013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

middle-east11-1

Introduction

Representative democracies and autocratic dictatorships respond to profound internal crises in very distinctive ways: the former attempts to reason with citizens, explaining the causes, consequences and alternatives; dictatorships attempt to terrorize, intimidate and distract the public by evoking bogus external threats, to perpetuate and justify rule by police state methods and avoid facing up to the self-inflicted crises.

Such a bogus fabrication is evident in the Obama regime’s current announcements of an imminent global “terrorist threat”[1] in the face of multiple crises, policy failures and defeats throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia.

Internet ‘Chatter’ Evokes a Global Conspiracy and Revives the Global War on Terror

The entire terror conspiracy propaganda blitz, launched by the Obama regime and propagated by the mass media, is based on the flimsiest sources imaginable, the most laughable pretext. According to White House sources, the National Security Agency, the CIA and other spy agencies claimed to have monitored and intercepted unspecified Al-Qaeda threats, conversations by two Al Qaeda figures including Ayman al Zawahiri[2].

Most damaging, the Obama regime’s claim of a global threat by al-Qaeda, necessitating the shutdown of 19 embassies and consuls and a world-wide travelers alert, flies in the face of repeated public assertions over the past five years that Washington has dealt ‘mortal blows’ to the terrorist organization crippling its operative capacity[3] and citing the US “military successes” in Afghanistan and Iraq, its assassination of Bin Laden, the drone attacks in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and the US-backed invasion of Libya.  Either the Obama regime was lying in the past or its current terror alert is a fabrication. If, as Obama and the NSA currently claim, Al Qaeda has re-emerged as a global terrorist threat, then twelve years of warfare in Afghanistan and eleven years of war in Iraq, the spending of $1.46 trillion dollars, the loss of over seven thousand US soldiers[4] and the physical and psychological maiming of over a hundred thousand US combatants has been a total and unmitigated disaster and the so-called war on terror is a failure.

The claim of a global terror threat, based on NSA surveillance of two Yemen-based Al Qaeda leaders, is as shallow as it is implausible. Every day throughout cyberspace one or another Islamist terrorist group or individual discuss terror plots, fantasies and plans of no great consequence.

The Obama regime fails to explain why, out of thousands of daily internet ‘conversations’, this particular one, at this particular moment, represents an ongoing viable terrorist operation. One does not need a million spies to pick up jihadist chatter about “attacking Satan”.

For over a decade, Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen have been engaging in a proxy war with Washington-backed regimes and over the same time the Obama regime has been engaged in drone and Special Forces assassination mission against Yemeni militants and opposition figures[5]. In other words, the Obama regime has magnified commonplace events, related to an ongoing conflict known to the public, into a new global terrorist threat as revealed by his spymasters because of their high powered espionage prowess!

It is more than obvious that the Obama regime is engaged in a global fabrication designed to distract world public opinion and, in particular, the majority of US citizens, from police state spying and violations of basic constitutional freedoms.

By evoking a phony “terrorist threat” and its detection by the NSA, Obama hopes to re-legitimate his discredited police state apparatus.

More important, by raising the specter of a global terrorist threat, the Obama regime seeks to cover-up the most disreputable policies, despicable “show trials” and harsh imprisonment of government whistle blowers and political, diplomatic and military defeats and failures which have befallen the empire in the present period.

The Timing of the Fabrication of the Global Terror Threat

In recent years the US public has grown weary of the cost and inconclusive nature of the ‘global war on terror’, or GWOT.  Public opinion polls support the withdrawal of troops from overseas wars and back domestic social programs over military spending and new invasions. Yet the Obama regime, aided and abetted by the pro-Israel power configuration, in and out of the government, engages in constant pursuit of war policies aimed at Iran, Syria, Lebanon and any other Moslem country opposed to Israel’s erasure of Arab Palestine. The “brilliant” pro-war strategists and advisers in the Obama regime have pursued military and diplomatic policies which have led to political disasters, monstrous human rights violations and the gutting of US constitutional protections guaranteed to its citizens. To continue the pursuit of repeated failed policies, a gargantuan police state has been erected to spy, control and represses US citizens and overseas countries, allies and adversaries.

The “terror threat” fabrication occurs at a time and in response to the deepening international crisis and the political impasse facing the Obama regime – a time of deepening disenchantment among domestic and overseas public opinion and increasing pressure from the Israel Firsters to continue to press forward with the military agenda.

The single most devastating blow to the police state buildup are the documents made public by the NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, which revealed the vast worldwide network of NSA spying in violation of US constitutional freedoms and the sovereignty of countries. The revelations have discredited the Obama regime, provoked conflicts within and between allies, and strengthened the position of adversaries and critics of the US Empire.

Leading regional organizations, like MERCOSUR in Latin America, have attacked ‘cyber-imperialism’; the EU countries have questioned the notion of ‘intelligence cooperation’. Even dozens of US Congress people have called for reform and cutbacks in NSA funding.

The “terror threats” are timed by Obama to neutralize the Snowden revelations and justify the spy agency and its vast operations.

The Bradley Manning “show trial”, in which a soldier is tortured, often with forced nudity, in solitary confinement for almost a year, imprisoned for three years before his trial and publically prejudged by President Obama, numerous legislators and mass media (precluding any semblance of ‘fairness’), for revealing US war crimes against Iraqi and Afghan civilians, evoked mass protests the world over. Obama’s “terror threat” is trotted out to coincide with the pre-determined conviction of Manning in this discredited judicial farce and to buttress the argument that his exposure of gross US war crimes “served the enemy” (rather than the American public who Manning repeatedly has said deserve to know about the atrocities committed in its name). By re-launching the “war on terror” and intimidating the US public, the Obama regime is trying to discredit Bradley Manning’s heroic revelations of documented US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing on nebulous Al Qaeda terror threats over the internet!

In the international political arena, Obama has suffered a series of repeated political and diplomatic defeats with far-reaching implications for his fanatical empire building project.  The Obama-backed and Al Qaeda-led Islamist mercenary invasion of the sovereign nation of Syria has suffered a series of military defeats and his proxy jihadist ‘freedom-fighters’ have been denounced by most prestigious human rights groups for their massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilian populations in Syria (especially Christians, Kurds, Alevis and secular Syrians). Obama’s Syrian ‘adventure’ has backfired, and is clearly unleashing a new generation of Islamist terrorists, armed by the Gulf States – especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, trained by Turkish and NATO Special Forces and now available for global terrorist “assignments” against US client states, Europe and the US itself. In turn the Syrian debacle has had a major impact on Obama’s NATO ally, Turkey, where mass protests are challenging Prime Minister Erdogan’s military support for Islamist mercenaries, based along the Turkish border with Syria. Erdogan’s savage repression of hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors, the arbitrary arrest of thousands of pro-democracy activists and his own “show trials” of hundreds of journalists, military officials, students, intellectuals and trade unionists, has certainly discredited Obama’s main “democratic Islamist” ally and undermined Washington’s attempt to anchor its dominance via a triangular alliance of Israel, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.

Further discredit of Obama’s foreign policy of co-opting Islamist “electoral regimes” has occurred in Egypt and is pending in Tunisia. Obama’s post-Mubarak policy in Egypt looked to a “power sharing” arrangement between the democratically elected President Morsi of the Moslem Brotherhood, the Mubarak-era military and neo-liberal politicians, like Mohamed El Baradei. Instead, General Sistani grabbed power via the army, overthrowing and jailing the civilian President Morsi. The Egyptian army under Sistani has massacred peaceful pro-democracy Muslim protestors and purged the parliament, press and   independent voices. Forced to choose between the military dictatorship composed of the henchman of the former Mubarak dictatorship and the mass-based Muslim Brotherhood, US Secretary of State John Kerry backed the military take-over as a “transition to democracy” (steadfastly refusing to use the term ‘coup d’état’). This has opened wide the door to a period of mass repression and resistance in Egypt and severely weakened a key link in the “axis of reaction” in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt).

Obama’s incapacity to deal with the new peace overtures by the recently elected President Rouhani in Iran was evident in the Administrations capitulation to a Congressional vote (420 – 20) in favor of further and more severe sanctions designed, according to the bill’s AIPAC authors, to “strangle the Iranian oil economy”. Secretary of State Kerry’s offer to “negotiate” with Iran, under a US-imposed blockade and economic sanctions, was seen in Teheran, and by most independent observers, as an empty theatrical gesture, of little consequence. Obama’s failure to check the Israeli-Zionist stranglehold on US foreign policy toward Iran and to strike a deal ensuring a nuclear-weapon-free Iran, ensures that the region will continue to be a political and military powder keg. Obama’s appointments of prominent Zionist zealots to strategic Middle East policy positions ensures that the US and the Obama regime have no options for Iran, Palestine, Syria or Lebanon– except to follow the options dictated by Tel Aviv directly to its US agents, the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, who along with their insider Zionist collaborators, co-author the Middle East policy script for the US Congress and the White House.

The Obama regime’s Israeli-Palestine peace negotiations are seen by most observers as the most distorted and bizarre efforts to date in that cruel farce.  Washington has purchased the leaders of the Palestinian ‘Authority’ with multi-million dollar handouts and gave way to Israel’s accelerated land grabbing in the occupied West Bank and ‘Jews only’ settlement construction, as well as the mass eviction of 40,000 Bedouins within Israel itself.

To ensure the desired result – a total fiasco, Obama appointed one of the most fanatical of pro-Israeli zealots in Washington as its “mediator”, the tri-national Martin Indyk, known in diplomatic circles as “Israel’s lawyer” (and the first US Ambassador to be stripped of security clearance for mishandling documents.)

The breakdown of the negotiations is foretold.  Obama, caught in the web of his own long-term reactionary alliances and loyalties and obsessed with military solutions, has developed a knack for engaging in prolonged losing wars, multiplying enemies and alienating allies.

Conclusion

The result of prolonged unpopular wars of aggression has been the massive built-up of a monstrous domestic police state, pervasive spying around the world and the commission of egregious violations of the US Constitution. This, in turn, has led to crudely concocted “terror plots” to cover-up the repeated foreign policy failures and to slander and persecute courageous whistle blowers and threaten other decent American patriots. The recent declaration of another vast ‘terror plot’, which served to justify the illegal activities of US spy agencies and ‘unify Congress’, produced hysteria lasting less than a week. Subsequently, reports began to trickle in, even in the obedient US mass media, discrediting the basis of the alleged global terror conspiracy. According to one report, the much-ballyhooed ‘Al Qaeda plot’ turned out to be a failed effort to blow-up an oil terminal and oil pipeline in Yemen. According to regional observers: “Pipelines are attacked nearly weekly in Yemen”[6] And so an unsuccessful jihadist attack against a pipeline in a marginal part of the poorest Arab state morphed into President Obama’s breathless announcement of a global terrorist threat! An outrageous joke has been played on the President, his Administration and his Congressional followers. But during this great orchestrated ‘joke’, Obama unleashed a dozen drone assassination attacks against human targets of his own choosing, killing dozens of Yemeni citizens, including many innocent bystanders.

What is even less jocular is that Obama, the Master of Deceit, just moves on. His proposed “reforms” are aimed to retrench NSA activities; he insists on continuing the “bulk collection” (hundreds of millions) of US citizens’ telephone communications (FT 8/12/13 p2). He retains intact the massive police state spy apparatus, keeps his pro-Israel policymakers in strategic positions, reaffirms his policy of confrontation with Iran and escalates tensions with Russia, China and Venezuela. Obama embraces a new wave of military dictatorships, starting, but not ending, with Egypt.

In the face of diminishing support at home and abroad and the declining credibility of  his crude “terror” threats, one wonders if the ever-active clandestine apparatus would actually stage its own real-life bloody act of terror, a secret state supported ‘false-flag’ bombing, to convince an increasingly disenchanted and skeptical public? Such would be a desperate act for the State, but these are desperate times facing a failed Administration, pursuing losing wars in which the Masters of Defeat can now only rely on the Masters of Deceit.

The Obama regime is infested with the “toxic politics of terrorism” and this addiction has driven him to persecute, torture and imprison truth seekers, whistle blowers and true patriots who strive (and will continue to strive) to awaken the sleeping giant, in hopes that the people of America will arise again.

Reposted with permission from the author, James Petras.

NOTES:

[1] BBC News 8/16/13; Al Jazeera 9/16/13

[2] La Jornada (Mexico City) 8/16/13, p. 22;FINANCIAL TIMES 8/10-11/13”T he exact threat to US missions has yet to be made public..”

[3] Financial Times 8/8/13, p. 2  and Financial Times 8/10-11 2013 p 2; McClatchy Washington Bureau 8/5/13

[4] Information Clearing House Web Page

[5] Financial Times 8/8/13, p. 2.

[6] Financial Times, 8/8/13, p. 2.

Aug 052013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish blogger, Tuğba Sivri:

The 'Invisible Man' protest in Istanbul

The ‘Invisible Man’ protest in Istanbul, where only the rioting police can be seen.

Police violence has become widespread in Turkey. On the night of Saturday August 3rd there was a call on Twitter with the #MilyonlarTaksime (Millions to Taksim) hashtag to protest the closing of Gezi Park again in Taksim. As can be understood from the “Millions,” this was simply a case of “trolling” aimed at manipulating the Governor of Istanbul and police to take unnecessary precautions out of fear that that many people might actually show up. However the Governor and the chief of police in Istanbul took measures; thousands of riot police and over a dozen TOMAs (Riot Intervention Vehicles) and “Spiders,” which are rapid shooters to disperse riot crowds, were brought in.

The 'Invisible Man' Protest

Police line up riot vehicles in preparation for the ‘Invisible Man’ protest

As the streets were empty of protesters, police chased the “invisible men,” running up and down streets, which started a random protest by people who had been walking around and shopping. A few dozen people started randomly shouting without drawing attention to themselves and these few protesters faced intervention by police with truncheons and water cannons. TOMAs started spraying chemicals on people randomly on Istiklal Avenue and by the end of the night 40 people had been detained.

As usual, Turkish rioting police use weapons they don't need.

Turkish rioting police use weapons they don’t need against people who aren’t there.

While all this was happening around Gezi Park, police went out hunting “protesters.” They started to attack civilians with colored rubber bullets. When it became obvious that the protest was not actually taking place, they started to spray tourists with water cannons. They detained a person who was sitting and smoking and they intimidated him because he was smoking publicly during the month of Ramadan, when many people are fasting in accordance with Islamic beliefs.

Rioting police viciously attack random people on the streets.

Rioting police viciously attack random people on the streets.

In addition to these incidents, police beat and detained two elderly people who were sitting in a restaurant, for no apparent reason. All this is proof of the fact that police do not even try to legitimize their illegitimate interventions, although earlier last month they had been excused by officials stating that the policemen were “overtired and nervous” and thus had attacked civilians with excessive force, unleashing all the terror and brutality.

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Jul 312013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Not_facebook_dislike_thumbs_down

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul:

Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim had announced some weeks ago that Twitter did not respond positively to a “cooperation” agreement to determine and spot those who get involved in “criminal activities” by expressing their views online. This statement’s rhetoric would make any reader feel that Facebook is cooperating with the Turkish government, and it was Twitter that was declared a menace to society by Prime Minister Erdogan. The flow of information and the pace at which news spread nationally as well as internationally must have been felt deeply, and initially it was the Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas who requested that the Gezi Park protesters tweet in English saying that “everything is fine in Istanbul and life is back to normal.”

Not long after this “request” came threats and rumors that opposition pages would be closed down on Facebook as soon as possible but definitely before the elections – mainly citizen journalism, leftistKurdishAlevi religious or LGBT pages. Although one might not want to believe in this possibility, apparently it was true that dozens of pages that reflect an alternative to the government’s rhetoric on the Internet have been closed down for no valid reason (the reason given for the closing down of some news sources was that they share pornographic content).

In order to protest this process of silencing opposition voices on Facebook, many users have been involved in a series of digital protests mainly involving twitter hashtags, penguin spamming (of Facebook’s official page), ad boycotting, and lastly a 24-hour account deactivation boycott on July 21. Even after these actions, Facebook does not seem to have heard the voice of the Turkish opposition and repeatedly closes down reserve pages of the same titles (which used to have hundreds of thousands of followers), this time not even giving a reason.

The cyber-army of government-leaning hackers have been terrorizing the social-media platforms through the use of an excessive number of fake accounts, organizing spam attacks and filing complaint reports about opposition pages stating that they are promoting sexual content. As Facebook has been avoiding any involvement in fighting hate speech and instigation to violence on hate groups, it actually now contributes to the ongoing “digitocide” happening in the cyber-lands of Gezi Park.

Among the pages that have been closed down are Ötekilerin Postasi (the biggest citizen journalism platform in Turkey that has broken the news of many big events that the mainstream media shunned), DurDe (an unofficial NGO that aims to prevent hate speech and hate crimes), BDP (one of the parliamentary parties, representing mainly the Kurdish population in the country), and Carsi (football fans, mainly of Besiktas). All these groups and pages in total welcomed millions of users, who are not giving up and continue to “like” the new pages.

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Jul 122013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Ali's lsmail's last tweet

Ali’s lsmail’s last tweet

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 10 July 2013:

Excessive use of force by police was already unbearable for peaceful protesters in Gezi Park. The addition of AKP-leaning mobs, armed with clubs, knives, machetes, and pistols, seems like a paramilitary force of the party terrorizing the streets. Another young man has fallen in this rape of civil life; Ali Ismail Korkmaz was only 19 years old, and was to be a student at Eskisehir Anadolu University.

His father gave an interview and described his son as quiet and political. Ali had never been to a political rally before, saw the group cheering and shouting, wondered, and joined them, and notified his father of his attendance so that he would not worry. When the police intervention on the peaceful protest began, he was hit on the head with a truncheon and then started running away from the beatings and teargas, friends later told his father.

He ran away from riot police while they were shooting gas canisters, aiming at him, and ran into a side street. The street Ali took refuge in was filled with angry mobs that some people consider to be undercover policemen, who were acting parallel to the riot police, and beating people in the shadows. Ali was mercilessly beaten and then left to his destiny. Exhausted as he was, he crawled to a bus stop to go back home when he could. As he reached the bus stop he came across another group of thugs and was again beaten, till unconscious.

When his friends found him by chance, they took him to a hospital where he was denied entrance as the hospital lacked sufficient equipment to detect his condition. He was sent to another hospital where he was denied treatment without first checking in with police headquarters, giving his statement about the protests and why he was beaten. Only after police gave orders for him to go to the hospital could he be treated.

It took him 20 hours to be accepted by the hospital, and only after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and had to be taken to the intensive care unit. His father says he was unable to look at his son due to the horrible condition he was in.

Between the night of June 2 and today, Ali has suffered much pain, as did millions of people who were wishing to see him return to life. He did not make it. Another life had to fade due to violence.

When Ali’s father demanded that the people responsible be found, he found out that the video footage was supposedly defective and was useless. The police department had got the video footage from a hotel nearby, kept the record for a few days for security reasons and then declared in a report that the video had malfunctioned. The hotel manager stated that he had checked the video himself and that it was working. Thus police could not start a proper investigation and the case could not refer to an anonymous person as guilty.

Having seen no initiative from the police department or any attempt by the governor to calm the family down, Ali’s father is preparing to file a complaint to a number of courts to seek justice, including the European Court of Human Rights.

Now his father summarizes the situation, “Police gassed, mobs beat, hospital refused, doctors ignored, video footage erased, investigation halted, my son dead.”

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Jul 112013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

BOw99IQCEAAI9B-.jpg-large

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 10 July 2013:

Turkish PM Erdogan: “Separation of powers is an obstacle for our plans” 17.12.2012

AKP’s controversial midnight passing of laws have been regarded with infamy. This one focused on a “retaliation law” that was prepared urgently in a short time, to close down NGOs that do not share the same views as the governing AKP. The law passed with the AKP majority and even though all opposition deputies were present there, they were not able to stop the government as they have a landslide majority in the parliament resulting from the faulty election threshold of 10%.

According to the new law, NGOs (namely the professional chambers) will not be allowed to check on government (local or central) plans and decisions, they will not be asked their advice in their fields of expertise, and they will not be allowed to have a sustainable budget. This basically kills all the work of many proactive NGOs that have checked and tried to balance the excessively destructive plans of the government over the last years, though without much success.

The most recent restrictive law came as a harsh blow against Turkey’s Chamber of Engineers & Architects, TMMOB, which successfully formed Taksim Solidarity and prevented the government from demolishing Gezi Park while there was a court decision to protect the park. As a majority of management people from several influential NGOs and Unions are under detention and their homes were raided by police without a court order, the NGOs were left with only the young members who mobilized social media and started campaigns to stop this law from passing or being approved by President Gül.

Many protesters consider the practice of midnight legislation, dawn raids against civilians, and excessive use of force as indicators of a civilian coup by AKP, which has dominated all separate powers of the state except for civil society, and with this new law has managed to silence all NGOs. While in the legislative arena this is happening, on the streets of Tophane, just down from Taksim, paramilitary forces that support AKP and riot police are forming up gangs to “protect their neighborhood.” These people join and follow the riot police during the raids, holding up clubs and sticks and even some with machetes and pistols, threatening civilians.

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Jul 102013
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

gumussuyu-polis-barikati-8-

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 9 July 2013:

It was the day of the grand opening, after a day of postponement by the government due to Saturday night’s police intervention in Gezi Park. The Governor, Mayor and many other AKP officials were present at Gezi Park alongside over 200 journalists asking questions. The police did not allow too many civilians in the park during the opening ceremony. As the Mayor called for an end to all kinds of protests and blamed the peaceful protesters for provoking police to turn violent, someone in the crowd asked “Will we be allowed to kiss in the park, I would love to show my affection to my wife with a simple kiss” to which the governor replied “If society allows it…”

This was the facial expression of officials when they heard the word “kiss” from a man.

This was the facial expression of officials when they heard the word “kiss” from a man.

The reopening of the park was welcomed by thousands of people. So many of them wanted to see the park over which four people were killed, dozens left without an eye, dozens are still in critical condition, over 9,000 injured and hundreds under arrest. There were seniors, disabled persons and children present in the park when police started evacuating not only the park but the Taksim district. The park had been open for just two hours when police announced that all shops would be closed in a pre-emptive action. Some shop owners did close down, some others did not. Then came gas, water cannons and shooter-panzers called “spiders.”

The view in Taksim looked as if the police were playing video games with unlimited ammunition. Rubber bullets and water cannons were shooting anyone that moved and those staying in their homes were hardly able to breathe due to excessive use of gas. Once again, there was intervention without a reason, later responded to in a declaration by Taksim Solidarity (TS).

Rioting police use of acidic water for water cannons has become the norm.

Rioting police use of acidic water for water cannons has become the norm.

TS announced that they would read a press statement at 7p.m. regarding the opening of the park, the guaranteeing of civil liberties and freedoms, police violence, and the arrest of so many people, as well as commemorations of the persons killed. Before they could even start reading the press statement, they were detained by police. Many intellectuals, academics, professionals, artists, and politicians were detained by force.

Detention scene of Taksim Solidarity members.

Detention scene of Taksim Solidarity members.

In the meantime Istanbul Technical University’s graduation ceremony was attacked by AKP mobs with clubs and stones, chanting the name of PM Erdogan. Later on, water cannons and riot police took over the campus area and prevented any further protest by attacked people. This amounted to another form of pressure on academia, after last week’s forced resignation or detaining of professors.

One other significant event of the evening was a man, dressed very similarly to the machete man, shooting a pistol in Taksim. People ran away, and hid behind blocks from bullets. When he was gone, someone collected the empty shells and brought them to the police, asking them to investigate the incident and arrest the man with the gun. The person who brought the empty shells and filed a complaint was detained for protesting and disturbing the public peace.

As all this happened, the Turkish media turned towards Egypt and on all TV channels that did not show penguin documentaries or nightly TV contest shows, there were discussions concerning the security problems in Egypt. Turkish officials gave out remarks stating “It cannot be justifiable nor defended when a government directs guns at its own citizens – that are paid for by those citizens.” The irony in this statement caused anger among protesters as they were getting shot with rubber bullets at close range, hit by water cannons, or gassed.

The headquarters of several civil-society and professional organizations were raided, including the TS building where a meeting was being held by non-detained members and supporters concerning the detention of well-known persons, including Mücella Yapici, secretary of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects.

Lastly, around midnight when the park was opened again for public use and people’s forum was established to discuss their problems, the police troops started marching on side streets in residential neighborhoods, shouting the infamous slogans commonly used by military troops such as “All is for the fatherland” or “Blood spilled for the fatherland”. This kind of behavior has been present especially in the southeastern Kurdish cities with military parades in city centers as part of psychological pressure for decades. Now the conditions for “state of emergency” seem to be applied in Istanbul too.

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