Guerre de l’OTAN contre la Russie. Qui se moque de nous ?

juillet 31st, 2016 by Christopher Black

Durant 17 mois, depuis la signature des accords de Minsk en Février 2015, pour tenter de ramener la paix en Ukraine orientale, le régime de Kiev, avec ses alliés néo-nazis et l’OTAN, prépare une nouvelle offensive contre les Républiques de l’Ukraine orientale. Le 22 Juillet, dans une lettre adressée au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, l’ambassadeur russe Vitaly Chourkine a déclaré qu’ « une reprise des opérations militaires à grande échelle dans l’Ukraine orientale peut enterrer le processus de paix dans cette région. » Il a fait ensuite appel aux alliés de Kiev afin qu’ils exercent des pressions sur l’Ukraine pour stopper ses préparatifs de guerre. Ces derniers comportent le bombardement continu de zones  civiles à l’artillerie lourde et moyenne et des attaques exploratoires constantes par des unités ukrainiennes et étrangères, et ce depuis les mois de printemps et d’été écoulés.

Le 22 juillet, le commandant des forces de la République de Donetsk a déclaré dans un communiqué que la région le long de la ligne de front a été bombardée 3’566 fois au cours de la seule semaine qui se termine à la date dudit communiqué. Il a confirmé également les informations contenues dans la lettre de l’ambassadeur Chourkine ainsi que dans les rapports de l’Organisation pour la Coopération et la Sécurité en Europe (OSCE) selon lesquelles le régime de Kiev a transféré vers le front davantage d’artillerie lourde, de mortiers, de chars ainsi que des lance-roquettes multiples.

Les bombardements ont détruit des bâtiments civils, une usine de traitement d’eau et d’autres infrastructures, avec pour objectif évident de contraindre les résidents à fuir de manière à préparer le terrain pour une offensive de grande envergure. L’ambassadeur Chourkine a ajouté que non seulement se massent à l’Est les forces régulières de Kiev, mais quelles ont déployé les bataillons de « volontaires » néo-nazis d’Azov et du Donbass, et que Kiev a entamé une avancée de grande envergure sur les terres et les villes situées dans la zone neutre.

Bien sûr, la responsabilité de toutes ces opérations criminelles perpétrées par l’OTAN et ses marionnettes à Kiev est imputée à la Russie comme nous avons pu le constater dans les énoncés du Rapport du Conseil Atlantique en début d’année et dans le Communiqué de Varsovie du 9 Juillet dans lequel l’OTAN a lancé un ultimatum à la Russie, « faites ce que nous disons ou vous verrez ce que nous ferons ».

Le jour précédant l’envoi de la lettre au Conseil de sécurité par l’Ambassadeur Chourkine, dans un discours au Centre d’études stratégiques et internationales, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a déclaré que les « sanctions » – qui sont une guerre économique menée contre la Russie par les pays de l’OTAN – ne seraient suspendues que si la Russie fait ce qu’il lui a été signifié.

Les Allemands ont également fait courir des bruits laissant entendre qu’ils étaient prêts à mettre fin à cette guerre économique contre la Russie, disant combien ils la regrettaient ne désirant que la paix et l’harmonie, mais, là encore, à condition que la Russie adhère à leurs demandes.

Les attaques contre les zones civiles de la république du Donbass sont bien sûr des crimes de guerre et des crimes contre l’humanité, mais auxquels le procureur de la Cour pénale internationale répond par le silence, et ce en dépit du fait que la CPI a accepté deux lettres du régime de Kiev lui donnant les compétences pour poursuivre les crimes de guerre commis là-bas. Mais, bien sûr, ni Kiev, ni leurs chefs de l’OTAN qui contrôlent le procureur de la CPI n’ont la moindre intention d’engager des poursuites pour crimes de guerre contre eux-mêmes.

La crainte russe d’une nouvelle offensive contre la République du Donbass est fondée puisque le Communiqué de Varsovie, émis le 9 Juillet, déclare catégoriquement que l’OTAN ne reconnaît pas cette République, que l’Ukraine a besoin d’être réunifiée si besoin par la force et que la Crimée doit être rendue à l’Ukraine. L’activité militaire accrue dans l’est de l’Ukraine se déroule en même temps qu’une activité intense dans la Baltique autour de la base russe de Kaliningrad, qui est un objectif stratégique pour l’OTAN afin de pouvoir contrôler les voies maritimes et aériennes de la Baltique et les abords de Saint-Pétersbourg. Est visée la Crimée, à cause de la base navale russe de Sébastopol; son contrôle fut l’un des objectifs principaux du renversement du gouvernement du président Ianoukovitch par le coup d’Etat fomenté par l’OTAN. C’est aussi le but principal de l’exercice naval de l’OTAN « Sea Breeze » toujours en cours dans la mer Noire.

La situation devient de plus en plus critique car la guerre menée contre la Russie ne connait plus de limites et recouvre maintenant tous les domaines de la vie, du militaire à l’économique en allant jusqu’au sport. Le Comité international olympique a interdit à l’équipe d’athlétisme olympique russe de participer aux Jeux, ainsi qu’à tous ceux d’entre les athlètes accusés de dopage par le passé, ce qui constitue une punition collective totalement injustifiée car fondée sur les déclarations douteuses d’un homme recherché en Russie, Grigory Rodchenkov, qui pour avoir fait allégeance servile envers les États-Unis, est disposé à faire tout ce qu’ils lui demandent. Ce scandale n’est pas motivé par des questions de dopage, mais représente une tentative d’isoler davantage la Russie du reste du monde, de saper son influence, et revient à calomnier ses dirigeants et son peuple. Ce qui fera des Jeux olympiques une farce, aussi bien comme événement sportif que comme symbole de paix dans le monde. Ils devraient être annulés ou boycottés.

En plus de tout cela, des preuves convaincantes apparaissent quotidiennement démontrant que la tentative de coup d’Etat contre le gouvernement turc a été fomentée par les Etats-Unis et ses alliés au sein de l’OTAN, afin d’empêcher le rapprochement du président Erdogan avec la Russie. Le moment même auquel est survenu le coup d’Etat l’indique, car il a eu lieu quelques jours seulement après qu’Erdogan eut présenté ses excuses au président Poutine au sujet de l’avion russe abattu, et juste après que des rumeurs eurent circulé sur l’intention prêtée à Erdogan d’expulser les États-Unis de la base d’Incirlik pour la mettre à disposition de la Russie.

Le gouvernement turc a accusé les Etats-Unis d’être impliqués, en tout cas indirectement, pour avoir offert leur protection à l’islamiste turc, Fethullah Gulen, un ennemi juré du président Erdogan, qui réside aux États-Unis, et qu’Erdogan suspecte d’être lié au coup. Des informations ont également circulé dans la presse turque concernant l’arrestation des deux pilotes qui ont abattu l’avion russe en Syrie, et qui seraient, selon les accusations, les deux mêmes pilotes qui ont tenté d’abattre l’avion d’Erdogan la nuit du coup d’Etat. Il a été rapporté, bien que ce ne soit pas confirmé, que ces deux pilotes turcs travaillaient pour la CIA.

Lundi 25 juillet, la presse turque rapporta que le général américain John Campbell, ancien commandant en chef des forces de l’OTAN en Afghanistan a joué un rôle central dans la préparation du coup d’Etat et que ce dernier avait été financé par l’argent de la CIA lors de réunions tenues à la base américaine d’Incirlik. Si ces accusations s’avèrent exactes, la tentative de coup d’Etat constitue un acte d’agression ourdi par les Etats-Unis et ses alliés contre la Turquie, donc une attaque d’un Etat membre de l’OTAN par l’OTAN.

Les Britanniques ont lancé dans le Daily Express l’idée que leurs forces spéciales, les SAS, sont prêtes à se rendre en Turquie afin de “venir au secours des citoyens britanniques” dans l’hypothèse d’un deuxième coup d’Etat et ils ont prédit qu’une guerre civile surviendrait s’il se produisait une seconde tentative de coup d’Etat.

« Craignant – écrivent-ils – que les rebelles puissent s’apprêter à tenter de renverser une seconde fois le gouvernement, ce qui provoquerait vraisemblablement une guerre civile turque, des troupes ont été positionnées dans l’île voisine de Chypre et s’apprêtent à secourir des Britanniques bloqués.

Des responsables militaires ont mis au point des plans d’intervention urgents dans lesquels des soldats tout armés accompagnés du Groupe d’appui des forces spéciales sont prêts à atterrir dans des zones fréquentées par les touristes pour aider des familles à revenir au pays en toute sécurité. Des centaines d’avions à réaction, d’hélicoptères et d’autres aéronefs seront mis à contribution pour aider quelque 50’000 Britanniques à fuir le danger.»

Cela signifie que la Grande-Bretagne ainsi que les Etats-Unis sont prêts à prêter main forte à un second coup d’Etat, ce qui confirme par là même leur implication dans la première tentative de coup d’Etat ; le fait que les Allemands auraient refusé de permettre à l’avion d’Erdogan de pénétrer dans l’espace aérien allemand lorsque le président turc paraissait avoir été renversé corrobore cette implication. A posteriori, cette décision allemande apparaît comme une erreur car Erdogan se ressaisit rapidement, retourna en Turquie et mit fin au coup d’Etat.

Quoi qu’il en soit, l’objectif principal demeure la Russie. Le rapprochement d’Erdogan avec la Russie et son éloignement de l’OTAN affaiblit la guerre que mène cette dernière contre la Russie et offre à cette dernière une autre carte à jouer qui pourrait s’avérer l’atout.

Entre-temps, aux Etats-Unis, la guerre contre la Russie est devenue une dangereuse affaire intérieure depuis que le camp Clinton accuse Donald Trump d’être un agent russe et sa campagne d’être financée par l’argent russe, faisant pratiquement de Trump un traître. Trump répond à cela par le rire, mais le fait que de telles absurdités puissent même retenir l’attention des médias démontre à quel point la situation est grave. Le chroniqueur du New York Times Andrew Rosenthal publia le 25 juillet un article intitulé “Donald Trump est-il la marionnette de Poutine ?” dans lequel il conclut qu’il est au moins son caniche.

Mais ce qu’il y a de plus curieux c’est que le FBI déclare vérifier si les courriels divulgués par l’organisation Wikileaks de Julian Assange lui auraient été fournis par la Russie après que la Russie les aurait pêchés dans le système des courriers électroniques de la Convention nationale du Parti démocrate. Les Russes contestent cette accusation absurde mais, jusqu’ici, je n’ai pas vu Julian Assange le contester [il l’a fait depuis, Ndlr] et nous sommes en droit d’envisager que ses vraies motivations pourraient être de voir la Russie accusée de pêcher dans les systèmes du courrier électronique du Gouvernement et du système des partis américains et d’alimenter ainsi la propagande de l’OTAN contre la Russie.

Dans ces circonstances, on est en droit de s’interroger sur les raisons pour lesquelles Assange se serait un tant soit peu impliqué dans les affaires des partis américains en publiant des courriels qui seraient censés affaiblir la campagne de Clinton au profit de celle de Trump. Travaille-t-il pour Clinton en accréditant l’idée que Trump travaillerait pour la Russie ou, plus vraisemblablement pour ceux qui souhaitent la défaite tant de Trump que de la Russie ? Andew Rosenthal tranche pour le Times en observant “il est pour le moins ‘étrange’ que le Wikileaks d’Assange choisisse ce moment pour rendre publics les courriels volés”…

Mais ce n’est pas si étrange si le but de l’exercice est de salir la Russie et un candidat à la Présidence qui est disposé au moins à parler avec les Russes. Peut-être ses partisans pourraient-ils l’interroger à ce sujet et faire connaître quelle est sa réponse car son action soulève de graves questions quant à ses motivations, ses intentions et ses commettants.    Quelqu’un se moque de nous. Il est tout juste temps de découvrir qui.

Christopher Black

 

Article original en anglais : Journal-neo.org 27 juillet 2016

Traduit par Jean-Roch de Susanne et I.R pour World Peace Threatened et ASI

Christopher Black est un juriste pénaliste international basé à Toronto, il est membre du Barreau du Haut-Canada et il est connu pour un grand nombre de cas très médiatisés portant sur les droits humains et les crimes de guerre, en particulier pour le magazine en ligne New Eastern Outlook.

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A la suite des attentats qui ont cruellement frappé la France, nos dirigeants ont-ils mis en question la politique consistant à intervenir militairement au Moyen-Orient au nom de la démocratie et des droits de l’homme ? Ont-ils émis quelque doute sur l’opportunité d’engager notre pays dans cette confrontation en y épousant, dès 2011, la cause délétère d’une opposition armée dont le fer de lance est la branche syrienne d’Al-Qaida ?

Se sont-ils demandé s’il était dans l’intérêt de la France de diaboliser l’Etat syrien, de soumettre ce pays à un embargo inique et stupide, allant jusqu’à interdire la fourniture de médicaments à une population martyrisée par les terroristes ? Vont-ils désormais se demander, dans un éclair de lucidité, s’il était opportun de violer le droit international en intervenant dans un conflit qui ne nous regardait pas et en se livrant à une scandaleuse ingérence dans les affaires d’un Etat souverain ?

Croient-ils toujours qu’il était judicieux de financer une clique d’opposants corrompus, et de livrer des armes qui ont fini entre les mains des assassins qui décapitent un enfant à Alep ou égorgent un prêtre en Normandie ? Vont-ils, avec le recul, se demander s’il était bénéfique à la France, sans parler du déshonneur, de s’allier ouvertement avec des pétromonarchies obscurantistes dont chacun sait, sauf François Burgat, qu’elles sponsorisent la terreur ?

Inutile, sans doute, d’attendre de nos dirigeants le moindre regret pour ces décisions ineptes. Leur « perseverare diabolicum » n’a pas fini de nous sidérer, hélas, presque autant que les attentats qui tombent sur nos têtes. Pour que nos dirigeants soient capables d’un peu de lucidité rétrospective, il faudrait en effet qu’ils rompent avec ces allégeances volontaires qui ont fait de notre pays le pitoyable supplétif, mi-brouillon mi-cynique, d’un impérialisme occidental dont les USA assurent la direction, au Moyen-Orient comme ailleurs.

Dès le lendemain de l’attentat de Nice, comme pour valider cette soumission à l’agenda US, le président français annonce avec entrain de nouveaux bombardements en Syrie. Cinq jours plus tard, le massacre de dizaines de civils (125 selon le gouvernement syrien) sous les bombes de la « coalition » fournit une illustration sanglante de cette politique. Mais même après ce carnage aucun doute n’effleure nos dirigeants sur la pertinence de ces représailles, manifestement élevées au rang de réflexe pavlovien par des dirigeants aussi dépassés par les événements que désireux de le faire oublier par un mouvement de menton mussolinien.

Militairement inefficaces, ces frappes aériennes ? Oui, absolument, on le sait, mais peu importe, puisque les puissances occidentales n’ont jamais visé l’élimination par les armes du prétendu « Etat islamique ». Elles ne songent, au contraire, qu’à exténuer l’Etat syrien, faute d’avoir pu l’anéantir, et préfèrent nettement « Daech » ou « Al-Nosra » à « Bachar », selon la terminologie de propagandistes comme Jean-Pierre Filiu et François Burgat qui habillent de leur prose servile cet alignement de la France sur la stratégie US du « chaos constructif ».

Politiquement absurdes, ces bombardements qui en tuant des civils au nom de la démocratie offrent un semblant de légitimité à Daech et font le lit du djihadisme ? Mais cet argument est de peu de poids, puisqu’il s’agit surtout de détruire la Syrie baasiste, cette insupportable anomalie par temps d’hégémonie occidentale, et de ruiner de fond en comble la société syrienne, de la pulvériser en factions hostiles, dans le seul but de « protéger Israël contre l’Iran », selon la formule merveilleusement limpide d’Hillary Clinton.

Au fond, le massacre d’innocents en Syrie en représailles à des attentats en France, c’est la métaphore de notre politique en Syrie : des armes pour les terroristes et des bombes pour les civils. Ceux qui fournissent des armes aux mercenaires wahhabites, à l’évidence, ne voient aucun inconvénient à vitrifier des populations qui en sont les premières victimes. Car leurs véritables ennemis ne sont pas Daech et Al-Nosra, ce ne sont pas les mangeurs de foie démocrates et les coupeurs de tête humanistes. Leur ennemi, c’est cette nation syrienne, jalouse de son indépendance et rétive à l’ordre impérial, qui refuse obstinément de se plier à leurs injonctions.

Bruno Guigue

28 juillet 2016

bruno guigue 3

Bruno Guigue, ancien élève de l’École Normale Supérieure et de l’ENA, Haut fonctionnaire d’Etat français, essayiste et politologue, professeur de philosophie dans l’enseignement secondaire, chargé de cours en relations internationales à l’Université de La Réunion. Il est l’auteur de cinq ouvrages, dont « Aux origines du conflit israélo-arabe, L’invisible remords de l’Occident, L’Harmattan, 2002 », et de centaines d’articles.

 

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While it is common knowledge by now that the failed and/or staged Turkish coup two weekends ago was nothing more than an excuse for Erdogan to concentrate even more power and eradicate all political and independent opposition, a story that has gotten less attention is the sudden, and acute deterioration in US-Turkish relations. This culminated two days ago when the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Joseph Votel was forced to deny on the record having anything to do with the attempted coup in Turkey following pointed allegations from the very top in the local government that the US orchestrated last Friday’s « coup », according to a statement released by the US military on Friday.

As Stars and Stripes reported late last week, the recent failed coup and jailing of military leaders in Turkey could impact U.S. operations there against the Islamic State group, Gen. Joseph Votel said Thursday at a security conference in Colorado. Votel said the coup attempt in Turkey two weeks ago left him “concerned” about how U.S. operations and personnel at Incirlik Air Base will be affected.


Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command

« Turkey of course …sits on an extraordinarily important seam between the central region and Europe,” Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum. “It will have an impact on the operations we do along that very important seam. Obviously, we are very dependent on Turkey for basing of our resources…I am concerned it will impact the level of cooperation and collaboration that we have with Turkey.”

Yeni Safak, a daily paper known for its loyal support of Erdogan, even reported retired Army Gen. John F. Campbell, former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, was the mastermind behind the attempted overthrow. However, the paper also reported White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the allegations against the general unsubstantiated.

Votel said Thursday that the United States was “continuing to work through some of the friction that continues to exist” following the failed coup. He did not elaborate.

The general did say some of the arrested Turkish officers worked with U.S. personnel to coordinate airstrikes against the Islamic State group. “Yes, I think some of them are in jail,” Votel said of certain key Turkish military liaisons.

As a result of the coup attempt, U.S. air operations were temporarily suspended and the Turkish government cut power to Incirlik.

The diplomatic spat continued on Friday when comments made at an Erdogan’s rally once again blasted Votel for criticizing Turkey’s  post-coup attempt purge saying « Who are you? Know your place. » Erdogan went on to hint once more that the United States planned the failed government overthrow bid.

To this Votel again responded that « any reporting that I had anything to do with the recent unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey is unfortunate and completely inaccurate, » Votel said. He was responding to an interpretation of comments made at a think tank in Washington, DC by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Votel of sympathizing with the coup plotters.

* * *

Meanwhile, Turkey’s war of words against the US escalated on Friday, when Turkey’s authoritarian despot Erdogan condemned the West for refusing to show solidarity with Ankara, accusing NATO ‘allies’ as being more concerned about the fate of coup supporters than the survival of Turkey are not friends of Ankara. Erdogan blasted the West for criticizing the massive purge of Turkey’s military and other state institutions which has seen 60,000 people detained, removed or suspended over suspected links with the coup and for cancelling 50,000 civilian passports which many worry is but a prelude to an expansion of the reign of terror inside the country.

« The attitude of many countries and their officials over the coup attempt in Turkey is shameful in the name of democracy, » Erdogan told hundreds of supporters at the presidential palace in Ankara.

« Any country and any leader who does not worry about the life of Turkish people and our democracy as much as they worry about the fate of coupists are not our friends, » said Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and perhaps death on the night of the coup.

As Sputnik notes, the statements come in response to US National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s statement on Thursday that the purges were harming the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq by stripping away key Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States.

« My people know who is behind this scheme… they know who the superior intelligence behind it is, and with these statements you are revealing yourselves, you are giving yourselves away. »  The remarks come at a troubling time only one day after over 5,000 protesters yelling « death to the US » marched towards NATO’s critical Incirlik Air Base which houses between 50 and 90 US tactical nuclear weapons before security officials successfully dispersed the raging demonstrators.

* * *

Which brings us to today, and the news that NATO’s critical Incirlik Air Base was hours ago completely blocked off by Turkey, with all inputs and outputs to the Adana base having been closed according to Turkey’s Hurriyet among rumors of yet another coup.

 

As the Turkish Minister for European Affairs, Omar Celik, tweeted moments ago, this is just a routine « safety inspection », although it has not stopped local papers from speculating that a a second Gulen-inspired coup attempt may be underway.

 

Hurriyet has raised concern that the closing may be tied to an attempt by the Erdogan regime to prevent a second coup attempt.

 

Some 7,000 armed police with heavy vehicles have surrounded and blocked the Incirlik air base in Adana used by NATO forces, already restricted in the aftermath of a failed coup. Unconfirmed reports say troops were sent to deal with a new coup attempt. Hurriyet reported earlier that Adana police had been tipped off about a new coup attempt, and forces were immediately alerted. The entrance to the base was closed off.  Security forces armed with rifles and armored TOMA vehicles used by Turkish riot police could be seen at the site in photos taken by witnesses.

 

Some of radical islamist twitter users telling people to break into the base and kill everybody #Incirlik WARNING! pic.twitter.com/S5PXxGilUh
— osman istanbul (@dertliosman33) July 31, 2016

Indeed, the massive presence of armed police supported by heavy vehicles calls into question the Turkish government’s official line that the lock down at the Incirlik base is merely a « safety inspection. »?

 

Local media has focused on the base after the failed coup in Turkey occurred the night of July 15. Although the main scenes of the events were Istanbul and Ankara, Incirlik was shut down  for a time by local authorities shortly after the putsch, and several Turkish soldiers from the base were deemed by Turkish officials to be involved in the overthrow attempt. The lockdown at Incirlik follows a massive wave of protests on Thursday when pro-Erdogan nationalists took to the streets yelling « death to the US » and called for the immediate closure of the Incirlik base. Security personnel dispersed the protesters before they were able to make it to the base. And while there has been no official statement from US armed forces stationed at Incirlik at this time, the situation continues to develop in front of the air bBase as more heavy trucks have been dispatched to surround and block access to the critical military facility.

 

It is unclear if Erdogan is naive enough to think that he can out-bluff and out-bully the US and keep Incirlik hostage until he gets Gulen repatriated by Obama on a silver platter, a hostage « tit for tat » we first described two weeks ago. If so, one wonders, if he is doing so alone, or with the moral support of others, perhaps such recently prominent enemies of Erdogan as Vladimir Putin. Recall that just over a month ago Erdogan publicly apologized to Putin for downing the Russian Su-24 fighter jet in November, and called Putin « a friend. »

Finally, at least as of this moment, it appears that theairspace around Incirlik is closed.

 

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Clinton allegedly provided legal services for the cement multinational before serving on its board of directors and accepting its generous donations.

Hillary Clinton was directly involved with Lafarge, a French cement multinational that paid the Islamic State group for oil, reported The Canary on Friday.

Clinton served on the company’s board of directors from 1990 to 1992. After Bill Clinton was elected president, Lafarge’s fine with the Environmental Protection Agency was reduced to a third of the original price.

Cement is unloaded from a barge at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris.

Cement is unloaded from a barge at a Lafarge concrete production plant in Pantin, outside Paris. | Photo: Reuters

The Canary also cited the American Spectator, which reported that in the late 1980s Clinton provided legal representation for Lafarge while its U.S. subsidiary “provided key services for the covert arms export network that supplied Saddam Hussein,” said the American Spectator article. Lafarge was also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, spending over US$100,000 in 2015 and 2016.

According to investigative reports by the Syrian opposition website Zaman al-Wasl and Le Monde, Lafarge operated a cement works in Jalabiya, which came under Islamic State group control in 2013. Emails obtained by both sources show that the company arranged deals with the IS group to ensure continued production and circulation of its cement. Headquarters knew about the deal, they reported.

Le Monde also reported last month that Lafarge paid taxes and bought licences from the group’s oil traders, and Zaman Al-Wasl reported in February that the company regularly bought the jihadist group’s oil.

Lafarge is back in the news because Paris is now doing business with the company, paying Lafarge to supply the sand for its popular “Paris Plage” pop-up beaches on the banks of the Seine. Parisians have already launched a petition with almost 40,000 signatures to demand the city boycott the cement company once and for all.

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“He [Bill Clinton] wanted people to know the real Hillary.” John Podesta, Jul 28, 2016

Moving beyond idea, beyond type, beyond cardboard cuts, was always going to be a central feature of the Democratic National Convention in 2016. With a US presidential election set to run between two largely unpopular characters, Hillary Clinton needed to show that she was a touch more than merely the tried and the failed.

To a large degree, the convention watchers felt that the task had been achieved, though that takes a good deal of presumption and make believe. The brush of humanity had been run over the candidate, and she was there, glowing away for the task at hand.

To this could be added another act of fundamental deception.  The Democratic Convention was also advertising itself as a broad church of acceptable differences, one where a range of factions and politics had come together under a fusing, non-crooked maternal gaze.

The cameos came thick and fast. There was the attempt by the running mate, Tim Caine, to show how sympathetic the Clintons, and the campaign, are to Hispanics. (I speak Spanish, so I feel how they feel.) Michelle Obama’s speech, in an attempt to promote Clinton, ended up being a pitch that looked somewhat presidential.

Then there was husband Bill, whose account was as all his accounts have been: clipped, adjusted and moderated for the audience at hand.  His attempt at recalling the love story from the time they met at the law library had its notable omissions, a point made even nastier by the fact that he committed a war crime, effectively, to distract a leering US public from his infidelity.

This effort was particularly greasy in its evocation of the fiddler and fondler, the man who saw that girl, whom he wanted.  “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl.”  Even as elder establishment, there was a sense he would creep up and so something distinctly seedy, though vocalised as folksy and reassuring, a grooming voice.

There were dot points he returned to, insisting that his wife was “the best darn change-maker I have ever known.”  But she was also a figure of motherly domesticity, having assisted daughter Chelsea to pack for her university dorm, having been the “designated worrier”.

The challenge put to delegates and to the audience was whether the image of Hillary generated by the GOP Convention was plausible, and how well it sold.  “What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said?  One is real and the other is made up… you just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.” With the Clintons, fabrication and reality are not indistinct.

The machine of an old mainstream party did eventually find its natural political rhythm.  But that is largely the problem for the Democrats and the manager that are running it.  An echo chamber has crept up around the politics of the United States, a chamber fed by the language of strategy, false presumption and disenfranchisement.  The pollster, the focus group, and the policy wonk come first.

Nothing in the pulverising nature of the Trump train resembles that chamber.  If there is a rule of engagement, break it. If a convention exists, run it into oblivion.  Flirt with treason if need be, because the world of business knows no treason, only numbers and profit. (The wiles of capitalism are never patriotic, merely self-interested.)  His suggestion that Russians hack Democrat sources and anything connected with Clinton to identify missing emails that somehow went into the ether was hysterical.

The Convention yielded a ghastly choice, an attempt to curb and stifle rival arguments and mask the reality of an intense, very American alienation. The Clinton machine attempted to choke the Sanders movement, and the final sense that the Vermont senator had keeled over was his insistence to supporters at the DNC that they step into the Clinton fray.

Clinton, in efforts to draw those Sanders’ souls into her orbit, spoke of how the US needed “your ideas, energy and passion.” That was “the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.”[1]

Arguments that a revolution had commenced and would continue were much like removing the nerve from the patient. Given that Sanders, according to Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, won more under-30 votes during the primaries than Clinton and Trump combined, speaks staggering volumes about a movement in search for a home.[2]

There was nothing human about this performance; the humanisation project stuttered in efforts to show “the real Hillary”.  Even pop references by such outlets as Time to the “balloon” buzz after Thursday, when the couple are filmed enjoying the cascading colours of inflatables, cannot erase that fact.  As one Twitter user remarked, “Why were people so worried about humanizing Hillary Clinton?  Just give her a balloon!”[3]

To the White House goes not so much the best brand, but the best sold one. The entire DNC show was a desperate attempt to retain a legacy and restrain others, while selling a broken product. The aim from the start was clear, a step to attain the prize that has become a symptom of modern American politics: the dynasty president.  Trump truly has a mine to work with.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT

University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

 Notes

[1] http://www.npr.org/2016/07/28/487817725/fact-check-hillary-clintons-speech-to-the-democratic-convention-annotated

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/20/more-young-people-voted-for-bernie-sanders-than-trump-and-clinton-combined-by-a-lot/

[3] https://twitter.com/tylermenzel/status/758870136870666240?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

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Political developments are often emotionally charged, and even journalists who are expected to maintain an objective approach to reporting can find themselves swept away by sensational headlines and the temptation to wade into controversy without fully analysing background information that might significantly alter established narratives.

Because of this, some journalists find themselves playing the role of commentator rather than investigator, often leaving out critical information in a rush to contribute to one of two sides amid a political divide. In some cases, journalists may appear to be doing their job by « investigating » deeper into news stories, but do so in a transparently one-sided manner, thus negating their role as an objective observer.

In Thailand, this can be clearly seen in English-language coverage, particularly from The Nation and the Bangkok Post. In the rare instance that journalists from either paper « investigates » independently into any given headline, it is generally one-sided and transparently politically-motivated.

And more often than not, these papers appear to be taking their lead from foreign news sources, particularly those in Europe and North America. One would expect newspapers from region to region to develop their own unique angles and perspectives regarding the news, but upon following the money, we will soon see why this more often than not doesn’t happen.

The Industrialised Journalist Mill

Pravit Rojanaphruk, currently a commentator at Thailand’s Khoasod English, is perhaps one of the most transparent examples of just what is wrong with newspapers across Asia. He proudly boasts of his various Western media affiliations and fellowships with his Twitter profile reading as follows:

MSc (Oxon), British Chevening Scholar 2001-2002, Reuter Fellow 97-98, Katherine Fanning Fellow 2009, Salzburg Sem. Fellow.

If these scholarships and fellowships actually cultivated real principles of journalism within recipients, they might actually be noteworthy milestones in a journalist’s career.

However, what they instead represent, is a concerted attempt by the Western media to extend its influence further abroad, and to help align global news coverage uniformly to their perspective and to serve their interests.

Journalists like Pravit, then, serve as an extension of Western media coverage rather than a representation of Thai journalism. Journalism by definition is the reporting of news, and news is by definition noteworthy information.
What Pravit and others like him are prone to do, however, is interweave opinion and commentary into what is often strained, spun or even fabricated information. And this is done to align Thai news with those expectations and norms taught to them during their fellowships abroad in Europe and North America.The Reuters Journalism Fellowship Programme alone has processed hundreds of journalists around the world, putting them through between 1-3 terms at the University of Oxford to undergo a program of stringent indoctrination into the ways of Western journalism. It is virtually impossible for a fellow to undergo this process and leave as an independent journalist.Activities, according to the Reuters Institute’s own website include:

  • Attend seminars given by a diverse and high-level range of guest speakers who will share their insights into key industry trends and developments
  • Work with an experienced supervisor, usually an Oxford academic, to produce a research paper of publishable quality
  • Visit world-class news organisations and gain insights into how they are approaching industry challenges. Previous visits have included trips to Thomson Reuters, The Financial Times, The BBC, The Economist and The Guardian
  • Join trips to key UK cultural and political organisations and institutions. Previous destinations have included Oxfam, the House of Commons and Stratford-upon-Avon, home of Shakespeare
  • Exchange ideas and experiences with a diverse and international peer group. Around 25 Fellows a year join us from high-level media organisations all over the world. Strengthen your network, develop a global set of contacts and gain insights into international trends and developments
  • Benefit from the extensive learning facilities offered by the University of Oxford, including the world-famous Bodleian Library and access to various seminars and lectures across the university. You are also encouraged to engage with the university’s cutting edge specialist research facilities, including centres for African, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Eastern and Western European, Japanese and Chinese studies
  • Be given visiting scholar status of Green Templeton College

For inexperienced young men and women who aspire to be journalists, to be afforded this opportunity would be both immensely flattering and emotionally as well as professionally transformative. For a young journalist in Thailand to be afforded the opportunity to travel to the UK, to attend one or more terms at the world renowned University of Oxford and to be given an opportunity to see the inner workings of news organisations like the BBC, Thompson Reuters, The Economist and The Guardian would be an overwhelming experience. And it is meant to be.

If Only Real Journalism Was Being Promoted… 

The journalists who complete such fellowships and return to their home countries, are forever linked to the institutions and individuals they met and worked with during their time abroad. They take back with them to their home countries not the tools of an objective journalist, but the indoctrination, culture, interests and angles of a Western-centric worldview. To those who have completed the fellowship, they often confuse this Western-centric worldview with being « objective, » but it is most certainly not.

We can look at the Reuters fellowship program and see news organisations like Thompson Reuters, the BBC, The Economist and The Guardian held up as examples of journalism. This is despite their active manipulation of information toward particular political objectives rather than accurately informing the public.

In particular, these news services played crucial roles in promoting wars like the US-UK led invasion of Iraq in 2003, intentionally obfuscating critical information the public and policymakers required to make an honest assessment of the decision to go to war.

The BBC in particular has been embroiled in impropriety ranging from deceptive news coverage to paid-for documentaries and even criminal conduct committed by individuals, and covered up institutionally.

But news organisations serving special interests is nothing new. One must expect this realistically, to a certain degree, regarding any news organisation operating around the world. It is not a matter of whether or not they are serving special interests, it is a matter of whose interests they are serving.

While Thai-based news organisations would be expected to serve special interests in Thailand, they do not, specifically because of the Wests industrialised ‘journalist mills.’ These fellowship programs, training seminars and campaigns are undertaken to ensure the widest possible consensus globally to Western special interests, regardless of what nation journalists may be from or what nations they are currently operating in.

That is why The Nation and the Bangkok Post feature editorial slants nearly indistinguishable from those of Western news agencies. While Pravit is very open and proud of his indoctrination into this system of mass-produced consensus, others employed across the Thai media are not. Some digging, however, into the backgrounds of journalists who repeatedly and suspiciously repeat talking-points originating from abroad usually reveals a similar and extensive « resume » of foreign fellowships, education and indoctrination.

History is Repeating Itself   

Understandably, for people hearing this for the first time, it sounds like an incredible conspiracy theory. However, upon thoughtful examination, it is merely the predictable repetition of history unfolding.

Ancient Roman historian Tacitus (c. AD 56 – after 117) would adeptly describe the systematic manner in which Rome pacified foreign peoples and the manner in which it would extend its sociocultural and institutional influence over conquered lands.

In chapter 21 of his book Agricola, named so after his father-in-law whose methods of conquest were the subject of the text, Tacitus would explain:

His object was to accustom them to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He therefore gave official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses. He educated the sons of the chiefs in the liberal arts, and expressed a preference for British ability as compared to the trained skills of the Gauls. The result was that instead of loathing the Latin language they became eager to speak it effectively. In the same way, our national dress came into favour and the toga was everywhere to be seen. And so the population was gradually led into the demoralizing temptation of arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. The unsuspecting Britons spoke of such novelties as ‘civilization’, when in fact they were only a feature of their enslavement.

We can easily see how fellowships fill a similar role today, with the West, openly aspiring to construct an international order, « educating » potentially influential foreigners in both English and « the liberal arts, » encouraging a preference for Western culture and perspectives and convincing them that such indoctrination is a novelty of ‘civilisation’ rather than a feature of control and a vector for Western influence into any particular country.

Under the British Empire, similar education and missionary programs were created to replace independent and unique local perspectives and culture with the uniform perspective and culture of Britain, serving British aspirations of global hegemony.

Cambridge University Press’ Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860 would note in a chapter extract that (our emphasis):

Christian missionary activity was central to the work of European colonialism, providing British missionaries and their supporters with a sense of justice and moral authority. Throughout the history of imperial expansion, missionary proselytising offered the British public a model of ‘civilised’ expansionism and colonial community management, transforming [imperial] projects into moral allegories. Missionary activity was, however, unavoidably implicated in either covert or explicit cultural change. It sought to transform indigenous communities into imperial archetypes of civility and modernity by remodelling the individual, the community, and the state through western, Christian philosophies. In the British Empire, and particularly in what is historically known as the ‘second’ era of British imperialism (approximately 1784–1867), missionary activity was frequently involved with the initial steps of imperial expansion.

It is a bit ironic then that Britain, against which cultural colonialism was first used by the Romans, became a centre of power used then to disseminate cultural colonialism in service of naked imperialism under the British Empire, is now being used to disseminate a « softer » version of it under the guise of journalism and academia.

Like the sons of chiefs in Britannia, foreign journalists like Thailand’s Pravit Rojanaphruk probably have honestly convinced themselves that these features of control and manipulation are instead the « novelties of civilisation. »

What Nations Can Do. 

It is important for policymakers and the public alike to understand this aspect of modern journalism to both be aware of how it impacts news coverage, and of what possible measures can be taken to combat modern day cultural colonialism.

One possible measure could be national programs that attempt to recruit and build up a corps of local journalists who represent their nation’s best interests, culture and perspectives. These journalists can then fill the ranks of local newspapers and TV stations, as well as influence news conferences and seminars both local and international from their own nation’s perspective, rather than merely amplifying those of nations running international « fellowship » programmes.

For Thailand who has large government-funded news organisations like Thai PBS, universities and trusted news professionals, untainted by foreign indoctrination, can develop a truly Thai brand of journalism that is taught to political science and journalist students in school, and reinforced through the same sort of activities conducted by foreign fellowships overseas.

In essence, instead of depending on foreign fellowships and joint news organisation-university programs abroad, Thailand should develop is own domestically, as well as well-funded news organisations for Thai journalists to work at safely, securely and far from the ego-ensnaring temptations extended by foreign interests.

The New Atlas is a media platform providing geopolitical analysis and op-eds. Follow us on Facebook andTwitter

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Alep: « STOP à la manipulation »

juillet 31st, 2016 by Nabil Antaki

Arrêt sur Info a demandé au Dr Nabil Antaki, qui réside à Alep, si l’ « Appel au secours des médecins en Syrie » lancé par Union des organisations de secours et soins médicaux (UOSSM – France) – dont fait état l’article de L’Orient Le Jour est partagé par les médecins syriens qui se trouvent à l’Ouest de la ville d’Alep, sous la protection de l’Etat syrien. Voici sa réponse.

NON, ce n’est pas Alep qui est assiégée par l’armée syrienne, mais les quelques quartiers à l’Est d’Alep qui ont été envahis par les groupes armés en juillet 2012.

OUI, Alep était assiégée par les terroristes depuis 4 ans et l’offensive de l’armée syrienne a justement pour but de la libérer. C’est chose en partie faite depuis jeudi 28 juillet quand l’armée syrienne a finalement chassé les groupes armés du quartier de Bani Zeid. Ces groupes ont pendant 4 ans terrorisé les habitants d’Alep en lançant quotidiennement des mortiers et des bonbonnes de gaz remplies de clous et d’explosifs faisant tous les jours des dizaines de tués et de blessés.

NON, les structures de santé ne sont pas visées délibérément par les bombardements aériens. Les hôpitaux cités n’existaient pas avant la guerre et donc ces lieux de soins sont, s’ils existent, installés dans des immeubles ordinaires. De plus, même de l’aveu de Médecins sans frontières (MSF), ces structures de santé n’ont pas été signalées à l’ONU, ni aux Etats-Unis, ni à la Russie.

Il faudrait aussi signaler que les immeubles abritant des structures de santé sont utilisés par les terroristes pour leur sinistre besogne: l’hôpital ophtalmologique situé à Alep-Est est le quartier général de Al Nosra pour la région d’Alep. Pourquoi ne pas mentionner les hôpitaux bombardés [dans les zones sous le contrôle de l’Etat syrien, Ndlr], incendiés ou détruits par les terroristes depuis le début du conflit.

OUI, les terroristes qui occupent Alep-Est appartiennent à Al Nosra, groupe considéré par toute la communauté internationale (Europe et USA compris) comme groupe terroriste. Il devrait être neutralisé comme Daech, ce que ne font pas les avions de la coalition internationale menée par les USA.

NON, les habitants d’Alep-Est n’ont pas peur de venir à Alep sous le contrôle de l’Etat Syrien par les couloirs humanitaires que les autorités ont ouverts pour les laisser rentrer minimisant ainsi le risque de pertes civils lors des raids ou des batailles. Au contraire, ils voudraient rejoindre les 500.000 habitants d’Alep-Est ayant déjà fui les régions d’Alep sous contrôle des terroristes pour se réfugier sous la protection de l’Etat syrien. Ce sont les rebelles-terroristes qui les empêchent de venir les gardant comme boucliers humains.

OUI, les habitants d’Alep ont souffert pendant 4 ans. Ils ont subi de nombreux blocus imposés par les terroristes et les 1.500.000 habitants d’Alep ont subi des pénuries très graves sans que personne n’en parle, ne s’indigne, ni ne proteste.

NON, l’Etat syrien et son allié russe ne veulent pas qu’il y ait des victimes civiles lors des combats. Ils ne veulent pas qu’il y ait des dommages collatéraux comme lors des bombardements français du village de Al Tokhar le 19 juillet dernier tuant 164 civils ou des bavures comme le bombardement américain de l’hôpital de Kunduz

OUI, arrêtez de manipuler l’opinion public par la désinformation. A chaque fois que les terroristes sont assiégés quelque part en Syrie, les gouvernements et médias lancent des cris d’alarme. Ils veulent soit disant éviter une prétendue catastrophe humanitaire; alors que leur vrai but est en réalité de desserrer l’étau de l’armée gouvernementale sur les terroristes.

Ces derniers n’arrêtent pas leurs tirs. Comment sont-ils donc approvisionnés en munitions et en armes alors qu’ils prétendent que les produits alimentaires et les carburants ne peuvent leur parvenir, faisant craindre le pire pour les civils?

Nabil Antaki, Alep le 29 juillet 2016

 

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The US counterterrorism bombing campaign under « Operation Inherent Resolve » does not target terrorists. 

Quite the opposite. Both ISIS-Daesh and Al Nusra are protected by the US led coalition. 

The forbidden truth is that the counterterrorism campaign is directed against the Syrian people.

It’s a massacre of civilians « with a human face ». It’s nonetheless a criminal undertaking perpetrated at the highest levels of the US government, in coordination with America’s allies including France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  

The western media applauds.

Amply documented, The US led coalition is routinely providing support to the Al Qaeda affiliated « opposition » rebels in Syria including the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh), while also accusing ISIS-Daesh of  sponsoring the recent terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and Nice. 

 

 

Diabolical Project

While civilian casualties resulting from the US sponsored air raids are blamed on the government of Bashar al Assad, France’s president Francois Hollande states without evidence that ISIS-Daesh was behind the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, thereby justifying acts of retribution (i.e. bombings of Syrian  civilians) allegedly against Daesh’s stronghold in Northern Syria.

In response, the Syrian government in two letters addressed respectively to the president of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General, has called for an end to « the attacks and atrocities committed against civilians, calling for bringing the perpetrators to justice. »

The Syrian government was referring to the routine bombings of civilians as well as Western support of ISIS-Daesh and Al Qaeda affiliated « opposition » rebels. Meanwhile, Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate  has conveniently changed its name. It is no longer considered a terrorist organization, it’s a moderate rebel force according to Western opinion.

In its letters to the UN Security Council, the Syrian government condemned  France, US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for supporting the so-called “moderate opposition”:

The ministry cited two recent massacres, the first committed yesterday [July 28] by the US-led Coalition in al-Ghandoura village near Manbej city north of Aleppo. 45 civilians were brutally killed by the Coalition’s air raids in the village and 50 others were injured.

On the heels of this appalling crime, ISIS brutally murdered 24 civilians from the locals of al-Bweir village near Manbej, the letters said.

The ministry cited striking similarities between the massacres committed by the US-led Coalition and the terrorist organizations in an attempt to exacerbate the situation across Syria following the Syrian army’s recent wins in Aleppo city. (SANA)

To which Washington responded, pointing to unfortunate « collateral damage ».

The counter-terrorism operation (Inherent Resolve) is coordinated by US Central Command.

USCENTCOM refers to « civilian casualty allegations » by the Syrian authorities. The matter is dismissed:

US Central Command (CENTCOM) acknowledged that the airstrikes “may have resulted in civilian casualties,” but did not name a figure, pending a likely future investigation.

CENTCOM said the aerial bombardment had been aimed at driving out ISIS forces concentrated in Manjib, a strategic waypoint on the road to the Islamists’ “capital city” of Raqqa.

Commenting on the CENTCOM statement, White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said on Friday that “they’ll see if additional action is necessary,” without elaborating.

He added that “this administration, the United States government takes all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimalizing civilian casualties.”  ( RT,  July 29, 2016)

 

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Too Many US Nuclear Bombs in Turkey

juillet 31st, 2016 by Jonathan Power

The Incirlik Air Base in southeast Turkey — from which US pilots launch bombing raids on Daesh forces in Syria — is home to about 50 B-61 nuclear bombs. That makes it NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility.

Each bomb has a yield of up to 170 kilotonnes, nearly a dozen times more powerful than the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima. The bombs are stored in underground vaults within aircraft shelters that in turn are protected by a security perimeter.

Last week, Incirlik was in the headlines because it appears it was one of the command centres of the attempted coup that sought to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After the coup had been thwarted, the commander of Incirlik was arrested and charged with complicity in the overthrow attempt.

Jonathan Marshall of Consortium News, who has been researching this year the inner workings of the base, reports:

“The security of the bombs is premised on them being defended by loyal NATO forces. In the case of Incirlik that loyalty proved uncertain at best. Power to the base was cut after mutinous troops used a tanker plane from the base to refuel F-16s that menaced Ankara and Istanbul”.

He goes on in his latest report to observe:

“One can easily imagine a clique of Islamist officers in a future coup seizing the nuclear bombs as a bargaining chip with Ankara and Washington or, worse yet, to support radical insurgents in the region.”

Writing in Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, asks, “Does it seem like a good idea to station American nuclear weapons at an air base commanded by someone who may have just helped bomb his own country’s presidential palace?”

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert with the Federation of American Scientists, argues that

“the security situation in Turkey and in the base area no longer meet the safety requirements that the US should have for storage of nuclear weapons. You only get so many warnings before something goes terribly wrong. It’s time to withdraw the weapons.”

Most tellingly, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis recently wrote that if NATO really does house tactical nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base, “this poses a very dangerous problem”.

In April 2009, US President Barack Obama, in front of an adoring crowd in Prague, spoke of his plans and dreams for a nuclear-free world. Years later, he does not have that much to show for it.

When Dimitri Medvedev was Russia’s president, they did fashion an agreement that cut their armouries of intercontinental missiles by a substantial amount.

Even so, Obama — in order to win the support necessary for ratification by Republicans in the Senate — he had to agree to a long-term $1 trillion modernisation of America’s nuclear armoury.

Obama has made no progress on curtailing short-range “tactical” missiles based in Europe and Turkey. He has produced no rationale for keeping them or indeed those bombs stored at Incirlik.

Nevertheless, as his presidency winds to a close, Obama is preparing to challenge the Republican congressional leaders and the heads of Senate foreign relations and armed services committees.

He is garnering wide support for his reported plan to implement at least a part of his Prague nuclear agenda through a series of executive orders. US presidents have the right to make laws on their own say so. However, unlike a law legislated by Congress, a successor can simply nullify them.

Obama apparently believes that Hillary Clinton would not overturn his actions, even though she is more hardline than he is.  (Donald Trump is another matter.)

The Washington Post reported this month that the executive options Obama is considering include declaring a “no first use” policy for the United States nuclear arsenal and a UN Security Council resolution affirming a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons as envisaged by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was conceived in the time of president John F. Kennedy but which Congress has long refused to ratify.

Obama is also considering offering Russia a five-year extension of the START treaty’s limits on deployed nuclear weapons, a delay in the development of a new nuclear cruise missile, called the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon, and cutting back long-term plans for modernising the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which the Congressional Budget Office reports will cost about $350 billion over the next decade.

Certainly if this were done — along with the closure of the Incirlik nuclear armoury — Russian public opinion might start to take Obama seriously again. Even at this late stage President Vladimir Putin could be persuaded to take some initiatives of his own.

Indeed, a benign atmosphere might also make possible a solution to the Ukraine crisis. A running sore is the last thing Obama wants to leave behind.

This “ban the bomb” president should not leave office without having done what he said he would.

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Hillary to Deliver Syria to Jihadists?

juillet 31st, 2016 by Daniel McAdams

According to Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy advisor, Jeremy Bash, if Clinton is elected she will order a « re-set » of US policy toward Syria to emphasize the « murderous » nature of the Assad regime. As the Telegraph reports, Hillary Clinton will breathe new life into the « Assad must go » camp. She will likely launch a full-scale US invasion of Syria.

Said Bash:

A Clinton administration will not shrink from making clear to the world exactly what the Assad regime is. It is a murderous regime that violates human rights; that has violated international law; used chemical weapons against his own people; has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of children.

Of course claims that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people is the long since disproven neocon cri de guerre to push Obama into an attack on the Syrian government. The 2013 gas attack near Ghouta was likely a provocationby the rebels hoping to draw the US directly into their fight.

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This « he gassed his own people » line is the Syrian version of Saddam’s « WMDs, » a lie repeated ad infinitum to make the case for war.

As far as violating international law, the entire two year US intervention in Syria is in clear violation of international law. The US has no legal right to bomb Syria.

Clinton’s advisor informs us that as president his boss would involve the US in everyone else’s affairs: « Mrs Clinton believes that problems around the world can more easily be solved when America is involved and in each of those problems or crisis, » he told the Telegraph

If Hillary becomes president and gets her way with a Syria « re-set » the prime beneficiary will be radical Islamists. There literally is no secular, moderate opposition to the Assad government.

How do we know the jihadists will come out on top? Her last great intervention, the « liberation » of Libya should be precedent. Gaddafi was no angel, but until shortly before he was overthrown he was a Washington ally, a secular counterpart to creeping Islamization of the region. After the 2011 « liberation » strongly backed by Hillary, Libya has turned into a hellhole of competing radical Islamist militias and warlords. ISIS and al-Qaeda were unheard of in Libya before Hillary got her hands on it. Now it is rotten with them.

When it comes to Syria, Hillary means war.

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Today President Obama signed into law a GMO labeling bill that discriminates against more than 100 million Americans. The bill recently passed through Congress and allows companies and producers to use QR codes, 1-800 numbers and other difficult to access technology to label food products that contain GMOs, instead of clear, on-package text.

The law also sets a dangerous precedent to override the sovereignty of states, as many state labeling laws, including Vermont’s recently enacted GMO labeling law, are now void. Consumer, food safety, farm, environmental, and religious groups along with several food corporations representing hundreds of thousands of Americans condemned the bill when it was before Congress. The FDA said the bill’s narrow and ambiguous definition of “bioengineering,” would “likely mean that many foods from GE sources will not be subject to this bill” and that it “may be difficult” for any GMO food to qualify for labeling under the bill. Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson said the bill raised “serious questions of discrimination” and left “unresolved matters of equal protection of the law”.

The following is statement from Andy Kimbrell, executive director at the Center for Food Safety:

I don’t know what kind of legacy the president hopes to leave, but denying one-third of Americans the right to know what is in the food they feed their families isn’t one to be proud of. This law is a sham and a shame, a rushed backroom deal that discriminates against low-income, rural, minority and elderly populations. The law also represents a major assault on the democratic decision making of several states and erases their laws with a vague multi-year bureaucratic process specifically designed to provide less transparency to consumers.

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No evidence links Russia to hacking DNC emails. Accusations suggesting otherwise are baseless – the latest bashing episode, for geopolitical purposes, shifting attention from Hillary’s disturbing record, and electoral rigging of the primaries. 

Israeli military intelligence/Mossad connected DEBKAfile said  “an analysis by (its) intelligence and cyber defense sources has determined that” DNC emails hacking “almost certainly (was) not carried out by (Russia’s GRU) cyber warfare branch.”

Its determination is contrary to unjustifiable assertions by senior DNC officials, Obama, the Clinton campaign, administration-connected cyber espionage experts and mainstream media – pointing fingers the wrong way.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov categorically denied Russian “direct or indirect interference in (America’s) election process,” adding:

We see that the Russian card is in the red corner on the writing table of all Washington politicians during the election campaign, and that very often they make it a trump card in their game.

According to DEBKAfile (DF), blaming Russia is baseless “in…light of four facts:”

1. Little is known in the West about Moscow’s “cyber warfare system” other than it’s “highly effective.” If it hacked DNC emails, “no obvious signatures (like) ‘Fancy Bear’ and/or ‘Cozy Bear’…would have been left behind for investigators to discover.”

2. Intelligence operations, including Russia’s, nearly always focus on “seeking security, strategic and economic data.” It’s hard imagining Moscow would divert “stretched” resources to investigating other matters.

3. The private information security company CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC and FBI, claiming it “cracked the case in two hours is hardly credible.”

“Getting to the bottom of an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) calls for extra-powerful computers, working in conjunction with the internet service provider (ISP), and consuming weeks, if not months of analysis.”

4. Blaming Russia for hacking DNC emails provides US conspiracists “with a convenient reminder” that Edward Snowden remains free from prosecution in Russia – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as well, given asylum in Ecuador’s UK embassy.

Blaming Russia is a convenient way to shift attention from a legally challenged, illegitimately anointed Democrat party nominee – the greatest threat to world peace in modern memory.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

 

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Thailand: US-Funded Election “Monitors” Exposed

juillet 31st, 2016 by Tony Cartalucci

Thailand faces an upcoming referendum regarding a new national charter meant to put the country back on track after over a decade of political conflict revolving around US-backed proxy Thaksin Shinawatra.

Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors have increased pressure on the Thai government as the vote in early August nears. 

This includes maneuvering into place overt fronts engaged in political agitation, and leveraging the West’s monopoly over the international media to portray any attempt to crackdown on such fronts as heavy-handed and unjust.
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Bangkok-based English newspaper the Nation in their article, “Thai junta refuses to accredit election monitors in referendum vote,” reports that:

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) said that repeated attempts to gain accreditation to monitor the August 7 referendum, Thailand’s first trip to the polls since the military took power in 2014, were met with silence.

What the Nation does not report is who ANFREL is, who funds them, or the obvious conflicts of interest involved in their “monitoring” work across all of Asia, including Thailand.

ANFREL is funded by the US State Department through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID, convicted financial criminal George Soros‘ “Open Society Institution” (OSI), and even the Australian government and the British Embassy.
This is according to ANFREL’s own annual reports, this one from 2010 (.pdf), where they admit on page 7 (11 of 33 of the pdf) that:

Regarding the budget for 2010, NED has provided supported for administration expenses while other activities have been supported on a project by project basis by AusAid, USAID, OSI, Euro-Burma, Netherlands Embassy, TAF, Misereor and the British Embassy.

ANFREL’s 2011 report also makes mention of US State Department NED subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), on page 5 (3/30 of the .pdf). In all of ANFREL’s annual reports, none of these organizations are mentioned by their full names, and in no part of the annual reports are ANFREL’s financial sponsors fully and transparently enumerated.

ANFREL’s local affiliate in Thailand, PNet (under the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation (GNDEM)), is also openly funded by the US government. On GNDEM’s own website, it states:

GNDEM appreciates the support provided by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the support that the NED and USAID have provided to the process surrounding the Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations.

One wonders whose best interests are served by such “monitoring” groups who apparently cannot find any support in the very region they supposedly serve, and instead rely entirely on foreign funding from nations who have historically sought to control and subjugate Asia, its people, and their resources.

ANFREL Picks Sides, So is Incapable of Impartial “Monitoring” 

More alarming than ANFREL’s foreign sponsors or the fact that it serves as an instrument for foreign interests to interfere with the internal political affairs of sovereign nations in Asia – particularly in light of the US’ own allegations that Russia is doing likewise in regards to US elections – is the fact that the US State Department, the NED, NDI, and Open Society are also engaged in funding overt opposition groups across Asia, including in Thailand.

The US NED, NDI, Open Society, and the International Republican Institute (IRI) are engaged in funding and supporting opposition groups including the so-called “Umbrella Revolution” in Hong Kong, the “Bersih” street movement in Malaysia headed by now-jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and deceptive media fronts like Prachatai in Thailand, who openly and repeatedly attack Thailand’s indigenous institutions, while providing cover for US-backed opposition groups, including Thaksin Shinawatra’s Peua Thai Party (PTP) and his ultra-violent street front, the so-called “red shirts.”

Even on ANFREL’s own website, they repeatedly support Malaysia-based Bersih, applauding them for contrived awards bestowed upon them by the same foreign interests funding their disruptive behavior. On ANFREL’s Facebook page, they even allege that Bersih serves as part of their monitoring network.

An organization like ANFREL which masquerades as an “election monitoring” organization, that has clearly picked sides and openly backs and supports opposition groups, cannot in any way be trusted to impartially monitor elections. Then again, would honest, impartial observers expect a foreign-funded “monitoring” organization to not be used to manipulate the outcome of elections?

The Thai government’s move to deny ANFREL accreditation is clearly justified. But despite this, that the Western media is able to portray the barring of a clearly compromised, biased organization as an obstruction to free and fair voting, illustrates how the US uses both fraudulent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the media in tandem to pressure, manipulate, and meddle in the affairs of nations around the world.

Thailand’s ability to accurately and concisely expose what the reasoning was behind its decision regarding ANFREL through independent media organizations would do much in blunting the counterattack across the Western media Thailand now faces. Having failed to do this, however, Thailand will likely face a difficult choice between weathering the concerted campaign of abuse now targeting them, or capitulating regarding ANFREL and allowing it to meddle in Thailand’s upcoming referendum with absolute impunity.

Also important to note, Thailand’s stability and ability to move forward with a new charter dovetails with the larger conflict unfolding across Asia as Washington and Beijing attempt to assert Western and Eastern control, respectively, over the Asian region. A destabilized Thailand, or worse yet, one handed back under the control of Shinawatra and his allies, would serve to tip the balance in Washington’s favor. It is no wonder then, why the US has invested so heavily in manipulating political events unfolding in Thailand – it is about more than just Thailand, it is a smaller part of a much larger hegemonic project.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

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Hillary’s Convention Con

juillet 31st, 2016 by Ralph Nader

The 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia was a multi-layered, raucous display of political theater. A host of delegates loyal to Senator Bernie Sanders were inside in large numbers exclaiming “No more war” during former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s speech and raising all kinds of progressive, rebellious signs and banners against the Hillary crowd. Although Hillary addressed them directly in her acceptance speech, “Your cause is my cause,” those dissatisfied delegates in the hall saw her rhetoric for what it was: insincere and opportunistic.

She said she’d tax the wealthy for public necessities, but declined to mention a sales tax on Wall Street speculation that could bring in as much as $300 billion a year to support such initiatives. She opposed “unfair trade agreements,” but remarkably omitted saying she was against the TPP (the notorious pending Trans Pacific Trade Agreement backed by Obama that is receiving wide left/right opposition).

She paid lip service to a “living wage” but avoided endorsing a $15 an hour minimum wage, which would help single moms and their children – people she wants us to believe have been her enduring cause. Few people know that it took until the spring of 2014 before candidate Clinton would come out for even a $10.10 minimum wage. News reports noted that Clinton, a former member of Walmart’s board of directors and Arkansas corporate lawyer, was wrestling with how to support $10.10 per hour without alienating her Wall Street friends.

“Caring for kids” doesn’t extend to encircled Gaza’s defenseless children, hundreds of whom were killed by American-made weapons wielded by the all powerful Israeli military. Gaza is the the world’s largest open air prison and under illegal blockade. Remember, as Secretary of State, Hillary fully backed war crimes, condemned by almost all countries in the world. On the stage in Philadelphia, she spoke of backing Israel’s security without any mention of Palestinian rights or the need to end Israel’s illegal occupation of the territories.

It is true, as numerous speakers repeated, Clinton is “most qualified and experienced,” but her record shows those qualities have led to belligerent, unlawful military actions that are now boomeranging against U.S. interests. The intervention she insistently called for in Libya, with Obama’s foolish consent, over-rode the wiser counsel of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (and his generals), who warned of the chaos that would follow. He was proven right, with chaotic  violence now all over Libya spilling into other African countries. This is but one example of what Bernie Sanders meant during the debates when he referenced her “poor judgement.”

The media coverage of political conventions tends to sink to the level of the circus. The PBS/NPR coverage with some half dozen reporters and two commentators proved to be thin, light, soft and superficial. Otherwise smart media communicators were reduced to very heavy focus on exactly what the Party’s manipulators wanted. “What is Hillary really like?” Of course the stage was filled with frothy admiration, awe and acclamation. But why didn’t the media point out some of the factual omissions, the contradictions to the endless sugarcoating of the nominee?

To her credit, NPR/PBS reporter, Susan Davis, did blurt out that the Convention program was mostly about personality and character with little policy. Reporters did, however, point out that unlike all other candidates, Hillary Clinton has not had a news conference since last December to showcase her supposed experience, qualifications and knowledge!

Why wouldn’t Hillary Clinton, in her attack on Donald Trump, demand the release of his tax returns? Hillary and Bill have regularly released their tax returns. Maybe because Trump would demand Hillary release her secret Wall Street transcripts of her $5,000-a-minute paid speeches to big bankers and other businesses.

To her verbal credit, Hillary Clinton raised the “unpatriotic” charge against too many U.S. corporations (not all she added) when it comes to our country. Born in the U.S.A, grown to profit on the backs of American workers, bailed out by American taxpayers and occasionally by the U.S. Marines overseas, these giant companies have no allegiance to country or community. They are, with trade agreements and other inducements, abandoning America’s workers and escaping America’s laws and taxes.

Hearing the word “unpatriotic” applied to those companies I could imagine these firms’ executives and P.R. flacks shuddering for the only time during her 55-minute address. The stigma of being “unpatriotic” to their enabling native country can have consequential legs for turning public opinion even more deeply against these monetized corporate Goliaths.

Stung by the consistently high “untrustworthy” ratings since polling started asking that question (only Trump exceeds her in most polls), she declared again that no one achieves greatness alone, that it takes us working together, that it “Takes a Village,” alluding to her earlier book. If that is true, then Together must have more power than the Few. “Together” should include workers, consumers, small taxpayers, voters and communities who are excluded from power, from the tools of democracy – electoral reforms and clean elections, more unions and cooperatives, access to justice for wrongful injuries and against crony capitalism and corporate crime and greater citizen empowerment. Does she have an agenda for a devolution of power from the few to the many so that we can be “stronger together,” (her slogan for 2016)? No way. Mum’s the word!

This immense gap has been the Clinton duo’s con job on America for many years. Sugarcoating phrases, populist flattery, getting the election over with and jumping back into the fold of the plutocracy is their customary M.O.

An anti-Hillary campaign button sums it up. Imagine a nice picture of Hillary with the words “More Wall Street” above her head and the words “More War” below her head.

Alert voters could see it coming at the Convention: the militarism for Hillary the Hawk on day four in Philadelphia and the arrival of the corporate fat cats. Or, as the New York Times headlined: “Top Donors Leave Sidelines, Checkbooks in Hand.”

The best thing Hillary Clinton has going for her is the self-destructive, unstable, unorganized, fact and truth-starved, egomaniacal, cheating, plutocratic, Donald Trump (See my column“Cheating Donald”).

That’s where our nation’s two-party political leadership is today. When will the vast left/right majority rise to take over and reverse the eviscerating policies and practices of this political duopoly?

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Leaked WikiLeaks emails provide a behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations between the State Department, OAS representatives and Honduran coup regime.

Leaked email exchanges between U.S. State Department officials in the days after the 2009 Honduran coup show that U.S. diplomatic staff pressured the head of the Organization of American States, OAS, against actions in support of the country’s ousted president, and even entertained proposals by coup leaders to dialogue without the OAS head or countries that had opposed the ouster.

In a June 5, 2009 email, sent by then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Craig Kelly, he stated he had been in contact with former Honduran president and coup supporter, Roberto Flores, who had a proposal for U.S. diplomats on behalf of the head of the de facto coup government which toppled President Manuel Zelaya.

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton | Photo: Reuters – EFE

Zelaya, a left-leaning politician who had initiated some moderate reforms, was forcibly put on a plane by Honduran military leaders and sent to Costa Rica on June 26, 2009. The move came after the country’s predominantly conservative political leaders declared his attempts to hold a non-binding referendum on the country’s constitution as « illegal » and moved to have him removed from office.

« Flores just called me, » Kelly wrote. « Roberto said he has spoken to (Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS Albert) Ramdin to pass along a proposal from (de facto president of Honduras after the coup, Roberto) Micheletti. »

Kelly, who would later be rejected as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela and is now Senior Director for the Americas for ExxonMobil, briefly outlined the proposal whereby the Honduran Supreme Court and Legislature—both of which had helped orchestrate the coup againt Zelaya—would « dialogue » with the OAS, on the condition that the bloc’s General-Secretary Jorge Insulza not be included.

(The) OAS reps should be working level (i.e. not Insulza) and include reps of willing member states, » Kelly added. « (Micheletti) wondered if (the) U.S. would participate.

In a reply to Kelly’s email, U.S. permanent representative to the OAS, Hector Morales, outlined that leftist presidents from the region including Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, then Paraguayan leader Fernando Lugo, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa were assembling in neighboring El Salvador in order to support Zelaya’s efforts to return to the country.

« (Zelaya) … will attempt to go to Tegu(cigalpa) and when unsuccessful will then meet the others in San Salvador, » the senior diplomat wrote.

A week after the coup, with violence and repression by the military escalating, U.S. diplomats were pushing against the return of Zelaya to the country, and were concerned about Insulza’s perceived support for the elected president.

On the same day the OAS voted to condemn the coup, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Thomas Shannon reported about « Strong push by key countries, including Mexico and Costa Rica, to try to convince Zelaya not to return today. » However Shannon acknowledged that « Zelaya seems intent on returning, » and that « Insulza feels under an obligation to accompany (Zelaya) » on the planned return flight.

« I told Insulza that he should not go and that neither the (OAS General Assembly) nor (the Permanent Council) gave him the mandate for this trip, » Morales wrote in a separate email string that Shannon was also on.

Despite internal council to take hard measures against the coup regime, Hillary Clinton’s State Department pushed for a negotiation with the « de facto » leaders—with critics arguing Clinton worked to legitimize the coup. These negotiations helped solidify a deal in October between Honduras’ constitutional government and the coup regime.

“Throughout the crisis we we worked closely with the OAS and friends in the region,” Kelly wrote in an email dated Oct. 30, 2009.

After extensive U.S. lobbying to get other OAS states on board, the final agreement helped orchestrate elections that were widely seen as a farce, including a lack of monitors from international institutions, a media blackout and targeted assassinations of anti-coup leaders ahead of the polls.

A few weeks later, in an email dated Nov. 18, 2009, sent by former United States Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens, it was revealed that in a private conversation held between Llorens, Kelly and Michelliti, Kelly had confessed to the de facto president that “the Honduran crisis had exposed the U.S. and complicated our Latin America policy.”

The leaked emails were posted by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks last March as part of an online database that includes over 30,000 emails and email attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State.

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In April, Wells Fargo & Co admitted to defrauding the United States government for nearly an entire decade, which subsequently led to the housing market collapse — and the United States punished no one.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), have all previously made the same admission and settled similar federal lawsuits — again, with no one being held criminally responsible.

While low-level bankers have been thrown in jail as apparent scapegoats in places like Iceland, not a single high-level CEO or officer has faced punitive criminal action — until now.

On Friday, three senior Irish bankers were jailed for up to three-and-a-half years for their conspiracy to defraud investors, subsequently causing the economic collapse of 2008.

According to a report in Reuters, the trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

Watching these criminal bankers use the governments of the world to fleece the taxpayers in a series of bailouts and scams to defraud the people has been infuriating.

As Reuters reports,

The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 percent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.

Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.

Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.

Unlike the bankers who remain protected in America’s legal system, the Irish have decided to lay down the law.

“By means that could be termed dishonest, deceitful and corrupt they manufactured 7.2 billion euros in deposits by obvious sham transactions,” Judge Martin Nolan told the court, describing the conspiracy as a “very serious crime”.

“The public is entitled to rely on the probity of blue chip firms. If we can’t rely on the probity of these banks we lose all hope or trust in institutions,” said Nolan.

In the United States, the people have been forced to file their own legal action against the criminal bankers as the government does absolutely nothing to stop their crimes.

Despite the bankers’ best attempts at foiling the private actions against them, the people have pushed through.

A newly revived antitrust lawsuit, according to the appeals court, could be devastating to these 16 banks, including Deutsche Bank AG, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, UBS AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Requiring the banks to pay treble damages to every plaintiff who ended up on the wrong side of an independent Libor‐denominated derivative swap would, if appellants’ allegations were proved at trial, not only bankrupt 16 of the world’s most important financial institutions, but also vastly extend the potential scope of antitrust liability in myriad markets where derivative instruments have proliferated,” the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York said in the ruling.

Until the people wake up to the atrocities being carried out against them by criminal bankers who control the government, this fleecing of the citizenry will continue. To all those who bank with any of these huge banks — pull your money out today, move it to a local bank, or find another alternative.

Failing to do so only sustains their criminal behavior. Please share this story with your friends and family as it will most assuredly be a mere blip on their televisions and deliberately easy to miss.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Follow @MattAgorist

 

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Upgrades of six US air bases set to stock modernized B61 nuclear bombs are continuing in Turkey and Europe, according to US and German researchers. They claim Turkey’s Incirlik base stocks at least 50 such US weapons.

Modernizations of security perimeters around nuclear bomb vaults and infrastructure at the six US air bases were continuing apace, reported the Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) newspaper on Wednesday.

Moscow reacted on Wednesday saying it would take countermeasures if the US placed new nuclear weapons in Germany.

USA fliegen Luftangiffe in Syrien Incirlik Air Base ARCHIV

« Unfortunately, if this step is implemented it may disrupt the strategic balance in Europe, » said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The US provided the bulk of the funding but extras such as runway refurbishments came out of the national budgets of the five ‘guest’ NATO partners – Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Congress boosted spending in 2011 after an air force review concluded that « most » US storage sites in Europe did not meet US defense department standards.

Auftanken einer F-16 Incirlik Air Base Türkei

Nuclear vaults reinforced

The FR cited the non-governmental Berlin Institute for Transatlantic Security (BITS) and findings of the nuclear-critical Federation of American Scientists (FAS) compiled from budgetary data given to the US Congress.

FAS researcher Hans M. Kristensen said commercially available aerial photos showed new perimeter construction works around 12 aircraft shelter-vault complexes at the US Aviano air base in Italy and 21 such aircraft shelters at Incirlik, where the perimeter had double fencing and intrusion detection equipment.

Special weapons maintenance trucks were also being replaced and upgraded, he said.

Incirlik, close to war-torn Syria, has been used in recent months for US-led airstrikes on jihadist IS militants in Syria.

Those activities have coincided with a Russian military buildup via Tartus, a Soviet-era naval base in Syria’s coastal Mediterranean region of Latakia.

50 estimated at Incirlik

Kristensen estimated that Incirlik’s vaults currently held 50 B61 nuclear weapons.

For the anti-IS operation, US F-16 jets had been relocated from Aviano, Italy to the Turkish NATO base under a « unique » arrangement.

« The Turks have declined US requests to permanently base a fighting wing at the [Incirlik] base, » he wrote.

Range depends on aircraft

The FR said the B61 nuclear bomb – first devised in the 1960s – had been « modernized » so it could be set to explode at various strengths of up to ten-times the devastation inflicted at Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

It also has the capability to be steered toward a target placed it between short-range « tactical » and long-range « strategic » atomic weapons, the FR said.

Fliegerhorst Büchel Atomwaffenstationierung USA Eifel Flash-Galerie

US believed to store 20 B61s at Germany’s Büchel base

« It now comes down to the range of the carrier aircraft, » it said.adding that congressional papers pointed to the development of a so-called B61-13 from 2038.

Refurbished runway at Büchel

BITS author Orfried Nassauer said investments by Gemany’s Bundeswehr were scheduled at Büchel, widely believed to be the sole US nuclear-equipped air base in Germany.

The base’s runway – located in Germany ‘s hilly, western Eiffel region – was to be fully refurbished and fitted with a modern instrument-landing system next year, he said.

A member of German federal parliament’s defense committee, Social Democrat (SPD) Thomas Hitschler recently told the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper that the German government planned to invest 120 million euros at Büchel.

German public ZDF broadcasting’s investigative magazine « Frontal 21 » reported on Monday that the US planned to stationed new atomic bombs at Büchel.

Removal long demanded

In 2009 and again in 2011, Germany’s then foreign minister Guido Westerwelle demanded the removal of all US nuclear weapons presumed to be at Büchel. The demand, made for decades by peace activists, was backed in a 2010 Bundestag resolution.

A « Wikileaks » paper showed later that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen distanced Berlin from such calls in talks with Washington.

The FR said Germany had never been allowed by the US to have access to the B21s. During the Cold War, German Tornado jets located at Büchel had trained with mock metal devices.

Upgrades also in Belgium and Italy

The FAS’s Kristensen said security upgrades were also under way or planned at the US’ Operations Center-Command at Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium and a nuclear weapons vault support facility at another air base in Ghedi., Italy.

In July, Italian prosecutors said two arrested IS adherents, a Pakistani and a Tunisian, were suspected of listing Ghedi among their potential targets.

The prosecutors said, however, that the site was « never in danger » because the pair, based in Brescia in northern Italy, had not set their plans in motion.

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On July 12th, 2016 the UN arbitration decision against China’s claim of territorial islands based on “historical rights” ruled in favor of the Philippines, serving as the latest international war machine’s ratcheting up imminent all-out war. The United Nations as a globalist extension of American Empire’s dominance over the rest of the world is just another engineered US machination designed to instigate further conflict and tension as the latest face of Obama’s announced 2011 Asian pivot, pushing, prodding and provoking a high risk military showdown against re-designated cold war enemy China being potentially pinned in on all sides by US attempted aggression.

A recent example is Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s April trip to secure a military alliance with India, exploiting the strained Beijing-New Delhi relations over their mutual border dispute. Moreover, a visit last month to Washington by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi cemented the US-Indian military alliance in preparation for war against China. But with both the Asian pivot and the TPP stalling during this election year, a number of Asian countries are moving towards increased neutrality rather than buckling under to US Empire’s mounting pressures to align with the United States against China.

Over this weekend the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met at a conference in the Laos capital to decide how to respond to The Hague slamming China over the South China Sea dispute and, with nearly half the ASEAN members also contesting islands with China, aside from the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, the meeting ended up deadlocked. It’s being reported that Laos and Cambodia are unwilling to take a stand against China having been given recent Chinese aid and loans. And similar to Carter’s April India visit, John Kerry is opportunistically flying into Vientiane on Monday morning to apply his undue superpower persuasion pressing ASEAN to also formally back the UN’s decision against China.

With the Western elitist influenced UN proclamation rendering illegal China’s reformation claims in the South China Sea, the tribunal’s stiff ruling is being heralded as a much needed victory for the globalists and US Empire. The relentless assault on China in recent years simultaneously combined with the same propaganda war tactics and militarized threat being used against China’s prime allied partner Russia is producing an outcome that recklessly endangers every human life on our planet. The US-NATO-UN’s divisive agenda is a driving force racing us towards World War III against the two Eastern nuclear powers.

After ruling last year that it held jurisdiction despite China’s objections, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration earlier this month ruled that China does not possess any legitimate claim over dozens of contested islands in the South China Sea and that specifically the islands in the Scarborough Shoal located 140 miles (225km) from the Philippine coastline do not belong to China due to its deemed violation of UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). UNCLOS stipulates a 22km (near 14 miles) maritime boundary and legal access to economic resource development within 370km (230 miles). The Hague tribunal flatly rejected China’s “nine dash line” map that carves up the vast bulk of the disputed sea waters claimed as China’s historical precedent. The panel’s decision is non-binding and in fact illegal since arbitration requires both conflicting parties to voluntarily seek resolution. China never chose to participate. Thus in response to the ruling, the Chinese ministry claims, “The award is null and void and has no binding force.”

The Hague ruling charges China’s reclamation efforts as “causing severe harm to the coral reef environment,” violating the UN Convention. Funny how the UN never criticizes the US for wreaking total environmental havoc and destruction in the Pacific islands still under colonial rule in Okinawa Japan or the Marianas or Guam where the native populations and ecological habitats are being poisoned and wantonly degraded by Empire’s total disregard for local life and health carrying out its massive military operations. Again, US and UN exceptionalism and double standard hypocrisy rule supreme every time. And true to hypocritical form, while the US is busily admonishing China for its unwillingness to follow the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s finding, the US itself refuses to ratify the Law of the Seas Convention.

Though the legal challenge contesting China’s regional island claims were initiated in 2013 by the Philippines, actually it was the United States throwing its full weight around the globe despite its ocean’s width away. Not one Filipino attorney was a member of the legal team that filed the lawsuit to the arbitrator – all American lawyers from a high rolling Boston legal firm other than a small British contingent. Long before this month’s decision, China asserted that it would not comply with the UN ruling due to never recognizing the UN’s jurisdiction over sovereign maritime matters. China has consistently called for bilateral negotiations between China and Philippines as the only viable sovereign resolution to the territorial dispute. Even the recently elected Philippine presidentconcurred that a bilaterally reached agreement is the most judicious option available to resolving the controversy. Under the previous Aquino administration in 2012, Philippine’s former US naval base at Subic Bay was reoffered the US Empire after the Philippine Senate in 1992 had ordered it off limits to US military due to repeated rape and murder cases of underage Filipina girls.

One of the elitist Boston attorneys handling the recent victorious case against China on behalf of the US, I mean the Philippines, in aWall Street Journal article earlier this year answered the question “what if China simply ignores a judgment that goes against it?” The attorney smugly stated that 95% of the time a losing nation complies with international maritime decisions, citing not wanting to jeopardize its world reputation and influence as factors leading to court ruled submission.

Given that the Hague tribunal is already rigged, over-stacked with representatives from imperialistic Western nations, and the fact that the UN has long played a prejudicial, criminal role actively or passively enabling the US-NATO aggressor to defiantly break every international law invading, occupying and otherwise warring against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen just to name its half dozen short list, destroying nation after nation in its wake by willfully turning each into a failed state as the West slaughters four million Muslims.

Meanwhile, the sheer hypocrisy of US Empire’s exceptionalismpermits it to bully and pressure other countries into rigid compliance with international rules and UN mandates that apply to every nation on earth except the US. If America can thumb its nose at international law with complete impunity, in a lesser vein, China is simply exercising its inherent right as a regional power inasmuch as asserting a buffered self-defense against Empire’s continued long arm of targeted aggression directed against Beijing.

The US and its Pacific naval fleet have opportunistically placed itself as the “might makes right” enforcer for all the smaller Asian nations like the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan that also are staking claims to islands that China views as its own territorial possessions in the South and East China Seas. But astute writer-analyst Tony Cartalucci points out the deceptive cover the US is hiding behind:

Part of America’s agenda in the South China Sea is to provoke and then portray tensions in the region as being solely between China and its neighbors, with the United States feigning the role as peacekeeper – thus justifying its continued military, political, and economic “primacy” over Asia.

Just as Putin and Russia have been the brunt of a 24/7 propaganda campaign to demonize as the enemy, so too has China. A recent Council on Foreign Relations white paper titled “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” further delineates Empire’s arrogant sense of entitlement in the form of its “primacy” and control over the Pacific:

Because the American effort to ‘integrate’ China into the liberal international order has now generated new threats to US primacy in Asia – and could result in a consequential challenge to American power globally – Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power rather than continuing to assist its ascendancy.

In January another hawkish DC think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) pounded the war drums, strongly recommending the US Empire deploy extra nuclear attack submarines and begin installing advanced long range missiles in the Asian Pacific in order to effectively combat China’s advancing military prowess as a direct hegemonic threat.

The bottom line is the imperialistic, unipolar powered US Empire will not allow China to assert itself even regionally. And because what CFR and its fellow warmongering think tank policymakers want, CFR et al always historically gets from its White House puppets. Beginning last October Obama began sending US Navy destroyers – cruisers three times now – to aggressively patrol and trespass within the 12 nautical mile limit of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as provocative acts of war directly defying China’s territorial claims. A number of highly visible joint naval exercises between the integrated US 7th and 3rd Fleets and Pacific allies Japan, Australia, Philippines and Vietnam have increasingly challenged China’s military posturing in the tension-filled region. The latest was last month’s with the US, India and Japan. The merging of the two US naval fleets comprise two thirds of all US combat vessels and is yet one more sign that the US Empire is once again heading the world to global war.

As if that’s not enough of an indicator that the world will soon be engulfed in military mayhem, at an annual conference last month held in Singapore labeled the Shangri-La Dialogue, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter threatened China “could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation” should it proceed with its plans claiming the disputed islands.

To further attempt to intimidate China, Carter boasted that it would “take decades for anyone to build the kind of military capability the United States possesses.” Carter then named all the US allies in the Pacific it has in its pocket ready to go to war against China, starting with Japan and Australia, followed by Philippines, India, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Laos. Next the general who is Japan’s defense minister accused China of challenging the US imperialistic “ruled-based global order.” Vietnam’s deputy defense minister sitting right next to the Chinese admiral in attendance bluntly warned China that if it refuses to comply with the UN ruling, it “would lead to military conflict.” The Chinese admiral’s response to the entire group’s overt threats was that his nation has no intention to retreat nor back down, having “no fear of trouble.” This foreboding lead-up to this month’s anti-China decision casts US Empire and its puppet allies inevitably on a perilous military collision course with China.

China’s “self-isolation” that warmongering neocon Carter promised, refers to the US plan to use its full spectrum dominance on the high seas by controlling the crucial narrow maritime passageway linking the Indian Ocean where Middle Eastern oil and near half of the world’s total cargo, two thirds of all natural gas shipments, a third of all oil and 10% of commercial fish catch, worth a total of $5.3 trillion annually flow through the South China Sea into the Asian Pacific. By interdicting and cutting off China’s supplied shipments of vital oil and critical raw materials, thus choking China’s lifeblood to either sustain itself much less win a global war, the US Empire foolishly believes it can deliver its checkmated blow to China. To further compound this increasingly dangerous, deteriorating situation, back in November 2013 in response to encroaching US, Japanese and South Korean warships, spy planes and fighter jets invading what China believes is its legitimate sea and airspace,

China launched an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) policy requiring non-Chinese aircraft intending to fly over the South China Sea to first request entrance into China’s designated airspace. US planes often defy China’s ADIZ. In recent months as tensions in the South China Sea have escalated, a growing number of too close for comfort encounters have ensued. US Empire’s imperialistic provocations are forcing China as the burgeoning regional, if not world power, to react to America’s unilaterally imposed game of chicken now being perilously played at humanity’s expense.

Obama’s infamous Asian pivot has everything to do with maintaining unipolar US global hegemony, going out of its way (across the earth’s biggest ocean) to flex its muscle in order to challenge, thwart and minimize China’s surging regional power at all cost. Washington’s primary agenda in Asia is to militarize, manipulate and coerce Japan along with every other Pacific nation into becoming China’s enemies, risking to war against both China and Russia with potentially disastrous consequences. Western propaganda portrays China as the regional bully, unwilling to submit to international law, while Empire has enjoyed its unchallenged role as the global bully for numerous decades.

An identical pattern has already taken place against Russia as US Empire actively recruited and transformed every former Soviet bloc nation in Eastern Europe into a hostile, anti-Russian Western bloc of NATO puppet allies. War criminal Bush one betrayed Gorbachev in 1991, reneging on his promise not to move NATO “one inch eastward” towards Russia.

This unabated global chessboard cheating to put the big squeeze to isolate and weaken Russia, China and Iran with hostile neighbors at their every doorstep has created an out of control arms race that has the planet dangerously teetering on the edge of worldwide war and total self-annihilation.Just as US foreign policy has ravaged the Middle East with nonstop oil wars for decades and engaged in divide and conquer balkanization of Arab nations designed to keep them weak and fighting amongst themselves per the Greater Israel Project, so too is this same ruthlessly self-serving, Great Game being played out currently in Pacific Asia for its vast, untapped underwater gas and oil reserves buried beneath the coveted South China Sea.

Empire’s naked neocolonial aggression involves exploiting unlimited energy resources anywhere in the world while neutralizing key enemies as America’s predatory, vested self-interest (or more accurately the parasitic ruling elite’s self-interest only, clearly neither America’s nor Americans’ nor any Asian countries’). Because the world’s only superpower has gotten away with raping and pillaging the planet at will for decades, Empire is banking on its retaining its global unipolar dominance for years to come by more of the same tactics.

But Washington’s megalomaniacal neocons’ rush to provoke confrontation and war with the Eastern powers totally fed up with Empire’s lies and insatiable one-sided lust for continued absolute world dominance, control and utter global destruction, carry grave risk of dooming humanity and all life on earth.

Clearly over the last several years the Western ruling elite’s agenda has ultimately been bent on triggering unthinkable levels of violence and earthly destruction between the forces of the West and East fought in every corner of the globe. Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Empire a quarter century ago that left the US Empire the last superpower still standing, put simply, sharing global power in a bipolar world with Eastern nations runs counter to New World Order’s one world government tyranny.

Be it the US military, NATO or ISIS, all are simply malevolent tools misused by evil-minded globalists to promote planetary destabilization and destruction in order to usher in their New World Order. Their Great Game must be stopped. before it’s too late.

We citizens of the world must finally rise up and begin holding accountable the controlling psychopaths who’ve hijacked for far too long both humanity and our only planet we call home.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field with abused youth and adolescents for more than a quarter century. In recent years he has focused on his writing, becoming an alternative media journalist. His blog site is at http://empireexposed.blogspot.co.id/

 

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(Please read the previous parts prior to this article)

Insular ASEAN has a strategic role in presiding over maritime access points to the region and beyond, but it’s mainland ASEAN and its political stability that most directly affect China’s core strategy at the moment. It’s highly unlikely that circumstances will rapidly change to the point where China is completely cut off from the South China Sea and the international waterways around it, but it looks ever case that its access will come under the watchful gaze of the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) and that the potential for military-strategic blackmail might one day arise. In order to counteract this crippling scenario, Beijing is progressively taking steps to circumvent its full dependence on the waterways and balance this with a more substantialized on-the-ground infrastructure presence, the ASEAN Silk Road and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

Both of these ambitious projects were comprehensively discussed at the beginning of the research’s ASEAN focus, and it’s predicted that the US will go to extraordinary lengths to disrupt their full implementation. To remind the reader, the Law of Hybrid War is “to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state”, so it naturally follows that Color Revolution and Unconventional War schemes with be hatched against these countries in order to stop China’s strategic ‘escape’ from maritime containment. There are essentially three situational theaters in mainland ASEAN – Indochina, Thailand, and Myanmar – and the research will progress to examining each of these Hybrid War battlefields in that sequential order.

Indochina Backgrounder

The first area to be studied is Indochina, taken to mean the former French colonies of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. As with the other countries that have been geopolitically dissected thus far, it’s imperative that the reader first acquaint themselves with a relevant historical background prior to commencing the Hybrid War investigations. This will imbue the individual with an understanding that allows them to recognize the utility of certain socio-political variables to the scenarios that are subsequently described.

The Indosphere Meets The Sinosphere:

2000px-French_Indochina_subdivisions.svgIndochina lies precisely at the geographic convergence point of Indian and Chinese civilizations, and as such, there’s actually a clear delineation point between them inside this subregion. For the most part, Cambodia and Laos fell under Indian cultural influence and their historical kingdoms were “Indianized” to a broad extent, while Vietnam was under Chinese control for over a millennium from 111 BC to 938 AD. The effect of these separate civilizational forces on such a small geographic area was to accentuate identity differences between these two adjacent parts, the legacy of which continues into the present day and is likely to once more become a driving factor in forthcoming events.

By itself, the civilizational separateness that “Indianized” Cambodia and Laos feel towards “Sinified” Vietnam wouldn’t coalesce into a sufficient agent for political action on its own, but the historical trend of Vietnamese expansionism at their expense (some of it subjectively so, other parts only perceived as such) reveals itself to be the catalytic cause. Neither country outright rejects Vietnamese influence, nor are they in an economic position to do so even if they wanted to, but the point is that their history of relations with Vietnam undoubtedly plays a role in why these two states want to diversify away from their former mono-dependence on their neighbor (experienced from 1975-1991) and achieve a balance through complementary relations with civilizationally similar Thailand and economically expanding China.

Caught In The Middle:

Being situated between their larger Thai and Vietnamese neighbors, Cambodia and Laos have historically been under pressure from both of these powers and eventually turned into the object of their conquests. The golden age that each of these modern-day states had prior to their submission came during the era of Cambodia’s Khmer Empire and Laos’ Lan Xang kingdom, stretching between 802-1431 and 1354-1707, respectively. After that, each of these once-glorious entities fell under the control of the Kingdom of Ayyuthaya, nowadays referred to as Thailand. Vietnam didn’t become a significant player in the rest of Indochina until after it completed its centuries-long “Nam tiến”, which was the state’s piecemeal incorporation of the southern parts of the country that only ended in the early 1800s.

Siamese Ebb, Vietnamese Flow:

After Vietnam’s contemporaneous consolidation, it fought two wars with Thailand from 1831-1834 and1841-1845 over Cambodia, but the object of their mutual rivalry eventually requested French “protection” in 1867 and threw off both of its neighboring rivals. It became France’s second colony after “Cochinchina”, the southern part of Vietnam, fell to an invasion and was occupied by the Empire a couple years earlier in 1862. Just a little over three decades later, Laos was added to the list of French conquests in 1893 following the Franco-Siamese War of the same year.

With their Indochinese imperial realm acquiring a great deal of strategic depth and coming to encompass almost the entirety of its eventual territory, the French were in a comfortable position to accelerate the economic exploitation of their colonies, with a concentrated focus on what is today Vietnam. It should be noted, however, that modern-day Vietnam was actually divided into three separate colonies by the French – Tonkin, Amman, and Cochinchina – but taken as an aggregate, Vietnam’s colonial economic output was much more valuable to Paris than Cambodia and Laos’. The period of French Indochina was also the first time that these two states were grouped together under the same umbrella as Vietnam, heralding a state of affairs that would go on to continue with various ups and downs until the end of the Cold War.

World War II And Greater Thailand:

Indochina was largely spared from the ravages of Japan’s traditional wartime occupational practices, although by no means was it totally immune. Still, Tokyo had less of a militant presence in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos than it did in Indonesia and the Philippines, for example, and the entire territory of French Indochina remained under their control until the end of the war. What’s notable about this period though isn’t necessarily the influence that Japan exercised over the former French colonies, but the role that Thailand played in reasserting its territorial claims eastward.

thailand_in_world_war_ii_by_fenn_o_manic-d87eun0.pngField Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (popularly known as Phibun) became Prime Minister of Thailand in 1938 and led his country on an irredentism campaign to re-annex parts of Cambodia and Laos after the Franco-Thai War from 1940-1941. He also expanded Thailand’s territoryinto northeastern Myanmar’s present-day Shan State and the northern territories of Malaysia, all of which he claimed used to be part of his kingdom prior to the advent of colonialism. Thailand was able to get away with all of this because it was an ally of fascist Japan at the time, and it wasn’t until 1946 that it rescinded all of its irredentist claims as part of a deal in exchange for joining the UN.

Despite representing an outburst of militant Thai nationalism, this brief period was not overly influential in determining the future attitudes of Cambodians and Laotians towards Bangkok, partly because of the civilizational similarities between all three peoples and also due to the fact that only portions of their respective territory (and not all of it) were annexed. Another factor that played a role was that the annexations were only in effect for five years. After World War II, Vietnam’s influence replaced Thailand’s and remained the paramount social factor impacting on these two countries’ affairs.

The First And Second Indochinese Wars:

The struggle against the French and Americans was a heroic one of epic proportions, and readers should look more into it on their own time if they have an interest in these exploits. For the sake of time and scope, the summarized relevance of this period of time to the research at hand is that it represented the on-the-ground expansion of (North) Vietnamese influence into Cambodia and Laos, with the Vietnamese communists training and supporting their Khmer Rouge and Pathet Laos counterparts during the entire conflict. In fact, if it wasn’t for crucial support from Hanoi, neither Phnom Penh nor Vientiane would have cast off their respective pro-Western governments, with all three countries liberating themselves from imperialism in full during the dramatic year of 1975. Alas, the conclusion of these two anti-imperialist wars weren’t a harbinger for the end of the region’s conflicts in general, and a few forthcoming ones would soon break out that would derail Indochina’s dynamics.

Post-Imperialist Conflicts:

Vietnam vs. Cambodia

The first war that broke out after the end of the anti-imperialist struggle was the one between Vietnam and Cambodia in 1978-1979. Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge government had turned on its former Vietnamese benefactors and began aggressively demanding territorial revisions in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. The supposed reasoning for this is that the lands of the late Cochinchina had historically been inhabited by ethnic Khmer (the majority demographic in Cambodia) and were only forcibly incorporated into Vietnam after the end of Nam tiến. There were also intra-communist Cold War considerations at play too, with Vietnam and its Laotian ally being aligned with the Soviet Union, while Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge authorities were very close to China (partly in order to balance against Vietnam’s 19th-century historic interests over the country). Although Vietnam righteously and quite accurately claimed that it was liberating Cambodia from the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge (which had killed up to a quarter of the country’s population in only four years’ time), it’s clear in retrospect that it was also pursuing clear geopolitical interests at the same time, installing a pro-Vietnamese government in Pol Pot’s wake and bringing the country fully under its influence as a result.

Vietnam vs. China

As an immediate response to the overthrow of China’s regional ally, Beijing invaded the northern part of Vietnam in mid-February 1979, intent on punishing its erstwhile partner and sending the strongest possible message that it totally denounced its actions. Neither side gained anything tangible from this brief but bloody campaign, but it’s worthwhile to remind the reader that this conflict occurred after China had already de-facto sided with the US in the Cold War. Seen from this vantage point of contextual insight, it’s evident that Beijing was enforcing Washington’s will by proxy against its hated Vietnamese enemy, whether it wittingly did so or was unknowingly guided into this scenario.

The exacerbation of intra-communist Cold War tension between China and the USSR also played to the US’ grand strategic advantage, and it was shortly after this conflict ended that the US took the decision to provocatively arm the Afghan Mujahedin on 3 July, 1979 in order to provoke a Soviet intervention.  In the grand global scheme of things, China had put the Soviets’ position in Southeast Asia on the relative defensive while also ensuring that it would redirect a sizeable number of its forces to defending the joint border. Concurrently, the US started using radical Islam to stir up trouble in the USSR’s southern front with Afghanistan, and it was only one year later in 1980 that the anti-Soviet,CIA-influenced Solidarity movement would be created in order to tempt an Afghan-like intervention in Eastern Europe.

Taken together, the situationally coordinated anti-Soviet advances that had popped up in this short two-year period in Southeast Asia, the Chinese frontier, Afghanistan, and Poland are evidence that the US was serious in influencing a concerted effort aimed at destabilizing the USSR along as many of its strategic fronts as possible. Seeing as how this also coincided with the “Reagan Doctrine” of ‘rolling back’ the Soviet influence in Africa (e.g. Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique) and Latin America (Nicaragua), it can be said that the Sino-Vietnamese War was actually the opening salvo in this forthcoming worldwide campaign.

Vietnamese-Thai Border Skirmishes

8047588_origAfter militarily withdrawing from Indochina, the US resorted to using Thailand as itsLead From Behind to promote their strategic vision in the region. Both Washington and Bangkok supported the Khmer Rouge and other insurgents against the Cambodian-based Vietnamese forces and newly installed pro-Hanoi government, effectively giving the Cambodian Civil War the foreign support that it needed to continue indefinitely. As part of its anti-insurgent campaign, the Vietnamese military would launch raids along the joint Thai-Cambodian border, even engaging in select cross-border attacks against fleeing militants.

The tensions that boiled up with Vietnam all along Thailand’s southeastern border with Cambodia would later directly express themselves in the Thai-Laotian Border War of 1987-1988, during which Bangkok and Vientiane (the latter supported by the Vietnamese forces that were based in the country) had a brief military conflict over their disputed frontier. Despite not resulting in any status quo changes, the incident was symbolic in the sense that it showed that the entire Thai-Indochinese border region was ‘fair game’ for proxy conflicts, especially considering that the Vietnamese military was based in both Cambodia and Laos at the time. The escalation of border tension with Laos was significant in that it occurred at the period of time when hostilities between Thailand and Vietnam were subsiding over Cambodia, thus showing that the US-backed authorities in Bangkok were insistent on advancing their anti-Vietnamese goals in some form or another no matter what third-party state was used to achieve these ends.

Interestingly enough, the US’ proxy policy of Southeast Asian destabilization via its Lead From Behind partner of Thailand carries with it a strong foreshadowing of what would later happen in the Mideast after the formal US military withdrawal in 2011. Just as the US withdrew from South Vietnam in 1973 but later used Thailand as its base of covert operations to destabilize its regional foe, so too did it do something similar by withdrawing from Iraq in 2011 but using Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to continue promoting its anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian agendas, albeit in a more accelerated manner than it had done vis-à-vis Vietnam. Therefore, clear links of strategic continuity can be witnessed between the US’ Cold War policy in Indochina after 1973 and its current one in the Mideast after 2011, with both being characterized by an asymmetrical proxy offensive that follows a conventional retreat.

Indochina After The Cold War:

The changing global dynamics brought about by the end of the Cold War had a monumental impact on Indochina. First off, the most noticeable change was that Vietnam formally withdrew its military from Cambodia and Laos, thereby lessening the direct expression of its influence over these two neighboring states. In turn, Vietnam was able to concentrate its focus on internal economic affairs as opposed to external military-political ones, and the Western community lifted its anti-Vietnamese sanctions that were initially implemented in response to the 1978 Vietnamese-Cambodian War and subsequent military presence there. Due to the institutional relief that Vietnam experienced from this and the positive reaction that the pro-Western members of the region had to these dual developments, Hanoi was able to rapidly incorporate itself into the global economy, joining ASEAN in 1995 and establishing very close trade ties with the US, Japan, and South Korea afterwards.

Cambodia and Laos would go on to join ASEAN as well, albeit in 1999 and 1995, respectively. Instead of moving closer to the US and its East Asian allies, however, they would actually opt to intensify full-spectrum relations with China and Thailand. While both maintain cordial and somewhat close ties with Vietnam (Laos much more so than Cambodia), it can subjectively be assessed that they are no longer as strongly under its influence as they once were. Laos is integrating itself into the ASEAN Silk Road and becoming the literal link between China and Thailand, whereas Cambodia has blossomed into a bastion of Chinese economic and diplomatic influence. The current governments of these two Indochinese states are firmly in the sphere of the multipolar world, with their position exponentially increased by Thailand’s new pro-multipolar leadership.

That isn’t to say that Vietnam isn’t somewhat multipolar as well, seeing as how it beneficially cooperates with Russia in the economic and military realms, but overall the country has come under the strong influence of the unipolar anti-Chinese states of the US and Japan, with the TPP being the ultimate epitome. Going forward, it’s expected that Vietnam will balance its South China Sea maritime strategy with ambitious asymmetrical mainland inroads into its former ‘backyards’ of Cambodia and Laos, partly out of its own desire to economically entrap these two states into its subregional TPP influence zone, but also due to the US’ strategic guidance in using Hanoi’s historical proxy leadership over them to complicate China’s One Belt One Road plans.

The Vendetta Against Vietnam

Vietnam is currently one of the US’ closest strategic partners in the South China Sea, with bilateral relations on the strong upswing out of the shared economic interests and the joint vision of containing China. While ties are unprecedentedly positive between these two states, Vietnam might one day begin reasserting its strategic sovereignty against the US vis-à-vis a possible improvement of relations with China.

That doesn’t look all that probable in the given moment, but it certainly can’t be disregarded, especially since China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner and likely will remain so for at least the rest of the decade (despite the TPP and barring any anti-Chinese sanctions over the Spratly Islands dispute).  In the event that Vietnam more pragmatically engages China and perhaps even chooses to fully participate in the One Belt One Road project, then it would draw the strong consternation of the US, whether this is publicly expressed or relegated to backdoor talks.

Just as the US stands to manipulate domestic Hybrid War factors in the presently pro-American countries of insular ASEAN, so too could it do so in Vietnam if Hanoi doesn’t behave as “loyally” as Washington envisions it to be. One of the possible ‘symptoms’ of an assuredly sovereign state policy would be if Vietnam refuses to go along with some of the US’ CCC practices, for which it would obviously experience certain punitive repercussions. For this reason, it’s useful to explore what kind of destabilization potentials exist in Vietnam and game out the various means for how the US could possibly manipulate them if its newfound ally wavers in its strategic anti-Chinese commitment.

The six most realistic variables and scenarios can be categorized into those that deal with ethnic, regional, and social divides, and they will be examined in that order below. The ethnic groups function as support actors, while the social ones are expected to be the primary ones that take the lead in sparking the destabilization. The regional divide that’s explained below allows for a supportive and encouraging backdrop for ideological predisposed or indoctrinated individuals, and it also creates high hopes for those that are already entertaining anti-systemic notions.

Ethnic:

Khmer Krom3.0

Khmer Krom

A little more than one million Khmer inhabit the southern reaches of Vietnam, and in the past their presence was used by Pol Pot as justification for Cambodia’s historic claims over the Mekong Delta. While the issue itself has largely receded in the decades since Vietnam put a stop to the aggression in 1979, it still remains possible that this demographic could be used in some manner to stir local anti-government discontent. As it currently stands, the Cambodian government is anathema to such suggestions, both out of multipolar pragmatism and stark remembrance of how disastrously it turned out last time around, but that doesn’t mean that a third-party actor (either the US directly or via one of its many NGO pawns) could do aggravate the situation instead.

There’s no practical way that the Khmer Krom could ever destabilize the whole of Vietnam, but a coordinated campaign could be implemented to use them as bait for provoking a military crackdown that leads to collateral damage against ethnic Vietnamese and/or international condemnation, especially if this scenario is mixed with a labor rights dispute of some sort. What’s pivotal in this example is that the Khmer Krom, separate in culture and language from the majority Viet ethnicity, are vulnerable to identity mobilization and thenceforth to being led into a bloody confrontation with the state, with the end result of the clashes (collateral damage, misleading media exposure) being more important than whatever short-term aims the ethnic group had been misled into coalescing around.

Hmong corregido

Hmong

Infamous for their collaboration with the US military during the Vietnam War, this scattered ethnic group poses a joint destabilization threat to both Vietnam and Laos. The Hmong are divided through dialect but united through geography, occupying a crescent of territory from northern Vietnam into northeast Laos. There are estimated to be over one million Hmong in Vietnam and less than half of that in Laos, so altogether they only form a recognizable percentage of the population in the latter (which has about 6.7 million people). The Hmongs’ significance derives from their identity in being a restive, anti-communist demographic with experienced cross-border travel between Vietnam and Laos, raising the tactical prospects that they could once more be used for drug and/or weaponssmuggling.

While the ones that remained in both countries after the US retreat have mostly been re-incorporated into society, if they were to resort back to their illegal transnational practices (whether being contracted by an intelligence agency to do so or out of their own pursuit of profit), they could create some trouble in this rugged and underpopulated frontier despite their miniscule numbers. Strategically speaking, any eruption of instability in Laos could then more easily spill over into Vietnam, with the Hmong communities once more plying their militant trade across the border and potentially arming distressed factory workers that are preparing for a local, regional, and/or nationwide uprising. Just like with the Khmer Krom, the Hmong by themselves are not in any position to destabilize Vietnam aside from being an isolated nuisance, but if their specific on-the-ground advantages are utilized in a certain manner, then they could be used as a force multiplier in any larger unfolding scenario.

Degar/”Montagnard”

Degar people areal

Degar people areal

These mutually synonymous terms are used to refer to the native people of the Western Highlands. These Christianized tribal groups were allied with the French and US forces during the First and Second Indochinese Wars, and in terms of geopolitical importance, they abut the country’s borders with Cambodia and Laos and are located at a critical position in the country’s south. They have a history of rebelling against all aspects of Vietnamese rule, be it from the former South or the current reintegrated state, and they partook in a low-intensity anti-government insurgency that wasn’t disbanded until 1992.

The Degar join the likes of their fellow Khmer Krom and Hmong minority compatriots in being unable to affect significant disturbances on their own (especially with the current Cambodian government being unwilling to offer them any type of sanctuary to do so), but having the opportunity to maximize the potential of other destabilization scenarios if their actions are coordinated in sync. For example, if the 2001 “land rights” unrest and 2004 Easter protests (both of which were instigated from abroad) were to repeat themselves in some form concurrent with violent labor disputes elsewhere in the country, then it could possibly offset the authorities and create an opening for asymmetrical advances such as a renewed insurgency.

Furthermore, Degar destabilizations could ultimately lead to a large refugee flow into Cambodia if they end up failing, and this carries with it a risk to the Kingdom’s overall balance. The northeastern provinces bordering the Western Highlands are rural and mostly underpopulated, so it’s possible that this demographic could exploit the feeble governance there in order to set up anti-Vietnamese training camps. For now, at least, this doesn’t seem likely at all, but if Phnom Penh were in the midst of putting down its own anti-government riots (likely initiated under the cover of a labor revolt and to be explained in the relevant section), then it could be expected that this might occur to some extent.

Regional:

The days of a distinct division between North and South Vietnam are long gone, but certain socio-cultural differences still remain between the two. The reunification of the two entities after 1975 was fraught with many challenges, but none so more difficult than integrating the formerly capitalistic market of the South into the state-controlled system of the North. After experiencing some economic turbulence related to this undertaking and feeling the winds of American-supported global change that were sweeping across the world, the Vietnamese authorities decided to progressively open up their economy through the 1986 Doi Moi reforms. What’s ironic about this is that it represented an about-face for the communist state, which had just gone through great lengths to implement a strict top-down system in the South, but only to retreat from this policy about a decade later.

Other than some of the global and structural factors that were at play and exerting an undeniable impact, it’s unmistakable that Southern-based liberals also had a role over this decision. It’s not to insinuate that they had any ulterior motives in doing so, but that they genuinely believed from their experience that the economic model previously in place in South Vietnam was relatively more efficient than the one that they were later ordered to transition into by the North. No matter the degree of influence that the Southern liberals had over initiating the Doi Moi reforms, the fact remains that they were a comparative reversal of the previous system and an embrace of capitalist principles, the same operating structure that had earlier been in place in the South.

The pertinence of that period to the present is that the pro-Western economic thinking of that time is once more on the ascent in Vietnam, and with it, the possibility of a complementary pro-Western foreign policy. The last time that Hanoi followed the lead of Western influencing factors in the mid-1980s, it ended up unassumingly doing the West’s foreign policy bidding a few years later by withdrawing from Cambodia and Laos at the end of the Cold War. This time, Vietnam is on the verge of entering into the forthcoming TPP arrangement, and it’s playing a more militant role in the CCC hand-in-hand with this development. Whereas in the past it may have been contextually pragmatic for Vietnam to implement Doi Moi and remove its troops from the rest of Indochina, no such rationale can be evoked when it comes to the TPP and the CCC, both of which Vietnam is lunging into head-first.

It’s the author’s understanding that the 1980s Doi Moi and Cambodian and Laotian withdrawals symbolized the victory of the ‘spirit of the South’, or in other words, of certain policies that wittingly or unwittingly corresponded to Western preferences. In the same vein, joining the TPP and the CCC, and perhaps reinvigorating soft (economic) Vietnamese influence in Cambodia and Laos, accomplishes the same thing, albeit this time in full and witting compliance to the US’ regional vision. Therefore, the regional differences in Vietnam are less of a geopolitical nature and more of an ideological one, with the North (in ideas, not necessarily in terms of actual politicians) typically representing independent pragmatism, whereas the South symbolizes pro-Western bandwagoning. Ultimately, it’s the rivalry between these two camps that defines the current state of Vietnam’s international economic and political decision making, with the South obviously in charge at the moment. Should that change, then it’s likely that the US would fall back on utilizing the country’s ethnic and/or social destabilization variables in order to enact pro-Southern pressure on the government to bring it back in line with its CCC preferences.

Social:

Banned Religious Groups

One of the largest social disruptors in Vietnam could potentially come from the religious community in the country. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in Vietnam per the 1992 Constitution, and the country currently boasts a belief rate of around 46%, with 16% practicing Buddhism, 8% partaking in Christianity (be it Catholicism or Protestantism), and the rest following unorganized traditional beliefs. On the whole, these individuals are peaceful and apolitical, and it’s very rare for regular believers to encounter any sort of trouble from the state. The issue arises when adherents of banned Buddhist and Christian organizations such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship, to name just two of them, illegally gather for services and proselytization practices. As a general rule, such groups are banned because they have a track record of engaging in political practices, and this is why they could present such a difficult challenge for the authorities if they go out of control.

2007_Vietnam_ThichNhatHanhTo expand on this idea, so-called “religious freedom” is a powerful rallying cry for indoctrinated individuals and those susceptible to Western liberal-democratic thought. The general concept holds that governments should unrestrictedly allow any and all religions to be practiced, including obscure cult beliefs affiliated or unaffiliated with a major religion. Obviously, the individuals experiencing some type of state restriction on their religious practices (whether semi-conventional or outright cultish) are the ones most eager to reverse this state of affairs, and they may go about recruiting related co-confessionalists (as in the case of the banned Buddhist and Christian organizations) in order to assist them in this endeavor. At this point, what’s important to concentrate on is broader religious affiliation (be it Buddhist, Christian, or sympathy to both) being used as a mobilization issue for non-state agenda-driven actors. It doesn’t matter whether they use their socio-physical networks to agitate against state atheism and certain religious “restrictions” or any other object of protest, since the saliency lies in them simply organizing a critical mass of demonstrators that can ultimately disrupt the state’s stability.

Another critical component of this disruption strategy is that the religious-driven organizations and their affiliates could easily mislead their congregants to the conclusion that the only way for them to achieve their goals is through a violent overthrow of the state. They might point to “state-suppression” of their prior ‘activism’ as ‘evidence’ that working within the system is futile, thus compelling them to resort to Color Revolution and Unconventional Warfare practices (Hybrid War) in order to actualize their objectives when the time is right. While keeping their faith and religiously motivated end goal of regime change a secret, they can then take to recruiting other citizens to join their ‘dissident’ cause, most likely using a more encompassing and non-religious rallying issue such as workers’ rights to broaden their movement’s base.  There’s a high chance that the majority of people brought into this fold might not be aware of the regime change purposes of the growing underground movement, being guided instead into thinking that they’re lending their support to a short-term, low-intensity protest movement about a seemingly ‘legitimate’ issue such as workplace safety. Unbeknownst to them, they’re actually being attached to a preplanned provocation that will inevitably result in violence, with the most ardent of the religious believers leading the way in sparking the militant conflict against the authorities.

To summarize the strategic framework that’s been articulated above, select members of the banned religious community in Vietnam and their supportive state-approved counterparts could quite easily band together in building a covert anti-government network. The more radical of the bunch could have already been convinced that the only way to affect the tangible change that they’re aiming for is to violently overthrow the government, and they’ll probably keep these intentions hidden from the more moderate members of the group. Even if this religiously affiliated organization sought to commence a destabilizing protest or an outright putsch, they’d likely fail without garnering enough supporters in advance. Since it can safely be assumed that the vast majority of Vietnamese are against a violent overthrow of their government, the only way to get them to physically support the regime change movement is to conceal its ultimate intentions, using more inclusive and broad-based language such as protecting/advancing labor rights and other non-religious issues that the majority of people could relate to in order to motivate them enough to come out in the street with their support. Even then, it’s not guaranteed that the scheme will appeal to enough people to make it effective, but the vehemence of the religiously motivated core organizers might be enough to give it some gusto.

Labor Rights Activists

The final Hybrid War factor impacting on Vietnam is also the most important, and it deals with the forthcoming institutionalized unionization in the country. One of the TPP’s precepts is that it mandatesthat Vietnam “legalize independent labor unions and workers’ strikes”, which in and of itself is certainly a welcome and positive gesture, but considering the regime change reputation that Washington has mustered, such a seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned prerequisite must defensively be viewed with the utmost suspicion. The author doesn’t intend to imply that all labor unions and workers’ strikes are potentially nefarious fronts for anti-government plots, but that under certain national conditions, there’s no doubt that they could be used as vehicles for advancing this agenda.

tmp_XNjclAVietnam has been dragged into a stereotypical dilemma – on the one hand, it needs to ensure and better workers’ rights and conditions, but at the same time, it needs to prevent its reforms from being abused by politically motivated actors. The crux of the problem is that the state waited so long to legalize these labor privileges, so that neither it nor the citizenry fully know what to expect. Hanoi is predicating its decision on the notion that this move will strengthen the government’s appeal and preempt socio-economic disturbances, but it might inadvertently end up weakening its power over the country and ushering in the same type of destabilization that it hopes to avoid.

It’s inevitable that some of the unions will be co-opted by politically motivated elements or outright created as front organizations for them, yet their magnetic appeal and the popular acceptance that they’re expected to attain in Vietnamese society could indicate that an uncontrollably large segment of the population might vehemently be in support of them. As was earlier stated, there’s nothing inherently wrong with labor unions, but from the Hybrid War perspective, these groups are capable of gathering a large amount of people and assembling highly charged and easily manipulatable crowds that could be turned against the government. For example, if the unions and their supporters enter into a confrontation with the authorities (which is bound to happen in any organized labor dispute and/or strike) and provocateurs steer the situation along a preplanned scenario of violence, then the government reaction, no matter how justified it may be, could end up upsetting many people and enflaming anti-government sentiment.

There’s no clear-cut solution to handling this dilemma, and it’s obvious that both the state and the citizenry will have to learn as they go along. As regards the government, it needs to be able to identify the difference between a peaceful and legitimate labor-related protest and one which is on the verge of bubbling into an anti-government riot. It also needs to learn how to handle such incidents so that it doesn’t unwittingly do more harm than good in the tactics that it uses in breaking such demonstrations up. Alternatively, the public needs to get a handle on what sorts of behaviors are acceptable and which aren’t, and legitimate protesters need to learn how to police their own ranks to root out any provocateurs before they have the chance to act. The issue, as mentioned previously, is that neither side has the necessary experience to engage in this sort of civil society discourse without there being some unavoidable ‘growing pains’ such as Color Revolution infiltration and/or overreactive government crackdowns, both of which may serve to exacerbate preexisting anti-state sentiment and advance an externally directed regime change scenario.

Out of all of the variables discussed thus far, the “labor rights activist” one is the most all-encompassing, since it can conceivably envelop most of the working-age population within its ranks in some form or another. It doesn’t matter if they’re card-carrying members or sympathetic citizens, what’s important for the Hybrid War observer to realize is that the banner of labor rights is capable of organizing millions of people for the same shared objective, and that this critical mass of individuals can be guided against the government by adept practitioners of crowd-control psychology. Put another way, an untold number of regular, law-abiding, and well-intentioned citizens could get drawn into participating in what they believe to be a labor rights-focused protest, but only to in effect function as human shields protecting a radical core of urban terrorists that are intent on attacking the state. These political and/or religious radicals aim to provoke ‘incriminating’ and visually-documented police-on-protester violence that could then deceptively be disseminated as ‘truth’ and used to help recruit more people into the growing anti-government movement.

Along the same lines, nationwide or strategically focused regional labor disputes and strikes could be used to enact economic war against a targeted state from within, especially if the “union” has been co-opted by externally directed anti-government elements or is an outright front organization for them. In the circumstances where this is the case, the external actor (in mostly every imaginable situation, this would be the US and its intelligence/NGO apparatus) can inflict a two-for-one destabilization against their target. If the state is compelled to violently crack down on the rioters in order to restore order, then this could be manipulated against it via the social and physical anti-government ‘activist’ networks in generating even more dissatisfaction against the authorities; but at the same time, if the government doesn’t react and it allows the labor dispute and/or strike to continue indefinitely, then it risks experiencing a prolonged economic loss, especially if the factory, industry, and/or locale chosen for the disruption is of a strategic nature. In both instances, there isn’t a ‘win-win’ solution for the authorities, and they’re pressed to choose what they believe will be the lesser of two evils.

Putting the state on the defensive and forcing it to continuously react to these sorts of strategic lose-lose dilemmas are precisely the sort of tactics that Hybrid War practitioners specialize in. No matter what specific form they take or whatever particular issue the infiltrated or front organization claims to support at the time (be it labor rights, “free elections”, or the environment, for example), the indisputable pattern is that they always find a way to lure as many civilians into their ranks as possible in order to use them as human shields and ‘collateral damage’ for their preplanned anti-government provocation. The next step follows naturally enough, and it’s that the average citizen who hears about what happened (either on their own or via a nifty NGO-directed social media campaign) starts to lose faith in the government, largely unaware that what they had seen or read was totally staged and/or guided to occur by a foreign intelligence agency. The compound effect of this occurring on a large enough scale and with a certain context-specific frequency is that the population begins to either actively turn against the authorities and/or passively comes to accept the individuals that are fighting against them and whatever new state entity emerges in the wake of the current one’s possible defeat.

The Chances For A Hybrid War Crisis In Cambodia

Moving along in the book’s examination of Hybrid War threats in mainland ASEAN, it’s time now to turn to Cambodia, the first of the studied states to most likely be in the US’ regime chance crosshairs. Up until this point, the research was addressing countries where engineered Hybrid War scenarios were possible only in the event that their governments strayed from the general anti-China line (to varying degrees of rhetoric and form) that the US had ‘preferred’ that they abide by. Cambodia is a completely different matter altogether, since it’s the first ASEAN state that the book addresses in which bilateral relations with China are at an extraordinarily high level.

Although not a key node in Beijing’s primary ASEAN Silk Road from Kunming to Singapore, there are plans in motion to make it a supporting spoke, and the close ties between Beijing and Phnom Penh have drawn the ire of the US. Cambodia occupies a strategic position in China’s ASEAN strategy, and thereby it’s likely that it will experience some sort of renewed regime change destabilization in the coming future despite not being a chief transit state for Beijing’s transnational connective infrastructure designs. Additionally, the US is aware of the strategic regional advantages that it would gain from overthrowing Cambodia’s current government, and these calculations further increase the odds that long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen might become Washington’s next regime change target.

This segment of the research begins by explaining the geopolitical significance that Cambodia has to China and the mainland ASEAN region. Afterwards it looks into the present political situation in the country and highlights the determined efforts of the ‘opposition’ in trying to topple Hun Sen. Finally, the last part draws attention to the most realistic Hybrid War scenario facing Cambodia, which just like in Vietnam, is the infiltration of the labor rights movement and its hijacked repurposing into the optimal regime change instrument.

Why Strategists Care About Cambodia:

The average reader might be perplexed about why ASEAN’s poorest state has any significance whatsoever in terms of Great Power planning, but the answer lies no so much in economics (although there’s plenty of opportunity there, as will later be explained), but in geopolitics. This is partly explained by China’s historical relations with Cambodia and general strategy towards ASEAN, but it’s also due to the demographic and state-to-state destabilization potential that Cambodia could potentially release towards its neighbors if it ever became a pro-American satellite state.

The China Factor

The most important issue to address in describing Cambodia’s geostrategic significance is its relationship with China. In the eyes of Beijing’s decision makers, Cambodia occupies a similar geopolitical importance to China as Serbia does to Russia, in that the strong partnership between the two allows the Great Power to ‘jump’ past a wall of obstructionist states. In the instance of mainland ASEAN, these historically had been Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, with the first two actually becoming pretty pragmatic towards China since the end of the Cold War. Even if those two diplomatic successes hadn’t been achieved, the relationship with Cambodia allows China to maintain a strategic presence in the Gulf of Thailand and have a firmly committed ally in the ranks of ASEAN. Most importantly in terms of China’s contemporary global strategy, Cambodia has proven to be the ideal testing ground for China’s overseas investment vision. The lessons that it learned by investing $9.17 billion in the nearby state during the period from 1994-2012, begun during the early days of China’s international rise and carried into the present, were obviously instrumental in helping it acquire the feel for managing similar overseas projects. Altogether, these experiences would blend together and contribute to forming the global One Belt One Road vision, with China’s initial investment forays in historically allied Cambodia undoubtedly playing an influential role.

From the Cambodian perspective, its leadership has historically looked to China as a type of ‘big brother’ in helping it hedge against Thailand and Vietnam. The historical memory of having been an object of rivalry between these two powers, and in one sense or another, the military basing ground for each of them at different times, weighs heavily on its decision-making imperatives. The collapse of the Khmer Empire brought Cambodia under the Siamese (Thai) fold for centuries, whereas the country was institutionally closer with Vietnam during the French imperial period. During the Vietnam War, its territory was continuously traversed by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong, and although the Vietnamese later liberated Cambodia from the genocidal Khmer Rouge, nationalist elements interpret the subsequent years as an unnecessary military occupation by an historic rival. Aside from the decade-long Peoples Republic of Kampuchea period from  1979-1989 when it hosted Vietnamese troops and was barred from dealing with China, there’s a clear continuity of pragmatic relations with its ‘big brother’ that was practiced by Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and then Hun Sen. Nowadays, other than the political-economic benefits that it reaps from its partnership with China, Cambodia also gains elevated prestige in ASEAN simply by being so closely aligned with Beijing, which has thus transformed the country from a diplomatic backwater to a premier outpost for regional states to engage China’s interests in the region.

GMS-TransportCorridor_30_Lo-Res_30From an overall perspective, Chinese-Cambodian relations are a win-win for both sides, and they’re about to be taken to a totally new level of mutual benefit through the Greater Mekong Region’s “Central Corridor” project. To remind the reader, this is one of the various connective projects in mainland ASEAN, with this particular route being a branch of the North-South Corridor through Laos. The Central Corridor branches off from Vientiane and slithers southwards down the country’s spine towards Cambodia, following the Mekong River along the way. This variation of the ASEAN Silk Road is important in its own right because of the potential that it has for deepening trade between China and Cambodia via an optimal unimodal system (solely ground-based as opposed to transshipment from boat to land), but it lacks the geostrategic capability of providing Beijing with an alternative route to the Indian Ocean. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor fully avoids the South China Sea headache and Strait of Malacca bottleneck, while the primary ASEAN Silk Road through Thailand has the possibility of doing so in the region of southern Thailand. This explains why Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand have a higher chance of falling victim to the US’ anti-Chinese plans (either in co-opting their elite or wreaking havoc) than Cambodia does, although Phnom Penh’s chummy ties with Beijing unquestionably puts it on the target list as well, albeit in a relatively lesser prioritization.

Transnational Ethnic Trouble

The Khmer ethnic majority in Cambodia are a very proud people, infused with the civilizational glory of the ancient Khmer Empire. Accordingly, they’re also very patriotic, and their manifestations of pride could sometimes translate into nationalist demonstrations that put Thailand and Vietnam in an uncomfortable position. The reason that Cambodia’s neighbors feel uneasy at the exercise of Khmer patriotism is because they have their own Khmer minority within their borders, a legacy that nationalists have tried to exploit by attributing it to colonialism. In the case of the Thailand, these are the Northern Khmer that inhabit the northeastern region of Isan and live close to the Cambodian border. They constitute around a quarter of the population in Buriram, Sisaket, and Surin provinces. There are also scattered segments of the Western Khmer living in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces, although they have less of an impactful contemporary presence than in Isan. All told, it’s estimated that there are a little over one million Khmer living in Thailand. The situation with the Khmer Krom in southern Vietnam was already discussed in the earlier section about that country’s Hybrid War vulnerabilities, but to revisit the details for a moment, there are also about one million Khmer living there as well.

The geographically contiguous presence of ethnic Khmer diaspora living in the Thai and Vietnamese border regions means that a nationalist-driven Cambodia could pose a serious threat to the region’s stability. At the moment, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that Hun Sun would ever proceed down this destabilizing path, but in the event that he’s overthrown by a Pravy Sektor-like band of ultra-nationalists, it’s foreseeable that this demographic variable could become a complication in Cambodia’s bilateral relations with each of these states. If history is an indication, then a future nationalism-obsessed government might follow in the Khmer Rouge’s footsteps and stage aggressive border provocations against Vietnam, possibly to the point of tempting Hanoi to launch a retaliatory strike to snub out the threat just as it did back in 1979. Drawing a parallel to the present, this might turn out to be a Southeast Asian variation of the “Reverse Brzezinski” stratagem, with the entire provocation predicated on the intent of dragging Vietnam into a quagmire (in this scenario, possibly as punishment for bettering relations with China).

Using these strategic principles, the same concept can actually more realistically be applied towards Thailand in the Khmer-populated areas of its already distressed Isan region. Bangkok has been rapidly warming up to Beijing since the 2014 military coup and is now an integral transit state for the ASEAN Silk Road, thus meaning that any future Khmer-nationalist government in Cambodia would most likely be directed or implicitly guided by the US to targeted Thailand before Vietnam. The only thing that needs to happen to turn this Hybrid War projection into an actual plan is for an ultra-nationalist opposition movement to seize power in Phnom Penh just as they did in Kiev two years ago, most likely following a similar template of urban terrorism as their pro-American predecessors on the other side of Eurasia. In fact, such a possibility is actually being actively prepared for, the specifics of which will be explored more in-depth when the research discusses the internal political situation in Cambodia.

Border Rumblings

Aside from the asymmetrical destabilization that a hyper-nationalist Cambodian government could bring to its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors, there are also more conventional dangers that would go with this type of American-imposed government as well. As the reader likely realized by this point, Cambodia hasn’t always had positive relations with its two largest neighbors, and these have also manifested themselves into border disputes, the most recent and acute of which is the one with Thailand. The two countries almost went to war in 2008 over a disputed patch of land right near the Preah Vihear Temple in northern Cambodia. The reasons for the disagreement extend well past the physical territory in question and broach the larger historical and cultural issues, but the immediate root of the problem was the use of differing imperial-era border maps to support either case. The problem was eventually settled in Cambodia’s favor by the International Court of Justice in 2011, but because of the broader historical-cultural disagreements at play and the potential for a Khmer-nationalist Cambodian government to aggravate the situation with Northern Khmers, there’s a plausible chance that Phnom Penh might render irredentist claims against Thailand one day. Adding a branch to this scenario, the US might extend some form of outward or implicit diplomatic support for this initiative in order to pressure the Bangkok authorities and incite grassroots reactionary violence against the Northern Khmer in Isan.

Border marker No.314 between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Border marker No.314 between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The border situation with Vietnam hasn’t been as dramatic as the one with Thailand since the time of the Khmer Rouge, and currently there aren’t any feasible scenarios that it could apply against its eastern neighbor. The Khmer Krom are vastly outnumbered in southern Thailand when compared to the majority ethnic Viet, unlike the situation in the underpopulated provinces of Isan where they form a critical mass concentrated nearby the border. The prospective problem, then, isn’t so much ethnic irredentism (which is logically impossible to pull off against Vietnam), but a militant dispute over their recently delineated border. Historic flukes and random kinks along their frontier had long marred bilateral relations after the Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodia, and even now, the border demarcation issue been exploited by the nationalist opposition in the latter in an attempt to score political points. Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNPR) and the country’s main opposition leader,criticized Hun Sen for allegedly ceding land to Vietnam. His politically ally, Senator Hong Sok Hour, was arrested in August 2015 for presenting a forged government document that purportedly ‘proved’ Rainsy’s accusation, and the opposition leader himself was later issued his own arrest warrant in early January 2016 for involvement in the case. By that time he had already fled to France to avoid doing jail time for an unrelated defamation offense, but the fact that this issue has continued to bubble indicates that Rainsy may militantly act on his supposed claims if he ever succeeds in violently seizing power.

King Of The Cambodian Political Jungle:

The mentioning of Sam Rainsy is a perfect time to transition the research into discussing the internal political setup in the country. In a sense, it can read as a lead-up to what most likely will be a forthcoming Color Revolution attempt sometime between now and the July 2018 general elections. There are only two main players – Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy – but only one can be king of the Cambodian political jungle.

Hun Sen

Cambodia’s prevailing leader has been in some capacity or another of the premiership since 1985, making him one of the world’s longest-serving heads of state. He was briefly a member of the Khmer Rouge before defecting to Vietnam, after which he reentered his homeland following its liberation by the Vietnamese military. He became Prime Minister in 1985 and served under the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party, which later rebranded itself as the Cambodian People’s Party in 1991 and continues to hold power to this day. Hun Sen was almost booted from the government after losing the disputed 1993 elections, but after protesting the result and threatening that he’d lead the eastern part of Cambodia to secession, an agreement was reached whereby he’d serve in the position of co-Prime Minister.

His counterpart Norodom Ranariddh attempted to clandestinely seize power in 1997 through the use of covertly infiltrated Khmer Rouge and mercenary units to the capital, but Hun Sen was able to preempt the coup and stage his own countermoves that removed his rival from power and solidified his sole leadership. The next and last threat to his premiership came during the aftermath of the 2013 elections, whereby Sam Rainsy and his newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party clinched 44.46% of the vote compared to Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party’s 48.83%, which prompted Rainsy to accuse the authorities of fraud. The resultant protests descended into riotous behavior and closely resembled a Color Revolution attempt at times, but the drama was officially resolved when both parties agreed to a parliamentary power-sharing proposal on 22 July, 2014. Still, the close election results and the regime change behavior that was exhibited for a prolonged period afterwards indicates that a repeat of such events is very likely to happen in 2018, if not beforehand.

Looked at more broadly in an international perspective, Hun Sen is an adept pragmatic, skillfully able to maneuver his country between its two historical rivals and still retain the dominant political position within his country. Although he began his career as being ardently pro-Vietnamese during his premiership of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, he moderated his approach the moment that his nominal ally’s military forces departed from his country. While never taking any anti-Vietnamese moves, he then swiftly sought to replace his former patron’s role with that of China, as has been the historic post-independence tradition of most Cambodian leaders. This decision was made on geopolitical grounds in hedging against both Vietnam and Thailand, although not doing so in an aggressive security dilemma-like manner that would jeopardize profitable relations with each. Consequently, he was able to retain his country’s friendship with Vietnam while making positive inroads with Thailand, and his partnership with China allowed Cambodia to secure its strategic independence and safeguard its decision-making sovereignty in what otherwise could have been a complicated geopolitical situation (especially after having just emerged from a ravenous US-supported civil war).

Sam Rainsy

Cambodia’s main opposition leader is the son of Sam Sary, one of the organizers of the Dap Chhuon Plot. Also known as the Bangkok Plot, this failed 1959 coup attempt sought to remove Sihanouk from power and is suspected of having been assisted by the CIA.  Rainsy moved to France in 1965 and remained there for 27 years until 1992, after which he returned to his homeland and became a member of parliament. Since then, he has consistently remained involved in politics and founded the Khmer Nation Party in 1995, before changing its name to the Sam Rainsy Party in 1998. It’s interesting to note that he initially chose nationalistic name for his organization, which corresponds to the thesis that his opposition movement seeks to capitalize on such sentiment and may plan to take it to a destabilization international extent against Thailand and/or Vietnam if he ever attains full power.

Rainsy’s own actions attest to his nationalist bent, since he was arrested in 2009 for encouraging villagers to destroy border markets along the Vietnamese frontier, for which he was found guilty in-absentia for inciting racial discrimination and intentionally damaging property. He was pardoned by the King in July 2013 and returned that month to run in the general elections under the newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party, a merger organization composed of his namesake party and the “Human Rights Party”. He eventually lost the vote and used his defeat as a rallying cry for organizing a Color Revolution attempt to seize power, which as was mentioned, ended up diffused after a parliamentary power-sharing proposal was agreed to.

True to his nationalist ‘credentials’, he continued to agitate that Hun Sen was apparently ‘ceding’ land to Vietnam, and he worked hand-in-hand with his political ally Senator Hong Sok Hour in having the latter produce a forged government document ‘proving’ this outrageous charge. His sidekick was soon arrested, and when Rainsy’s own parliamentary immunity was stripped from him and a warrant issued for his arrest during a visit to ‘supporters’ tin South Korea, he opted to evade the courts and currently remains abroad. Days before, he had gone on social media to intimate that Suu Kyi’s electoral victory forebodes well for what he believes will be his own forthcoming one in Cambodia, seemingly confirming that he too might also have been groomed by the CIA for future leadership. Overall, in assessing Sam’s political strategy, it’s evident that he has repeatedly gone out of his way to emphasize Khmer nationalism, which for the reasons described in the previous section, could end up being very destabilizing for the region if he ever succeeds in seizing power.

Constructing Cambodia’s Next Regime Change Scenario:

Rainsy The Rascal

Wrapping up the research on Cambodia, it’s now time to finally address the most likely scenario in which Hun Sen’s government could be overthrown. Sam Rainsy, like has been earlier described, is a clear nationalist and has sought to fuse his aggressive ideological rhetoric and provocations with Color Revolution tactics. His near-victory in the 2013 elections demonstrates that there’s a sizeable proportion of the population that agrees with him, although not quite enough to democratically legitimize his leadership aspirations. Rainsy will face arrest due to his two outstanding warrants (one for defamation and the other for his involvement in Senator Hour’s forged government documents case) if he returns to Cambodia, and Hun Sen has recently said that he’d “cut off [his] right hand” before he allows his rival to be pardoned again. In all probability, he’s likely to do whatever it takes to make sure that Rainsy doesn’t come back to Cambodia before the July 2018 elections, seeing as how he so bluntly put his entire reputation on the line through his dramatic threat.

Thematic Backdrop

What will probably happen then is that Rainsy will become a type of political symbol either through his ‘self-imposed exile’ (as he styles it) or the ‘political martyrdom’ that would result in his return to Cambodia. If he chooses the latter, it might be a lot easier to stir the Color Revolution pot and paint him as following in the footsteps of Tymoshenko or Suu Kyi, two of his regime change predecessors whose imprisonment catapulted them to global (Western) media stardom. No matter how it occurs, it’s certain that the Color Revolution movement will aim to socially precondition both the Cambodian masses and the foreign media into viewing the upcoming vote as a battle between a pro-Chinese (and possibly even falsely slandered as a pro-Vietnamese) “dictator” and a pro-Western “democrat”, bringing the tiny Southeast Asian state into the forefront of global attention. By that time, the Color Revolution infrastructure would be in place and the opposition can then commence their regime change operation, knowingly taking it as far as urban terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, thus representing the latest Hybrid War battleground.

Tactical Considerations

Be that as it may, the scenario can actually be fast-forwarded and deployed before the elections. Like with the newer Color Revolution templates that have been experimented with across the world, a concrete “event” such as a ‘disputed election’ or some other conventional rallying cry need not actually happen in order to spark the premeditated insurgency. What’s most important is that the necessary social infrastructure be capable of gathering large crowds of ‘human shields’ (civilian protesters) in order to protect a small core of violent provocateurs and engineer what can later manipulatively be made to appear as a “bloody government crackdown” against “peaceful protesters”. While nationalism is visibly a strong unifying force in Cambodian society, patriotism is equally as strong, and even though these two could clash (manifested by anti-government and pro-government demonstrators, respectively), the patriots might neutralize the disruptive “nationalists” and spoil their plans for a larger uprising. Along the same lines of thinking, a minor border spat in one of the frontier villages might not be enough to motivate people in the capital to come out to the streets in protest, especially since they have to worry about their own mouths to feed in ASEAN’s poorest state.

Labor Unions’ Unifying Role

That last point is actually the most important, and it’s precisely the one that’s capable of bringing large segments of the population out to protest against the government. Unlike in Vietnam, labor unions are already legalized in Cambodia and have played an active role in the country’s post-civil war history. The threat of labor disturbances has become increasingly common in the past few years, and garment workers recently prevailed in pressuring the government to once more raise their minimum wage in October 2015, this time to $140 a month from the previous $128 that they succeeded in gaining the year prior. To put this into context, the minimum wage had earlier been $80 a month in 2012, before being raised to $100 a month for 2014 prior to the aforementioned increases, all of which were the result of threatening labor strikes and engaging in selective clashes with police. Just like the author argued in the preceding analysis for Vietnam, there’s nothing at all inherently wrong with an organized labor movement that agitates for worker’s rights, but the danger presents itself when these organizations are exploited by politically minded actors working for regime change ends.

Hun Sen is the Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Hun Sen is the Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Unleashing The Dogs Of Hybrid War

In the prospectively forthcoming scenario for Cambodia, labor rights activists take center stage in leading a renewed anti-government movement, perhaps even before the July 2018 elections. They may either do so independently as part of their strategy to continuously raise the minimum wage, or they might craft a provocation in order to prompt a “government crackdown” against the “peaceful protesters”. Additionally, if Hun Sen accepts Washington’s offer to join the TPP but then gets cold feet like Yanukovich did with the EU Association Agreement, then that event in and of itself might be the spark needed to ‘justify’ the preplanned anti-government movement. No matter which route is finally decided upon, the end result is that the labor movement, particularly one which involves the country’s 700,000 garment factory workers (responsible for $5.8 billion in exports for 2014), takes the leading role in opposing the authorities.

This critical mass of individuals could then enact or threat to enact a paralyzing strike that would cripple the country’s economy and immediately cast it as an unpredictable and unstable place to do business in. The nationalist appeal of this campaign would be maximized if it’s coordinated in such a way as to target Vietnamese business, which account for $3.46 billion worth of projects in Cambodia and are the country’s sixth largest investor.

Expectedly, the ‘labor protesters’ will link up with the Cambodian National Rescue Party to create a unified front against Hun Sen, and the combined sum of their efforts might realistically be enough to topple the government. The only alternative in such a case would be large-scale state-inflicted violence, which even if it’s done in the interests of self-defense and the preservation of overall peace and harmony, could be damage the authorities’ legitimacy to the point of unwittingly engendering even more anti-government sentiment. Worse still, Western countries could pull out their investments and cooperate with ASEAN in sanctioning Phnom Penh. In this dire scenario, Hun Sen hangs on to power by a thread and the consequent economic warfare that’s launched against the country is impactful enough to lead to his government’s dissolution within the next few years.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Hybrid Wars 1. The Law Of Hybrid Warfare

Hybrid Wars 2. Testing the Theory – Syria & Ukraine

Hybrid Wars 3. Predicting Next Hybrid Wars

Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland

Hybrid Wars 5. Breaking the Balkans

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‘Most of the questions involving the Flint water crisis and Gov. Snyder are still unanswered,’ says Common Cause

Six additional state employees now face criminal charges for hiding unsafe lead levels leading up to the Flint water crisis—but Gov. Rick Snyder and his top officials continue to evade accountability.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges in a press conference on Friday, in which he vowed that « the families of Flint will not be forgotten; we will provide the justice they deserve. »

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Friday charged six more state employees with felonies for their alleged role in Flint’s water contamination. (Screenshot)

Of those charged, Schuette said: « Their offenses vary but there is an overall theme and repeated pattern. Each of these individuals attempted to bury, or cover up, to downplay or hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story. Their story was there was nothing wrong with Flint water and it was perfectly safe to use. »

« These individuals concealed the truth, » he said. « They were criminally wrong to do so. »

According to news reports, those charged are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Leanne Smith, Adam Rosenthal, and Patrick Cook.

MLive reports:

Peeler, Miller and Scott were charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Shekter Smith was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Cook is accused of misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office and neglect of duty.

Rosenthal was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and neglect.

According to the Detroit News:

Peeler and Scott’s charges center around a report epidemiologist Cristin Larder prepared last fall showing elevated blood lead testing in Flint residents last July, August and September, according Jeff Seipenko, an investigator in Schuette’s office.

« Scott and Peeler conspired together and with others known and unknown to effectively bury Larder’s report warranting further investigation, » Seipenko said Friday morning in court. « Defendants Peeler and Scott’s failure to disclose Larder’s report was to the detriment of the health and welfare of the citizens of Flint. »

Three other local and state employees were charged in April, bringing the total number of people charged in connection to the health crisis to nine.

Schuette said Friday that his team was « way far from done »—offering a modicum of assurance to those seeking accountability from Snyder and other top officials.

And Andrew Arena, lead investigator in the case and former head of the FBI office in Detroit, added: « You don’t start at the top. Like organized crime, we are working our way up in the DEQ and expanding the scope of investigation. »

But Special Prosecutor Todd Flood may have eroded some of that confidence by declining to say at Friday’s press conference whether he has interviewed Snyder or the governor’s former top aide, Dennis Muchmore, or issued subpoenas to either man to compel testimony under oath in a deposition.

« The charges filed today against six state employees involved in the Flint water crisis are a step in the right direction to ensure our government is accountable to its citizens, » the pro-democracy group Common Cause and its Michigan affiliate said in a statement on Friday.

« However, there is still a lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the crisis in Flint, » the statement continued. « Most of the questions involving the Flint water crisis and Gov. Snyder are still unanswered. The people of Flint, and the entire state of Michigan, deserve to know the full extent of Gov. Snyder’s involvement and knowledge of this crisis. »

Meanwhile, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told the Democratic National Convention this week that in her city, the

« water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking and rusting away. Our local economy, already down when the water crisis struck, struggles to rebound. And there are many more Flints across the country where environmental issues are hurting our kids and families. »

She specifically called out the « Republican state government » for using Michigan’semergency manager law « to take over control of the city. »

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When in doubt, it’s Russia’s fault, Vladimir Putin designated the West’s No. 1 bad guy.

He’s blamed for virtually anything Washington and NATO contrive. A longterm adversarial relationship persists, risking potentially devastating consequences.

Facts never interfere with Western propaganda, outrageous accusations featured with no corroborating proof.

The New York Times is the lead disseminator, mouthpiece for Washington and Hillary’s campaign, journalistic ethics and principles discarded entirely – neocon/neoliberal credentials replacing them.

Citing an unnamed “federal law enforcement official,” The Times accused Russia of hacking into Hillary’s computer system. Her campaign blames Moscow for “trying to sway the outcome of the election,” according to The Times, adding:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, also said on Friday that its systems had been hacked.

What happened

“appears to have come from an entity known as ‘Fancy Bear,’ which is connected to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, according to an official involved in the forensic investigation.”

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they have ‘high confidence’ that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee.

Fact: Believe nothing US sources, the Clinton campaign and their media echo chamber report – especially from The New York Times, Hillary’s press agent, conducting an ongoing campaign to get her elected in November.

Fact: Blaming Russia for virtually anything without verifiable proof is part longstanding Putin bashing.

He’s vilified solely for political reasons, notably his support for nation-state sovereignty, diplomacy over force in resolving conflicts, and multi-world polarity – positions Washington opposes, irreconcilably opposite its hegemonic agenda.

The possibility of Hillary succeeding Obama next year should terrify everyone, energizing mass activism to stop her.

Her ruthless agenda includes endless wars of aggression. The issue in November is simple and unambiguous, without a shadow of a doubt: Hillary must be defeated! Humanity’s fate depends on it!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

 

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Speaking to MEE, Labour leader calls for powers for Parliament to control arms sales to Saudi Arabia and oversee deployment of special forces

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a root-and-branch review of Britain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the brutal Saudi interventions in Bahrain and the Yemen.

Corbyn: ‘If we want to live in a world of peace, then there has to be a foreign policy that reflects that’ (AFP)

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Corbyn called for a fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with the Middle East, establishing a foreign policy based on democracy rather than military interventions. The Labour leader said that Britain’s relationship with the Saudi monarchy should focus on human rights – not arms sales.

“We have got to look again at the whole arms relationship with Saudi Arabia and look again at the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, sustained by the supply of arms largely, but not exclusively, from Britain which is used… both in Bahrain and in Yemen. Bahrain has now had significant Saudi involvement for quite a long time to prop up the regime there,” Corbyn said.

The Labour leader claimed that the British government was responsible for the deaths of Bahraini protesters: “Well who’s guilty? Who is responsible? Are we not responsible? We sold those arms knowing they were going to be used in Bahrain.”

He said Britain was “incredibly selective” on human rights issues. “We sign up of course to the Universal Declaration, the European Convention and we do have the Arms Export Control Committee in Parliament, but we are actually very selective about this and we’ve done precious little about Saudi Arabia for a very long time. »

Corbyn said that if he became prime minister he would reinstate human rights advisers in British embassies around the world, put human rights clauses in the contracts British firms make, and clamp down on arms sales: ”If we want to live in a world of peace, live in a world of justice towards human rights, then there has to be a foreign policy that reflects that. That is where I’m at.”

Call for war powers act

Breaking new ground, Corbyn called for an American-style « war powers act » to give Parliament new powers to block military intervention. He said the “parliamentary convention now requires that for the deployment of British troops there has to be a parliamentary mandate. Except – and they’ve all used the except – when there are special forces involved. The question of this of course goes back a long way to Vietnam in 1963, when the US managed to have I think 50,000 advisers to the South Vietnamese government before the Congress was even invited to vote on whether or not it should be involved in the Vietnam War. I think the parallel is a very serious one.”

He insisted that MPs should have oversight and control over when British special forces – and not only the regular army – get involved in combat.

Asked about MEE reports establishing the presence of British special forces in Libya, the Labour leader said: “Clearly Britain is involved. Either through special forces in Libya or through arms supplies to Saudi Arabia to the war in Yemen. And indeed by the same process to the supply of anti-personnel equipment that is being used in Bahrain by Saudi Arabia. So I think we have to have a War Powers Act that is much more watertight on this.”

He said the effect of British intervention in Libya has been to destroy the state and create in its place an arms bazaar: “A number of us pointed out in debates in the House at that time that if you simply destroyed the structure of the Libyan state, which is what happened, then you will end up with a series of warring factions.

And the spread of arms which were given to the opponents of Gaddafi has then spread into Mali and many other places. So we’ve actually created an arms bazaar of in some cases relatively small scale arms, but nevertheless very powerful ones.

Backing for Blair prosecution

Corbyn said he supported the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq in their efforts to bring a private prosecution against former prime minister Tony Blair.

He pointed to the words he used when he apologised on behalf of the Labour Party for the invasion of Iraq: “The words I said during the apology [were]: ‘those that are responsible for the war in Iraq must be prepared to face up to their responsibilities’.

« People must face up to their responsibilities for what they did. I met the families of the soldiers who died, and when you meet a family of anyone who has died it’s very hard. I meet the families of young people who have been stabbed to death. It’s very hard for them to understand their son’s life has gone through a random act of violence.

If you join the army,  you join knowing there are risks involved. Obviously. And then you die in a war like Iraq. And then it becomes apparent that the war was based on misinformation or deception, that it wasn’t a necessary war, that it wasn’t a defensive war, and your son or daughter has died in that particular conflict. It’s very hard for those families to come to terms with that, so I spent a lot of time over the past years talking to the families of those that have died. They are very, very impressive people. I think the way Reg Keys and Peter Bradley have conducted themselves is very, very impressive.

The families are appealing for funds to create a team of lawyers that will mount a private prosecution accusing Blair of “misfeasance in public office” on the grounds that he misused his constitutional powers, which led to mass casualties.

Corbyn told MEE he viewed the departure of Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary as a chance to develop Labour policy regarding Israel and Palestine.

He said that thanks to recent changes in Labour’s foreign affairs team “you will see more on this from me,” adding that “I will be developing foreign policy a great deal and my views and determination to promote a peace settlement in the Middle East which obviously has to involve recognition of Palestine as something that is very important to me.”

Confident mood

A tanned Corbyn, who on Thursday saw off a legal challenge over his place on the ballot for a new leadership contest brought by Labour MPs, appeared more relaxed and confident than at any time since he was elected Labour leader 10 months ago.

He laid down a clear marker to the majority of Labour MPs who had repeatedly called for him to step down. He said he was dismayed at the way they had launched a coup against him following the Brexit vote: ”I was appalled at the way it was conducted and the way it was designed to cause maximum damage to the party day in day out. I was invited to resign. I absolutely refused to do so. I said I’m responsible for the people who elected me. I’m responsible for the mandate I was given. I will carry out that responsibility – and so I have.

I think some of them [Labour MPs] are confusing the position of the parliamentary party with the party as a whole. The parliamentary party is very, very important, but it is not the entirety of the Labour Party, and I have reached out in a way no other leader ever has in appointing people to my shadow cabinet last September who were very critical of me; some of whom remained critical within the shadow cabinet.

Corbyn said he expected more former shadow ministers who had joined the parliamentary revolt against him to return to the front bench, as MP Sarah Champion did this week.

The Labour leader spoke of his political heroes from the British radical dissenting tradition. He cited the British pamphleteer and political activist Tom Paine as one of his main influences and William Godwin as another, adding that “long-term political changes often come from quite profound and very brave individuals”.

When asked whether he saw himself in the tradition of Paine and Cobbett, Corbyn replied: “You don’t want to put yourself into history too quickly. But I do draw inspiration from those people that stood up in very difficult circumstances.”

Second referendum not ruled out

However, Corbyn notably failed to rule out a second referendum on last month’s Brexit vote.

He ruled one out for “the immediate future,” adding “one has to respect the result”.

However, he added that “at some point in the future, somebody might say we ought to have a referendum on how we deal with the future with Europe”.

The Labour leader presented himself as a new kind of political leader, challenging the elitist, modernising politics of Tony Blair and David Cameron.

The New Labour project was very much Third Way economics, it was aggressive foreign policy, and it was essentially marketisation of a lot of public services. I’m trying to take things in a very different direction of a human rights, democracy-based foreign policy rather than an interventionist one, and an economically interventionist economy in Britain in order to promote good-quality jobs and employment as well as promote decent levels of public service.

With Labour Party membership now more than half a million since his election and still growing, he claimed that he had brought a “new audience” into British politics.

I think there is, because it’s an involvement of a new audience in politics who felt very disillusioned. It is very difficult to measure everything on the basis of personal contact, emails, postcards, whatever it happens to be. But I meet a significant number of people – a significant number of people have contacted me and said ‘I’ve now become interested in politics because what I see with the Labour Party at the moment is that you’re trying to reach out in a way that no one has reached out before.’

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How long will this go on? How long will we see the photographs of a Mr. Tsipras and his Finance Minister in despair. Yet the blood-letting continues.

Already new austerity measures are being projected for 2018 – between 5.4 billion EUR asked by Europeans and 9 billion EUR requested by IMF – and the securing of the Greek debt sustainability through deep restructuring measures (meaning more selling of public assets to foreign corporations), as reported by journalist Yannis Kibouropoulos.

Tsipras and Juncker. CC.

Tsipras and Juncker. CC.

Yes, € 9 billion by the IMF, of all institutions! The very organization that has ostensibly pledged with Greece’s creditors to forgive some of the debt to let the country breathe. This noble idea seems to have given in to the abject, murderous greed of the banks, one among them, the Deutsche Bank, currently the most vulnerable and indebted in the world, not just in Europe, for its derivative exposure of almost € 66 trillion, or about the world’s GDP. The globe’s most criminal financial speculator is to be paid more of Greek blood to nurture its horrendous vampire thirst for more criminal acts, clubbing the weakest of this globe, sucking out the last drop of blood.

When does it stop? – When does the Greek People stand up and demand that the government stop unilaterally this bloodletting – which of course affects none of the ‘leftist’ SYRIZA’s decision makers, to the contrary, we can only imagine how they are being compensated for allowing this monster theft of the peoples’ assets to continue – apparently endlessly, until the last straw, the last drop of water, the last health clinique has been privatized by foreign corporations.

Greece’s debt to GDP today stands at close to 200% in mid-2016, as compared to a mere 109% in 2008 when the man-made crisis started, inspired by the FED-IMF-Wall Street- ECB-EC – instigated by the one big western criminal schemer organization. It was supposed to trigger the crisis in Europe for saving the dollar – and as a by-product steal European peoples’ social assets, assets that belong to the people who paid for it. Greece was to be framed. Her debt was unsurmountable and would affect all of Europe. Greece – the EU country that contributed barely 2% to Europe’s GDP, was ‘guilty’ of provoking a European crisis that eventually had and still has worldwide implications. How ridiculous!

A debt-GDP ratio of 109% was and is totally manageable, without outside interference. Incidentally, the US current debt today is about what Greece’s debt was in 2008. Is anybody paying attention to it? – Of course not. The masters of the universe have all the rights. They make the law but are not accountable for any of them, not even the ones they make. That’s the stupefied world we are living in.

But would it have occurred to anyone to discard the lie-riddled propaganda jargon from the IMF and Co. and ask the question how Greece could be targeted as the culprit? How was this possible? – Not even today this question is asked. The lies and manipulations of the nefariously criminal killer troika and its occult behind the scene corporate-finance handlers seem to be all persuasive. – Killer troika – yes killer – thousands if not ten thousands of people have died prematurely due to lack of access to medication, health services, proper housing – and by suicide through sheer despair.

From the very beginning, when this trend of purposeful destruction of an entire population and her country became clear, there was the one solution that would have salvaged Greece and make it a happy country again: Leave the Euro zone! – And if necessary even the European Union. But with indoctrinated fear of an uncertain future, with the proud notion of belonging to and remaining in the Eurozone – and with a purposeful neglect of the Syriza government informing the people with the truth about the debt-onslaught – nobody dared to question the government on why it defied the overwhelming people’s vote against the austerity packages in July 2015. – Sorry, it wasn’t ‘nobody’, but it wasn’t a critical mass, it wasn’t the right influential people to ask that question – and to oppose the government’s handling of Greece’s ‘crisis’, and why SYRIZA was working in connivance with the troika. Those who did ask were sidelined. They were not snotty enough wanting to stick to the fraudulent Euro.

As of this day, there is a majority of Greek – of middle-class Greek, that is – who after more than six years externally imposed annihilation still want their country (almost nothing of it is theirs any more), to remain in the fraudulent pyramid scheme called Eurozone. These people, who are also the ones who influence the Greek power elite, have apparently little regard for those Greek that can hardly survive, for those Greek, who have lost their pensions, their health services, their employment and have no time to think about politics, whose life is entirely dedicated to survive from one day to another – or eventually to commit suicide, as many do. Are the statistics of suicides for despair published in Greece? By now they have reached the thousands.

Have these middle-class hangers-on to power any idea and compassion for their fellow citizens whose head is more under water than above? Do they have enough compassion to discard their pride to belong to this illegal Eurozone and to associate with their destitute brothers? – Yes, illegal, because what the troika are doing thanks to the common currency, called Euro, defies any standards of international law, all of the agencies behind this economic killing are disobeying their one charters and constitutions. Take the IMF – one of its principal rules is no lending to countries whose debt has made them financially unviable. This rule is being broken in Ukraine, in Greece and elsewhere, just anywhere where the empire wants to suck blood and achieve total subordination – on its way to full spectrum dominance.

Do you know, People of Greece – that the EU as well as the Euro has never been a European idea? That both are actually constructs of the CIA? The EU was never meant to become a political federation with a common goal and with common development objectives. To the contrary, whenever such a concept ‘threatened’ to become a reality, Washington pushed for admitting new countries, especially the former Eastern Bloccountries which were presumably due to their Soviet past all ferociously anti-Europe and pro-Washington. This was the age-old tactic of divide to conquer- and it succeeded. It was pushed through via the UK which was Washington’s Trojan Horse in Europe – hopefully no longer after BREXIT.

Have you noticed, People of Greece, how there is an ever growing integration between the EU and NATO? – Do you want to continue being militarized by foreign forces that are every day more threatening world peace?

So – why stay in the EU and the Eurozone, when all indications point to another direction? The writing is clearly on the wall.

My appeal to the People of Greece, take BREXIT as an example; dare to say NO to the system that enslaves you. Greek – take back your national sovereignty, your national currency, make the Greek Central Bank Greek again, working for the Greek economy, with a public banking system and interest free loans, to re-launch the Greek economy! – And you will be fine and happy again in no more than 5 years. You – People of Greece – have all the stamina and resourcefulness to drive your country forward and into a prosperity ‘made in Greece’.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, Chinese 4th Media, TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author ofImplosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance

 

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Glyphosate herbicides, harmful pharmaceuticals, infected blood transfusions, mercury preservative in infant vaccines, organophosphate insecticides, GM technology and fluoridation of the water supply . . . the damage to human and environmental health has been incalculable.

As Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist and Director of the Division of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme, said in her preface to Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation:

pprof mcgladeThere is something profoundly wrong with the way we are living today. There are corrosive pathologies of inequality all around us — be they access to a safe environment, healthcare, education or clean water. These are reinforced by short-term political actions and a socially divisive language based on the adulation of wealth . . .

One thing that has become clearer over the past decade is that certain chemical substances are highly stable in nature and can have long-lasting and wide ranging effects before being broken down into a harmless form. The risk of a stable compound is that it can be bio-accumulated in fatty tissues at concentrations many times higher than in the surrounding environment . . . So exposure to toxic chemicals and certain foodstuffs are at risk of causing harm, especially to vulnerable groups such as foetuses in the womb or during childhood when the endocrine system is being actively built. Even with small dose exposures, the consequences can in some instances be devastating with problems ranging from cancer, serious impacts on human development, chronic diseases and learning disabilities.

Professor McGlade points out that well-informed individuals and communities would ‘more properly’ set ‘the power to act’, than current political systems which have become ‘silted up by vested interests and a determination to protect assets’ – and, we would add, to accumulate profits. She calls for “a more ethical form of public decision-making based on a language in which our moral instincts and concerns can be better expressed . . .”

chemical exposures cover

Above, a book by Claudia Miller, M.D., M.S., a tenured Professor in Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Vice Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), who has written extensively on the health effects of low-level chemical exposures.

One simple measure could be adopted. Every scientific report or review should be prefaced by a declaration of the researcher’s competing financial interests

From the Nature/ British Dental Journal’s declaration of the authors’ competing financial interests Critique of the review of ‘Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries’ published by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2015, we learn that – out of 17 – these authors had such an interest – see footnote, with names added to the initials in the list.

The Cochrane review noted- amongst many other findings – that only two studies since 1975 have looked at the effectiveness of reducing cavities in baby teeth, and found fluoridation to have no statistically significant impact – and within the ‘before and after’ studies none showed the benefits of fluoridated water for adults.

In view of the authors’ competing interests it is not surprising thatthey cast doubt on the validity of the unfavourable findings of the Cochrane Review, which is ’unconstrained by commercial and financial interests’.

Notes:

  1. A. J. Rugg-Gunn: AJRG was a member of the MRC (UK) working group on water fluoridation and health and is a trustee of The Borrow Foundation (long associated with milk fluoridation).
  2. A.J. Spencer: AJS is a member of the Australian Government Department of Health, Nutritional Reference Values Fluoride Expert Working Group and the National Health and Medical Research Council Fluoride Reference Group.
  3. H.P. Whelton: HPW is Principal Investigator of the FACCT study funded by the Irish Health Research Board and is an evaluation of the impact of changes in the policy on children’s oral health in Ireland. She is an independent advisor to the British Fluoridation Society.
  4. C.Jones: CJ is a member of the British Fluoridation Society, the Cochrane Oral Health Group and commented on the Cochrane review protocol.
  5. J. F. Beal: JFB is vice-chairman, British Fluoridation Society.
  6. P.Castle: PC is a communications adviser to the National Alliance for Equity in Dental Health and the British Fluoridation Society. 
  7. P.V. Cooney: PVC was Chief Dental Officer for Canada.
  8. J. Johnson: JJ is President, American Fluoridation Society. 
  9. M.P. Kelly: MPK is co-investigator on the CATFISH study of a water fluoridation scheme in Cumbria.
  10. M.A. Lennon: MAL was a member of the Advisory Panel for the York Review, a member of the MRC Expert Group and formerly Chair of the British Fluoridation Society.
  11. J. McGinley: JMcG is manager, Fluoridation Activities, American Dental Association.
  12. D. O’Mullane: DO’M is a member of the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health.
  13. P.P. Sharma: PPS is the President, Ontario Association of Public Health Dentistry. 
  14. W.M. Thomson: WMT was a member of the panel which produced the Royal Society of New Zealand report on community water fluoridation.
  15. S. M. Woodward: SMW works for The Borrow Foundation.
  16. S.P. Zusman: SPZ is Chief Dental Officer with Israeli Ministry of Health.
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Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His ‘Small People’

juillet 30th, 2016 by Andre Vltchek

Possibly I have spent too many years ‘abroad’, outside of North America and Europe. Perhaps I don’t feel ‘white’, or ‘Western’ anymore. Or who knows, maybe I never really felt too ‘Western’ anyway, thanks to my Russian and Chinese blood.

That could help to explain why, when I listened to the acceptance speech delivered by Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, I felt detached. In fact I felt great emptiness. I understood the words and their meaning, and I was even able to analyze what these words would mean to the world, were this forceful man to be elected to the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth. But for a while, inside, I felt nothing; absolutely nothing, except, perhaps, exhaustion.

Outside my window was a great mass of water, separating the historic Penang Island from the rest of Malaysia. Cargo ships were majestically sailing to and from the nearby port, and it was raining heavily.

Photo by IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

I was watching Donald Trump’s speech live on Al-Jazeera. There was hardly any other choice available, as in this suddenly pro-Western country there were no international alternative channels, for which I work for– no RT, no Press TV, and no Telesur.

Trump spoke and spoke, much longer than expected. Whenever cameras showed people listening to his speech, I felt a sense of déjà vu, that I had witnessed all this on many other occasions. Like when Obama was speaking and thousands of people were, religiously, as if in a trance, moving their lips, whispering ‘yes we can’…  like when George W. Bush was being sworn in. Like…

The Messiah has arrived! Oh, that need for a religious experience, which is so omnipotent in the United States. The evangelical, putatively religious Trump (in reality, the man has no religious passion of any kind except a case of unquenchable Narcissism), defending ‘little people’! How lovely, honest and unexpected. Bravo!

And then, a few hours later, came the first ‘reviews’ of the speech. And the Western ‘left’ began doing something extremely weird, unexpected and in my opinion, thoroughly sick: in their indirect way, many prominent writers and alternative publications, actually endorsed Trump, while firing constant salvos of accusations against Hilary Clinton. (For the record before going any further: I am NOT arguing here that Clinton does not deserve all the hatred and contempt that any decent person, wherever s/he may be on the political spectrum, would level at a woman who has been, along with her huckster husband, little but an abject corporate shill and dangerous warmonger practically her entire public career. By the same token, there’s no question that the Democrats continue to be the more hypocritical side of the murderous duopoly, and that their betrayals are by now normalized, not to mention that, as witnessed with Sanders, they remain the graveyard of progressive movements.)

In any case, let us continue.

One could read directly or between the lines: “You see, the Democrats actually betrayed the ‘little people!’ They teamed up with big business, and they ruined the middle class. And now, so many good but angry folks will actually vote for Trump, because at least he is honest and he is sick of the establishment…”

Of course I am simplifying, but yes, there was that clear self-congratulatory tone I have written about in so many essays and analyses. Trashing Hilary Clinton, and trashing Democrats, was suddenly in vogue. One writer after another had to demonstrate to the world that he or she is simply too bright to believe that the Democratic Party is still the party left of center, and that it is still the force which is ready to defend the interests of the ‘common people’.

For years and decades, I thought that this was not a secret. The Republicans and Democrats were two sides of the same, crooked coin. Western ‘democracy’ —which never really came anywhere near its promise—was dead, in both North America and Europe. Why this sudden explosion of trivial statements, why this repetition of something that is so obvious, and for such a long time?

And then it hit me, as if a heavy sandbag had crashed on my head: many so-called left-wingers in the West actually do like Donald Trump! They really do! And they truly enjoyed his speech. And if it weren’t so embarrassing, they would put that religious fanatical mask on their face, hug each other, shed a few tears and begin whispering: “Yes we can!”


Yes, obviously the West’s anti-Communist ‘left’ also needs its Messiah. It needs a bunch of good Samaritans as well as those truly bad capitalists who are now suddenly ‘seeing the light’ and ‘changing their course’. It needs ‘popular revolts’.

The similarities are simply beyond amusing. Benito Mussolini Trump – the US President to be? (Source : prince.org)

Most of the West’s left has no ideology, really. It is too cowardly to aim at true revolution, and it is too Western and ‘Christian’ to actually push for internationalist ideas, ideals and solutions. And so it justifies its existence by concentrating on several local social issues, defending the interests of those so-called ‘little people’ who reside predominantly in both Europe and North America.

Now let us be very careful and define this correctly – let me repeat it once again: we are talking about the social issues that are preoccupying the West, and we are talking about the interests of those ‘little people’ living in North America and Europe, and perhaps in Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan (which had already been defined as a ‘honorary white nation’ by South African apartheid).

Africa, the Middle East, Asia, or Latin America: be damned! Nobody in Paris or New York cares about what is being done to those parts of the world. At most, a few people in the West shout, once in a while: “Stop the wars!” Or: “Down with our foreign interventions!” But the tremendous and continuous plunder of the planet by the Empire never really becomes the main concern of the so-called Western left. It is mainly because the entire West benefits from it, including those sacred ‘little people’ (not to be confused with the ‘un-people’, defined as such by George Orwell and inhabiting almost the entire non-Western world).

In his recent outstanding essay “COMMUNIST CHINA vs. CAPITALIST PHILIPPINES vs. IMPERIAL FRANCE”, published on this site and his China Rising blog, my Beijing-based friend and comrade Jeff J. Brown, explained:

Westerners are deluded and brainwashed into believing that thanks to capitalism, they have their great monuments, skyscrapers, plazas, parks, museums, infrastructure, prosperity, luxury and grotesque super-consumption. Wrong. They can live like the Hampshire hogs of humanity, only because of the larcenous extraction and exploitation of 15th-21st century imperialism and colonialism.

So, who suffers the indignities, humiliation and hand-to-mouth existence of capitalism? The 30,000 children who die every day… for a lack of clean water, food, shelter and medical care, along with their surviving family members in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. These 30,000 young innocents, 11,000,000 per year who die like starved rats, really ought to be sacrificed on altars of expropriated super-consumption, their throats slit in ritualistic fashion on the National Mall in Washington, DC; Hyde Park in London and Place de la Concorde in Paris. Ten thousand children in each capital, slaughtered every sunrise, so that Westerners can continue to luxuriate like sated gods and goddesses. It should be the civic duty of every Eurangloland citizen to at least witness it once in their life, if not plunge the knife themselves in a sacrifice’s neck, as atonement for their vulgar excesses.

People like Jeff and I cannot stomach to live in the West, anymore. And those moral and powerful statements, like those above, are constantly censored in the mainstream media. Both of us care about the ‘small people’, we care very much. But we mainly care about the common and small people living all over the world, people who are, somehow, much smaller, much tinier, weaker and more defenseless, that the tiniest ones in the West.

Such issues are not discussed by the US Presidential candidates, or by the would-be leaders in Europe. Such issues are actually taboo. All mainstream politicians in the West are well aware of the fact that their voters (those ‘small people’) do not want to hear anything about the suffering of others, no matter how excessive and monstrous the suffering is (and especially if that suffering is due to the global ‘arrangement’ which sustains astronomically high standards of living in the West, at the expense of impoverished and robbed masses in virtually all other parts of the world).

The West’s ‘small people’ only want to hear about their own misfortunes and ordeals. They want to be pitied. They want a much better deal than the one they are getting these days. If they go to the barricades, it is not to protest against the holocausts which their countries are committing all over the world. It is only to get more, more and more, for themselves, by any means available, and no matter who is really paying the bill.

In his “Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Proles”, Mike Whitney recently argued:

Liberals and progressives love to point across the aisle and accuse their opponents of racism, misogyny and xenophobia, but that’s not what the Trump campaign is all about. And that’s not what Brexit was about. While it’s true that anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in Europe and the US, the hostility has less to do with race than it does jobs and wages. In other words, Brexit is a revolt against a free trade regime in which all the benefits have accrued to the uber-rich while everyone else has seen their incomes slide, their future’s dim and their standard of living plunge.

Donald Trump knows perfectly well how to cash in on those sentiments.

He is promising to make America great again. “America first!”

He creates an imaginary country, which almost resembles a war zone, where cops are not murdering but are being murdered, and where homicide rates have risen sky-high, somehow due to those ‘bad immigrants’ who are destroying both American lives and the country’s resources.

He is naming some of the names of those parents in the US who recently lost their children. He drops three names of the parents… And somehow it works; what he is doing is extremely effective. He is a talented demagogue.

I have encountered thousands of parents who lost their children, in the US-sponsored wars and coups, all over Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. And those I saw were only a handful compared to those millions, tens of millions of the silent victims. But these are not Americans. They should not be ‘first’. They are nothing more than just some insignificant numbers, statistics and yes, ‘un-people’.

Trump’s United States resembles a ‘failed’ state. In many ways it is, of course, but mostly for quite different reasons than he is presenting.

In his speech, he singles out one country, one true ally of the United States – it is Israel. (Both parties are simply repugnant in their wooing of the Jewish vote, especially reactionary Zionist tycoons like Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas magnate Trump is hoping will donate the campaign $100 million in the next few weeks.—Eds.)

He further antagonizes China, calling its actions ‘criminal’. And he insults Iran, a country that had been suffering, for decades and centuries, from Western imperialism and colonialism.

He utters some usual Christian fundamentalist rhetoric, just so no one forgets where he stands in respect to the most aggressive religion, which has been devastating the Planet for so many centuries.

And it goes on and on, it seems that it will never stop, the same as the rain outside the window of my hotel room in Penang.

But it does stop, at some point, as everything in this world usually does. And then the roaring applause comes, and the camera shows some people crying, overwhelmed by emotion. Their leader has just spoken! Their leader just promised to make their country great again. Their leader declared that he is on their side – on the side of the ‘common people’, of hard-working Americans.

And then, almost immediately, the commentaries, analyses begin to appear online.

For some time, I cannot believe what I am reading. Several ‘progressive’ writers and publications are openly, or covertly, expressing their support for a real-estate magnate, who keeps promising to build an impenetrable wall around the United States of America! Yes, really, dudes: Bravo!

The fact that there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, is something that I thought till now has been common knowledge for at least several decades. But it also appears that there is almost nothing that remains of the West’s ‘left!

I kept thinking about what several people recently told me in Beijing, Moscow, Iran and Latin America: “most of the so-called ‘left’ in Europe and the United States actually hates Communists and all socialist countries. It hated the USSR and now it hates China and Venezuela. And Russian as well as Chinese people don’t trust them, anymore; they don’t see them as an ally, but as yet another aggressive threat.”

And now comes Donald Trump, the Messiah! I’m afraid that the consensus among US ‘progressives’ will soon be: in order to damage corporatism and to defeat Hillary Clinton, let’s vote for Donald Trump!” Or is this consensus already there?

Vote for a fascist, vote for someone so clearly, so openly a fascist, in order to defeat market fundamentalism.

I think: “Damn it! No way! Never!”

Fascism and imperialism are two sides of the same coin.

If you really have that neurotic tick that forces you to stick some piece of paper into a box, periodically, every few years, then go and vote for your cat or your neighbor’s bulldog. They’d do a much better job as President. If they are not on the ballot, just add them, with your pen or a marker, then stick the paper in and go home. And you’ll not have to face the judgment and verdict of history, a few years or decades later!

Glyph

Oh, and please, do not forget: both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were fully on the side of their ‘small people’. They wanted them to recover their pride, to get well-paid jobs, all sorts of social benefits. German and Italian trains began to run on time. Hitler began building the legendary Autobahns, and he believed that each German family should own its own automobile. (Volkswagen is not called “the People”s Car” for nothing!).

Both Germany and Italy were to become the greatest countries on Earth.

There was just one tiny detail and, so to speak, a defect throwing a shadow on those ‘noble’ designs: for Germans and Italians to thrive, millions, even tens of millions of human beings had to vanish! They were to be bombed, torn to pieces, gassed, or burned alive. Or forced into abject domination. But it did not matter much, did it? As these people were only lower beings, nothing more.

So long as that white ‘chosen’ race, those ‘supermen’ and ‘superwomen’ got their benefits and pride back, no price was considered to be too high.

If Hilary Clinton gets elected, the world will be on fire. She has demonstrated her ruthlessness, her ability to destroy entire nations. She may even force China and Russia into a military conflict with the West. Corruption will flourish, and the horrific corporatism will continue ruling over the Planet. We know what is ahead!

But the horrors that the humanity would have to endure, if Donald Trump gets elected, are unimaginable. Although, ‘to his credit’, he is honest, and he is providing plenty of hints. Nobody, absolutely nobody who will go and vote for him in November, will be able to later say that he or she ‘did not know’.

Both the choices given to the voters by the US regime are appalling.

But the true choice should not be between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump, but between this profoundly sickening and defunct system, and something totally different and new!

The bottom line is: to vote for either of these two candidates would be unpatriotic, but above all, it would be thoroughly immoral!

Philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, Andre Vltchek has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or Twitter account. 

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During the occupation of Iraq U.S. intelligence and military services contracted CACI International Inc, a U.S. company in Virginia, to provide « intelligence services » in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. CACI employees were directly involved in torturing Iraqi prisoners.

The U.S. army recently contracted CACI for « intelligence analysis services » in Syria. The Syrian government has not invited or otherwise allowed U.S. military or its contractors to enter the country. Any such activities infringe on Syria’s sovereignty and are thereby in violation of international law.

The re-engagement of such a controversial company for services in the area boosts the recruitment appeal of the Islamic State.

A recent U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Press Announcement (Release No: CR-143-16, July 27, 2016) lists under the rubric « Army »:

Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $ 9,578,964 modification (P00001) to contract W564KV-16-C-0058 for intelligence analysis services. Work will be performed in Germany, Italy, and Syria, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2017.

CACI does business under the name Six3 Systems and Six3 Intelligence Solutions. The web-domain six3systems.com reroutes directly to www.CACI.com.


bigger

The announcement was found by Micah Zenko.

As of 2014 CACI, aka Six3 Systems, was still accused of direct involvement in torture and interrogations in Abu Ghraib:

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit against CACI International Inc by four former Iraqi detainees who claimed the U.S. defense contractor’s employees directed their torture at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Writing for a unanimous three-judge 4th Circuit panel, Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan also said Congress has a « distinct interest » in not turning the United States into a « safe harbor » for torturers.

The lawsuit accused CACI employees who conducted interrogation and other services at Abu Ghraib of directing or encouraging torture, in part to « soften up » detainees for questioning, while managers were accused of covering it up.Photos depicting abuse of Abu Ghraib detainees emerged in 2004. Some detainees claimed they endured physical and sexual abuse, infliction of electric shocks, and mock executions.

The re-hiring of this company for services to U.S. forces against Syria and ISIS is of great propaganda benefit for the Islamic State. Some of those who endured treatment by CACI employees will join ISIS to take revenge for their suffering. Relatives of those who were tortured and humiliated by CACI personnal will feel urged to use this chance for retaliation. Islamists in other countries will find motivation in this repeat of « western » denigration of their (religious) honor.

Many leading figures of the Islamic State are former prisoners of U.S. military and intelligence in Iraq. Al-Jawlani, the head of al-Qaeda in Syria aka Jabhat al Nusra, is also a former U.S. prisoner in Iraq. Will these people meet familiar faces when they come into contact with CACI employees in Syria?

The question is not theoretical.

Islamic State media just released video from inside a camp in Jordan which shows U.S. personnal providing military and intelligence training to anti-Syrian-government « rebels ».


(via Anna Ahronheim)

Such training seems to include ideological indoctrination.


(via Hassan Ridha)

Publishing this video is a great Public Relation success for the Islamic State. It is another example of the direct benefit to IS from U.S. military and intelligence activities in and around Syria.

The publishing of the video suggests that the Islamic State penetrated -one way or another- a U.S. training camp in Jordan. Will the « intelligence services » provided by CACI in Syria likewise be open to Islamic State infiltration?

 


Sidenote:

*The contract series W564KV is handled by the 409th Contracting Support Brigade of the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Other contracts in the series seem to relate to general facility management, probably for U.S. bases in Syria. A somewhat similar numbered contract (W564KV-12-C-0058) as the CACI one above was announced in 2012:

Lenoir City, Tenn., was awarded a $17,172,085 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the top secret security guard services. Work will be performed in Germany, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 27, 2017.

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Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Anti-Sanders Conspiracy

juillet 30th, 2016 by Eric Draitser

The release by Wikileaks of a trove of emails from high-ranking Democratic Party officials has confirmed what many Americans – both progressive and conservative – have suspected throughout this election cycle: that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) actively conspired against Bernie Sanders in an attempt to ensure the nomination for Hillary Clinton.

But it wasn’t simply party apparatchiks like the disgraced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the recently resigned Chair of the DNC and close ally of Clinton, but also their trusted cronies in the corporate media who actively collaborated with DNC officials to ensure that nothing too critical of Hillary would make it into the Mighty Wurlitzer of contemptibly ‘respectable’ journalism.  Indeed, what the Wikileaks revelations expose to the world is the fact that there’s nothing democratic about the Democratic Party, or America’s alleged democracy in general.

More specifically however, the question that really must be asked is: why Hillary Clinton?  What is it about this woman that unites nearly the entirety of the political, financial, socio-cultural, and military establishment?  Is it really just hatred of Donald Trump?  Or is there something more insidious, something that makes Hillary the irresistible flame of belligerence and exceptionalism to which the corporate-imperialist moths are slavishly attracted?

From Conspiracy Theory to Conspiracy Fact

For months the sentinels of the liberal media fortress derided all allegations of a DNC conspiracy against Bernie Sanders and the millions of Americans who #FeelTheBern, caricaturing these accusations as no different from the Illuminati-Freemason-Rothschild-Lizard People.  Articles like Bernie Sanders Fans’ DNC ‘Collusion’ Conspiracy Theory is Embarrassing Garbage and Can we please stop with the Bernie Sanders conspiracy theories? were staples of the campaign once it became clear that the Berners were a real political force, and that the Sanders campaign could actually pose a threat to the establishment’s preferred proxy, Hillary Clinton.

And with each new article the level of condescension and derision seemed to increase to the point where Sanders’ supporters had been transformed into the embarrassingly clichéd tinfoil-hat wearers of Alex Jones land.  But here we are, just a few months later, and Hillary Clinton has knelt for her coronation as Queen of the imperial castle.  And in the midst of the insufferable Hollywood endorsements, the amnesiac revisionism, and the identitarian phantasmagoria, something amazing happened on the internet: the conspiracy theories were proven true.

Indeed, the Wikileaks emails show direct interventions against Bernie by the DNC.  For instance, in late May, just three weeks before the all-important California primary, a DNC staffer emailed DNC Communications Director, Luis Miranda, pitching him a story about Bernie’s campaign being “a mess.”  Specifically, the staffer wrote,

“Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess…It’s not a DNC conspiracy, it’s because they never had their act together.”

What is particularly damning about the email is not that Bernie’s campaign was disorganized (entirely plausible), but rather that DNC staffers and communications director were attempting to manufacture and propagate news stories with that narrative, rather than acting as the impartial party functionaries that they shrilly proclaim themselves to be.  In fact, corporate media outlets did indeed pick up parts of that narrative in the days and weeks leading up to the California primary, specifically the fact that Bernie’s campaign was poorly organized in terms of delegate education and other issues.

Even more egregious is the email from Communications Director Luis Miranda to a number of high-ranking DNC officials, including Wasserman-Schultz, in which he notes that the DNC was able to suppress key information from this New York Times article.  Miranda was pleased that he was “able to keep him from including more on the JVF [Joint Victory Fund], it has a mention in there, but between us and a conversation he had with Marc Elias he finally backed off from focusing too much on that.”

This information is quite damning as it’s clear that Miranda, the spokesman for the DNC, deliberately attempted to shield Clinton from media criticism over the highly dubious “joint fundraising venture” the Joint Victory Fund, which is essentially a Hillary-DNC fundraising machine.  While the JVF gets a passing mention in the article, there is no substantive examination of it, nor is there any context or comparison to the Bernie Sanders campaign whose fundraising was almost entirely based on small, individual contributions.  In contrast, JVF included on its list of donors the Pritzker Group, Saban Capital Group, and other major players in finance capital and industry.  Perhaps this information might have been valuable to the American public trying to decide whether to support Bernie or Hillary.

Or how about the Politico reporter who agreed to allow the DNC to review his article about Clinton’s fundraising before it was published?  Does this strike you as real journalism?  In an April 30, 2016 email, National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach wrote to his boss Luis Miranda noting that Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel “gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors…Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

In a sadly predictable, and grossly unethical, move, the DNC seems to have worked out deals with major media outlets that allowed them to censor corporate media stories about the Clinton campaign, or at the very least to slant them so as to make Clinton look like something less than the Voldemort of Wall Street and capital.

But it goes much further, and indeed gets even more unethical, than just collusion between corporate media and the DNC.  The emails also reveal attempts to smear Sanders with quite literally any information that might damage him in key primary states.  For instance, this email exchange between top DNC officials shows that they intended to “get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. [sic] He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”  Clearly, in Kentucky and West Virginia, the DNC wanted to use Sanders’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, against him.  Such tactics are, to put it bluntly, reprehensible.

And of course we could go on and on with dozens of other emails demonstrating the level of collusion within the DNC, and with its media partners, to effectively undermine the Sanders campaign while propping up Clinton.  I guess those arrogant pundits who derisively referred to the “embarrassing conspiracy theories” have some ‘splaining to do.

Why, Exactly, Is Everyone #WithHer?

For veterans of US politics, it should be relatively obvious why Hillary Clinton has been the clear darling of the establishment from the beginning of the race.  And, considering the Democratic Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the financial elites in the US, it almost goes without saying why the DNC would carry water for the Clinton campaign.  Her record really speaks for itself.

Hillary Clinton is an unabashed warmonger, a woman who has demonstrated time and again her willingness to bomb, invade, and destroy nations all over the globe.  From championing her husband’s criminal bombing of Serbia, to supporting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, to being the principal cheerleader for bombing and destroying Libya and Syria, Hillary’s devotion to the military-industrial complex and the mentality of the Cold War is beyond dispute.

While running for Senate in 2000, Clinton explicated her foreign policy outlook when, according the New York Times, “She cited American involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo as examples of foreign engagements she favored on moral and strategic grounds.” And, according to Hillary biographer Gail Sheehy, Clinton proudly proclaimed “I urged [Bill Clinton] to bomb [Serbia].”  One could be forgiven for thinking these are the smug, egomaniacal claims of a sociopath; they are, but they’re also the words of America’s likely next president.

But aside from simply delighting in the death and destruction she can rain down upon weaker nations, Hillary is also the standard-bearer for finance capital and Wall Street.  Her connections to Goldman Sachs and nearly every major bank make her statements about reining in Wall Street both laughable and deeply infuriating; there’s only so much cynicism a country can take.  So, wealthy benefactors like George Soros, the Pritzker family, Haim Saban, and many others fall over themselves to line up behind the First Woman PresidentTM just as they did behind The First Black PresidentTM.

And this point must not be understated.  Identity politics is one of the principal levers by which the Democratic Party keeps liberal America in line.  Never mind that The First Black PresidentTM expanded AFRICOM, killed the single most important African leader, continued the oppression and exploitation of millions of Africans all over the continent, presided over the rapid expansion of drone assassinations, and so much worse; forget all that, I mean, he’s black.  Similarly, Hillary is able to translate her gender into political currency, one that allows the Democratic Party to continue the charade that it is a party for everyone.

And of course, who could forget economic policy?  Clinton represents the best of what Wall Street has to offer.  She is a devout neoliberal, the high priestess of the Church of Free Trade.  She and her husband presided over the passage of NAFTA which has devastated millions of Mexican families while gutting the American industrial base, all the while making superprofits for Big Agribusiness, Big Retail, and big banks.

In effect, Clinton is quite similar to Obama in that both have an insatiable appetite for war and the economic orthodoxy of neoliberalism.  As such, both are the quintessential Democrats: political snake-charmers whose smiles and warm embraces hide the coldness of their hearts, whose devotion to the multicultural rainbow belies their deep hatred of the working class and poor.

And of course, it is imperialism abroad and neoliberalism at home that makes an establishment leader.  It is a reckless disregard for the rights of ordinary Americans, as well as those around the world, that makes one “Presidential.”  It is a deep sociopathy that truly demonstrates that a politician is ready for the office.  So, given that, it would seem that America is indeed #ReadyForHillary.

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US Warplanes Massacre Syrian Civilians Unaccountably

juillet 30th, 2016 by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding US policy has no regard for human life.

High crimes committed globally, notably in its war theaters. Syria is in the eye of the storm, US aggression continuing against a sovereign independent state, now in its sixth year with no prospects for resolution.

On Friday, Damascus responded to US-led “coalition” airstrikes, killing or injuring nearly 100 civilians in the city of Manbij near Aleppo – Obama’s latest atrocity against a beleaguered people.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Damascus “condemns in the strongest terms targeting innocent civilians and infrastructure by the so-called international coalition and (foreign-supported) armed terrorist groups,” citing its Foreign Ministry.

It demanded UN action to stop “attacks and atrocities committed against civilians, calling for bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Commenting on Jabhat al-Nusra’s announcement of changing its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, the ministry described it as a desperate attempt to erase its notorious track record of crimes and bloodletting.

The myth of so-called “moderate opposition” permits “overt support for terrorism roiling Syria and the world.”

US-led deadly airstrikes on civilians along with its death squad mercenaries reflect Washington’s longstanding imperial ruthlessness – raping and destroying countries into submission, puppet regimes replacing sovereign governance, aiming for hegemonic global dominance no matter the human cost.

Over half a million Syrian deaths attest to America’s barbarity – along with millions more in multiple other war theaters post-9/11 alone – a policy of endless carnage, appalling ruthlessness, no end to this in sight.

Separately, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said (US-supported) Jabhat al-Nusra renaming itself to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham won’t change Moscow’s policy to destroy the group entirely.

“(A)ttempts of terrorists to change their image are in vain,” the Ministry said. “No matter (what) it…call(s) itself, (it) has been and remains an illegal terrorist organization…”

It

“has no other aim but to create the so-called Islamic Caliphate through cruel and barbarous methods. Consistent fight against these fanatics will be continued with the support of the world community until they are fully destroyed.”

No so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria exist. All anti-government forces are imported death squads. Operating with foreign support makes conflict resolution unattainable.

It’s time for Syria with the support of Russia to act decisively in waging actions on all terrorist elements in Syria, stepping up operations to eliminate them all – the only way to restore peace and stability.

Diplomacy hasn’t worked and won’t because Washington wants war, not peace until Assad is forcibly ousted.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Turkey’s Nuclear Weapons

juillet 30th, 2016 by Jan Oberg

Turkey is a NATO member, the second largest militarily.

It hosts 50 nuclear weapons at a base about hundred kilometres from the Syrian border – ISIS territory. Each of them with a capacity of up to six times a  Hiroshima bomb.

Great to have them there now, right?

It’s been secular, quite West-oriented, Muslim, European and modern. Different. Diverse. And has wanted to join the EU.

But it was told by Brexit Cameron that it may take more than 3000 years and by French warrior President Sarkozy that it just doesn’t belong.

However, the EU could use it and paid it to get rid of its war-created refugee problem. It pledged its decency and humanity with Turkey.

It’s a very close ally of the U.S. too, but with warming relations to Russia.

Then it falls apart in some kind of strange coup and in 5 days about 60,000 people are purged or arrested, 2300 institutions closed down. One-man rule by decree.

More troubles and violence can be expected down the road. Who will be put in all these people’s place?

But no particular outcry, some ‘worries’ expressed but mostly endorsement of the dictatorial leader.

Imagine the headlines and the words Western politicans and human-rights cheerleaders would speak if it had been Russia or Iran.

No mention of suspension from NATO, or of sanctions.

Don’t worry too much: NATO protects freedom, human rights, democracy and peace as it always has. Oh really?

So of course, it’s stability and militarism before human rights, democracy and freedom. Particularly when a lot is at stake and the strongman is our strongman.

Or perhaps not so much longer?

Jan Oberg

 

 

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Labour Party in Turmoil!”  “Is Labour going to split?”  “The Labour Party is increasingly anti-Semitic”  “45 female Labour MPs tell Corbyn ‘Abuse is in your name’”  “Eagle accuses Corbyn supporters of ‘bullying’ Labour rebels”  “The Breaking of the Labour Party”  “Jeremy Corbyn’s deselection threat means Labour’s civil war is now a fight to the death”….

The strident anti-Corbyn headlines are endless.  Almost every day a new headline drums the message home: Jeremy Corbyn must go.  So many ‘false’ stories.  Take the story of Corbyn ‘threatening rebel MPs with deselection’.  When he launched his leadership campaignCorbywas asked if he could move to deselect unsupportive MPs.  His concise answer was that if proposed constituency boundary changes come into force before the next general election, “there will be a full selection process with every constituency.”

That is the way the rules work, and no, he doesn’t favour changing the rules.  He acknowledged that some Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) may well want to replace their current MP with one whose views support their own.  He also later pointed out that, as Leader, he has no power to intervene, one way or the other.  That is also how the rules work.  Cue a whole set of headlines based on Corbyn’s ‘threats’.

How the very democratically elected Labour leader keeps his cool under this constant onslaught of verbal abuse and false smears being fed into the right-wing media from the very MPs who should be supporting him is a wonder.

His reaction to the nastiness has been called Zen-like. As a person who believes in peaceful dialogue and who never resorts to threats and bullying, he lets it all wash over him, although he did admit to a trade unionist at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival that he worried about the effect it might have on his family.

He’s right to worry.  The pressure will only get worse in the next few weeks as the ‘New Labour’ MPs who are trying so desperately to get rid of Corbyn feed the mainstream media with false stories about him and his many supporters, some of whom have been labelled as dangerous thugs.

The person to whom Corbyn spoke later told a Momentum meeting that she had been approached by the BBC – the reporter wanted to interview Corbyn.  He also wanted to speak to an anti-Corbyn person – ‘for balance’.  Was there an anti-Corbyn person there he could speak to?  At Tolpuddle, the birthplace of modern unionism?  A vain hope.

Stories have been fed to the media from the day Corbyn was elected as leader last September.  Since the pre-arranged and unsuccessful attempt to oust him via a ‘vote of no confidence’, false stories have come thick and fast.

The willing media have been used as a tool by the remnants of Tony Blair’s New Labour.  Media Lens documented how very biased the angles of the headlines and articles have been in their efforts to belittle and smear a politician who is known and respected for his honesty and principles.  The London School of Economics published a damning study into the media coverage following Corbyn’s election last year.

It is a sorry and dirty tale.  As the press refused to even publish details of Corbyn’s tireless travelling across the country, making speech after speech asking people to back Remain in the recent EU referendum, his enemies among Labour MPs were able to dishonestly claim he ‘had not done enough’ to prevent the vote for Brexit.

If the media even bothered to report Corbyn’s reaction to the accusations, it was misreported.  Craig Murray posted a powerful piece giving examples of events where the media reported an entirely different story to what actually happened, usually involving violence and ‘thuggish’ behaviour, if not sexist, misogynist or racist as well.

It really is time that the elite, the politicians and the media caught up with the fact that now just about everything gets filmed by the public on their phones, and they can only deny the evidence by refusing it a space in their papers and on their TVs.

Having been democratically elected, with the largest mandate any UKleader has received, Corbyn refused to resign his position, despite all the pressure from his ‘fellow’ MPs.  Up springs a leadership challenge in the person of Angela Eagle, who then came out with a story that a brick had been thrown through the window of her constituency office (see Craig Murray above).

Eagle, who looks set to be deselected by her constituency party at the next general election, made other mistakes, much to the amusement of the ‘Corbynistas’.  Then another challenger appeared – Owen Smith.  Owen who?  Few Labour members were familiar with the name, but surprisingly, Eagle stepped back and Smith became the sole challenger.

The CLPs are also having a difficult time.  They are expected to nominate their preferred candidate for the leadership election.  But, as Croydon North demonstrates, many CLP anti-Corbyn committees are doing their best to exclude pro-Corbyn members from taking part in the votes.

When Brightonand Hove CLP held its AGM recently it elected a new executive committee, which happened to be pro-Corbyn.  The next day Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) annulled the vote and suspended the branch.  It has also, undemocratically, suspended all constituency meetings across the country until after the leadership election.  Many CLPs are reported to be holding unofficial meetings at the local pub!

A Labour peer, who claims to have supported Corbyn, now says she’s surprised by his lack of energy in shadow cabinet meetings.  Probably because he is working harder and going to many more meetings than she does.  He has also been accused of not having any policies.  In response, former Labour MP Chris Williamson offered this:

His commitment that a future Labour Government would build council houses and regulate private sector rents struck a chord with millions affected by the housing crisis. 

His pledge to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce student maintenance grants was greeted with acclaim by everyone who is dismayed by the commodification of higher education. 

His promise to renationalise the railways and take a stake in our utilities is hugely popular with the vast majority of the British public who are sick of being ripped-off by these privatised industries. 

His determination to substantially increase the minimum wage, invest in hi-tech manufacturing and stop corporations offshoring skilled and semi-skilled jobs is acknowledged as plain common sense. 

His guarantee that a future Labour government would repeal the anti-trade union legislation, clamp down on tax evasion and stop British dependencies being used as tax havens would improve the living standards of millions. 

Funnily enough, Owen Smith appears to have stolen most of them and is now claiming them for his own, as though people wouldn’t know they’d been there all along.  As the Telegraph notes:

The lack of vision in Owen Smith’s campaign means he has had to borrow someone else’s: Jeremy Corbyn.

If this wasn’t enough to cope with, a funder of the Labour Party, a billionaire called Michael Foster (perhaps one of those that Peter Mandelson felt intensely relaxed about being filthy rich) went to court, claiming that the NEC took the wrong decision when it ruled that Corbyn, as the current leader, should automatically be on the ballot paper.

It is worth noting that Foster gave £400,000 to Labour.  But in just two days 183,000 people registered (and paid a fee of £25 to do so) so they could vote for Corbyn.  Many of these were full members of the party who had been denied the vote because they hadn’t been members for long enough – another shameful and undemocratic attempt by the establishment to block Corbyn.

Through these people, many of whom could ill afford the fee, Labour has just been given over £4.5 million.  Beat that, Mr Foster.

Foster lost his case and Corbyn remains on the ballot paper, but one wonders quite what the anti-Corbyn brigade were hoping for.  Having tried to force Corbyn into resigning, they went for a leadership contest.  None of the leaders of the coup could have stood against Corbyn.  They are still too closely linked to Tony Blair and needed someone safer.

With Eagle gone, their ‘safe’ candidate Owen Smith is looking every inch the loser.  Apart from having been a lobbyist for Pfizer and not having much experience as an MP, he also has a long history of making misogynistic remarks – hardly a vote winner except with fellow misogynists.

Had Corbyn been removed from the ballot, the old New Labourites would have automatically found themselves with a leader that probably no one wants.  As it is, if Corbyn wins and remains as leader, they have threatened to force another leadership election next year.  And the year after that.  In fact, they appear quite willing to destroy the party just to rid Westminster of Corbyn.

What is it about this man that so frightens them?  He is not perfect, but perhaps it is simply that his principles are so clear, so unbendable or unbreakable, that he makes these self-important people all look small – which, in competition with someone of his stature, they are.

But what is even more worrying from their point of view is that when this aging, non-egotistical and upright politician speaks, he makes every individual in the huge crowds that he attracts feel and look big.  And every day there are more people joining the crowd.  Labour now has well over half a million members, more than all the other UK parties combined.

People don’t follow Corbyn because they believe he will change the world for them, but because he makes them believe that they can change the world.  And they’ll make a start by changing the Labour Party.

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False Flags Fluttering in the Empire’s Hot Air

juillet 30th, 2016 by The Saker

When I think of the recent developments in the USA (Dallas shooting, Orlando shooting) and Europe (Nice, murdered priest, Germany shooting) I get this unpleasant feeling that something is not quite right.

For one thing, the perpetrators are absolutely ridiculous: pseudo-Muslims who turn out to be drinking homosexuals, ex-patients of mental institutions – the kind of people I call “overnight Muslims”: they all make darn sure to say Allahu Akbar a number of times, but other than that, they have no sign of Islam at all.

In fact, far from being trained Daesh fighters, they are all losers with weak personalities. Exactly the kind of people the special services (and religious sects) like to prey upon because they are weak and easy to manipulate. Oh yes, I know, the good folk a Daesh do end up claiming that the perpetrator is one of them, but that really proves nothing (except maybe that Daesh is desperate to increase its notoriety).

I have no proof of that, of course, but I am getting the very strong feeling that somebody is putting a great deal of effort to scare the bejesus out of the TV-watching crowd. But why? Why would anybody go to the effort to create a completely fictional threat?

And should we really dismiss all the innumerable witnesses who speak of “more than one shooter”? What about the absolutely ridiculous police “overkill” when hundreds of policemen are sent in to deal with one single shooter. Does that not strike you as odd? Am I the only one with the feeling that what is shown to us is a carefully choreographed show?

Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock.com

Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock.com

Then there is the canard about the Islamic threat. Okay, it is true that all these Islamo-terrorists told the cops, and anybody else willing to listen, that they are killing infidels for the greater glory of God. That reminds me of the passports helpfully found in NY on 9/11 (and at the Charlie-Hebdo attacks) or how the alleged Islamic-terrorists of 9/11 left copies of the Quran in the bars were they were getting “lap dances”.

The problem with all that nonsense is that there is exactly zero real evidence that any of these terrorists had any real Islamic education or beliefs. Besides, even if every single one of them turned out to be a deeply religious and pious Muslim, that would hardly prove anything. The IRA was “Roman Catholic” and yet nobody spoke of a “Catholic threat”. True, there is a very real threat to the entire Middle-East from the Daesh crazies (yes, the very same ones whom the US wants the Russians to stop bombing), but there is no evidence whatsoever of any real subordination/coordination between the Takfiris in the Middle-East and the perpetrators of the recent mass murders in the USA and Europe.

The cui bono, of course, immediately points to those interests who desperately want the prop-up the shaky “Islamic threat” myth: the Zionists, of course, but also the Neocon elites in the USA and the EU.

Think of it: their great hope was that Russia would “invade” the Donbass (or, even better, the entire Ukraine) against the Nazi crazies in the Neocons put in power in Kiev. Such a Russian move would have been used as a “proof” that the evil revanchist Russkies are about to rebuild the Soviet Union, invade Eastern Europe and maybe even drive their tanks to the English channel. And if enough people would buy the “Russian threat” theory, they would also have to accept larger military budgets (to further fatten the US MIC) and more US forces deployed in Eastern Europe (where they would provide a much needed, and sometimes only, source of income). Then all the internal problems of Europe could be blamed on, or at least eclipsed by, the Russian threat (in the “Putin wants a Brexit” style). But that irritating Putin did not take the bait and now Europe is stuck without a credible threat with which to terrorize people. NATO, of course, and its prostitute-colonies in the Baltics and Poland, likes to pretend that a Russian invasion is imminent, but nobody really believes this. According to some polls, even the people in the Baltics are dubious about the reality of a Russian threat (forget Poland: a country with a national hero like Pilsudski is a hopeless case).

But then, almost at the same moment when the Neocons came to realize that the Russians were not taking the bait, the steady flow of refugees coming from the Middle-East and Africa suddenly sharply increased, courtesy of the mayhem and chaos created by the Neocon policies in the Middle-East. How long do you think it took the rulers of the Empire to realize the fantastic opportunity this influx of refugees had just created for them?

First, this wave of refugees creates a series of major social problems which all could be used to provide distractions from the massive credibility crisis and economic woes of the EU. No matter how bad the economic indicators are, you can always “hide them” behind a headline like “Refugee rapes 79yo woman at German cemetery” (true case, just click on the link to see for yourself).

Second, just at the time when the ruling comprador elites of the EU are threatened by popular discontent, the refugee crisis creates the perfect pretext to adopt emergency legislation and, possibly, introduce martial law.

Third, the worse the crisis in Europe becomes, the better it is for the US Dollar which becomes the safe(r) currency to run to.

Fourth the more military units, as opposed to regular police forces, are deployed in Europe, the more the Europeans will get used to the notion that “only the military can protect us”.

Fifth, if, at the end of the day, the EU really tanks and riots, uprisings and chaos spread – guess who will show up to “save Europe yet again”? That’s right – Uncle Sam and NATO. Pretty good for an otherwise illegitimate leftover from the Cold War, no?

Ideally, the European population should become polarized between, on one hand, those who pretend they like the refugees are no problem at all, and those who blame everything on them. The more polarized the society becomes, the more there will be a “need” to keep law and order.

Does that all look familiar to you?

Yes, of course, this is also exactly what is happening in the USA with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

While there are plenty of immigrants in the USA, they are mostly Hispanics and Asians who adapt rather well to US society. The good news for the US “deep state” is that Blacks in the USA can very much accomplish the same function as the refugees do in Europe: they are a vocal, mostly deeply alienated minority, with a great deal of pent-up anger against the rest of society which can very easily be set-off to create riots and commit crimes. It is also rather easy to find a few crazies amongst these Blacks to start murdering policemen (the ideal symbol of the oppressive White establishment) and create a sense of crisis acute enough to justify the use of police, National Guard and, potentially, military forces to restore and uphold “law and order”.

Is it really a coincidence that the US Presidential elections features two extremely polarizing figures like Hillary and Trump and that low-levels of violence have already been triggered by the hysterically anti-Trump propaganda of the US corporate media? Just imagine for one second what could happen in the USA if a “lone gunman” was to kill either Hillary or Trump? The society would literally explode and law and order would have to be “restored”.

The modalities might be different, but in both the EU and the USA we now see heavily armed and generally militarized forces in the streets to “protect” us from some exotic and scary threat.

Might that have something to do with the fact that the ruling elites are absolutely hated by the vast majority of Europeans and Americans? Of course it does!

I am convinced that what is taking place is the gradual suppression of the civil society under the pretext of protecting it – us – from some very scary threat. I am also convinced that part of this plan is to polarize our society as much as possible to create civil strife and to hide the real systemic and structural problems of our completely dysfunctional society and discredited and illegitimate political order.

The panem et circenses (bread and games) only works in a society capable of providing enough wealth to its people to enjoy them. But when an Empire is agonized, when its military cannot win wars anymore, when its leader is being ridiculed, when its currency is being gradually weakened and even replaced and when its power is not feared anymore, then the Empire becomes unable to provide the minimal conditions needed to keep its subjects quiet and obedient. At this point the choice becomes simple: either find an external enemy or, at least, identify an internal one. This time around, the AngloZionist found what they think is the perfect combo: a diffuse/vague external threat (Islam) and an easily identifiable internal “carrier” threat (refugees in Europe, Blacks in the USA). The fact that the US government has been planning for various kind of emergency rule or martial law situations for years is not much of a secret (see: National Security Presidential Directive 51 and National Continuity Policy Implementation Plan or Rex84 ) but now there is also evidence that the Germans are also planning for it. In fact, we can be confident that they are all doing it right now as we speak.

The last time around, when the Empire felt the need to regain control over Europe and prevent the election of anti-US political parties to power they engaged in the notoriousGLADIO false flag campaign to neutralize the “Communist threat” (see full documentary here). It appears that the same people are doing the same thing again, but this time against the putative “Islamic threat”. And just to make sure that the common people really freak out, it appears that the AngloZionists have settled on a rather counter-intuitive plan:

1) officially (politicians) condemn any anti-Islamic rhetoric

2) unofficially (media, public figures) warn of an threat of Islamic extremism

3) take some highly visible but totally useless measures (TSA, anti-terror training) to prepare for an Islamic attack

4) covertly but actively foster and support Daesh-like Takfirism in the Middle-East and oppose and subvert those who, like the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrian, really fight it on a daily basis.

What does such an apparently illogical and self-defeating plan achieve? Simple! Itmaximizes fear and polarizes society.

That kind of artificial polarization is nothing new. For example, this is why those who hate Obama call him a socialist (or even a communist) while those who hate Trump call him a fascist (when in reality both Obama and Trump are just the figureheads of different capitalist factions of the same 1% elite).

What our imperial overlords really want is for us to either fight each other or, at least, fight windmills. Look at the American public – it is totally obsessed with non-issues like homosexual marriage, gun control vs “active shooters”, Black Lives Matter vs cops, and the time tested pro-life vs anti-abortion protests. To some minority of Americans these issues do matter, I suppose, but for the vast majority of Americans these are total non-issue, meaningless crap which does not affect them in any way other than through the corporate media. This really reminds me of the Titanic’s orchestra playing while the ship was sinking: the Empire is cracking at all its seams, there is a very real chance of a nuclear war with Russia and we are seriously discussing whether trannies should pee in male or female toilets when in the Target store. This is crazy, of course, but this is hardly coincidental. This is how our leaders want us: terrified, confused and, above all, distracted.

Frankly, I am pessimistic for the near to mid-term future. When I see how easily the “Islamic threat” canard has been bought not only by official propagandists but even by otherwise mostly rational and educated people, I see that 9/11 has taught us very little. Just like a bull in a bullfight we are still willing to go after any red rag put before our noses regardless of who is actually holding that rag or actually making us bleed.

The good news is that regardless of our gullible passivity the Empire is coming down, maybe not as fast as some of us would wish, but fast enough to really worry our rulers. Look at the Israelis – they have already read the writing on the wall and are now in the process of changing patrons, hence their newfound big friendship with Russia – a marriage of convenience for both sides, entered into with both sides holding their noses. Ditto for Erdogan who has apparently decided that neither the EU nor the US could be considered reliable protectors. Even the Saudis have tried, however clumsily and crudely, to get the Russians on their side.

For the time being the “Islamic threat” show will continue, as will the “active shooters”, Black Lives Matter and all the rest of the program brought to us by the Empire. False flags will contiune to flutter in great numbers in the Empire’s hot air.

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This video was aired on Russia’s State TV Network « Russia 1 ».   Click the image to view with complete English subtitles

Click image to view video on vimeo:

 

https://vimeo.com/174777588

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The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

The organized Democrats–the Democratic National Committee–have shown themselves to be even more venal and corrupt than the Republicans. Leaked emails document that the Democratic National Committee conspired with the Hillary campaign in order to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. It is clear that Sanders was the choice of Democratic Party voters for president, but the nomination was stolen from him by vote fraud and dirty tricks.

The DNC and the media whores have tried to discredit the incriminating emails by alleging that the leaked emails resulted from a plot by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in behalf of “Putin’s American agent,” Donald Trump. “A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin,” as the presstitute scum put it.

This diversionary tactic has not worked. Not even Americans are stupid enough to fall for it.

Consequently, the corrupt “leader” of the DNC had to resign and was unable to deliver her speech at the nominating convention from fear of being booed off the stage.

Sanders’ supporters have abandoned Hillary and the fake “Democratic Party.” Probably most of them will vote for the Green Party candidate.

The organized Republicans–the Republican National Committee–and the zionist neoconservatives wanted to block Donald Trump from the nomination just as the DNC blocked Sanders, but could not. The neoconservatives are organizing for Hillary as she is their warmonger and Trump says he is not, but as the Presidential contest is really a contest between the two Republican parties about which gets to be the whore for the One Percent, the RNC, impressed with Hillary’s lack of voter support, seems to be sticking with Trump. Better to be a well-paid whore than to be out in the cold.

In the coming presidential election, the outcome will probably be determined by whether the powerful oligarchic interest groups decide whether Trump is an actual threat or whether they can cosy up to him and rope him in by appointing his government.

Trump’s disability is that no matter how able an individual is, that person cannot simultaneously make themselves a multi-billionaire and be knowledgeable of economic and foreign policy issues. The bald fact is that Trump, if he becomes president, does not know whom to appoint in order to have the support from his government to effect the changes for which his supporters hope he stands.

When a person becomes President, that person doesn’t suddenly become an encyclopedia with full knowledge. The President is dependent on the information flows from his government. If those information flows support the interests of Wall Street, the corrupt “banks too big to fail,” the military-security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (energy, mining, timber), the President’s decisions will support these material interests.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he is opposed to the offshoring of American jobs–a corporate practice that has enriched the One Percent at the expense of the American middle class.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he opposes the fabricated, gratuitous conflict with Russia. Even Americans understand that taking war to a major nuclear power will not end well.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice because he realizes that NATO–an organization whose purpose disappeared 25 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of the coup against Gorbachev by extreme elements of the Soviet Communist Party–now serves as a vehicle and cover for Washington’s aggressions, which are war crimes under the international statutes that Washington created. Washington’s wars benefit some of the One Percent at the expense of both the 99 Percent and millions of innocent peoples in many countries.

What will happen now is that the presstitutes will demonize Donald Trump even more than they have demonized Vladimir Putin. The scum presstitutes will do everything that they can possibly do to make a vote for Trump into an act of treason against America.

Now that the presstitutes have learned that they can tell the most blatant lies–Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasions–without being held accountable, they know that they can lie about Trump.

And they will. To the hilt.

But the presstitutes have lost credibility. A person has to be an imbecile to believe a word that they say.

“Progressives” will wander off the track. They will be turned off by Trump’s stand on immigration, which is where the American people stand. “Progressives” will be worried about whether the ‘fascist” Trump will persecute transgender and homosexual people or revoke the right of women to abort the unborn. To “progressives” this will seem all important as Washington and its NATO vassals hurl the world into nuclear war.

Neither can any intelligence be expected from the defunct American left-wing. The American left-wing supports the official story of 9/11, the excuse for the last 15 years of illegal wars and the American Police State. To find the American left-wing totally allied with the official explanation of what is in reality a false flag event, committed in order that the neoconservatives would have their new Pearl Harbor in order to invade the Middle East, is demonstrable proof that the American left-wing is irrelevant.

The American left interprets 9/11 and subsequent false flag events as oppressed peoples striking back at their oppressors. The emotional satisfaction of this takes the impotent American left-wing out not only of action but of relevance in commentary. The American left-wing has become an asset of the enemy–the neoconservatives who control policy in Washington.

So, where do we stand? The answer is that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than ever before. I know of what I speak. I held the highest security clearances. I was a member of a secret committee that enabled President Reagan to end the Cold War.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can possibly do to avoid the nuclear war that the crazed American neoconservatives are bringing to humanity. For his efforts in behalf of planet Earth he is demonized 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year after year. For simply stating facts, I am described by the presstitutes as “an apologist for Putin.”

The endless lies about Russia have convinced the Russian media that Washington is mobilizing its NATO vassals for an attack on Russia.

Read the transcripts to this Russian media broadcast.

Click image to view video:

 

https://vimeo.com/174777588

If you aren’t scared after absorbing this Russian news broadcast, you are stupid beyond belief. The message is clear: the West has declared war on Russia but is trying to keep Russia off guard by denying it.

The video of the Russian news broadcast also shows the dismissive way the Russian media was treated at the recent NATO conference in Poland. The non-entity representatives of the non-entity countries of Latvia, which has been ruthlessly looted by the West, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, and the Ukraine representative either refuse to speak to the Russian media or use the interview to repeat Washington’s false accusations against Russia. These imbeciles insulting Russia are representatives of countries that Russia could destroy in a few minutes. If these idiots think Washington could save them, they are as stupid as the Polish colonels who thought that the British guarantee in March 1939 meant anything and could save Poland from the rash action of sticking Poland’s fingers in Hitler’s eye. This Polish stupidity provoked by the stupid British set off World War II with the British and French declaration of war against Germany, thus consigning Poland to Soviet rule for a half century. Some guarantee! The imbecile Chamberlain who wanted peace started WWII with Britain’s worthless “guarantee.”

Does it make you feel safe that the arrogant warmongering imbeciles in Washington have convinced a nuclear power the equal of the United States that America is going to attack?

Moreover, Russia is a nuclear power allied with another nuclear power, China, which has had enough of Washington’s imbecilic provocations. Are you willing for “your” government to lead your future into nuclear war with two nuclear powers?

Here we Americans are going into a presidential election and the overpowering fact of our time–that Washington is threatening humanity with nuclear war–is not a subject for discussion! What is the matter with us Americans? Are we stupid beyond all belief? We sit stupidly, thinking that issues of no importance are the most important issues of our time while “our” insane government provokes nuclear war. Have any people in history failed their obligation to this extent? If so, who?

My case rests. There is no countervailing evidence against the fact that unadulterated evil rules the West and is driving the world to extinction. Western democracy is a total failure. Democracy could not prevent the crazed warmonger Hillary from presidential nomination despite the opposition of the American people.

How long can Russia, and China, wait before they conclude that they have to pre-empt the coming attack from Washington? Does anyone, even stupid Americans, think that once Russia and China are convinced that they are targets for attack that they will just sit there and await the attack?

Do peoples as guilty of dereliction of duty as Western peoples are have any right to survive?

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Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!

juillet 30th, 2016 by Prof Michael Hudson

Leading up to Monday’s Democratic Party convention, Hillary chose Blue Dog Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP. This was followed by the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail files showing it acting as the Clinton Campaign Committee even to the point of using the same lawyers as her own campaign to oppose Bernie Sanders.

The response across the Democratic neocon spectrum, from Anne Applebaum at the Washington Post to red-baiting Paul Krugman and the Sunday talk shows it was suggested that behind the Wikileaks to release DNC e-mails was a Russian plot to help elect Trump as their agent. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul lent his tattered reputation to claim that Putin must have sponsored the hackers who exposed the DNC dirty tricks against Bernie.

The attack on Trump was of course aimed at Sanders. At first it didn’t take off. Enough delegates threatened to boo DNC head (and payday-loan lobbyist) Debbie Wasserman Schultz off stage if she showed her face at the podium to gavel the convention to order. The down-note would have threatened the “United Together” theme, so she was forced to resign. But Hillary rewarded her loyalty by naming her honorary chairman of her own presidential campaign! If you’re loyal, you get a pay-off. The DNC was doing what it was supposed to do. No reform seems likely.

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The Democratic machine orchestrated a media campaign to distract attention by attributing the leaks were to a Russian plot to undermine American democracy (as if the e-mails did not show how undemocratic the DNC had operated in stacking the primaries). A vote against Hillary would be a vote for Trump – and a vote for Trump would really be for Putin. And as Hillary had explained earlier, Putin = Hitler. The media let it be known that attacking Wasserman Schultz – and by extension, Hillary’s neocon policies – makes one a Russian dupe. This theme colored the entire convention week.

Endorsing Hillary’s presidential bid on Monday evening, Sanders joined in the chorus that this November will pit Good against Evil – or as Ray McGovern put it on RT’s Cross Talk, at least proxies for Netanyahu vs. Putin. Wall Street Senator Chuck Schumer went on TV to heave a sigh of relief that the party was indeed united together.

Many Sanders’ supporters felt no obligation to follow his obeisance. Many walked out after he closed Tuesday’s state-by-state roll call by throwing his support behind Clinton. Others chanted “Lock Her Up”.

VP Kaine as Hillary’s stand-in if she’s indicted or seems unelectable

The potential “Hillary Republicans” who are turning away from Trump – whose ranks include Mike Bloomberg, the neocon Kagan family (Robert and Victoria Nuland) and William Kristol – far outnumber the Sanders supporters who may stay home or vote for Jill Stein on the Green Party ticket. Hillary sees more votes (and certainly more campaign contributions and future “speaking fees”) from the Koch Brothers, George Soros, Wall Street, Saudi Arabia and the corporatist Chamber of Commerce.

Kaine recently has fought to “free” small and medium-sized banks from being subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. He has long supported the TPP, deregulation of Wall Street, and most everything that Sanders opposes. Appointed as DNC head by President Obama in 2008, he dismantled Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, not bothering to fight Republicans in the South and other solid Republican states. His move let them elect governors who gerrymandered their voting districts after the 2010 census.

The DNC designated these “neglected” states to come first in the presidential
2KillingTheHost_Cover_ruleprimaries. They were the ones that Hillary won. Sanders won most of the swing states and those likely to vote Democratic. That made him the party’s strongest nominee – obliging the DNC to maneuver to sideline him. His criticism of big donors and Citizens United threatens to dry up the source of funding not only for Hillary but also for the DNC. They are going after the money – whose chief providers are Wall Street, neoliberal corporatists and New Cold War neocons.

Bernie’s campaign targeted Wall Street and corporate deregulation (the essence of TTP and TTIP) as the key to the One Percent’s monopolization of income and wealth since Obama’s post-2008 sacrifice of the economy on the altar of rescuing banks and their bondholders. That is why the Wall Street’s Donor Class that controls the Democratic Party machine want to discourage new voter enrollment and turnout. The last thing they want is an influx of new voters advocating real reform. Millennial newcomers are more progressive, born into a generation that has no opportunity to obtain jobs and housing as easily as their parents. So it’s best to keep out independents in favor of the old-time voters with brand loyalty to Democrats.

Demonizing Trump for saying what Bernie Sanders has been saying

Trump made his quip about Russia in what actually was an eloquent and funny press conference.[1] The media took this out of context to depict him as urging the Russians to hack into our e-mails. What he actually said was that if Russia – or China, or somebody “sitting in his bed” – did indeed read Hillary’s State Department and Clinton Foundation dealings, they should do the world a favor and release them to reveal her self-dealing.

Trump is right in saying that there has not really been a recovery for the Rust Belt or for the 99 Percent. Hillary brazens it out by claiming that Obama’s neoliberal economics have helped wage-earners, despite the debt deflation blocking recovery. She promises to continue his policies (backed by his same campaign funders).

That would seem to be a losing strategy for this year’s election – unless the Democrats gain control of the electronic voting machines, especially in Ohio. But the Republicans may decide to throw the election to Hillary, who is fortunate to have Donald Trump as her opponent. Demonized as Putin’s “Siberian candidate,” he has become the Democrats’ unifying force: “Hillary isn’t Trump.”

That’s what voting for the “lesser evil” means. Hillary’s message is: “Even though we support TPP and a New Cold War, at least you’ll have a woman at the helm. Anyway, you have nowhere else to go, because the other side is even more evil!” Her logic is that (1) if you criticize Hillary, you’re supporting Trump; (2) Trump is the Siberian candidate; hence (3) Criticism of Hillary, NATO’s New Cold War escalation or the TPP’s anti-labor treaty and financial deregulation is pro-Russian and hence anti-American.

All that strategists for the One Percent need to do is fund an even worse party platform to the right of the Democrats. So the choice will be between Evil A (economic evil with ethnic and sexual tolerance) and Evil B (without such tolerance).

It doesn’t have to be this way. But Sanders gave up, not feeling up to the task. Having mocked him as a socialist, Hillary is acting as the Joe McCarthy of the 2010s, mobilizing a wave of commie bashing against her Republican opponent.

On Monday leading up to the convention, the Democratic Party’s cable channel MSNBC kept juxtaposing pictures of Trump and Putin. Criticizing Hillary’s neocon stance supporting Ukraine’s military coup is depicted as support of Russia – while other commentators followed President Obama claiming that criticism of TPP means making China the new leader of Asia. The message is that criticizing NATO’s adventurism risks being called a Soviet – I mean, Russian – puppet.

Bernie’s dilemma – and that of other would-be reformers of the Democratic Party

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s I heard labor leaders ask whether there really was nowhere to go except the Democratic Party. Most who joined got co-opted. Instead of moving the Democratic Party to the left, its leadership machine corrupted labor, and in due course the anti-war movement and socialists who joined hoping to move it to the left.

What then is Bernie’s plan to save his followers from being forced to make one compromise after another? The party machine demonizes policies with which Hillary’s neocons disagree, and demand support of NATO escalation and Obama’s (and Hillary’s and Kaine’s) underlying support of the TPP on the pretense that this will help rather than hurt labor. Hillary has denounced Bernie’s socialized medicine on the ground that it is utopian (as if Canada and the eurozone are anti-capitalist utopias).

While Trump sent out tweets and gave interviews about how Hillary and Debbie have screwed Bernie’s supporters, Sanders made no parallel attempt to ask why progressive Democrats didn’t applaud Trump’s assertions that he would wind down confrontation with Russia, that NATO is obsolete and needs restructuring, and his opposition to the TPP. Bernie didn’t seize the opportunity to mobilize non-partisan support for their critique of neoliberal economic policies. He cast his lot with Hillary, contradicting his claim during the primaries that she was not qualified to be president.

After Sanders ended Monday evening’s opening by endorsing Hillary Clinton, the MSNBC camera crew went down to talk to his supporters. They eagerly asked the first one who she would vote for, after hearing Bernie’s endorsement. “For Jill Stein,” the lady said, explaining that there was no way she would vote for Hillary.

The next interview produced a similar result. “I just don’t trust her,” the Bernie supporter said. A third said the same thing. The MSNBC booth tried to save face by assuring viewers that everyone they talked to had said they were going to vote for Hillary. But it sounded hollow. I suspect that viewers didn’t trust the TV media any more than they trusted Hillary.

The problem facing Hillary’s rivals is that she has wrapped herself in the legacy of President Obama. Having shied from criticizing the president, Sanders and his supporters are facilitating what may be a Lame Duck session sellout after the November election. My fear is that Obama will try to “save his legacy” by joining with the Republicans to drive through the TPP, and also may escalate the New Cold War with Russia and China so as to make it easier for Hillary to sign onto these moves.

Selecting Tim Kaine as her running mate means neoliberal, pro-TPP business as usual. Hillary didn’t oppose TPP. She just said she would put in rhetoric saying that its “purpose” was to raise wages – whereas most voters have shown themselves to be smart enough to realize that the effect will be just the opposite.

Yet Sanders endorsed her. Evidently he hopes to keep his position within the Party chairing the Senate Minority Budget Committee, while simultaneously trying to promote a revolution outside the Democrats. I was reminded of a Chinese proverb: When there is a fork in the road, a man who tries to take two roads at once gets a broken hip joint.

This straddle may have led Sanders to miss his big chance to make a difference. He is trying to take two roads at once, continuing to run as an Independent senator while caucusing with the Democrats without being able to block TPP and new Wall Street giveaways and more favoritism to the One Percent he has so eloquently denounced. Revolutions are a matter of timing. As a former YPSL he might have recalled what happened when Trotsky shied from breaking from Stalin after Lenin died early in 1924. Soon it was too late, and all Stalin’s opponents were purged. The moment was not seized.

Bernie has been an effective catalyst in this year’s election campaign. But as in chemistry, a catalyst is not really part of the equation. It merely helps the equation take place. Sanders didn’t say, “Thank god for Wikileaks. It shows that I was right and the DNC needs radical reform.” He left it to his supporters to hold up anti-TPP signs. His new message was “trust Hillary.” But even so, she will not forgive him for being against her before he was for her. He may still end up being marginalized in 2017.

I had hoped that in addressing the convention, Sanders would have said that its aim was not only to elect a president but congresspersons and officials all down the line. He could have mentioned the people he is supporting, starting with Wasserman Schultz’s opponent in Florida’s House race (supported by Obama as well as Hillary).

Bernie’s supporters who walked out on Tuesday have been duly radicalized. But he himself seems akin to be an American Alex Tsipras. Tsipras thought withdrawal from the eurozone was even worse than capitulating to austerity, while Sanders believes that withdrawing from the Democrats and backing a political realignment – perhaps electing Trump in the interim is even worse than Hillary’s pro-Wall street Obama-like agenda.

Matters were not improved when Bill Clinton gave a hagiographic biography of Hillary emphasizing her legal aid work to protect children, without mentioning how the 1994 welfare “reform” drastically cut back aid to dependent children. Madeline Albright said that Hillary would keep America safe, without mentioning Hillary’s promotion of destabilizing Libya and backing Al Quaeda against Syria’s government, driving millions of refugees to Europe and wherever they might be safer.

The many anti-TPP signs waved by Sanders delegates on Wednesday saw Hillary say that she would oppose TPP “as currently written.” This suggests that a modest sop thrown to labor – a rhetorical paste-on saying that the TPP’s aim was to raise living standards. This simply showed once again her sophist trickery at lawyering, giving her an out that she and long-time TPP supporter Tim Kaine were sure to take.

Obama’s brilliant demagogy left many eyes glazed over in admiration. Nobody is better at false sincerity while misrepresenting reality so shamelessly. Probably few caught the threatening hint he dropped about Hillary’s plan for corporations to share their profits with their workers. This sounds to me like the Pinochet plan to privatize Social Security by turning it into exploitative ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Programs). The idea is that wage withholding would be steered to buy into the company’s stock – bidding it up in the process. Employees then would end up holding an empty bag, as occurred recently with the Chicago Tribune. That seems to be the great “reform” to “save” Social Security that her Wall Street patrons are thinking up.

One might think that the Democrats would see the Obama administration as an albatross around their neck, much as Gore had Bill Clinton around his neck in 2000. Gore didn’t want him showing his face in the campaign. Yet Hillary presents herself as continuing the Obama policies with “business as usual,” as if she will act as his third term.

Voters know that Obama bailed out the banks, not the economy, and that Hillary’s campaign backers are on Wall Street. So this year would seem to have been a propitious time to start a real alternative. Hillary is mistrusted, and that mistrust is spreading to the Democratic Party machine – especially as the Koch Brothers and kindred backers of failed Republican candidates find neoliberal religion with Hillary. A third party Green/Socialist run might indeed have taken off – with Sanders stealing Trump’s thunder by pre-empting his critique of TPP, free trade and NATO, adding Wall Street and Citizens United campaign financing.

This fall’s presidential debates

Hillary and even Bernie assured the Democratic convention again and again how much President Obama has revived the economy from the “mess” that Bush left. While Trump centers his disdain on the TPP (much as he knocked Jeb Bush out by saying that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake), he can reply, “What recovery? Have you voters reallyrecovered from 2008?”

Hillary and other speechmakers at the Democratic convention criticized Trump for saying that “things are bad.” But according to the July 13 NBC/WSJ poll, 73% of voters believe that the country is going “off on the wrong track.” If Trump shifts his epithet from simply “Crooked Hillary” to the more nuanced “Crooked Wall Street and their candidate, Crooked Hillary,” he’ll score a ratings spurt.

Debt deflation and shrinking markets over the next two years do not provide much hope for increasing the minimum wage – which wouldn’t help much if one can’t find a job in the first place! By 2018 the continued stagnation of the 99 Percent may lead to a midterm wipeout of Democrats (assuming that Hillary wins this year against Trump), catalyzing an alternative party (assuming that she does not blow up the world in her neocon military escalation on the borders of Russia and China).

The problem with Trump is not mistrust; it is that nobody knows what policies he will back. The media are giving him the same silent treatment they did with Bernie, while accusing him of being in Putin’s pocket. He did admit selling some real estate to Russian nationals. Perhaps some of these gains fueled his presidential campaign …

The solution is not to save the Democratic Party, but to replace it. The debate reminds me of that about the Soviet Union in the 1950s: Is it a degenerated workers’ state, or a Stalinist bureaucratic mutation going the opposite direction from real socialism?

I wonder how many years it will take for Hillary to end up booed so loudly that she has to leave hotels and other speaking venues via their back alleys, much as Lyndon Johnson had to sneak out to avoid the anti-war booers leading up to the 1968 election.

Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host is published in e-format by CounterPunch Books and in print by Islet. He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

Notes

[1] Available on https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHWou0h1kk). This should be seen as an antidote to most media coverage.

For a run-down on Russia-Trump accusations see Lambert Strether, “Hoisted from Comments: Can We Even Know Who Hacked the DNC Emails?Naked CapitalismJuly 28, 2016.

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Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.

As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria.

The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration. (She also may be hoping to corral the votes of Republican neoconservatives concerned about Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)

Last month, the think tank run by Michele Flournoy, the former Defense Department official considered to be most likely to be Clinton’s choice to be Secretary of Defense, explicitly called for “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime.

And earlier this month Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director, who has been advising candidate Clinton, declared in an interview that the next president would have to increase the number of Special Forces and carry out air strikes to help “moderate” groups against President Bashal al-Assad. (When Panetta gave a belligerent speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, he was interrupted by chants from the delegates on the floor of “no more war!”

Flournoy co-founded the Center for New American Security (CNAS) in 2007 to promote support for U.S. war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then became Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama administration in 2009.

Flournoy left her Pentagon position in 2012 and returned to CNAS as Chief Executive Officer.  She has been described by ultimate insider journalist David Ignatius of the Washington Post, as being on a “short, short list” for the job Secretary of Defense in a Clinton administration.

Last month, CNAS published a report of a “Study Group” on military policy in Syria on the eve of the organization’s annual conference.  Ostensibly focused on how to defeat the Islamic State, the report recommends new U.S. military actions against the Assad regime.

Flournoy chaired the task force, along with CNAS president Richard Fontaine, and publicly embraced its main policy recommendation in remarks at the conference.

She called for “using limited military coercion” to help support the forces seeking to force President Assad from power, in part by creating a “no bombing” zone over those areas in which the opposition groups backed by the United States could operate safely.

In an interview with Defense One, Flournoy described the no-bomb zone as saying to the Russian and Syrian governments, “If you bomb the folks we support, we will retaliate using standoff means to destroy [Russian] proxy forces, or, in this case, Syrian assets.”  That would “stop the bombing of certain civilian populations,” Flournoy said.

In a letter to the editor of Defense One, Flournoy denied having advocated “putting U.S. combat troops on the ground to take territory from Assad’s forces or remove Assad from power,” which she said the title and content of the article had suggested.

But she confirmed that she had argued that “the U.S. should under some circumstances consider using limited military coercion – primarily trikes using standoff weapons – to retaliate against Syrian military targets” for attacks on civilian or opposition groups “and to set more favorable conditions on the ground for a negotiated political settlement.”

Renaming a ‘No-Fly’ Zone

The proposal for a “no bombing zone” has clearly replaced the “no fly zone,” which Clinton has repeatedly supported in the past as the slogan to cover a much broader U.S. military role in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Panetta served as Defense Secretary and CIA Director in the Obama administration when Clinton was Secretary of State, and was Clinton’s ally on Syria policy. On July 17, he gave an interview to CBS News in which he called for steps that partly complemented and partly paralleled the recommendations in the CNAS paper.

“I think the likelihood is that the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground,” Panetta said, “to try to assist those moderate forces that are taking on ISIS and that are taking on Assad’s forces.”

Panetta was deliberately conflating two different issues in supporting more U.S. Special Forces in Syria. The existing military mission for those forces is to support the anti-ISIS forces made up overwhelmingly of the Kurdish YPG and a few opposition groups.

Neither the Kurds nor the opposition groups the Special Forces are supporting are fighting against the Assad regime.  What Panetta presented as a need only for additional personnel is in fact a completely new U.S. mission for Special Forces of putting military pressure on the Assad regime.

He also called for increasing “strikes” in order to “put increasing pressure on ISIS but also on Assad.” That wording, which jibes with the Flournoy-CNAS recommendation, again conflates two entirely different strategic programs as a single program.

The Panetta ploys in confusing two separate policy issues reflects the reality that the majority of the American public strongly supports doing more militarily to defeat ISIS but has been opposed to U.S. war against the government in Syria.

poll taken last spring showed 57 percent in favor of a more aggressive U.S. military force against ISIS. The last time public opinion was surveyed on the issue of war against the Assad regime, however, was in September 2013, just as Congress was about to vote on authorizing such a strike.

At that time, 55 percent to 77 percent of those surveyed opposed the use of military force against the Syrian regime, depending on whether Congress voted to authorize such a strike or to oppose it.

Shaping the Debate

It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for figures known to be close to a presidential candidate to make public recommendations for new and broader war abroad. The fact that such explicit plans for military strikes against the Assad regime were aired so openly soon after Clinton had clinched the Democratic nomination suggests that Clinton had encouraged Flournoy and Panetta to do so.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia)

The rationale for doing so is evidently not to strengthen her public support at home but to shape the policy decisions made by the Obama administration and the coalition of external supporters of the armed opposition to Assad.

Obama’s refusal to threaten to use military force on behalf of the anti-Assad forces or to step up military assistance to them has provoked a series of leaks to the news media by unnamed officials – primarily from the Defense Department – criticizing Obama’s willingness to cooperate with Russia in seeking a Syrian ceasefire and political settlement as “naïve.”

The news of Clinton’s advisers calling openly for military measures signals to those critics in the administration to continue to push for a more aggressive policy on the premise that she will do just that as president.

Even more important to Clinton and close associates, however, is the hope of encouraging Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have been supporting the armed opposition to Assad, to persist in and even intensify their efforts in the face of the prospect of U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria.

Even before the recommendations were revealed, specialists on Syria in Washington think tanks were already observing signs that Saudi and Qatari policymakers were waiting for the Obama administration to end in the hope that Clinton would be elected and take a more activist role in the war against Assad.

The new Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, however, made a statement on July 13 suggesting that Turkish President Recep Yayyip Erdogan may be considering a deal with Russia and the Assad regime at the expense of both Syrian Kurds and the anti-Assad opposition.

That certainly would have alarmed Clinton’s advisers, and four days later, Panetta made his comments on network television about what “the next president” would have to do in Syria.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

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Desde varias semanas circula en la red un llamado colectivo suscrito por una gran cantidad de profesores de derecho internacional, asistentes e investigadores, titulado “Contra una invocación abusiva del derecho de legítima defensa para hacer frente al terrorismo” (A plea against the abusive invocation of self-defence as a response to terrorism  / Contre une invocation abusive de la légitime défense pour faire face au défi du terrorisme).

Entre los suscriptores, que ya llegan a los 230 profesores y a medio centenar de asistentes/investigadores (véase la lista disponible  aquí  al 28 de julio, regularmente actualizada por el Centre de Droit International de l´Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB), encontramos a renombrados miembros de la comunidad académica del derecho internacional, así como a  docentes e investigadores mucho más jóvenes provenientes de diversas partes del mundo.  El objetivo de este manifiesto colectivo consiste en denunciar la invocación abusiva del argumento jurídico de la legítima defensa por parte de los Estados  en el contexto de la lucha contra el denominado “Estado Islámico” (más conocido por sus siglas ISIS, EJIL o Daesh).

La legítima defensa en la Carta de San Francisco de 1945

Como bien se sabe, la Carta de Naciones Unidas es extremadamente clara con relación a la única excepción a la prohibición del uso de la fuerza consagrada como tal desde 1945: la legítima defensa (y las operaciones militares realizadas con la aprobación del Consejo de Seguridad bajo el Capítulo VII de la Carta). No obstante, desde el 11/S, diversas interpretaciones hechas por Estados Unidos y por sus aliados con relación a la noción de legítima defensa intentan justificar legalmente acciones militares unilaterales o colectivas en el territorio de otros Estados, sin contar con el consentimiento previo de sus autoridades.  La compilación sistemática de cada bombardeo registrado en Siria y en Irak por parte de la denominada “coalición” liderada por Estados Unidos  (véase los  ilustrativos gráficos  realizados por la ONG Airwars.org) evidencia que las bombas que caen en suelo sirio e iraquí provienen en su inmensa mayoría de aeronaves norteamericanas. Al revisar con detenimiento la figura 9, para el único mes de julio del 2016 (al corte del 25 de julio), se contabilizan en Siria 4414 bombardeos norteamericanos y 249 realizados por los miembros de la “coalición” (la cual cuenta con nueve integrantes, a los que hay que restar Canadá desde febrero del 2016).

En una reciente nota publicada en el sitio del European Journal of International Law (EJIL) sobre este mismo llamado colectivo, se lee que: “Particularly since 9/11, several States have supported a broad reading of the right to use force in self-defence, as allowing them to intervene militarily against terrorists whenever and wherever they may be. A consequence of that conception is that any State could be targeted irrespective of whether that State has ‘sent’ the irregular (in this case terrorist) group to carry out a military action or has been ‘substantially involved’ in such an action” (Nota 1).

Las extrañezas de la diplomacia francesa

El uso de la fuerza de un Estado (o de una coalición de Estados) amparado en el ejercicio de la legítima defensa solo se puede realizar de conformidad las reglas vigentes en el ordenamiento jurídico internacional, y las interpretación de estas hecha por la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ),  en particular en cuanto al alcance exacto de las disposiciones de la Carta de Naciones Unidas. Sobre este punto en particular, es de recordar que los delegados de Francia presentaron un sorprendente proyecto de resolución a sus homólogos en el Consejo de Seguridad días después de los atentados de Paris del 13 de noviembre  del 2015  (véase el texto completo  de la « blue version » circulada entre las delegaciones)  evitando toda referencia a la Carta en su parte dispositiva: se trató, sin lugar a dudas, de una verdadera “première” de la diplomacia francesa en Naciones Unidas que ameritaba, como mínimo, ser señalada como tal (Nota 2). Como nos permitimos escribirlo en su momento en las páginas del sitio jurídico Derecho al Día (Costa Rica), “… en la ciencia del derecho, la ambigüedad de los términos y la confusión que conlleva su uso son particularmente útiles cuando las reglas son claras. Resulta evidente la prontitud con la que los delegados de Francia intentaron justificar desde el punto de vista jurídico sus acciones militares en Siria, obviando el hecho que la resolución adoptada no refiere expresamente a acciones militares, las cuales solamente pueden ser las previstas en el Capítulo VII de la Carta” (Nota 3).

También tuvimos la oportunidad de analizar en una breve nota   (titulada “Francia en guerra: breves apuntes desde la perspectiva internacional” publicada el 25/11/2015 en la Revista Pensamiento Penal, Argentina) el juego de palabras al que Francia procedieron las autoridades francesas de manera muy sutil días después del atentado de París del 13 de noviembre del 2015, recordando extrañamente lo oído en Estados Unidos en el 2001 después del 11/S:

Lo que podríamos denominar un sutil “glissement sémantique” al que ha procedido Francia en días recientes responde en gran medida a la necesidad de justificar (de manera un tanto retroactiva …) sus bombardeos del 27 de setiembre y los realizados después del 13 de noviembre. El representante francés en Naciones Unidas el pasado viernes 20 de noviembre fue muy explícito al respecto, después de aprobada una resolución por parte del Consejo de Seguridad (resolución 2239 (2015) adoptada de forma unánime por el Consejo de Seguridad): “Cette résolution encadre notre action dans le cadre du droit international et dans le respect de la Charte des Nations Unies qui est notre bien commun, qui est notre trésor commun. Il offre aussi une garantie de lutte efficace contre le terrorisme transnational. Les attentats du 13 novembre ont constitué une agression armée contre la France. Nos actions militaires dont nous avons informé le Conseil de sécurité dès l’origine, qui étaient justifiées par la légitime défense collective, peuvent désormais se fonder également sur la légitime défense individuelle conformément à l’article 51 de la Charte des Nations Unies » (ver texto del discurso pronunciado). Es de recalcar que lo que no dice el representante de Francia, es que las referencias expresas a la misma Carta de las Naciones Unidas incluidas en la resolución 2249 (ver texto en francés al final de este enlace ) se deben a las enmiendas propuestas por Rusia al texto original propuesto por la delegación francesa”.

La nota precitada nuestra fue ilustrada con una foto en la que el Presidente galo aparece posando con el primer diplomático que vino a visitarlo personalmente después de los atentados del 13 de noviembre: el Secretario de Estado norteamericano John Kerry (17 de noviembre). El primer destino  en el exterior del mismo presidente se daría días después (el 24 de noviembre del 2015) en su visita a su homólogo en Washington.

El llamado inequívoco de los especialistas en derecho internacional

El texto de este llamado de la comunidad académica del derecho internacional, que han suscrito  diversos especialistas en derecho internacional y sus mentores (texto disponible aquí  en francés, en inglés, en portugués, en español y en árabe) considera, entre otros puntos que:

« De esta manera, ha sido justificado, en nombre de la legítima defensa, un número importante de intervenciones militares, como aquella contra Al-Qaida, el Levante (EIIL, también conocido como Daesh), o contra grupos afines. Si bien algunos Estados han minimizado dichos precedentes por su carácter excepcional, existe un gran riesgo que el derecho de legítima defensa se transforme rápidamente en una llave que permita justificar de manera sistemática el origen de acciones militares en todas las direcciones y en forma unilateral.  Ahora bien, sin oponernos por principio al uso de la fuerza contra los grupos terroristas – particularmente en el actual contexto de la lucha contra Daesh – nosotros, profesores e investigadores en derecho internacional, estimamos que dicha invocación creciente del derecho de legítima defensa es objetable. El derecho internacional prevé en efecto una serie de medidas para luchar contra el terrorismo que deberían ser utilizadas previo a la invocación de la legítima defensa ».

Para los firmantes del texto,

«… el terrorismo representa un desafío en lo concerniente a su prevención y represión, en particular esto implica la persecución y el juzgamiento de los autores de dichos actos terroristas. Las herramientas que ofrece el derecho en ese sentido son variadas: ellas hacen referencia principalmente a una cooperación policial et judicial, que posee como principal objetivo la represión de los crímenes cometidos y la prevención de su repetición. Si bien dicha cooperación merecería ser profundizada y mejorada, ella ha demostrado su eficacia en varias ocasiones, a través del desmantelamiento de redes, desbaratamiento de atentados o de la detención de sus autores. El hecho de situarse en forma inmediata en el plano de la “guerra contra el terrorismo” y la “legítima defensa”, haciendo referencia generalmente a un estado de excepción derogatorio del derecho común, podría desembocar en el riesgo de minimizar, olvidar o inclusive ignorar este último”.

Cabe señalar que académicos e investigadores en derecho internacional pueden aún suscribir este texto, ello hasta el próximo 31 de julio.  El documento recuerda algunas verdades sobre el alcance preciso de ciertas reglas, que conocen perfectamente bien los diplomáticos en Nueva York, pero cuyos homólogos en el Consejo de Seguridad se han encargado de interpretar de manera ambigua, en particular desde el inicio de las operaciones militares aéreas en  Siria (Nota 4).

Este verdadero manifiesto global en favor de una interpretación correcta de la Carta de 1945 precisa que:

« … es el Consejo de Seguridad a quien le incumbe, conforme al Capítulo VII de la Carta de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, la responsabilidad primordial en el ámbito del mantenimiento y el restablecimiento de la paz. Este último ha calificado en diferentes oportunidades al terrorismo internacional como una amenaza contra la paz y resulta lógico que, exceptuando los casos de urgencia que no permitan disponer del tiempo suficiente para su tratamiento, sea dicho órgano el responsable de decidir y, posteriormente, coordinar y supervisar una acción eventual de seguridad colectiva. La práctica consistente a confinarlo a un rol de productor de resoluciones ambiguas y con un alcance principalmente diplomático, como por ejemplo en el caso concerniente a la adopción del a resolución 2249 (2015) relativa a la lucha contra Daesh, debe ser superada en beneficio de un retorno a la letra y espíritu de la Carta, en orden a asegurar un punto de vista multilateral de la seguridad. /…/ El simple hecho que el Estado sea, a pesar de sus esfuerzos, incapaz de dar término a los actos terroristas en su territorio, no puede ser suficiente para justificar el bombardeo de su territorio sin su consentimiento. Dicho argumento no encuentra justificación alguna en los textos jurídicos existentes, ni en la jurisprudencia establecida por la Corte Internacional de Justicia. Su aceptación implicaría llevarnos a los abusos más graves y, como consecuencia de ello, las operaciones militares podrían llevarse a cabo contra la voluntad de un número importante de Estados, bajo el único pretexto que estos último no serían, a la vista la potencia interviniente, suficientemente eficaces en la lucha contra el terrorismo.».

Con relación al otro Estado del hemisferio americano que ha acompañado a Estados Unidos en su campaña de bombardeos aéreos en Siria, en febrero del 2016, las nuevas autoridades electas en Canadá optaron por suspender todos los bombardeos aéreos en Siria, y también en Iraq. En esta   nota oficial  de las Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) se lee que:

In accordance with Government of Canada direction, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria on 15 February 2016. From their first sortie on 30 October 2014 to 15 February 2016, the CF-188 Hornets conducted 1378 sorties resulting in 251 airstrikes (246 in Iraq and 5 in Syria), expended 606 munitions and achieved the following effects: 267 ISIL fighting positions, 102 ISIL equipment and vehicles, and, 30 ISIL Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and ISIL storage facilities”.

Cabe mencionar que en el 2015, un jurista canadiense concluyó un muy completo artículo sobre las bases jurídicas de los bombardeos aéreos canadienses en Siria y en Irak en los siguientes términos, que nos permitimos reproducir:

However, there is a further legal hurdle for Canada to overcome. Unless Canada can attribute ISIS´ attacks in Iraq to Syria, then the question becomes whether Canada may lawfully target ISIS, as a nonstate actor in Syria’s sovereign territory, using the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine to prevent ISIS’ extraterritoriality attacks against Iraq. This justification moves significantly away from the Nicaragua, Congo and Israeli Wall cases’ requirement for attribution. There appears to be a lack of consensus on whether opinion juris and state practice have accepted the “unwilling or unable” doctrine as customary international law. There is no escaping the conclusion that Canada’s air strikes on Syria are on shaky, or at least shifting, legal ground ” (Nota 5).

Con relación a las muertes y daños a la población causados por estos bombardeos aéreos cuya legalidad es altamente cuestionable, se lee en un reciente  informe  de junio de 2016 dedicado a analizar los regitros oficiales militares de Estados Unidos en Siria lo siguiente:

This raises concerns that important, corroborating information was either never identified or discounted with little justification, a concern confirmed by a comparison to an investigation by Airwars into one of the strikes involved, which demonstrates that open source data was overlooked. As a result of these apparent shortcomings, it is highly likely that there is a significant amount of information regarding civilian harm and its strategic impact that the United States simply does not know”(p. 55).

A modo de conclusión

Este manifiesto colectivo, ampliamente difundido en redes  sociales y universitarias,  y en algunos medios de prensa en Europa y Canadá, viene también a  poner en evidencia la existencia de una comunidad académica de especialistas en derecho internacional, unida y dispuesta a demostrarlo cuando un grupo de Estados optan por una peligrosa deriva interpretativa que amenaza la base del ordenamiento jurídico internacional consagrado desde 1945.

Los firmantes del llamado colectivo, cuyo número aumenta día con día, incluyendo a académicos de muy diversas edades y partes del mundo, concluyen reafirmando de manera solemne que:

«El orden jurídico internacional no puede reducirse a una lógica intervencionista similar a aquella que hemos conocido previo a la adopción de la Carta de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Esta última tuvo como principal objetivo substituir las operaciones militares unilaterales por une sistema multilateral basado en la cooperación y en el role primordial del derecho y las instituciones. Sería dramático que, sobre la base de la emoción comprensible que genera la multiplicación de los atentados terroristas, terminemos por olvidar dichas características ».

 Nicolas Boeglin

 

 

Nota 1: Véase CORTEN O., « A Plea Against the Abusive Invocation of Self-Defence as a Response to Terrorism”, European Journal of International Law (EJIL Talk), July 14, 2016, disponible  aquí .

Nota 2: Véase nuestra modesta nota publicada en Francia,  BOEGLIN N., «Attentats à Paris: remarques à propos de la résolution 2249 », Actualités du Droit, 6 décembre 2015, disponible  aquí . La misma fue publicada en español unos días antes en el sitio de Voltaire.net.org bajo el título, “La Resolución 2249 no autoriza a bombardear Siria”, 3 de diciembre del 2015, disponible aquí. También remitimos a lector a la nota redactada después del debate parlamentario acaecido en el Reino Unido a finales de noviembre del 2015 que concluyó con la autorización al Ejecutivo británico para proceder a  bombardeos en Siria: BOEGLIN N. «Arguments based on UN resolution 2249 in Prime Minister´s report on airstrikes in Syria: some clarifications needed », Global Research, December 3, 2015, disponible aquí  así como en el sitio de Human Rights Investigation, December 4, 2015, disponible aquí .

Nota 3: Véase nuestro breve análisis, BOEGLIN N., “Francia en guerra: breves apuntes desde la perspectiva del derecho internacional”, Derecho al Dia, 26 de Noviembre del 2015. Texto de la nota disponible aquí.

Nota 4: Sobre la controvertida noción de Estado « unwilling or unable » que justificaría, para algunos diplomáticos y militares, operaciones militares en su territorio sin contar con el consentimiento previo de sus autoridades, véase: CORTEN O., “The ‘Unwilling or Unable’ Test: Has it Been, and Could it be, Accepted?”, Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016. Texto y referencias del artículo disponibles aquí .

Nota 5: Véase LESPERANCE R.J. , “Canada’s Military Operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Law of Armed Conflict”, Canadian International Lawyer, Vol. 10 (2015), pp. 51-63, p. 61. Texto completo del artículo disponible  aquí .

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Middle-East-Map-460x319

The Neo-Con “West” And Global Destruction. A “New World Order” of Globalized Despair

By Mark Taliano, July 29 2016

The neo-con “West” and its allies want to destroy the Middle East so that they can control the Middle East. Under the auspices of their imperial “New Middle East” project, the criminals (U.S–led NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel, are targeting everything that they falsely profess to cherish.

Map-Ocean-World

A Decade of Evidence Demonstrates The Dramatic Failure Of Globalisation

By Graham Vanbergen, July 29 2016

According to wikipedia, Globalisation is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. However, over the last ten years there has been a sea change decline in all the indicators that would measure the success of this model.

hillary-clinton-for-war

A New Low in US Presidential Politics: The Anointment of Hillary, the Neocon “War Goddess”

By Stephen Lendman, July 29 2016

Anointing her by electoral rigging to lead one wing of America’s duopoly system reveals the deplorable state of the nation – tyranny posing as democracy. A new low in presidential politics was reached with a candidate representing Washington’s lunatic fringe, a neocon war goddess drooling for endless conflicts.

Sino-Filipino dispute

Former American Colony Takes Center Stage In South China Sea Dispute

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, July 29 2016

The Philippines was under American colonial rule from 1898 to 1946. Despite gaining independence, the island nation is now being used as a tool to apply pressure on China, America’s biggest rival in the South China Sea.

sugar_pile_735_350

Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU

By Colin Todhunter, July 29 2016

Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report.‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest among lowest socio-economic groups.

Religions dans le monde

The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

By Robert J. Burrowes, July 29 2016

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

 

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Anointing her by electoral rigging to lead one wing of America’s duopoly system reveals the deplorable state of the nation – tyranny posing as democracy.

A new low in presidential politics was reached with a candidate representing Washington’s lunatic fringe, a neocon war goddess drooling for endless conflicts.

If elected, Hillary risks committing greater high crimes of state than her predecessors, including possible nuclear war – why it’s crucial to defeat her in November. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.

Her Thursday night acceptance speech was what you’d expect – featuring rambling lofty rhetoric, dreary and dull pontificating, empty promises, an unprincipled display of dishonesty.

Claiming “economic and social justice issues (are) front and center where they belong” on her agenda belies her record as a corrupt lawyer, first lady, US senator, secretary of state and influence-peddler to the highest bidders through the Clinton Foundation, for self-aggrandizement and wealth enrichment.

Hillary represents a new low in US politics, featuring unrestrained imperial lawlessness, endless wars of aggression, risking WW III by confronting nonexistent Sino/Russian threats, serving monied and warmongering interests exclusively, along with ignoring the welfare and concerns of ordinary people.

Defeating her presidential ambitions tops all other priorities for people everywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. » 

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Attacks on doctors, teachers and agricultural advisers were also a deliberate Contra tactic encouraged by their U.S. advisers.

The internationalists. Some may consider them simply tourists. I don’t know how they are looked upon in official U.S. circles. Reagan calls them ‘terrorists.’ Of course, they do terrify him, and rightly so. The internationalists in the field of culture, health, construction, information … internationalists in solidarity, to put it simply. In the chapel in the little settlement of Santa Clara a Delegate of the Word defined them clearly: `The internationalists internationalize love.’
—Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga

In the 1980s many thousands of people from all over Europe and North America traveled to Nicaragua to demonstrate their solidarity with the Nicaraguan Revolution led by the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN). They joined women and men from all over Latin America and the Caribbean who also rallied in a great wave of solidarity defending Nicaragua’s revolution against the terrorist aggression of the U.S. government under President Reagan. For people in North America, the foremost figure of that solidarity is Benjamin Linder, who was murdered by U.S. armed and supported Contra fighters in 1987. Less remembered are European martyrs like Albrecht Pflaum from Germany and Pierre Grosjean from France, both doctors, who were murdered in separate Contra attacks in 1983. 2016 marks thirty years since the deaths in 1986 of five other Europeans. Maurice Demierre, Joël Fieux, Ambrosio Mogorrón, Yvan Leyvraz and Berndt Koberstein. It is worth remembering these people now because their example and vision entirely contradict what Europe has become under the misrule of the European elites.

Pierre Grosjean and Albrecht Pflaum

Pierre Grosjean and Albrecht Pflaum

Maurice Dèmierre was a Swiss agronomist working in rural areas of Nicaragua’s north western department of Chinandega. From a devout Catholic family, Maurice was sentenced to three months in prison as a conscientious objector against his country’s national military service. He was 28 when his vehicle set off a couple of U.S. Claymore mines on Feb. 16, 1986. The explosion killed Maurice and five of his Nicaraguan passengers. Such incidents were very common in Nicaragua because the U.S. government encouraged the Contra fighters it armed and trained to deliberately target civilians so as to create fear and paralyse normal social and economic activity.

Among the most notorious of these attacks were one near San Juan de Limay and another near San Jose de Bocay destroying public transport vehicles and murdering almost 60 people all told, leaving dozens wounded. Attacks on doctors, teachers and agricultural advisers were also a deliberate Contra tactic encouraged by their U.S. advisers.

Ambrosio Mogorron was a Basque doctor in the area around San Jose de Bocay in northern Jinotega one of the most intense war zones at the time. He too, like Maurice Dèmierre, died on May 24, 1986 along with 9 others when a U.S. anti-tank mine detonated under his pick-up vehicle, carrying 12 Nicaraguans, while he was helping organize a vaccination campaign in the many remote communities around San José de Bocay. His Nicaraguan co worker Senia remembers,

“When we brought the bodies to San José de Bocay it was night time. People resisted believing it was Ambrosio and kept lifting the coffin cover to be sure it was him, with much weeping. They brought him every kind of flower. If the Contra had any support in the area it certainly fell away with Ambrosio’s death.”

At the time he died Ambrosio had been working for years accumulating data on leishmaniasis, the much feared disease better know as “mountain leprosy” and had accumulated analysis of around 2500 cases in the region.

Maurice Demierre and Ambrosio Mogorron

Orlando Rizo was the regional director of health in those days and recalls “Ambrosio was indeed what you might call a popular leader. I don’t think the Contra respected him. They respected nothing and their Radio “September 15th” had threatened him. But it’s quite possible he gave medical attention to family members of Contra fighters. It’s normal for us to do that in certain areas if the family turns up for a consultation. For us, Ambrosio symbolized life. He had three qualities, a deep conviction of the cause of the people and what it meant to work, live and if necessary die for that cause. Then his bravery, working for six years in really difficult circumstances and, finally, his humility. He was an example for all of us.”

In the deadliest attack involving European volunteers, five people were killed when their vehicle was ambushed near Zompopera in northern Nicaragua on the way south to Matagalpa. This attack killed Yvan Leyvraz, Joël Fieux and Berndt Koberstein as well as their Nicaraguan comrades, Mario Acevedo and William Blandón. Yvan, 31 when he died, was an electrician from Lausanne, Switzerland. He had left his country objecting to its policy of national military service and traveled through Latin America before arriving in Nicaragua in 1983. For a while Yvan worked around the town of La Dalia. A woman Nicaraguan cooperative member remembers, “Here in the country around Yale we’d never seen a housing project for people in poverty. It was something unusual, seeing the effort those comrades made to build 42 houses and the school. People were grateful for that help since we’d never had it before. Yvan finished the project here and went to build projects elsewhere while we continued finishing building the settlement. At the same time in La Dalia we trained a group of workers to coordinate with the brigade of Swiss workers. When Yvan left, people were ready to carry on building.”

Berndt Koberstein, 29, was a German mechanic from Freiberg, then in East Germany, who first came to Nicaragua in 1981 to help install a printing press for the Sandinista Youth. Very active in his local communist party in Germany, Berndt intensified his solidarity work after the murder of Albrecht “Tonio” Pflaum in 1983. He returned to Nicaragua to work in the town of Wiwilí in northern Jinotega installing drinking water systems for local people there. When the vehicle Berndt and his companions traveled in was attacked, Berndt was unarmed and was shot dead during the combat. Yvan Leyvraz was killed by a rocket propelled grenade as he tried to get out from the vehicle under fire. Joël Fieux took a weapon and fired back at the Contra attackers until he too was shot dead.

Yvan Leyvraz, Joel Fieux and Berndt Koberstein

From France, Joël Fieux, a communications worker, was 28 when he died. He had left France to avoid military service there in 1980 and settled in Nicaragua in 1983. Joël’s partner Fatima remembers,

“We were good friends and accomplices too, as well as being a couple. He liked the country life, friendships with rural people, getting to know rural idiosyncrasies and problems… He was never afraid of getting involved in the difficulties of the war and getting out to the farthest corners of the region around Jinotega and Matagalpa, setting up radio communications for the people facing the brunt of the Contra war…I don’t want to talk about his absence because I prefer having his presence here in my heart and I think many people feel the same as me, remembering his way of being. For some he was a teacher, for others an unruly worker, a dreamer, a great cook who loved his food, a great friend, and for me, my great love.”

At Ben Linder’s funeral in Matagalpa in 1987 following his murder in La Camaleona near San José de Bocay, Daniel Ortega said,

“From La Camaleona where the mercenaries murdered him following the plans of the CIA , to El Cuá, Río San Juan, Oregon and Washington, the song full of love, full of peace, and of Benjamin Linder’s hopes, multiplies with his sacrifice. What’s more powerful than war? And what is more powerful than a hundred million dollars or the threat of invasion? Far more powerful is the power of love among peoples, the example and sacrifice of people like Benjamin…”

Similarly, leading Sandinista strategist Orlando Nuñez Soto wrote in relation to these internationalist martyrs,

“In every historical moment, a part of youth reminds older generations of the need for and the commitment to freedom. Each generation sees a mortal struggle in which each of us choose either to defend the status quo or to change it. Maurice, Yvan, Joël and Berndt, like so many young people were on the side of hope to be able to change the world so as to build a new world”.

As contemporary Europe struggles to free itself from its squalid, corrupt elites and to remake itself from its all too pressing history of brutal colonialism and genocidal war, its peoples could well take inspiration from the great example of their heroes and martyrs in the cause of international peace and justice in Nicaragua.

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The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

juillet 29th, 2016 by Robert J. Burrowes

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.

Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization might be a political party, government, multinational corporation, terrorist group, non-government organization, community or activist group.

Religion usually describes the belief in a superhuman controlling power involving a God or gods; it entails a system of faith and worship as well as, like ideology, an underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

At the macro level, there are worldwide or regional ideologies such as capitalism, fascism, conservatism, communism, socialism, feminism, pacifism and environmentalism as well as religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. There are also variations of these major ideologies and religions. But even at the micro level, the local service club, neighborhood charity and sporting club operates in accordance with an ideology or religion that is shared by its members too.

Frequently, a shared ideology or religion is a functional way for like-minded people to find each other and to work together to achieve a shared aim. When this helps to achieve a desirable social outcome, the shared ideology or religion has a valuable purpose.

Unfortunately, however, often enough the shared ideology or religion has a dysfunctional basis and the outcome is detrimental both individually and socially with the (violent) consequences sometimes reverberating throughout a national or even global society. This is why it is useful to understand the psychology of ideology and religion.

When a child is very young, they start to learn from the people around them. Predominantly, they learn by being participants, one way or another, in the events in which they are involved. That is, when their parents, other significant adults (such as relatives, school teachers and religious figures) or an older sibling involve the child in an activity, the child is taught and copies the mental responses and behaviours of those around them. This is what is called ‘socialization’.

However, it is important to identify the ideological/religious elements in this process too. First, there are ideological and religious imperatives around raising children. These imperatives are sometimes deliberately shaped by an ideology or a religion but, often enough, they are simply copied on the advice of, or by observing the behavior of, other nearby adults.

Second, and more importantly however, the child unconsciously acquires a set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine (in relation to social, cultural, political, economic, religious, sporting and ecological issues) that are approved by the adults in the child’s life.

There is much that is functional about this process and, historically, it can explain a great deal about human behavior, including in particular cultural contexts.

But I would like to discuss the dysfunctional aspects of this process which arise from the way in which the child’s fear is deliberately played upon so that, consciously or unconsciously, they copy the ideology or religion of the adults around them. And the reason that the child does this is so that the ideology or religion that they acquire, together with the behavioral outcomes that arise from this, does not scare these same adults.

In an ideal world, a child would be socialized in an environment devoid of fear and in which they are loved, there is no ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ or ‘utterly invisible’ violence – see ‘Why Violence?’ – damaging them in any way, they have their needs met and they are utterly free to choose (and later change if they wish) the values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine by which they will live their life, preferably with the benefit of substantial aware listening from adults while they work this out for themselves. Needless to say, this never happens.

In fact, the typical child is endlessly terrorized into adopting some version of the individual ideologies and religions, which are sometimes bizarrely conflicting, of the people around them.

This means that a fixed set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine – including those in relation to violence – become fearfully and unconsciously embedded in the child’s mind and they cease to be values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that are easily and consciously accessible for review and reconsideration in light of new information or evidence. Let me briefly illustrate this point.

For some people, it is easy to laugh at or be outraged by the absurd statements they hear uttered by a very conservative politician, especially if they display a pronounced bias against a particular racial or religious group or a class of people. But to a conservative, their ideology is imperative and it reflects a childhood of being terrorized into believing certain things. There is no conscious awareness of this unconscious terror and even if asked, they would readily proclaim that they are not terrified (because they have been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of this terror, which is why it is now unconscious to them).

Similarly, most socialists are very attached to the ideology that puts class (based on the production relations of capitalism) predominantly at the centre of their analysis, feminists usually believe that gender relations under patriarchy are the primary problem in society, many people who combat racism view white domination as the core issue in social oppression, and religious fundamentalists believe that they know the one truth to the exclusion of people of other faiths. Irrespective of the proclaimed original basis of the ideology or religion, often enough, at least some of its adherents also learn to believe that violence is the appropriate behavior for achieving some or all of their aims.

The issue in this context, however, is not whether any of these people is right or wrong but why they hold so tenaciously to a worldview that they do not willingly and fearlessly subject to ongoing scrutiny. And that is why the psychology of ideology and religion is so important.

If any person is willing to fearlessly and open-mindedly consider other worldviews and analyses of society’s social relationships and problems, as well as how to tackle these problems, then it is likely that their ideology or religion is one that has been genuinely and intelligently acquired of their own free will and their mind will be capable of analysis and reconsideration if compelling evidence of the merits of an alternative worldview or explanation is made available. They are also likely to be highly tolerant of other worldviews as some religions, for example, specifically teach.

But if someone, whatever their ideology or religion, is dogmatically insistent on their own worldview, then their fear of further analysis and reconsideration will be readily apparent and it is a straightforward conclusion that they were terrorized out of the capacity to think fearlessly for themselves when they were a child. They are also more likely to behave violently.

If you would like to read a detailed explanation of how a child is terrorized, to a greater or lesser extent, into unconsciously absorbing a version of the ideologies and/or religions of the adults around them, you can do so in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.’

These documents explain the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence to which children are subjected throughout childhood and which few survive. Moreover, it is this adult violence against children that leads to all other manifestations of violence.

Now, you might well ask: Is this simply my ideology? Well perhaps it is. But five decades of research, which included substantial reading and thoughtful consideration of many ideologies and religions, led me to this conclusion. Nevertheless, I remain happy to review my beliefs in this matter if someone offers me compelling evidence in support of another explanation.

Even better, when I witness Christian parents raising children who have chosen to be Muslims and conservative parents raising children who have chosen to be anarchists and… I will have all of the evidence I need to know that I am wrong.

If you would like to work towards creating a world in which fear does not shape every single outcome of human endeavor, you might like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

In essence, most children are terrorized into believing what the adults around them want them to think. This is because most adults are far too (unconsciously) frightened to let children think for themselves and to then let them believe and behave as they choose.

Consequently, therefore, it is fear, often mediated through ideology and religion, that drives most human behavior.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is [email protected] and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 25 details of a “U.S. plan” for military cooperation and intelligence sharing with Russia on Syria were expected to be announced in early August. Kerry’s statement followed the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Laos.

According to the plan, Russia and the U.S. will share intelligence to coordinate air strikes against the Syrian Al Qaeda branch “Jabhat Al Nusra” and prohibit the Russian and Syrian air powers from attacking the so-called “moderate rebels.”

However, the ongoing progress on the ground remains questionable. Al Nusra is the most powerful “opposition group” in Syria, excluding ISIS. According to the group’s statements, Al Nusra currently stands at 60,000 fighters, although this number is impossible to verify. The group’s units are able to conduct a classic warfare with usage of artillery, battle tanks and other equipment, including drones, as well as they conduct guerrilla warfare and terror attacks of suicide bombers.

According to intelligence information, Al Nusra has been receiving direct support from Turkey and Saudi Arabia and indirect support through the U.S. programs aimed to train “moderate rebels” in Syria. In other words, if Washington agrees to coordinate its efforts against the terrorist group with Russia, the US-backed Syrian opposition will lose its main striking power.

Entirely by accident, the very same day with Kerry’s statement, Abu Mohammad Al Golani, leader of Al Nusra, made a public statement announcing that Jabhat Al Nusra has separated from Al Qaeda, organizationally and taken a new name, Jabhat Fateh Al Sham (Sham Liberation Front).

This move signifies the start of full-scale rebranding campaign, clearly aimed to evade the effects of Russian-U.S. deal to coordinate efforts against the terrorist group. Al Nusra is aiming to depict itself as a “moderate opposition group,” adjusting to the constant pressure from Russians that had pushed Washington to accept the deal. It’s easy to expect a series of reports in the Western media that will depict Al Nusra’s rebranding as an important step on the way to better “democratic” Syria. Because, now, when the group changed its name, nobody has to doubt that it remains a terrorist organization. These reports will likely call the group “rebels” and hide the original source of “opposition fighters” from Jabhat Fateh Al Sham. Indeed, they have never avoided doing this.

It’s possible to expect that Al Nusra’s rebranding will allow the U.S. to avoid any significant actions under the long-awaited deal with Russia, claiming that there is no such entity as Jabhat Al Nusra at the battlefield. Moreover, Jabhat Fateh Al Sham units will likely further shuffle with vestiges of the so-called “moderate opposition.” Strategically, it could create a foothold for the groups’ foreign sponsors to push the terrorist group as a part of the Vienna talks and post-war Syria consensus.

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A Muslim youth commits a terrible violent crime and then takes his own life. His suburban family, immigrants in the US for more than two decades is advised to relocate; his parents are divided over how to handle the crisis; his teenage siblings, shunned and mocked by classmates, retreat into fantasy; the community in which they were once so nicely integrated spurns them.

The scenario could be any national news story. Whatever the perpetrator’s motive or mental state, his crime is a ‘Muslim’ one– an uncivil act; everything associated with him becomes tainted. The religion itself is blighted and criminalized. The violence is seen as further evidence that Islam bears responsibility.

Our media’s preoccupation with and prejudgment of this category of crime is so intense that Muslims find themselves floundering in its wake. With regular frequency, Muslim writers pen commentaries explaining our angst, and cohorts of Muslim spokespeople appear on TV to refute generalizations about Islam and to assure others of the peace-loving nature of our religion and our community.

We know the scenario too well. Yet those eloquent efforts seem naïve, ineffective and superficial. At the same time we find precious few attempts by our Muslim creative community to explore the human repercussions of these events at a deeper level:–through novels, film and drama.

I can think of just three writers, Hanif KureishiWajahat Ali and Laila Halaby who’ve addressed Muslim family experience in these turbulent decades in the West where our social lives are thrown into turmoil, where we are psychologically traumatized, and where our own spiritual values are undermined.  (“My Son the Fanatic”, a 1994 story by London-based Kureishi was made into an good film; Ali’s 2005 play “Domestic Crusaders”   was later published as a book; Halaby’s novel “Once in a Promised Land” appeared in 2007. I suppose we could include “My Name Is Khan” a 2010 Indian-produced film set largely in the USA.)

We now have a novel that tackles this contemporary theme in a fresh and effective approach. Rajia Hassib’s  “In the Language of Miracles” explores how one American Muslim family is impacted by violence. I don’t know if Hassib intended her fictional piece to be a domestic prism through which to view the American Muslims’ experience of “terror” in our midst. Because there’s nothing explicit here about what’s commonly labeled “Islamic terror”. For me however, her story is essentially a metaphor of our recurring nightmare– alleged “Islamic violence” directed at Western targets.

The plot of “In the Language of Miracles” is an astute tactic to remove the crime from its normally fraught political context to explore what transpires when a simple youth, motivated by jealousy, family tensions and personal stress, carries out an ordinary (American) killing. What happens to his family and his community?”

This cleverly crafted story opens with a veiled reference to a past family tragedy when Cynthia, a (white) neighbor invites the Al-Menshawy (Muslim) family to a forthcoming event; it’s the first anniversary memorial of her daughter Nathalie’s death. The invitation precipitates divisions among family members: Samir, the father and a successful doctor, his wife Nagla suffering from unspecified ailments, their son Khaled, their daughter Fatima, and Nagla’s mother Ehsan visiting from overseas. Each reacts differently to the neighbor’s invitation and we are pulled into the evolving drama over the few days between that awkward announcement and the ceremony itself. We soon learn that the al-Menshawys not only also lost a child, Hosaam, by suicide; it was their son who killed Nathalie, his longtime childhood friend.

We hardly have time to mourn Hosaam or to learn his motives since author Hassib’s story focuses around Nathalie’s approaching memorial which is to be a community affair with speeches and a tree planting. Flyers are posted on social media and across the town, stirring up the community’s grief and anger; not unexpectedly much emotion is directed at the killer’s family.

What should they do? Samir insists they attend the memorial where he intends to make a statement. Nagla rejects this; she’s unfocused and indolent, a condition likely precipitated by the death of Hosaam. Her surviving son Khaled is withdrawn while Fatima tries to ride above the fray. (She’s recently befriended another Muslim girl and is perhaps becoming more devout.) Khaled, rejected by all but one school friend, retreats into social media and seeks out a young woman in New York City. With this stranger he’s able to share his distress and revisit events leading to Hosaam’s action. He returns to his troubled home in New Jersey in time for the memorial but too late to rescue his father from his blundering performance there.

The story is presented through Khaled’s eyes, from his grandmother’s pseudo-Islamic incantations and dream interpretations during a childhood illness to his alienation from his brother, the son for whom Samir had high expectations. (In the final chapter we find Khaled and his sister residing in the US while their father, humiliated after his misstep at the memorial, has returned to Egypt with Nagla and their grandmother.)

To build the character of Samir whose psychology Hassib seems most interested in exploring, she takes us back to his arrival in New York as a medical graduate from Egypt to begin his residency. While achieving his ambitions of establishing his own clinic and enjoying social acceptance among Americans, Samir has eschewed his Egyptian culture and his religion. Yet he misreads the very culture he feels so proud to be part of; his children are unanchored and his wife is ill. Worst, he completely disregards his own son’s death anniversary.

Tellingly, the least acculturated family member, grandmother Ehsan, offers her folk remedies, common sense, and some invocations of Islamic texts that she barely understands to address the pain of her traumatized family. She alone seems to possess the cultural integrity to properly recognize the death anniversary of their child Hosaam. In familiar simple Islamic tradition she prepares special pastries and spends the day at the cemetery to commute with his spirit (and to scrub offensive graffiti off his gravestone) where she also consoles a grieving stranger at a nearby grave.

Published in 2015, « In the Language of Miracles » offers plenty of material on the domestic side of Islam, on migrant trauma, and on the sociology of Muslim Americans. In this debut novel, Rajia Hassib establishes herself as an Arab American writer of great talent.

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When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it.  Not so with the global arms trade.  It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft.  And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, U.S. arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

So here’s a question that’s puzzled me for years (and I’m something of an arms wonk): Why do other major U.S. exports — from Hollywood movies to Midwestern grain shipments to Boeing airliners — garner regular coverage while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity?  Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?

The numbers should stagger anyone.  According to the latest figures available from the Congressional Research Service, the United States was credited with more than half the value of all global arms transfer agreements in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are available. At 14%, the world’s second largest supplier, Russia, lagged far behind.  Washington’s “leadership” in this field has never truly been challenged.  The U.S. share has fluctuated between one-third and one-half of the global market for the past two decades, peaking at an almost monopolistic 70% of all weapons sold in 2011.  And the gold rush continues. Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, who heads the Pentagon’s arms sales agency, euphemistically known as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, estimates that arms deals facilitated by the Pentagon topped $46 billion in 2015, and are on track to hit $40 billion in 2016.

To be completely accurate, there is one group of people who pay remarkably close attention to these trends — executives of the defense contractors that are cashing in on this growth market.  With the Pentagon and related agencies taking in “only” about $600 billion a year — high by historical standards but tens of billions of dollars less than hoped for by the defense industry — companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have been looking to global markets as their major source of new revenue.

In a January 2015 investor call, for example, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson was asked whether the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and five other powers might reduce tensions in the Middle East, undermining the company’s strategy of increasing its arms exports to the region.  She responded that continuing “volatility” in both the Middle East and Asia would make them “growth areas” for the foreseeable future.  In other words, no worries.  As long as the world stays at war or on the verge of it, Lockheed Martin’s profits won’t suffer — and, of course, its products will help ensure that any such “volatility” will prove lethal indeed.

Under Hewson, Lockheed has set a goal of getting at least 25% of its revenues from weapons exports, and Boeing has done that company one better.  It’s seeking to make overseas arms sales 30% of its business.

Good News From the Middle East (If You’re an Arms Maker)

Arms deals are a way of life in Washington.  From the president on down, significant parts of the government are intent on ensuring that American arms will flood the global market and companies like Lockheed and Boeing will live the good life.  From the president on his trips abroad to visit allied world leaders to the secretaries of state and defense to the staffs of U.S. embassies, American officials regularly act as salespeople for the arms firms.  And the Pentagon is their enabler.  From brokering, facilitating, and literally banking the money from arms deals to transferring weapons to favored allies on the taxpayers’ dime, it is in essence the world’s largest arms dealer.

In a typical sale, the U.S. government is involved every step of the way.  The Pentagon often does assessments of an allied nation’s armed forces in order to tell them what they “need” — and of course what they always need is billions of dollars in new U.S.-supplied equipment.  Then the Pentagon helps negotiate the terms of the deal, notifies Congress of its details, and collects the funds from the foreign buyer, which it then gives to the U.S. supplier in the form of a defense contract.  In most deals, the Pentagon is also the point of contact for maintenance and spare parts for any U.S.-supplied system. The bureaucracy that helps make all of this happen, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is funded from a 3.5% surcharge on the deals it negotiates. This gives it all the more incentive to sell, sell, sell.

And the pressure for yet more of the same is always intense, in part because the weapons makers are careful to spread their production facilities to as many states and localities as possible.  In this way, they ensure that endless support for government promotion of major arms sales becomes part and parcel of domestic politics.

General Dynamics, for instance, has managed to keep its tank plants in Ohio and Michigan running through a combination of add-ons to the Army budget — funds inserted into that budget by Congress even though the Pentagon didn’t request them — and exports to Saudi Arabia.  Boeing is banking on a proposed deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait (image left) to keep its St. Louis production line open, and is currently jousting with the Obama administration to get it to move more quickly on the deal.  Not surprisingly, members of Congress and local business leaders in such states become strong supporters of weapons exports.

Though seldom thought of this way, the U.S. political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order.  In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms.  During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion in weaponry worldwide — more, that is, than any U.S. administration since World War II.  In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components — including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes — with far less scrutiny than was previously required.

This has been good news for the industry, which had been pressing for such changes for decades with little success. But the weaker regulations also make it potentially easier for arms smugglers and human rights abusers to get their hands on U.S. arms. For example, 36 U.S. allies — from Argentina and Bulgaria to Romania and Turkey — will no longer need licenses from the State Department to import weapons and weapons parts from the United States.  This will make it far easier for smuggling networks to set up front companies in such countries and get U.S. arms and arms components that they can then pass on to third parties like Iran or China.  Already a common practice, it will only increase under the new regulations.

The degree to which the Obama administration has been willing to bend over backward to help weapons exporters was underscored at a 2013 hearing on those administration export “reforms.”  Tom Kelly, then the deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, caught the spirit of the era when asked whether the administration was doing enough to promote American arms exports.  He responded:

“[We are] advocating on behalf of our companies and doing everything we can to make sure that these sales go through… and that is something we are doing every day, basically [on] every continent in the world… and we’re constantly thinking of how we can do better.”

One place where, with a helping hand from the Obama administration and the Pentagon, the arms industry has been doing a lot better of late is the Middle East.  Washington has brokered deals for more than $50 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone for everything from F-15 fighter aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to combat ships and missile defense systems.

The most damaging deals, if not the most lucrative, have been the sales of bombs and missiles to the Saudis for their brutal war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people are going hungry.  Members of Congress like Michigan Representative John Conyers and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy have pressed for legislation that would at least stem the flow of the most deadly of the weaponry being sent for use there, but they have yet to overcome the considerable clout of the Saudis in Washington (and, of course, that of the arms industry as well).

When it comes to the arms business, however, there’s no end to the good news from the Middle East.  Take the administration’s proposed new 10-year aid deal with Israel.  If enacted as currently planned, it would boost U.S. military assistance to that country by up to 25% — to roughly $4 billion per year. At the same time, it would phase out a provision that had allowed Israel to spend one-quarter of Washington’s aid developing its own defense industry.  In other words, all that money, the full $4 billion in taxpayer dollars, will now flow directly into the coffers of companies like Lockheed Martin, which is in the midst of completing a multi-billion-dollar deal to sell the Israelis F-35s.

“Volatility” in Asia and Europe 

As Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson noted, however, the Middle East is hardly the only growth area for that firm or others like it.  The dispute between China and its neighbors over the control of the South China Sea (which is in many ways an incipient conflict over whether that country or the United States will control that part of the Pacific Ocean) has opened up new vistas when it comes to the sale of American warships and other military equipment to Washington’s East Asian allies.  The recent Hague court decision rejecting Chinese claims to those waters (and the Chinese rejectionof it) is only likely to increase the pace of arms buying in the region.

At the same time, in the good-news-never-ends department, growing fears of North Korea’s nuclear program have stoked a demand for U.S.-supplied missile defense systems.  The South Koreans have, in fact, just agreed to deploy Lockheed Martin’s THAAD anti-missile system.  In addition, the Obama administration’s decision to end the longstanding embargo on U.S. arms sales to Vietnam is likely to open yet another significant market for U.S. firms. In the past two years alone, the U.S. has offered more than $15 billionworth of weaponry to allies in East Asia, with Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea accounting for the bulk of the sales.

In addition, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to build a defense relationship with India, a development guaranteed to benefit U.S. arms exporters.  Last year, Washington and New Delhi signed a 10-year defense agreement that included pledges of future joint work on aircraft engines and aircraft carrier designs.  In these years, the U.S. has made significant inroads into the Indian arms market, which had traditionally been dominated by the Soviet Union and then Russia.  Recent deals include a $5.8 billion sale of Boeing C-17 transport aircraft and a $1.4 billion agreement to provide support services related to a planned purchase of Apache attack helicopters.

And don’t forget “volatile” Europe.  Great Britain’s recent Brexit vote introduced an uncertainty factor into American arms exports to that country. The United Kingdom has been by far the biggest purchaser of U.S. weapons in Europe of late, with more than $6 billion in deals struck over the past two years alone — more, that is, than the U.S. has sold to all other European countries combined.

The British defense behemoth BAE is Lockheed Martin’s principal foreign partner on the F-35 combat aircraft (right), which at a projected cost of $1.4 trillion over its lifetime already qualifies as the most expensive weapons program in history.  If Brexit-driven austerity were to lead to a delay in, or the cancellation of, the F-35 deal (or any other major weapons shipments), it would be a blow to American arms makers.  But count on one thing: were there to be even a hint that this might happen to the F-35, lobbyists for BAE will mobilize to get the deal privileged status, whatever other budget cuts may be in the works.

On the bright side (if you happen to be a weapons maker), any British reductions will certainly be more than offset by opportunities in Eastern and Central Europe, where a new Cold War seems to be gaining traction.  Between 2014 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military spending increased by 13% in the region in response to the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The rise in Poland’s outlays, at 22%, was particularly steep.

Under the circumstances, it should be obvious that trends in the global arms trade are a major news story and should be dealt with as such in the country most responsible for putting more weapons of a more powerful nature into the hands of those living in “volatile” regions.  It’s a monster business (in every sense of the word) and certainly has far more dangerous consequences than licensing a Hollywood blockbuster or selling another Boeing airliner.

Historically, there have been rare occasions of public protest against unbridled arms trafficking, as with the backlash against “the merchants of death” after World War I, or the controversy over who armed Saddam Hussein that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.  Even now, small numbers of congressional representatives, including John Conyers, Chris Murphy, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, continue to try to halt the sale of cluster munitions, bombs, and missiles to Saudi Arabia.

There is, however, unlikely to be a genuine public debate about the value of the arms business and Washington’s place in it if it isn’t even considered a subject worthy of more than an occasional media story.  In the meantime, the United States continues to hold onto the number one role in the global arms trade, the White House does its part, the Pentagon greases the wheels, and the dollars roll in to profit-hungry U.S. weapons contractors.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Our thanks to TomDispatch.

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If anyone doubted that a percentage of the global population are akin to zombies, the incidents following the release of Pokémon Go have surely convinced you. Despite the game only being released in early July, we have already seen a man driving into a tree and a women getting locked in a graveyard whilst chasing these furry little creatures.

Pokémon describes the game on their website in the following way:

“Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon… In Pokémon GO, the real world will be the setting!”

Pokémon Go, Google, the State Department, the CIA and the DoD

The company behind Pokémon Go is a San Francisco software developer called Niantic, Inc, which was formed in 2010 as an internal startup at Google. The founder and current CEO of Niantic is John Hanke, a man who has connections both to the State Department and the CIA.

Before moving to San Francisco to study at the University of California, Hanke previously worked for the US State Department in Myanmar. Hanke also founded Keyhole, Inc in 2001, a company which specialized in geospatial data visualization applications. Google acquired the company in 2004, with many of the applications developed by Keyhole being instrumental in Google Maps and Earth. In 2003, the CIA’s venture-capitalist firm, In-Q-Tel, invested in Keyhole, with the CIA’s own website proudly detailing this investment:

“The CIA-assisted technology probably most familiar to you is one many of us use on a regular basis:  Google Earth. In February 2003, the CIA-funded venture-capitalist firm In-Q-Tel made a strategic investment in Keyhole, Inc., a pioneer of interactive 3-D earth visualization and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping EarthViewer 3D system. CIA worked closely with other Intelligence Community organizations to tailor Keyhole’s systems to meet their needs. The finished product transformed the way intelligence officers interacted with geographic information and earth imagery.”

One of the other intelligence organizations the CIA worked alongside was the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is partly under the control of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

So we have a somewhat enigmatic former State Department employee with connections to the CIA and the DoD, being the CEO of a company that created what seems to be a silly, harmless game. What’s going on?

Selling and Sharing Your Data

Like so many new technologies in our digital age, Pokémon Go is constantly gathering information on the user and then openly admitting that they will share this data with anyone who wants it.

As James Corbett pointed out in his article titled: The CIA’s ‘Pokémon Go’ App is Doing What the Patriot Act Can’t, the privacy policy of the app states that Niantic will share all the information they gather (which is a lot) with the state and private organizations:

“We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate.”

Corbett also details how the game requires the user to give excessive access to Niantic/CIA/NGA/DoD (including access to the users Google account and camera).

Oliver Stone on PG: “Totalitarianism” and a “New Level of Invasion”

Speaking at this year’s Comic-Con, Oliver Stone – the award winning filmmaker and director of the new film on Edward Snowden – had some very insightful views on the new craze and the growing business of data-mining. As Vulture magazine reported in a recent article, Stone denounced the game as a “new level of invasion” and a new form of “totalitarianism:”

“I’m hearing about it too; it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google – ever! It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is; which is data-mining.”

Stone continues:

“They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior. Pokémon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people callsurveillance capitalism; it’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

Predicting Human Behavior

It is interesting that Stone doesn’t just warn about the commercial aspect of data-mining, but the fact that the more data governments and private corporations collect on the citizens of the world, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior. It is not just Stone that is warning about this reality however. At the start of last year, the UK governments own surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, revealed how data obtained from CCTV cameras can be used to “predict behavior.”

As we progress through the 21st century and more advanced algorithmic systems are developed to process the tsunami of data, intelligence agencies and governments will increasingly be able to predict (and manipulate) the behavior of their populations and the populations of foreign countries. We are already far along this path, will the trajectory for the future heading straight towards levels of surveillance far beyond even what George Orwell envisaged; with the fight for digital privacy being a major battleground in this century for those who value freedom.

Pokémon Go looks more like a Trojan horse of the CIA and the wider intelligence-security-data-mining-Big-Brother complex, than just a silly, innocent game.  With all these connections to the State Department, the CIA and the DoD, no wonder some countries are reportedly considering banning the game.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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The Chilcot Report – published earlier this summer – established the extent of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – and it found that much could have been done to resolve Saddam Hussein’s control over the region at that time via more peaceful means. Following the publication of the report, with a word count going into the millions and an outcome that the media generally regarded as being fairly damning for the ex-Prime Minister, Blair was quick to establish that he acted with appropriate action during that time. However, many media outlets, and people directly affected by the conflict at the time of it occurring feel otherwise – and there has been widespread concern as to whether or not Blair should be held to account for his role in the Second Gulf War.

Following the report’s publication, a petition has been gathering steam which demands that Blair should face further measures as a result of his role in proceedings – and as the petition has been submitted via the UK Parliament’s website, the British government is now required to respond to the submission as it breaches 10,000 signatures. It is not currently known what the stance of MPs will be on the matter – however, the Chilcot report made it clear based on evidence available that the Iraq war occurred as a result of flawed intelligence, meaning that many citizens feel it should be necessary for Blair in particular to face further action.

The petition in question requests that Parliament ‘should now agree to a process by which it can hold the former Prime Minister to account’. While it is a shout away from the 100,000 signatures needed for it to be debated in Parliament itself, it has already gained the attention of mainstream media and, as stated, will need to be addressed by elected representatives regardless of what the general consensus is in either Houses of Parliament.

The Chilcot Report arrived at the end of a whirlwind of a month in UK Politics, with the country having decided to leave the European Union via a ground-breaking referendum – and the resignation of a number of public figures, such as Prime Minister David Cameron. The UK now has a new PM in the form of former Home Secretary Theresa May, and the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn continues to stand his ground while faced with a forthcoming leadership election. Whether or not Blair will be taken to task, it is clear that the summer of drama for UK politics is far from over.

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Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted.  Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up.

Such a figure is former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has become something of a prattler in chief, roaming an assortment of international stages in the vain hope that he might, just might become the next UN Secretary General.

Nominees, of which former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres is said to be favourite, have already been put forth by a range of countries, including New Zealand (Helen Clark), Croatia (Vesna Pusić), Argentina (Susana Malcorra).  The one country lagging in the affair was Australia.

That Rudd would even think he had a chance offers an insight into a particular brand of megalomania. Each position he has occupied has seen a form of micro-managed mania take hold. Employees and staff have been run ragged. His infamous work ethic has been less a case of efficiency than paranoia about sticking with a decision, and fortifying it against rivals.

Then came the deeply personal portraits of a man of the permanent grudge.  Wayne Swan, former Treasurer, and troubled friend for a period of 20 years, spared nothing in his memoir, The Good Fight.  “Kevin,” he suggested, “was prone to vengeful behaviour” and distinctly unstable.

Internationally, various instances of such instability have been charged to Rudd.  His outburst at the Copenhagen summit on climate change in 2010, at which he suggested in moment of frustration that, “Those Chinese fuckers are trying to rat fuck us” has become somewhat legendary.[1]  (China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang diplomatically suggested disbelief about what “those reports” claimed.)

This has been coupled with an awful obsequiousness at points, typified by the usual line that Australia, if required to go to war against China with the United States, would happily do so. Hardly the stuff of a UN Secretary General.

The picture of Rudd, then, was a poor one to begin with, whereas others vying for the Secretary position, including former NZ Prime Minister Clark, were always going to be streets ahead.[2]

The issue in Australia has also descended into farce. The conservative Liberal-National government has found itself at odds as to what to do with Rudd, a person many would rather not see at the UN’s top job. For Rudd to even be considered for the UN required him to be put forth by his sponsoring country.

The debate has taken a very public form.  On the one hand, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, sees no problems with staying comradely on the subject.  Being a former prime minister, foreign minister and diplomat, was good enough, and party allegiance on this score did not matter.  To that end, she could count on the support of Attorney-General George Brandis.

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, begged to differ, making the issue entirely in partisan terms.  As Labor did not push the candidacy for former treasurer Peter Costello’s bid to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund five years go, it was time to return the favour.

Ditto the right of right South Australian liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who sought to convince colleagues not to back an individual “dysfunctional”, “vengeful”, “unstable”, and a “megalomaniac”.

The opposition Labor Party was always going to assume that Rudd was suitable, a curious state of affairs given the fact that various members were thrilled at knifing their leader when he was prime minister.

Evidently, being UN Secretary General was far more appropriate than leading the country.  In the words of acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, “There is no question that it is in our national interest to have an Australian in this vital role.”

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had one corner to hide in: the suitability of Rudd for the role.  “When the Australian Government nominates a person for a job, particularly an international job like this, the threshold question is, ‘do we believe the person, the nominee, the would-be-nominee is well suited for that position?’”[3]

After denying that the issue had been factional, that the party room had been deeply unsettled by the debate as to whether Rudd’s name should be put forth, the great red herring of objectivity was trotted out.  Rudd was simply not suitable.

That he wasn’t suitable for a range of reasons is hard to contest, be it temperament, timing, and the rank fact that having an Australian in such a post would be problematic for various powers. Russia and China, for starters, would be suspicious about having such a pro-Washington voice at the helm of the international body.

Turnbull kept mum on that subject, leaving Rudd up the creek with no paddle in sight.  Only Senator Bernardi gave us a sense about what had happened with a congratulatory note for the prime minister: “Our participation in international institutions is more important than an individual’s ambition.” The conservative wing of the party had triumphed.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University,Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Notes

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Heavy clashes are ongoing in and near Aleppo city as pro-government forces are tightening the siege of its militant-controlled areas.

On July 27, the Fateh Halab militant group launched an advance on the Kurdish controlled neighborhood of Aleppo city, Sheikh Maqsood. The Fateh Halab advance was supported by heavy artillery fire from the militant-controlled neighborhoods of Bani Zaid and Sakan Shababi. However, jihadists were not able to break the Kurdish YPG defenses and Fateh Halab lost several fighters in the failed advance.

Then, YPG units counter-attacked the militants in Youth Housing and seized it. This move contributed to the Syrian army’s operation aimed to encircle east of Aleppo.

When the Kurds were clashing with militants in Youth Housing, the Syrian army advanced in the Bani Zeid neighborhood, engaging the jihadi forces assisting Fateh Halab’s operations against the Kurds. Later, the Kurdish YPG also engaged militants in the area from the direction of Sheikh Maqsood.

By July 28, the Syrian army has captured a major part of the the district. If Bani Zeid is fully liberated, the Syrian army and the Kurdish YPG will need to consolidate their gains in west Aleppo, preparing for further clashes for the urban areas under the jihadi rule.

Reports appeared on July 28 that Jaysh Al-Fateh is massively deploying fighters in the southern countryside of Aleppo province in order to launch an offensive at Al-Hadher. This operation is aimed to lift the pressure from the militants encircled by pro-government forces in Aleppo city. There are no confirmed reports about numbers of fighters and military equipment that will be used by the militant group.

At least 44 people were killed and more than 170 others were wounded in a terrorist attack in the city of Qamishli on Wednesday. The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition, have been struggling to enter the Manbij city center. Recently, the SDF seized over 10000 ISIS intelligence documents after seizing the group’s command center in western Manbij.

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The European Union and the USA have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) behind closed doors since 2013. Negotiators kept insisting that their secret talks would work in the best interest of the public and the environment.

But since Greenpeace leaked the TTIP draft negotiating documents it became clearer than ever, that this trade agreement could become one of the most dangerous weapons in the hands of the fossil fuel industry in its effort to kill Climate Action for the 21st century. The elephant in the room is here and it is huge: the word « climate » means something totally different in the TTIP papers.

According to a United Nations report, 35 per cent of all cases in which corporations are suing governments on the basis of trade agreements, are related to Climate Change. And this will only increase

Trade agreements: weapons for the fossil fuel industry

In 2011, the government of Quebec responded to concerns over water pollution by implementing a moratorium on the use of fracking. The energy company Lone Pine Resources then filed an investor-state lawsuitbased on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), seeking US$109.8 million plus interest in damages. In 2009, Swedish energy multinational Vattenfall sued the German government, seeking €1.4 billion in compensation for environmental restrictions imposed on one of their dirty coal plants.

The TTIP would put in place a parallel judicial system that allows companies to bypass national courts altogether. « I think this is one of the most dangerous things we have seen in the last decade: this idea of Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). If a regulation only potentially cuts into the profits of a company, these companies can turn to arbitration », warns Jesse Bragg from Corporate Accountability International.

According to a United Nations report, 35% of all cases in which corporations are suing governments on the basis of trade agreements, are so far related to Climate Change.  And with the fossil fuel industry currently under enormous pressure, these numbers are growing.

Fossil fuel corporations are increasingly using ISDS under existing trade and investment deals, thus contributing to a recent surge in legal cases. In 2014, for example, half of the new ISDS cases targeted policies affecting oil and gas extraction, mining, or power generation.

« As the anti-fossil fuel forces gain strength, extractive companies are beginning to fight back using a familiar tool: the investor protection provisions in free trade agreements », warned Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein.

The fossil fuel industry now openly admits how it wants to make use of TTIP to maintain their polluting business. According to Houston attorney Tom Sikora, Legal Counsel with ExxonMobil, energy companies are particularly keen to turn to arbitration. And as US-based oil and gas giant Chevron stated in a 2013 statement, the company would lobby for « a world-class investment chapter » in TTIP. The company has had several meetings behind closed doors with the EU’s TTIP negotiators. To Chevron, TTIP is « one of our most important issues globally ». Meanwhile, Chevron remains one of the biggest polluters of our times, refusing to pay for its toxic mess, and currently facing a lawsuit for contamination of the Amazonian rainforest, as ordered by the Ecuadorian courts.

If an oil company describing a trade treaty between states as one of « our most important issues » raises suspicion, then what is actually written in the TTIP text?

TTIP – making climate protection a « trade barrier »

Elected governments normally have the right and power to regulate and adopt laws for protecting the air, the climate and people’s health. The TTIP would turn this principle upside down. Companies will no longer face restrictions such as having to prove that their operations violate a country’s environmental legislation. Instead, the TTIP imposes the complete burden of proof on the Governments, who will have to prove that all their measures are « necessary », « appropriate » and « legitimate ».

Some examples from the leaked TTIP documents:

The general idea behind trade agreements – that of reducing unnecessary regulations – is not necessarily a bad one but the TTIP has no « crash-barrier-clauses » in the form of strong paragraphs, which ensure that governments will keep their right to regulate when it comes to protecting the environment, people’s health or the climate. In fact, in the TTIP text, the word climate appears only in the context of good « investor climates » and this speaks volumes.

  • The chapter on national treatment and market access for goods demands that « all import and export licensing procedures are neutral in application and administered in a fair, equitable and transparent manner ». This might sound reasonable at first glance, but makes it potentially impossible to ban the import of certain products that destroy the climate or the environment, because this would be « discriminatory ». Furthermore, if there are any conditions to the import of certain goods, governments will have to prove that « other appropriate procedures to achieve an administrative purpose are not reasonably available. »
  • The article on risk management states that governments « shall design and apply risk management in a manner as to avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or disguised restrictions on international trade ». Any restrictions on international trade would enable companies to sue governments in Investor State Dispute Settlements – just as Lone Pine did when Quebec implemented a moratorium on fracking to protect its ground water (as reported above).
  • The chapter on technical barriers to trade demands from governments to always choose the « least burdensome possible procedures » when they regulate. This means that democratically elected governments and parliaments could be forced to reduce restrictions for corporations, instead of controlling their emissions. This is an open invitation for corporations to sue governments for climate protection measures that would cut into the profits of the fossil fuel industry.

According to Professor Gus van Harten of Osgoode Hall Law School, « States may be deterred from implementing measures to fulfill their climate change responsibilities, faced with risks of uncapped financial liability due to ISDS claims ». In the case of Vattenvall and Germany mentioned above, just the threat of ISDS was enough for Germany to water down environmental standards related to the company’s coal plant.

A completely new scope

The TTIP would by far dwarf all trade agreements the world has seen so far, directly affecting the lives of 800 million people in the EU and the US. Of the 51,495 US-owned subsidiaries currently operating in the EU, more than 47,000 would be newly empowered to launch ISDS attacks on European policy making and government actions.

But the resistance of the global climate movement against the TTIP is rising. In June, a major coalition of more than 450 NGOs called on the US Congress to oppose TTIP because of its climate impacts. A letter signed by organisations including Greenpeace, 350.org and the Sierra Club reflects one of the broadest civil society coalitions to ever call on the US Congress officially. They state that « the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as proposed, would empower an unprecedented number of fossil fuel corporations, including some of the world’s largest polluters, to challenge US policies in tribunals not accountable to any domestic legal system. »

Had the negotiation process leading to the TTIP remained so highly opaque, as was the case until the recent leaks, it would really sabotage the fight for energy transition. With the ink still wet on the Paris Agreement, citizens around the world are rising, demanding to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The TTIP and the ISDS are the latest tricks in the dirty industry’s book, which could turn out to be a valuable weapon in the hands of companies like Chevron and Exxon.

This is why it is important to stop it.

Further Resources:

TTIP Leaks: https://ttip-leaks.org

Profiling from Injustice: How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom.

Polluters Paradise: How investor rights in EU trade deals sabotage the fight for energy transition.

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Brexit Earthquake Has Many Ruptures

juillet 29th, 2016 by Radhika Desai

The Brexit vote was a momentous political earthquake and the seismic shifts that caused it have been long in the making. It has ruptured so many political structures — decades and even centuries old, national and international — so deeply it could be decades before its damage can be fully reckoned. The damage reveals the fragility of Britain’s, and the West’s, political and economic structures caused by three-and-a-half decades of neoliberalism and austerity.

The Bremainers’ entirely laudable cosmopolitanism and anti-racism were tragically mixed up with a blindness to how fast and how far formerly social-democratic Europe had become neoliberal. The Brexiteers staged the latest popular revolt against neoliberalism and austerity, as the Greeks and the inhabitants of Donbass did in 2014 and the supporters in the United States of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are doing today. Despite the entire political establishment and all its financial and media resources backing remain — with even Labour’s Euro-sceptic leader Jeremy Corbyn urging « remain and reform » — the English and Welsh electorates voted decisively for Brexit.

While Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party and Tory Boris Johnson made racist appeals and there have been rising incidences of racist violence since the Brexit vote, most Brexiteers are not racist. They were rejecting the EU as the unelected enforcer of neoliberalism. The EU’s infamous democratic deficit is necessary to impose neoliberalism on social-democratically inclined populations. The largely right-wing leave campaign was aware of this, falsely claiming, for instance, that millions of pounds would be redirected from the EU into the National Health Service.

Brexit has revealed deep contradictions in both major parties. It was the decades-long fall in the Conservative party’s vote, most recently bleeding to the far-right UK Independence Party that led Prime Minister David Cameron to promise the ill-fated referendum so rashly, thinking nothing of dragging the entire country through a divisive and pointless referendum to solve an internal-party political problem. It has only become more acute: the Conservatives will now find it even more difficult to function as the party of property while retaining sufficient support to win elections.

Brexit has opened an equally fundamental divide in Labour. Socialist or social-democratic parties have typically been alliances between the manual working class and the professional and intellectual element, of what the Fabians, with quaint directness, called « brains and numbers. » Never easy — the social democrats split from Labour back in 1981 — this divide has been deepened by neoliberal inequality. The party’s « New Labour » professional elements dominate the parliamentary caucus while Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader with massive support from Labour’s union and working class base. This week, the parliamentary party attempted what former Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond, called a « disgusting coup » against Corbyn. If Corbyn wins the inevitably bitterly contested election, as he well might, Labour faces a deeper split.

Brexit has also disunited the Kingdom. Scots voted to remain. The SNP is promising another referendum on Scottish independence and leader Nicola Sturgeon was in Brussels to discuss Scotland’s continuing EU membership. Northern Ireland also voted to remain and Sinn Fein now wishes to open the question of Irish unification.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders, aware of the dangerous example Brexit is setting, must now impose heavy penalties on Britain — though these will also hurt dominant EU interests — merely to prevent other countries from following suit. It remains to be seen whether they can impose these penalties and whether they will have the desired deterrent effect.

Internationally, Britain was the gateway into the EU for the U.S. and many other countries. Now, foreign companies that invest in Britain to access the EU markets will have to reconsider their strategies. The city of London, the financial sector that dominates the U.K.’s long deindustrializing economy, has suffered the greatest blow. It was led out of post-war doldrums by eurodollar business in the 1970s. Prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s first act in office was to lift capital controls and she followed it up with financial deregulation. Now London is Robin to New York’s Batman in the dollar-denominated international financial and monetary system, profiting from its vast asset inflations and torrential international capital flows that shored up demand for, and the value of, the U.S. dollar.

After they collapsed in 2008, however, international capital flows failed to recover and London became more reliant on Euro-denominated transactions. Its search for alternative business even led it to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank over U.S. President Barack Obama’s loud and clear objections. Brexit not only threatens Euro-denominated business but also Chinese business: EU membership was part of the attractions of London for China.

Who knew when Cameron rashly promised to hold this referendum it would be a game-changer at so many political and geopolitical levels?

Radhika Desai is a political studies professor and the director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba.

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The recent book review “A Stark Nuclear Warning” by Jerry Brown, in which he has shared views on William J. Perry’s memoirs “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink”, raises a lot of questions and concerns.

Jerry Brown unequivocally describes Perry, who held many important positions in the past, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1994-1997, as a double-hated man.

On the one hand, as the U.S. Secretary of Defense he helped to build a formidable U.S. nuclear arsenal several decades ago, being responsible for important technological advances with respect to U.S. nuclear forces, like launching the B-2 a heavy strategic bomberrevitalizing the aging B-52, a bomber from the same category as SOA (Strategic Offensive Arms) inventory; putting the Trident submarine program back on track; and making an ill-fated attempt to bring the MX ICBM, a ten-warhead missile, into operation.

On the other, William J. Perry has been identified as a staunch proponent of avoiding nuclear danger, nowadayswhen he has retired and embarked “on an urgent mission to alert us to the dangerous nuclear road we are travelling.” He is clearly calling American leaders to account for what he believes “are very bad decisions”, such as the precipitous expansion of NATO right up to the Russian border (William J. Perry was a very brave man when he became the lone Cabinet member who opposed President Bill Clinton’s decision to give Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic immediate membership in the Alliance). William J. Perry has also not been supportive of President George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia in 2002.

It is interesting to note that a person who took an active part in the continuous U.S. SOA and TNW (tactical nuclear weapons) build-up today has concluded that there could be no acceptable defence against a massive-scale nuclear attack. According to him, the great paradox of the nuclear age is that deterrence of nuclear war is sought by building ever more lethal and precise weapons. For the sake of reality it should be underscored that this notion has to be attributed exclusively to the USA, who has a long time ago embarked upon an “offensive unconditional nuclear deterrence strategy” which has not practically been changed so far.

Jerry Brown observes that William J. Perry is convinced that parity is “old thinking” because nuclear weapons can’t actually be used – the risk of uncontrollable and catastrophic escalation is too high. Seemingly, he shares the earlier maxim once articulated by President Ronald Reagan: “A nuclear war cannot be fought, because it can never be won.

Unfortunately, in his remarks Jerry Brown has made a number of inaccuracies in describing some facts of the immediate past and the present-day military-political environment.

He writes that: “…both the Soviet Union and the United States had developed hydrogen bombs”. In reality, the USA was the first state that produced H-bomb (1952), the USSR responded lately (1953). As is known, the USA was the first one who has produced an A-bomb; while the Soviet Union did so only in 1949. The USA was the first one who has created a classic SOA triad (ICBM, SLBM and heavy bombers), and MIRV ICBM. The USSR followed suit.

That is why it is irrelevant to claim that “the Soviets just stepped up their nuclear efforts and so did the U.S.”

turquieJerry Brown reminds about the Cuban missile crisis, but does not clarify that it has been initiated by Washington who unilaterally has deployed medium-range nuclear missiles “Jupiter” with 1 megaton each in Italy and Turkey, and at a time when the USA had nuclear warheads superiority over the Soviet Union as 17:1 (revelation by Robert McNamara). Only after that dangerous action Moscow has decided to move its SNF to Cuba (note: before the Cuban missile crisis has been resolved, the Soviet leaders have not even authorized to install nuclear warheads upon the missiles and combat aircraft brought to Cuba).

Jerry Brown is of opinion that the Cold War was over, and the nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union were located not only in Russia, but also in three new republics that “were not capable of protecting them.” After the demise of the USSR, Russia has brought all SOA and TNW from these republics back to its territory, despite the fact that all these nuclear assets have been strongly protected. This measure has been agreed upon between Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and the Western nuclear powers.

I do not believe that the Cold War is over despite the Paris Charter for a New Europe heralded that in 1990. The Cold War has entered a new phase – qualitatively more dangerous that its first phase. Cold War 2.0 is characterized by a vast military build-up of NATO near the Russian borders, and a complete stalemate in arms control: currently there are 15 unresolved issues in this domain between the USA and Russia. In the first stage of Cold War Moscow and Washington signed 7 nuclear arms control accords, CWC and BWCCFE-1 and CFE-1A treaties, a number of CBM arrangements. Since 2010 nothing has been done in this sphere.

So, it is incorrect to state that “the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States did not make any effort to slow nuclear competition; they did just the opposite.”

The reaction of Moscow to the fielding of the U.S. ground-based BMD assets in Europe was portrayed by Jerry Brown inaccurately.  Such elements plus sea-based components of the U.S BMD “shield” really create formidable threat to Russia and its allies because of two major reasons:

(a) the launching tubes of the U.S. BMD system Mk-41 can house not only defensive interceptors, but also offensive cruise missiles and other war-fighting means in the framework of the “Prompt Global Strike” which can be used as a first-strike weapon versus Russia;

(b) the U.S. and NATO BMD system has been tied up to their nuclear and conventional forces – such “appropriate mix” has been stamped up at the three recent NATO Summits in Chicago (2012), Newport (2014) and Warsaw (2016).

Washington still does not want to abrogate its Cold War thinking: to cancel its first use of nuclear weapons’ concept. All U.S. Administrations have declined to accept several Soviet and Russian initiatives on that issue.

President Barack Obama failed to ratify the CTBT (1996), though he has promised to do it during his presidency.

1029655857Recently, in the framework of NATO the debates on the further strengthening of this largest military bloc reliance on nuclear weapons have intensified.

The talk is about expanding the geographic scope and the total number of military exercises conducted with simulated use of bombs equipped with mock nuclear warheads, carrying military computer games on the use of nuclear weapons on the European continent, as well as the development of special scenarios on transformation of hypothetical conflict involving the general conventional forces into the conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons.

Suggestions have been made that in the course of combined command and staff games of a “new type” with the help of computer simulation while resolving non-nuclear and nuclear tasks in the scenario of the regional and global environment the condition of the “use of Russian strategy of nuclear escalation” as a counterweight to the “nuclear counter-escalation” to NATO is included. The idea of involving in such games not only representatives of the military, but also high-ranking civilian government officials participating in making the important decisions of national importance is articulated.

On June 25, 2015, during a hearing before the Committee on Armed Services of the US Congress devoted to the prospective role of nuclear weapons the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work called to oppose to the Russian nuclear doctrine by the U.S. nuclear capabilities with the aim to launch a strategy of “de-escalation of escalation.” In other words, it is interpreted in Washington in such a way that an escalation of threats of the limited use of nuclear weapons should be used to de-escalate conflicts fought with conventional weapons.

Commenting on the debate that took place during the meeting of the defense ministers of the member countries’ of the “transatlantic solidarity” in Brussels on 8 October 2015, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to NATO Adam Thomson has publicly complained that before the Alliance held separate military exercises with the use of conventional and nuclear weapons, but has never tested the transformation of the first type of exercises in the second ones. But he further recognized with appreciation that the recommendation of the “transformation of NATO military exercises with the use of conventional weapons into nuclear drills” became the focus of attention within the Alliance.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter on the same day told a news conference that the transatlantic pact should prepare an “updated instructions on the use of nuclear weapons” in order to adapt to new threats and challenges of the 21st century and, in particular, called for “better integrate non-nuclear and nuclear deterrence.” His compatriot Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General, said at the Berlin Security Conference November 17, 2015, the Alliance also must “modernize nuclear deterrence, strengthening his best means of early warning and intelligence.”

In 2014-2016 in order to develop new nuclear posture the U.S. strategic nuclear forces held several military exercises in Central and Eastern Europe, and North Africa, employing heavy strategic bombers B-52H and B-2A, capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

In March 2004 Washington initiated on the constant basis a large-scale NATO air patrol operations in the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, code-named “Baltic Air Policing”. It involves combat aircraft (DCA), which are potential carriers of tactical nuclear weapons. Over the past twelve years, i.e. from March 2004 to July 2016, fifteen countries of the Alliance, that is, more than half of NATO member-states have been participated in this operation near Russian borders, including the three major Western nuclear powers: the USA, the United Kingdom and France. This operation is conducted day-in-day-out, and 365/366 days per annum.

Washington is modernizing its TNW, including those fielded in Europe, and has no intention to pull them back to the CONUS.

B61_2014_03

Two of the five existing types of nuclear bombs, namely B-61-7 and B-61-11, as well as a new perspective bomb B-61-12 have “of strategic importance”, as may be delivered to targets not only by tactical aircraft but also by heavy strategic bombers B-52H and B-2A: each can carry 16 such bombs. Both types of strategic bombers can to travel the distance of 11,000 km without refueling in the air, and more than 18,000 km with mid-air refueling. For this reason these types of bombs in the documents of the Pentagon and the State Department are labeled as “strategic”.

A new bomb B-61-12 with a pin-point accuracy is a first-strike nuclear weapon.

Hans Kristensen, a researcher, working at FAS, points out that

“… it is expected that in the next decade, NATO’s nuclear forces will undergo major improvements that will affect increasing quality performance characteristics of both the nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. The planned modernization will significantly increase the military potential of the Alliance’s nuclear policy in Europe.”

The “doomsday” clock is ticking. Nowadays it shows 23.57. Too alarming.

What to do? Seemingly, three initial steps are badly needed.

First. To make a pledge of no-fist-use of nuclear weapons a universal norm, starting from the USA and Russia. As a preliminary step towards this goal to make a commitment to resort to a defensive unconditional nuclear deterrence that threatens no one. Such notion will require no costs.

Second. The USA should withdraw all its TNW from Europe and the Asian part of Turkey.

Third. A multilateral new ABM Treaty limiting the number of BMD interceptors and their geographical deployments has to be elaborated.

The next U.S. Administration has to seriously consider these steps.

Prof. Vladimir Kozin is Head of Advisers’ Group at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation.

More substantial remarks on these topics can be found in his monographs: “Evolution of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense and Russia’s Stance” (1945-2013); “The U.S. Military Doctrine and its Military Policy Forecasting till 2075: Critical Analysis and Practical Recommendations” (in Russian); “Military policy and strategy of the USA in geopolitical dynamics of the XXI century” (as a co-author; in Russian);  “Militarization of Outer Space and Its Impacts on Global Security Environment”; “The U.S. Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Reduction or Modernization?” (in Russian; the English translation ongoing); “Evolution of the U.S. Missile Defense Beyond 2040 and Russia’s Stance”; “The Chicago Triad of the USA and NATO and its Consequences for Russia” (in Russian).

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Convention confetti raining down on smiling faces should not conceal the bloody truth that trails Hillary Clinton.  As the balloons rise to celebrate her triumph, her victims continue to fall.

Following the bidding of her oligarchic backers in the hidden government, she has always been fervently eager to lend her immoral authority to the massacre of foreign peoples and the destruction of their central governments. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Serbia, etc. – the list is as long as her moral turpitude is deep.

But as the “Queen of Chaos” is crowned and feted in the City of Brotherly Love, it is crucially important that we recall her role five years ago in the destruction of the African country that had the highest living standard on the continent, excellent health care, free education, good social services, etc. – Libya.

As Hillary Clinton Testifies, How Will Libya Shape Her Legacy ...

As Hillary Clinton Testifies, How Will Libya Shape Her Legacy …
(image by npr.org)
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As Libya, according to plan, has descended into civil war and chaos (see Iraq, Syria, etc.) as a result of the 2011 “humanitarian intervention” instigated by Clinton and her ilk, it has disappeared from mainstream media propaganda. Out of sight, out of mind.  It will reappear in the corporate press if the American/Nato aggressors decide to bomb the country again in alliance with their friend, the Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, probably in support of the CIA-affiliated General Khalifa Haftar, who is presently wreaking havoc in eastern Libya with western support, as leaked tapes have shown.  The time for that renewed bombing may be fast approaching, though it might be delayed for political reasons until after the presidential election.

In the popular mind, of course, Clinton is associated with the controversial events of September 2012 in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. As the Secretary of State, she was no doubt aware of Stevens’ work with the CIA organizing the transfer of the seized Gaddafi government weapons to Turkish ports.  As the Italian historian Paolo Sensini writes in his eye-opening book, Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, “The arms were then transferred to the jihadi forces engaged in terrorist actions against the government of Syria under Bashar al-Assad.”  While bi-partisan outrage over the Americans’ deaths was duly noted by the media and became a political football, the nature of Stevens’ work under Clinton and Obama received no mainstream media coverage, and the illegal and immoral wars against two countries continued apace.

But the Stevens’ issue pales in comparison to Clinton’s larger role in waging war on a sovereign nation for propagandistic “humanitarian” reasons.  As with Iraq (Hussein) and Syria (Assad), she was a central player in the lies told about Mu’ammar Gaddafi to justify a war of aggression.  Each in his turn was declared to be the new Hitler.  In Gaddafi’s case, he was falsely accused of killing 10,000 people in Tripoli, having his soldiers use Viagra and rape as a matter of policy, and of being a bloody mad dictator intent on genocide.  Rwanda and the Holocaust were elicited as warnings.  President Obama justified the savage attack on Libya, fully supported by his Secretary of State Clinton, with the following lie: “We knew that if we wanted [sic] … if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.” And he announced he was sending Clinton to London to meet with the Libyan “opposition” – aka terrorists.

The western media ran with these false accusations, as usual, as did Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, prominent Arab media.  Like Iraq, Syria, and Serbia, it was another war of aggression based on lies, and Clinton was a primary player.

She was fully aware of developments in Libya from the start; knew that the rebels were Islamic militants armed and trained by the US, Britain, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE; knew that they summarily executed anyone they considered their enemies; knew that this war of lies was aimed at preventing Gaddafi from fulfilling his goal of economic independence, not just for Libya, but for the entire continent of Africa by introducing the gold dinar into Africa as common currency; knew, in short, that Libya had to be raped, its Central Bank destroyed, for its exploitation by western globalists.  Thus her boss, Obama, in August 2011 confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank that Gaddafi had planned to use for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.  This is what Clinton termed “smart power at its best.” Under the pretext of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ Clinton supported the killing of tens of thousands and the destruction of an independent country to serve her masters.

Paolo Sensini characterizes the Democratic presidential nominee (and next president) perfectly:

Mrs. Clinton’s joyous exclamation on hearing the news of Gaddafi’s death sums up the recklessness and irresponsibility of an entire political class – an unrepentant class that has wreaked havoc around the world on a truly unprecedented scale.

When she thought cameras and microphones were off and exclaimed, “We came, we saw, he died,” she was speaking not just for herself but for the party and interests that she now represents.

“I’m with her,” says Michelle Obama.

“I am proud to stand with her,” says Bernie Sanders.

I wonder where the dead children of Libya stand.

But this is Hillary Clinton’s hour.  Congratulations!  Happy Anniversary!

We await your next war.

 

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America’s press covers the Trump campaign with barely concealed hostility toward it, and with an obsessive emphasis upon the candidate’s positions regarding Russia; they’re attacking Trump as being (wittingly or unwittingly) an agent of Russia – and portraying Russia as being America’s enemy.

It’s not only Republican news media that are apparently agreeing with the Republican Mitt Romney’s famous statement made on 26 March 2012, about «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe». (Romney, who was the star at the last Republican National Convention, hates Trump so much as to have refused even to attend this Republican National Convention.)

How America’s Press Is Covering the Trump Campaign

Thus, on Friday, 22 July 2016, right after the Thursday-night end of the Republican National Convention and Donald Trump’s acceptance speech there, the top of the homepage of Huffington Post was this:

AMERICAN NIGHTMARE

DARK… H.W. Speechwriter: ‘Very Dark And Frightening’… Garry Kasparov: Sounded Straight Out Of Russia… David Duke: ‘Couldn’t Have Said It Better!’… Speech Riddled With Inaccuracies… Andrew Sullivan: ‘Massive Lies And Distortions, Crammed With Incoherence’… Republicans Have Made A World-Historical Mistake…

That «H.W. Speechwriter» is just an incompetent way of referring to a speechwriter for GHW Bush – whose entire family hates Trump – and Huffington Post’s ‘journalist’ there hid that key fact, when reporting on that speechwriter’s comment about the speech: that the comment came from a friend of that inimical family, the Bushes, who hate Trump.

In other words: this ‘news’ report, simply and uncritically, stenographically, transmitted that particular Bush-family propaganda, against Trump – and this was supposed to be ‘news’ ‘reporting’: people such as this ‘reporter’ get hired in America to write ‘news’ that gets positioned at the top of one of the nation’s major ‘news’ sites. The second headline-link there was from «Gary Kasparov», but they also didn’t indicate that this person happened to be a famous Russian opponent of Russia’s current President, Vladimir Putin. The last two of the eight headlines linked-to in that homepage-topper, came from two writers who had been prominent editors at the Democratic Party’s neoconservative magazine, The New Republic, which had been one of the leading PR organs for every American invasion, especially for George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Hillary Clinton also supported.

None of this background-information was supplied to its readers by Huffington Post,whose readers presumably are unaware that they’re reading (especially atop the front page) political propaganda, instead of political news.

Paul Krugman, in The New York Times, at the same time as that Huff Post propaganda, bannered Donald Trump: The Siberian Candidate, and he linked there to (as his article’s sources) the rabidly anti-Putin articles that will here be discussed below. All of these articles were written by neoconservatives whose careers have been assisted by some of American’s biggest weapons-makers (the profits of which are now booming with ‘the new cold war’ that those writers had helped to create by their hate-Russia propaganda). Krugman – an economist famous for arguing that producing weapons (and all other industries for war) is just as economically productive as is producing food or art or anything else (or, in other words, that producing bombs is just as good as producing bridges or education) – is now also showing, by this article, that his political views are likewise exclusively neoconservative (i.e., slanted in favor of promoting America’s war-industries). And yet, many readers in America consider Krugman to be ‘liberal’ or even ‘progressive’; he is considered to be the opposite of a fascist, in America.

If America’s readers were well-informed, they’d know that this particular war, the war against Russia, had already become a hot one, to overthrow Russia-friendly leaders in Ukraine and Syria. It started being a hot war, by Obama against Russia, when the Russia-friendly Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was overthrown in 2011 under US leadership, which was supported especially by the neoconservative Hillary Clinton (who famously exulted at Gaddafi’s assassination, «We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha!!»).

Earlier, under neoconservative President George W Bush, the hot war against Russia had actually begun by invading in 2003 Russia’s then-ally Iraq, after a barrage of neoconservative propaganda in America’s press had been aimed against the ‘threat’ to the US posed (allegedly) by ‘Saddam’s WMD’. But, in 2002, Barack Obama condemned that invasion in advance (with a keen eye to his upcoming political career to win the Democratic Presidential nomination), just as, in 2012, Obama condemned his opponent Mitt Romney’s statement about «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe» (when Obama was secretly, like a double-agent – pretending to be friendly toward Russia, while actually planning war against Russia – already preparing for Romney’s ‘number one geopolitical foe’ to be his own second-term’s chief military and diplomatic target and national enemy). Obama was a gifted deceiver, much more gifted than Hillary. However, now that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, the intent to conquer Russia is considerably more overt. (After all, the US government’s prior propaganda-operation has, by now, even bragged to the world its propaganda-success against Russia. And they had good reason to be proud: they had deceived the world, and especially deceived the American public, to fear Putin, when it is actually the US itself that has been the aggressor between the two.)

To Read complete article on the Strategic Culture Foundation website click here

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An interview by Be Curious TV with  Nabil Antaki a Syrian physician, and a Christian, who appeals to the West to open its eyes to the misinformation it is being fed.

BeCuriousTV: Welcome, Dr. Nabil Antaki. Please share with us what is happening in Aleppo and in Syria. You have been to Europe for a short while. You are Syrian, born in Syria and residing in Aleppo. You work as a doctor at the St Louis Hospital, in West Aleppo, meaning the area under the control of the regime. The people in the West do not realize what goes on in Syria after dusk. They could well ask which is worse, the violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime or that of the terrorists or “rebels”. This antagonism is reflected in the heart of our media, where on the one hand there are those who say that Bashar al Assad’s regime is terrifying his people, and on the other side those who maintain that Assad’s forces are defending their people against the “armed jihadis”. 

Dr Antaki: First of all I would like to clear up the so-called and often repeated Assad regime and  Assad army  confusion, which we do NOT appreciate in Syria. All over the media you read about Bashar’s aviation, Bashar’s army, while actually it’s the Syrian army, the army of the Syrian State, and when you said I live in the West of Aleppo, which is under the control of a regime, no, it’s the control of the Syrian state. Our people are not afraid of the Syrian army, because it’s an army that is defending all of Syria against terrorists who have invaded Syria in order to set up their Islamic state. This is why we should let everyone know that the Syrian people are not afraid of the Syrian army because it is not the army of a regime, as the media would have it, the people are actually very grateful for the presence of the Syrian army. Allow me to make an example. A few months ago the Syrian army went on the offensive to bring some relief to Aleppo which has been surrounded and besieged [by the terrorists] for the past 3 years. According to the Western media, it was the Syrian army that was setting siege to the Syrian people in Aleppo, while in fact the opposite was true, i.e. the Syrian army was trying to put a halt to the three years of terrorist siege of Aleppo. So, no, people are not afraid of the Syrian army, they are afraid of the terrorists.

BCT: So let me get this clear: the media of the West are not sending accurate news on what is being lived out in Aleppo? 

NA:  That’s exactly it. The Western media only report the events in East Aleppo. Since 2012 Aleppo has been cut into two. Three hundred thousand people live in the areas under the control of the terrorists to the East, while the remaining three quarters of the population, about 1.5 million people, live in the Western areas, which are under the control of the Syrian government.

So when we listen to what the Western media say is happening in Aleppo, they are focusing only on the Eastern area. When we cry out for help for Aleppo, it gets transformed into a cry for East Aleppo alone. When the media announced that the last pediatrician of Aleppo had been killed, it’s not true, because in West Aleppo there are about 100 pediatricians. Perhaps that was the last pediatrician in the other area, I have no idea, I have no information, but what I do know is that the inhabitants of the Eastern section live under the control of the terrorists.

BCT:  Have they let them escape from the area? 

NA: From the very start over a million and a half people ran to West Aleppo out of fear of the terrorists, but there are also some people who were afraid to leave, perhaps not having the means to leave, or afraid of losing what they had accumulated in the course of their lives, their little apartment, their TV. They thought that if they left they were liable to lose all they had, so they decided to remain, not out of ideological reasons but for practical purposes they preferred to stay put.

BCT: You have just told me about East Aleppo, which is under the control of the terrorists. Please explain to us the difference between the terrorists and the rebels.

NA: At the beginning of the war in Syria there were many different groups which included a tiny fraction of the democratic opposition, but most were terrorist groups intent on establishing an Islamic state. In the course of time these groups have been absorbed by the terrorist groups, which currently represent over 95% of the hundreds of armed opposition groups present in Syria. Therefore the Free Syrian Army and the opposition which are not terrorist, but are nonetheless armed, represent a mere 5% of the armed groups, the rest all being terrorists. The main terrorist groups are DAESH [ISIS] and Al Nusra. These two groups have been added to the list of “terrorists” by the United States and by Russia so that everyone has the right to target them from the air. However, there are other groups that come from Al Nusra, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, which have not yet been classified as terrorists. Among these are three main groups, Jaish al Islam [Army of Islam], Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Fatah [Army of Conquest]. These three groups have been created by Al Nusra to avoid being included in the list of terrorists, however they originated in Al Nusra which is Al Qaeda in Syria. So, when these three groups are added to the list of terrorist groups, which will allow them to be neutralized, all we will have left will be the armed groups that don’t act as terrorists with whom we have managed to negotiate and reach a political compromise.

BCT: And what about the refugees? 12 million people in search of shelter.

NA: Half of the population of Syria has moved. There are 23 million people in Syria and 12 million have been thrown out of their homes, 3.5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. 8 million are internally displaced people who have not left Syria but have been forced to leave their homes. This situation is very serious and these people need assistance just as much as those who have left the country. U.N. agencies focus only on the people who live in refugee camps outside of Syria. All these people are not running away from the acts of the Assad regime or of the Assad army, as depicted by the media. These people are not running from Assad’s government, nor from the Syrian army, nor from the hypothetical actions of one of these groups. These people are either running away from the battle zones or from penury.

Most of the Syrian people now live below the poverty threshhold. 80% of the population of Aleppo depend on the food packages provided by NGO’s. These people are poor. They have run out of their savings. Those who have lost their jobs, those who had assets such as a workshop or a factory, a store, have lost everything. These people are penniless, they are fleeing this misery and the battle zones. They are also worried about the future of their children; they have put up with the war for 2, 3, even 4 years, but the war has been going on for 5 years and they want to ensure their children’s future by taking the decision to pick up and seek a future somewhere else, to begin a new life.

BCT: How have the Syrians weathered the economic sanctions and embargoes imposed on them by the West since the beginning of the war?

NA: They are disgusted with these sanctions because these sanctions and embargoes are not against the government of Syria but against the Syrian people, all of the Syrian people. For example, I personally, as someone who lives in Syria, have lost the right to do even the tiniest of operations. If I want to send 1000 dollars to my children, I am unable to. I can neither import nor export anything. This means paralysis. I am a doctor, I wanted to replace a part of a piece of some medical instruments. Normally this would have taken a week. In this case it took a year and a half to get the piece because we had to import it from Japan. So you see, it is the Syrian people who are hurt by these sanctions and at a certain point the EU did revoke them but only for the people who live in the areas under the control of the terrorists! The people who live in the areas under the control of the Syrian government weren’t allowed to do a thing. Contrary to their intentions, these sanctions  do not penalize the regime, they punish the people of Syria.

BCT: You are a Christian. A Christian of the Middle East. If one were to shed doubt on how balanced your point of view might be, what would be your reaction?

NA: I am not talking to you as Nabil Antaki the Christian, I am talking as Nabil Antaki the Syrian who has witnessed his country being attacked and destroyed. It’s not a matter of being Christian or Muslim, Syria is an ethnic and religious mosaic. There are eleven different Christian churches and as many different Muslim faiths, and it’s not because the Syrian government protects the minorities that we support it. No, the government is secular, it protects everyone, whether minority or majority, all are respected within Syria. It’s a secular regime. Differently from the Islamic state which absolutely does not respect the minorities. If the Christians are pro -government or pro Syrian state it is because from the very beginning they came out for the secular state, in opposition to an Islamic state. The current President is very popular. I myself am not actually one of his fans, I defend Syria not the President. But his popularity is objectively undeniable and in my opinion if we had free elections tomorrow, based on international law, affording the right to vote to all Syrians, including those displaced abroad, we would see this President of ours re-elected. The West has never understood this. Assad was popular at the beginning of the war against Syria, and support for him today is even stronger, not because he defends minorities, which is what the media would have people believe, but because he defends all Syrians. Christians make up about ’8% of the Syrian population, so when you say that Assad is popular because he defends the Christians and that this is why the Christians support Assad, it’s a joke. Whether we are for or against him has no effect on his popularity. We have neither armed groups nor arms, and we are just 8% of the population. Assad is popular with all the groups and sectors of our society, therefore if we want this war to end we have to stop demanding as one of the conditions that Assad leave. We have to negotiate with him, conduct free elections and work for democracy.

BCT: Allow me to take up a few issues that you have mentioned. You speak of Assad’s enormous popularity. But was it enormous in 2011 too?

NA: That is the issue! When the problems began, there were demonstrations against Bashar that numbered ten to fifteen thousand participants at most. These demonstrations were broadcast on televisions and the numbers were enormously exaggerated, up to one or two hundred thousand. On the other hand, massive spontaneous demonstrations were generated in the streets in support of the Assad government, in Aleppo, in Damascus, in all of the big cities. Over a million people who supported Bashar. No one filmed these demonstrations, or perhaps I should say no one broadcast them in the West. Hence, the organic demonstrations of millions of people have been ignored, while the few thousands who protested in the streets against Bashar were inflated beyond all recognition and highly exaggerated. From the outset there was an enormous amount of prejudice and partiality on the part of the media. Assad has always been very popular and this hasn’t changed. He may be even more popular than in the last years before the war. … Life wasn’t perfect but no one wanted the war, they wanted reforms. Even the most explicit enemies of the government did not want war and most certainly not this war. They wanted reforms and they wanted democracy, but no one wanted to kill Syria in order to improve Syria.

BCT: We have two coalitions on the ground in Syria, in your opinion how effective are they?

NA: In my opinion the international coalition is ineffective because it is impossible to be on the same side. There is a coalition of the United States and Europe with Turkey and the Gulf States and at the same time we know that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are financing the jihadis, Daesh, Al Nusra. On the one hand they want to fight against the terrorists, on the other hand they are helping them. This is a complete aberration.

Besides, the Kurds in Syria have also taken up arms against DAESH. The United States has found an ally in the Kurds in the fight against DAESH. However Turkey is completely against arming the Kurds and therefore fights against them. So we have two countries who are allies, the United States and Turkey, but one of them is allied to the Kurds and the other is against them, this can never work. There are too many contradictions within the Western coalition and this is why it hasn’t achieved a thing. Before the Russian intervention, the air strikes of the coalition were mere cosmetics… They began to be effective only after Russia stepped in.

From our point of view, the Russian intervention has been extremely advantageous and it has the full support of the Syrian people, which contradicts the Western narration. The West accuses Russia of striking not only the terrorist groups but also the “moderate rebels”. Russia has been very successful at bombing the groups of the Islamic state, so now the West is trying to slow them down, maintaining that they are not targeting the terrorist groups and accusing Russia of helping Bashar instead of attacking DAESH. Of course this is untrue, when the West does the bombing everything is ok but when Russia wants to bomb, it doesn’t do it well enough.

BCT: How do you think the Western media are depicting the facts on the ground in Syria?

NA: The Western media are not impartial. They are biased, they are against the Syrian state. They support the terrorist-rebels. We do not request that they be for or against the regime,  we simply ask that they look at things objectively.

BCT: What do you feel like saying as your personal point of view?

NA: All I want to say to the West is to be more objective. Educate yourselves, don’t accept disinformation, put pressure on your governments because Syria is a country that wants its freedom, its prosperity and its democracy. The war has destroyed us, we have had enough, we want it to stop!

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Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report.‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest among lowest socio-economic groups. That’s because energy-dense foods of poor nutritional value are cheaper than more nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fruit, and relatively poor families with children purchase food primarily to satisfy their hunger.

The report argues that more people than ever before are eating processed foods as a large part of their diet. Bad for health, but good for the industry because sugar-rich processed foods have the highest profit margins (unlike fruit and vegetables), and the easiest way to make industrial, processed food cheap, long-lasting and enhance the taste is to add extra sugar as well as salt and fat to products.

There is an increasing body of scientific evidence showing the key role sugar plays in fuelling rocketing rates of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as some types of cancer, and the new report argues that in cold economic terms the cost to European GDP is alarming. In the United Kingdom, the cost of obesity is estimated at £27 billion per year, and approximately seven per cent of national health spending in EU member states as a whole is due to obesity in adults. This is aside from indirect costs to societies such as sickness and early death or the impacts on carers.

So why isn’t action being taken to address this health crisis?

Simply because the food industry is able to resist regulation. The CEO report notes that the food industry has vigorously mobilised to stop vital public health legislation in this area by:

Pushing free trade agreements and deregulation drives that undermine existing laws;

Exercising undue influence over EU regulatory bodies;

Capturing scientific expertise;

Championing weak voluntary schemes;Outmaneuvering consumer groups by spending billions on aggressive lobbying.

Health policies, like mandatory sugar reductions, sugar taxes and food labels, would help consumers make healthier choices. But the leverage which food industry giants have over EU decision-making has helped the sugar lobby to see off many of these threats to its profit margins.

The report argues that key trade associations, companies and lobby groups related to sugary food and drinks together spend an estimated €21.3 million annually to lobby the EU.

The bottom line is money and profit. This trumps any notion of public health and the public interest. CEO explains that Europe is the world’s biggest food and drinks exporter, and food giant Nestlé is its most valuable corporation, valued at €208 billion – even more than Royal Dutch Shell.

The report states:

The European Commission and institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have been far too willing to listen to industry’s messages, reflecting their all too often overly close relationship with the food and drink industry.

It stresses that many of the initiatives that would help Europeans eat less sugar are weak and voluntary or challenged by the EU itself when enacted at nation state level: the capture of EU regulatory bodies is a major cause for concern.

Trade deals like TTIP and CETA could help the sugar lobby even more. The report notes that similar deals have already been used to force Mexico to pay hundreds of millions in compensation for taxing sugar.

While industry-funded studies influence European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) decisions, Coca Cola, Nestlé and other food giants engage in corporate propaganda by sponsoring sporting events and major exercise programmes to divert attention from the impacts of their products and give the false impression that exercise and lifestyle choices are the major factors in preventing poor health.The report goes on to say:

Trade lobby groups and food industry giants sponsor research into subjects such as obesity and diabetes, sometimes in partnership with the European Commission (EC). This can set industry-friendly parameters and result in publication bias. Decades of research emphasis on fat, exercise, and calorie counting has helped distract nutrition advice from the specific dangers of sugar.

The authors note that the EC Dutch Presidency of the first half of 2016 has been criticised for its Roadmap for Action on Food Product Improvement, which works hand in hand with the food industry; the Roadmap emphasises weak voluntary sugar reduction targets and public-private partnerships for industry.The report also notes that trade association FoodDrinkEurope spent approximately €1 billion in a successful campaign against a mandatory EU-wide ‘traffic light’ food labelling system that is most recommended by health experts and consumer groups. Food lobbyists are also mobilising PR tactics against sugar taxes.

Katharine Ainger, freelance journalist and co-author of the report says:

“So many independent scientific studies show a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and serious health risks. But the fact that there is still no consensus on the dangers of sugar among EU regulators proves just how powerful the food and drink lobby is. Sound scientific advice is being sidelined by the billions of euros backing the sugar lobby. In its dishonesty and its disregard for people’s health, the food and drink industry rivals the tactics we’ve seen from the tobacco lobby for decades.”

The industry is able to flex its considerable financial muscle to slant science, exert political influence and mount slick PR campaigns to carry on endangering the health of hundreds of millions of Europeans.It is not the first time that CEO has shown the EC to be a willing servant of a corporate agenda. Brussels swarms with corporate lobbyists whose spending power and political influence dwarfs that of civil organisations and consumer groups.

Industry lobbyists spend millions each year for good reason. They receive a return on what is essentially a key investment: the capture and corruption of public bodies, the co-writing of legislation, the avoidance of regulation and the bringing in of trade deals like TTIP that will effectively destroy any remnants of democracy and the existing limited ability of elected representatives and governments to check corporate power.While many advocate the democratic public ownership and management of key infrastructure, such as transport, health services, banking and utility companies, not much is ever mentioned about food. But what can be more vital to society than the control of the food supply and what we eat?

From the various chemical cocktails applied to our food to low-nutrient, sugar-rich products, the food and agriculture sector is knowingly damaging our health and has being doing so for decades. The powerful corporations that belong to this sector will continue to do so because their logic and corporate business models are based on maximisation of profit at all costs and by all means possible.

 

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Why We Need to Uncover the 9/11 Deception. WSF Panel, Montreal

juillet 29th, 2016 by World Social Forum 2016

Discussion workshop
Aug 10 2016  9:00 – 11:30

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: WHY WE NEED TO UNCOVER THE 9/11 DECEPTION

The 9/11 Consensus Panel has developed 48 Consensus Points of evidence (some of it new) refuting the official narrative of 9/11: http://www.consensus911.org/the-911-consensus-points/ This work has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

A selection of Panel members will host a discussion about the ongoing importance of the 9/11 deception, including selected Consensus Points. There will be time for questions.

The Panel employs a systematic medical model to determine the “best evidence” regarding the events of 9/11.

Panel Members include science academics, engineers, attorneys, commercial pilots, journalists, and others. Their bios are at http://www.consensus911.org/panel-members/

Speakers

Dr. Graeme MacQueen, Panel Member, Prof. Emeritus, Peace Studies, McMaster Univ.
Elizabeth Woodworth, Co-founder, consensus911.org, Writer
Dr. Sean Sweeney, moderator, Professor, Murphy Institute, International Program for Labor, Climate and the Environment
Dr. Niels Harrit, Prof. Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen
Others, TBA,

Speaking the Whole Truth to Power: Why We Need to Uncover the 9/11 Deception

Activity Lead Organization

9/11 Consensus Panel

Group Admins

Elizabeth Woodworth

Programming theme

Culture of Peace and Struggle for Justice and Demilitarization

Objectives

To inform / To make aware of
Networking / To meet
Debate / deliberate / discuss
Converge for action / to decide
Partner development / alliances constitution
To engage the media

Discussion workshop
Aug 10 2016  9:00 – 11:30
Université McGill – Pavillon Bronfman (Local 151)
1001, rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montréal, QC, Canada
Languages

English

Simultaneous translation

French

Target audiences

General, Those interested in the global war on terror

Activities extended on the Internet

yes

Last Modified
21 June 2016
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The failed coup in Turkey last week was a political and geopolitical earthquake as it has the potential to fundamentally alter the Middle East, NATO, and potentially the balance of power globally.  But while the implications of the recent developments are clear, what actually took place on the night/morning of July 15 – July 16 is still somewhat shrouded in mystery.  But why is that? Why are the connections for the most part not being made by Western pundits and journalists alike?

Here again we run into the controlled corporate media apparatus, one which is dominated by the very same interests that dominate the governments of the US and EU, and its incredible power to misinform.  As the great Michael Parenti famously wrote,

“[The media’s] job is not to inform but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse but to dilute and mute it. Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying so much while meaning so little, offering so many calories with so few nutrients.”

Nowhere is Parenti’s contention more true than with the coup in Turkey. For while the media has certainly reported the allegations from President Erdogan and his government of the hidden hand of US-based billionaire Fetullah Gulen, almost none of the major media outlets have done the necessary investigation to uncover the real significance of Gulen and his movement.  Specifically, and almost as if by magic, there is virtually no mention of Gulen’s longstanding ties to the CIA, his penetration of the various institutions of the Turkish state, nor is there any serious investigation into the financial networks and connections leading from Gulen to nearly every corner of the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world.

And while Gulen, along with many neocons in the US, have been propagating the narrative that President Erdogan and his forces themselves staged the coup in order to justify the ongoing crackdown on political rivals, secularists, and other anti-Erdogan forces, the media by and large has not connected the events in Turkey to their larger geopolitical significance, one which should shed some light on what may have happened. And, in a further dereliction of duty, the media has also mostly ignored the absolutely critical likelihood of the involvement of US-NATO intelligence.

History as a Guide

From Iran in 1953 to Chile in 1973 and countless other countries, the CIA and its intelligence agency cousins in NATO have been involved in myriad coups similar to the one that took place in Turkey last week.  However, one would be remiss in not noting the striking similarities between the 2016 coup in Turkey and the one that took place on September 12, 1980.

Throughout the mid to late 1970s Turkey saw a major upsurge of terrorism and violence, much of which was attributed to fascist formations such as the Grey Wolves, along with other groups.  However, what is now known is that much of the violence took the form of provocations which many experts allege were orchestrated by CIA-affiliated individuals and networks.

Perhaps the most significant of these was Paul Henze, a man who spent decades as an intelligence coordinator in Ethiopia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the Cold War.  As Daniele Ganser noted in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe,

 “A right wing extremist on trial later plausibly argued that the massacres and terrors of the 1970s had been a strategy to bring [coup leader General] Evren and the military right to power: ‘The massacres were a provocation by the [Turkish intelligence agency] MIT.  With the provocations by the MIT and the CIA the ground was prepared for the September 12 coup.’” (p. 239)

But of course, these actions did not take place in a vacuum; there were intelligence operators in place who facilitated the events that took place.  As renowned author and media critic Edward Herman and co-author Frank Brodhead wrote in their 1986 book The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection:

“Paul Henze began his long CIA career under Defense Department cover as a “foreign affairs adviser” in 1950. Two years later, he began a six-year hitch as a policy adviser to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich, West Germany. By 1969, Henze was CIA chief of station in Ethiopia, and he served as station chief in Turkey from 1974 through 1977. When Zbigniew Brzezinski assembled his National Security Council team for President Jimmy Carter, Henze was hired as the CIA’s representative to the NSC office in the White House.”

Considering the intimate connection between Henze and Brzezinski (image right), it is not hard to see that Henze was essentially involved in the same global operation as Brzezinski, namely the weaponization of terrorism for strategic gain against the Soviet Union.  And while Brzezinski famously masterminded the creation of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Henze already had achieved similar results in Turkey, organizing right wing forces for the purposes of destabilization. In his book, Gansler cites counter-terrorism scholar and expert on GLADIO operations Selhattin Celik, who wrote in 1999 that:

“[When US President Jimmy Carter] heard about [the 1980 coup in Turkey] he called Paul Henze, former Chief of the CIA station in Turkey who had left Ankara shortly before the coup to become a security adviser to President Carter in Washington on the Turkey desk of the CIA…Carter told Henze what the latter already knew: ‘Your people have just made a coup!’  The President was right.  Paul Henze, the day after the coup, had triumphantly declared to his CIA colleagues in Washington: ‘Our boys have done it!”

Celik bluntly referred to Henze as “the chief architect of the September 12, 1980 coup.”  It’s not hard to see why.  From having been on the ground in the early to mid-1970s, to then becoming a coordinator in Washington while being the point person on Turkey for the National Security Council under Brzezinski, Henze was clearly instrumental.  As Gansler notes, according to Celik,

“Brzezinski supported the position of Henze.  During a discussion in the National Security Council of the situation in Iran where in 1979 Khomeiny [sic] had seized power Brzezinski expressed his view that ‘for Turkey as for Brazil a military government would be the best solution.’”

While none of this should come as a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with how US intelligence operated in the Cold War, perhaps the depth of the connections between US intelligence, its NATO cousins, and the Turkish military and deep state represent something of an epiphany.  As Turkish politician and social activist Ertugrul Kurkcu wrote in Covert Action Quarterly in 1997:

The close ties between the Turkish, US military, and intelligence circles, along with US concerns over Turkey’s military cooperation, have been major obstacles in Turkey’s path to broader democracy. [Turkish politician and journalist Fikri] Saglar charges that US interest in Turkish affairs is not confined to official NATO relations and trade ties. He points to the notorious message by the CIA’s then-Turkey Station Chief Paul Henze in Ankara to his colleagues in Washington the day after the 1980 coup “Our boys have done it!” Henze crowed. Saglar concludes that foreign intelligence organizations including the CIA, have coopted collaborators from among the extreme-right and exploited them for their particular interests.

In effect, what the 1980 coup demonstrates more than anything is that the Turkish military, as well as the far right fascist terror gangs such as the Grey Wolves, are in various ways assets of the US, and under the thumb of US intelligence.  To be sure, one could quibble about the degree to which they are entirely assets, proxies, or simply longtime collaborators, but this distinction is of minor importance.  What matters is that the historical record clearly indicates collusion between the Turkish military and deep state and the CIA.

But this is all ancient history, right? Surely these networks and connections have eroded over time, and what happened in 1980 is of only secondary significance to the internal politics of Turkey and the ongoing struggles for power.  Well, yes…but on second thought, maybe not.

Who’s Who on the Turkish Chessboard?

In trying to provide analysis of what just took place in Turkey, one must have some understanding of the political factions vying for power in Turkey.  They can roughly be broken down into three camps, though there is often overlap between the groups.

The first faction is that of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Erdogan and the AKP come from the “moderate Islamist” milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood, having spent years fighting against the militantly secular Turkish military and state order.  As Dr. Essam al-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, explained in 2007, “the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relationship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.”

This point is of critical importance because it connects Erdogan and his political machine to a much broader international network active throughout the Middle East and North Africa.  It further provides an explanation as to Erdogan’s seeming fanaticism over the war in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad whose father crushed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, as well as his unwavering support for former Egyptian President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader deposed by current President Sisi.

The second faction is that of the Kemalists, with its power generally residing in the military and elements of the deep state.  They see themselves as the custodians of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.  The Kemalists are deeply connected to major capitalist interests in the country, and have a long history of collaboration with the US and NATO.  As noted above, the Turkish military has long-standing ties to the CIA and NATO intelligence, and has long been understood as one of the most reliable US-NATO partners.

The third political faction of note is that of Turkish billionaire Fetullah Gulen whose global network of schools has made him into one of the single most powerful individuals in the region, though he runs his network from the comfort of his Pennsylvania estate.  Not only has the Gulen network made significant inroads penetrating nearly every state institution in Turkey, it is also hugely influential in the US, both in terms of long-standing ties to US intelligence, and perhaps equally important, its massive lobbying and influence-peddling apparatus.  Indeed, in 2010 six major Turkish-American federations with ties to the Gulen movement joined together to create the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF), a non-profit organization that has become one of the more prominent lobbying groups in Washington dealing with Turkish and Turkic peoples issues.

It is essential to remember that although it is known that last week’s coup was carried out by elements of the military, it is unclear exactly which faction they were representing, or if it was a combination of two.  But here it is useful to examine the recent history of the Gulen network (known as Hizmet) and its penetration of state institutions in order to assess what potential role it may have played in the coup.

Connecting the Dots: Fetullah Gulen and CIA Fingerprints on Turkey Coup?

While it is easy to point the finger at the CIA and US-NATO intelligence for anything that happens anywhere in the world – the Empire’s reach is truly global – one must be cautious not to simply assert US culpability without properly drawing out the tangible connections. And in this case, that is doubly true.  However, it is here that Gulen’s significance really comes into play, for it is his far-reaching network of contacts, surrogates, and proxies that have penetrated nearly every significant state institution.

Long before last week’s failed coup, analysts had been making the connection between Gulen, infiltration of the Turkish state, and the CIA.  As political analyst Osman Softic wrote in 2014:

“Given that the Hizmet sympathizers skilfully [sic] infiltrated some of the most sensitive structures of the state such as the police, intelligence, judiciary and public prosecution, it is quite plausible that this movement may have served as a convenient mechanism for destabilization and even overthrow of the Erdoğan government, by much more powerful and sinister international actors… Gülen himself may have become a convenient pawn in their attempt to destabilize Turkey.”

The allegation that Gulen agents have penetrated all throughout the Turkish state is nothing new.  In fact, such assertions have dogged Gulen and the Hizmet movement for at least the last two decades.  But it is the connection to US intelligence and the elite circles of US foreign policy that truly completes the picture.

Enter Graham Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, whose links to Gulen’s movement run deep.  Fuller has gone so far as to defend Gulen on Huffington Post in recent days in an article entitled The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult — It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today in which he admits – he had no choice as it is well documented – that he wrote a letter in support of Gulen’s green card application to the US in 2006.  Although his rhetoric attempts to distort the nature of, and reason behind, his support for Gulen, Fuller does imply that Hizmet represents a social movement aligned with, and amenable to, US interests, one which could be used as a potent weapon in a critical NATO ally.

Fuller fails to note that he doesn’t simply have a passing connection with the Gulen movement, but that he has attended numerous Gulenist functions including large events, such as those organized by the Turquoise Council for Americans and Eurasians, a reputed Gulenist umbrella organization run by Kemal Oksuz (a.k.a. Kevin Oksuz), a prominent member of the Gulen network.

In addition to Fuller, infamous former CIA operative and US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, also wrote a letter backing Gulen as he sought sanctuary in the US.  Interestingly, Abramowitz was also the co-author, along with fellow neocons Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal, of a fiery January 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post that all but demanded that the US topple Erdogan’s government. Yes, chin-scratchingly interesting.

So, let’s see if we got it all down.  Gulen leads a multi-billion dollar business empire and charter/private school network with global reach.  He is directly connected to two of the most notorious CIA operatives in the recent history of US-Turkish relations.  He has a political lobbying network whose tentacles stretch from Washington to Central Asia.  Oh, and by the way, according to former Turkish intelligence chief Osman Nuri Gundes, Gulen’s network of schools in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan provided the cover for at least 130 CIA agents in the mid to late 90s.

Now let’s add to that equation the fact that the RAND corporation, one of the most influential think tanks within US policy circles, suggested in a detailed 2004 report entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies that US policy should:

“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam…Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.”

It would seem that, more than a decade ago, and at a time when Gulen and Erdogan were still friendly, their organizations still allied, that US policy was to push Gulen and the moderate Islamist elements that he and Erdogan represented.  It seems quite likely that the falling out between Erdogan and Gulen had less to do with personal issues and egos (though that undoubtedly played a part) than it did with policy and loyalty.

The Geopolitics and Strategy of the Failed Coup

Despite his commendable service to US imperialism in Syria, including hosting both terrorist and Syrian expatriate proxies of the US, Erdogan has clearly upset the apple cart with Washington.  Perhaps his most egregious crime came just recently when he issued an apology for the November 2015 downing of a Russian jet.  But, of course, it wasn’t the apology itself that set off official Washington, it was the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy away from the US, NATO, and Europe, and towards Russia, China, and the emerging non-western power bloc. This was his grave sin. And it wasn’t the first time, though undoubtedly Washington wanted to make sure it would be his last.

One must recall that Erdogan has a nasty habit of making deals with US adversaries, including the signing of the massive Turk Stream pipeline deal, the decision to purchase missile systems from China (which Erdogan later reneged on), the signing of a lucrative nuclear energy deal with Russia, and many others.  In short, for Washington, Erdogan proved to be an unreliable ally at best, and a dangerous political manipulator at worst.  So, as with so many leaders who came to be seen that way by the US political elites, he had to go.  And Gulen’s network would come in handy.

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the events of the failed coup was the use of the NATO base at Incirlik.  As the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Turkish officials said the organizers of the uprising were given crucial aid from officers at Incirlik Air Base, a facility that hosts most of the 2,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Turkey and is a key base for the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing air campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group in neighboring Iraq and Syria… official media reported the arrest of the top Turkish military official at Incirlik, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van. Van was among 10 soldiers arrested at the base, part of an operation Turkish officials say provided air-to-air refueling for F-16 fighter jets…[which] were a crucial part of the coup attempt, used to intimidate government supporters in the streets.”

The implications of this information should not be understated.  While it is entirely possible that the story was concocted by Erdogan’s people in order to carry out a purge of top military officials perhaps seen as disloyal to Erdogan or much too loyal to secular Kemalists, it is also plausible that the Turkish government’s narrative is correct.

Were that to be the case, then the obvious implication would be that Incirlik was a base of operations for the coup, the locus of Turkish military power behind the coup, and US intelligence and military behind them.  Considering the centrality of Incirlik to NATO operations in the Middle East, it is not unreasonable to assume that aside from just military personnel, Incirlik is a node in the global CIA network.  In fact, considering that the base is home to both US drones conducting operations in the Syria-Iraq theater, as well as a hub of the US “extraordinary rendition” program, it almost goes without saying that Incirlik houses significant CIA assets.

Seen from this perspective then, Incirlik was obviously pivotal to the failed coup plot, and has since become essential to Erdogan’s purging of his rivals from the ranks of the military.  Moreover, it was long a bone of contention between Ankara and Washington, with Erdogan’s government wanting to assert more control over the base than Washington was prepared to allow.  In many ways, Incirlik became the nexus of a tectonic shift in Turkish politics, and in the geopolitics of the region.

Ultimately, the failed 2016 coup in Turkey will have lasting ramifications that will impact the years and decades ahead.  With Turkey now clearly breaking with the US-NATO-EU axis, it is rather predictable that it will seek to not only mend fences with both Russia and China, but to place itself into the non-western camp typified by BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s One Belt One Road strategy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc.

The failure of the coup is clearly a failure for the US and its allies who see in Erdogan an adversary, not a partner.  For his part, Erdogan has much criminal behavior to answer for.  From his illegal fomenting of war in Syria, to the purges and arbitrary detentions ongoing in Turkey today, to the attacks on secular institutions and human rights, Erdogan has a rap sheet a mile long.   But of course sharing a bed with criminal regimes has never been a problem for Washington.

No, the problem has been, and will continue to be, that Erdogan doesn’t play by the rules; rules set forth by the US.  And with this US-backed coup, he will only get stronger.  Surely, many sleepless nights lay ahead for the strategic planners in Washington.

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According to Australian authorities, data recovered from a home flight simulator belonging to the captain of Malaysia Flight 370 indicates that the device was used to plot a course to where the flight is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

In the wake of reports that an FBI analysis of the simulator showed Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah simulated a flight with a similar path less than a month before the crash, there has been some dispute about the simulator’s significance. For some this revelation serves to confirm suspicions that the crash was a premeditated murder-suicide on Shah’s part.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre is overseeing a search for the plane’s remains off the west coast of Australia, and has confirmed that  « someone had plotted a course to the southern Indian Ocean. » In a previous statement, the agency said the data did not prove that the captain purposefully crashed the plane, but showed only the « the possibility of planning. »

Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia’s national police chief, said on Thursday that the investigation will not be complete until the « black box, » which contains a data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, is retrieved.

Bakar said, « We cannot confirm anything. Whatever findings now are not conclusive until we recover the black box which will tell us what actually happened… if not, everything else is speculative. » When asked whether police had ruled out suicide, he responded, « I never rule out anything. »

Even though Bakar claimed that Malaysian police have not given documents to foreign agencies such as the FBI, Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai, confirmed that Malay authorities and the FBI worked together to analyze data found on the simulator’s hard drives two years ago.

On Wednesday, Lai asserted that there was no evidence of Shah plotting the same course as MH370 on his flight simulator software.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not offer any new details on what was found on the machine earlier this week, saying that it was Malaysia’s case to handle, since they were taking the lead on investigating the downed craft.

He told reporters, « I just note that even if the simulator information does show that it is possible or very likely that the captain planned this shocking event, it does not tell us the location of the aircraft. »

Authorities have not been able to explain why the 239-passenger Boeing 777 veered from its course on March 8, 2014, on a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. It has been theorized that the cause of the crash could be a murder-suicide by one of the pilots, a mechanical error, or possibly a hijacking. Despite a wide-ranging search for the aircraft, no significant wreckage has been found.

Officials from China, Malaysia and Australia announced last week that the underwater search would be suspended once the current area being searched has been thoroughly explored. Fewer than 10,000 square kilometers are left to scan of the 120,000 square kilometer search area, and the sweep is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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The Content of Donald Trump’s Character

juillet 29th, 2016 by Marjorie Cohn

Though some anti-war Americans see hope that Donald Trump would pull back from foreign wars, they also must face his undeniable record of racial and sexist bigotry, writes Marjorie Cohn.

In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump declared, “My Dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. . . . It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people.”

Donald apparently forgot what his father taught him. The GOP nominee refuses to pay the people who work for him. “Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others,” wrote Steve Reilly in USA Today.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Moreover, Fred Trump, “the smartest” man his son ever knew, did not respect the dignity of black people. The legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie rented an apartment in the elder Trump’s Brooklyn complex in 1950. It turned out blacks were not welcome there.

University of Central Lancashire professor Will Kaufman, a student of Guthrie’s life and songs, noted that Guthrie thought “Fred Trump was one who stirs up racial hate, and implicitly profits from it,” lamenting “the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood.”

Guthrie responded to Fred Trump’s bigotry with this song:

I suppose

Old Man Trump knows

Just how much

Racial Hate

He stirred up

In the bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed

That color line

Here at his Eighteen hundred family project

The acorn did not fall far from the tree of racial prejudice. In 1973, the Nixon Justice Department sued Fred and Donald Trump for systematic discrimination against African-Americans in housing rentals.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof cited the Trumps’ former building superintendent who said he was told to code rental applications with a “C” for colored, which would flag the office to reject the application. The Trumps only rented to “Jews and executives,” not blacks, according to a rental agent.

Kip Brown, a former Trump casino owner, told the New Yorker, “When Donald and [former wife] Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor.  . . . They put us all in the back.”

In his 1991 book, John O’Donnell, former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Donald Trump as saying “laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

The ‘Mexican’ Judge

Trump’s racial animus is not confined to African-Americans. He has vowed to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, calling Mexican immigrants “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; build a wall on the southern U.S. border to keep people out; and temporarily forbid Muslims from entering the United States.

President Barack Obama bending over so a boy visiting the Oval Office could feel that the President's hair was like his. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama bending over so a boy visiting the Oval Office could feel that the President’s hair was like his. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

At one of his rallies, Trump condescendingly pointed to a black man in the crowd, saying, “Oh, look at my African-American over here – look at him.”

And Trump denounced Gonzalo Curiel, a well-respected federal judge of Mexican heritage who is presiding over a lawsuit in San Diego filed by people claiming they were scammed by Trump University. After Curiel unsealed documents, Trump declared that Curiel had “an absolute conflict” that should disqualify him from the case. Trump’s reason: “He is a Mexican,” adding, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”

Trump’s overriding theme, “Make America Great Again,” is a euphemism for “Make America White Again.” Indeed, Trump was a founder of the birther movement, whose aim was to discredit Barack Obama by claiming he was born in Kenya, thus stoking racist attacks throughout his presidency. That movement evolved into the Trump for president campaign, which is steeped in racial hatred.

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Trump pits blacks against whites, reminiscent of what occurred during the era of Jim Crow. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King’s remarks about how poor white workers in the South were told, “No matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man,” noting, “Racial hatred was part of keeping the powerful on top.”

Trump is sexist as well as racist. His comments about women reveal his misogyny. He has referred to women as “dog,” “fat pig,” “slob,” “degenerate” and “disgusting animal.” And Trump disgustingly said of Megan Kelly, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

The GOP nominee has no more respect for the disabled than he does for women, workers and people of color, publicly mocking a reporter with a disability.

And although he declared in his acceptance speech that he would “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said nothing about protecting them from the hateful ideology within the United States.

The next president may fill three or four seats on the Supreme Court. Trump has vowed to nominate justices like Antonin Scalia, who said during oral argument in the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, that he was not “impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer” black students.

Scalia added, “Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”

Scalia opposed reproductive rights, universal health care, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, labor rights, LGBT rights and environmental protection. Trump, who has said he will pick his judicial nominations from lists drawn up by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, could move the high court radically to the right for decades to come.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said he hoped his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but rather “by the content of their character.” Donald Trump’s character is racist, sexist, and just downright mean. A Trump presidency would pose an unimaginable danger to the people of this country.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” Visit her website athttp://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marjoriecohn.

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I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.  The Rwandan government accuses him of genocide crime committed in 1994, but they made no such accusations until after he gave several talks on northeastern college and university campuses in which he said that the Rwandan war and massacres of the 1990s were a class conflict, not an ethnic conflict, and therefore not genocide.  These talks constituted a threat to President Paul Kagame’s totalitarian Rwandan regime, to the Clinton dynasty, and to “humanitarian” war ideology.

On the phone Dr. Munyakazi protested his innocence. He spoke of witnesses who had testified that he was not where his accusers said he was and therefore could not have done what he was accused of doing there. I told him that he didn’t have to convince me because I have been following and reporting on cases like his for years.  A Rwandan exile speaks out against Rwandan totalitarianism, disagrees with Rwanda’s constitutionally codified description of the 1994 massacres as “genocide against the Tutsi,” or testifies in defense of another Rwandan, and soon a gaggle of anonymous witnesses say that he or she too was guilty of genocide in 1994 and the Rwandan government demands his or her return to Rwanda.

The Rwandan government has even accused  Lin Muyizere, the husband of celebrated Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire of genocide crime, and tried to have him extradited from the Netherlands. Ingabire herself is now in the sixth year of a 15-year sentence in Rwanda for daring to run for president against Paul Kagame in 2010 and for “genocide denial.”  She did not say, like Dr. Munyakazi, that the Rwandan conflict was about class rather than ethnicity, but she did say,  in an equally challenging statement, that there were extremists on both sides, Hutu and Tutsi, that there were victims on both sides, and that all the victims must be remembered.  I had the honor of speaking to Victoire many times in 2010, and putting her voice on the air on Pacifica Radio’s KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-NYC.

Yet another challenge to the Wikipedia/Hotel Rwanda story has come from Professors Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, after 10 years of research in Rwanda. In the 2015 BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story, Allan Stam had this exchange with the BBC’s Jane Corbin:

Allan Stam: If a million people died in Rwanda in 1994 — and that’s certainly possible — there is no way that the majority of them could be Tutsi.

Jane Corbin: How do you know that?

Allan Stam: Because there weren’t enough Tutsi in the country.

Jane Corbin: The academics calculated there had been 500,000 Tutsis before the conflict in Rwanda; 300,000 survived. This led them to their final controversial conclusion.

Allan Stam: If a million Rwandans died, and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, that means 800,000 of them were Hutu.

Jane Corbin: That’s completely the opposite of what the world believes happened in the Rwandan genocide.

Allan Stam: What the world believes, and what actually happened, are quite different.

The Rwandan – and Burundian – Hutu and Tutsi divide

Dr. Munyakazi stated what seemed obvious to many who have studied  the history of Rwanda and Burundi.  He said that Hutu and Tutsi speak the same language, share the same culture, eat the same food, and even marry each other, with membership in one group or the other determined patrilineally. Ninety-three percent of Rwandans are Christian. They are distinguished instead, by historical class privilege.  Prior to colonization, the Tutsi were a cattle owning, feudal ruling class, the Hutu a subservient peasant class.  Belgian colonists reified this divide by issuing ID cards that labeled Rwandans and Burundians as Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

Rwanda’s third population, the Twa, are traditionally forest people, hunter gatherers, but the Twa are only one percent of Rwanda’s population. They  also suffered in the Rwandan war and massacres of the 1990s, but the war and massacres were fundamentally a conflict between the historically privileged Tutsi and the historically oppressed Hutu.

There is nothing like the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to prevent and punish class war.  Article II of the Convention says that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”  It says nothing about preventing or punishing the murder of masses of people in order to claim, reclaim or defend wealth and privilege. Nor does it say anything about the murder of masses of people in order to steal what they have, such as oil, land, water or mineral riches.

Dr. Munyakazi told me he believed the U.S. State Department had intervened in his case behind the scenes to make sure that he was sent back to Rwanda, and I told him that wouldn’t surprise me. President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, openly intervened as a litigant to make sure that Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana was extradited to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda in 1999. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark defended Pastor Ntakirutimana in the U.S. and at the ICTR and called his conviction “a tragic miscarriage of justice.”

Dr. Munyakazi threatens President Paul Kagame, Samantha Power and the humanitarian warriors

Since a class conflict is not a genocide, Dr. Munyakazi is dangerous to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who justifies his ruthless totalitarian regime by claiming to be the savior who stopped a genocide.  He is also dangerous to the Holocaust and genocide industries, whose false equation of the Holocaust and the Rwandan massacres is at the ideological foundation of “humanitarian” war ideology, as codified in Obama’s Executive Order — Comprehensive Approach to Atrocity Prevention and Response and in Mass Atrocities Prevention Operations, a Military Handbook, a collaboration between the Pentagon and Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights.  He is dangerous to UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who has built her entire career on a historically inaccurate, decontextualized, and grossly oversimplified account of the 1994 Rwandan massacres, during which U.S. officials “stood by.”  What would come of all their moral urgencies about “stopping the next Rwanda” in Libya, Syria, etc., if “Rwanda” were not the story we were all told?

And the Clinton dynasty

As if that weren’t enough, Dr. Munyakazi is  dangerous to the Clinton dynasty, which is so wedded to the lies about the Rwanda war and massacres that Bill Clinton presented one of his Global Citizen Awards to President Paul Kagame in 2009. For the past 22 years, Clinton has shed crocodile tears and called his “failure to intervene” in Rwanda the greatest mistake of his presidency.  This year, in support of his wife’s campaign, Bill Clinton claimed that she urged him to intervene in Rwanda. She affirmed that claim as evidence of her commitment to humanitarian “intervention.”

Trouble is President Bill Clinton did not “fail to intervene” in Rwanda.  He refused to intervene and stopped the UN Security Council from organizing an intervention, because the U.S. and UK had already intervened in support of General Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army that invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990.  Clinton was not going to let an intervention stop Kagame from finally overthrowing the existing, Hutu-led Rwandan government and seizing power.  The evidence of this is laid out in Robin Philpot’s Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, Ed Herman and David Peterson’sEnduring Lies: Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years Later, Peter Erlinder’s Accidental Genocide, Carla Del Ponte’s Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity and Jean-Marie Ndajigimana’s How Paul Kagame Deliberately Sacrificed the Tutsi.

Everything went according to the US/UK plan except that the loss of life in Rwanda was far greater than President Clinton or anyone at the Pentagon had anticipated. A massive cover-up was mounted at theInternational Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, which indicted and prosecuted only Rwandan Hutus, and in the heroization of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.  Like Tony Blair, Clinton has tirelessly extolled the achievements of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as the BBC reported in Rwanda’s Untold Story.  Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens, in the same BBC doc, says that “their closeness is a closeness with what I call the most important war criminal in office today.”

On July 28, 1994, after General Paul Kagame had won the war and seized power in Rwanda, the New York Times reported that “the United States is preparing to send troops to help establish a large base in Rwanda to bolster the relief effort in the devastated African nation.”  Just over two years later, U.S. proxies Rwanda and Uganda invaded Zaire – what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – in 1996 and then again in 1998, overthrowing first Mobutu, then Laurent Kabila, establishing the U.S. as the dominant power in the region, and leaving millions more dead in the wars and ongoing conflict over eastern Congo’s vast mineral wealth.  “The United States has been the superpower that has dominated what has happened in this area in the Congo and in Rwanda,” says Professor Edward S. Herman. “The American people know almost nothing about the area, and since the United States has had a strong position of support for Kagame and for the invasion of the Congo, that dominated all the institutions that were associated with it.”  Bill Clinton’s so-called “failure to intervene” was in fact a proxy intervention causing massive loss of life.

And what was the justification of Rwanda’s repeated invasion of Zaire and its  plunder and occupation of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo?  Kagame said he was going to hunt down the Hutus guilty of genocide, which the international community had been quick to equate with the Holocaust.

I asked myself what else to say to Dr. Munyakazi, on the other end of a cell phone connection between Oakland and Alabama, except that I know he is innocent?  I could barely hear him because the connection kept breaking up, but I was able to understand that he wants to appeal to the Supreme Court. I said I would speak to his lawyer and some other lawyers, doubtful as I am that the Court would hear his case. I said I would try to produce some radio coverage, but that it would be difficult to garner any attention for his story right now without tying it to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s decades of involvement in the events leading up to his pending “removal” to Rwanda, and that that would do nothing to help his case.  He said that he was committed to telling the truth about what really happened in his country, regardless of the consequences.

 

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist who also contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, the Black Agenda Report and the Black Star News, and produces radio for KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-New York City.  In 2014, she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize by the Womens International Network for Democracy and Peace.  She can be reached at [email protected].

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