Peace is the Enemy of the US Military Industrial Complex

April 29th, 2014 by Vashek Cervinka

War is a criminal act against the humanity. The fundamental question is who may benefits from the present potential military conflict in the Ukraine? 

The citizens of the Ukraine, Europe, Russia, or the USA would not benefit. Some people in the Ukraine may benefit.  The European Union is facing such severe economic and social problems that its search for other burdens would be rather surprising.  Russia needs economic and political stability to again be respected as a world power.  The USA is ending two rather long wars – in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Would our country be eager to get involved in another military conflict that again might not be very successful?

The USA is the World’s foremost military power.  Its military budget represents about 50 percent of global military expenditures.  The US military has spent trillions of dollars since the end of the Second World War.  Despite these huge expenditures, it cannot claim any major victories.  The Korean War ended in a tie.  The USA was defeated in Vietnam.  It has been searching for some ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without being able to claim true victories.

The USA really did not have to get involved in those wars that solved nothing.  US citizens did not benefit from those wars.

A hidden Agenda? There had to be some reasons for conducting those wars that killed many people, destroyed properties, wasted resources and taxpayers’ money.  One should recall the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 17, 1961):

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The fact that military activities may become a profitable enterprise leads to the realization that peace is the main enemy of the military-industrial complex.   A simple metaphor can illustrate this problem.  Grape growers, the wine industry and wine marketers would be completely out of business if people stopped drinking wine.  In a similar way, the military-industrial complex would be put out of business by lasting peaceful conditions because the development, production, marketing and use of military equipment would be not needed.  

To stay in business, this complex needed the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the “cold war” with the Soviet Union, war on terrorism and various other wars.  And it needs to be involved in new conflicts, such as in Ukraine at this time.

Recent political activities in the Ukraine can be viewed as an effort to start a new “cold war”, this time with Russia.  It is not about reducing corruption in the Ukraine (there is plenty of corruption in western countries as well).  It is not about improving democracy in the Ukraine (the same need exists in western countries as well).  It is not about improving economic conditions in the Ukraine (the same need exists in western countries as well).

The main objective of Western activities in the Ukraine is to provoke Russia and to transform a sensitive peaceful coexistence into a new “cold war”.  Everyone could have expected the Russian reaction to the effort of placing NATO forces on its borders.  This would be the equivalent of placing Soviet missiles in Cuba. Kennedy’s government had to react in October 1962.  Putin’s government has reacted now.

Peace is a hope of a great majority of people.  It could be enhanced if government expenditures would support business companies producing renewable energy, clean water and other life supporting products, rather than products bringing death. 

Vashek Cervinka lives in Davis, California.  He is an author of the book Questions We Have Forgotten to Ask and many essays published in the local newspaper.  He can be reached at [email protected].

Just when the U.S. Defense Secretary was in Japan giving indications that the Ukraine “crisis” was over as far as the U.S. was concerned, Ukrainians of all sorts, other Washington officials, and even the Japanese government all pitch in to keep the “crisis” alive, at least as a threat meme.

Whether it’s a real crisis doesn’t matter as long as you’re afraid

How much of a Ukraine crisis is it, really, when “pro-Russian” Ukrainians seize Ukrainian government buildings, calling for Russians protection/intervention – and the Russians don’t come?  They don’t even threaten to come.

That’s been true for several days as this is written. Maybe it won’t be true as you read it, since writing about Ukraine these days is like leaving a message in the sand without knowing where the tide line is on the beach. 

 All the same, the opportunity, the pretext, the moment for Russian intervention arrived April 6 in eastern Ukraine (in the three oblasts of Kharkiv, Luhansk, and especially Donetsk). Russia, already presumed to have the means and the motive, did not seize the opportunity to invade any part of Ukraine. Quite the contrary, the Russians, and the Germans, and the European Union were all calling for calm, dialogue, and de-escalation.

While others fulminated fantasy threats, German Chancellor Angela Merkel put the Russian takeover of Crimea in perspective with the succinctness of sanity, saying she considered it a “singular event.” The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton called for “de-escalation and the avoidance of further destabilization.” 

Along with many American officials, the acting government of Ukraine has been inflating the Russian “threat” for weeks, stoking fear that the Ukraine mainland was poised to go the way of Crimea. That’s the Ukrainian propaganda line that’s still waiting for – or possibly seeking to provoke – confirmation on the ground. This fear-mongering is based on two assumptions: (1) that Russia has annexed Crimea (true) and (2) that Russian troops along the Ukrainian border (hard to nail down, more about that later) are planning to invade eastern Ukraine (counterintuitive from a rational perspective, but impossible to prove until it happens, or doesn’t). In any event, it’s a useful distraction for the Kiev government, which can’t even run its parliament without breaking into fistfights.

The killer quote so far, crystallizing American madness in the midst of a situation we spent twenty years preparing, comes from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 8:

 “… quite simply, what we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary.”

Looking in the mirror, Kerry apparently sees someone else as he utters an apt and precise description of the western role in Ukraine, destabilizing a sovereign state during the months of the Maidan that culminated in a pro-western coup d’etat, resulting in the illegal and illegitimate (but possibly better) Kiev government now in power. American paid operatives, both overt and, presumably covert, prominently included Asst. Secretary of State Victoria (“fuck the EU”) Nuland, who reports to Kerry. Nuland’s stated choice for the next Ukrainian prime minister was Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whom the coup leaders chose as the next and current Ukrainian prime minister.

Remembering that one side’s de-stabilization can become another side’s stabilization, it’s foolish to question whether or not the Russians are engaged in events in Ukraine. The more useful question would be who doesn’t have a hand in stirring the pot?  Summing up the official spin on events, the New York Times of April 8 began its Ukraine story, under the headline “Ukrainian Troops Move to Reassert Control in East,” with this paragraph:

 “Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops expelled pro-Russian demonstrators from a regional administration building in the eastern city of Kharkiv early on Tuesday, arresting about 70 protesters as the provisional government in Kiev moved to exert control over unrest that the United States and its Western allies fear might lead to a Russian military invasion.”

Nicely done, implying in one long sentence that: even though Ukraine’s troops are in charge of a challenge that comes from “pro-Russian demonstrators” (who are Ukrainian civilians as far as is known), nevertheless everyone should be afraid of “a Russian military invasion” which seems no more likely than a Russian tourist invasion. The best touch is the reference to Kiev’s “provisional” government, which has no legitimacy, having come to power in a process that began with demonstrations that mirror the one so quickly quelled in Kharkiv.

No doubt someone somewhere is arguing that this comparison proves that Ukrainians had more free speech under President Yanukovych that they have under the government that overthrew him and, in its first legislative act, banned Russian as an official language (later rescinded).

Later the same day, the original lede disappeared from the Times website, when the Times re-packaged the official message this way: “As the government in Kiev moved to reassert control over pro-Russian protesters across eastern Ukraine, the United States and NATO issued stern warnings to Moscow about further intervention in the country’s affairs, amid continuing fears of an eventual Russian incursion.” Now the Kiev government, no longer “provisional,” remains in control of its pro-Russian citizens, but the U.S. and NATO are bombast-throwing against the diminished threat of an “eventual” mere “incursion.” This might seem like an indication of some easing of tensions except that, in the print edition of the April 8 Times, the same reporters had earlier written that “there was no imminent threat to peace.”

Who wants trouble, and where do they want it? 

The American Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, arrived in Japan on April 5 at the same time that American officials were sending signals that the Ukraine “crisis” caused by the Russian takeover of Crimea was over. Even though the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by President Clinton purported to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the U.S. response has been that there is no military solution (in other words: Crimea is not worth going to war over). The Budapest Memorandum did not mean what it said, American officials explained, because its commitments were “nonbinding.” The memorandum is not a formal treaty.

Japan and the U.S. have a formal security treaty, which Defense Secretary Hagel emphasized publicly and privately. But Japanese officials were using the American response on Crimea to try to leverage a stronger American commitment to an even less important bit of contested real estate in the East China Sea – the uninhabited islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Both countries claim the islands, whose status is legally ambiguous. The Chinese discovered a large natural gas field near the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in 2006, which China and Japan have developed jointly since 2008.

Increasing Japanese militarism was expressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in January, when he told the World Economic Forum that the world should stand up to China or risk a regional war with global economic consequences. Feeding that fear in February, U.S. intelligence officer Capt. James Farrell claimed that Chinese training exercises included practice for “a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea.” The U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, responding indirectly at the time, asking that “both sides lower the temperature and focus on diplomacy,” while adding that the U.S. had no position on the dispute over the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Adding to the context leading up to Hagel’s visit, the North Koreans launched some 30 short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. Japan promised to shoot down any more North Korean missiles seen as a threat to Japan. And South Korea, which also has a military security treaty with the U.S., tested a new, long-range ballistic missile that could reach almost any point in North Korea, firing it into the Yellow Sea.

Manipulating the perception of increasing tensions, the Japanese sought to maneuver the U.S. in committing itself to a military response to any attack on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands that Japan administers. Hagel reaffirmed the American commitment to protect Japan’s security, without specifically including the disputed islands, reiterating the official U.S. position that it has no position.

For all their diplomatic ambiguity, Hagel’s assurances annoyed the Chinese without satisfying the Japanese. Hagel travelled on to China, where he became the first foreigner to get a tour of China’s newest aircraft carrier, a former Soviet vessel that the Chinese spent a decade refurbishing after buying it from Ukraine.

What none of the public officials (and little if any of the media coverage) said about the Sendaku/Diaoyu islands is that the islands are arguably located in both countries’ excusive economic zones and also within their 200-mile territorial limits (the East China Sea is about 360 miles wide) as controlled by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which both countries have signed. The dispute has been pending before the UN’s State Oceanic Administration since December 2012, when China submitted its claim. The ocean area in dispute is about one-and-a-half times the size of Crimea.

Speaking at the NATO Transformation Seminar in Paris on April 8, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen defined the Ukraine situation through the now familiar meme of Russian troops massed on the border of Ukraine, a description of reality that is as unchallenged as it is unproven, even though it has settled into acceptance as conventional wisdom:

 “We are meeting at a defining moment for the security architecture we have built together over the last decades. Events in Eastern Ukraine are of great concern. I urge Russia to step back. Any further move into Eastern Ukraine would represent a serious escalation, rather than the de-escalation that we all seek.

“We call on Russia to pull back the tens of thousands of troops it has massed on Ukraine’s borders, engage in a genuine dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities, and respect its international commitments.”

The first problem with the troop meme is that Ukraine’s border with Russia is more than 1,200 miles long. No one is asserting that there are massed Russian troops stretching 1,200 miles from Belarus to the Black Sea, and clearly that’s not what’s real [if there were 40,000 troops along the entire 1,200 mile border, that would mean there were 33 troops per mile, which is pretty thin massing]. It’s not clear what’s real, and hasn’t been since the earliest assertions of Russian troops massing.

Before the Maidan began in Kiev in the fall of 2013, the Russians were allowed by treaty to have 25,000 troops in Ukraine, all in bases in Crimea. Once Russia controlled Crimea, early reports of Russian troops in Ukraine often confused this reality with other things that may or may not have been real, such as the March 7 report that the Pentagon estimated the presence of “20,000 Russian troops in Ukraine.” If true, the Russians would seem to have been under-massed by about 5,000 troops.  Whatever else was true during the Crimea takeover, there were no pictures of massive Russian troop movements. Video of Russian tanks moving to Crimea on trains were, if real, showing those tanks moving unmolested through southern Ukraine, the only rail route from Russia to Crimea.

As of March 4, according to a map in the British Daily Telegraph, the standing military of Ukraine comprised little more than 150 planes and 65,000 troops. Across the border in Russia, the standing military in the western district (Moscow) included 278 planes and over 150,000 troops. The southern military district (Rostov-on-Don) had some 200 planes and 150,000 troops. In other words, before there was any “massing,” the Russians already had more than 300,000 troops stationed in regions bordering Ukraine, presumably at a variety of distances from the border.

On March 12, the British Daily Mail reported a Ukraine government claim that “80,000 Russian troops were massing on its borders.” The story included two maps, one of which showed four areas on the border where the Russians were reportedly massing 80,000 troops, 270 tanks, 180 armored vehicles, 90 helicopters, 140 planes, and so on, without any indication how they were divided up.  The second map purported to show that Russia planned to occupy all of southern Ukraine from Kharkiv to Odessa, which wasn’t fully consistent with the map showing where the troops were “massed.”

That was the government in Kiev, or the Daily Mail, crying wolf. The next day, March 13, the UK Guardian reported that “Moscow has deployed 10,000 troops along its border with Ukraine,” no massing, and clearly discounting the 25,000 or so in Crimea. Russia confirmed the 10,00 in “several border regions… in a training exercise that would last two weeks.” The New York Times the same day reported the same story based on the same source somewhat more hysterically, under the fundamentally false headline:

Russian Troops Mass at Border With Ukraine

The Russians continued to deny the Times’s definition of reality, which President Obama said “we have seen… massing along that border under the guise of military exercises.” Whatever the president may have seen, there was no conclusive visual evidence offered to the public. What pictures there have been to date have shown little that could be called “massing,” and were often pictures that could have been taken anywhere, any time. That includes the purported classified satellite images tweeted by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on April 9 that he claims show a “buildup” near Rostov-on-Don, which is some fifty miles from the Ukraine border.

By the end of March, Ukraine was claiming Russia had 100,000 troops on the border (later reduced to “still over 10,000”), while the Russians were claiming that they had allowed foreign observers to probe border regions four times and that “even Ukrainian inspectors [agreed] there were no major military activities being carried out.” Fox News said the Russians were just hiding their troops. The official U.S. estimate of massed Russian troops stabilized at around 40,000 (where it remains), while the European estimate is 30,000.  As of April 7, at the joint meeting in Vienna of the Forum for Security Cooperation and the Permanent Council, the U.S. remained officially dissatisfied with Russian responses to formal inquiries as to the precise nature and purpose of forces deployed near the Ukraine border.

The United States currently has 67,000 troops in Europe, far from Ukraine, with 40,000 in Germany, 11,000 in Italy, and 9,500 in Britain. The total in 1991, before the Soviet Union collapsed, was 285,000.

Whatever the reality of the positions of Russian troops in Russia, there’s no credible evidence they exist in threatening strength. It could be true, but even those who have looked for them reportedly can’t find them. Ukraine is inherently unstable and has long existed in a nearly continuous state of chronic crisis. But the engaged participants all have reasons to perpetuate the spectre of massed Russian troops, whether they’re there or not: the Russians for leverage and mystique; the Ukrainians for unity and support; the west for posturing.

And there’s another constituency with a clear vested interested in pushing the Russian threat toward a new Cold War: arms makers (excuse me: “defense contractors”).  As the NATO secretary general said quite plainly at the NATO Transformation Seminar, April 8:

 “The reality is that Europeans have disarmed too much and for too long.  In NATO, we have agreed a defence spending guideline of 2% of Gross Domestic Product.   Too few Allies meet this guideline.  And too many have moved too far in the other direction. This is the time to stop the cuts and start reversing the trend.”

 From that perspective, there are likely some who are afraid that Russia won’t invade Ukraine, or that China won’t invade the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Following the revelation of Edward Snowden of the global mass surveillance by the NSA, Brazil is the first to undertake great measures to govern their citizens’ rights on the Internet. NET Mundial, The two-day  conference on global Internet governance has just taken place in Sao Paulo Brazil. It opened with the historic signing of the Marco Civil by president Dilma Roussef, also dubbed “the first bill of internet rights”.

Last year’s online mass surveillance discovery done by the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a lot of anger worldwide. It broke for most the illusion that the Internet is an anonymous and free space. Particularly Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was outraged. When she gave a passionate speech for the General Assembly of the United Nations last fall, she proposed a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web. 

Her words were put into action and NETMundial convened this April, mere months later, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The conference brought together participants from not only governmental levels, but also academia, the technical community and the civil society, of which a quarter of participants was remote. A remarkable inclusion of every stakeholder in the field, eligible to addcomments to the text through a comprehensive webtool (http://document.netmundial.br).

The highlight of the conference was definitely the signing of the Marco Civil da Internet, a constitution of Internet rights. It was certainly no coincidence that the signing of the very first bill of Internet human rights was the opening ceremony of the conference, marking Brazil’s chosen role to be on the forefront of Internet freedom and rights.

Most governments in the world by now have their own cybersecurity policy to protect critical infrastructure () but very little attention has been given to the rights of its citizens on the Internet. Violations which no one has been held accountable for. Under the predicament that human rights which people have offline must also be protected online, Brazil signed its own Internet bill of human rights after a lengthy and controversial process that had been ongoing since 2009.

The law is the first to explicitly protect the principle of freedom of expression online, uphold net neutrality, protect the right to privacy and the rights to connect.

The Marco Civil was applauded all throughout the international community. It received particular praise from Sir Tim Berners Lee, the co-founder of the World Wide Web who was also present at the conference.

While praise is due, attempting to govern a free and open network is a two-edged blade.

Brazil originally intended to force all network data and communications to be stored within Brazil . An Internet completely on Brazilian territory and Brazilian rule would make it a lot harder for external surveillance. But keeping Internet traffic within the borders would have also significantly impeded the functioning of the Internet in Brazil.

Companies like Google complained they would have to make expensive investments in server centers on Brazilian territory and it would possibly have made other companies skip Brazil because of the investment. This could create a situation comparable to the virtual wall like China has put up. Policymakers eventually came to their senses after heavy protests and dropped the measure that would have actually restricted freedom on the Internet more. While Brazil reluctantly dropped the article, other countries like Russia are also considering such a move after the NSA scandals. Vladimir Putin even went as far as calling the Internet a CIA project.

The most controversial part of the Marco Civil that did pass is its article 16 on data retention. Pushed by the federal police (http://infojustice.org/archives/32527), a mandatory 1-year period of retaining personal data was included in the bill, which some human rights groups point out as (ironically) similar to the NSA surveillance. It is argued that such data can now be used in court cases for criminal activities, but it also goes against privacy rights that prohibit private communication from being stored. Since the military dictatorship Brazil went through is still ingrained in the collective Brazilian memory, there is a legitimate fear that certain information can be held against individuals at a certain point when the rules change on what is a ‘criminal act’.

There are however strict rules included in the bill on who can access this data. Court orders are required to actually obtain the data, and data is prohibited to be transferred to third parties. Yet retention still hampers with the anonymity on the web. As Nnenna Nwakamwa, the civil society keynote speaker to NETmundial said, the web that we can trust, that is the web we want, and we cannot trust a net that is spied on.

While the Marco Civil is full of good intentions, it has some weak points. The same mixed feeling of success goes for the conference, which failed to reach a strong consensus. It did not include net-neutrality as a principle and lacked a strong position on anonymity on the Internet. One commentator stated that, given that shocking revelations about mass surveillance sparked the NetMundial conference in the first place, the language agreed upon in the sole paragraph dedicated to the subject was unacceptably vague and weak.

Despite the fact that some in the civil society movement were disappointed with the outcome documents, the conference was quite a victory for Brazil, even if only  reputation-wise. The efforts gave to Brazil a huge image boost within the international community, upholding Brazil as being a advocate of human rights, with global praise for its bill. A much needed diversion from the civilian protests in the run-up to the soccer world cup. 

Just how much of an influence the Snowden leaks have had on how we perceive the Internet is noticeable from how governments are responding in the wake of them. The trust in the Internet as a free and anonymous place has gotten a serious dent.
Brazil’s leading role in internet governance and the protection of human rights online is admirable but we’re only halfway there. Even with its flaws, Brazil will serve as a test-lab for the rest of the world in protecting individuals online, ushering us “in a new era” as Tim Berners Lee said.

Nathalie Van Raemdonck is an international affairs specialist with an interest in cyber issues. She is currently doing an internship at the United Nations.

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bloated last fall about officially ending the Monroe Doctrine (the U.S. belief that God grants only Americans the right to interfere with the internal affairs of other western hemisphere countries), one wonders if Stephen Harper and his foreign affairs pitbull John Baird immediately took the concept on for themselves.

Perhaps they also adopted a bit of manifest destiny thrown in for good measure. How else – other than through the lens of someone who truly feels anointed by the heavens – can one begin to understand Harper’s messianic foreign policy, one in which he and John Baird play tag-team John Waynes making the world safe for Canadian corporate profits?

While it is true that Canada has always had a sense of manifest destiny – the notion that a little bit of Canada goes a long way in ‘developing’ nations, whether that means invading Russia after World War I, overthrowing the Aristide government in Haiti, or maintaining a genocidal occupation of First Nations – it has not always been trumpeted as loudly as in recent years. Indeed, one can almost hear the alarums playing in their heads as the PM and his trusted sidekick globetrot over to Ukraine, imagining themselves as Churchillian figures standing up against the Russian bear as they support the junta ruling post-coup Ukraine. Needless to say, Ukraine is a pearl awaiting exploitation, as global natural gas producers and investment bankers salivate over this region where Chevron hopes to frack $10-billion of shale oil out of the landscape and the IMF imposes gut-wrenching austerity that will drain away social programs and economic diversity in favour of privatization and evaporation of state funds into the hands of the wealthy few.

Boon for Weapons Manufacturers

The Ukraine mess is also a boon for weapons manufacturers who, frightened at the slight decline in potential orders as governments try to tighten their belts, now have a new excuse to keep the taps flowing, one as welcome as when the U.S. invited Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and then, playing bait and switch, rallied the weapons corporations together with massive new funding that most thought would have made for a great post-Cold War peace dividend. Harper’s dispatch of six CF-18 fighters to the region (with nary a whisper of outrage from the opposition in Ottawa) is also great PR for a government that will soon use their overseas presence as an advertisement to entice us into supporting the stealth fighter purchase for the purpose of NATO interoperability. For Lockheed Martin stockholders, it’s Christmastime.

The Ukraine debacle represents the latest in a pattern of Harper and Baird supporting coups and ignoring human rights violations as a nasty but necessary part of doing business. (Though let’s not blame the Conservatives too much, for the Liberals have a long tradition of supporting gross human rights violations as well. We all too easily forget the war criminality in which Lester Pearson immersed himself over Southeast Asia. Who can forget the Trudeau government’s shamefully immediate recognition of post-coup Chile’s General Pinochet, guaranteeing Canadian mining interests the ‘stability’ they desired to continue business as usual?)

Harper’s Psychological Apocalypticism

That Harper can boldly state the Crimean crisis represents the worst threat the world has seen since the end of the Cold War reflects what the brilliant U.S. social critic and psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton identifies as “a psychological apocalypticism in which all prior products of the human mind give way to a new collective mind-set” that is “pure, perfect, and eternal.” In the pure and perfect minds of Harper and Baird, there has been no invasion and slaughter of Iraqis claiming over two million lives since 1991, nor the imposition from without of PTSD on an entire nation of people in Afghanistan, drone strikes claiming thousands of lives, genocide in Rwanda and Sudan, or any other horrors that have often been the product of U.S., Canadian, and NATO policies and actions. For Harper, this is his World War II moment, an opportunity in his own pure mind to cement his footprint in history.

Nonetheless, Harper and Baird’s foreign policy has been touted much of late in editorial pages, picking up on Baird’s idea of a “principled” approach to the world. On March 27, Canada’s foreign affairs minister pounded his podium and declared: “Challenging and confronting those who threaten freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” is where he wants his representatives abroad to “distinguish themselves.” Of course, such rhetoric is used equally easily by the likes of Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, and is emptier than a California aquifer in the middle of that state’s record-breaking drought.

For anyone willing to take even a cursory look at the Harper/Baird record, it is clear that this duo is acting as the advance guard to sell the world Canadian weapons that can be used by repressive regimes and private militias who are defending Canadian mining and petroleum companies from the democratic aspirations of peasants, labour organizers, and journalists who question why their air, water, land and rights must be despoiled in the interest of Canada’s economic prosperity. Canadian trade officials are now openly embedded into Canadian business organizations and trade associations, such as the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), which claims half of its $12-billion in annual revenues come from overseas sales. Ottawa has made no secret of its desire to grow its arms export market, including to such rights-violating countries as the U.S., Mexico, Pakistan, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt. In fact, back before he became a convenient whipping post, the Ukraine government of Viktor Yanukovych was the recipient of over $80,000 in weapons, some of which may well have been used in the repression of last winter’s protests.

Canada Supporting Coups

Canada’s global mining industry similarly presents Canada with an opportunity to support the coups and repressive regimes that host them. In Guatemala, for example, where some five dozen unionists have been murdered in the past five years, favoured trade status with the EU and U.S. is under threat for that government’s failure to investigate these murders. Canada has been silent no doubt because conditions are perfect for record mining company profits. In the same neighbourhood, Canada supported the 2009 coup in Honduras by opening up free trade talks, while Nobel Laureate Jody Williams noted, “The Canadian embassy remains silent on the human rights abuses committed by mining companies, while playing a prominent role in facilitating high-level meetings for corporations.” John Ralston Saul writes that some three dozen Honduran journalists have been killed since 2009 with impunity: only two convictions have been registered in these crimes.

Ottawa has treated post-coup Egypt with kid gloves as well, refusing to condemn the overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government, claiming in retrospect that because Morsi tended toward the autocratic, there was no need to return him to power (an argument one could perhaps use in the case of Stephen Harper as he bulldozes through with omnibus legislation and his “Fair Elections” Act). Canada continues regular relations with Egypt while that country holds Canadian citizen and Al Jazeera reporter Mohamed Fahmy, and pretends all is well as 529 individuals were sentenced to death last month following an in absentia trial lasting less than one hour. The Egyptian government, meanwhile, has not been held to account for the murder of over 1,200 civilian protesters and the mass jailing of over 16,000 people, and Canada has increased weapons sales to Egypt by 83 per cent. Not to be worried about the ongoing repression, Canada maintains at least 13 trade commissioners in its Egyptian embassy.

Just to the west of Egypt lies the mess in Libya, created with the full co-operation of the Harper government (and its NDP opposition, which had no trouble fully supporting the illegal NATO bombing campaign that ousted the Gaddafi regime). There are no headlines calling out for justice in Libya, where dozens have reportedly been tortured to death, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noting that “members of the armed brigades freely admitted, and even tried to justify, the physical abuse of detainees.” These are the same militias who worked hand-in-hand with Canada and NATO, but in the Harper paradigm, it’s a new day in Libya, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service declares: “Whether you are looking to export, invest, attract investment, or develop innovation and R&D partnerships in Libya our trade commissioners are available when and where you need them.” The commission’s website does caution about travel risks and terrorism, but not a word about torture.

Meantime, Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a nuclear co-operation agreement even though the government’s own internal briefings shows Ottawa is well aware of human rights abuses, noting “international human rights organizations believe that national security has been used as a pretext by the UAE government to suppress dissent and repress activists asking for democratic reforms.”

Economic Diplomacy Rules the Day

Given Canada’s focus on “economic diplomacy” with the world, it makes sense that the profits being made from exporting coal to China (Canada has gone from shipping $13-million in 2007 to well over $1-billion now) cannot be tampered with by speaking out forcefully on behalf of Canadians illegally jailed there, such as Burlington’s Huseyin Celil, an Uighur who continues to suffer in extreme isolation behind bars while Harper welcomes a China Investment Corporation office in Toronto.

Similarly, for all the self-serving rhetoric about liberating women in Afghanistan as an excuse for the illegal occupation of that country, Canada has been fairly tight-lipped about repression of women in Saudi Arabia, to which $10-billion in light-armoured vehicles (which were used to help suppress Arab spring demonstrators in neighbouring Bahrain) are being sent from London, Ontario.

While President Obama tries to thaw out relations with Iran, Ottawa goes harder on Tehran, even declaring that country a state sponsor of terrorism. Perhaps Canada’s role as a petro-state has something to do with the stance, for as the Financial Post baldly stated last September 27, a warming up of relations with Iran means Iranian oil could flood the world market, driving down the price of Canadian petroleum products. And while Syria is now on the backburner (with Canada conceding fewer than 10 Syrian refuges have actually made it to Canada), Canada waited until after the Olympics to drive home the point that Russia has continued to support the Assad regime. While Harper was making that point one fine day in September 2013, the very same day two trade ministers were in Moscow to bolster economic ties with Canada as a “top of mind” partner. Russia was called a priority market, and two-way trade grew exponentially from $179-million in 1999 to over $2.65-billion in 2012. The ‘evil’ Putin was in power most of that time, and invaded other territories (South Ossetia in 2008, Chechnya in the 1990s), but with little sense of outrage from the so-called west.

While space does not permit a comprehensive overview of Canadian foreign policy here, the trends are clear. The idea that Canada will be, in the words of Mr. Baird, pressing for human rights, the rule of law, and freedom in its dealings with the world is so Orwellian as to debase the oft-used term. It’s not so much a double standard as it is a single standard, the one that emerges from the state of exceptionalism with which the Canadian government views itself on the world stage. In this pure and perfect world, there is no such thing as contradiction or irony, complicity with torture and human rights abuses, legacies of colonialism and economic strangulation. No, there is only the truth of economic prosperity as tweeted and facebooked by government ministers and regurgitated by a pliant press.

Canadian Weapons Repress Women

In this cynical game, the problems of the world – torture, refugee crises, poverty, environmental destruction – are an annoying but easily dismissed backdrop best reflected in the rah-rah statement of Jayson Myers, president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. While Human Rights Watch found that “In Saudi Arabia, 2013 was another bad year for human rights, marred by executions and repression of women and activists,” Myers gushed upon the recent news that the Saudi dictatorship would be receiving billions in Canadian weapons:

“This is an Olympic win for Canada and for Canadian manufacturers. It shows how great people in truly innovative companies like General Dynamic Land Systems Canada can compete internationally and bring home the gold. Like all victories, it’s been the result of a team effort in which the government has played a crucial role. All Canadians should be proud of this record achievement.”

If that news doesn’t have you running the maple leaf up your flagpole, nothing will. •

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.

 This article first appeared on the rabble.ca website.

On March 29, 2013, ExxonMobil‘s Pegasus tar sands pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) pouring down the town’s streets.

Now, just over a year after the massive spill, devastation has come to Mayflower and neighboring towns again, this time in the form of a lethal tornado. On the evening of April 27, the twister destroyed huge pockets of the town of just over 2,300 citizens in a wholesale manner, with 14 confirmed dead and likely many more still not counted.

“Sadly, we don’t expect it to stay at 14,” tweeted Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. At least 10 died in Faulkner County alone, which houses Mayflower, according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock has given the tornado that hit Mayflower an EF-3 rating on a preliminary basis. EF3 (the highest rating is an EF5) equates to 136–165 mile per hour winds and KATV weatherman Todd Yakoubian tweeted that National Weather Service will have its final rating in by April 30.

Table Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On the whole, Arkansas Geographic Information Office has reported that 3,200 addresses in Faulkner County have had various levels of impact.

Fate of Pegasus Pipeline Spill Neighborhoods

According to Mayflower resident Genieve Long, the iconic Mayflower Pegasus pipeline spill cul-de-sac where oil flowed through residents’ backyards and into the streets, was spared.

But the RVs located by the cove connected to Lake Conway — where tar sands oil spilled in the aftermath of the ExxonMobil pipeline rupture and became a key part of an ongoing class action lawsuit — were not so lucky.

Just before she was forced to shower at a truck stop because there is currently no water or electricity in Mayflower, Long told DeSmogBlog “the RVs located along the cove were all taken out.”

A picture tracked down on Twitter by DeSmogBlog testifies to this damage. 


Photo Credit: Richie Graham | Twitter

Oil and Gas Infrastructure Damage

Soon after the tornado touched ground, gas utilities giant CenterPoint Energy reported gas leaks out of its infrastructure in the area.

“Our company technicians worked primarily in Mayflower and Vilonia to secure nearly 100 natural gas leaks caused primarily by uprooted trees,” Greg Strickland, CenterPoint’s manager in the area said in a press release. “Today we will continue to perform leak surveys in the area to ensure the safety of our customers and our distribution system.”

Another gas utilities giant, Entergy, also reported major infrastructure damage in the area.

“[The] Mayflower 500kv high voltage yard…no longer [has] any switches or breakers left after tornado’s path of destruction,” Entergy wrote on Facebook.


Photo Credit: Entergy | Facebook

Entergy also explained that “There are lines and poles scattered everywhere in the path of [the] tornado.”


Photo Credit: Entergy | Facebook

Climate Change Connection? Sort Of

How about climate change? Was this gargantuan tornado tied to climate change in any way, shape or form?

The answer: sort of, and it depends on which scientist you ask.

Former DeSmogBlog contributor Chris Mooney broke down the scientific inquiry on the issue in a piece published on Mother Jones. Mooney concluded that it “would be very premature to say that scientists know precisely what will happen to tornadoes as global warming progresses.”

Yet, that does not necessarily mean the converse is true. That is, Mooney says it is false to say there is no tie between climate change and increasingly severe tornado magnitudes.

“[Scientists] have come up with some interesting new results, which point to potentially alarming changes,” wrote Mooney. “More generally, the upshot of this research is that tornadoes must change as a result of climate change, because the environments in which they form are changing.”

Another article published by Climate Nexus comes to nearly the same conclusion. But research by Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado indicates there is very likely a tie between climate change and the severity of tornados.

Trenberth told Scientific American:

The main climate change connection is via the basic instability of the low-level air that creates the convection and thunderstorms in the first place. Warmer and moister conditions are the key for unstable air. The oceans are warmer because of climate change.

The climate change effect is probably only a 5 to 10 percent effect in terms of the instability and subsequent rainfall, but it translates into up to a 33 percent effect in terms of damage. (It is highly nonlinear, for 10 percent it is 1.1 to the power of three = 1.33.) So there is a chain of events, and climate change mainly affects the first link: the basic buoyancy of the air is increased.

For now, though, debates over whether climate change caused a severe tornado in Arkansas are merely academic for those directly impacted on the ground.

“It’s hard to describe what families are going through,” April Lane, board member of the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group, told DeSmogBlog.

“Everyone is feeling the loss of those who lost loved ones and it’s just incomprehensible and hard to wrap your mind around. So for now, all of us are wrapping our arms around each other right now and trying to do whatever we can to help.”

Pictures Speak

DeSmogBlog has compiled the most harrowing photos tracked down via Twitter from citizens and reporters in the area. Sometimes you just have to let the pictures do the talking.


Photo Credit: Scott Carroll | Twitter


Photo Credit: Scott Carroll | Twitter


Photo Credit: Phil Buck | Twitter 


Photo Credit: Tamer Yazar | Twitter


Photo Credit: @WhistlePig11 | Twitter


Photo Credit: James Bryant | Twitter


Photo Credit: Ryan Liggett | Twitter
Photo Credit: Eric Elwell | Twitter

The findings of the most recent IPCC report are sobering. We have 15 years to mitigate climate disaster. It is up to us to make a major transition to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy within that time-frame. Big Energy and our plutocratic government are not going to do it without effective pressure from a people-powered movement.

Earth Day is no longer about celebration. We are making Mother Earth sick by using extreme methods to extract fuels from her mountains and from beneath her surface and by massive spills of oil, chemicals and radiation. We must mobilize ourselves to take action now to create clean renewable energy and to restore the damage we have done.

More people are getting this concept. This year, there are several major campaigns around Earth Day, for example the Global Climate Convergence and the Cowboy Indian Alliance camp in Washington, DC. We celebrated Earth Day by launching a new national campaign to clean up the thousands of abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) scattered throughout the Great Plains and West Coast.

Uranium: The Invisible Killer

In the days leading up to the launch of Clean Up the Mines campaign, our team of eleven organizers toured Southwest South Dakota to learn more about the AUMs. Our tour was led by Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, who took us to various sites and brought her Geiger counters. There are 272 AUMs in South Dakota that continue to emit radiation, radon and toxic elements into the air, water and land. The mines were abandoned by corporations like Kerr McGee and Atlantic Richfield who walked away from them when the Uranium Rush that started in the early 1950s was over. We described this in more detail in our previous article about how uranium mines are poisoning the breadbasket of America.

The Northern Great Plains Region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota contain more than 3,000 AUMs. There are more than 1,000 AUMs in Arizona and New Mexico. In total, in the 15 western states there are estimated to be more than 10,000 AUMsOne in 7 people in the western US live within 50 miles of an AUM, according to the EPA. This is a national environmental crisis – a silent Fukushima – for which responsibility needs to be taken.

Researchers have found that the Madison Aquifer, which provides drinking water to 90% of South Dakota’s population, has been contaminated by uranium. In addition to South Dakota, the Madison Aquifer is beneath the ground in parts of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska. It is not only aquifers that are impacted, the water run-off from AUM’s affect the Grand River, Moreau River, Belle Fourche River, Cheyenne River and Missouri River.

Due to uranium contamination in the Colorado River, the drinking water supply for half of the population of the Western US may already be radioactive. Mining near the Colorado River, which flows through the Grand Canyon, threatens the drinking water supplies of millions of people in cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Samples from 15 springs and 5 wells in the Grand Canyon exhibited dissolved uranium concentrations greater than the EPA maximum for drinking water.

Toxic, radioactive substances from AUMs take the form of dust which travels with the wind for hundreds of miles. Uranium is a silent health threat. As it breaks down, it releases radon, an odorless gas that causes lung disease and cancer. It also emits gamma radiation and radioactive alpha and beta particles, which can cause severe damage to cells if they are released from within the body after when a person drinks contaminated water or inhales contaminated dust. The dust can blow into streams or mix with nearby soil, spreading radioactive contamination.

The adverse health impacts of radiation include cancer and other organ damage, especially during fetal development and in young children. Higher incidences of childhood leukemia, respiratory failure and kidney disease have been recorded near uranium mine sites. Uranium in water has been associated with increased kidney disease.

The health impacts of this silent killer are widespread. Yet, where is the accountability for the corporations who profited from these mines? Where are the federal and state governments responsible for the environment and the health and safety of the population? Those responsible are not being held sufficiently accountable.

South Dakota Tour

Our first stop on the tour was Mount Rushmore which has 169 AUMs within a 50 mile range. We pulled over at a scenic area outside of the monument and measured the radioactivity in the soil which was 15 microrems/hour (52.5 Counts/minute). We entered the park and interviewed White Face in view of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. She told us that the more than 2 million people who visit Mt Rushmore each year are unaware that they are being exposed to radiation. In order to raise awareness, we donned hazardous material suits and walked with a large banner that said “It’s time to clean up the mines!”

The next day we visited Riley Pass, located on National Forest Service land; it is one of the largest AUMs in South Dakota. The deadly effect of the mine was apparent from a distance. As we approached the bluff, the tree line ended abruptly at the edge of the mine. When we parked and walked towards the mine, we encountered a warning sign which said “Danger!” and “Stay out, Stay alive.”

The Forest Service acknowledges the risks at Riley Pass, writing that approximately 250 acres have been identified for needing reclamation and clean-up. They describe the site as containing elevated radioactive materials, and heavy metals including onsite mine waste, fine-grained particles which are readily dispersed by wind and surface water erosion. Concentrations of these dangerous toxins range up to “ten times higher for sediment samples in impacted drainages and several hundred times higher for mine waste samples.” They also note that livestock drink water and eat grasses that are toxic from the uranium mine.

A 2007 action memorandum on Riley Pass done by the Forest Service found that the site posed “an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, or welfare or the environment.” There has been minimal inadequate action taken to contain the toxins from the AUMs.  The actions taken do not prevent leaching into the groundwater and are more akin to landscaping than to the type of action that is needed. A recent settlement of a lawsuit against Tronox, the corporations responsible for the AUM, will provide $179 million for Riley’s Pass clean-up. This inadequate amount is the only funding for South Dakota out of the $5.2 billion settlement. It leaves the other 271 mines without any provisions for clean-up.

From Riley’s Pass we went to Ludlow, a nearby town. An elementary school is located a short 200 meters from an AUM. We could see the high rounded wall of the open pit. Using the Geiger counter we measured radioactivity throughout the school are, the highest were in the soil next to a small picnic table at the children’s playground. It read 44 microrems/hour (154 Counts/minute) and the air tested at 34 microrems/hour when the wind was still. We calculated that the radioactivity is close to four times the level allowed for families to return to Fukushima.

During the tour, we met people at road stops and during our visits to the mine areas. People from every community spoke of health problems which are commonly related to uranium exposure and their high level of concern over the lack of information about the AUMs and action to remediate them. Many said they had been reassured that the risks were low. However, based on the presence of the mines, the numerous reports of high rates of cancer and disease and the high readings that we measured, we believe that independent studies should be performed to accurately assess the magnitude of the risk and the health impacts.

The People Need to Mobilize to Clean Up The Mines!

On Earth Day, the launch of the Clean Up The Mines! campaign took place near Red Shirt Village on the banks of the dead and poisoned Cheyenne River. The 295 mile long Cheyenne River which runs through Wyoming and South Dakota is damaged by thousands of AUM’s in Wyoming according to a 2006 study by the South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Water Monitoring Program. The residents can’t use the river and can’t drink the water from their wells because of uranium and arsenic contamination.

White Face told us that she tested the river water previously for life and found one crayfish after dragging a net for a hundred feet. A local resident pointed to the dead Cotton Wood trees on the river banks and ranchers told us of their difficulty obtaining clean water for their livestock.

Dozens from the community joined with members of organizations including Defenders of Black Hills, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, Peace Pagoda, Veterans for Peace, the Global Climate Convergence and Popular Resistance at the Cheyenne River Bridge. We posted signs stating “Warning, Radioactive River” to raise awareness of the toxic contamination of the Cheyenne River caused by AUMs because there are no permanent signs.

White Face said:

“For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable; shame on the American federal and state governments for allowing their citizens to be placed in such danger for more than 50 years and not stopping the source of the danger. It is a national travesty.”

In reaction to the Clean Up The Mines! project, a spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told the Associated Press the state doesn’t have an abandoned mine program. He refused to comment on the health impacts but claimed the uranium levels were low in South Dakota water. His statements are inconsistent with the experience of people living in the state.

Sandra Cuny Buffington, from the Red Shirt community, a rancher with cattle in the Bad Lands, lived at the river until it wasn’t possible anymore because of contamination. She spoke of high rates of cancer in the area. “We know we are contaminated but where are we going to go? I don’t know of any other life than the one that I have lived.”

“Abandoned uranium mines are devastating to the health of local populations,” explained Dr.  Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential candidate who is a physician specializing in environmental health issues, “The mines threaten not only our health but our economies and ecosystems as well.” Stein, who participated in the Earth Day event as part of the kick-off of the ten day Global Climate Convergence, went on to say “We are here to insist on cleaning up the mines and transitioning to a clean renewable energy system. This transition can put American back to work while vastly improving our health. The health savings alone will pay for the costs of this transition.”

Tarak Kauff, a member of the Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace described uranium mining as part of a “war on Mother Earth” and said

“It is up to us, an awakened public, ordinary black, brown, white and red people working together to demand, to insure that these toxic highly radioactive abandoned mines be cleaned up – for us and for future generations.”

Helen Jaccard, volunteer with Clean Up The Mines, described uranium, as a problem from “cradle to grave” saying “From mining, to milling and processing, to nuclear bombs and energy, with the left-over depleted uranium turned into weapons and the waste products that have no grave, the only safe place for uranium is in the ground.”

White Face concluded,

“Currently no laws require clean-up of these dangerous abandoned uranium mines. We are letting Congress know: It is time to clean up the mines! We value persistence. We will employ a variety of tactics including legislative and judicial avenues to hold the government and corporations accountable for their negligence and community-based actions to raise awareness and clean up the mines.”

The legal precedence set by the recent settlement with Tronox adds more legitimacy to this struggle. There needs to be greater accountability. You can get involved by joining Clean Up the Mines! Take action to spread awareness of the problem and write to your members of Congress to demand that accurate studies are performed, the mines and water supplies are cleaned up with citizen oversight and those who have been sickened receive the treatment they require.

 Accountability for Silent Killers

Exploring the legacy of uranium mining – for Earth destroying weapons of mass destruction and risky nuclear energy – reminded us how far humans have come in environmental destruction. It also showed, once again, how all is related. The Gaia theory of the Earth as a living being where all is connected is evident in the uranium toxicity that spreads through water, air and food

There is a growing movement that links native peoples with the descendants of those who colonized them. Now, many non-natives follow the lead of native peoples against fossil fuel and mineral extraction throughout the continent. It is this kind of solidarity and unity that will not only clean up the mines but will also make even greater changes in our economy, environment and government.

The toxicity of AUMs also reminds us of the cost of living under the rule of an illegitimate government where money, not the people, rule; of big finance capitalism that puts profit ahead of people and planet – and is enabled by the corrupt corporate government. The experience of the uranium mines shows us that even if it means people will die younger than they should, profit is king when we live under the ‘rule of money.’ It shows us we have an even larger task – ending a plutocratic oligarchy and creating a real democracy where the people rule.

AUMs are one example of many.  This week expert testimony before the National Transportation Safety Board said that oil train tanker leaks were inevitable. And, the nation is being covered in tar sands, gas and oil pipelines – all with terrible records of leaks. Yet, the federal agency that regulates pipelines and railroad transit of oil is cutting its already too small staff by 9%. The plutocrats will get their profits and the Earth will be plundered and polluted.

And, of course it is not only environmental destruction. This week we are seeing Obama’s new chairman of the FCC, who has served as a telecom industry lobbyist for two decades, pushing the end of net neutrality and a tiered system of Internet access, one for those with the money to pay for fast service and a slow lane for those who cannot. (Take action to stop the destruction of the Internet here; the next two weeks are critical.) The plutocrats will get wealthy while the Internet as we know it will be undermined.

Earth Day, which started out as part of an environmental movement that helped create major changes, has become a celebration of picnics, co-opted by corporations rather than education and mobilization to confront the environmental crisis. Even the Petroleum Institute pushes further environmental destruction under the Earth Day banner.  We need to remember how the first Earth Day linked labor to the environment and realize that the necessities of the people are connected to a healthy planet. At a time when we are seeing mass species die-off, destruction of the ocean and other water sources as well as a planet threatened by climate change, Earth Day needs to become about urgent transformation.

Robert Koehler writes about what we need to do in his reflection on how we have lost a decade of environmental collapse and cannot afford to lose another one:

 “We need intense activism along with structural analysis and the building of alternative, sustainable lifestyles. We need wisdom, reverence and creativity that we pull up from the depths of our uncertainty. Author Joanna Macy calls it ‘the Great Turning.’ It’s a shift in consciousness that aligns social healing, economic fairness and an end to war with environmental sustainability. And the time to make it happen is running out. We can’t afford to lose another decade, or another twenty minutes.”

It is time to face the destruction wrought by the human species on the planet; and take responsibility by mobilizing to reverse the destruction of Gaia. Together, is the only way we can do it.

This article is produced by Popular Resistance in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is a weekly review of the activities of the resistance movement. Sign up for the daily news digest of Popular Resistance, here.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are organizers of PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

Dall’Ucraina alle Filippine

April 29th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Il presidente Obama e la sua squadra per la sicurezza nazionale, guardando al di là della crisi ucraina, sono impegnati a «forgiare una versione aggiornata della strategia della guerra fredda per contenere la Russia». Lo fanno sapere funzionari dell’amministrazione, specificando che l’obiettivo su cui si concentra il presidente è «isolare la Russia di Putin recidendo i suoi legami economici e politici col mondo esterno». Il primo passo è ridurre sempre più, fino a interromperla, la fornitura di gas russo all’Europa per sostituirlo con quello fornito soprattutto da compagnie Usa sfruttando i giacimenti mediorientali, africani e altri, compresi quelli degli Stati uniti che si preparano a esportare gas liquefatto ricavato da scisti bituminosi. Qui Washington scopre le carte. Il margine di superiorità economica degli Stati uniti su scala globale si sta sempre più riducendo. La Cina è salita al secondo posto mondiale con un pil in forte crescita già pari alla metà di quello Usa, seguita da Giappone e Germania, e il pil complessivo dei 28 paesi della Ue ha superato quello degli Stati uniti. Per conservare la supremazia economica, essi si basano sempre più sul settore finanziario, in cui mantengono un netto vantaggio, e sulla capacità delle loro multinazionali di conquistare nuovi mercati e fonti di materie prime. A tale scopo Washington getta sul piatto della bilancia la spada della propria superiorità militare e di quella della Nato sotto comando Usa. In tale quadro rientrano la demolizione sistematica, con strumenti militari, di interi stati (Jugoslavia, Libia e ora Siria) e l’annessione tramite la Nato di tutti quelli dell’ex Patto di Varsavia, più due della ex Jugoslavia e tre dell’ex Urss. Anzi quattro, perché l’Ucraina era già di fatto sotto controllo Nato prima della crisi. Bastava aspettare le elezioni del 2015 per avere in Ucraina un presidente che avrebbe accelerato il suo ingresso ufficiale nell’Alleanza. Perché allora la decisione, presa a Washington, di organizzare il putsch che ha rovesciato il presidente eletto Yanukovich (tutt’altro che ostile all’Occidente), insediando a Kiev gli esponenti più ostili alla Russia e ai russi della Crimea e dell’Ucraina orientale? Evidentemente per spingere Mosca a reagire e dare il via alla strategia di isolamento. Cosa non facile: la Germania, ad esempio, è il maggiore importatore di gas russo e verrebbe danneggiata da una interruzione delle forniture. Washington ha però deciso di non aspettare i governi europei per imporre alla Russia sanzioni più dure. Ha già l’ok di Roma (la cui «fedeltà» è nota) e si sta accordando con Berlino e altre capitali. Obiettivo strategico è quello di un fronte antirusso Usa-Ue, consolidato da un accordo di libero scambio che permetterebbe agli Usa di accrescere la loro influenza in Europa. Stessa strategia nella regione Asia/Pacifico, dove gli Usa puntano al «contenimento» della Cina. Questa, riavvicinatasi alla Russia, esercita un crescente peso su scala non solo regionale ma globale e può vanificare le sanzioni contro Mosca aprendole ulteriori sbocchi commerciali ad est, in particolare per le esportazioni energetiche. A tale scopo il presidente Obama ha appena effettuato una visita  ufficiale in Asia. Il Giappone, però, ha rifiutato di firmare l’accordo di libero scambio che avrebbe aperto il suo mercato ai prodotti agricoli statunitensi. In compenso, le Filippine hanno concluso con Washington un nuovo accordo decennale che permette agli Usa di accrescere la loro presenza militare nell’arcipelago in chiara funzione anticinese. Dove non può il dollaro, può la spada.

Manlio Dinucci

Last month, we reviewed the mind-boggling contrast between corporate media coverage of the January 2005 election in Iraq and the March 2014 referendum in Crimea.

Whereas all media accepted the basic legitimacy of an Iraq election conducted under extremely violent US-UK military occupation, they all rejected the legitimacy of a Crimea referendum conducted ‘at [Russian] gunpoint’.

It was not difficult to guess how the same media would respond to the Afghan presidential election of April 5 under the guns of Britain and America’s occupying force.

The Daily Telegraph had welcomed ‘the first democratic elections’ in Iraq (Leader, ‘Mission accomplished,’ December 6, 2004) and dismissed the Crimea vote as ‘an illegal referendum conducted at gunpoint’. As for Afghanistan:

‘The sight of millions of Afghans defying the Taliban to vote in their country’s presidential election should induce genuine humility. We might take democracy for granted; they emphatically do not.’

Democracy it was, then. Had the editors forgotten that the vote was taking place under US-UK military occupation? In fact, no:

‘The idea that the Taliban are waiting to sweep back to power as soon as American and British troops depart has also taken a knock. If this poll continues to proceed smoothly, the country should have the inestimable benefit of a legitimately elected leader.’

The election was thus declared both democratic and legitimate. As in Iraq, the delegitimising effect of military occupation was ignored – ‘our’ occupations are simply accepted as legitimate and uncontroversial.

A Sunday Times leader hailed ‘democratic elections’ in Iraq, noting only that they were threatened by ‘terrorists’ – Iraqis, not the illegal foreign invaders who had wrecked the country with war, sanctions, bombing and more war (Leader, ‘Send more troops,’ October 10, 2004). By contrast, The Times claimed that the Crimea referendum was made absurd by Russian troops ‘massing on their western border’. (Leading article, ‘Russian Pariah,’ March 17, 2014)

But The Times found nothing absurd about the Afghan election:

‘We should honour and celebrate the resolve of these voters, their commitment to the democratic process.’

To be sure, military involvement had been a problem:

‘The Taleban has been malignly active in the run-up to the election, attacking foreigners in restaurants and showering death threats on democratic activists.’

What about the occupation?

‘As US and British troops ready themselves for withdrawal by the end of this year, the Afghans are evidently eager to take command of their own political destinies.’

And yet this was impossible in Crimea, although Russian troops were not occupying and fighting, merely said to be ‘massing’ on the border.

For the BBC, the Iraq election was ‘the first democratic election in fifty years’. (David Willis, BBC1, News at Ten, January 10, 2005) But the West had dismissed the Crimea referendum ‘as illegal and one that will be held at gunpoint’.

The BBC felt no need to reference the West’s view on Afghanistan, stating baldly:

‘The election marks the country’s first democratic transfer of power.’

On Channel 4 News, Alex Thomson, a courageous and comparatively honest reporter, covered the Afghan vote from Kabul. We tweeted him:

‘How free are these elections, Alex? What’s the state of press freedom, for example?’

We supplied some context:

‘In 2004-5, press supplied no analysis of state of press freedom prior to elections in Iraq, January ’05. Will you in Afghanistan?’

Thomson responded: ‘huge questions gents’. He added:

‘quick honest answer? I probably won’t regrettably. There’s a civil war on and it’s not too priority…’. Moreover: ‘I can only work 18-20 hours a day and there isn’t time is truthful answer. Someone should find research.’

Establishing whether the elections were actually free and fair – or not – was not ‘too priority’, somebody else’s job. A few moment’s research, and indeed thought, would have told Thomson that an election under US-UK occupation could not be described as free and fair.

Thomson later commented on his Channel 4 blog:

‘So enjoy your election in all its colour, noise, excitement and yes, valid democratic exercise up to a limited point.’

Guardian – Working The ‘Very Hard Clay’

The vote in Iraq was ‘the country’s first free election in decades’ for the Guardian (Leader, ‘Vote against violence,’ January 7, 2005), which dismissed the Crimea referendum as ‘irrelevant’ because ‘it took place while the autonomous region was under military occupation’.

No surprises there. As for the election in Afghanistan:

‘And yet, in spite of Taliban attacks, Afghans will go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president, with the turnout expected to be high, and media coverage voluminous and varied. Irregularities will be high, too, and more difficult to measure because of Taliban threats to monitors and foreign observers. But the leading candidates, even given their warlord connections, are credible figures. Ethnic deals should permit some transcending of regional loyalties. There is a woman candidate for vice-president.’

Far from ‘irrelevant’, then. The only identifiable military problem involved the usual bad guys – Afghans:

‘The Taliban may have changed… behind an unyielding facade. Or it will have to if the shift in public mood is reinforced by a successful election.’

Despite US-UK military occupation, the election could be ‘successful’.

From the lofty moral and intellectual heights of British civilisation, the Guardian editors patronised effortlessly:

‘Could we make the Afghans more like us? That has been the question ever since the Americans and their allies went into Afghanistan 12 years ago…’

This indeed was the central theme of the editorial, as indicated by the title:

‘Afghanistan: more like us: It is hard to resist the feeling that Afghans, responding to the chaos and opportunity of foreign intervention, have changed.’

Changed for the better, thankfully. That is, they have become ‘more like us’. The ‘intervention’ – in fact an illegal invasion – was an ‘opportunity’ for the victims, according to the UK’s leading liberal newspaper. As with every colonial mission, there have been difficulties:

‘Afghanistan is a very hard clay in which to work, and those who tried to work it were very slow and unskilled.’

Naturally, the British and American states that have ravaged the people and planet of this earth for hundreds of years have the right to ‘work’ the lowly Afghans, who are such ‘very hard clay’, in an attempt to remake them in ‘our’ exalted image. As for the problems:

‘The failures, the follies, and the tragedies which followed have been well documented. Generals, ambassadors, high representatives, aid experts and special envoys have come and gone. Nato soldiers have died, including 448 British, many more in the ranks of the Taliban, and more still among Afghan civilians.’

Chief among the failures, follies, tragedies, and indeed criminal complicity, has been the inability of our ‘free press’ to perceive the criminality of ‘our’ ‘unskilled’ work. This simply isn’t done. As for the Afghan ‘clay’, why even offer a ballpark figure for the casualties of ‘our’ blood-drenched pottery?

Passing over the criminal record of master potter Tony Blair, the Guardian splashed his complementary views across its front page. Independent commentator John Rentoul summarised the shared worldview with approval:

‘Now he [Blair] is calling on us to rescue true Muslims not just from dictators but from a perversion of their own religion.’

Blair’s comments were also treated to front-page coverage in the Independent and on the BBC website. Seumas Milne noted the perversity in the Guardian:

‘Quite why the views of a man whose military interventions in the Muslim world have been so widely discredited… should be treated with such attention by the media isn’t immediately obvious. But one reason is that they chime with those of a powerful section of the political and security establishment.’

Milne failed to mention his own newspaper’s front-page, or the ugly example of its ‘hard clay’ editorial. In fact, the Guardian has always been Blair’s greatest cheerleader. In May 2005, even after the invasion of Iraq, the editors wrote:

‘We believe that Mr Blair should be re-elected to lead Labour into a third term this week.’ (Leader, ‘Once more with feeling,’ The Guardian, May 3, 2005)

The Guardian-Blair view has a long, violent history stretching back many hundreds of years. In the nineteenth century, English civil servant Herman Merivale offered guidelines for government administrators interested in the control of native customs:

‘It will be necessary, in short, that the colonial authorities should act upon the assumption that they have the right in virtue of the relative position of civilised and Christian men to savages, to enforce abstinence from immoral and degrading practices, to compel outward conformity to the law of what we regard as better instructed reason.’ (Quoted, John Bodley, Victims of Progress, Mayfield Publishing, 1982, p.105)

In 2000, senior Guardian commentator Polly Toynbee updated the doctrine in an article titled, ‘The West really is the best’:

‘In our political and social culture we have a democratic way of life which we know, without any doubt at all, is far better than any other in the history of humanity. Even if we don’t like to admit it, we are all missionaries and believers that our own way is the best when it comes to the things that really matter.’ (Toynbee, The Observer, March 5, 2000)

Back in the real world, a study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, ‘Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizen’, to be published in the autumn 2014 issue of the academic journal, ‘Perspectives on Politics’, finds that ‘the democratic way of life’ of the United States is in fact oligarchy masquerading as democracy:

‘When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or well organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.’

The authors add:

‘When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy… we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democracy are seriously threatened’.

To compound the comedy, the Guardian reported of the June 3 presidential election in Syria, the latest unfortunate to be added to the list of official enemy states:

‘Western and Gulf Arab countries that back Assad’s opponents had called plans for the vote a “parody of democracy” and said it would wreck efforts to negotiate a peace settlement.’

The US oligarchy’s allies, the ‘Gulf Arab countries’ – currently waging merciless war on Syria – are themselves, of course, violent, unaccountable tyrannies. The Guardian failed to mention the irony, being itself a parody of an independent, progressive newspaper.

Creating a “New Israel”, a Jewish State in Southeast Texas

April 28th, 2014 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

A congressional candidate named Allan Levene is proposing a solution to Israel’s problem with the Palestinians (since 1948) by creating a second ‘Israeli’ state in Eastern Texas. Yes, you read this right. Eastern Texas. According to the Times of Israel, Mr. Levene’s idea would only work if “eminent domain” is established by the US government and if Israel withdraws to it pre-1967 borders. That would set the stage for a ‘New Israel’ within the United States:

The idea, briefly, is to take (through eminent domain) roughly 8,000 square miles of sparsely populated land bordering the Gulf of Mexico and give it to Israel as a second, non-contiguous part of the State of Israel. Israel would get the land only if it agrees to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders

I would be curious to see how Texans would react to a Jewish homeland in East Texas. Besides one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States is located in San Antonio, Texas called ‘Christians United for Israel (CUFI)’ who wish to educate Christians on why they should support the State of Israel:

While millions of Christians support Israel, there are millions more who do not yet vocally stand up for the Jewish state. It is crucial to educate Christians on the Biblical and moral imperatives to support Israel and to build Christian support for Israel throughout America

If Levene’s plan follows through if he is elected to congress, Will Texans still support a state of Israel in their own backyard? But Levene says “everybody wins” if the US government agrees to partition the state of Texas:

Israel wins because it would gain a new, peaceful territory far from the strife of the Middle East, in a place where, as Levene suggests, “the climate is similar,” and Israel could “have access to the Gulf of Mexico for international trade.” The U.S. wins because it would no longer need to send Israel billions of dollars a year in foreign aid. Texas wins because of all the construction jobs from building an entirely new state within its borders. The Palestinians win because they get the West Bank, and because now Israel, too, gets to see just how fun it is to have a non-contiguous state. Everybody wins!

The father of modern-political Zionism and the founder of the State of Israel, Thomas Hertzl considered a number of locations including Uganda, Argentina and even Alaska to form a Zionist state of Israel. The Times of Israel also stated:

And, in fact, it’s an idea with plenty of precedent. Theodor Herzl temporarily embraced a British proposal to establish a Jewish homeland in Uganda (though the backlash against the idea almost destroyed the Zionist movement). And in 1938-40, various plans were floated to settle European Jewish refugees in the Alaska territories – a notion that later inspired Michael Chabon’s novel, “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.”

This idea of a Jewish State besides one based in Palestine is not new. An interesting event took place in Basel, Switzerland on August 26th, 1903. Before the British government offered the country of Palestine to the Zionist political movement in 1948, a country in Africa called Uganda was on the list of possible future Jewish settlements known as the “Uganda Plan”. Before Palestine was turned into the state of Israel, Uganda was seen as a possible home for the Jewish people who were persecuted in Russia. They were subject to anti-Jewish sentiments among the Russian population. Other areas in the world were also considered for a Jewish homeland including Patagonia in Southern part of Argentina.

In Joseph Telushkin’s ‘Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History’ stated a historical fact that “Britain stepped into the picture, offering Herzl land in the largely undeveloped area of Uganda (today, it would be considered an area of Kenya).” The proposal was controversial to the Jewish community. The idea was rejected at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905. It is interesting to note that a small number of Jewish families did immigrate to Kenya before and after World War II, mostly in the capital of Nairobi. Today, there are a few hundred Kenyan Jews living in Nairobi.

It is hard to imagine the state of Israel in Africa. Besides, racism in Israel is comparable to Apartheid South Africa in the 1960’s. With Ethiopian Black Jews living in Israel facing unprecedented levels of racism including the forced massed sterilizations on Ethiopian women according to a report conducted by Haaretz in 2012 reported that “Women who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago say they were told they would not be allowed into Israel unless they agreed to be injected with the long-acting birth control drug Depo Provera, according to an investigative report aired Saturday on the Israel Educational Television program “Vacuum.” According to IRIN, a humanitarian news and analysis service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2012, racism against Ethiopian Jews in Israel does exist:

An estimated 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but while they are supposed to be full citizens with equal rights, their community has continued to face widespread discrimination and socio-economic difficulties, according to its leaders. A recent decision – as reported by local media – by 120 homeowners not to sell or rent their apartments to Israeli-Ethiopian families has brought discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel back into the spotlight.

Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets on 18 January to protest the move by landlords in the southern city of Kiryat Malakhi – Shay Sium’s hometown.

It is an interesting part of history that forces to ask the question: What if Israel did make Uganda, a country in Eastern-Africa their home? If the Palestinians, Ethiopian and Sephardic Jews suffer from racism in modern-day Israel, imagine if Uganda was turned into a Jewish homeland? Would it have been another Palestine? “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina? Thomas Hertzl wrote.  Argentina? That would have been interesting, but Eastern Texas as the ‘New Israel’? Would Texan’s then be the new Palestinians?  Creating a state through “eminent domain” would treat the citizens of Texas as such.  And it sure won’t be a good start to diplomatic relations.  What is interesting about Allan Levene is that he is running for a congressional seat in two states, Hawaii and Georgia under the Republican Party, but not in the state of Texas.

Another very interesting note on Levene’s candidacy is that “He also wants to put conspiracy theories to rest by investigating national catastrophes with not one, not two, but three separate commissions.” I actually agree with his idea for new commissions, perhaps a new “911 commission?” Allan Levene’s proposal would not happen anytime soon, even if he is elected. But the real question we should ask is, would Washington and Brussels consider creating a ‘New Israel’ in Eastern Texas if a war were to take place in the Middle East resulting in the destruction of several countries including Israel?  It does raise a serious debate.

Malinowki was recently confirmed as the Obama administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

He had previously been Washington Director at Human Rights Watch, and before that ‘he served as Senior Director on the National Security Council at the White House, where he oversaw the drafting of President Clinton’s foreign policy speeches and strategic communications efforts around the world. From 1994 to 1998 he was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State’.

Given the guy is quite clearly a card carrying Democrat politician, it is perhaps unsurprising that he used – some might say abused –  his role in Human Rights Watch to drum up support for Obama regime policies, including, quite disgracefully, the bombing of Libya and certain forms of rendition.

Malinowski has recently joined Twitter, and is already giving us some examples of his tawdry U.S. exceptionalism, and demonstrating why he should be totally disqualified from ever being employed by an organisation like Human Rights Watch.

On April 25th, he said in regards to the Russian invasion of Crimea (read from the bottom up):

Fair enough, you might say. I’m sure the Russian state does indeed employ propaganda, designed to fool Russians into supporting amoral policies and politicians. And yet only hours earlier, he had been welcomed to Twitter by an old friend:

As U.S. Secretary of State in 1996, Albright went on T.V. news and openly said that she thought the killing of 500’000 Iraqi children was ‘worth it’ in the course of pursuing U.S. strategic goals. She was of course referring to deaths caused by a sanctions regime on Iraq which even some of the people who had been overseeing it described as ‘genocidal‘.  And this is a person whose ‘example’ human rights champion Tom Malinowski thinks should be ‘followed’.

‘Black is white, up is down, and . . . 2+2 may equal 5′ indeed, Mr Malinowski.

Global Research Editors Note: Human Rights Watch has been proven to be a propaganda tool for U.S. foreign policy and we could therefore argue that Malinowski was actually totally qualified for an organisation like Human Rights Watch. Malinowsky has since deleted all the tweets above, including the answer to Madeleine Albright. 

A deadly explosion in Jiaoshizhen, Sichuan province, has raised concerns about the risks involved in hydraulic fracking in China. The explosion occurred at a facility operated by Sinopec – one of China’s biggest oil and gas companies – that is being advised by Breitling Energy, a Dallas-based company.

China, which recently became the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is trying to diversify into natural gas production as a new source of energy, especially as much of its energy is produced from burning low-grade coal, which has also exacerbated urban pollution.

The latest technology that China is experimenting with to extract natural gas is horizontal fracking – the process of drilling and injecting water and chemicals into the ground at high pressure in order to shatter underground rock formations to help release trapped oil and gas. First invented in the U.S., horizontal fracking has sparked a boom in energy production, helping boost U.S. output by over 50 percent in the last five years to 7.4 million barrels a day.

Fracking may come at a difficult price for China as its unique geology of twisted and folded faults makes underground drilling two to three times deeper than required in the U.S. “There is no guarantee that the technology will be suitable for China,” Tao Wang, scholar at Beijing’s Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, told Public Radio International.

China’s State Council – the chief administrative authority in the country – issued a call in October 2013 for industry to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from underground shale formations by 2015. The Jiaoshizhen facility, which is situated in a small remote mountain valley in western China, is one of the first such projects.

A New York Times account of the Jiaoshizhen incident described villagers being awoken by a large explosion boom last April to witness a “tower of flames” approximately 100 feet high at one of the oilrigs.

Eight Sinopec employees were allegedly killed in the explosion, according to interviews conducted by the Times in August 2013 and February of this year. Villagers told the newspaper that the explosion had created an all-encompassing foul smell around the village and that diesel run-off from drilling sites were polluting local streams.  The drilling “makes so much noise and the water that comes down the mountain has become so much dirtier to drink; now it smells of diesel,” Tian Shiao Yung, a local farmer, said.

Li Chunguang, president of Sinopec, denied the incident in an interview with the New York Times last month. “There is no basis for this,” he said.

Sinopec is being advised on fracking by Breitling Energy, a Texas company, that has beenaggressively promoting the technology around the world. “They (China) want to have other avenues of natural gas and oil coming into the country, as they know their economy hinges on it,” Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling told World Finance magazine. “China wants energy security and I think that that is what we need to think about when countries are looking at shale gas development,” said Faulkner in an interview with World Finance.

After news of the Jiaoshizhen incident broke, Faulkner now claims that China is unwilling to discuss the long-term environmental and health impacts of fracking with him.

However, just four months ago, Faulkner dismissed any environmental or health concerns connected to fracking in a commentary piece he wrote for the Guardian newspaper in December.

“The opposition to fracking is a product of scientific misunderstanding – or worse, an agenda put forward by supposed environmental advocates who stand to profit if natural gas never lives up to its full potential,” wrote Faulkner.

Activists, on the other hand, says that fracking poses grave risks to the environment particularly to ground water which can be contaminated by the toxic liquids pumped into the ground. “The rapid expansion of shale gas development and fracking in the US has resulted in significant environmental and public health problems, and become an ongoing public health and environmental experiment,” writes Food and Water Watch in “Fracking: A New Global Water Crisis Report.” “Many of these problems are inherent to the practice and cannot be avoided through regulation.”

Indeed some Chinese government reports have drawn attention to the risks of drilling for shale in a country where 40 percent of the rivers are highly contaminated and 300 million people lack access to safe drinking water. “Most of the nation’s shale gas lies in areas plagued by water shortages,” the 2013 Report on China’s economic energy states.

Even though Sinopec denied the Jiaoshizhen explosion took place, it has acknowledged the dangers of excessive water use. “Drillers need ten times more water to extract natural gas from underground shale formations,” said Bao Shunjing, deputy director of Sinopec, “than to pump equivalent amount of oil and gas from conventional wells.”

Top diplomat Christopher R. Hill says that Russia’s response to the Ukraine crisis means that Moscow has betrayed the “new world order” it has been a part of for the last 25 years.

In a piece for the influential Project Syndicate publication, Hill, a former US ambassador to Iraq and Korea, writes that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and “intimidation” campaign against Kiev has brought an end to a 25-year historical period, accusing Moscow of engaging in “regression, recidivism, and revanchism”.

Hill’s definition of the “new world order” is Russia’s post-Glasnost involvement in “Western institutions, a market economy, and a multi-party parliamentary democracy.”

“This new world order held for almost 25 years. Except for Russia’s brief war with Georgia in August 2008 (a conflict generally seen as instigated by reckless Georgian leadership), Russia’s acquiescence and commitment to the “new world order,” however problematic, was one of the great accomplishments of the post-Cold War era,” writes Hill.

Hill, who is an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “global strategy company” with tentacles deep within the White House and the State Department, goes on to accuse Moscow of reviving the days of the Soviet empire, adding that, “Russia….no longer seems interested in what the West has been offering for the last 25 years: special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors.”

Arguing that western sanctions are unlikely to have any impact, Hill asserts that NATO should prepare itself for the long haul, warning that Russia “will seek to make similar trouble among former Soviet “allies,” invoking the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to suggest that Moscow may launch aggression against other eastern European nations.

Hill’s assertion that Russia has turned its back on the “new world order” illustrates how Moscow is seeking to lead an alternate BRICS-aligned faction that will pose a major threat to the unipolar future envisaged by the United States and NATO.

In other words, whether Russia wants one or not, the western elite is digging in for a new Cold War and the world may be entering the most dangerous period of history since the Cuban missile crisis.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

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Former Secretary of State and presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton believes economic sanctions – essentially an act of war – should be “tightened and widened.”

“I think Russia will pay a big price for this,” Clinton said. “But that is an endpoint that we’ve got to get to as peacefully as possible without seeing the total disintegration of Ukraine as a country with territorial integrity and opportunity to have the relationship it wants with the West.”

Approximately half of the population of Ukraine has expressed disapproval of the junta in Kyiv and believe the country should align itself with the Russian Federation, not the European Union.

The charts below, taken from survey results posted on Forbes, reveal the sharp divide in Ukraine by region:

Join NATO:

Join NATO? West Center South East
For NATO 64 47 11 14
Against NATO 17 33 52 67
Wouldn’t Vote 5 4 26 8
Don’t Know 14 16 11 11

 

Are you ready to live through some economic difficulties now (e.g. higher tariffs and prices) if it makes your life better in long term?

Austerity OK? West Center South East
Definite YES 22 10 5 2
Rather YES 44 38 17 15
Rather NO 13 25 24 22
Definite NO 11 16 44 51
Don’t Know/ Won’t Answer 10 11 9 10

 

Do you approve of disapprove of the job the Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine under Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is doing?

New Kiev Gov’t OK? West Center South East
Strongly approve 21 51 5 3
Somewhat approve 57 15 19 13
Somewhat disapprove 10 17 17 24
Strongly disapprove 5 8 53 47
Don’t Know/ Won’t Answer 7 9 6 13

 Download excel file here

However, if we listen to Hillary and her successor, Secretary of State John Kerry, we come away with the idea that a plurality of Ukrainians want to join NATO, the EU, and oppose Russia. This misrepresentation of reality is echoed by the corporate media.

Clinton’s expanding and widening of sanctions will naturally include broad measures against Russia as a whole due to the fact limited action against Russian leaders so far have produced little tangible results. Only economy-wide sanctions will produce the effect Clinton and the ruling class want.

Clinton is calling for sanctions not only against the Russian people, but also against the American people.

“It is important to begin by understanding that, when one government initiates sanctions against another, it is actually doing little more than initiating force against its own people,” writes Chris Bassil. “Since the idea of a nation is itself an (admittedly useful) abstraction, and since all economic action takes place only at the level of the individual, it is helpful to view economic sanctions as a phenomenon in which a nation’s ruling or political class forcibly prevents its productive class from trading with the productive class of another nation. Although it should be obvious already that a description of sanctions as ‘peaceful,’ ‘diplomatic,’ and ‘the right thing to do’ is utterly absurd, there are even greater realizations to be had here.”

The establishment political class is cranking up the rhetoric as the ruling elite prepare for World War III. “The greatest immediate threat to the people of Ukraine realizing a better future is the external threat of Russia,” the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, said on Wednesday.

Corker employed the Cold War tactic of a Red Bear menace threatening Europe. “The stakes are very high. This situation is not just about Ukraine; it’s also about other vulnerable places like Moldova and ultimately – if not addressed – other countries in Europe and the former Soviet Union,” he said.

On Thursday Obama employed a golf metaphor when he said new sanctions are in the works. He said additional sanctions are “teed up” following a warning earlier this week by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that his country will respond if the junta in Kyiv rolls into eastern Ukraine and moves against pro-Russian citizens there.

Government surveillance, abuses of power and the supression of dissent kicked into high gear after 9/11, one documentary argued at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.

But the whistleblowers who exposed recent activities were hardly breaking new ground, because some of the same things were going on more than four decades ago, another Tribeca doc pointed out.

Both “Silenced” and “1971” tackle issues that reverberate in light of Edward Snowden’s recent disclosures of the extent of domestic spying, and the risks some citizens take to expose activity they feel subverts the Constitition. The two films made for bracing and frightening conversations both onscreen and off during the festival’s first weekend.

One key point: Disclosure of illegal government activities was a lot more damaging to the presidency of Richard Nixon, driven from office in 1973 because of government abuses and the subsequent coverup, than it was to the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“The things that were illegal in Nixon’s era are now legal under the Obama administration,” whistleblower and former National Security Agency staffer Thomas Drake said following the premiere of James Spione’s “Silenced.”

Drake is one of the subjects of “Silenced,” and a participant in the Q&A that made up part of the festival’s “Tribeca Talks” series of post-screening conversations. Another subject, attorney for former Justice Department lawyer Jesselyn Radack, was also on hand; the third, onetime CIA agent John Kiriakou, is serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison for confirming the name of an undercover agent to a reporter.

Drake and Kiriakou were all charged with violating the Espionage Act, a 1917 law that had virtually nothing to do with whistleblowing and had been used less than five times in 90 years before the Obama administration dusted it off.

“I had to finish the movie quickly because I wanted to be timely with the Edward Snowden revelations, but also because it could be a never-ending story,” said Spione. “While we were making the movie, there were six Espionage Act prosecutions under Obama. Then seven, then eight.”

At the same time, he said, the extent of government spying on its own populace has been shown to be far more extensive than he initially imagined.

“I don’t know if there’s any such thing as paranoia anymore,” he said of the Snowden revelations. “The scope of the program is just enormous.”

“Silenced” makes the damning case that the federal government, in hanging onto the expanded powers granted after 9/11, selectively uses the threat of prosecution not to go after true spies, but to harass whistleblowers for revealing illegal activities or government scandals. In the film, executive produced by Susan Sarandon, Spione artfully mixes three case studies from three different government agencies: Kiriakou spoke out against the use of waterboarding, Drake found the NSA hiding from Congress its culpability in missing signs that the 9/11 attacks were coming, and Radack grew incensed that the Justice Department was trying to hide emails that proved it ignored American citizen John Walker Lindh’s constitutional rights.

All three spoke out – “If I remained silent, I’d be complicit in the subversion of the American Constitution,” Drake says in the film – and all three were charged under the Espionage Act. Only Kiriakou, who has young children and could not afford to fight the charges and lose, went to prison; the government dropped the charges against Drake, and was scolded by a judge for bringing them in the first place.

Radack is now director of national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project, and counts Snowden among her clients.

Although Spione’s film is at times heavy-handed in its use of portentous black-and-white reenactments, it is effective is showing how the weight of the government can be used against citizens under the anything-goes heading of the War on Terror.

“The biggest leaker of classified information in our nation is the U.S. government,” said Radack in the Q&A moderated by Pulitzer-winning Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman. “It happens on a daily basis to make themselves look good. But if someone does it to expose the biggest scandals of my generation, the full force of the government comes down on you.”

(Photo at top, left to right: Gellman, Spione, Radack and Drake.)

When an audience member asked if people who aren’t doing anything illegal should really be concerned about the government keeping tabs on their activity, Drake offered a quick answer.

“The phrase you use, ‘You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide,’ is attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda,” he said. “If you lose the First and Fourth Amendments, we’re no longer America. It’s that simple.”

In a fascinating backstory to the events chronicled in “Silenced,” Tribeca premiered Johanna Hamilton’s doc “1971” on Friday night, and ran it again on Saturday. Her film also deals with citizens uncovering government wrongdoing – but as the title suggests, it goes back more than four decades, to the height of protests against the Vietnam War.

“1971” details a break-in at the FBI offices in Media, Penn. in March ’71, in which eight activists stole bureau files and mailed them to press organizations. The files revealed a pattern of illegal infiltration and disruption of anti-war, black-power and women’s-liberation groups, exposing the abuses of Hoover’s bureau and identifying the incendiary Counter Intelligence Program, COINTEL-PRO, for the first time.

The revelations led to the first congressional investigation of the FBI, but the eight activists who staged the raid were never caught, and they never revealed themselves publicly until Hamilton’s film. Their story is both a cat-and-mouse thriller, told in well-handled reenactments, and an examination of the the abuses of government power that could hardly be timelier.

In the end, perhaps sadly, a line from “1971” may best sum up the message of that movie and of “Silenced.” Interviewed on tape more than 20 years ago, a former FBI agent says of the bureau’s abuses, “It’s the nature of government. It happened. It will happen.”

CORRECTION: The original version of this story said that Jesselyn Radack was charged under the Espionage Act. She was not.

Fight Back!: You’re running for the Board of Directors of the Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) on an anti-war platform. Your main goal is to stop them from building a new combat drone for the Pentagon. What’s that about?

Kait McIntyre: Currently, Boeing is competing with other weapons manufacturers to win the Navy UCLASS combat drone contract. It is a larger drone that flies faster and farther, carries a greater payload of bombs and missiles, and can be launched and landed on an aircraft carrier. I oppose this because the U.S.’s use of drone warfare – targeted killing and attacks in countries where we have not declared war – violates international law. Furthermore, U.S. drones have led to the death of many innocent civilians, including children, and I stand in solidarity with those around the world whose lives have been lost and or devastated by drone warfare. While the Phantom Ray is Boeing’s first combat drone prototype, they have been and continue to make surveillance drones that are used to bully and help carry out assassinations overseas. I oppose this as well. We need to end wars, not build a new generation of deadly weapons.

Fight Back!: What do you hope to accomplish through your candidacy and the anti-drone war campaign against Boeing?

McIntyre: If we can help stop them from winning this contract, it will be a blow to the war machine. The Antiwar Committee Chicago’s Midwest Action Against Drones, one of the largest anti-drone marches in 2013, brought together 200 people representing six different states to rally around the demand that Boeing cease its pursuit of this Navy contract and end production and development of the Phantom Ray. What we hope to do with this campaign is to offer a model for other cities with weapons manufacturers to oppose U.S. drone warfare by focusing on a local target. In Chicago, where we have suffered austerity measures such as public school and mental health clinic closings while Boeing receives millions in tax breaks, we felt it was important to highlight how, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “the bombs in Vietnam explode at home.”

Fight Back!: You include an environmental plank in your platform. What is the environmental record of Boeing?

McIntyre: To start with, depleted uranium (DU). Tens of thousands of pounds of micro particles of radioactive and highly toxic waste contaminate the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans from the use of DU by the U.S. military. Boeing added to this problem by providing to Israel the depleted uranium bombs that were dropped on Gaza in 2008 and 2012. The Palestinians who did not die as a result of these attacks will likely see the same sharp increases in birth defect rates as the people of Iraq. Israel has used Boeing bombs to poison the earth in Gaza for millions of years.

Fight Back!: Your campaign video says you want an end to corporate warfare. Explain that.

McIntyre: In January, Boeing forced workers in Washington state to accept historic concessions to keep their jobs, starting with elimination of their defined benefit pension. When current CEO James McNerney talked about cutting jobs across the country, he said he knew he was “beginning to sound like Darth Vader.” But, for the workers who lose their jobs, the consequences are in the here and now, not in a galaxy far away. Furthermore, after McNerney cut thousands of machinists’ pensions, he spent $7.2 million dollars on a home in Miami. This type of behavior is unacceptable. Boeing paid no federal income tax in 2013 and has used loopholes to dodge paying taxes in previous years. With Boeing’s enormous profits, it is morally reprehensible that they do not give back to the communities where they operate.

Antiwar Committee Chicago

As the Obama administration and its allies in Europe escalate their threats against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, the American media plays its assigned role as propaganda mouthpiece.

Not a single critical voice can be found within the so-called mainstream media. The newspapers and television news programs are filled with lies, anti-Russian propaganda, and—preparing for the possibility that the crisis escalates out of control—apologetics for war.

The New York Times, the “newspaper of record,” sets the general tone for the media as a whole. The Times boasts of having 12 reporters in Ukraine, yet it provides no serious reporting on what is happening. This is all the more significant given the extraordinary implications of a major conflict between the United States and Russia that could quickly evolve into the first war between nuclear powers in world history.

Over the past two weeks, the Times has been caught in a series of fabrications. Last week, it ran a front-page lead story replete with photographs handed to it by the State Department and the US-backed Ukrainian government purporting to show that Russian Special Forces are directing the protests in eastern Ukraine.

The Times report was quickly exposed as a fraud, including by the WSWS. It took only a quick search on the Internet to expose the so-called evidence as either doctored or fabricated. Subsequent acknowledgements of the “controversy” over the photographs—exercises in damage control and cover-up—have been buried on the newspaper’s inside pages.

Far from being chastened by these exposures, the Times rapidly moved on to its next assignment from the State Department—a front-page article published yesterday alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin has a secret fortune of between $40 billion and $70 billion. The Times acknowledged in its own article that the allegations consist of “rumors and speculation” with “little if any hard evidence.” That did not prevent it from seeking to legitimize the gossip by elevating it to the status of a prominent “news” item.

On the newspaper’s back pages are columns by various commentators, reflecting the generally stupid musings of one or another faction of the state apparatus. Sunday was the turn of Thomas Friedman, who infamously backed the 2003 US war in Iraq and boasted that he had “no problem with a war for oil.”

Purporting to explain the Ukrainian crisis to Times readers, Friedman writes: “Quite simply, a majority of Ukrainians got mad as hell at the game imposed on them—serving as bit players in Putin’s sphere of influence, so Russia could continue to feel like a great power… After a bottom-up revolution in the Maidan…Ukrainians are asserting their own sphere of influence, a desire to be part of the EU.”

Friedman does not mention that the Kiev government he glorifies as waging a struggle for individual liberty is an unelected puppet regime, and the “bottom-up revolution” was led by fascists working with the US and Germany.

Questions of history, social and political forces, geopolitical agendas, beginning with those of the United States, are not even hinted at. Instead, one gets yet another foreign leader targeted for destruction by US imperialism presented as the devil incarnate.

The powerful bond that united Ukraine and Russia arising from the 1917 Bolshevik revolution that overthrew tsarism and opened the door to the liberation of the oppressed masses; the heroic struggle of the Red Army to liberate Ukraine from the murderous grip of German fascism in World War II; the catastrophic consequences of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the final act in the Stalinist betrayal of the October Revolution—these issues are a closed book to this ignorant, complacent, but lavishly paid flunkey of the US ruling class.

The Times ’ standard is followed by all the major newspapers and television outlets. In following the coverage in the American media, one would never know that the new government in Kiev is populated by individuals from the anti-Semitic Svoboda party, which was condemned in a 2012 vote of the EU parliament. Nor would one know that the Right Sector militia and Svoboda party glorify Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists participated in the Holocaust of Ukrainian Jews.

The fact that the US has been aggressively backing the crackdown in eastern Ukraine—including sending CIA director John Brennan to Kiev—is covered over. The leaked phone call between US State Department official Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt before the putsch, discussing whom to install as Ukraine’s prime minister, is never mentioned.

The media covers up the howling contradictions in the official presentation of the Ukraine crisis. Before the 2003 US war in Iraq, Washington denounced Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for “killing his own people.” US imperialism attacked Libya in 2011, claiming it had to forestall an imminent crackdown by Gaddafi on protesters in the rebellious city of Benghazi. The Obama administration declared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unfit to rule because he unleashed his police and military against protesters. The official rationale for backing the coup against the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was that Yanukovych had destroyed the legitimacy of his government by attacking the Maidan protesters.

But now, Washington is cracking the whip and demanding that its puppets in Kiev get on with the job of drowning the upsurge in the east in blood. At the same time, it calls Russian threats to intervene to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians from the violence of the state a crime against civilization.

The media in the US has undergone a protracted degeneration. During the period of the Vietnam War, critical voices within the media played a role in bringing the brutal reality of the war to the attention of the American public. In 1971, the Times ’ and Washington Post ’s publication of the Pentagon Papers helped expose the lies used to drive the American people into war in Southeast Asia.

The ruling class decided that would never happen again. The military and intelligence apparatus rapidly took the corporate-controlled media in hand. Even the pretense of independence from the state has been abandoned. The media has played an increasingly shameless role in each successive military intervention—the first Iraq war, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the “humanitarian” air war against Serbia.

The final nail in the coffin of anything remotely resembling an independent media came with 9/11 and the “war on terror,” as demonstrated by the media’s “embedded” role in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and its brazen propaganda in support of the wars for regime change in Libya and Syria.

The major newspapers today acknowledge passing articles through government channels before publication, a practice that in other contexts is called state censorship. The media talking heads and columnists make it their business to assist in the witch-hunt of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

The fact that the entire foreign policy of the corporate-financial elite is erected on the basis of lies that cannot withstand the slightest critical examination is a sign not of strength, but of weakness. A vast gulf separates the working class from the warmongers in the American ruling class and their lackeys in the media.

Opposition will come from outside this entire corrupt framework. It will center in the working class. A major task of an independent working class movement against war will be to hold accountable the war propagandists who dominate the media.

The Iraqi Growth Myth

April 28th, 2014 by Salah Nasrawi

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack at a checkpoint (photos: Reuters)

If one is to believe some mainstream Western media reports, Iraq is thriving. The conflict-ravaged country is even expecting more economic progress and tipped to be one of the best performers in the Middle East in the years to come.

Reports have been rampant about international companies overlooking security worries and opening businesses in oil-rich Iraq despite spikes in violence and unabated political turmoil.

From newspaper articles to reports on business news Websites, readers have been inundated with stories claiming that the country has achieved impressive growth over the last few years and that there is great entrepreneurial potential.

Fairy tales about economic potential in oil-producing nations grappling with violence and conflict are not new, but in Iraq’s case the upbeat growth reports are clearly churned out to fit the greed of international businessmen.

Driven by disproportionate and highly inconsistent estimates of Iraq’s economic indicators, entrepreneurs, fund managers and bankers around the world are now looking to establish a presence in Iraq.

In recent days, the Western media trumpeted the opening of the first Pizza Hut restaurant in Erbil and a contract signed by International Container Terminal Services to operate a port in Basra as examples of how Western companies are tapping the potential of Iraq’s growing markets.

Erbil is the capital of the largely tranquil Kurdistan Region and Basra is relatively peaceful.

Oil projects take priority in the overblown coverage of Iraq’s economic boom. Royal Dutch Shell exported its first shipment of crude from Iraq’s Majnoon field this month.

Another hyped item of news this month was that Russian giant Lukoil is launching a 2D seismic survey of a 5,600 square km onshore tract in southern Iraq.

In December, PetroChina announced a deal with ExxonMobil to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the West Qurna-1 oil field project in southeastern Iraq, which has an estimated 43 billion barrels of reserves.

In the meantime, governments are recruiting people who are well-connected to Iraqi officials to branch out into Iraqi business.

Last year, Britain appointed Baroness Nicholson, a politician who worked closely with opponents of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, now in power in Baghdad, as UK trade envoy to Iraq in order to increase trade and economic co-operation between the two countries.

Iraq’s giant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and Nicholson is tasked with making “major assaults on the Iraqi market” in order to obtain more lucrative contracts.

Japan is resorting to former Baghdad-based diplomats, academics and other Iraq experts to promote Japanese business in the country.

It has made loans to Iraq including a US$4.5 billion soft loan and has secured 15 projects including the rehabilitation and development of some key Iraqi ports and the construction of power plants.

Australia, Canada and many other countries are resorting to Iraqi expatriates with business connections in the country to secure contracts.

Russia, the Czech Republic and Pakistan are also pushing ahead with mega defence contracts with Baghdad, reportedly through intermediaries.

Competition is so fierce that some have publicly complained that their countries are losing opportunities of investing in Iraq.

Last month, a reporter from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine did not hesitate to put a question about Germany’s lack of share in the Iraqi market to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.

“Is there anything left for Germany, one of the world’s top exporting nations,” he bluntly asked.

Reports of the investment drive are being hyped by assessments that Iraq has posted an annual growth in GDP of around nine per cent, thanks largely to its oil production of 3.2 million barrels per day.

Some of these forecasts, coming from the World Bank and the Iraqi government, are predicting economic expansion of well over 10 per cent in 2014.

But many disagree with using GDP figures as measurements of progress in nation-building efforts and argue that statistics alone can hardly provide a clear picture of economic development or growth.

Consensus opinions indicate that the positive reports overlook serious problems faced by Iraq and its economy and are mostly designed to fit the ambitions of foreign investors.

Iraq faces serious problems, making the figures of growth in the oil industry little better than nonsense. Sitting on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, Iraq should be rich, but its economy is as moribund as its politics, which are rife with violence and corruption.

Most towns in central and southern Iraq have no permanent electricity supplies and cannot escape periodic power outages.

Thousands of factories are not operating because of the lack of power, and most Iraqis rely on generators for much of the time.

Iraq lacks proper infrastructure, and most of its cities in the south and centre of the country have deteriorating roads rutted with dirt and mud and provide at best marginal livelihoods for homes and businesses.

Millions of Iraqis live in poverty and there is a pervasive lack of health services and the presence of chronic malnutrition. A quarter of the population under 25 years of age is out of work.

Illiteracy is high, and millions of children have no access to proper schools.

The delay in the passage of the 2014 state budget is casting a grim shadow over Iraq’s economy. Many projects are threatened with closure, and foreign companies have not received their dues which may make them leave the country.

This may even make the World Bank reduce Iraq’s ratings.

Even more serious is the problem of security, which has been deteriorating rapidly since the withdrawal of the last US troops in December 2011 as terrorists groups, Sunni insurgents and Shia militias have been vying for supremacy.

Foreign companies working in Iraq hire their own security, which is costly and diverts resources from other investments. Their offices are surrounded by high walls and gates manned by armed security personnel checking cars for bombs.

Some foreign companies provide payments to locals for protection, and oil facilities are particularly risky.

Over recent months, militants have shut Iraq’s main northern oil-export pipeline and have been preventing repairs, questioning the optimism about oil expansion.

On the other hand, massive corruption has been hindering economic growth, and many foreign companies have reportedly been involved in grafts and kickbacks.

GlaxoSmithKline, the UK drugs giant, has been investigated after allegations about its conduct in Iraq due to claims that it hired 16 state-employed doctors and pharmacists in 2012 as paid sales representatives.

Leighton Holdings Ltd, Australia’s biggest builder, has been under investigation by police after the company was reported to have paid bribes to win contracts in connection with work in Iraq’s crude oil-export facilities.

On Saturday, Sahat Al-Tahrir, a news Website, quoted Zuhrair Al-Bichari, head of the development and reconstruction committee in Basra, as saying that a clean water project under construction by a consortium led by Japanese giant Hitachi was threatened with stoppage because of threats of extortion by local armed groups.

All this raises questions about whether Iraq’s oil indicators justify the euphoria exuded by Western media reports.

Indeed, the inflated growth data are only concealing the interactions between the country’s resources and its unrelenting ethno-sectarian conflict and the deadly war this has unleashed.

Behind the façade of oil growth lie miserable conditions that show that Iraq’s huge oil wealth is being used to perpetuate the fighting and sustain the conflict.

This is undeniably the case, as rival sectarian and political groups pursue endeavours to control oil revenues in order to produce conditions under which they can overrule the state.

Eleven years after the US-led invasion and with more than a trillion dollars in exports, illegal exploitation of resources and illicit trade in oil, Iraq still stands as one of the world’s most obviously failed states.

It is for this reason that promoting statistics about oil revenues as indicators of prosperity in a country that is sinking in a sea of violence and corruption with a dysfunctional government has no merit.

These statistics are simply being used to justify the pillaging of Iraq.

The Biggest Secret About Banking Has Just Gone Mainstream

April 28th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

We’ve pointed out for 4 1/2 years that banks create money out of thin air. Specifically, it has now been conclusively proven that loans come first … and then deposits FOLLOW.This is the most important secret about modern banking … because it debunks one of the biggest myths preventing a strong economy, challenges one of the main pork barrel profit centers for big banks … andopens up incredible opportunities for a prosperous economy.This odd and counter-intuitive – but crucially important – truth has now gone mainstream …Specifically, the Financial Times’ Martin Wolf – one of the world’s most influential mainstream financial writers -  says that, since banks create money out of thin air, they should be stripped of this power, and limited to normal depository functions. Wolf indicates the centrality and importance of the issue with his subtitle:

The giant hole at the heart of our market economies needs to be plugged.

And Business Insider – the world’s most popular financial news blog – is currently running this as its top two front page stories:(Read the Business Insider stories here and here.)If we reclaimed the power to create credit from the too big to fail banks, we would all be much wealthier

The United States has seized on the detention of Western military observers by pro-Russian militants in Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine to ratchet up its propaganda war against Moscow and push through new and more draconian sanctions.

The affair has all the hallmarks of another provocation on the part of Washington designed to escalate the crisis over Ukraine and use it to isolate, militarily encircle and cripple Russia. America’s closest ally in this project is Germany, which seeks to exploit the crisis to revive its own imperialist ambitions in the east, which led it to invade and occupy Ukraine and attack Russia twice in the last century.

Eight military officers led by four Germans and accompanied by five Ukrainian soldiers, operating under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), were on their way to the besieged city of Slavyansk Friday when they were intercepted by forces opposing the regime installed in Kiev in a US/German-orchestrated putsch spearheaded by fascist Right Sector paramilitary forces.

On Sunday, OSCE civilian negotiators met with rebel officials in Slavyansk and secured the release of one of the detained military officers, a Swede. Slavyansk officials said the officer, who suffers from diabetes, was released for medical reasons.

The German-led mission was not part of the civilian monitoring program agreed to in March by the 57 member nations of the OSCE, including Russia. OSCE officials in Vienna said they were not aware of the reason for the intervention of the military “observers,” and Germany declined to comment.

The visit came one day after Ukrainian troops attacked checkpoints set up by pro-Russian protesters in Slavyansk, killing five anti-Kiev regime militants. As the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out Saturday, those in control of Slavyansk and the broader Donetsk region had been given no advance notice of the mission, and there was no attempt to clear the presence of these pro-regime military forces in the area.

Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slavyansk, accused the officers of carrying out a spying operation to map the deployment of opposition forces in order to aid the Western-backed military operation being carried out by Ukrainian troops in the region.

He said Saturday that his men had confiscated military maps from members of the mission. Yevgeny Gorbik, a spokesperson for the oppositionists in Slavyansk, said, “The humanitarian group of the [OSCE] mission denied any relation to them. They had intelligence agents, cryptograms and notebooks with secret notes.”

The presence of Kiev regime and Western spies in the east was underscored on Saturday, when pro-Russian militants in Slavyansk captured three officers of Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, accusing them of seeking to kidnap Slavyansk’s pro-Russian leader. The SBU confirmed that its operatives had been seized in the Donetsk region.

The Kiev regime blamed the detention of the OSCE military mission on Russia, citing it as another example of Moscow’s alleged aggression and war-mongering.

In a telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia secure the release of the OSCE officers “without preconditions,” rejecting suggestions by the pro-Russian authorities in Slavyansk that the officers be released in exchange for anti-regime figures being detained by the Kiev government. Lavrov pledged to seek the release of the officers, but demanded that the US call off the Ukrainian government crackdown on protesters in the east.

Later Friday, following the detention of the OSCE officers, US President Barack Obama interrupted his Asian tour to hold a telephone conference call with the heads of government of Germany, Britain, France and Italy to secure agreement on a new round of sanctions against Russia. On Saturday, the G7 group of industrialized nations, which includes Japan and Canada in addition to the US and the four European countries, formally announced plans to impose new sanctions as early as Monday.

European Union ambassadors are reportedly set to meet Monday to decide on an additional list of individuals in Russia and Ukraine to be hit with travel bans and asset freezes.

On Saturday, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the US would name additional sanctions targets including “cronies” of Russian President Vladimir Putin who have, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, “significant assets and influence with the Russian leadership, as well as banks and companies associated with the individuals.”

White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, appearing Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program, said the new US measures would be imposed on Monday. “We will be looking to designate people who are in [Putin’s] inner circle, who have a significant impact on the Russian economy…We will be looking at taking steps, as well, with regard to high-technology exports to their defense industry.”

Blinken boasted that the US-led campaign against Russia over the Ukraine crisis had already led to a 22 percent decline in Russian financial markets since the beginning of the year and brought the ruble to its lowest-ever level.

The escalation of sanctions and military threats against Russia is justified on the grounds that that the opposition to the new Western-backed regime in Kiev that erupted in Crimea and spread to eastern Ukraine, mainly-Russian-speaking regions with close economic and historical ties to Russia, are the result of Russian manipulation. On the basis of this premise, universally proclaimed as fact by the media without any serious substantiation, the Obama administration attributes the continued resistance to the new government in the east of Ukraine to Russian “aggression,” and cites it as proof that Russia has violated the four-party agreement to deescalate the crisis over Ukraine reached April 17 in Geneva.

The US brokered that agreement after the initial attempt by Kiev at a military crackdown against insurgents in the east, launched following a secret visit to Kiev by CIA Director John Brennan, collapsed when local residents turned out to oppose government troops and armored vehicles and some of the troops refused to fire on the protesters and deserted to the other side.

Washington intended all along for the Geneva agreement to serve as a pretext for further sanctions and military moves against Russia. The agreement calls for all illegal armed groups to be disbanded. The Obama administration has attributed the continued occupation of government buildings in the east by pro-Russian forces to Russian intrigue and cited it as proof that Moscow is violating the Geneva deal.

But Washington says nothing about the continued occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square by right-wing thugs of the Right Sector, or the deployment of Right Sector gangs to the east to attack and beat up pro-Russian protesters.

The pursuit of this policy directly risks the outbreak of war between the US and NATO on one side, and Russia on the other—that is, a conflict that would likely spark a nuclear world war.

The Putin regime represents the reactionary oligarchs who enriched themselves by looting the former state property of the Soviet Union following the dismantling of the USSR by the Stalinist bureaucracy. It wants to avoid being drawn into a military incursion into eastern Ukraine, but faces a foe in Washington that seems bent on goading it into doing just that by stoking a civil war in Ukraine.

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement quoting Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov: “Our concern is caused by an increase of the US air force and American military personnel in the Baltics and Poland, and also the alliance’s ships in the Black Sea.”

The same day, Washington deployed 150 paratroopers to Lithuania, bringing the total number of announced US troops in Poland and the former Soviet Baltic states to 600. And Ukrainian military forces, egged on by Washington, continued to reinforce existing checkpoints and set up new ones around centers of resistance such as Slavyansk in an attempt to crush the rebellion against the regime in Kiev.

Ukrainian soldiers sit in a tank at their newly erected checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainain city of Slavyansk on April 25, 2014. (AFP Photo/Genya Savilov)

The cash-stripped Ukrainian Interior Ministry is asking the public for donations to equip the newly formed special forces. It is offering a place in a public commission, which would control the cash flow, to biggest donors.

Follow LIVE updates on military operation unfolding in eastern Ukraine

The ministry has recruited 8,000 out of a planned 12,000 troops since April 13, when Interior Minister Arsen Avakov decided to form the new units in response to the wave of protests in eastern Ukraine. But it lacks the money to properly equip them, it said in a statement.

“The state budget allocates funds for the functioning of the special units of the Interior Ministry. But in they are not enough in the circumstance of rigid resource saving, state spending sequestering and an economic war unleashed by the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

The list of what the troops need includes bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, communication equipment, transport and even underwear, linen and soap.

The ministry says it accepts both money donations and actual body armor and hygiene products. It pledges a transparent mechanism for spending the donations with monthly reports and offers seats at a public commission, which would control the cash flow, to sponsors who donate more than 100,000 hryvnas (nearly $9,000).

Money problems are hampering the effort to form new Interior Ministry units in some regions. The Odessa region unit managed to recruit only 18 volunteers out of the 500 planned, the region’s police chief, Petr Lutsuk, reported Thursday. He said the ministry budget offered about $45 a month per force member, while the job description includes working at least 12 hours a day, neither of which helped with attracting people.

It is the second Ukrainian ministry which has decided to seek crowdfunding to fill its coffers. Last week the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that it had collected more than $7 million in donations to rearm the national army.

Kiev decided to pour some $700 million of budget money into its military, which is suffering from poor morale and shortage of even basic equipment, while slashing social spending and raising utilities prices.

The Ukrainian government is struggling to establish control over the Donetsk region, where local protesters have declared that they consider the central government illegitimate and are planning to hold a referendum on the region’s autonomy. Armed anti-government activists seized a number of buildings throughout the region, with the city of Slavyansk becoming the center of resistance.

Kiev has launched what it calls an “anti-terrorist operation” by the military to quash the protest, but so far despite several gunfights and fatalities they have failed to gain any ground. Russia has warned that if the Ukrainian troops use heavy weapons against the protesters, Moscow may use its troops to intervene.

The Ukrainian government accuses Russia of orchestrating the protest, saying Russian special operations teams are operating in eastern Ukraine. So far all the evidence Kiev has produced to substantiate its allegations have been either inconclusive or have proven to be false.

Tolerating Israel’s Land Grabs

April 28th, 2014 by Prof. Lawrence Davidson

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have reached their predictable collapse, but the U.S. news media still shies away from blaming Israeli intransigence and expansionism – nor advocating stern action against the land grabs.

In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared independence for Palestine based upon the notion of two states living in peace in historic Palestine. The border between those two states was to be set roughly at the armistice line established at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinian state’s capital was to be located in East Jerusalem.

That was 26 years ago. Finally, on April 14, 2014, the editorial board of the New York Times decided that Arafat was correct and the “principles” that “must undergird a two-state solution” are those he had proposed. Of course, the board did so without ever referencing the great Palestinian leader.

Not only did the Times declare the pre-1967 border and a shared capital at Jerusalem necessary and valid, but it called on the U.S. government to do the same: “It is time for the administration to lay down the principles … should the Israelis and the Palestinians ever decide to make peace.”

Before anyone gets too excited over this seeming miracle on Eighth Avenue (where the paper is headquartered), it should be noted that the Times’ editorial board made this pronouncement at a point when its fulfillment was impossible. And the editorial board knew this was the case:

“The pointless arguing over who brought the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the brink of collapse is in full swing. The United States is still working to salvage the negotiations, but there is scant sign
of serious purpose. … President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should move on and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine.”

Having reached this point in the editorial board’s text, one starts to suspect that the board is being disingenuous. First of all, why is it “pointless” to discuss the reason these talks are collapsing? Secretary of State Kerry’s explanation (the famous “poof” heard around the world), made before Congress, lays blame right where it has always belonged — with Israeli acts of sabotage of those very principles the Times now espouses. Why does the Times say that stating this increasingly obvious fact is “pointless”?

It is also interesting that the editorial board suggests in what direction the subject should be changed — toward the “major international challenge” of Ukraine. I am not sure the board thought this suggestion through. After all, what is the core Western complaint about happenings in Ukraine? It is the Russian land grab in the Crimea as well as the alleged threat of more such moves in eastern Ukraine.

Yet just how different is Russian behavior in this regard from that of Israel in the West Bank and Golan Heights? Obviously the Times’ editors do not think it is “pointless” to discuss land grabs when the Russians do it. It is only pointless when the Israelis do it.

The editorial board also surrounds its declaration of principles with an archaic effort to present Israel and the Palestinians as equally at fault. It is not only the Israelis who have decided against making peace, it is both the “Israelis and Palestinians.” It is not just “the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” that is a problem. That “obstinacy” has to be coupled with “resistance from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.”

It is not just Israel which is unwilling to “move on to core issues,” it is “the two sides” that are unwilling. This insistence on dualism is an illusion hiding the fact that the two sides are not at all equal and, with the exception of the red-herring issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, 99 percent of the obstinacy and all the resistance has been on one side — the Israeli side.

The Times’ editorial board has the same problem as the Obama administration: they both know the truth but are unwilling to do something about it. They both know the problem is that the Israeli government is not interested in genuine peace (actually, has never been interested in it).

Israel is only interested in continuing its conquest of Palestinian land. And thanks to the West, most particularly the United States, Israel has the military wherewithal to ignore not only the Palestinian protests but also those of the rest of the world.

Both the U.S. government and the U.S. “newspaper of record” refuse to act on their knowledge of Israel’s history of sabotage and call for punitive action against a nation that is hurting U.S. national interests in an important part of the world.

Their main concern is to avoid a confrontation with Zionist lobbyists and Times’ advertisers whose devotion to Israel is wholly uncritical. This appears to still be the most favored position even though standing firm over negotiations with Iran has proved the Zionists are not omnipotent.

It’s that old two steps forward, one step backward shuffle: heading in the right direction while ensuring we never reach the proper destination.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) must stop demeaning its people. One can understand being fooled once or even twice, but being fooled over and again every three to four years for the last 20 years is just going overboard.

 

It becomes a bit annoying to continue hearing cries from the same “deceived” Palestinian leaders repeating empty threats in response to Israeli intransigence and lies. I heard it directly from several high level PLO officials that should the current negotiations fail to reach an agreement by April 29, the PA was prepared to join UN organisations. They spoke specifically of the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICCJ).

 

Early in April, Israel broke a nine-month-old agreement by refusing to release the final batch of Palestinian “hostages” as it agreed to with the US Secretary of State last July. Half-heartedly, the PA submitted applications to join 15 UN organisations. Half-heartedly, because the token measure ratified accords obligating the PA to fulfil UN conventions, none of which could have empowered the PA to put an end to Israel’s wanton disregard of international law.

 

The decision to endorse UN treaties such as the 4th Geneva Convention, protocol one, Conventions against Corruption, Rights of the Child, Civil and Political Rights, Consular Affairs … etc., was most likely to mollify rising internal frustrations with the sham negotiations. It was not directed at Israel and this might explains the US’ muted displeasure with the toothless measures.

 

Now the PA is disingenuously leaking out information about dismantling the Authority and turning over its role of managing the occupation to Israel. Israel and its America Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC) ex-staffer who is mediating the talks on America’s behalf, understand very well that the PA threats are for local political consumption just like the inconsequential move to join irrelevant UN organisations.

 

It is mind-boggling that the PA expects others to take its threats seriously. Shouldn’t they first take other steps such as ending security co-ordination to protect Israel’s illegal settlers? How about joining relevant UN organisations like ICCJ or endorsing article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention- which Israel is categorically violating- instead of signing the worthless protocol one.

 

Just like the self-proclaimed “chief” Palestinian negotiator who publicly resigned more than a month ago protesting, ostensibly, the lack of progress at the peace talk. In reality however, he was incensed by informal parallel secret negotiations conducted with Israel behind his back. He backed off once assured of his role as the main collaborator. Interestingly though, he did not seem bothered enough to resign after Israel failed to carry out a feeble agreement he himself negotiated last July.

 

It is not just Israel’s disregard to the international law, but this type of Palestinian leadership – lacking self-respect- who represent the biggest threat to the future of Palestine. It is the grovelling Oslo-created Palestinian VIP class. VIP passes are renewable benefits bestowed by the Israeli army to supposedly facilitate the movement of Palestinian officials. Obviously, VIP Palestinian club members do not experience the reality of occupation and have for the most part enjoyed this status since the establishment of the PA in 1994 as long as Israel was content with their performance.

 

To be taken seriously, the PA must first end this joke and limit the “intravenous” VIP status for its officials to no more than two years. Not to suggest a far-fetched “radical proposal” like ending security co-ordination with Israel, PA should at a minimum return all VIP passes and insist on its security co-ordinators and negotiating team to navigate Israeli military barriers like normal citizens.

 

Besides making Israel and AIPAC American’s mediator sit and wait, reminding these officials of the evil of occupation might be an incentive to change the way VIP holders negotiate with Israel.

Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

 

War Criminal George W. Bush Comes to Canada

April 28th, 2014 by BRussells Tribunal

George W. Bush plans to come to Toronto next month in defiance of the United Nations Committee against Torture report that Canada’s duty to prosecute foreign nationals suspected of torture applies to everyone entering Canada however temporarily.

PLEASE LET OTHERS KNOW THAT CANADA HAS THE DUTY UNDER THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE TO EITHER BAR BUSH FROM CANADA OR ARREST AND PROSECUTE HIM ON ARRIVAL.

  Inline image 1

 Prior to 2012 Canadian officials took the position that Canada’s duty (under the Convention against Torture, the Criminal Code of Canada and the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act) to arrest and prosecute OR to extradite for prosecution any foreign national suspected of torture upon entry to Canada, applied only to suspects living in Canada and not to those—such as G.W. Bush—visiting temporarily. In 2012 the Committee against Torture ruled that Canada has a duty to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over EVERY torture suspect including those temporarily in Canada.

(See recommendations) Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture Canada, June 2012. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.CAN.CO.6.doc

 The Committee made this ruling in response to submissions from Lawyers against the War (LAW) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) that Canada was violating the Convention against Torture by giving safe haven from prosecution to G. W. Bush. The UN Committee against Torture agreed and ruled that.

LAW – Canada’s Failure to Bar or Prosecute George W. Bush for Torture

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CAT_NGO_CAN_48_8248_E.pdf

CCIJ – The State Immunity Act and Canada’s Failure to Fulfill Its Obligations under the Convention Against Torture

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CAT_NGO_CAN_48_8252_E.pdf

14. The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures with a view to ensuring the exercise of the universal jurisdiction over persons responsible for acts of torture, including foreign perpetrators who are temporarily present in Canada, in accordance with article 5 of the Convention. The State party should enhance its efforts, including through increased resources, to ensure that the “no safe haven” policy prioritizes criminal or extradition proceedings over deportation and removal under immigration processes. 

29.   The Committee requests the State party to provide, by 1 June 2013, follow-up information in response to the Committee’s recommendations related to: (a) ensuring or strengthening legal safeguards for detainees; (b) conducting, prompt, impartial and effective investigations; and (c) prosecuting suspects and sanctioning perpetrators of torture or ill-treatment, as contained in paragraphs 12, 13, 16 and 17 of the present document.

 https://secure.fswc.ca/HomeSOH-2014.aspx

The so-called Arab Spring is one of the most pivotal geopolitical happenings of the current century and one which will no doubt reverberate and define the academic discourse on the subject in later generations.

That being said, it becomes disheartening to find out that the majority of the talking points on the Arab Spring echoed from both mainstream media as well as “non-aligned”, independent sources ring of the stereotypical western narrative of spontaneous, indigenous uprisings rising up corruption and despotism.

While no doubt unsavory strongmen like Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had well earned the resentment of their population, to engage in a reductionist paradigm of the Arab Spring illustrating down-trodden masses merely rising up against political exploitation does injustice to the behind-the-scenes networks of NGOs and special interests who helped influence popular sentiment and channel it in ways to bolster western objectives.

While the notion that the US government, and specifically the corporate-financiers overlords of Wall Street and London, were behind the Arab Spring are scoffed at by “skeptics” and “academics”, the financial and political connections are well established and open for all to independently verify. The year 2011 was truly the “Year of the Dupe” and unless we collectively identify this engineering of our past and by extension our destiny, we run the risk of making true yet again Napoleon Bonaparte’s adage that, “History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon.”

The Mainstream Left, the Fake Neo-Con “Right”, and the Islamists

 Our first stop in deconstructing the myth of the Arab Spring relates to the standard view propagated by the mainstream left and the likes of MSNBC, CNN, most of academia, and well-intentioned “critics of the conspiratorial right-wing” (which does warrant legitimate criticism but for different reasons). A classic case of this which can be found replicated across a host of websites is the article “How the Conspiratorial Right is Spinning Egypt’s Protests” by Sarah Posner. According to her thesis, she claims the Arab Spring was a legitimate popular uprising spurred spontaneously by political reasons and that Islamists and religious groups played a marginalized role in the January 2011 protests in Egypt. From her perspective, any assertion to the contrary is a byproduct of a conspiratorial right-wing spinning the protests against the ambitions of a politically awakened populous.

 Where I agree with her most definitely is when she calls out the lunacy of the Neo-Con Islamophobic right-wing featuring the likes of “former terrorist” Walid Shoebat (also exposed by conservative writer here) among others like WorldNetDaily who wittingly or unwittingly perpetuate the neo-imperialist strategy of tension revolving around an engineered “clash of civilizations.” The role of these figures is to perpetuate the fake left/right political paradigm in context of the narrative of the mainstream left wing, spinning reality into partisan categories and keeping the concerted imperialist agenda from coming to light.

Islamophobic interpretations mainly keep the political hamster wheel spinning in a strategy of tension keeping people divided and squabbling over unnecessary and artificial points. In the Neo-Con right wing’s fantasies, Obama is an “anti-American secret Muslim” and Posner correctly sums their disinformation as being, “that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the protests, and that Obama is somehow linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and an evil plot to subvert “Judeo-Christian” values, America, and Western.”

The right-wing narrative is a disingenuous ploy by the imperialist establishment to spin US financing of terrorism by the NATO-GCC powers, specifically through Saudi Arabia and Qatar by jettisoning all the blame on the Obama “left” using the Fox News/WND/Neo Con mantra of “Obama the Muslim”. In doing such, the tracks of money and the political connections are covered up and repackaged into a rhetorical box to be used by the right wing to frighten the average unaware American with propaganda about a growing Islamic threat, completely ignoring the fact that from Mali to Pakistan, we can see a direct connection of US support for terrorist groups to push forward its hegemonic designs, and under US/Saudi control. Saudi Arabia is the primary underwriter of global terrorism, created through its network of madrassas and Islamic charities, an outgrowth of Operation Cyclone during the Soviet-Afghan War where both the US and the Saudis collaborated to leverage Islamic proxies against the Soviet Union. This isn’t merely conspiracy theory or a conflated connection; the US West Point Combating Terrorism Center notes (pg. 24, PDF):

During the first half of the 1980s the role of foreign fighters in Afghanistan was negligible and was largely  un‐noticed by outside observers. The flow of volunteers from the Arab heartland countries was just a trickle…but by 1984, the resources being poured into the conflict by other countries—especially Saudi Arabia and the United States—had become much greater, as had the effectiveness and sophistication of the recruitment efforts.

 It is worth noting that US funding for the Islamists began BEFORE the Soviet invasion, contrary to the mainstream narrative. Some might defend the operation from the perspective of the fact that it facilitated the collapse of the Soviet Union but to do so would be myopic to the true power brokers and their full-scale agenda. Also noteworthy is the financial connections between the GCC and the West.

The Protesters

Where does Posner (and the mainstream left) go wrong? They go wrong in ignoring the fact that there is indeed a conspiracy although different from the myopic misperception of the right wing so focused on bashing Obama, Muslims and the left they fail to see the true power-brokers and their hegemonic designs. The Muslim Brotherhood also played a prominent role along with the moderate and secular youth cannon-fodder in the streets and the subsequent political landscape but for different reasons. It is correct to assert that secular, politically-minded individuals made up a bulk of the protestors in Egypt to a degree but also served as a smokescreen for a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood. However, who was coordinating them? In April 2011, the New York Times published “US Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings” which noted:

“A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”

In clarifying who these particular groups were, it further notes:

“The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department. “

The role of US-funded, Serbian-based NGO, CANVAS (formerly known as “Otpor!”), in coordinating protest movements around the world according to US geopolitical interests is noted in the JourneyMan Pictures documentary “The Revolution Business.” NGO leader Srdja Popovic openly admits to his antics and confirms that the iconic “Otpor! fist” used by his organization during the Serbian protest movement in 2000 that ousted Slobodan Milosevic was deliberately replicated in copy-cat “color revolutions” (see here for examples).

  No one doubts that the masses in the street were legitimately agitated and wanting change. What we must point out, however, is that these misguided people are being lead by individuals towing the western agenda and channeling their ambitions to accomplish what the west and the financial power-brokers seek. Interesting is the role of the National Endowment for Democracy in financing these NGOs and movements; according to one of its founders, Alan Weinstein, “Alot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA.” Interestingly, the US State Department has been attempting to cover its track in these actions amid growing public awareness.

In “Google’s Revolution Factory”, Tony Cartalucci points out the specifics behind the Egyptian uprising’s NGOs and their western corporate funding and notes the role of what he calls “globalist con-man in chief” Mohammed ElBaradei. While feigning opposition to the US and Israel, it is revealed that ElBaradei sits on the board of trustees of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a corporate-funded institution alongside George Soros, “geopolitical advisor” Zbigniew Brezinzski, Neo-Cons like Richard Armitage, suspected financial criminal Larry Summers,  and most striking of all considering his feigned anti-Israeli rhetoric, the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, Stanley Fischer who serves as governor of the Bank of Israel, and former-Foreign Minister of Israel Shlomo Ben-Ami. The ICG has taken down ElBaradei’s profile from their website, probably because many people were linking to it as evidence, but a screenshot can be seen here.

ElBaradei led the National Front for Change which included the CANVAS-trained, US State Department-funded April 6 Movement, Wael Ghonim of Google, and a coalition of opposition parties. ElBaradei arrived not in 2011 but in February 2010 where April 6 members would be arrested waiting for his arrival. The April 6 Movement took part in the US-State Department-backed “Alliance for Youth Movements/Movements.org” conference in December 2008 attended by the State Departments’ James Glassman and Jared Cohen after which they would subsequently travel to Serbia to receive training from CANVAS.

Worth repeating is that many if not most of those in these movements are legitimate people but with political demands focused on political abstractions as opposed to concrete, pragmatic solutions put forward simultaneously, they are doomed to continue running the political hamster wheel and generating the power for western destabilization and corporate interests.

Counter-revolutions would define Egypt after January 2011 with ElBaradei ousted by his own movement. After that, the Muslim Brotherhood was installed into power per western objectives and ultimately removed in July 2013 when the west directed its proxies in the Egyptian military to capitalize on popular agitation against the Brotherhood and channel that revolutionary fervor to ensure the west remained at the top of the pyramid as noted by Dr. Michel Chossudovsky. The controlled nature of Egyptian politics can also be noted by Tony Cartalucci in “Morsi & the Muslim Brotherhood Challenged in Egypt.”

The Arab Spring, because of outside interference and lack of cohesive, indigenous pragmatism, would increase despair and result in political failure and in the case of Syria and Libya, western-backed insurrection. While the political pieces at the bottom of the pyramid continue to shift like a jigsaw puzzle, the apex remains the same and the equation remains constant.

Islamists and Syria

In “Muslim Brotherhood Are Western Proxies”, Tony Cartalucci gives us the true role the Muslim Brotherhood are playing in executing western objectives across the Middle East, namely acting as a proxy in a premeditated sectarian and political front against Iran.  This is not the conjecture of conspiracy theory but was documented as far back as 2007 by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker piece, “The Redirection”, cited literally hundreds of times by the alternative media and Tony Cartalucci but stubbornly ignored in the mainstream media where Justin Bieber’s marijuana habits are apparently more significant to our destinies than US support for international terrorism. In “The Redirection”, it is stated,

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

 As if to address those who would claim that such support was passive, the active nature of the destabilization campaign was noted as follows:

“…[Saudi Arabia's] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

The US-backed and supported Saad Hariri political faction in Lebanon has been the driving force behind this destabilization on Syria’s border, serving as a logistical conduit and staging ground for radical Sunni militants in a premeditated sectarian division. Interestingly, a US intelligence professional interviewed by Hersh noted that:

 ”Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

Some may try to defend this engineered clash of civilizations by asserting that it was necessary to avert a rival and resurgent Iran and its Hezbollah proxy from dominating the region and perpetuating terrorism. One must question how the US bolstering radical Islamist groups isn’t perpetuating a resurgence of extremism that would increase terrorism across the region. The reality is not that the west wants to prevent a crisis but rather that it wants to engage in what is called “crisis management”. It wants to channel the violence and tension that it engineers as the “Swiss Army knife” with which it could carve out a Middle East and world order in its own image.

Some may claim that this is all conflated conspiracy theory where individual points are taken and connected on baseless ”guilt-by-association” to form a false paradigm. Putting to rest this particular criticism is the fact that Gary Gambill of the Neo-Con “Middle East Forum”, which regularly features Islamophobic propaganda perpetuating the talking-points of the fake “War on Terror”, wrote a disgustingly titled article, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists”. In his article, Gambill attempts to justify and defend US support for the Syrian rebels which he admits are made up of mostly radical Islamist Al Qaeda types. He claims that it is justifiable on the basis of undermining Iranian influence and curtailing the Syrian government’s “foreign policy adventurism” along with bringing Syria into the orbit of the petrodollar-tied conservative Sunni monarchies of the Gulf.

Gambill gives a frank insight into the depths of depravity perpetuating the western campaign against Syria. He attempts to mislead readers into believing that the rise of Islamists is coincidental and merely aligned to “US interests”, ignoring the work of Hersh pointing out the deliberate engineering of regional terrorism by the west. Tony Cartalucci’s analysis of this intellectually-insulting article by can be found in “Globalist Rag Gives “Two Cheers” for Terrorism” which notes that Gambill’s talking points are merely pandering to the lower and mid-level pawns of the imperialist establishment’s myriad of “intellectuals” and think-tanks. Considering the blood and toil spent supposedly fighting “the terrorists”, US financing of terrorism to achieve premeditated geopolitical ends is an insult to the blood of veterans shed fighting a monster of the west’s creation.

Let’s not forget Ed Husain’s piece published on the Council on Foreign Relations’ website in August 2012 titled “Al Qaeda’s Specter in Syria” which stated:

“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”

To make matters worse, the West is not simply financing extremism against Syria, Iran and its proxies but also in locations where western logistical and financial interests are geopolitically at stake. One particular case is against Pakistan where Chinese investments in the deep-sea port city of Gwadar in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan province a is being intentionally destabilized with an armed “Free Baluchistan insurgency” coupled with a simultaneous National Endowment for Democracy-backed network of NGOs. The technicalities of the region’s political dynamics notwithstanding, the west is exploiting and stoking tension to accomplish its objective of keeping down any alternative axis of power from developing in an inevitably mutli-polar world. Interestingly, many of the “Baluchi rebels” are on record radical Salafi and militant Sunni Taliban-types and though this is exposed and is a verifiable open secret, western aggression continues unabated.

 A Word of Advice to the Alternative Media

When will we learn to put aside the futile and artificial paradigms foisted upon us in the media and realize the complexity of the Middle East and how the west capitalizes on division to further its hegemony? The time of resistance is now or never. Resistance is our existence and our very identity against the wave of disinformation drowning the world; we should not let what we do not know stop us from speaking out against what we do know. That being said, I urge the alternative media to not simply resort to an “anti-West” approach and in the process end up accidentally absorbing the very toxic pieces of disinformation that are the byproducts of a politicized perception management.

An example of this is a recent episode on RT’s “CrossTalk” titled “Springless Arabs.” While well-intentioned and seemingly “critical” of the west, it ended up perpetuating various pieces of critical disinformation that bolster the western agenda. In particular, the myth that the west was somehow “taken aback” and “surprised” at the rise of Islamists (as opposed to having deliberately engineered their rise to target rival secular nationalist regimes) was one that is commonly perpetuated in the western media and echoed on this show. Another myth was echoed by Professor Joshua Landis and journalist Nabila Ramdani on the show was the bogus idea that somehow, the west is propping up “secular regimes” to keep “Muslims down” and in opposition to the Islamists as opposed to the fact that the secular regimes are the target of the west. Nabila Radmani even implied that Assad is being preferred by the west over the rebels because the west is somehow afraid of political “Islam”.

NO. The west deliberately engineered the Arab Spring. The west deliberately engineered the rise of Islamists to destabilize the Middle East and create a united front against Iran and ultimately undermine RUSSIA and CHINA.

Yes, the people in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere like Bahrain had every right to rise up and overthrow western-propped strongmen like Ben Ali and Mubarak but the political reality that succeeded them was one of western hegemony.

In the case of Syria and Libya, regardless of political nuances that were present, the west deliberately empowered radical elements and opposition parties to overthrow the Libyan state and attempt the Balkanization of Syria but to no avail. Anything beyond the paradigm documented here on the psyop of the Arab Spring is disinformation, intentional or not. Unless this pivotal event in global geopolitics is accurate conveyed to later generations, we run the risk of basing our analysis of subsequent and inter-related events on a mythology crafted by the west and for the west through its characteristic means of compartmentalization and spin.

Let us truly democratize our resistance and make it pragmatic by escaping the deadly chamber of the US’s “democracy theater” and realize that it is no hyperbole to note that there are puppet masters behind the scenes. Already, Americans are talking about the 2016 elections. Liberals want Hillary Clinton; conservatives are pondering everybody from Rand Paul to Marco Rubio and some even Jeb Bush.

To do so would be to spit in the face of the truth; no matter who wins the elections, if the corporate-financier interests behind the scenes crafting the agenda are not exposed, boycotted, and replaced, who we vote for doesn’t matter and all the public will receive is the same objective regurgitated through the appropriate partisan spin. To tip the balance of power in our favor, we must reach out to our communities with information like this and work to develop local, pragmatic, and technological solutions to everyday problems.

Sam Muhho is a student of history at Florida State College and an advocate of anti-imperialism and anti-globalism who has previously contributed to “Centre for Research on Globalization”. He can be reached at [email protected].

Ann Patterson and I were honoured to participate in the International Peace Pilgrimage to Syria via Iran, from 5th- 14th April, 2014. During an international delegation to Syria last year, we had both promised to return to Syria, and we also fulfilled a long-held intention to visit Iran. 

IRAN

We arrived in Iran on 5th April, and joined an international delegation of 14 fromLebanon, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, theUK and Germany.   We were invited by the Unified Union of Unified Ummah’s, who organized this peace and humanitarian mission via Iran.  Although Iranians are themselves suffering economic duress from some of the same nations oppressing Syria, they choose to show solidarity with Syria by sending large amounts of aid, purchased with the individual contributions of thousands of caring Iranian citizens.  

We spent four wonderful days in Iran, where we visited Tehran, (for the main meetings and conference), Isfahan (a centre for Iranian and Armenian Christians), and Qom (a religious centrefor Shia Muslims, where we met with Shia scholars).  There was also a major event at Tehran University, wherewe spoke to students, and children sang and presented toys, including their own, for Syrian children.  We also met with the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament and other political representatives.

I was deeply moved by the warmth and friendliness of the Iranian people, and was particularly impressed with the youth.  We asked some women students about their hope for the future of their country and they replied that they feared an attack by the US or NATO, but hoped otherwise.  We found this sad, as these young people are eager to travel and make friends in other countries, like most young people.

 The cities we visited were modern, and the Islamic architecture magnificent, as was the Armenian church.I would encourage people to visit Iran to meet its people and experience its beauty. Indeed I believe this is the only way to peace – people to people and country to country.  Foreign women are encouraged to wear the headscarf, out of respect for Iran’s tradition.

During our visit we also met with an Iranian friend, who shared her story of imprisonment and abuse, due to her human rights advocacy.  There is no doubt Iran needs to show greater respect for human rights, but many said that it is moving in the right direction. 

It was a great inspiration to visit Iran, and I look forward to visiting again in the future.  I would like to extend our deepest thanks for our Iranian friends for their wonderful hospitality during our visit to their country.

 FROM IRAN TO SYRIA

On 10th April, forty people, including 24 of the most highly respected and well-known cultural and religious Iranian leaders, together with 16 internationals, flew from Tehran to Damascus.  We brought medical aid (co-ordinated by Iranian Red Crescent) and also toys and other gifts, all collected with donations from people of Iran and the international visitors.

We were welcomed in Damascus byDr. Ahmed Khaddour, Mother Agnes Mariam, the Mussalaha organization, Dr. Declan Hayes, and Mohamed Quraish. I would take this opportunity to thank them for their central role in conceiving this project and bringing it to fruition.Other pilgrims joined us from Lebanon, the US, Canada, and other locations.

During the next four days our delegation visited the Great Mosque, Chapel of St. Paul, the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque,(in the words of the Iranian Imam, ‘a dream come true for Iranian pilgrims’).  It was a great privilege to join and pray with our Muslim and Christian friends.

Our delegation also travelled to Latakia and Homs. We saw the damage and spoke to Syrians who were unable to live in their homes and have suffered unspeakable crimes committed by rebels against them. Outside our hotel in Damascus we heard two large explosions that killed a soldier and three civilians in two cars.  They were the result of random mortar attacks that plague a city otherwise apparently under control of government forces. Even the wife of the ex-president was killed in her home by such an attack whilst she was cooking breakfast.

In Latakia,Governor Abdel-Qader told us that the Syrian people are facing with steadfastness an international plot against their country.  He pointed to thousands of Jabhat al-Nusrah fighters that swarmed across the Turkish border on March 21, 2014, with Turkish military support to attack Christian Armenian Syrians north of Latakia. Eyewitnesses reported that 50-90 residents were massacred, others taken into Turkey against their will, and a large number sent in flight to Latakia.We visited some of these refugees, who were staying in an Armenian Church.

We also visited refugees from Haram, near Idlib, Syria.  They told us how over a year ago hundreds of foreign fighters had crossed from the nearby Turkish border, kidnapped over 300 people and brutally killed another 150.Many had fled and were afraid to return to their area, seeking instead to live in as refugees in Latakia.They also reported that Jabhat al-Nusrah fighters received support from the Turkish military, and launched cross border artillery, tank fire and missile attacks against not only Syrian Army positions but at the civilian population of Latakia. (Some Syrians told us that Turkey has evolved into a major military operational base for a NATO backed invasion of Syria.) 

In Latakia we met with Lilly Martin, an American immigrant to Syria who has livedthere permanently for 24 years.  She told us that missiles are fired daily into Latakia from Turkish territory, upon the civilian community, and often killing many people on the streets of the city. She said that Syria was “neither in civil nor sectarian war” and that the crisis that began in March,2011 in Deraa, Syria, was not a popular uprising, or a revolution but rather a foreign funded and foreign planned attack on the Syrian government and its civilian population, for the express purpose of regime change.  When asked, “What do you see as the solution for Syria, and whom do you want to hear this message?” Martin replied, “The solution to the crisis in Syria will come when the United States of America will make a public political decision to stop aiding and supporting terrorism, and specifically the Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates who are killing Syrians daily.  I want President Obama to hear my message and the message of the Peace Pilgrimage to Syria, April 2014.”

In Homs, where the Musalaha movement began with Mother Agnes Mariam as one of its leaders, and where its members continue to work for peace and reconciliation, we met a group of ex-fighters who have accepted the Syrian government offer of amnesty (the 5th such) and stopped fighting.Some are now working with the Musalaha movement for a peaceful solution in Syria.   (Before leaving Damascus we learned over 100 rebels had agreed to give up their guns and that this is happening throughout Syria.)

We also met with six registered opposition parties.  They said that internal problems, such as marginalization of a big part of the Syrian society, was part of the conflict, but that Syrians could deal with these problems, without foreign intervention and internationalization of the crisis in order to implement foreign agendas.

During a reception, the religious leaders, including Grand Mufti Dr. Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun and His Beautitude, Patriarch Gregorios Laham, shared their message that Syria is united in its diversity, and their belief that Syrian people will be able to reach an understanding amongst themselves and resolve their differences in a national dialogue and without the use of guns.  They believe in a Syria that is created by Syrians and not by outside forces.  Like most Syrians, they are sure that if other countries will stop the flow of arms, fighters and other interference in Syria, the Syrian people will be able to reach an understanding amongst themselves and rebuild Syria together.  We were also informed that they all support the planned elections in spite of the fighting.

Our delegation left Syrianminspired by and hopeful for the Syrian people, for peace in their country, and we ask our countries and indeed all countries, to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Syria.

To all those who have lost loved ones, we extend our deepest sympathy.  We thank our hosts and the Syrian people for their kindness and hospitality and assure them of our solidarity as they rebuild their country, which has suffered so very much.

Mairead Maguire,  Nobel Peace Laureate,  Member of International Peace Delegation to Iran and Syria

April, 2014.

Websites:  www.syriasolidaritymovement.org

www.musalahasyria

www.peacepeople.com

23rd April, 2014

 

 

 

US Policy in Eurasia: Full-Spectrum Subversion

April 27th, 2014 by Mark Hackard

What do postmodern exhibitionists, Islamic holy warriors and marauding ultra-nationalists share in common? Seemingly little, aside from the fact that these bizarre bedfellows are the star assets of US policy in Eurasia.

And despite their use of very different tactics, they all are tasked with the same mission: to undermine Russia, the only great power consistently opposed to American hegemony.

The Sochi Diversion

Sochi Olympic ParkToday East and West contemplate the possibility of war over the fate of Ukraine, but the popular narrative was tailored for just such a standoff well in advance. Any attentive reader of Western press sources over recent months will have noticed that a dramatic upswing of negative Russia coverage began after Vladimir Putin thwarted Washington’s planned assault on Syria last summer. For just one example of the establishment’s dissemination of absurd Russophobia, look no further than the recent spy film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which features Kremlin-directed Orthodox Christian suicide bombers attacking Mammonism’s Holy of Holies, the New York Stock Exchange. As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics got underway, executives at the six US media giants plus their counterparts at the BBC and elsewhere had a green light to inflict maximum damage. Journalists were looking to fan the flames of any possible scandal at the games, but the stories didn’t add up to their hype.

A number of issues were used to paint Russia in an unflattering light, one at times approaching caricature. Was there some amount of corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency in constructing the new Olympic village in Sochi? Few Russians would doubt it, yet were American reporters really so insular as to expect nothing less than Switzerland? Exposure of bribery and fraud, lest we forget, featured as the epilogue to squeaky-clean Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Games. Meanwhile, threats by Islamic terrorists – the same Mujahedin operatives serving as proxies of US policy from Libya and Syria to Kosovo and Chechnya – against the Black Sea resort were amplified considerably with helpful leaks from “concerned” officials in Washington, to the point of convincing American Olympians’ families to stay home in fear[i]. But where were such warnings before two Chechens with connections to US intelligence allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon in April of 2013?

The media’s favorite manufactured controversy at the Olympics, moreover, had nothing at all to do with winter sports. Western audiences were led to believe that Russia’s laws banning the promotion of sodomy to children had cast a sinister pall over the games; in an expression of unfeigned displeasure, President Barack Obama skipped attendance (Killing Pashtun and Yemeni villagers with drone-launched Hellfire missiles is praiseworthy – upholding any measure of traditional morality is not[ii]). Try as they might, the press corps could find no evidence of “oppression” of homosexuals at Sochi, with the gay American skater Johnny Weir stating that he was treated “fantastically” by the Russian people during his stay. Even State Department-sponsored provocateurs from the cultural Marxist outfit Pussy Riot, famous for previous acts of obscenity and sacrilege, made a sorry attempt at spectacle before beating a hasty retreat. Unfazed, the Russian national team would go on to win first place for both gold medals and the overall count.

Flashpoint: Ukraine

Western vitriol over the Sochi Olympics represents one component of an information campaign, itself part of a wider US-led geopolitical offensive against Moscow. A variety of policy instruments are used for the objective of “containment,” from NATO expansion and power projection to sanctions against Russian companies. Yet by far the most economical means in the quest to weaken and demoralize Russia has been covert action, operations run under plausible deniability and comprising a broad range of activities. From the years of the Cold War, the Trans-Atlantic establishment has built an entire covert-action apparatus that encompasses not only intelligence services and special units of the military, but also nationalist paramilitaries, crime syndicates, transnational terror networks and a host of well-funded NGOs deeply intertwined with academia, major corporations and the media. In other words, an arsenal for full-spectrum subversion[iii].

Secret wars are waged just as intensively as the overt ones, and on multiple fronts. All the commotion over the Olympics amounted to a distraction from the central theater of action – Ukraine. As the curtain closed on Sochi, political unrest in Kiev climaxed with the overthrow of the undoubtedly corrupt but still legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych by pro-Western forces on February 22nd. The liberal-nationalist coalition that took power through mass protests and street fighting enjoyed extensive support – both public and clandestine – from the United States government. Timed for precisely the moment when Russia’s leadership was absorbed with showcasing its Olympics to the world, the coup’s main objective was to finally incorporate Ukraine as an EU/NATO satrapy.  The Washington-Wall Street agenda envisions stripping the country of its agricultural and industrial wealth and the deployment of US missile defense architecture just a day’s drive from Red Square.

What the events of early 2014 show is how quickly “soft power” can transition to the hard variant; subversion makes inroads for aggression. Washington spent two decades and $5 billion to make Ukraine safe for Chevron and Exxon-Mobil, but now it is reaping far more than it anticipated. Moscow has moved decisively to secure its vital interests in the region, leading to Crimea and the key naval base of Sevastopol being reunited with Russia after 60 years of estrangement. And the Russian-oriented south and east of Ukraine are also rising against an illegitimate regime resolved on virtually giving away strategic assets to multinationals – while sending ultra-nationalist militias to enforce the sales[iv]. From the port of Odessa to the Don River Basin, both Russians and Ukrainians share one thousand years of a unified Eastern Slavic civilization, an ideal that endures in blood and spirit; this reality will long outlive predatory IMF “structural adjustments” and the deformed chauvinism on offer from the current junta in Kiev.

After twenty years of eastward encroachment, the US push into Ukraine is the logical application of a policy to cripple Russia’s recovery and attain unchallenged dominance over the Eurasian heartland and its natural resources. Several consecutive rounds of NATO enlargement, the criminal bombardment of Serbia and subsequent overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, a string of CIA-orchestrated color revolutions in the former Soviet space and the 2008 Georgia War – far from isolated occurrences, these events show an ever-tightening ring of encirclement. For Kremlin strategists, the Maidan takeover in Kiev proved the point of no return; they’ve seen that the Pax Americana plays for keeps. With their very future on the line, the Russians are fighting back.

Targeted for destabilization, Russia has demonstrated the will to use force in order to protect its people and interests. Short of outright military action, it possesses formidable covert capabilities. The ruthless Cheka-KGB pioneered the practice of human intelligence, and we should remember that most of Ukrainian territory was once the arena of unrelenting partisan campaigns during the Second World War. Given Ukraine’s importance to Russia’s overall geopolitical position, it’s a safe assumption that the contemporary FSB and GRU have developed robust agent networks and operational infrastructure for just the sort of contingency that Moscow confronts today. At the same time, the West’s feverish search for spetsnaz troops in the country is wholly beside the point; resistance in the pro-Russian southeast is organic and growing.

Russia is perhaps the one nation preventing the United States from becoming the last empire, the progenitor of a tyrannical world-state; it is therefore positioned squarely on the front line of a sustained twilight struggle. Globalist oligarchs, the actual controllers of the liberal order, employ multiple vectors of subversion in their ferocious attack on faith, sovereignty and identity. Whether our telescreens depict jihadists wreaking destruction from the Levant to the Caucasus, cells of NGO “activists” waging psychological warfare through the propagation of deviance, or deranged Ukrainian nationalists bent on fratricide, we are assured that all are heroes marching in the grand cause of democracy. Russian Grand Prince St. Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263)

Though retaining effective deterrence is essential for any independent state, the ultimate strength of a Third Rome resurgent lies in its eternal tradition, that ancient Christianity once adopted by a rough-hewn Viking ruler from Kiev. When the Russian lands were threatened by ideological aggression from the West some eight centuries ago, soldier-prince Aleksandr Nevsky defended his people with spirit and sword:

From Adam to the flood, from the flood to the division of tongues, from the mixing of tongues to the beginning of Abraham, from Abraham until Israel’s passing through the Red Sea, from Israel’s Exodus to the death of Tsar David, from the beginning of Solomon’s reign to Tsar Augustus, from the beginning of Augustus to Christ’s Birth, from Christ’s birth unto the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, from His Resurrection to His Ascension into heaven, from His Ascension into heaven until the reign of Constantine, from the beginning of Constantine’s reign to the First Council, from the First Council until the Seventh – all of this we know well, and from you we accept no doctrine.

In our age Russia is accused by American officialdom of “betraying the New World Order” when the New World Order is betrayal itself, the very crowning of modern apostasy. Let the words of Aleksandr Nevsky be the answer of every free and noble people to the masters of subversion:

FROM YOU WE ACCEPT NO DOCTRINE.

 Notes

[i] Dmitro Yarosh, the leader of Ukraine’s fascist Right Sector, called upon the Chechen militant Doku Umarov to carry out terror attacks in Russia just weeks before the latter was killed in March by an FSB special unit. Ukrainian nationalists are known to have fought on the side of Chechen rebels during the 1990s and 2000s. One such figure, the now-deceased Oleksandr Muzychko, “Sashko Biliy,” tortured and murdered at least 20 captured Russian soldiers.

[ii] Coincidentally or otherwise, the top financial donors for the Human Rights Campaign, America’s premiere homosexual lobbying organization, are drone manufacturers from the military-industrial complex.

 [iii] Many are unaware that the CIA is far from a simple intelligence service; like Britain’s MI5 and MI6, its business has been social engineering both at home and abroad. Under the guidance of tax-exempt foundations, its programs have included funding and promoting not just jihadists and nationalist paramilitaries, but control of the media, feminism, the arts, the psychedelic revolution and narcotics trade. This is only a short rendering of cases of dialectics in action, giving one nonetheless a more definite sense of the aims of the “New World Order.”

[iv] Another odd partnership forged on the Maidan against Moscow has been that of Right Sector and Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, the head of the European Jewish Congress and a prominent patron of Zionist causes.

A U.S. government photograph of Operation Redwing’s Apache nuclear explosion in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands on July 9, 1956.

Even as the U.S. government threatens to attack Iran if it moves toward building one nuclear bomb, U.S. leaders – and those of other nuclear states  — have ignored their treaty obligation to work toward nuclear disarmament, a point made in lawsuits by the Marshall Islands.

On April 24, historic lawsuits were filed by the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) to meet their treaty obligations to disarm. Since 1970, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has obligated nations to negotiate in good faith for complete disarmament – a world without nuclear weapons.

Forty-four years later, with no negotiations in sight, the world has become a more dangerous place with stockpiles of more than 17,000 nuclear weapons. Four more nations now have nuclear weapons, and the original five continue to invest in and modernize their nuclear forces with expenditures expected to be in excess of $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

But one small nation has stood up to say, “enough is enough.” The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has taken action in the International Court of Justice and in the U.S. Federal District Court to compel the nine nuclear weapons nations to comply with their obligations, under the NPT and customary international law, and begin negotiations for nuclear zero.

The Marshallese people know first-hand about the destructive consequences of living in a world with nuclear weapons. From 1946-1958, the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear weapon tests in the Marshall Islands, the equivalent explosive power of one-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs detonated daily for 12 years. They seek no compensation through these legal actions. Rather they act for the seven billion of us who live on this planet, to end the nuclear weapon threat hanging over all humanity.

For the past year, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) has served as a consultant to the RMI in support of this courageous initiative to fulfill the world’s nuclear disarmament obligation. They understand, as do the people of the Marshall Islands, that the only way to keep our loved ones safe is to relentlessly strive for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

This is not a partisan issue, it is a survival issue. As a variety of world leaders have made clear:

“The nuclear club should be abolished and anybody who has a nuclear weapon is the enemy of mankind.”  — George Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State

“The failure of these countries to uphold important commitments and respect the law makes a more dangerous place. This is one of the most fundamental moral and legal questions of our time.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate

As a physician, I recognize nuclear weapons pose the greatest existential and public health threat to our world. There is no adequate response to nuclear war. Prevention is essential and abolition of these weapons is the only way to accomplish that goal.

Robert F. Dodge, M.D., serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,Beyond WarPhysicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, and writes for PeaceVoice.

Thomas Piketty:  “Rock Star Economist” Pushes Inequality to the Forefront of Economic Discussion

French economist Thomas Piketty’s book on inequality – Capital in the Twenty-First Century – has gonecompletely viral.

Mainstream economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz endorse it.   So does Economist magazine.  The Financial Times and New York magazine both call him a ”rock star economist”.

Slate notes:

While recently passing through D.C., he took a little time to meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the IMF. Even Morning Joe, never exactly on the leading edge of ideas journalism, ran a segment about CapitalTuesday morning.

Is Piketty right or wrong about inequality, its causes and the prescription for addressing inequality?

Piketty Is Right about Inequality

We noted in 2010 that extreme inequality helped cause the Great Depression … and the 2008 financial crisis.  We noted in 2011 that inequality helped cause the fall of the Roman Empire.

In a few short years, mainstream economists have gone from assuming that inequality doesn’t matter, to realizing that runaway inequality cripples the economy.

Pikettey correctly notes that inequality is now the worst in world history … and will only get worse.

Asset Prices Rise Faster than Wages

Piketty argues that the main cause for inequality is that the rate of return on capital – land, natural resources, stocks, bonds and other assets – is far higher than the growth rate of the economy:

Because the growth rate is much slower than the rate of profit from holding capital assets, the asset-holders’ wealth increases much faster than the wealth of workers. In other words, working stiffs can’t keep up with those who make their money from investing in (and seeking rent from) land, stocks, bonds and other assets.

Piketty – a rigorous data researcher – is probably right that this is one of the main causes of inequality.

Bad Government and Central Bank Policy Is the Man Cause of Runaway Inequality

But Piketty underplays the fact that bad government and central bank policy have greatly widened the gap between growth rate. After all, Fed chairman Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner and chief economist Summer’s entire strategy was to artificially prop up asset prices – including the stock market– and see thisthisthis and this.

At the same time, government policy has harmed the general economycaused unemployment and hurt the average American.

Indeed, real wages have actually plummeted since 1969, and most of the new jobs that have been created are part times jobs with no benefit.

In other words, bad government and central bank policy have made the rate of return on capital much higher … but lowered wages.  As such, bad policy is the core cause of the recent increase in inequality.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said in 2009 that the government’s toxic asset plan – a scheme to inflate the value of assets held by banks – “amounts to robbery of the American people”.

Bailouts Feather the Nests of the Fatcats, While Doing Nothing for the Average American

The American government’s top official in charge of the bank bailouts writes:

Americans should lose faith in their government. They should deplore the captured politicians and regulators who distributed tax dollars to the banks without insisting that they be accountable. The American people should be revolted by a financial system that rewards failure and protects those who drove it to the point of collapse and will undoubtedly do so again.

Only with this appropriate and justified rage can we hope for the type of reform that will one day break our system free from the corrupting grasp of the megabanks.

What’s he talking about?

Well, the Fed threw money at “several billionaires and tens of multi-millionaires”, including billionaire businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, billionaire Michael Dell of Dell computer, billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, billionaire private equity honcho J. Christopher Flowers, and the wife of Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack

And the bank bailouts weren’t a one-time thing in 2008.  The government has been – continuously and massively – been bailout out the big banks for the last 6 years.

Indeed, virtually all of the banks profits comes from government bailouts.  A top banking analyst estimates that subsidies to the giant banks exceeds $780 billion dollars each year.

A study of 124 banking crises by the International Monetary Fund found that bailing out banks which are only pretending to be solvent  – like most of the big American banks – harms the economy.  So growth is slowed, while the richest fatcat bankers rake in the dough.

Indeed, the bailout money is just going to line the pockets of the wealthy, instead of helping to stabilize the economy or even the companies receiving the bailouts:

  • A lot of the bailout money is going to the failing companies’ shareholders
  • Indeed, a leading progressive economist says that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”

(Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy. They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy.

If we stop bailing out the Wall Street welfare queens, the big banks would focus more on traditional lending and less on speculative casino gambling. Indeed, if we break up the big banks, it will increase the ability of smaller banks to make loans to Main Street, which will level the playing field.

We’re all for forcibly breaking them up. But we don’t even have to use government power to break up the banks … the big banks would fail on their own if the government just stopped bailing them out.)

QE: the Greatest Wealth Transfer in History

It’s been known for some time that quantitative easing (QE) increases inequality (and see this and this.)  Many economists have said that QE quantitative easing benefits the rich, and hurts the little guy.   3 academic studies – and the architect of Japan’s quantitative easing program – all say that QE isn’t helping the American economy.

The Federal Reserve official responsible for implementing $1.25 trillion of quantitative easing has confirmed that QE is just a massive bailout for the rich:

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

***

Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The final results confirmed that, while there had been only trivial relief for Main Street, the U.S. central bank’s bond purchases had been an absolute coup for Wall Street. The banks hadn’t just benefited from the lower cost of making loans. They’d also enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.

You’d think the Fed would have finally stopped to question the wisdom of QE. Think again. Only a few months later—after a 14% drop in the U.S. stock market and renewed weakening in the banking sector—the Fed announced a new round of bond buying: QE2. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, immediately called the decision “clueless.”

That was when I realized the Fed had lost any remaining ability to think independently from Wall Street.

Even the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said that Fed’s Fisher said that “QE was a massive gift intended to boost wealth.”

Billionaires have admitted that they are the beneficiaries of QE. For example, billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller said the following about QE:

This is fantastic for every rich person,” he said Thursday, a day after the Fed’s stunning decision to delay tightening its monetary policy. “This is the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever.

“Who owns assets—the rich, the billionaires. You think Warren Buffett hates this stuff? You think I hate this stuff? I had a very good day yesterday.”

Druckenmiller, whose net worth is estimated at more than $2 billion, said that the implication of the Fed’s policy is that the rich will spend their wealth and create jobs—essentially betting on “trickle-down economics.”

“I mean, maybe this trickle-down monetary policy that gives money to billionaires and hopefully we go spend it is going to work,” he said. “But it hasn’t worked for five years.”

And Donald Trump said:

“People like me will benefit from this.”

Economics professor Randall Wray writes:

Thieves … took over the whole economy and the political system lock, stock, and barrel. They didn’t just blow up finance, they oversaw the swiftest transfer of wealth to the very top the world has ever seen.

Economics professor Michael Hudson says that the big banks are trying to make us all serfs.

Economics professor Steve Keen says:

“This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people.

Lawlessness Is a Core Cause of Inequality

Joe Stiglitz said:

Inequality is not inevitable. It is not … like the weather, something that just happens to us. It is not the result of the laws of nature or the laws of economics. Rather, it is something that we create, by our policies, by what we do.

We created this inequality—chose it, really—with [bad] laws …

Conservative Ron Paul points out that the system is rigged for the rich and against the poor and the middle class:

We asked the top regulator and prosecutor during the S&L crisis, who obtained over 1,000 felony convictions for major white collar fraud – professor of law and economics, Bill Black – what are the core causes of inequality. Professor Black told Washington’s Blog:

 

The industry that is the largest single driver of surging income inequality is finance. Finance dramatically increases inequality through three primary means. The obvious means is the massive flow of profits out of the productive sector and into finance, particularly compensation for finance elites. We know that a very large amount of that compensation is the product of the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud. They have been able to lead the fraud epidemics with absolute impunity. No Wall Street elite officer who led the frauds that caused the crisis has ever been prosecuted. [Background.] There are virtually no cases of “claw backs” from the C-suite perpetrators’ compensation even when it is now inescapable that the “income” they reported to “earn” their bonuses were lies and they were actually creating horrific losses.

The second means is that the three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud in history caused our financial crisis and hyper-inflated the bubble. This too was a “sure thing” because of the fraud “recipe.” The household sector’s wealth loss was over $11 trillion. Over 10 million Americans lost their jobs. The productivity loss is estimated at over $21 trillion. Each of these actions caused a vast loss of wealth suffered disproportionately by the 99%.

Third, finance, even absent fraud, is a major cause of increasing inequality. It is the means of tax evasion, which is (in $ terms) a crime that is all about the 1%, hedge funds, and large corporations. It is also the means, and the excuse, for outsourcing American jobs in the productive sector and extorting domestic tax giveaways by putting U.S. states and cities in competition to induce them to locate in a particular city.

In the savings and loan debacle we sought to remove all the proceeds of fraud from the guilty elites.

Indeed, the big banks continue to manipulate every market and commit crime after crime and … andprofit handsomely from it, while law-abiding citizens slide further and further behind.

Yet Obama is prosecuting fewer financial crimes than Bush, or his father, or Ronald Reagan.  Indeed, the government has actively covered up for – and encouraged – criminal fraud.

Indeed, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.

Holding the little guy to the letter of the law – while letting the fatcats run around immune to the law - is making inequality much worse.

Black points out that we should claw back ill-gotten gains from criminals under well-established fraud principles.  Specifically, the government could use existing laws to force ill-gotten gains to be disgorged(see this and this) and fraudulent transfers to be voided.

Economist Michael Hudson also criticizes Piketty for failing to address crime and fraud as core causes of inequality:

The other thing that is left out of the income tax statistics is of course how fortunes are really made, and that’s crime and fraud. The good thing about Piketty is he points out, why is it that French novelists and English novelists tell you much more about wealth than economics? And he points out that in the 19th century novels by Jane Austen and Balzac, the way to make a fortune is to marry into it. That’s true, but what Balzac also said is that behind every fortune is a great theft.

War Makes Us Poor … But it Makes Fatcats Richer Quicker

War makes the bankers and executives in defense companies rich.

But it makes the rest of us poor.

As such, war is a major cause of inequality.

Over-Financialization

When a country’s finance sector becomes too large finance, inequality rises. As Wikipedia notes:

[Economics professor] Jamie Galbraith argues that countries with larger financial sectors have greater inequality, and the link is not an accident.

Government policy has been encouraging the growth of the financial sector for decades:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2DxXTVc4xnc/USfwvMBlO-I/AAAAAAAAB_Y/a1dyx_5U5Hs/s1600/financial+and+nonfinancial+sectors+-+compensation+Les+Leopold.jpg

And see this.

Economist Steve Keen has also shown that “a sustainable level of bank profits appears to be about 1% of GDP”, and that higher bank profits leads to a ponzi economy and a depression.

The government is largely responsible for this over-financialization. For example, MIT economics professor and former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson points out that the government created the giant banks, and they were not the product of free market competition.

Money Being Sucked Out of the U.S. Economy … But Big Bucks Are Being Made Abroad

Part of the widening gap is due to the fact that most American companies’ profits are driven by foreign sales and foreign workers. As AP noted in 2010:

Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

***

The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8% last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4% of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.

But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9%, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.

“There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott.

***

Many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.

Government policy has accelerated the growing inequality. It has encouraged American companies to move their facilities, resources and paychecks abroad. And some of the biggest companies in America have a negative tax rate … that is, not only do they pay no taxes, but they actually get tax refunds.

(And a large percentage of the bailouts actually went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did a huge portion of the money from quantitative easing. More here and here.)

Conclusion: Piketty’s a Little Rickety On Government Stupidity

The bottom line is that Piketty has done a great job of documenting the extent of inequality, and some of its causes.  But he misses the degree to which bad government and central bank policy is responsible.

Indian finance minister P.Chidambaram once claimed that his government’s policies were pro growth and pro equity (1). He talked of alleviating poverty in India ‘in our lifetime’ by implementing the type of development policies currently being pursued. The minister envisages 85 percent of India’s population eventually living in well-planned cities with proper access to water, health, electricity, education, etc. Based on today’s population size, which is set to continue to rise, that would mean at least 600 million moving to cities. He stated that urbanisation constitutes ‘natural progress’.

The type of urbanisation being pursued in India is not ‘natural’, however, nor does it represent ‘progress’. It has thus far been largely based on unconstitutional land takeovers, the trampling of democratic rights, increasing and unsustainable resource usage and air and water pollution. But for Chidambaram and other supporters of cronyism, cartels and the manipulation of markets (2,3,4), which all go under the guise of economic ‘neo-liberalism’, such processes increase the amount of money flowing around the economy, which therefore increases the GDP figure and thus represent progress. In this respect, chopping down an ancient forest and selling the timber represents progress, and removing people’s access to traditional lands by handing them to corporations to somehow make cash profits from is also positive.

This warped notion of development has seen the poverty alleviation rate in India remain around the same as it was back in 1991 or even in pre-independence India (0.8 percent) (5), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percents of the population has doubled during this period. According to the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development, this doubling of income inequality has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies (6).

This is the type of development being forced through by Indian politicians on behalf of national and international elite interests via the World Bank, WTO, and the G8, etc, and it is based on the idea that shifting people from agriculture to what are a number of already overburdened, filthy, polluted mega-cities to work in factories, clean the floors of a shopping mall or work as a security guard improves the human condition; or, more realistically, to live in slum-like conditions and be unemployed or underemployed, given that hundreds of millions are to be booted from the land to achieve Chidambaram’s 85 percent urbanisation figure.

Urbanisation is being forced through by what Vandana Shiva says is the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history and involves one of the biggest illegal land grabs since Columbus, according to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry and chaired by the then minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

In the West, urbanisation was not ‘natural’ and involved the unforeseen outcomes of conflicts and struggles between serfs, lords, peasants, landowners, the emerging bourgousie and class of industrialists and the state. The outcomes of these struggles resulted in different routes to modernity and levels of urbanisation (7,8).

Similar struggles are now taking place in India. The naxalites and Maoists in India are referred to by the dominant class as left wing extremists who are exploiting the poor. How easy it is cast legitimate protesters together and create an ‘enemy within’. How easy it is to ignore the state-corporate extremism across the world that results in the central state abdicating its responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street-backed ‘structural adjustment’ pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows, massive profits justified on the basis of ‘investment risk’ and unaccountable cartels which aim to maximise profit by beating down labour costs and grabbing resources at the cheapest possible costs. That’s the real nature of extremism. It is the type of extremism that is regarded as anything but by the mainstream media.

Powerful corporations are spearheading the agenda for ‘development’ in India and have been handed the rights to this process via secretive Memorandums of Understanding. The full military backing of the state is on hand to forcibly evict peoples from their land in order to fuel a wholly unsustainable model of development that strips the environment bare and ultimately negatively impacts the climate and ecology.

Moreover, due to the restructuring of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness, over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997. And yet the corporate-controlled type of agriculture being imposed only leads to bad food, bad soil, bad or no water, bad health and bad or falling yields (9,10,11,12). Unconstitutional land grabs for SEZs, resource extraction, nuclear plants and other projects have additionally forced many others from the land.

With GDP growth slowing and automation replacing human labour the world over in order to decrease labour costs and boost profit, just where are the jobs going to come from to cater for India’s increasing population, never mind hundreds of millions of former agricultural workers?

To push through the type of progress and development Chidambaram wants, it is clear that farmers represent a ‘problem’ to be removed from the land and a problem to be dealt with once removed. Food producers, the genuine wealth producers of a nation, only became a problem when Western agribusiness was given the green light to take power away from farmers and uproot traditional agriculture in India and recast it in its own profiteering, corporate-controlled image. This is who is really setting the ‘development’ agenda. The processes involved constitute the ‘progress’ and ‘natural’ move towards depopulating rural areas that Chidambaram spoke of.

If it can’t be done via mass suicide and making it economically non-viable to continue farming as a result of world trade policies, ‘free’ trade agreements and ‘structurally adjusting’ (plundering) traditional agricultural practices and economies to ultimately ensure petro-chemical farming (and thus oil and the US dollar (13) remains king, let tens of thousands of militia into the tribal areas to displace hundreds of thousands, place 50,000 in camps and carry out rapes and various human rights abuses (14,15).

If anyone perceives that this ‘natural progress’ is not based on acquiescing to foreign corporations, they should take a look at the current corporate-driven, undemocratic free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India (16,17,18).It all adds up to powerful trans-national corporations trying to by-pass legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. Kavaljit Singh of the Madhyam research institute argues that we could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments; this is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations (19). Such free trade agreements cement the corporate ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers even further via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to wholly dictate national policies and legislation.

Of course, the links between the Monsanto/Syngenta/Walmart-backed Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the US sanctioning and backing of the opening up of India’s nuclear sector to foreign interests (on the back of a cash for votes scandal in parliament (20)) have already shown what the models of ‘development’ being pushed onto people really entails in terms of the erosion of democracy and the powerful corporate interests that really benefit (21,22).

Industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and seeds and infrastructure support for agriculture are being sold off. And how is this all justified? By the amount of cash sloshing around the formal economy (notwithstanding the massive amounts of money being siphoned off via corrupt deals and hidden from public gaze) and the reference to GDP growth – a single, warped, narrow definition of ‘development’ – a notion of development hijacked by economists and their secular theology which masquerades as economic ‘science’.

Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade? At best, it shows a lack of foresight. At worst, it displays complete subservience to elite interests at home and abroad.

Finally, if anyone perceives the type of ‘development for all’ being sold to the masses is actually possible in the first instance, they should note that ‘developing’ nations account for more than 80 percent of world population, but consume only about a third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians (23).

The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and if you scale this to 46 years then humans have been here for just four hours. The Industrial Revolution began just one minute ago, and in that time, 50% of the Earth’s forests have been destroyed (24). Forests are just part of the problem. We are using up oil, water and other resources much faster than they can ever be regenerated. We have also poisoned the rivers, destroyed natural habitats, driven some wildlife species to extinction and altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere – among many other things.

Levels of consumption were unsustainable, long before India and other countries began striving to emulate Western levels and high energy use. The current model of development is based on a totally misguided dream; or, to put it another way, a deceitful ideology that attempts to justify and sell a system that is designed to fail the majority of the global population and benefit the relative few (25).

Capitalism has for a long time succeeded in making most people blind to the chains that bind and which make them immune to the falsehoods that underpin the system. This wasteful, high-energy system is tied to what ultimately constitutes the plundering of peoples and the planet by powerful transnational corporations. And, as we see all around us, the outcome is endless conflicts over fewer and fewer resources. Such conflicts are likely to gather pace as wars are not only fought to grab resources, but are also manufactured in order to destroy states from within by fomenting civil wars and thus destabilize economies and reduce demand for resources (26). The outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda being forwarded by rich eugenicists who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’: those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation. The super rich who currently run the world regard most of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with’ (27).

Finally, it is worth considering that the US as a nation and its oligarchs in particular achieved the level of affluence that they did more by way of ‘gansterism’, not by ‘freedom and democracy’ or ‘free market’ economics as that nation’s leaders like to tell the world. That much was admitted by the late Major General Smedley Butler, the US’s most decorated marine: he listed various corporations on whose behalf he fought for during his various military campaigns (28). Of course, little has changed since Smedley wrote about his experiences in 1935.

Maybe Smedley’s description of this aspect of the US’s route to ‘development’ are what certain Indian politicians really respect, as the strong (and soft) arm of the state works to secure access to the nations resources for powerful corporations.

Notes

1) http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main39.asp?filename=Ne310508cover_story.asp

2) http://www.countercurrents.org/wankhede250913.htm

3) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ios-investigation-the-great-british-energy-ripoff-8219565.html

4)http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/big-banks-manipulated-gold-and-silver-markets.html

5) http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-is-prospering-indians-arent-aiyar/158081-60-120.html

6) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16064321

7) Robert Brenner (1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe”.Past and Present 70

8) Barrington Moore (1993) [First published 1966]. Social origins of dictatorship and democracy: lord and peasant in the making of the modern world (with a new foreword by Edward Friedman and James C. Scott ed.). Boston: Beacon Press.

9) http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/bt-cotton-losing-steam-productivity-at-5-yr-low-113020601016_1.html

10) http://www.deccanherald.com/content/309654/punjab-transformation-food-bowl-cancer.html

11) http://colintodhunter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-future-is-local-future-is-organic.html

12) http://www.globalresearch.ca/india-genetically-modified-seeds-agricultural-productivity-and-political-fraud/5328227

13) http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/17-05-2013/124594-dollar_crisis-0/

14) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salwa_Judum

15) http://www.infochangeindia.org/human-rights/no-mans-land/caught-between-the-maoists-and-the-salwa-judum.html

16) http://corporateeurope.org/coverage/india-eu-fta-talks-non-transparent

17) http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/05/court-ruling-over-privileged-access-business-eu-india-free-trade-talks

18) http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-eu-india-free-trade-agreement-india-up-for-sale-to-western-corporate-capital/5332214

19) http://www.globalresearch.ca/free-trade-agreements-the-bypassing-of-democracy-to-institute-economic-plunder/5354197

20) http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ne020411Coverstory.asp

21) http://www.guernicamag.com/features/we-call-this-progress/

22) http://www.democracynow.org/2006/12/13/vandana_shiva_on_farmer_suicides_the

23) http://www.mindfully.org/Sustainability/Americans-Consume-24percent.htm)

24) http://www.amoils.com/treatment/health-guide/why-living-naturally-is-the-way-of-the-future.html

 25) http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/925376ca-3d1d-11e1-8129-00144feabdc0.html

 26) http://www.countercurrents.org/gibbins220414.htm

 27) http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetic-engineering-eugenics-and-the-ideology-of-the-rich/5329025

 28) http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

 

Video interview:

In this exclusive video interview on behalf of Matterhorn Asset Management / GoldSwitzerland Lars Schall talks with William S. Kaye, the Senior Managing Director of the Pacific Alliance Group of Companies in Hong Kong.

They speak about the motive, the means and the opportunities to suppress the gold price.

Kaye says the motive is simple as a free-market price of gold would essentially cast the interventions for what they are and stabilize policy measures taken by Central banks.

However, he explains and predicts that the price suppression scheme can’t go on forever and that in the ‘end game’ the 100 fold paper gold market must eventually be settled with physical gold and that it will require an extremely high price of gold to entice owners of physical gold outside the banking system to be willing to meet that massive anticipated demand.

-

 About William S. Kaye

William Kaye is the Founding Partner, Chief Investment Officer, Senior Managing Director and Vice Chairman at The Pacific Alliance Group of Companies based in Hong Kong. He oversees all portfolio and direct equity management activities of the group’s various investment efforts. He is the Managing Partner of the Greater Asian Hedge Fund and a predecessor of Asian Hedge Fund, L.P. Prior to this, he was a Founder and Director at ASIMCO in 1992 to 1998, where he pioneered the investment of approximately $380 million in China. Mr. Kaye orchestrated the profitable sale of Pacific Alliance Group’s stake to GE Pension Trust in 1998.


Polish media outlet Nie has published a bombshell account about direct Polish involvement in Ukraine’s destabilization. Its source alleges that the Polish Foreign Ministry had invited Ukrainian militants into the country and trained them outside of Warsaw in September 2013. Considering the destructive actions and fatalities they would later be responsible for during the EuroMaidan riots, such a connection would directly link Warsaw to the pandemonium. It would also implicate Poland in being the “Slavic Turkey” of NATO in Eastern Europe. The impact of Nie’s reporting can also affect domestic Polish politics, as it would prove that the political elite misled members of Parliament, which could later have direct political repercussions for Tusk’s “Civil Platform”. This scandal serves to highlight that Poland is starting to emulate the methods of its invited neo-colonial headmaster, the US, thereby deepening the puppet-master relationship between Warsaw and Washington.

According to the report, 86 Euromaidan militants, some of whom appeared to be over 40 years old, came to Poland under the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The pretext for plausible deniability was that they were in the country to promote cooperation between the Warsaw University of Technology and the National Technical University in Kiev. In reality, however, these individuals were whisked away to Legionowo, a town on the outskirts of Warsaw. There, at the police training center, they spent four weeks engaged in a regiment of destabilization training.

Polish police academy “students” beating Berkut officer on Euromaidan in Kiev, January 2014.

The source goes on to state that pictures of the participants show them clothed in Nazi regalia and tattoos, with their Polish military instructors lacking any outward identification as such. At the facility, militants learned the following techniques: crowd management; target identification; tactics; leadership; behavioural management under stressful conditions; protection against police gasses; building barricades; and importantly, they engaged in shooting classes, which incidentally included sniper rifles. Quite clearly, the “students” who came to Warsaw were there for war, not academic work, and their training there resulted in the christening of Bandera’s spiritual descendants.

These revelations underline how the EuroMaidan militants had prior Western-backed training, and that Poland was chosen as the location for their instruction. Through its direct involvement and support in training the radicals, Poland is quickly living up to its reputation as NATO’s most important frontline state. When the Polish Sejm voted in early December, 2013 to show its “full solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine, who with great determination show the world their desire to ensure their country’s full membership in the EU”, little did they know that the violent vanguard which had just days before thrown Molotov cocktails and attacked police officers likely acquired their tactics less than an hour’s drive from where they casted their vote. Most members of parliament likely did not have a clue that their government was training those violent elements and would be shocked to know that this was the case.

The ultimate irony is that Poland is training fighters who honor a man that glorified in ethnically cleansing Poles from Ukraine in the most horrendous ways imaginable during World War II. For all of its blaring patriotism and nationalist sentiment, the Polish government is actually working against its long-term interests by backing such radical anti-Polish elements right next door.

This “Bandera Brinksmanship” reminds one of the US’ foreign policy mentality of allying with and building dangerous radical forces that may later come back to harm them (i.e. Al Qaeda in the Soviet’s Afghan conflict and the Libyan and Syrian-based international jihadis of today). Through its greedy and nationalistically minded cooperation with the US in seeking to de-facto resurrect the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Poland has abandoned its European principles and blindly set itself on becoming America’s bulldog in Eastern Europe.

Andrew Korybko is the American Master’s Degree student at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO).

Marchenko Vladimir Romanovich, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, from eastern Ukraine issued the following statement:

“I demand an immediate end to the killing of my countrymen in the Donbass region instrumented under a punitive operation led by armed Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

I was born and raised in Slavyansk. In this city my mother and father are buried. My relatives live in Kramatorsk in Donetsk and Mariupol.

Donbass workers diligently worked for the good of the [Ukrainian] motherland. Unlike the Galician fascists, my [Ukrainian] fellow countrymen fought the Nazis [during World War II] instead of serving them.

Donbass workers as the entire South-East of Ukraine are at the forefront of recovery from chaos created by the junta for Ukraine [the Kiev coalition government].

We are not separatists. We are a proud working people who will not kneel before [Nazi] Bandera, we will not betray our Russian brothers.

We only want honest work, life with dignity without humiliation and insults, with the respect for our historical roots and our spiritual and cultural values.

We will never accept [Neo-Nazi] “Banderization” and Euro-colonization of Ukraine!

We will not be cannon fodder in the U.S. war against Russia!

In accordance with the will of the people of the whole country [Ukraine] expressed in the referendum in 1991, we want to be in union with Russia and Belarus. This is the essence of our demands.

But the [Kiev] junta is hunting us, it has proclaimed a policy of genocide

- “Pro-Russians on knives”, “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, “Glory to the nation -  death of the enemy”.

Yes, we do not believe in Bandera’s Ukraine, Nazi henchmen and criminals.

Yes, that’s our stance.

It is our right to defend our legitimate interests, our lives and security from the declared genocide and oppression.

Today the junta has declared war against us with the  unconstitutional use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

I appeal to the soldiers and officers of Ukraine: Do not follow criminal orders.

Do not shoot my countrymen! Remember the Nuremberg Trials that convicted the leaders of Nazi Germany who gave the unlawful orders and those who carried them.

I appeal to the U.S. president: President Obama, stop your Banderites! Don’t disgrace the Nobel Peace Prize!”

For the murder of my countrymen, you will be held responsible!  [emphasis added]

[see march of Neo-Nazi parties in honor of Ukraine World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera]

Translated from the Russian below

http://vitrenko.org

Я, Марченко Владимир Романович, народный депутат Украины І, ІІ и ІІІ созывов требую немедленно прекратить убийство моих земляков в Донбассе, начатое карательной операцией украинских неонацистов с противозаконным использованием армии.

Я родился и вырос в Славянске. В этом городе похоронены мои мать и отец.

Мои родственники живут и в Краматорске, и в Донецке, и в Мариуполе.

Трудовой Донбасс старательно трудился во имя блага Родины. В отличие от галицийских фашистов, мои земляки с оружием в руках воевали с гитлеровцами, а не прислуживали им.

Трудовой Донбасс, как и весь Юго-Восток Украины, был на передовой по восстановлению Украины из разрухи. Никаких сепаратистов там не было и нет.

Есть гордый трудовой народ, который не станет на колени перед бандеровцами, не предаст русского брата и хочет одного – честно работать, достойно жить без унижений и оскорблений, с почитанием своих исторических корней, своих духовных и культурных ценностей. Мы никогда не примем бандеризацию и евроколонизацию! Мы не будем пушечным мясом в войне США против России!

Мы в соответствии с волеизъявлением народа всей Украины, высказанной на референдумах 1991 года, хотим быть в союзе с Россией и Белоруссией.

В этом суть наших требований. Но, на нас объявили охоту, провозгласили политику геноцида -

“Москалей на ножи”, “Украина для украинцев”, “Слава нации – смерть врагам!”.

Да, мы не считаем бандеровцев украинцами, они гитлеровские пособники, преступники.

И в этом за нами правда.

Как и наше право защищать свои законные интересы, свою жизнь и безопасность от объявленного геноцида, угнетения. Сегодня против нас объявлена война с неконституционным использованием Вооруженных сил Украины. Я обращаюсь к солдатам и офицерам Украины:

“Не выполняйте преступных приказов. Не стреляйте в моих соотечественников! Помните, Нюрнбергский Суд Народов судил и руководителей нацистской Германии, отдававших преступные приказы и тех кто их выполнял”.

Я обращаюсь к президенту США:

“Президент Обама, останови своих бандеровцев, не позорь свой статус лауреата Нобелевской премии мира!”

За убийство моих земляков – ответите!

People’s mayor of Slavyansk tells about detention of the OSCE monitors: all of them turned out be NATO military intelligence officers accompanied by two officers of the Ukrainian Army High Command.

It was discovered that they were busy collecting and marking locations of all the checkpoints and defense positions of Slavyansk’s self-defense. They also carried explosive cartridges and ammunition.

original Russian

Crisis actors, smoke bombs, fake blood and literal “smoke and mirrors” were all part of what was the false flag terrorist attack called the Boston Marathon Bombing. To anyone who saw the pictures and footage of fake blood, make- up artists and smiling “victims”. It was obvious that something was not right. For those involved in filmmaking and in the know the discrepancies were obvious. We spoke to famous Hollywood filmmaker, producer and director Nathan Folks about why he is certain the Boston Marathon Bombing was a false flag terrorist attack.

Hollywood producer claims Boston bombing was a "false flag attack"

Hello, this is John Robles. I’m speaking with Mr. Nathan Folks, he is a well known US based film and TV director and producer.

Robles: Hello Sir.

Folks: Hi, how are you?

Robles: I’m very well. How are you?

Folks: Very good.

Robles: That’s nice to hear especially after everything you have been through. Now your story is going way-back. It started with the Boston Bombing. If you can tell our listeners a little bit about what you know about that “event” and what has happened to you since.

Folks: Back in 2013 I was watching the events unfold and as a producer, you can pinpoint very specific things that didn’t seem right. And I started to realize that we are watching yet another false flag event unfold. And as I started putting the pieces together I realized that we are up against an environment that is trying to create a fear factor in the media. And the fear factor is to keep us scared and to keep us in fear as long as they can.

And the events that I know to be true, including the “Boston hero” who was a person in my last film, “The prosecution of an American president” and his wife, I started to recognize that this was not an event that was at all 100% true.

Robles: What about this Boston hero? What role did he play?

Folks: He is actually a father that had lost a son in the Iraq War and he was part of our film and a part of the movement, you know, of exposing the truth about Iraq and talking about the things that the Bush Administration did during those years of his administration.

And I was blown away at the fact that he was essentially being used to act in this fake environment, this hyper-reality scene of a terrorism that never happened.

Robles: Now, can you tell us three things here if you could. You used the term “Hyper-Reality” what is that and how is it used? And what is a “Crisis Actor”? Many people may still not know what that is. And if you could, detail for the listeners, some of the things that you saw as far as screens being put up as for the false stages being set up where things were filmed and stuff?

Folks: I will start up by saying that if there was an injury or a death in the event that unfolded my heart goes out to those families. But from the people that I know that were involved, from the people that were in the scenes that we call Hyper-Reality Filmmaking, which is a very common thing you do in the military.

It’s where filmmakers, or people, create a hyper-reality scene so that the military can be well-adjusted to a real scene in Iraq or any other kind of war zone.

This is where these people are actually able to see and feel and help what they think is a real injured person whereas it is really just an amputee that is playing as a crisis actor, and (in this case) a crisis actor being someone that had lost their limbs but a makeup artist has been able to re-enact a bloody scene with “no leg blown off” and this hyper reality scene, so that when we are now on the ground, they actually see and feel like they are in a war zone.

And I’m watching this unfold on the streets of Boston and thinking, one: how were they able to get away with that? And two: watching the edits and the supposedly live television broadcasting we were seeing, it wasn’t “live” at all, it was edited.

Robles: How you know? What did you see? What were the clues you saw?

Folks: Well, there were a lot of things. In live footage you don’t see cuts. You know, cutting from one scene to another and in live footage you don’t have, especially now, this wasn’t in 2013 HD technology, this was in old technology from 2002, because it is grainer and you can’t see the edits as well.

As a filmmaker that what I would do if I was trying to reenact something like that and…

Robles: I’m sorry. Can you be more specific? I didn’t quite follow that. So it was made using old technology?

Folks: It’s using an older technology that is grainer. So you can’t see the very true HD quality and you are watching… If you look back at any old footage from early 2000 or even the 1990s, it is very grainy and when you are watching it on a new technology television with latest plasma and HD and any kind of new technology you can see that it was edited.

Robles: So television stations at that time, they were using modern technology?

Folks: They were definitely using modern technology last year. It’s just when you see pictures from 2013 that were in HD and then you look at clips and cuts of the footage from television, it is very obvious that it was used on purpose.

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about some of the scenes. I’m sure a lot of people who were interested in what really happened, they saw some of the pictures, for example: the amputee with sticks, apparently sticking out of his legs or something, and blood that looked like paint, I mean, I have seen blood, I worked in a hospital, I know what blood looks like, it’s dark, it’s brownish red and this was this bright red paint. Can you tell us about that?

Folks: I think even more of an obvious situation is that: you get your legs blown off you are not going to be out in front of millions of people celebrating Boston at a hockey game or any type of arena. I think the emotional impact of losing your legs would probably keep you out of the public eye for at least a year. And that was the biggest obvious example to me, but as far as anyone that has been in the paramedics or nursing would know, that if you blow your legs off, you are not supposed to moved.

If someone’s falls here on Wilshire, just falls down, they tell you not to move, they are not supposed to move them. They could have broken a bone or a neck; their spine could be dislocated. You don’t move them and you certainly don’t put them in a wheelchair and run them down the road.

And it is just taking this to a whole different comical level that the fact that they think we all buy this, and that we are all going to sit here and watch it happen over and over again, you know, they have another thing coming. That’s why I joined forces with the Worldwide Wave of Action because you know; the truth has to come out. And people are not going to sit here and watch them make a mockery of ourselves.

Everybody around the world knows Boston Bombing was a joke; everyone in the US has been fed lies and lies after lies and it started in 9-11 and it hasn’t stopped.

Robles: Can you tell us… you sent me some pictures of these screens that you could actually see the road like “moving up”, it was like a mirror or something. Can you tell us about those?

Folks: You mean as far as the 3D… the Green Screen that they used at the Boston Bombing?

Robles: Yeah, can you detail all that?

Folks: From what I understand, they… it looks to me like they used a second street in order to re-enact the scene, over and over, to get it right and by using Green Screen they were able to show the buildings that were actually on Boylston Street and when you use a Green Screen it is a lot like Titanic. In the movie Titanic in 1997 we are watching the film and we are watching this boat sink and we are watching the water fill into the boat and we see people falling off the boat. That is obviously not happening in real life, we are watching it on Green Screen. They are putting a digital layer behind the screen of real action people. And we are watching a boat sink in the background and that is what they did in this example.

They just did it on television. We are watching green screen on television to re-enact a street scene that happened for real, but just a smoke bomb but when they re-enacted the people that were hurt they had to add the blood and the amputees and to put one the makeup.

You can see the person putting makeup on these people the entire scene; I call her “The Woman in Pink”. She has literally got a makeup bag and she is going to each victim, she is not helping them! She is putting make up on them!

So I’m sorry, I’m not fooled and I’m not going to let everyone else be fooled. Someone has to speak out against it. And they can follow me, they can do whatever they want but at the end of the day the truth has to come out some time. They can’t get away with it anymore.

Robles: Now please tell us, you have been persecuted, you have been through hell, I can’t think of any other way to put it. If I can tell our listeners: you contacted me right after it happened and after that a lot of terrible things started happening to you. Can you tell us some of those things?

Folks: Well, obviously, you can’t prove anything because I was very sick. I have never been sick in my life, I have never been in the hospital, but in the days after this event and weeks after this event and me talking about it, I was in the hospital for a total of 22 days over the course of three months.

And they really couldn’t determine what it was and I couldn’t hold water, I couldn’t hold food, it was some type of poison.

I can’t say for sure that I was poisoned by someone but I can say that I had some type of poison that nearly killed me.

And it took me good 3 to 6 months to kind of rehabilitate and get back on my feet and I figured if they are trying to scare me off or they are trying to keep me down from speaking: then it was a good try but it didn’t work.

Robles: Could you tell us what has happened to some other people? There was one guy, he wrote an article, you said, questioning the reality of the Boston Bombing Marathon. And you told me about some other people who had gotten sick as well.

Folks: Yeah, there is a gentlemen that runs a website called “Natural News” and he was coming out with very similar examples that I was during that time. And just now finding out that they wrote an article about how he has gotten sick from the food, he talks about. And they took his article down and re-wrote it in the third person.

And I don’t know if he is even able to speak, but I do know that after finding some of these examples of people that were coming out at same time that I was, that they were sick and poisoned as well, makes me realize that something is going on.

Robles: When you were in the hospital you also told me some other people close to you… (Can you talk about that?) that there were some other people you knew that got sick.

Folks: Yeah, I don’t think I can go into any detail but there were several other people that had gotten sick, and that seems to be part of this coming out. Anyone that has come out about this, got sick or disappeared.

Robles: How many people have disappeared, since then?

Folks: Well, I can say that everybody that reacted to this Boston bombing, the millions and millions of people that came out on the websites, came out about the scene and about the situation, essentially were silenced because there wasn’t a word about it this year. And that just gives me more of a comforting notion that it has been silenced for someone who has gone out and done something to the people that did come out about it…

Robles: You said that Internet before we started, you said that your Internet shut down in the US, it is on lockdown or something…

Folks: I mean strange things like in one day I have a Verizon Wireless Internet and in one day over 200 GB was taken from my service, ran up 35 hundred dollar bill in a 24-hour period. And then when you contact Verizon saying that it is obviously not something that I did, they ignore me and say that I have to pay if I want my service back on. So not many people want to just pay $3,500 for no reason.

Obviously, I never turned my Internet back on. I have been working on different types of Internet on different phones but it was designed to create a situation that I would shutdown. It was a warning probably of some sort. It was so that I would stop speaking about things that I’m knowledgeable about.

Robles: You gave me a good example about Boston False Flag, if someone who did a search on Google. Can you tell us about this false bomb?

Folks: Yeah, it is just that nobody is speaking about the Boston bombing. There is nobody speaking about false flags. And in this country our web searches seem to be completely deleted. You know, during that time I downloaded everything I knew and everything I saw and I have it on hard drive and the fact that all of that is now gone and I have them on hard drive.

Robles: Everything is gone?

Folks: Somebody is trying to take it away, make it disappear. It was very bad; whoever was in charge of the Boston Bombing Campaign did a very lousy job. They need to consult with some real Hollywood producers if they are going to do anything like that again and maybe make sure that they don’t fool the nation in their process because this is absurd.

Robles: They are not very creative in doing the same thing again and again and again.

Folks: They keep getting away with it, they are getting used to be able to get with it and they are getting sloppy and eventually and as this Worldwide Wave of Action is able to expose the truth more and more, I think we are going to stop this evil that is now taking over the US and is trying to keep people in fear and using fear mongering techniques on our media.

CNN and FOX and all these media sources are not telling the truth anymore. They are more interested in talking more about artists like Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan going to jail than potential war in Crimea.

I mean, this is, don’t even get me starting on that because I think we all know who is behind the taunting of that situation.

So it is just becoming obvious and even though people are not speaking about it because they are scared off or because they are scared to make a name and come out and talk about it.

This is our time to re-live the 60s, this is my generation’s time to stand up and say “No more!”

And we are not going to sit here and be poisoned and be lied to and listen to this “essentially crap” that they are feeding us in our media, this is not going to happen anymore. We have to stand up and make a change.

This is John Robles, you were listening to an interview with Nathan Folks, he is a well-known US film and TV director and producer. He is also the organizer of the Worldwide Wave of Action. You can find the rest of this interview on our website voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening!

The date of April 26, 2014 marks the 28th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion of the 4th reactor at the Chernobyl power plant. This is the time when alarming news is coming to evoke concern over the future of Ukraine’s nuclear industry.

 The use of US-produced fuel for Soviet reactors is not compatible with their design and violates the security requirements. It could lead to disasters comparable with what happened in Chernobyl. The International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry (IUVNEI) issued the following statement on April 25,

Nuclear fuel produced by the US firm Westinghouse does not meet the technical requirements of Soviet-era reactors, and using it could cause an accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster, which took place on the 26th April 1986.”

The IUVNEI brings together more than 15,000 nuclear industry veterans from Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It was founded in 2010 and headquartered in Moscow.

The Ukrainian state enterprise Energoatom and the Westinghouse Company previously agreed to extend the contract for the supply of US nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants until 2020.

wwwenergoatomkievua-photo.siTwo years ago, there was a near-miss in Ukraine, when TVS-W with damaged distancing armatures risked substantial uncontrolled releases of dangerous radiation. Only by a miracle was there no disaster at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant.   But it did not prevent the signing of the agreement. A Czech nuclear power plant faced depressurization of the fuel elements produced by Westinghouse in 2006, followed by the Czech government abandoning the company as a fuel supplier. According to Yuri Nedashkovsky, the president of the country’s state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom, on April 23, 2014 the Ukraine’s interim government ordered   to allocate 45, 2 hectares of land for the construction of a nuclear waste storage site within the depopulated exclusion area around the plant of Chernobyl between villages Staraya Krasnitsa, Buryakovka, Chistogalovka and Stechanka in Kiev Region (the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors). The fuel is to come from Khmelnitsky, Rovno and South Ukraine nuclear power plants.

At present used fuel is mostly transported to new dry-storage facility at the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Factory in the Krasnoyarsk region and storage and reprocessing plant Mayak in the Chelyabinsk region, the both facilities are situated on the territory of Russian Federation.

In 2003 Ukraine started to look for alternatives to the Russian storages. In December 2005, Energoatom signed a 127, 75 million euro agreement with the US-based Holtec International to implement the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors. Holtec’s work involved design, licensing, construction, commissioning of the facility, and the supply of transport and vertical ventilated dry storage systems for used VVER nuclear fuel. By the end of 2011 Holtec International had to close its office in Kiev  as it had come under harsh criticism worldwide. It is widely believed that the company has lost licenses in several countries because of poor quality of its containers resulting in radiation leaks. Westinghouse and Holtec are members of U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).

Morgan Williams, President/CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, works in Ukraine since the 1990s said at the ceremony devoted to  Westinghouse Electric Company and Holtec International signing contracts with Ukraine in 2008:

Today is one of the most important days since Ukraine’s independence as the efforts of these two internationally known companies will go a long way to assuring that Ukraine has greater energy independence. This is made more important by the fact that for Ukraine, energy and political independence are closely interdependent. I join all of the USUBC members in toasting the success of these two great member companies, as we all work to assist Ukraine on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and a strong democratic, private market driven nationhood.”

Morgan Williams is known as a lobbyist representing the interests of Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil in Ukraine. He has close ties with Freedom House involved in staging “color revolutions” in Eurasia, North Africa and Latin America.

 One more interesting detail is to be mentioned here.  Some time ago it was reported that according to covert agreements reached between the Ukraine’s interim government and its European partners, the nuclear waste coming from the EU member states will be stored in Ukraine. 

Being in violation of law the deal is kept secret.

Leonid Savin is an Russian expert on international conflicts, editor-in-chief of Geopolitica.ru news, analysis and forecast online journal.

A special on-line memorial to Michael C. Ruppert will take place Thursday May 8 at 9pm EDT.

To register go to www.carolynbaker.net

“I don’t deal in conspiracy theory, I deal in conspiracy fact!” -Michael C Ruppert

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On April 13, 2014, Michael Ruppert had just completed his final broadcast of his weekly radio show The LIFE BOAT Hour, which he has helmed since September 12, 2010. He went to an outdoor meditation spot on the property at which he had been residing. When he was found, he had apparently shot himself in the head with a Glock 30 .45 caliber pistol.  He was 63.

Mike Ruppert had become one of the most outspoken and compelling voices in the realm of independent journalism and analysis. He brought to the table a stupendous command of economic, historical and political issues.

Ruppert represented a convergence of valuable traits which included an academic’s restless intellect, a cop’s eye for detail, a heart-felt passion for justice, and the street-level experience of a whistleblower who broke ranks with the people he trusted in the name of an all too uncommon ethical code that he lived by.

He was able to bring to the table the critical arguments challenging official government narratives about the global economy, the 9/11 attacks, the fratricidal death of Pat Tillman, CIA drug dealing in Black communities throughout the US, peak oil as a causative factor underlying US foreign policy, and many, many other stories.

This week, the Global Research News Hour pays tribute to Mr. Ruppert on the occasion of his recent tragic death.

The podcast contains audio from past speeches and a previously recorded conversation with him, as well as post-mortem conversations with five individuals who knew and worked with Mike Ruppert over the years.

Carolyn Baker is a long-time acquaintance of Mike Ruppert’s. She was an adjunct professor of history and psychology for 11 years and a psychotherapist in private practice for 17 years. She authored several books related to the concept of societal collapse. She contributed to Ruppert’s on-line newsletter From The Wilderness, and co-hosted his final radio broadcast before he died.

Kellia Ramares-Watson is an Oakland-based independent journalist and broadcaster. She was Bonnie Faulkner’s co-host on the very first broadcast of Guns and Butter for radio station KPFA back on October 12, 2001. This debut episode featured none other than Mike Ruppert with his initial impressions of the 9/11 attacks and the US role in failing to prevent the attacks. The transcript of that interview is available on the Global Research website.

Wesley Miller was Mike Ruppert’s attorney, executor and personal friend. He replaced Ruppert as CEO and President of COLLAPSENET, the on-line community portal for individuals and communities seeking to transition away from a dependence on fossil fuels and industrial civilization.

Barrie Zwicker is a long-time independent journalist and media critic. He became one of the first people in the world to publicly critique the official story of 9/11 on a national television broadcast. Barrie was largely for getting RUppert’s analysis of 9/11 aired on Canadian television and paid tribute to him in his 2006 book Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11.

Guy McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He has appeared on Ruppert’s radio show a number of times pioneering his research pointing to the prospects for the Near Term Extinction of the human species due to climate change.

Ruppert’s work has appeared often over the years on the Global Research website. A link to some of those stories can be found here.

See also

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

The show also airs on CHLY 101.7FM every Thursday at 1pm PT.

It airs on Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS Sundays at 7am ET during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. 

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.

The Obama regime, wallowing in hubris and arrogance, has recklessly escalated the Ukrainian crisis into a crisis with Russia. Whether intentionally or stupidly, Washington’s propagandistic lies are driving the crisis to war. Unwilling to listen to any more of Washington’s senseless threats, Moscow no longer accepts telephone calls from Obama and US top officials.

The crisis in Ukraine originated with Washington’s overthrow of the elected democratic government and its replacement with Washington’s hand-chosen stooges. The stooges proceeded to act in word and deed against the populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet Communist Party leaders had attached to Ukraine. The consequence of this foolish policy is agitation on the part of the Russian speaking populations to return to Russia. Crimea has already rejoined Russia, and eastern Ukraine and other parts of southern Ukraine are likely to follow.

Instead of realizing its mistake, the Obama regime has encouraged the stooges Washington installed in Kiev to use violence against those in the Russian-speaking areas who are agitating for referendums so that they can vote their return to Russia. The Obama regime has encouraged violence despite President Putin’s clear statement that the Russian military will not occupy Ukraine unless violence is used against the protesters.

We can safely conclude that Washington either does not listen when spoken to or Washington desires violence.

As Washington and NATO are not positioned at this time to move significant military forces into Ukraine with which to confront the Russian military, why is the Obama regime trying to provoke action by the Russian military? A possible answer is that Washington’s plan to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base having gone awry, Washington’s fallback plan is to sacrifice Ukraine to a Russian invasion so that Washington can demonize Russia and force a large increase in NATO military spending and deployments.

In other words, the fallback prize is a new cold war and trillions of dollars more in profits for Washington’s military/security complex.

The handful of troops and aircraft that Washington has sent to “reassure” the incompetent regimes in those perennial trouble spots for the West–Poland and the Baltics–and the several missile ships sent to the Black Sea amount to nothing but symbolic provocations.

Economic sanctions applied to individual Russian officials signal nothing but Washington’s impotence. Real sanctions would harm Washington’s NATO puppet states far more than the sanctions would hurt Russia.

It is clear that Washington has no intention of working anything out with the Russian government. Washington’s demands make this conclusion unavoidable. Washington is demanding that the Russian government pull the rug out from under the protesting populations in eastern and southern Ukraine and force the Russian populations in Ukraine to submit to Washington’s stooges in Kiev. Washington also demands that Russia renege on the reunification with Crimea and hand Crimea over to Washington so that the original plan of evicting Russia from its Black Sea naval base can go forward.

In other words, Washington’s demand is that Russia put Humpty Dumpty back together again and hand him over to Washington.

This demand is so unrealistic that it surpasses the meaning of arrogance. The White House Fool is telling Putin: “I screwed up my takeover of your backyard. I want you to fix the situation for me and to ensure the success of the strategic threat I intended to bring to your backyard.”

The presstitute Western media and Washington’s European puppet states are supporting this unrealistic demand. Consequently, Russian leaders have lost all confidence in the word and intentions of the West, and this is how wars start.

European politicians are putting their countries at great peril and for what gain? Are Europe’s politicians blackmailed, threatened, paid off with bags of money, or are they so accustomed to following Washington’s lead that they are unable to do anything else? How do Germany, UK, and France benefit from being forced into a confrontation with Russia by Washington?

Washington’s arrogance is unprecedented and is capable of driving the world to destruction. Where is Europe’s sense of self-preservation? Why hasn’t Europe issued arrest warrants for every member of the Obama regime?

Without the cover provided by Europe and the presstitute media, Washington would not be able to drive the world to war.

By Andrew Hiller

As American troops arrive in Poland, Russian troops mass along the Ukrainian border and practice war games. in Ukraine itself, we are seeing continuing violence. That reality comes against a backdrop of political rhetoric and threats.

 Sara Flounders has been active with anti-war movements in the United States since the 1960′s. She’s a political writer and the principal leader of the International Action Center. She’s also been following the situation in Ukraine closely.

She worries that her home country is using Ukraine as a pawn for economic advantage, that it is provoking and seizing on strife to flex its muscle because it is losing market share and that by projecting power it will also build capital.

“Really, what’s at stake are US plans for encirclement of with military bases and with dire threats both Russia and China,” she said.

“And the purpose of President Obama’s visit to Asia, meetings in the Philippines, Korea, Japan is about the encirclement of China and at the very same time making dire threats, troop movements and sanctions against Russia.”

Flounders worries that this could mark the start of a “dangerous and ominous new Cold War.”

This strategy could fail, the anti-war activist believes, and even backfire because of the dependency of Europe and other areas of the world on Russian gas. Should the US lean too heavily its friends could balk. Instead, she argues that the US should allow Ukraine the right of self-determination.

 “There are new elections promised in Ukraine in late May. It has to be up to the people of Ukraine,” she added.

“There’s no stability with this narrow ultra-right wing grouping that they have put in power that has the support of almost no one. The only solution is to step back from that and let the people of the Ukraine decide their own destiny.”

Portugal : O 25 de abril e o direito à rebelião

April 26th, 2014 by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

Transcorreram 40 anos desde o 25 de Abril de 1974.

O povo português festejará hoje o aniversário do derrubamento do fascismo em todo o país.

O golpe militar daquela madrugada foi concebido para por fim à guerra colonial. Mas a participação torrencial do povo alterou em poucas horas o rumo e o objetivo do movimento. As massas, tomando as ruas, empurraram os capitães de Abril para uma revolução na qual a aliança Povo-MFA desempenhou papel decisivo.

Foi uma revolução diferente de tudo o que se conhecia. Em 18 meses, no contexto de uma luta de classes exacerbada, permanente, Portugal avançou mais na História do que nos três seculos anteriores. Não há precedente na Europa Ocidental desde a Comuna de Paris para conquistas sociais tao importantes como as da breve Revolução de Abril. Reforma Agraria tao ambiciosa não acontecera antes.

Ate onde iria essa revolução?

A pergunta perde sentido porque a rutura da aliança Povo

-MFA, ideada e provocada pelo Partido Socialista e apoiada pelo PSD ( e o CDS, seu apêndice), abriu a porta à contra-revolução vitoriosa em Novembro de 1975.

Não era, porem, previsível que a destruição da herança revolucionaria fosse tao rápida e profunda.

Quatro décadas depois, a classe dominante, que fora varrida do poder, está novamente nele encastelada. O governo que a representa, chefiado por um político de vocação neofascista, impõe ao Pais medidas que em alguns casos são tao reacionárias que nem Salazar as aplicou.

Como foi possível a mudança da correlação de forças que inverteu o rumo da Historia, empobreceu dramaticamente o Pais e o fez regredir décadas?

Muitos anos passarão até que a pergunta tenha uma resposta rigorosa.

Mas é a amargura nascida da rejeição do presente e o sentimento de repúdio à política do atual governo fascinante que imprimirá hoje às gigantescas manifestações de Lisboa e do Porto um caráter de protesto massivo do povo português

Muitos dos militares e civis que tiveram participação relevante nas inesquecíveis jornadas de Abril de 74 já faleceram. Não podiam imaginar que Portugal projetaria hoje no mundo a imagem de um país surreal, uma ditadura da burguesia de fachada democrática no qual a política é um lamaçal.

O bando que desgoverna o país criou uma linguagem adequada à sua estratégia devastadora. É um estranho léxico que visa anestesiar a consciência das vítimas. Ao roubo dos salários chamam «sacrifícios», «contribuição de solidariedade» a um brutal imposto, e a indignação do povo é  farisaicamente transformada em «compreensão dos portugueses».

Numa comunicação social submissa, os comentadores  retomam e vulgarizam essa linguagem. A maioria critica o acessório para fazer a apologia da «austeridade» como mal necessário. Alguns cumprem com devoção e habilidade a tarefa de confundir o povo.

No heterogéneo governo Passos & Portas as contradições são permanentes, refletindo a incapacidade do timoneiro, que se comporta como um pajem da chanceler Angela Merkel.

Uma corrupção desenfreada instalou-se nos Ministérios, na cúpula da alta Administração e na banca. Favores e prémios escandalosos aos epígonos do poder são a contrapartida dos «sacrifícios» impostos aos trabalhadores, reformados e pensionistas. Não surpreendeu a notícia de que Gaspar vai ter no FMI um vencimento mensal de 23 000 euros. É uma recompensa pelos serviços prestados ao grande capital pelo ex- ministro das Finanças. Ampliar a desigualdade tem sido aliás, quase uma obsessão para Passos & Portas. Hoje, as fortunas dos  46 portugueses mais ricos representam l0 % do PIB nacional (in «Correio da Manhã», 4.04.14).

Ao avaliar o gabinete, admito que alguns ministros e secretários de estado terão sido cidadãos comuns, acima de suspeita, antes de ingressarem no Governo. Mas hoje, pela sua participação e cumplicidade na obra criminosa em curso, não há um só que possa ser merecedor de respeito. Palavras como hipocrisia, ambição, incultura, ignorância, egoísmo, crueldade, cobardia são insuficientes para qualificar os atos e o caracter dessa gente.

Um dia, espero que não muito distante, ficará transparente que eles se comportaram coletivamente como inimigos do povo português.

O que fazer?

A velha e pertinente pergunta leninista é atualíssima neste Portugal saqueado e humilhado, no qual até as Forças Armadas, as Polícias e a Guarda Nacional Republicana expressam já o seu descontentamento nas escadarias da Assembleia da Republica.

Acredito que as sementes de Abril germinarão apos a sua longa hibernação. Os trabalhadores não esqueceram as prodigiosas conquistas da geração revolucionária, nos dias em que Álvaro Cunhal e Vasco Gonçalves – dois grandes portugueses do seculo XX- deram uma contribuição fundamental para o avanço da revolução democrática e nacional.

A maré da resistência enche a cada semana, apesar da alienação de grande parte da população. Essas lutas, agora permanentes, diárias, ampliam-se com destacada participação da CGTP e dos comunistas. Mas é ainda insuficiente o protesto popular. A resposta à intolerável opressão social e economica terá de assumir uma amplitude muito maior.

Já Locke, no seculo XVII, na sua teoria do Estado Liberal, defendia o direito à rebelião quando a tirania ofende a condição humana.

A Declaração Universal dos Direitos do Homem, aprovada pela Assembleia Geral das Nações Unidas em l948, abre também a porta à rebelião dos povos quando os direitos por ela enunciados e garantidos são violados.

É o que o governo de Passos & Portas faz, impune, com arrogância desafiadora. Até quando?

Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

Vila Nova de Gaia,25 de Abril de 2014

Anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

These Washington agencies have also filtered more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013 and 2014, including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014. This continues the pattern of financing from the US government to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to organizations from so-called “civil society” to execute a coup d’etat against President Chavez in April 2002. After their failure days later, USAID opened an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas to, together with the NED, inject more than $100 million in efforts to undermine the Chavez government and reinforce the opposition during the following 8 years.

At the beginning of 2011, after being publically exposed for its grave violations of Venezuelan law and sovereignty, the OTI closed its doors inVenezuela and USAID operations were transferred to its offices in the US. The flow of money to anti-government groups didn’t stop, despite the enactment by Venezuela’s National Assembly of the Law of Political Sovereignty and NationalSelf-Determination at the end of 2010, which outright prohibits foreign funding of political groups in the country. US agencies and the Venezuelan groups that receive their money continue to violate the law with impunity. In the Obama Administration’s Foreign Operations Budgets, between $5-6 million have been included to fund opposition groups in Venezuela through USAID since 2012.

The NED, a “foundation” created by Congress in 1983 to essentially do the CIA’s work overtly, has been one of the principal financiers of destabilization in Venezuela
9781566566476_p0_v1_s260x420throughout the Chavez administration and now against President Maduro. According to NED’s 2013 annual report, the agency channeled more than $2.3 million to Venezuelan opposition groups and projects. Within that figure,  $1,787,300 went directly to anti-government groups within Venezuela, while another $590,000 was distributed to regional organizations that work with and fund the Venezuelan opposition.  More than $300,000 was directed towards efforts to develop a new generation of youth leaders to oppose Maduro’s government politically.

One of the groups funded by NED to specifically work with youth is FORMA (http://www.forma.org.ve), an organization led by Cesar Briceño and tied to Venezuelan banker Oscar Garcia Mendoza. Garcia Mendoza runs the Banco Venezolano de Credito, a Venezuelan bank that has served as the filter for the flow of dollars from NED and USAID to opposition groups in Venezuela, including Sumate, CEDICE, Sin Mordaza, Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones and FORMA, amongst others.

Another significant part of NED funds in Venezuela from 2013-2014 was given to groups and initiatives that work in media and run the campaign to discredit the government of President Maduro. Some of the more active media organizations outwardly opposed to Maduro and receiving NED funds include Espacio Publico, Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), Sin Mordaza and GALI. Throughout the past year, an unprecedented media war has been waged against the Venezuelan government and President Maduro directly, which has intensified during the past few months of protests.

In direct violation of Venezuelan law, NED also funded the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), via the US International Republican Institute (IRI), with $100,000 to “share lessons learned with [anti-government groups] in Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia…and allow for the adaption of the Venezuelan experience in these countries”.  Regarding this initiative, the NED 2013 annual report specifically states its aim: “To develop the ability of political and civil society actors from Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia to work on national, issue-based agendas for their respective countries using lessons learned and best practices from successful Venezuelan counterparts.  The Institute will facilitate an exchange of experiences between the Venezuelan Democratic Unity Roundtable and counterparts in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina. IRI will bring these actors together through a series of tailored activities that will allow for the adaptation of the Venezuelan experience in these countries.”

IRI has helped to build right-wing opposition parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and has worked with the anti-government coaltion in Venezuela since before the 2002 coup d’etat against Chavez. In fact, IRI’s president at that time, George Folsom, outwardly applauded the coup and celebrated IRI’s role in a pressrelease claiming, “The Institute has served as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups to help Venezuelans forge a new democratic future…”

Detailed in a report published by the Spanish institute FRIDE in 2010, international agencies that fund the Venezuelan opposition violate currency control laws in order to get their dollars to the recipients. Also confirmed in the FRIDE report was the fact that the majority of international agencies, with the exception of the European Commission, are bringing in foreign money and changing it on the black market, in clear violation of Venezuelan law. In some cases, as the FRIDE analysis reports, the agencies open bank accounts abroad for the Venezuelan groups or they bring them the money in hard cash. The US Embassy in Caracas could also use the diplomatic pouch to bring large quantities of unaccounted dollars and euros into the country that are later handed over illegally to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

What is clear is that the US government continues to feed efforts to destabilize Venezuela in clear violation of law. Stronger legal measures  and enforcement may be necessary to ensure the sovereignty and defense of Venezuela’s democracy.

Eva Golinger is the author of The Chavez Code. She can be reached through her blog.

 

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari slammed Friday at UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura’s report on Syria as “curtailed” and relies on a unilateral source and interpretation.

Al-Jaafari , a UN Security Council’s meeting on “Woman, Peace, and Security” item, said Bangura’s report adopts misleading media sources and ignores the documents Syria has presented on the crimes of sexual violence perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups against the Syrian women including killing, kidnapping, rape and torturing.

He added Syria’s delegation has spared no efforts to provide UN Secretary General’s Special Representative with documents on the responsibility of the armed terrorist groups for crimes against the Syrian women as part of their takfiri, salafi and wahhabi ideology.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that Syria sent an official invitation to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative several times before preparing her report with the aim of helping her to assess the situation on the ground.

He reiterated Syrian government’s rejection of the accusations against the Syrian armed forces, including accusations on sexual violence against women at military checkpoints as these checkpoints are positioned in open places.

Al-Jaafari called for highlighting the suffering of the displaced Syrian women at the refugee camps in the neighboring countries as an essential issue which necessitates Syria’s deep concern in regard with the deteriorated security situation in those camps.

He added that Syrian women and girls suffer high levels of insecurity and are subjected to trafficking, rape and early marriage which are proved by the UN and international reports.

Al-Jaafari cited documented and reports on 18,000 cases of trade in human organs committed in the Turkish hospitals against Syrian girls and children, asserting that Syria has informed Bangura with this issue.

“If the claim that the reason for not documenting the crimes of the armed terrorist groups on sexual violence in Syria was the inability to reach places inside Syria, then what is her interpretation for not documenting these violations in the camps which host the displaced Syrians,” al-Jaafari wondered.

Al-Jaafari also inquired about her ignorance to document the violations of host countries which pledge to meet their obligations on protecting the displaced Syrians according to the international conventions relevant to the rights of woman, child and refugees.

Syria’s permanent representative reiterated Syria’s seriousness in dealing with these ugly and disgusting violations for human rights.

He expressed Syria’s desire to continue cooperation with the UN, particularly the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict to show the reality of the situation in Syria away from politicization and incitement.

Michigan vote to ban consideration of race was based on deception

A 6-2 decision by the United States Supreme Court on April 23 upheld a 2006 vote in the state of Michigan which placed a ban on affirmative action. The so-called “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” was in actuality a reversal of the very legal and political principles which guided the movement for equality from the 1950s through the 1970s.

This court decided that it possessed no jurisdiction to overturn a vote of the majority of people in Michigan which placed a ban on considering race and the history of national discrimination as factors in admissions to higher educational institutions. The impact of the Michigan vote in 2006 and other similar initiatives have resulted in drastic declines in the number of African American and Latino students at universities and colleges around in the state and the country.

Not only did the majority opinion uphold the anti-affirmative action vote in Michigan, it rejected a federal appeals court decision that the adoption of such a state law violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which ostensibly guaranteed equal protection under the law. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative jurist, summed up the majority view saying in essence that such considerations of racism and past discrimination was not needed and was unconstitutional.

Kennedy said

“In a society in which those lines are becoming more blurred, the attempt to define race based categories also raises serious questions of its own. Government action that classifies individuals on the basis of race is inherently suspect and carries the danger of perpetuating the very racial divisions the polity seeks to transcend.”

In a dissenting minority opinion, the only Puerto Rican jurist, Sonia Sotomayor, abhorred the decision. Justice Sotomayor, who recognizes that her career path is directly related to the affirmative action programs that helped Latinas from the Bronx get into Princeton University and Yale’s law school, said the majority opinion represented the refusal “to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. We ought not to sit back and wish away, rather than confront the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

Michigan Vote to Ban Affirmative Action Was Based on Deception and Racism

The placing of the anti-Affirmative Action referendum on the Michigan ballot was based on massive deception through a well-financed political program. A petition campaign was launched to place the initiative on the ballot where canvassers were paid for collecting signatures.

Many of the people circulating the petitions were instructed to lie and say that this initiative would advance equal opportunity by changing the Michigan state constitution to bar discrimination. Once the necessary signatures were collected, a challenge to the placing of the initiative on the ballot was mounted.

Challengers claimed that it was not the intent of most people who signed the petition to ban affirmative action. However, the state elections commission and the courts upheld the initiative and it passed during the 2006 statewide elections.

Most whites still do not recognize the historic national oppression of African Americans, Latinos and other groups. Due to racism many believe that any advancement made by the oppressed nations is the result of “reverse discrimination” against the dominant oppressor nation.

The decision represents the efforts to in fact reverse the political and social gains of the Civil Rights, Black Power and Women’s movements that emerged during the post-World War II period. In 1954, the infamous Brown v. Topeka Supreme Court decision ruled that “separate but equal” facilities for students in public education were inherently unconstitutional.

Brown v. Topeka represented a reversal of the Plessy v. Fergusun case of 1896, which during the era of Jim Crow and lynching, provided a legal rationale for the notion of “second class citizenship for African Americans. Through a series of political and legal campaigns led by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and others, institutional discrimination was eventually outlawed in both higher education and K-12.

Civil Rights Legislation and Affirmative Action Were Products of Mass Struggle

Nonetheless, it would take a mass Civil Rights and Black Power movement beginning in 1955 and continuing through the early 1970s to bring real affirmative action programs into existence. The Johnson administration in response to the militancy of the African American struggle shepherded the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through the U.S. Congress.

Johnson noted in a commencement address at Howard University in 1965 that simply passing laws would not be enough to make a dent in historical institutional discrimination. He utilized the term Affirmative Action which later became of source of a right-wing push back against the changing social character of race relations in the country that was built on the genocide of indigenous Americans, the enslavement of Africans and the colonization of large sections of the Mexican population in the southwest.

Johnson said specifically that “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say you are free to compete with all the others, and still just believe that you have been completely fair.” In September of 1965 Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 along with the Office Federal Contract Compliance to enforce a policy of non-discrimination. In 1967, the Order was amended to bar discrimination against women in hiring.

Earlier the Kennedy administration had issued Executive Order 10925 mandating that federal contractors not only end discrimination but to take “affirmative action to ensure” compliance. Kennedy’s Order also mandated penalties for non-compliance with non-discriminatory policies.

With the advent of urban rebellions during 1963-1970, the impetus for the implementation of affirmative action was accelerated. However, in the late 1970s, the Bakke Case which challenged quotas and timetables for the implementation of non-discriminatory policies, resulted in the Supreme Court lessening the impact of previous executive orders and legislation in 1978.

With additional anti-affirmative action campaigns in California, Texas, Florida as well as Michigan, these efforts have largely eliminated the institutional commitment to non-discrimination. A recent series of demonstrations by African American students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is calling for the elite institution to institute programs to recruit more people from this oppressed community.

What is needed to make these demands a political force is to initiate a national movement against institutional racism that would encompass the declining social status of the nationally oppressed, who today are still suffering from disproportionate rates of unemployment and poverty. As the gains of the 20th century were the result of the mass struggles of African Americans, Latinos and their allies, the reversal of these setbacks will also require the mobilization and organization of the masses in a militant program of resistance and fight back.

A previous article called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a world class diplomat. John Kerry is polar opposite. He represents the worst of America’s dark side.

He’s vying for Washington’s worst ever Secretary of State top dishonor. He’s what Paul Craig Roberts calls a “two-bit punk.”

He’s a war criminal multiple times over. Demagoguery punctuates his comments. It exceeds the worst of Cold War rhetoric. He’s been caught red-handed numerous times in bald-faced lies.

He disdains rule of law principles. He supports war. He deplores peace. He’s indifferent to human suffering. He’s a monument to wrong over right.

He disgraces his country, position and humanity. He belongs in prison, not high office. On April 24, he bashed Russia irresponsibly.

He did so recklessly. He did maliciously. Big Lies infested his rhetoric. He turned truth on its head.

Four parties in Geneva “agreed that all sides would refrain from violence, intimidation, and taking provocative actions,” he said.

“We agreed that illegal groups would lay down their arms…We agreed to implement” objectives discussed.

“From day one,” he added, “the government of Ukraine started making good on its commitments – from day one.”

“From day one, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has kept his word. He immediately agreed to help vacate buildings.”

“He suspended Ukraine’s counterterrorism initiative over Easter, choosing de-escalation, despite Ukraine’s legitimate, fundamental right to defend its own territory and its own people.”

Fact: Kiev putschists have no legitimacy whatever. They have no legal authority. They represent mob rule.

Fact: “From day one,” they violated agreed on Geneva terms. They did so straightaway. They deployed military forces and Right Sector thugs to Eastern Ukraine.

They attacked nonviolent civilians. They committed cold-blooded murder.

Fact: Yatsenyuk lied. He escalated conflict. Kiev buildings remain occupied illegally.

Kerry: “…On day one, Yatsenyuk…committed his government to undertake constitutional reform that will strengthen the powers of regions.”

“He directly addressed the concerns expressed by the Russians, and he did so on day one.”

Fact: No constitutional reform exists. No steps were taken so far. No legitimate ones are planned. Putschists want unchallenged nationwide control.

They reject local autonomy. They declared war on freedom. They’re waging it against fundamental rights. They’re murdering their own people.

Russian nationals are threatened. They live in fear for good reason. Claiming otherwise is false.

Kerry:

“…Yatsenuk has publicly announced amnesty legislation -once more, in his words – for all those who surrender arms, come out of the premises and will begin with the Ukrainian people to build a sovereign and independent Ukraine.”

“That is a promise made by the interim government to the people of Ukraine.”

Fact: Coup-appointed fascists run Ukraine. Neo-Nazi extremists hold high government positions.

Trust isn’t their long suit. Pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written.

Major ones so far were broken straightaway. Business as usual continues. Expect nothing different going forward.

Kerry:

“That is leadership that upholds both the spirit and the letter of a Geneva agreement.”

Fact: Actions speak louder than words. Putschist policies reveal their true agenda. Kerry lied claiming otherwise.

Kerry:

“The world has rightly judged that Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the Government of Ukraine are working in good faith.”

“And the world, sadly, has rightly judged that Russia has put its faith in distraction, deception, and destabilization.”

“For seven days, Russia has refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction.”

“Not a single Russian official, not one, has publicly gone on television in Ukraine and called on the separatists to support the Geneva agreement, to support the stand-down, to give up their weapons, and get out of the Ukrainian buildings.”

Fact: Yatsenyuk is an illegitimate “two-bit punk.” He’s a convenient US stooge.

Russia has gone all-out tirelessly to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions responsibly. Washington-directed putschists escalated them.

On Friday, Lavrov addressed Ukraine. He did so forthrightly. He “insists on the fulfillment of the Geneva agreements…” He opposes “attempts to distort them.”

Kiev putschists acted against their own people, he added. “The so-called Easter ceasefire was disrupted.”

“What Kiev authorities are doing today is just a punitive operation which already resulted in many victims.”

“These are bloody crimes for which they will be held responsible.” Washington and rogue EU partners want unchallenged Ukrainian control.

“It is high time (they) admit(ted) the truth that they do not have a monopoly (on) truth. (T)his is unacceptable to make a certain picture of current events as the West want it to be.”

“The West wants to take control of Ukraine guided only by their geo-political ambitions.”

“Today it is impossible to conceal the truth. And attempts to do so lead to nothing good.”

Lavrov wants Kiev-directed violence stopped. He wants Right Sector neo-Nazis disarmed.

He wants Geneva agreed on terms fully implemented. He called doing so fundamental to resolving Ukraine’s crisis.

Russia is doing everything possible to help, he explained. Kiev putschists initiated violence.

They’re escalating it. They’re following US diktats. Lavrov pointed fingers the right way.

RT International (formerly Russia Today) represents the best of responsible news, commentary and analysis.

Not according to Kerry. He lied saying “the propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored Russia Today program, has been deployed to promote – actually, Russia Today network – has deployed to promote President Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground.”

“They almost spend full time devoted to this effort to propagandize and to distort what is happening or not happening in Ukraine.”

“Instead, in plain sight, Russia continues to fund, coordinate, and fuel a heavily armed separatist movement in Donetsk.”

“Meanwhile, Russian leaders are making increasingly outrageous claims to justify their action – that the CIA invented the internet in order to control the world or that the forces occupying buildings, armed to the teeth, wearing brand new matching uniforms and moving in disciplined military formation, are merely local activists seeking to exercise their legitimate rights.”

“That is absurd, and there is no other word to describe it.”

Fact: It bears repeating. RT International shames Western media. Managed news misinformation garbage substitutes for responsible journalism.

RT delivers the real thing. Claims otherwise are false. Kerry’s comments turned truth on its head. Big Lies infested them.

Kerry:

“The world knows that peaceful protesters don’t come armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons, the latest issue from the Russian arsenal, hiding the insignias on their brand new matching military uniforms, and speaking in dialects that every local knows comes from thousands of miles away.”

“The world knows that the Russian intelligence operatives arrested in Ukraine didn’t just take a wrong turn on the highway.”

“In fact, we have seen soldiers wearing uniforms identical to the ones Russian soldiers wore in Crimea last month.”

Fact: “The world knows” that Eastern Ukrainian self-defense forces are nonviolent.

“The world knows” their fundamental rights are threatened.

“The world knows” they have every right to defend themselves.

“The world knows” fascist military forces and Right Sector neo-Nazi thugs attacked them.

“The world knows” self-defense activists act on their own volition. No “Russian intelligence operatives” are involved.

Nor in Crimea weeks earlier. Kerry lied claiming otherwise.

Kerry:

“As international observers on the ground have borne witness, prior to Russia’s escalation, there was no violence. There was no broad-scale assault on the rights of people in the east.”

Fact: “The world knows” Kiev putschists govern illegitimately.

“The world knows” all Ukrainians are threatened.

“The world knows” how fascists rule. Fundamental freedoms are being crushed. Rule of law principles are being violated.

“The world knows” Kerry lied about so-called “Russia(n) escalation.”

“The world knows” Eastern Ukrainians want stability. US-directed putschists prevent it.

“The world knows” they instigated violence. They escalated it. They intend more. They’re waging war on their own people.

Kerry:

“The Government of Ukraine has reported the arrest of Russian intelligence agents, including one yesterday who it says was responsible for establishing secure communications allowing Russia to coordinate destabilizing activities in Ukraine.”

Fact: Kiev putschists lied. So-called Russian intelligence agent arrests never happened. No Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine exist.

Kerry lied claiming otherwise. He outrageously called coup-appointed putschists “legitimate.”

Kerry: Russia chose “an illegitimate course of armed violence to try and achieve with the barrel of a gun and the force of a mob what couldn’t be achieved any other way.”

“They’ve tried to create enough chaos in the east to delay or delegitimize the elections, or to force Ukraine to accept a federalism that gives Russia control over its domestic and foreign policies, or even force Ukraine to overreact and create an excuse for military intervention.”

“This is a full-throated effort to actively sabotage the democratic process through gross external intimidation that has brought inside Ukraine, and it is worse even.”

Fact: Russia goes all-out for responsible conflict resolution. US-directed putschists prevent it.

No Russian intimidation exists. Kiev deplores democracy. So does Washington. So-called May elections when held will be farcical. They’ll have no legitimacy whatever.

Kerry:

“We have seen this movie before. We saw it most recently in Crimea, where similar subterfuge and sabotage by Russia was followed by a full invasion – an invasion, by the way, for which President Putin recently decorated Russian special forces at the Kremlin.”

Fact: Crimeans acted on their own volition. They overwhelmingly chose reunification with Russia. They voted 96.77% to do so. Turnout was a record 83%.

Independent monitors called referendum voting scrupulously open, free and fair. Not a single irregularity was found.

No Russian invasion happened. Kerry invented one out of whole cloth. Irresponsible Russia bashing infested his rhetoric. Big Lies substituted for truth.

Kerry: “Nobody should doubt Russia’s hand in” what’s ongoing.

“Our intelligence community tells me that Russia’s intelligence and military intelligence services and special operators are playing an active role in destabilizing eastern Ukraine with personnel, weapons, money, operational planning, and coordination.”

Fact: US intelligence has no information about Russian involvement in Eastern Ukraine. None exists. No “personnel, weapons, money, operational planning, and coordination.” Kerry lied claiming otherwise.

Kerry:

“The world will remain united for Ukraine. So I will say it again. The window to change course is closing. President Putin and Russia face a choice.”

“If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation, the international community – all of us – will welcome it.”

“If Russia does not, the world will make sure that the cost for Russia will only grow. And as President Obama reiterated earlier today, we are ready to act.”

Fact: The world supports fundamental rights of all Ukrainians. Kiev putschists want them denied.

Washington supports their worst policies. Fascists are hardline. They rule one way. They crush resistance. They do so violently. They do it lawlessly.

Russia remains committed for equity, justice and peace. It’s strong and resolute. It has responsible leadership. Rolling over for Washington won’t happen.

Kerry represents US hegemonic ambitions. He reflects the worst of dark side politics. He deplores democracy.

He disdains fundamental human and civil rights. He trashes rule of law principles. He supports war on humanity. He wants it for unchallenged global dominance.

It bears repeating. He’s a “two-bit thug.” He belongs in prison, not high office.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Confirmed: U.S. Armed Al Qaeda to Topple Libya’s Gaddaffi

April 26th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

We reported in 2012 that the U.S. supported Al Qaeda in Libya in its effort to topple Gadaffi:

The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.

According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:


The Hindustan Times reported last year:

“There is no question that al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition,” Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and a leading expert on terrorism, told Hindustan Times.

It has always been Qaddafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi.

Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya.  Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.

(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion.  But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)

The Daily Mail reported yesterday:

A self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t beenhelping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

***

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

The same thing is happening in Syria. The U.S. “switched sides” and is supporting our arch enemy Al Qaeda.

Specifically, the Benghazi “embassy” became the CIA headquarters for transferring – after Gaddaffi fell – weapons in Libya to the Syrian Al Qaeda rebels, as confirmed by Pulitzer prize winning reporter Sy Hersh.

Yesterday, amid rising anger among New York Times readers over the newspaper’s publication of faked US State Department photos, the Times issued a whitewash of its role by its public editor, Margaret Sullivan, titled “Aftermath of Ukraine Photo Story Shows Need for More Caution.”

The Times’ original piece, “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” used doctored photos to falsely identify armed pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine as Russian soldiers. In one instance, the Times posted photos of two different bearded men, one a protester in Ukraine and the other a Russian fighter in Chechnya, down-sampled to such a low resolution that they appeared to be the same person. In another case, theTimes published a photo taken in Ukraine but claimed it was taken in Russia to supposedly prove that the fighters in it were Russian.

Since then, Sullivan admits, “some of those grainy photographs have been discredited.” She continues: “The Times has published a second article backing off from the original and airing questions about what the photographs are said to depict, but hardly addressing how the newspaper may have been misled.”

She adds, “It all feels rather familiar—the rushed publication of something exciting, often based on an executive branch leak. And then, afterward, with a kind of ‘morning after’ feeling, here comes a more sober, less prominently displayed follow-up story, to deal with objections while not clarifying much of anything.”

This acknowledgment of similar cases in the past shows, in fact, that the publication of the faked photos was not due to a momentary lack of “caution,” but to longstanding journalistic methods that discredit the work of the entire newspaper. As Sullivan writes, the Times’ excited rush to publish propaganda lies stove-piped by the US government, followed by moves to bury the issue once the lies are exposed, “all feels rather familiar.”

The Times has served for years as a de facto state propaganda organ, uncritically broadcasting government lies to justify US wars while covering up stories embarrassing to the White House, and using a “public editor” to issue impotent criticisms in the face of popular anger.

In recent years, the Times public editor has admitted that reporting by Judith Miller of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, used to justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, was false; that the newspaper covered up the Bush administration’s operation of an illegal NSA electronic spying program after discussions with the government; and that it decided for two months to suppress news of the US Marines’ 2006 Haditha massacre in Iraq.

These empty mea culpas are exercises in damage control, aimed at shielding the Times from the anger of its readers while concealing far more than they reveal about the operations of the newspaper and its relations with government military and intelligence agencies. They change nothing about the paper’s role.

Times Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn “rightly points out,” Sullivan writes, “that the Times had made a major commitment to covering the Russia-Ukraine story over the past several months, using as many as 12 staff reporters, many of them on the ground.” Sullivan continues: “He [Kahn] calls the coverage ‘voluminous, competitive, and excellent.’ He rejects the idea that theTimes’ coverage has lacked skepticism and sees this instance as a result of a simple mistake: the State Department’s mislabeling.”

Sullivan cites Kahn as saying his staff is “on guard” against the example of Judith Miller’s reporting. The article was “published on a tight deadline, [Kahn] said, because of competitive pressures.”

Kahn’s response shows that Times staff no longer function as journalists—seeking to establish the facts of the situation and critically examine and challenge state officials’ claims—but as state propagandists. Far from being “on guard” against state disinformation, the Times took the faked, grainy photos provided by its masters in the State Department and published them on schedule and as ordered, without bothering even to carry out elementary fact-checking.

It does not even occur to figures such as Kahn to be critical of their sources. He apparently takes the view that the Times bears no responsibility to check material given to it by the government, but only to transmit material received from the State Department.

If the material turns out to consist of “mislabeled” photos or other lies, that is simply a “mistake” by the government (not the result of deliberate falsification by the Times). That such “mistakes” could lead to a nuclear war between the US and Russia is evidently not a matter of concern to Sullivan, who says nothing of the possible consequences of the fabricated story.

To better appreciate the Times’ role as a sounding board for US imperialism, it is as important to note the stories it did not publish as the trash it did. For all the Times’ enormous resources and its 12 reporters working on Ukraine, its articles are not “competitive” or “excellent,” but misleading and pedestrian—primarily because its total support for US foreign policy precludes it from writing on the dramatic and tragic events stemming from US imperialism’s intervention in Ukraine.

What incisive articles has it published on the character of the fascist Right Sector militia, which led the putsch that installed a US-backed government in Kiev?

Why did it decide to remain silent on CIA Director John Brennan’s trip to Kiev, shortly before the regime launched its first crackdown on the eastern Ukrainian protests, leaving it to the Russian media to break the news of the visit?

Why did it not expose as a provocation the anti-Semitic leaflet circulated in Donetsk and falsely attributed to pro-Russian protesters?

One answer comes to mind: the State Department had other priorities.

US and Europe Push Confrontation with Russia Toward War

April 26th, 2014 by Stefan Steinberg

US President Barack Obama and allied leaders in Europe pushed the standoff with Russia over Ukraine further to the brink of war on Friday. As troops of the Western-backed, ultra-nationalist regime in Kiev, supplemented by fascist paramilitary forces, continued to mass against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, and Russia launched military exercises on its border with Ukraine, Obama held a conference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to secure agreement on new sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions threat is joined by a further push of US and NATO military forces up to or near Russia’s borders. US and NATO war planes are flying over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; US troops have arrived in Poland; and more US war ships are entering the Black Sea.

Obama and the other leaders claimed the Kiev regime had taken “positive steps” to uphold the four-party agreement to “deescalate tensions” reached April 17 in Geneva, but Russia had “not reciprocated.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said: “The five leaders agreed that in the light of Russia’s refusal to support the process, an extension of the current targeted sanctions would need to be implemented, in conjunction with other G-7 leaders and with European partners.”

At a press conference following discussions with Polish President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Merkel said she told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that Germany was ready to impose further sanctions should tensions increase. Merkel’s press spokesman declared, “Nobody should be deceived. We are willing to act.”

These statements only underscore the hypocrisy and cynicism that have pervaded the actions of Washington and its imperialist allies since they provoked the confrontation with Russia and the largely pro-Russian population of eastern Ukraine by organizing a coup, led by fascist Right Sector militiamen, to overthrow the Russia-aligned, elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, last February 22.

The regime’s “positive steps” include throwing thousands of troops, armored vehicles and attack helicopters against protesters in the east occupying buildings to protest the new regime and demand greater autonomy, independence or incorporation into the Russian Federation. On Thursday, five protesters were killed by Ukrainian forces in Slavyansk, a center of resistance to the regime in Kiev. That brings to at least eight the number of protesters killed, in two separate attacks, since Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan made a secret trip to Kiev to advise the US puppet government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday denounced Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist” operation in the east as a “bloody crime.” He said pro-Russian militants would lay down their weapons only if the Ukrainian government first disbanded its own ultra-nationalist protesters in Kiev and disarmed the Right Sector.

The Geneva agreement calls for all illegal paramilitary groups to be disarmed and disbanded, but Kiev, with the full support of the US and the European Union, has mobilized fascist thugs of the Right Sector against anti-government protesters in the east. On Thursday, thirty Right Sector operatives armed with baseball bats stormed buildings held by protesters in the city of Mariupol.

Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh has announced he is moving to the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Dnepropetrovsk to direct attacks against anti-regime protesters. He boasts of state support for his forces, telling the German publication Spiegel Online, “Our battalions are part of the new territorial defense. We have close contact with the intelligence services and the general staff.”

The propaganda pumped out by the Obama administration and its European allies, uncritically promulgated by the media, attributes the current crisis to Russian aggression and expansionism. This reached a new height Friday, when Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting in Kiev that “Russia wants to start World War III.”

But the responsibility rests overwhelmingly with the US and Germany. Washington, in particular, seems bent on goading Russia into intervening militarily in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to secure the security interests of the Russian oligarchs whom he represents, has threatened to intervene to defend ethnic Russians in the east against attacks from the Kiev government and its fascist allies.

Alongside the military buildup, the US is waging economic warfare and threatening to collapse the Russian economy. On Friday, the credit rating firm Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russian credit from BBB to BBB-, one notch above junk bond status. The credit agency said it would further downgrade Russia if new sanctions were imposed.

The Russian central bank was forced to raise the key interest rate from 7 percent to 7.5 percent in an attempt to stem the fall in the ruble and the flow of capital out of the country. The ruble has already plunged nearly 9 percent against the US dollar so far this year and Russian stock prices have dropped sharply.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Friday that the next round of sanctions against Moscow would go well beyond the penalties targeting individuals thus far imposed. “We are working with our international partners to make sure that when we do it, we do it in an effective way,” he said in a radio interview.

On the ground, anti-regime protesters continue to occupy government buildings in a dozen cities, and they have reestablished checkpoints that were attacked Thursday in Slavyansk. The Kiev regime says it is blockading the city.

A Ukrainian military helicopter exploded Friday on the tarmac of a base near Kramatorsk. Ukrainian officials blamed the blast on pro-Russian militants.

There are signs that the civil violence is spreading beyond southeastern Ukraine. Seven people were injured early Friday at a pro-Ukrainian checkpoint near the Black Sea port of Odessa when an explosive device blew up. Residents have built checkpoints aimed at stopping pro-Russian separatists entering from Moldova’s breakaway territory of Transdniestria.

With tensions growing and the chances mounting of a war between Ukraine and Russia, which could rapidly draw in the United States and NATO, Russian officials seem to be looking for a way to defuse the situation and find some accommodation with Washington. The Interfax news agency reported Friday that in a telephone call, Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov warned US Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Ukraine had a “substantial group of forces” near the Russian border, including troops intent on conducting sabotage.

However, there is no indication from the American side of a desire to deescalate the crisis. Comments made by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk confirmed that the US, the EU and the International Monetary Fund are providing funds to build up Ukrainian security forces.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Friday, Yatsenyuk was asked: “Is the US giving you enough military aid to build up the army?” Yatsenyuk replied: “The US supplies us with non-lethal support.” When asked where his government will find the money to buy military equipment, the Ukrainian premier answered: “The US issued $1 billion in loan guarantees. The IMF supports us. We are getting support from the EU.”

In the same interview, Yatsenyuk declared that only a small minority in eastern Ukraine supported Russia and implied there was widespread support for his government.

A confidential report by NATO tells a very different story. According to an article published by Der Spiegel on Friday, the NATO report warns of a possible “failed-state scenario” in Ukraine and the “possible collapse” of the state. The report, made available to the German Foreign Office, places responsibility for the disintegration of Ukraine on the regime in Kiev, which is “manifestly unwilling or unable to seriously clarify key issues regarding the future state structure of Ukraine.”

The Spiegel article also refers to a survey by the International Republican Institute from the second half of March, which reports that 48 percent of the population in eastern Ukraine “strongly oppose” the head of state Alexander Turchinov, with just three percent expressing “strong support.” A total of 59 percent of eastern Ukrainians in the survey expressed positive feelings for Russia, with 45 percent of respondents rejecting the parliament in Kiev.

Ecuadorian Deputy Foreign Minister Leonardo Arizaga confirmed today that a group of US military men that remained at the embassy of that country in Quito will have to leave the country by request of the national Government. Exactly, the Security Operation Office will be closed by the end of April, Arizaga told the news agency Prensa Latina.

The Ecuadorian official said the issue of the US South Command troops’ withdrawal was presented by President Rafael Correa and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño months ago, when both of them denounced an excessive presence of military men from that country at the US embassy.

Arizaga stated that he tackled the issue with Deputy Undersecretary of the US State Department for the West Hemisphere, Alex Lee, when hi visited Ecuador in late March.

The Ecuadorian deputy foreign minister clarified that the US South Command troops’ withdrawal does not affect the personnel of the US Military Attache’s Office, which is subordinate to the State Department.

We are not going to continue having relations the United States regarding security, but Government to Government, through the attaches’ offices, based on mutual respect, said Arizaga.

Correa, who after taking power in January, 2007, refused to renew the contract that allowed the United States using the military base of Manta, ordered in late 2013 to investigate into the presence of 50 US military men in Quito.

Correa also demanded then to know the reasons for four US military men were on board of a helicopter of the Ecuadorian Air Force that had been shot months before by a Colombian irregular group in an area near the border with Colombia.

The “Ukraine crisis” repeats a script as old as the Cold War. The narrative features rising attacks by corporate states and media on the traditional whipping boy of Russia. As usual, “escalating the crisis” is US-led. As usual, alarm about “increasing lawless aggression” is projection of US policy itself. In fact, one more US-directed violent overthrow of an elected government has carved off the biggest country of Europe from next-door Russia.

Yet Russia gets all the blame for “brute force” in reclaiming Crimea – although 96% of a voluntary turnout of 82% voted to rejoin its traditional mother country. While denounced as “violation of international law”, the Crimea referendum choice expresses the “self-determination” of a society guaranteed under Article 2 of the United Nations Charter. Ukraine’s coup government, in contrast, has prohibited any referendum on its rule – especially the Eastern regions where popular uprisings with no mass deaths or beatings (as in the Kiev coup) call for self-determination against illegal rule from Kiev.

The uprising cities of East Ukraine – beginning with Donetsk, then Kharkiv, Luhansk, Slavyansk (the Slav has been removed from the Westernized Sloviansk),  Kramatorsk and other centers and villages – all demand a democratic referendum for their future status as equal citizens in a Ukraine federation.

Integration with Russia is not favoured by Russia, but the dominant popular feeling unreported in the media is peaceful and pragmatic. Ukraine’s government has been broken by the US-led coup and cannot provide what people need in jobs, healthcare, income security and pensions. Certainly “the Greek model” planned for Ukraine is not in its people’s common life interests. Under the coup government of prime minister Arseniuy Yatsenyuk, a banker who is already prescribing mass dispossession by austerity programs, what will happen to Ukraine is foretold by has happened in Greece.

The EU’s financial rule by banker mechanisms has already been almost as great a failure as the oligarch-marketization of Russia after 1990. It is a complex system of one-way powers of life deprivation and social ruin which I define in The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure (1999, 2013). Elected governments lose all control to the new absolute and overriding imperative of European rule – to grow and multiply private transnational money sequences. In accord with the ruling formulae, the Greek economy has been slashed by 25 per cent, unemployment is an official 28 per cent excluding the unpaid, the public health system is dismantled to pay foreign banks, wages are cut by a quarter, the public sector is sacked and privatized, and jobless youth rises to 60 per cent even with mass emigration. These outcomes now await Ukraine.

Those in Ukraine who are not under the spell of its father cult, oligarch riches, and post-1991 dispossession know better. Outside of Kiev they have had enough, and that is why the election and presidency of the Party of Regions and its allies whose popular support lies outside Kiev have been repeatedly overturned. It is also why their decentralized federal alternative has been removed from the table. The murderous insurrection in Kiev and violent coup of elected government reveals how far the Kiev oligarchy and plotters are prepared to go backed by the US. Yet this time Russia has drawn a red line. With near-unanimous support of the Crimean people and the uprising of the Eastern cities and villages as I write, Russia has stopped the US-led transnational corporate-machine and NATO from further expansion for the first time in 25 years.

It is true that Ukraine – the biggest country and bread basket of Europe – has now been pried wide open for transnational Western banks, agribusiness, Big Oil and NATO to feed on. And it is true that all talk of “land grab” has been projected onto Russia even as US Greystone  and Blackwater mercenaries – now called “Academi” in the Big Lie lexicon – move on the ground in Ukraine as the US and NATO propagate ever more threats of force and embargo against “Russia’s aggression”.  Reverse blame is always the US geostrategic game. “Russia’s designs to take the whole of Ukraine” is again US projection of its own objective, as in the old days when “world rule plot” was attributed to the former USSR. Yet a line has been drawn at Crimea, and drawn again in Eastern Ukraine, and it is backed by a country that cannot be arm-twisted, propaganda invaded, or air-bombed with impunity. That is why the one-way threats never stop. It is the first line yet drawn by an historical power outside of China against the exponentially multiplying US-led private transnational money sequences devouring the world.

People now have a chance to reflect on who is the aggressor and who stands for democratic choice as events unfold. They can observe the patterns of Orwellian distortion day to day. Never is the other side presented. The US and NATO alone continuously denounce, lie and threaten. Financial contracts and assets are violated by one side alone. Hate campaigns without evidence go one way. Uprisings have been mass murderous from the US-coup side and without harm from the resisting side. Russia is behind its own borders, and the US deploys threats, covert operations and mercenaries from thousands of miles away. But this time US-NATO-led corporate globalization cannot destroy nations at will. Sometimes history can happen as it should.

The Mechanisms of Reverse Blame to Justify Destroying Societies

Reversal of blame is always the US method of pretext and justification. This is why Russia is pervasively vilified in the mass media, and Canada’s big-oil regime joins in along with the UK.   As always, denunciation rules without reasoned understanding. As always, the US-led financial and military forces of private money-power expansion move behind the abomination of designated enemies. Any nation or leader not serving transnational corporate control of resources and markets across borders is always the villain. This is the ruling meta program.

Thus too in Ukraine. When Europe tried to broker a peace deal between the opposition and elected government of Ukraine, the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland continued to  court the neo-Nazi coup leaders to overthrow the state, instructing  “Yats” (appointed PM Yatsenyuk) to consult with the main putsch leader Oleh Tyahnybok “at least four times a week”.  When she is reminded of the EU peace talks and agreement to stop the bloodshed, her response is telling, “Fuck the EU”. The coup peaked after three days of murder by the neo-Nazi faction. When former “Orange revolutionary” and gas oligarch leader of the Fatherland Party, Yulia Tymoshenko, then got out of jail for criminal embezzlement of state property, she expressed the logic of power shared with the US regarding Russia. She says without denial of the words: “take up arms and go and wipe out these damn katsaps” [Russian minority] – - – so that not even scorched earth would be left of Russia.” Yet in every Western media of record, it is Russia who remains “the aggressor”, “the growing threat”, “the source of the rising crisis”, and “the out-of-control power that must be stopped”.

There are exact thought governors at work throughout. I have analysed these structures of delusion in learned journals as ‘the ruling group-mind’ (collectively regulating assumptions that are false but taken for granted) and, sustaining it, the ‘argumentum ad adversarium’ (the diversion of all issues to a common adversary). The “escalating crisis in Ukraine” expresses these fallacious operations in paradigm form. So does the false claim of “Syrian use of chemical weapons” which almost led to US bombing of Syria’s civilian infrastructures a few months earlier. The mind mechanics at work form the inner logic of the lies which never stop. The grossest operations go back to the Reagan regime naming Nicaragua as “a clear and present danger to the United States” to justify US war crimes against it which in turn fed the ever- growing corporate-military complex and murderous covert operations. Always the mind-stopping mendacity and criminal aggressions are justified through the ruling group-mind and enemy-hate switch which form the deep grammar of this thought system.

At the most general level, the “Russian threat to Ukraine” diverts public attention from the really fatal problems of the world and their global causal mechanism – transnational money sequencing – which is metastasising further in Ukraine. The air, soil and water cumulatively degrade from its transnational corporate looting and polluting. The climates and oceans destabilize from the same cause at the same time. Species too become extinct at a spasm rate, and the world’s forests, meadows and fisheries are cumulatively destroyed. The global food system produces more and more disabling junk as commodity diseases multiply. The vocational future of the next generations is eliminated for a growing majority of people. All these trends and more are one-way, degenerate, and undeniable. All are driven by US-led private and transnational money-sequence multiplication which now moves into and through Ukraine. Without Russia’s past financial and energy assistance worth tens of billions of dollars and completely destabilized by the US-led violent coup, Ukraine verges towards collapse. That is where the Greek model comes in – the stripping of Ukraine to pay for what it has lost from Russia by the US-led coup which further enables military advance to Russia’s borders.

As usual, such geostrategic intervention is life destructive at every level of its consequences, but the underlying causal mechanism is unspeakable in official culture. From Africa to Europe to the Middle East to Latin America, the unspoken master trend is systematic society destruction. Look, for example, forward and backward from the last manufactured crises geared to enable US-led destabilization to bombing – the “weapons of mass destruction of Iraq”, the “genocidal plans of the dictator Gadaffi”, “Assad’s chemical weapons used on his own people”, or, across the ocean, Venezuela’s “despotism” which priorizes public education, healthcare and poverty elimination. Always the victim society has more developed social programs than its neighbours.  The ultimate enemy is social life bases themselves.

Observe the common pattern of social destruction. It begins with US covert forces sponsoring opposition forces in the society featuring fascist and jihadist terrorists, mounting global media campaigns against the targeted leader, murders committed by snipers pretending to be state agents, growing civil division and hate towards civil war, and absolutely one-sided reporting of the US point of view, and reverse-moral justifications for what ends as society destruction.  The US bombing stage has not yet been reached in Syria because Russia led the alternative of UN chemical-weapons destruction, even though Syria had never used the weapon. Not long after destroying Iraq and Libya on known false pretexts, the US proclaimed again and again the mass-murderous gas used in Syria was by “Assad the war criminal” although the evidence kept disconfirming the big lie mega-phoned by John Kerry. It went all the way to a White House plan to bomb civilian infrastructures as in Iraq and Libya. In revealing contrast, Russia “the world bully” has never bombed a city. Yet US reverse projection rules. As for Assad’s “war crime”, the truth found by multiple analysis was that “kitchen sarin” manufactured in Turkey and crude-missile lobbed by the al Nusra jihadists allied with the US and funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar was the source of the gas massacre (as Seymour Hersh has finally made public).

Much the same generic script of engineered civil conflict and war combined with false threat and crimes of the constructed foreign enemy has been used over and over again against Iran and its “nuclear threat” with no evidence, while Israel has an illegal stockpile of them threatening to use them to stop Iran’s “nuclear threat”. In all, the reverse-projection tactic has become the signature of everything the US and its allies allege of others to ruin them.

Ukraine in Motion as Another Paradigm Example of US-led Society Destruction

Serial false allegations and pretexts thus unfold again against Russia in regard to Ukraine. The US-led mayhem and violence varies widely, but the dots have not yet been joined on what is always achieved beneath the political-ideological shows – the tearing apart and dispossession of one society after another by US-led financial and armed means.  Here it is Ukraine and the set-up of Russia at once. Not only is the society decapitated, as in Ukraine or Libya or Iraq or as demanded in Syria. That is the official script. Much more deeply the society’s civil bonds are rent asunder, its productive base is sabotaged, its social life supports are stripped, its environment and resources looted and its future despoiled. Always. There is no objective fulfilled except social life-system destruction. But the connections still go unmade. As General Rick Hillier, commander of Canada’s forces helping to bomb Libya said afterwards: “We did it because we could”. As CIA executive director Buzzy Krongard acknowledges about the permanent US war, but still without the consequence named: “It will be won by forces you do not know about, in actions you will not see, and in ways you may not want to know about”.

The supremely evil truth becomes testable by its continuous repetition. Dismantling or destroying society’s very life bases is the innermost meaning of US-led “freedom” and “globalization”.  It includes even US society itself by ever more monstrous misallocation of public resources away from what serves life bases to what deprives them. If one reviews the post-1980 trajectory of ruin of nations, the objectively evil pattern becomes clear. No other actually working goal has been achieved since the Reagan-Thatcher turn. It is the DNA of the global cancer system. Try to think of exception. Since the war-criminal destruction of poverty-ridden Nicaragua’s new schools and clinics by the signature method of covertly US funded and armed forces within, the society-destruction method has only grown and multiplied by terrorist as well as financial means. When Obama says “every society must chart its own course”, he follows the reverse moral syntax at work. The deliberate mass-diseasing of 500,000 children in the first manufactured crisis of Iraq as the nearby Soviet Union collapsed revealed what we could expect from the US without another superpower to contain it. In all cases, there has been one underlying principle of outcome – US-led civil disintegration of societies across the world. That is how a cancer works at the transnational level of life organization.

Engineering civil war is the favored method with effective genocide the long consequence. This is true not only in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Syria, but Somalia, Sudan and the  Congo. Direct US  invasion may lose the war from Vietnam to Afghanistan, but its defeat is, more deeply another US-led success at destroying another society. The Wall Street metastasis to EU banker-run Europe has worked without invasion or even proxy uprising, but society destruction is still achieved by the small print of corporate treaties and bank powers people never see. Greece, Spain and Italy are effectively ruined, and behind the dismantling of these and all victim societies is the same transnational corporate system multiplying itself through societies. Big Banks, Oil, Military Contracting, Big Agri-Food and Pharma are themselves only vehicles of the one underlying economic disease of transnational money sequences self-multiplying across all borders without life limits or functions. They feed on ruined societies as their carrion.

Ukraine follows this macro pattern. It comes into the fold of the EU through a US-led fascist coup posing as “freedom” and “revolution”, but in fact hollowing out the society’s lifeblood and bases as the US-led coup and EU financial straitjacket suck it dry. This is the unseen law of transnational money-demand multiplication to the top. In Ukraine the method features similar tools – increasingly armed and destructive oppositional forces on the ground, US bankrolling and direction of the opposition’s factions in orchestrated destruction ($5 billion under aid guises, $20 million for the street reported by Secretary Nuland in a speech to business), and pervasive transnational corporate propaganda about the constructed civil war as a “struggle for Ukraine’s  freedom” – decoded, transnational corporate and bank freedom to loot and pollute. As always, inside allies include  fascist and terrorist forces – the Svoboda and Pravy Sektor factions in Ukraine which now have key executive posts in the coup government and trace their history back to the Ukraine Insurgent Army (UPA) led by their hero Stephen Bandera who allied with the Nazi invasion of Ukraine in 1941 and helped to round up Jews.

The worst is yet to come. Never is there any US building of the victim society’s economy and life support systems, and so too Ukraine. Again we might compare Russia here to the US in Afghanistan over 14 years. The self-multiplying corporate money sequences which reap all gains have no committed life function or obligation including to the imperial state itself. They pay ever fewer taxes to it, and bleed ever more public money and resources from it. There is only one pattern of consequence and Ukraine too is now almost occupied by its ruling mechanism to impoverish the people further to feed the rich. As always, society’s common life capital bases will be further defunded, privatized for profit, and saddled by unpayable transnational bank debts. The real economy will be flooded with more junk foods, media products and social-dumping commodities, and bred to a violence culture already hatched by the coup. Collective life capital bases will be further laid waste for multiplying private money fortunes across borders.

The Life-Blind Thought System Behind Global Society Destruction

Since using the spectacular 9-11 event as pretext for the new PNAC plan of “full-spectrum domination”, falling on the anniversary of the destruction of Chile’s society in 1973, the U.S. has been on a non-stop crusade of destroying societies across the world.  The hollowing out of social bonds and bases includes the US itself. Its impoverishment grows as non-productive riches multiply at the top, middle classes fall to ever new levels of debt, the growing majority of youth is without a future, public squalor spreads across the land, and over 2000 million dollars a day is spent on armed force threat and operations with no real enemy to justify them.

It all goes back to first principles. “There is no such thing as society” declared the fanatic Friedrich von Hayek who was mouth-pieced by his disciple Margaret Thatcher. “We owe our very lives to capitalism”. But deeper than words, the principle of no-society is built into the ruling economic paradigm. Without notice, every life coordinate is erased from account. There are no life needs, no environment, no society, no children, no relations with others, and no history in this life model. All unpriced life goods from water and sewer infrastructures and services to universal public education, culture and healthcare to social security support in age, unemployment, and disability are blinkered out except as “cost burdens”. The very terrestrial biosphere on which everything depends is ruled out of this moronic frame of reference.Demand itself is never people’s needs or necessity. It is private money demand minted by private banks without the legal tender to back it to indebt the great majority and to gamble on their future means of life. ‘Supply’ is not the life means people require. It is ever more priced commodities for profit promoting more human and ecological ill-being as far as corporate globalization extends.  Ukraine can look forward to this US-led thought system ruling over it from within the financialized European Union which is now as banker-run as America.

The ruling value mechanism can be crystallized into natural language equations:  Freedom = freedom for private money demand = in proportion to the amount controlled = ever less freedom for those with less of it = no right to life for those without it.  Even more generally, the underlying master equations of the globalizing system now moving to rule Ukraine into Russia can be defined as follows: Rationality = Self-Maximizing Choice = Always More Money-Value for Self is Good = Self-Multiplying Sequences of Ever More Money to the Top = All Else is Disposable Means to this Pathogenic Growth. This is the innermost value logic of the US-led global system and it has no limit of dispossession and ruin if not stopped. It is perhaps emblematic irony that the favorite for Ukraine’s post-coup President is a billionaire sugar-commodity maker producing no food value, but more and more obesity and diabetes.

World Empire or Globalizing Disease?

Left critics coalesce around “US imperialism” as the common cause of the global meltdown on organic, social and ecological levels. Yet it is strange to call a system an “empire” whose imperial center is increasingly hollowed out on every plane; whose interventions and wars destroy productive forces at every level; and whose outcome is not more amenities for the poor, as apologists like Leo Strauss claim, but ever more societies as black holes with life support systems cumulatively devoured.  “Sometimes I think they feel like they’re in a lab and they’re running experiments on rats and not understanding the consequences of what they are doing,” Vladimir Putin wonders in partial sense of the derangement at work.

More clearly, the states which the US planned to destroy in 2001 (as reported by General Wesley Clark in his memoirs) – Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Syria – are now in fact destroyed societies.  All but Iran are left with civil war and majority destitution where once they had been relatively prosperous and life secure. For example, before Western bombing of Iraq under the usual blame-the-enemy diversion to its leader (a paid CIA agent implanted in office by the US), Iraq led the Middle East in free public healthcare and higher education, and Libya provided free downpayments for young couples’ housing as well prior to its bombing. U.S.-led interventions and aerial bombing have destroyed the social life-organization of both nations without even the electricity and water back on. Syria was also a middle-income quasi-socialist nation, but was independent, friendly with Russia, and capable of fighting an expanding Israel. So Syria too was marked for destabilization. Its internal protests received US-Israel covert support, and turned quickly into civil war with US special operation forces and orchestrated funding of rival camps including jihadists still incinerating the country. As usual the national leader is blamed for everything. All the while, Iran is periodically threatened with annihilation while Venezuela across the ocean is subjected to US-led destabilization too as in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya.

While gas bombs have been thrown freely in Venezuela and Ukraine with US support against democratically elected states, Venezuela’s government serves the poor while Ukraine’s has been  oligarchic on both sides. Putin thus understands Ukraine’s protestors as “tired of seeing one set of crooks replacing another”. In contrast, no common life interest at all exists for the US. When bribes of officials, street gangs and press slander are not enough, US-led destabilization by financial system levers, covert operatives and civil war follow behind reverse-projection cover stories.  One can imagine if Molotov cocktails were thrown during the Wall Street uprising as in US-financed protests in Ukraine and Venezuela. “Violence-threatening protestors” is all they can say about peaceful demonstrations at home however just the cause. Concern about people’s lives, in short, never arises except as a media mask. This is why the US-led coup in Ukraine murdered people and usurped democratic process and legal warrant without a pause. It is also why it demanded the sieg-heiling violent thug Oleh Tyanybok of the Svoboda Party to be a chief advisor to the coup government although he blamed a “Muscovite/Jew mafia” for Ukraine’s problems and “Germans, Kikes and other scum” who want to “take away our Ukrainian state”. He is a symptom of the deep-structural derangement of US rule. In all cases – from Honduras to Paraguay, Egypt to Mali – covert funding, forces of destabilization and chaos are the modus operandi with US special operations leading the repertoire of financial destabilization, demonization of resistance, and armed civil-war training. Unlike classic imperialism, the system spreads by greed and fear, never by productive force development and universalizing rights and laws.

Invasive war in 2014 is not so acceptable to the world after the obliteration of the societies and life infrastructures of Iraq and Libya. So drones, suitcases of money, special operations, propaganda campaigns and whatever else can sabotage resistance are deployed to pry societies open for competitively self-multiplying transnational corporations to exploit foreign resources, labor and forced markets. This is known as “the free movement of private capital and commodities”. Until 1991, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was still the biggest block and resource treasure of all to US-led global financialization. Thus military encirclement, pervasive international slander, ruinous armaments races and illegal embargoes followed for 50 years. It eventually worked to cause the intended collapse of the Soviet Union by spending it bankrupt on the armaments race, and forcing repression by perpetual war threats from richer societies. But US market magic and miracles for the world’s biggest country and its neighbours did not work at all. So the GDP’s of the Soviet republics fell by 60%, and polls today show that 56% of Ukranians would prefer to be governed as before. Social priorities and universal life necessities matter more to them than majority dispossession and glitz for the rich. But no Western journalist dares say it. And so the spectacularly failed global capitalist experiment has passed without a word of notice from “the free world”.  It remains unspeakable to name.

Yet reality catches up. The US-led empire was itself unravelling in historical time without recognition. Its most gigantic failure has come back to haunt it – running the once relatively well-off societies of the USSR into productive and cultural ruin. “Well and good”, one is taught to think. “The Soviet Union repressed free speech”. But like Cuba today, a state which is continuously threatened with war, plague, assassination and hate by richer states reverts to tight control. But if one considers all the universal sciences, arts, pensions, education, and health-care provision of the Union of Socialist Republics which have been systematically destroyed, the meaning takes on a different complexion. It remains unspeakable but lies at the heart of the Ukraine-Russia crisis today. Nothing is better but only worse in collective life capital evolution.

Many prefer the language of the imperial past. In this way reality is categorized as familiar, not mutant, backward and chaotic. The repetitions are not from “tragedy” to “farce”, as Karl Marx memorably observed in the case of Louis Bonaparte III of France. Today there is nothing but tragedy. It may all seem to be about oil and imperialism, what opponents focus on. Yet possessing others’ oil and territory are comparatively rational objectives compared to the actual performance of metastasising destruction. Far more is spent on unproductive technologies of killing and terror than has been won in new oil and territory. Both land and energy sources have been largely despoiled and wasted. The oil produced in Iraq, for example, is not close to pre-1990 levels and the oil in Libya is the site of unending civil war. The pattern is destroying not producing through generational time.  Corruption and insecurity are universalized, not life as human. Ukraine’s coup now binds it in the pathological direction – more civil strife towards war, more mountains of bank debt, more lack of affordable energy, more ethnic hatred, more mass homicidal weapons, and more rot of dysfunctional wealth inequality.

Can this be an advance of empire? Or is it the next sign of morbid overreach, corruption and fall? An empire has a unified center, a state in control of its subjects and private enterprises, a productive capacity that leads the societies within its imperial reach, an historical civilization of architecture, art, and culture, and most of all enduring public infrastructures and great works across its domains of command. The US global system has ever less of any of these. Its imperial center is divided into gridlock, its productive powers have been increasingly exported or surpassed elsewhere, its architecture, arts and culture are increasingly mindless and violence-ridden, its capacities of civilization and public infrastructures are defunded and collapse at every turn. The US now leads only in monopoly of world currency issue, capacities to destroy life and life conditions, and mass propaganda methods. Its transnational corporations are no longer subservient to any imperial center or purpose but multiply their private money sequences on the back of monopolies of force and money-issue paid for by increasingly impoverished citizens.

The collapsing US civilization cannot comprehend its derangement. Its money-party leaders can only see more opportunity for transnational corporate profits – the moral DNA of the cancer system. This is why the destruction of Russia has been long planned by the geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski – first in Afghanistan where he rallied the original jihadists to fight the Soviet Union along with tens of billions in US cash and weapons which developed into 9-11 and the 9-11 wars. In Ukraine the US continues the strategy. In Afghanistan the route to the ex-Soviet oilfields, the US funding was the beginning of the Taliban and al Qaeda forces whose US-manipulated function was and remains destroying societies by armed civil war to complement financial bleeding. This same method bled Yugoslavia and then the USSR dry and has worked from Afghanistan through Iraq and Serbian-Kosovo wars to Syria to Somalia, Mali and Nigeria under many names, but almost always it turns out the terror is manipulated by US money, arms and connections. Today Brzezinski has former Harvard graduate students who strategically game for the Obama administration to smash Russia into ungovernable pieces – the long game.

This is not an exaggerated sense of danger, but a long track record. Wrecking the society in crisis is the testable generalization of all US interventions. More exactly, the unseen law of the ruling system across borders including those of the US is: Ever more public money is hemorrhaged into private money sequences with ever more ruined societies the result.

Consider Ukraine with this diagnostic principle in mind. We can predict from this system law that only more disintegration of society and mutual life support systems will occur in Ukraine with more US-EU bank and corporate feeding on the post-coup remains. US and EU countries themselves will come apart more in the process, and the US will bleed vastly more public resources to keep metastasising the unrecognized fatal disorder while 90% of its own people and the world grow poorer, more malnourished and life insecure.

US Script of Democracy and Freedom versus Facts of Violence and Society Destruction

To put the matter in one sentence, the collapse and overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government has been financed and directed by the U.S, cored in violence by the Nazi roots of the uprising linked with the US-selected coup leaders now in power, and after the swift take-back of Crimea by Russia fanned into hysteria by the corporate media. Revealingly, the Bandera-loving Nazis on the street leading the chaotic terror of Feb 22-24 caused the overthrow of the legitimate government exactly when the civil battle had already been won.   The elected President Yanukovych made concessions on everything – his PM was fired, the new protest laws against helmets, metal shields, and masks were revoked (even although banned everywhere else), with legitimate democratic turnover of government plainly in sight and further brokered by the EU in presidential succession. But there was no assurance of electoral victory of the US-allied Kiev forces. They had already lost two elections to the federalist Party of Regions and its alliance governments. It was then the US-led violent overthrow happened in bloodshed return of the Nazi past proclaimed as “freedom” and “revolution”. The violent coup was instantly validated by the US state, but the EU paused for days before diverting blame to Russia too.  No media of record appeared to notice that the US had criminally led the coup, and selected and instructed the new coup-government leaders with no vote, no election, and no public discussion. All the while the democratic referendum so abused in Crimea was never imagined for Ukraine by “the free press” and “leaders of the democratic world” even when eastern Ukraine popular uprisings demanded it.

The coup was precisely rushed ahead to avoid any election. The US-backed forces had already lost two in a row. No reports mentioned this in the Free World.  The track-switch of attention was instead to Russia. How could the strategy fail? If Putin draws the line at Crimea, he forwards the plan of blaming Russia. If he does not, the long game to dismantle Russia moves faster. If Putin calls a sudden referendum in Crimea to show its citizens’ overwhelming support, he can be ridiculed for “the farce”, “the region under military occupation”, “the gun to the head”. If almost all the people of Crimea want in fact to join the historic mother country in a peaceful vote, just keep repeating “Russia’s annexation of Crimea”, “brute force”, “Russian aggression”. The violent putsch in Ukraine is thus erased from view. It disappears into reverse projection. The most basic reality test is always blocked – Does the society rise or fall in life means available and produced, social life infrastructures and services, employment levels, youth life purpose, and ecological integrity after US-induced “regime change”. It always falls. Is there any exception?

Crimea joining historic Russia again after it was won from the Ottoman Empire centuries ago revealingly goes the opposite way.  Bridges, roads and tunnels are promised and planned in immediately in the wake of the Olympic building spree. Pensions, minimum wages and healthcare are invested in to “raise life standards”. Exposure of the world to Crimea’s historical treasure begins. In contrast, the opposing US-led forces silence the EU agreement for presidential succession in Ukraine, lead coup of the elected government with neo-Nazi snipers and violent chaos, direct IMF austerity and social dispossession for the people’s collapsing life support systems, set the main languages, cultures and identifications of citizens into irreparable division and civil war footing, and proclaim virulently against Russia taking an opposite path.

Dividing society from within with no common or productive goal but only more tearing apart is the generic meaning – as in Yugoslavia before it, Libya and Syria in between, Honduras, Paraguay, where does it stop?  Direct the destabilizing in the street with billions for the purpose, play on real and invented problems, insert special forces to lead the mounting violence, bribe the people with dollars and bananas, divide classes and cultures to the death, proclaim freedom and prosperity, and run the country into the ground with no life construction undertaken nor any life base any longer secure for 90% of the people. The special forces at work here incredibly included Israelis trained in Gaza allying with the legacy of Ukraine Nazism. But the stakes are large and undiscussed. Ukraine is the biggest land mass of Europe, a leading global grain producer, and home to newly found gas-reserves of possibly trillions of cubic feet. The US-led lockdown on all of it is clear in the new coup state.  A neo-liberal banker is Prime Minister, a violence script-writer and chief aide to the Fatherland Party is President, and various neo-fascists are in cabinet positions with none elected. To complete the destruction of democratic legitimacy of Ukraine took only a few hours. But public panic and appointing banker presidents has already been managed in Italy and Greece, why not here too? With no mass media noticing the growing reversal of democracy and freedom in their name, Putin-bashing is the corporate-press game.

Media Censorship and the Violation of International Law

Crimea joining Russia was the lightning rod for the defining US operation of reverse projection, always blaming the other side for what one is doing oneself as the reason for attacking it. Since the Reagan regime made this the signature operation of US propaganda which is always repeated by the media as fact , an Orwellian rule of big lies has been normalized. Reverse projection combines with the earlier defined ad adversarium fallacy and ruling group-mind to overwhelm all reasoned understanding with cartoon-like masks of good (US) and evil (Them) where fact never interferes. Media-conditioned publics are in this way stampeded through one US-led war and civil war after another with official oppositions rationalizing the same belligerent stupefaction. With only the point of view of the US or its allies reported, only the US story line and point of view can be seen or heard by the great majority.

So too in “the Ukraine crisis”. That Russia “invaded Crimea and annexed it against international law” has been the basic story for global denunciation of Russia.  In fact over 80% of Crimeans voted, over three times the electorate participation in the US, and almost all of them for integration with Russia not “annexation by it”.  The striking fact is that given the accuracy of these figures which is not denied, it is far more than could enable Quebec to legally secede from Canada even with universal language rights lacking in Ukraine. By mathematical deduction, the referendum also included the great majority of the nearly 40% identified as Ukrainians and Tatars. How is it that all you ever heard or saw in the mass media were selected opposing voices from Ukrainian and Tatar minorities? This is the ruling censorship by unseen means – selecting out of public view all facts that are not consistent with the ruling script. More exactly, the corporate media select for public showing only what sells the transnational money-sequence system. This is why we never hear of the US placing itself above all international laws as it enforces this ruling program. Its entire record here is blinkered out a-priori. So blame of others easily enters the ruling group-mind internalized by mass media audiences

This point is worth pausing on because the US is the very “rogue state”, “international outlaw”, “criminal violator of human rights” and, above all, perpetrator of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” which it is always projecting onto other states. It has refused to ratify the International Criminal Court to uphold the law against war crimes and crimes against humanity, and publicly repudiated the Court’s right to investigate US criminal violations including the “supreme crime” of a war of aggression. While it is always invoking international laws to falsely blame others of violating them (e.g., Syria’s use of chemical weapons), the US has systematically undermined virtually all international laws to protect human life – treaties and conventions against landmines, against biological weapons, against international ballistic missiles, against small arms, against torture, against racism, against arbitrary seizure and imprisonment, against military weather distortions, against biodiversity loss, and against climate destabilization. Even international agreements on the rights of children and of women have been sabotaged. Yet this unrelenting profile of lawless US right to terror and destruction is nowhere published. This is how censorship by selection works without people knowing it.

What then are we to say about “Russia’s brutal invasion and seizure of Crimea”?  In fact the number of Russian soldiers in Crimea were fewer than agreed by contract with Ukraine long prior to the referendum.  Crimea is and was also an historic Russian port and strategic peninsula even under Ukraine’s interregnum, and its place in Ukraine occurred only by a 1954 decree of the now-defunct Soviet Union. All of these facts are selected out by corporate media and states which only repeat “Russian brute force”, “illegal seizure of territory”, “war of invasion”, and even “what Hitler did back in the 1930’s” (Hilary Clinton). There is no limit to the absurd hypocrisy of accusation. Thus attention is diverted again and again onto the latest enemy as lawless and the US as law-abiding in contradiction to the facts.

In reality, no injury occurred in the peaceful and overwhelmingly popular integration of Crimea with Russia. Ukrainian troops yielded in peaceful transition and were extended offers to stay. There was no bloodshed with one exception – a soldier in Sebastopol murdered by two men at night in masks and a getaway car tied back to the Ukraine coup leaders. They called it “the entry into the stage of military conflict” and the corporate media reported it without evidence or question. But the sniper murders of 21 people in the Kiev uprising by US-led coup agent was already diplomatically registered by March 4. Predictably, every detail was gagged in ‘the free press’ and the official ‘Free World’. Even the EU’s Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton to whom the facts of the mass murder were communicated by a fellow Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet of Estonia, remained silent. He reported that in fact the medical and forensic evidence proved all 21 murders were by “the same type of bullets” and from “the same handwriting” which could only be from “the new coalition” [of the coup government]. “The new coalition”, concluded Foreign Minister Paet in English, “don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. So that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

Such mass murder is grounds for prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law and prosecution by the International Court. But due process of law and criminal prosecution are repressed at the same time as the known diplomatic evidence is silenced in the public sphere. Group-mind, reverse projection and blame-the-enemy operations have become so automatic that the most important historical facts and heinous crimes do no register through their prism. Thus Russia goes on being accused of the “violations of law” and “international law” with John Kerry bawling loudest aginst the evidence. That the violent coup itself was propelled by mass murder of protestors perpetrated by the US-led insurrection to blame on the elected government has thus never made the news. The murderous logic was again evident in microcosm when troops of the coup state opened fire on unarmed citizens approaching their barracks to talk on the Easter eve of the Geneva agreement to repudiate armed violence. The day after the Geneva accord a worse attack exploded in Slavyansk with gunmen (named as Right Sector, the fascist armed group behind the coup whose activities the accord banned)  racing up in jeeps to a checkpoint killing at least three people including a bus-driver before disappearing. As always the US-orchestrated government in Kiev projected all attacks onto Russia with no evidence.

All the while heavy Ukraine armed forces moved into eastern Ukraine blocked by citizens while Kiev’s own central street still remains occupied by coup forces. “Putin’s threats” continue to be manufactured along with “Russia’s forcible annexation of Crimea” despite the inhabitants voting peacefully and overwhelmingly for re-unification with Russia in affirmation of a relationship over two centuries old. Altogether erased from reports are the facts that the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter and “the right of nations to self-determination” (Article 2, Chapter 1), the very right Ukraine invoked in seceding from the USSR in 1991, and the same right invoked for the separation of Kosovo from Serbia. Also erased is the UN International Court ruling in July 2010 that “general international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence” Once again we find on closer inspection that what is proclaimed as fact and law by US leaders and allied states is yet another level of a big lie system.

Conclusion

The Ukraine crisis is another variation on the great crisis of the world – the undeclared global war of transnational corporate money sequences to multiply themselves through human societies and life on earth in the diagnosable form of an invasive cancer. Yet what is different in Ukraine is that eastern Ukrainian citizens and the world’s largest nation have stood against the new metastasis across traditional borders and cultural regions. Activists with weapons and massive local support across Donetsk region hoist their own flag and demand referendum for constitutional independence from the fascist-led coup state. The elected Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the equivalent of the US Congress, has given unanimous approval for defense of eastern Ukraine protestors against armed assault from the coup government, already underway with NATO flexing armed power all around. Yet this time the resistance cannot be just overrun or bombed. And this time the system DNA begins to be recognized – US-led destruction of societies to ensure their servile dependency and open borders for hollowing out.

The very words “Russia” and “Putin” may provoke ruling group-mind reactions pro or con, so analysis here sticks to track records, trends and policy directions – the defining past, present and future lines of system decision on both sides. What is clear now are set-point differences and shifts towards recognition of the society-destroying forces. The most visible shift has been set into motion by the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government, big-lie pretexts and serial murders in another US-made civil chaos. But Russia has moved decisively to stop it in the historical process still unfolding.

The never-named enemy behind the coup and behind the collapse of evolved social and natural life systems across the planet has been blocked on the ground. Neither Putin nor Russia are a model, but like Venezuela and much of Latin America, they now stand against the invasive disorder overrunning life bases and needs in every region. The deepest issue is the US money-cancer system. In murderously destabilizing and overthrowing Ukraine’s elected government and advancing towards Russia’s borders in the latest metastasis, the pathogenic forces are now confronted by the world’s largest country, the longest-tested army and once socialist superpower. All the lies in the world cannot overwhelm this resistance. Everywhere the US-led collapse of world life security is being decoded outside corporate states and media. The Ukraine crisis, perhaps linked to Russia-China movement from the US oil-dollar, could be a new turning point against the Great Sickness of our world.

 Jamal al Jamal, a career diplomat, had been named as the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic in October 2013.  It was not an easy mission.  Since the Czech Republic had joined the western block countries, it had become a strong supporter of Israel; the Czech President Milos Zeman had even called for the Czech embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Al Jamal had requested that the President rescind his call for the illegal move.

On January 1st, 2014, the al Jamal family was just moving into a new residence and a new office. According to Reuters, “Al-Jamal’s residence was part of a new complex including a yet-to-be-opened Palestinian Embassy.” [1] There was an explosion: Jamal al Jamal had suffered grievous injuries to his head, hands and stomach.  He was taken to a military hospital where he soon succumbed to his injuries.

The reaction of the pro-Israeli Czech government was disappointing: they blamed the victim.  Andor Sandor, the former head of Czech military intelligence who was often quoted, blustered: “I think the Palestinian administration should explain many questions related to the explosion.”   He dismissed the possibilities that the usual terror suspects — Hamas and countries supporting the Palestinian cause — would have been involved.  Israel was above suspicion, he claimed — apparently with a straight face — because such a killing would damage the “peace process.” (The “accident” happened on the eve of a meeting between John Kerry and Netanyahu.)

The Czech government immediately claimed that al Jamal had carelessly blown himself up with Palestinian explosives when opening an embassy safe.  They were outraged at the unregistered firearms and explosives that they found at the embassy; some suggested charging the Palestinian embassy for breaching the Convention of Vienna for the illegal material.  There was no “terrorism”; the death was considered a case of negligence and possession of illegal armaments. Al Jamas’s daughter Rana did not believe that there had been any “accident”; she suspected that the safe had been tampered with during the move.

Palestinian embassy staff pointed out that the safe was new and did not contain any explosives; experts noted that even booby-trapped safes are unlikely to be lethal.  PLO officials claimed that the firearms and explosives had been given to the embassy by officials of the much friendlier Communist Czechoslovakia and had not been brought into the country illegally.

In April 2014, the story changed dramatically.  According to the new story, someone had placed the plastic explosive Semtex into a book — two, actually — that al Jamal had opened.  Police claimed that the Semtex was “at least” 30 years old, so someone had to have placed it in the book decades before. The police hadn’t actually confirmed that it was Semtex, but they were sure that “it” was 30 years old. The “books”, they then admitted, were actually boxes of Semtex disguised to look like books. [2] According to the Czechs, there was still no suspicion of foul play; it was still an “accident.”

The cavalier responses of the Czech government to the death of the Palestinian ambassador indicates a disturbing indifference to the tragedy. Had a Czechoslovakian government donated the “books” to a previous consulate? Or were they maliciously planted during the embassy move? An investigation should determine the origin of the disguised Semtex “books” and how they arrived at the embassy.

Given the vulnerability of Palestinian leaders and the history of their elimination by Israel, the deaths of prominent Palestinians should be assumed to be suspicious until proven otherwise.

Notes

[1] Palestinian ambassador to Czech Republic killed by book with hidden explosive. Circa. April 8, 2014 at: http://cir.ca/news/palestinian-ambassador-killed-in-prague

[2] Czech News Agency. Palestinian diplomat killed by Semtex from 1970s. April 8, 2014.  Prague Post at: http://www.praguepost.com/the-big-story/38227-palestinian-diplomat-killed-by-semtex-from-1970s

Karin Brothers is a freelance writer.

It’s Official: Erdogan sent Turkish Troops into Syria

April 26th, 2014 by Dr. Christof Lehmann

Turkish Troops deployed 200 Meters from ISIL Al Qaeda affiliated Mercenaries – Deployment of Mercenaries to Suleyman Shah Tomb an Engineered Pretext for a Turkish Invasion

Now also officially, Turkey’s Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan said he has sent Turkish troops 25 kilometers into Syria. To “send aid” to the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I who founded the Ottoman Empire, he claims. Turkish special forces have been observed in Syria, cooperating with mercenary forces, since 2012.


Suleyman Shah_Turkey_Aleppo_SyriaResponding to allegations that Turkey has launched joint operations with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Syria, Turkey’s Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan responded saying that a Turkish convoy had carried “aid” to the tomb of Suleyman Shah.The tomb is located 25 kilometers inside Syrian territory and remains under Turkish sovereignty under The Franco – Turkish Pact of 1921. The treaty, however, does not provide for unauthorized Turkish troop deployments, especially not when these troops are cooperating with an international brigade of mercenaries in Turkish service, who are fighting the Syrian armed forces.

Erdogan DavotogluErdogan made the statement to journalists on children’ day, two days ago, while he was at en event with primary school students in Ankara. Later on, at an official reception at Turkey’s parliament, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Davotoglu, said that the deployment is a “routine change of duty” of the Turkish troops which are guarding the tomb. Army Commander General Hulusi Akar described the deployment of the 300 men strong convoy as “planned activity”.

Reports in social media associated to ISIL reported earlier that day, that Turkey had sent 6 tanks, 12 armored vehicles and 300 Turkish troops. Quoting eyewitnesses, the reports added that the Turkish detachment had taken position 200 meters away from a position held by the ISIL.

March 14, Davotoglu warned that “Turkey would have to take all precautions to protect the tomb”. The statement was made after clashes between Syrian armed forces and ISIL in the region near the tomb. The Turkish Foreign Minister’s statement was followed by a statement of Turkey’s Energy Minister, Taner Yaldiz on March 20. Yaldiz said:

“The tomb of Suleyman Shah is a rare place, being Turkish land outside of Turkey’s own borders. There is no  difference between the tomb in Ankara or Sinop. The soil on which it is located is Turkish soild. Our armed forces are ensuring and protecting it”.

sykes_fabius_picot_hagueThe tomb is located 25 kilometers within Syrian territory in Aleppo province. Turkish sovereignty over the tomb was granted by the former colonial power France in 1921, and the agreement was renewed when Syria won independence in 1936.

Turkey can, arguably, claim that the deployment of troops to sovereign territory does not elevate the conflict to an international conflict. Turkey, as well as its allies including the former colonial power France claim that the conflict is a civil war. Turkey’s and its allies use of international mercenaries, however, has already elevated the situation to an international war according to international law. Moreover, the admitted involvement of the former colonial power France made the conflict an international conflict under the extended protocols of the Geneva Conventions.

ISIL position 200 meters from Suleyman Shah tomb a Turkish engineered provocation . Even though the tomb is on a patch of sovereign Turkish territory, there are a number of factors that contradict the argument that Turkey would have to “protect” the tomb from Syrian armed forces or from ISIL.

Syrian troopsWith regards to ISIL, its brigades are being financed and armed by Turkey, along with other members of the anti-Syrian coalition, and its command structure is, despite attempts to cover up the fact, highly integrated with Turkish military as well as Turkish and Western as well as Saudi intelligence. It is, in every sense of the word, an international corps of mercenaries in the service of Turkey and its allies against Syria.

With regard to the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian Arab Army would not have to deploy troops anywhere near the Turkish national shrine, was it not for the fact that ISIL has entrenched itself in a position no more than 200 meters away from the tomb.

Aleppo 2013, Susanne Posel file photoTurkish troops deployed on Syrian territory since 2012. While the situation at and around the tomb, including ISIL and regular Turkish troops is a provocative act of war, the deployment of Turkish troops to Syrian territory is no novum.

Turkish troops have been deployed in Syria since 2012, assigned to different roles including arms deliveries, command and intelligence operations as well as special operations. To mention but a few:

In August 2012 a Turkish General was reported captured in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Turkey denied, and it could not be verified independent that the officer was a general. The capture of a Turkish officer, however, was independently verified for us.

Minnegh airfield April 2013, Turkish regular troops, special forces, and airmen were involved in the attempt to capture the Minnegh military air field. Turkish troops were fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusrah fighters.  March 2014, eyewitnesses reported about the presence of Turkish special forces in Syria’s Lattakia province, guiding Turkish artillery, missile and tank fire while thousands of Jabhat al-Nusrah fighters swarmed across the Turkish border into Syria.

The deployment of ISIL mercenaries and the provoking of clashes between the Syrian army and ISIL near the tomb as pretext for the deployment of Turkish troops is provocative but not surprising.

A vision becomes tangible. Here at the edge of Europe, models for a new socialism arise, for the lived experience of justice and freedom; for the healing of nature and for regional self-sufficiency.

Interconnected communities and regions – and no longer (only) the working class – are the revolutionary subjects for a new socialism. Amongst them the collective intelligence develops with which they are able to encounter the challenges and resist opposition. The country could thereby again become the Mecca of the world’s revolutionary youth. This spark will spread like wildfire – and no power in the world will be able to extinguish it. For a united people, connected through friendship and the sharing of knowledge, in possession of healthy and decentralized conditions of production, unified by a heart-anchored universal ethic – will never be defeated.

“In my country there is a prohibited word. A thousand times they have put it in shackles, a thousand times it arose again.” (Manuel Alegre)

“It will become plain, that the world has long possessed the dream of something, of which it only needs to possess its consciousness, for it to possess it in reality.”(Karl Marx)

Note: In this text the words socialism and communism are used synonymously. I see their differentiation and the rift, which has been stretched between their representatives, as no longer appropriate today. This article is directed toward all those interested in justice, solidarity and freedom.

Part I: Dictatorship and Revolution in Portugal – History of a Dream

Lisbon, December 1960. In a bar two students clink their glasses to freedom – “A Liberdade!” They are spied on, denounced and finally sentenced to seven years in prison. Under the Portuguese military dictatorship the word ‘freedom’ is prohibited. It was reading about this incident in the London Times which moved the lawyer, Peter Benenson, to found Amnesty International.It would still be thirteen years to the end of the dictatorship in Portugal. On April 25, 1974 left-leaning troops move into Lisbon and within hours take over all key strategic places in the country. The head of state and secret service give up after a short resistance. Forty-eight years of dictatorship are over. The dream of socialism awakens.

Today Portugal suffers under a dictatorship again – the dictatorship of capital, as countless graffiti on the walls attest. Austerity measures, debt and tax regulations pressure the workers, small business owners, craftsmen and farmers above all others. The wave of privatization pushes masses of people into unemployment. The number of young people leaving the country today is almost as high as during the dictatorship – back then they fled military service and prison, today they flee from the prospect of a bleak future.

But the country and its people have not fully forgotten the dream of freedom, equality and socialism. After the big demonstrations against the Troika in recent years, some pioneer groups moved to the countryside to build alternatives – cooperatives for regional subsistence and neighborly assistance; “Ajudadas” (actions of mutual help); legal and illegal local markets for exchanging goods outside of the monetary system; “Land Banks” for transferring property between landowners and landless people; citizenship academies for conveying knowledge. As small and cautious as these attempts often are they carry great potential. Visionary thinkers already see a new map of Portugal arising – a map of regional economic cycles, modern subsistence, self-confident eco-regions and model villages, which counter the globalized world with another reality.

At a time when the dream of socialism seemed to be over – with the decline of the eastern bloc and the fall of the Berlin Wall, with its activists reintegrating into the capitalist system – it turns out that socialism is a dream of humanity and a dream of humanity cannot be suppressed. It will come out time and again anew until it is realized. However, this might happen differently than its early proponents predicted.

Capitalism is not the final state of civilization. A system directed toward exploitation and profit cannot last in the long run. Its inherent violence destroys everything which is alive and valuable; it destroys resources and the basic necessities of life. Young people are rising up against this in all parts of the planet. It is only a matter of time before the collapse of the system; a short time.

Strange as it may seem, in the countries most affected by the crisis, a possible alternative is arising: a humane socialism of interconnected autonomous regions and communities, of self-determination and cooperation with nature. A socialism of trust in which people can experience community before they engage in thesocialization of production. A socialism of self-organization that subverts systems of globalized capitalism because it no longer cooperates with them and no longer offers a target for their counter powers. Once the first functioning examples are visible it spreads among the youth of the world like wildfire.

This movement will, like any other, unfold to its revolutionary potential as far as its advocates and activists become conscious of the dream that connects them all.

April 25th 1974 – the “Longest Day”

“On every corner, a friend. In every face, equality. It is the people who command,” sang Zeca Afonso in the famous, outlawed song, “Grândola Vila Morena.” The lyrics expressed the feelings of the multitude of land workers in the Alentejo, who had long suffered under the feudal domination of big landowners. Bitterly poor, they needed to hire themselves out as day laborers without rights. Tens of thousands ended up in the torture prisons of the notorious “PIDE,” the secret police, for simply voicing their opinion.

There was no freedom of assembly; those who spoke on the street to more than one person at a time were suspected of conspiracy. Portugal had the highest child mortality rate in Europe. The people were denied education; one-third were illiterate. The sons of the country were fighting in bloody, anachronistic colonial wars in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau.

By the end of the dictatorship the mandatory national service was four years long. Today one sees that generation’s veterans sitting in the squares and in the sun in front of their homes; old men, traumatized and often mutilated. Without the daily experience of solidarity and mutual help in the village communities, without the dream of a different life, it would hardly have been possible for them to live and have survived the suppression, surveillance and hunger.

When the prohibited Grândola song resounded from Renascença radio on that Thursday, shortly after midnight, forty years ago, the young officers of the left wing “Movement of the Armed Forces” were already on their way to the capital – the operation “End of Regime” began. In the early morning they occupied strategic state facilities. Approaching military troops joined together in solidarity. They were welcomed by jubilant masses who lined the roads with gifts of apples, bread and red carnations. The people thus applauded the coup and gave the revolution its name. In the late afternoon the Head of State Caetano resigned. Shots were fired only in front of the PIDE command central, killing four protestors. By the next morning the curse was over.

Six days later, half a million people celebrated May Day on the streets of Lisbon for the first time in their lives. Everyone was on their feet. Lorries of workers came from the suburbs to the city. Red flags flooded from buses and trains. People were dancing in the streets. Finally the country would belong to those who fuel its economy. Finally the workers would lead the factories. Hunger, poverty and undignified work would come to an end.

Solidarity and community would prevail where fear and suppression had so far reigned. Soon the colonies would be released to independence. The prisons were opened, the political prisoners freed. Dissidents, deserters and socialist leaders returned to their home country. The poet and resistance fighter, Manuel Allegre, was welcomed with fliers proclaiming his own words, “We return in May, when the city dresses itself with people in love, and freedom will be the face of the city.”

The dream of freedom and justice, of autonomy and self-determination, of communal property and common responsibility seemed to come true. For many people that celebrated on this day, this dream had a name: Socialism.

Looking back to the Beginning of the 20th Century

This idea had been floating in peoples’ minds since the beginning of the century. It entered Portugal with the first trains that returned from delivering cork to northern Europe, arriving into a bubbling social atmosphere. Change was in the air. While the grain barons of the Alentejo were still partying lavishly subversive messages of revolution and communism, anarchism and socialism spread among the land workers. The news of a country that was governed by farmers and workers and where everyone had the right to land sounded like tales of paradise. The notion of a better life gained a specific name; a theory that opened up the world to the people and connected them to a global process. As is the case wherever people have long endured domination and abuse, it was knowledge capable of changing their situation and self-image.

Worlds of new understanding opened up. Catholicism, nationalism and feudalism – the foundations of society were unveiled as ideologies of domination. Suddenly a land worker in Portugal no longer saw himself as the lowest link in a societal chain, but as part of a global movement. It was an awakening that released new powers, courage and creativity for resistance. Groups of workers hijacked harvest consignments and claimed the profits from sales for themselves. Anarchistic living experiments came into being, which practicedfreedom, nudity and subsistence.

But it was still too early; the oligarchy of ruling families was still too powerful. In 1926 the military seized power after only sixteen years of the republic. In 1932 the ascetic and reclusive bachelor professor of economics, António de Oliviero Salazar, rose to lead the military dictatorship with his austerity measures. His “Estado Novo” (“New State”) propounded discipline, strictness and piety. “Lonely and Proud” was its motto; it seemed as if absolutely non-Portuguese principles had taken power. National self-sufficiency, total censorship and the fierce defense of the colonial empire were the characteristics of the one-party state that diverted the people with “Fado, Football and Fátima.” Many resistance attempts were thwarted during nearly five decades of dictatorship.

The Awakening and Failure of the Carnation Revolution

Now in 1974, a new society, hand-in-hand in solidarity and justice, was to arise. The returning socialist and communist leaders entered the stadium together in a demonstration of unity, enthusiastically saluted by the masses of people, “O povo unido jamais será vencido!” – “The people united will never be defeated!”

The entire nation seemed to radicalize. Businesses and banks were nationalized. Students and professors, so recently still spied on and persecuted by their directors, unseated them from their positions without ceremony and organized their education themselves. Thoughts, ideas and groups, which had been prohibited for half a century, exploded like fireworks. Small left-wing factions wrote their slogans and beliefs all over the walls. Throughout the entire country self-organized citizenship and neighborhood committees arose and took over the fire departments, roadwork and other long neglected tasks. The workers drove out repressive factory-owners. The agrarian reform, modeled on the Soviets, nationalized land; large-scale landowners were expropriated. Land workers founded hundreds of cooperatives on Herdades (farms) and villages, mostly in the south of the country. They worked fields and shared the revenue collectively. Volunteers from many countries came to help. For a short time, Portugal became the Mecca for European youth who dreamt of socialism.

But the Portuguese people did not take the world into their reckoning. 1974 was a year when other southern Europe military dictatorships also fell into crisis, as in Spain, or collapsed, as in Greece. It was the peak of the Cold War; every conflict, every uprising became a proxy conflict between East and West. The West was unwilling to support or tolerate a socialist country in Europe. A new Cuba, Vietnam or Chile had to be prevented by all means. The East-West conflict also divided the lauded unity of the Portuguese people. The socialists were increasingly influenced by the European Social Democrats and adopted their motto: “Reforms instead of Revolution.” The Soviet Union openly supported the Portuguese Communist Party; their followers were mostly in the South while in the North, a well-oiled anti-communist propaganda machine was set into motion, financed and organized, many assume, by the United States.

The other reason for the failure of the revolution came from inside – it was impossible to recover from the imprint of fifty years of dictatorship overnight. The inner wounds were not dealt with and healed, as is still true in many cases today. The unity of the people broke apart principally in those places where there was no real vision and experience of a lived socialism, of actual community. How could people build cooperatives and manage communal properties without knowing how to foster trust among one another? How could one lead without domination? How could one make democratic decisions without getting stuck in a thousand discussions? How should one deal with omnipresent human issues like competition or jealousy? And how could one resolve conflicts healthily without suppression? Uneducated land workers were suddenly responsible for tasks for which they were ill-prepared. The quickly changing governments were still entrenched in economic webs rooted in the principles of capitalism and they did not back the agrarian reforms. People’s enthusiasm and positive will alone were unable to withstand the challenges of independence.

The slogan, “Fascismo nunca mais” – “Fascism Never Again,” which is still often heard in demonstrations today, was the broadest common ground Portugal could agree on after decades without freedom of speech and information. After a final revolt in the “hot summer of 1976,” Portuguese society tipped backwards to a bourgeois way of life. The declaration of socialism as a state goal in the constitution remained as empty words. Step by step capital regained its power. The agrarian reform was revoked; there were bitter scenes as farms were repossessed and small-scale farmers lost the fruits of their work and the land they had just cultivated. The remaining cooperatives – gathering places, the cultural living rooms of the villagers, in which the locals could exchange their products – were deprived of their legal benefits, and therefore, of their basis of existence. Thereby, a centerpiece of the revolution was lost.

End of the Line: Capitalism

The West had won. The entry into the European Union (EU) in 1986 was promoted to the Portuguese people as a way toward security and prosperity. The still quite impoverished country soon became Brussels’ exemplary student, eagerly conforming to all requirements. Included in these was a pervasive change in agriculture. Although the large grain fields had largely covered the nutritional needs of Portugal they were transformed into monoculture forests. Pine and eucalyptus trees were cultivated for export as cheap wood for paper and pallets. This was a shortsighted decision. Not only ecologically, but also economically, as eastern European countries could take over this endeavor even more cheaply after the Berlin Wall fell. At this point, however, Portugal was already dependent on food imports which today stand at approximately 80 percent of the country’s consumption. This is the situation in a country blessed by abundant sunshine and rain and with a mild climate; the “best growth conditions within Europe,” according to Ferry Enthoven of Atlantic Growers, one of the many foreign agri-businesses in Portugal.

The ambitious and destructive mega-projects of the dictatorship, such as the reservoir dams, were carried forward under the EU. One example is the Alqueva Dam in the Alentejo, constructed in 2002, Europe’s biggest reservoir dam which flooded villages and historical cultural sites. It destroyed the once splendid Guadiana River and the many rock formations and breeding grounds for rare birds along its shore. Its water – already severely contaminated by Spain’s agricultural industry – currently feeds into a canal system. Its head-high concrete pipes and reservoirs go through the entire Alentejo. The profit is almost exclusively reaped by foreign agriculture companies with their immense olive groves, plantations of genetically modified corn and greenhouse tunnels. Instead of bringing wealth into the region by employing local labor, these projects annually attract many thousands of low-paidmigrant workersfrom Nepal, Bulgaria and Thailand into the country.

Alfredo Cunhal, organic farmer from Montemor-o-Novo says, “In regard to nature and agriculture, dictatorship, socialism and capitalism have all followed the same strategy – centralization and specialization. This has a destructive effect on nature and is fatal for rural development.” His attempts at reintroducing the traditional way of farming, Montado and at establishing a diverse farm, deserve all the support they can get.

“Then in the nineties they threw money at us,” remembers history professor Antonio Quaresma. “The banks almost chased after us with generous loan offers.”

The borrowed wealth blurred people’s sense of reality. The country was soon full of brand-new cars, modern one-family houses and unused highways; however they had hardly any meansof production that could generate wealth. Quaresma says, “We sensed that we would receive the bill for this at some point, but we didn’t know in which form. Now we know.”

As a result of the global economic crisis the debt trap snapped shut – on both nationally and individual scales. In March 2011 the Portuguese government applied for the European bailout. The consequences of the consequent austerity measures impoverished large parts of society. According to recent reports 600,000 people over the age of 65 are suffering from malnutrition. The unemployment rate in Portugal is at 18 percent and among people under 24, it stands at 37 percent. Through the hikes in interest rates, countless people were unable to pay back their loans, similar to what happened in the United States. They needed to forfeit their homes, which were financed on debt, and move into public housing projects. Innumerable families broke apart under these conditions, yet maintain the pretense of order. “They are ashamed,” notes Teresa Chaves, coordinator of Caritas in Beja, who due to the crisis, has to deal with an ever-increasing number of hardship cases. “School pupils spend the few Euros they have on mobile phones and branded clothes in order to not lose prestige but they don’t have any money left for their school lunches.” She makes a clear point that the country sits on a social time bomb. In the local elections of 2013 the voters gave the government a sign of this discontent; now half of all municipalities in the Alentejo have communist mayors again.

From the Dream to the System Change

What positive idea can reignite people’s will for change after all these attempts and defeats? What is the dream of Portugal?

If one drives through the countryside and stops in remote villages to share bread and thoughts with the locals, one recognizes that something in the people of this nation has remained astonishingly untouched by the many invading forces, including the current demands of globalization. There is a downright defiant connection with the land; village life is still characterized by mutual help, neighborliness and a quiet non-participation in the attitude and pace of global-commercialism; there is also often determined non-cooperation toenviro-economic mega-projects like reservoir dams and mines. Chatting with the customer is still more important to the cashier than the impatient bureaucrat waiting in line. The mechanic still stops working to pet a stray dog. In the bar on the corner one can still get the home-brewed liquor and the cake baked by a neighbor – even for the policeman who turns a blind eye to them; he is part of the village community after all. And it was this community that helped people survive throughout all the times of hardship. Still today, this is more important to many people than arguments about economics and employment.

It is as if the majority of the people silently follow an approach to life different to that prescribed as a panacea in our modern time. An approach to life that is not centered only around money and profit but around common values, connectedness and mutual responsibility. It seems as if a dream has survived in this country, throughout monarchy and the colonial empire, dictatorship and revolution. Perhaps Portugal is destined to revive this dream.

“All knowledge is remembering,” Plato once said. There are few countries with so many cultural monuments, stone circles and dolmen from the Neolithic era. Nestledin many secluded places they give a deep impression of a timeless, enchanted world. Is it possible that these stone circles tell the story of matriarchal peace knowledge where community and cooperation with nature were still a matter of course? It is as if these monuments coined the history of the country more than all attempts at domestication by church and state.

In times of savage globalized capitalism this original way of life has been pushed to the brink of abyss, declared as weakness, has been sneered at and ridiculed. Yet it did not perish, not here in rural Portugal. Observers asks themselves, ‘Could this world become the center of attraction again now that the hitherto capitalist system is cracking, sickening to the point of collapse due to its inherent flaws?’

In this historical situation, the first young people from the protest generation move to the countryside in order to create a perspective for life outside of the Troika. In this climate, away from the modern centers of power, they breathe a new air of freedom and experiment with projects; regenerating landscapes and reactivating abandoned villages in contact with the old local communities. Confronted with austerity measures and the restrictions of the Troika, projects for neighborly help and modern subsistence arise. They connect to each other, develop alternative cooperatives for regional produce and subvert prohibitions against local trade with creativity and stubbornness. They experience for themselves what the older locals hold clear: that village communities and neighborhoods are the most reliable bases in times of crisis.

If these experiments now begin to catch on and apply the widely available knowledge for ecological healing, decentralized energy technology, community and peace-knowledge and alternative economics, their projects could become laboratories for the future. As unlikely as it may seem, it could thus be that the crisis in Southern Europe could help catalyze a global system change. It is a system change which the whole Earth needs. For not only Portugal lives under the dictatorship of capital; the entire world does. With even the most remote regions under threat of subjugation to the New World Order of free trade, the protest movements on all continents urgently need models to pave the road towards post-capitalism.

Portugal, positioned at the South-Western corner of Europe, is a cultural and environmental bridge between Europe and Africa. Solutions that are developed here and tested under the protection of European security, can also be applied in the Global South and could thereby contribute to dissolving the disparity between North and South. Forty years after the Carnation Revolution, the country could become a model for a new socialism.

Socialism must be renewed and expandedby the knowledge that has been developed over the past century. The following five core points need to be components of a new socialism for it to gain a greater attracting and manifesting power than capitalism.
Part II: Core Points of a New Socialism

1. Socialization and Decentralization of Production

Socialism means that the economic power is in the hands of the people who operate and live from it. The decisions and responsibilities are carried by those concerned. Profit-centerednessas a motor of economy is not sustainable. Beyond the private enrichment of individuals stands the interest of the community – this is not a moralistic commandment but a law of social peace.

It is not states which should carry the new socialism, but systems small enough to be readily comprehensible– decentralized village and regional communities which are interlinked, largely self-sufficient and in cooperation with nature. The more transparent and comprehensible the cycles of production, trade and consumption, the healthier they are for humans and for nature. Interconnected, diverse and decentralized – the new socialism functions in many areas taking to nature as its role model.

What does regional autonomy mean? First of all, each region brings forth the basic products that are needed for supplying its humans, animals, plants and ecosystems. This mainly applies to nutrition and energy. The surplus products can be traded outside of the regions. The revenue gained from the sale of products stays in the region. Modern, interconnected subsistence is the principle for the redesign of the global economy and the absolute counter plan to the neoliberal globalization.

2. Community: the Human Interior of the New Socialism

Historically socialism did not fail because the idea was wrong, but because people had no substantial experience of community life. If mistrust and fear dominate human coexistence, one will not be able to socialize production. New socialism is based on communitarian ways of life.

The decision to be courageous, just and in solidarity, is not (only) an individual matter. Human development is also a consequence of the social conditions of production, in which a person grows up and lives; the things he or she experiences as a child – the love, home, security or openness. Functioning communities of trust are the most fertile ground to develop solidarity, communitarian consciousness, courage for truth – all the necessary human qualities for a functioning socialism. Under conditions of narrowness and loneliness, human beings become subordinate or consumers, anddo not develop into social beings. Wherever they experience acceptance, home and challenge in a community, a dream of humankind is fulfilled.

What the youth of the world experience in the squares and camps of the revolutionary movements and what connects the elderly people in the Portuguese villages is an approach to community. This experience can be modernized, objectified and taught.

The community, into which nuclear families are integrated, is the original home of the human being. “It takes a village to raise a child,” says the African proverb. Community is also the home of love; it bestows protection for love’s sensitive opening here so that a love relationship does not turn into a prison.

3. Cooperation with Nature and Landscape Healing

Every region can produce what its inhabitants – human beings, animals and nature – require to live. “Water, food and energy are freely available to all human beings if we no longer follow the laws of capital, but the logic of nature,” says Dr. Dieter Duhm in the “Tamera Manifesto.” Even landscapes severely degraded by desertification, erosion and deforestation, can be healed. Thus the alimentary biotopes can flourish in abundance, which will deprive the basis for any speculation.

In addition, we need to learn to cooperate with nature. We need to realize that alongside human rights, there also exist rights for animals and the Earth. In the new socialism, the principles of equality and justice do not only apply to human beings, but also to nature. Before making any decision, any measure that concerns a region, the animals, plants and ecosystems which would be affected should be consulted as well as human beings We can learn to hear their voice.

With knowledge about cooperation with nature we are capable of ending scarcity, hunger and war all over the world. It enables villages and regions to take their supply into their own hands and to liberate themselves from dependence on the globalized systems. It is knowledge for freedom.

4. The Role of Woman and Reconciliation Between the Genders

The reconciliation between the genders is a condition of peace and justice. There can be no peace on Earth so long as there is war in love. Portugal has always fostered the adoration of the feminine – starting with the aforementioned Neolithic matriarchal tribal cultures, including the worship of the Goddess of the Sky, in Fátima and to the adoration of Mary, present in every village.

A new socialism is unthinkable without higher valuing of women. This is not only about demanding equality but about regaining the female powers and qualities that could not blossom during patriarchy. This is in full accordance with the constitution of the Iroquois where a chief was supposed to be “like a good mother.” In the communities of the future, qualitieslike care, reconciliation, forgiveness, social responsibility, communication and building trust will be indispensable.

Socialism is based on solidarity with women worldwide. This also means courage to stand for the sexual self-determination of woman; liberation from notions of virtue and morals which are no longer appropriate. This outmoded morality was initially violently imposed on women, until they themselves became its defenders.

Sabine Lichtenfels, theologian and co-founder of Tamera says, “Anew feminine power is not targeted at men, nor is it targeted against our love for men – it simply, decisively leaves behind those patriarchal structures that have led to the worldwide extinction of life and love. It is now up to us women to again assume the political and sexual responsibility that we abandoned for so long.”

All areas of life, be it ecology, politics or economy will have a different orientation when women connect with their sources and accept their meaning and task. Communities in which solidarity and trust among women arises, where they take on responsibility for themselves, for their children and for what they love, are anchor places for life itself. Such communities become strong and stable, and canenduremany of the storms of our time.

5. Ethics and Spirituality: Bridges Instead of Walls

The new socialism needs objective ethics which are anchored in the hearts of everyone and not in religious or political dogmas.

Traditionally, Portugal had been a haven for dissidents and heretics. Tolerance, hospitality and openness to strangers have always been more important to the people than ideology and juridical thought. Paulo Borges, a philosophy professor from Lisbon says, “It is part of Portugal’s being to build bridges, rather than walls. The world has been living in a paradigm of separation, leading to exploitation, war and violence for the past 6,000 years. Especially in times of crisis, Portugal can become a birthplace for a new paradigm of empathy and non-separation.” The PAN Party he founded – the party for animal rights and nature – already achieved impressive success at the first election they participated in.

After thefateful alliance between church and state, during monarchy and dictatorship, and the abuse of religious dogmas for domination and tyranny, the church in Portugal has changed. Today it takes on helping, social tasks without the moralizing, oversized pointing finger of its past. As understandable as it was that many followers of the socialist movement initially distanced themselves from the church, there is today a pragmatic cooperation in many places. This is how in some places the best of both church and communism unites – the role model of the revolutionary Jesus, combining the stand for social justice with mutual help. The ethics of an engaged, socialist love for the neighbor under the auspices of an omnipresent Marian power, would stand above any religion or ideology, and could unify the new powers of awakening.

Dom António Vitalino Dantas, the Bishop of Beja, is a representative for engaged Christianity. Known for his dedication to social justice, he tirelessly mediates between politicians and citizens. He also supports the manifestation of self-sufficient models and endeavorsto motivate landlords to donate their unused properties to new ecological and social communities. Dom António says, “Abandoned villages, schools and farms could be revitalized in that way.”

Tamera Research and Education Center

Within these conditions holistic models and socio-ecological experiments prosper. One example is the international peace research center Tamera, founded in 1995 by Sabine Lichtenfels and Dr. Dieter Duhm, a bestselling author of the German “New Left.” Today 170 people live here and work on a comprehensive model for a peace society. They thereby develop and combine ecological and social solutions for a post-capitalist way of life which can be replicated worldwide. Besides their pioneering work in ecology, they focus primarily on the healing of love and of human community. Tamera is an international education centre that also brings current ecological and social knowledge into the local region. It is also becoming a meeting point for a regional and local autonomy movement. Other communities and groups already begin to settle, get connected and exchange among one another around this nexus – in close cooperation and complementation with the extant rural population. Rui Braga, co-worker of Tamera says, “This is how the Alentejo could become the new Silicon Valley for autonomy and sustainability.”

Leila Dregger, born 1959, freelance journalist, was the publisher of the journal ‘The Female Voice – for a Politics of the Heart’ in Germany and has many publications about ecological, political, social and women’s issues. She is based in Tamera, Portugal. For more information: http://www.tamera.org

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April 25th, 2014 by Global Research

Hot off the press - suicide numbers are down dropping by more than 15 percent last year.

for Active Duty military personnel! Hot off the press because not enough time has elapsed yet before the “cooked” books cool down under the closer scrutiny of outsiders’ eyes. Today’s finding sounds just like the white washed barrage we were subjected to under the yearlong scrutiny of daily headlines of out-of-control sex-fiend officers in charge of sexual assault prevention programs sexually groping and sexually harassing their female soldiers. Case after case of the old “do as I say, not as I do” double standard hypocrisy rampant amongst authority figures from our politicians to the military to judges to school officials to parents.

Or the recent barrage of lobbying pressures and propaganda blitzes the Pentagon pulled off last month to ensure that sexual assault cases in the military remain in the military under status quo chain-of-command control and jurisdiction rather than be transferred to civil courts where perpetrators would be far less apt to be protected by the good ol’ boys club of the military. In the meantime, the very same hour of the same day that the conned good ol’ boys club of the US Senate votes to keep it status quo at the Capital building, a stones throw away at the Pentagon another branch of service head is reported to be under investigation for yet another case of sexual misconduct. Two weeks later two the day again at the exact same hour comes the “slap your hand” verdicts of the two highest profile sex assault cases of the entire year – General Sinclair retaining his stars and staying in the service with the inconvenience of a small fine and US Naval Academy midshipman’s complete acquittal. After a bunch of hype making false claims that all their systemic changes are and were working, life goes on as usual with women realizing the system has not changed at all, that it is still failing to either protect them or hold the derelict “perps” accountable. After all the circus headlines, it’s business as usual for women in the military.

Actually the good news of lower suicide rates that the military is so busy touting now, if you look a little closer, the decrease in suicides last year in the Marines and Air Force is by two or three, not the big drop they want the public to believe. So today’s big announcement that the military once again must be doing something right in the across the boards services’ decrease in active duty suicides is just more of the same CYA media blitz. That’s the way the military works. We saw it operating full swing last month with sex assaults. And now this month’s flavor-of-the-month scandal is being addressed by presenting their “must make changes to look good” numbers in an overly transparent attempt to once again take the heat off them. Driving our soldiers to madness and mass suicide because of the too obvious pink elephant in the room that can’t be swept under their rug any longer – there is too much insanity in our armed forces due to the US Empire’s agenda to use and abuse our troops with too many multiple combat tours on too many multiple warfronts over too many multiple decades… with more in the making as the war drums are again beating relentlessly loud right now.

The records speak for themselves. In its own recently released account, the Department of Defense’s comprehensive study shows that the US was forced to lower its standards for incoming recruits so half the GI’s accepted into the armed forces were already plagued with serious mental health issues PRIOR to entering the service! Then placing these same vulnerable individuals with a history of mental illness into the strained horrific conditions of war combat multiple times, using them up and spitting them out like the killing machine system does, then sending them home all messed up without proper care or after care, quickly dumping them out as untreated civilian veterans. Thus the system that destroyed them conveniently gets to wash its blood-stained hands clean of them and they are killing themselves at unprecedented epidemic rates. Our government has a way of using, abusing and then throwing away our veterans once they have been used up.

Only in the last year has the government even attempted to deal with this massive epidemic of mental illness-PTSD problem of our vets snuffing themselves like never before. And then once they have returned home, as civilians so little follow up care has even been in place. By the time our veterans endure all the dead time waiting on lists for actual services, typically over a full year - too many are dead already – either by self-inflicted causes or untreated medical causes.

Just yesterday the Phoenix Arizona VA Hospital was busted on CNN for more “cooked books,” exposing its secret invisible waiting lists of veterans that end up literally dying before they get assigned medical appointments. In the case of one veteran, 71-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Breen, who fell victim to this corrupt, inept system, he was seen at the VA hospital after noticing blood in his urine and his medical condition was recognized as severe enough to be given instructions to be seen by a specialist within a week, but because the system is so backlogged and broken, the veteran’s condition went untreated while hanging in limbo literally for months before the VA actually contacted his family with his appointment time, only to find out that Breen died of bladder cancer from his untreated medical condition the month before.

And this case represents just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medical care for our veterans who were there to answer the call of duty when their country needed them yet when they needed their country for services guaranteed and promised them, once again our nation failed to deliver on its empty broken promises and guarantees. And this is the same sad, tragic story over and over and over again, war after war after war decade after decade after decade. And we wonder why so many are going off the deep end these days killing themselves and at times others in last gasp cries for help after our nation has destroyed them. The second Fort Hood shooting less than a month ago just four and a half years after the first one a sobering case in point reminder.

The big news headlines today declaring the suicide numbers are down amongst active duty ranks is just more distorted disinformation and propaganda in the wake of those Fort Hood shootings. All their beefed up to look good programs right in step with their cooked books, just so the appearance that their concerted efforts to clean up their act and cover their exteriors permit the heat that’s been building to conveniently go back to business as usual – that is until the next scandal breaks with more disturbing headlines. This is a very longstanding pattern reflective of a long broken and corrupt system that fails to take care of its own.

Also very problematic and out of control is using of our soldiers as mere guinea pigs for vaccines and big-pharm psychotropic medication overly prescribed in the services, as if the old band-aid tactic of numbing and suppressing symptoms actually work in the long run. They don’t. But between the over use of prescription drugs and vaccines causing permanent damage and deaths the all too often tragic outcome, these are just two more Pandora’s boxes the military brass have on their hands.

What today’s cooked booked headlines don’t even address are the skyrocketing numbers of veterans who have been discharged who are killing themselves at unprecedented never before seen rates. Further, today’s “look good” numbers only cover active duty personnel, the suicide rates of our soldiers in the National Guard and Reserves, the so called weekend warriors and two week summer warriors who have also endured multiple tours in combat are killing themselves more in 2013 than they did in 2012. This once again tells the same old story, that proper care is either severely inadequate or completely non-existent for them. Because these men and women have less psychological services available and far less day-to-day contact with their colleagues and unit commanders due to the temporary nature of their part time duty, they are slipping through the cracks that even cooked books cannot fudge. Just like the 22 veterans and growing each day who continue committing suicide. Even the faulty methodology in data collection that spins out the lower active duty suicide numbers that the Pentagon is releasing today cannot cover up the fact that every hour today another one of our used up and discarded vets is snuffing him or herself 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, no strike that, by year’s end, those numbers might climb to two untreated veterans an hour killing themselves. Even cooked books and propaganda blitzes cannot come to their rescue. Nor will the war economy nation of the American Empire and its war profiteers of the military industrial complex, for them its full speed ahead onto our next war… and on and on it goes with no end in sight.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. Joachim has experience treating veterans with PTSD. He now focuses on writing.

Beneath the Ukraine Crisis: Shale Gas

April 25th, 2014 by Nat Parry

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, speaking to Ukrainian and other business leaders at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2013, at a meeting sponsored by Chevron.

Behind the geopolitics pitting Russia against the West – and the ethnic tensions tearing Ukraine east and west – another backdrop for understanding this deepening conflict is the big-money competition for Ukraine’s oil and natural gas.

The crisis gripping Ukraine has plunged transatlantic relations to their lowest point since the Cold War and threatens to send Ukraine into an armed conflict with potentially dire consequences for the country and the wider region.

Moscow’s alleged meddling in eastern Ukraine and its earlier annexation of Crimea spurred worldwide rebukes and much international commentary regarding the growing East-West divide. But one aspect that we have heard less about is the corporate struggle for Ukraine’s oil and natural gas. By some accounts, it is this struggle that is as much to blame for the current crisis as any geopolitical tug-of-war between East and West.

Ukraine has Europe’s third-largest shale gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic feet,according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While for years U.S. oil companies have been pressing for shale gas development in countries such as Britain, Poland, France and Bulgaria only to be rebuffed by significant opposition from citizens and local legislators concerned about the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction – including earthquakes and groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – there has been considerably less opposition in Ukraine, a country that has been embroiled in numerous gas disputes with the Russian Federation in recent years.

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, controlling nearly one-fifth of the world’s gas reserves, supplies more than half of Ukraine’s gas annually, and about 30 percent of Europe’s. It has often used this as political and economic leverage over Kiev and Brussels, cutting gas supplies repeatedly over the past decade (in the winters of 2005-2006, 2007-2008, and again in 2008-2009), leading to energy shortages not only in Ukraine, but Western European countries as well. This leverage, however, came under challenge in 2013 as Ukraine took steps towards breaking its dependence on Russian gas.

On Nov. 5, 2013 (just a few weeks before the Maidan demonstrations began in Kiev), Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. According to the New York Times, “The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion.”

In announcing the deal, President Viktor Yanukovych said that it “will let Ukraine satisfy its gas needs completely and, under the optimistic scenario, export energy resources by 2020.” Reuters characterized the deal as ”another step in a drive for more energy independence from Russia.”

The United States offered its diplomatic support, with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, saying, “I’m very determined to cooperate with the Ukrainian government in strengthening Ukraine’s energy independence.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland spoke at an international business conference sponsored by Chevron on Dec. 13, 2013, after just returning from Kiev where she handed out cookies and sandwiches to demonstrators on the Maidan. In her speech, she urged Ukraine to sign a new deal with the IMF which would “send a positive signal to private markets and would increase foreign direct investment that is so urgently needed in Ukraine.” This is important for putting Ukraine “on the path to strengthening the sort of stable and predictable business environment that investors require,” she said.

Although stability and predictability are not exactly the words that people would associate with Ukraine these days, Western energy companies have continued to maneuver for corporate rights over Ukraine’s shale gas deposits. Last fall, officials were in negotiations with an ExxonMobil-led consortium to explore for hydrocarbons off Ukraine’s western Black Sea coast.

On Nov. 27, the Ukrainian government signed another production-sharing agreement with a consortium of investors led by Italian energy company Eni to develop unconventional hydrocarbons in the Black Sea. “We have attracted investors which will within five to seven years maximum double Ukraine’s domestic gas production,” Yanukovych said following the agreement.

At the time of Yanukovych’s ouster in February, Chevron and the Ukrainian government had been negotiating an operating agreement for the shale development effort in western Ukraine, and Chevron spokesman Cameron Van Ast said that the negotiations would go forward despite Yanukovych fleeing the country. “We are continuing to finalize our joint operating agreement and the government continues to be supportive,” Van Ast said.

Royal Dutch Shell is also engaged in the country, having signed an agreement last year with the government of Yanukovych to explore a shale formation in eastern Ukraine. When it comes to Crimea, numerous oil companies including Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Repsol and even Petrochina have shown interest in developing its offshore energy assets.

Believing that Crimea’s onshore and offshore fields will live up to expectations, these companies have greatly expanded their exploration of the Black Sea off the Crimean peninsula. Some analysts believe that one of Vladimir Putin’s motivations for annexing Crimea was to ensure that Gazprom will control Crimean offshore energy assets – in addition to ensuring the continued use of Crimea as host to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

It is clear that all of these oil and gas companies – backed by their governments, including those of the Russian Federation and the United States – are deeply embroiled in the Ukrainian crisis, with much invested and much at stake. But with their disproportionate influence over Ukraine’s future, it should be kept in mind that the number one responsibility of any corporation is to increase profit margins for its shareholders, not necessarily to promote the democracy or sovereignty of the countries they are operating in.

This is particularly the case for Chevron and Shell, both of which have been implicated in major human rights violations in Nigeria. Chevron has been accused of recruiting and supplying Nigerian military forces involved in massacres of environmental protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and Shell has faced charges of complicity in torture and other human rights abuses against the Ogoni people of southern Nigeria.

With this in mind, the Ukrainian people – whether in the east of the country or the west – might want to rethink what is meant by “energy independence,” and whether the future they seek can truly be met by placing their hopes in the benevolence of foreign oil and gas companies.

Nat Parry is the co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.

Barack Obama is traveling to several Asian countries this week, and high on the agenda is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive corporate-friendly commercial agreement that has mobilized critics around the globe. The deal is even running into stiff resistance in Congress.

But the TPP is not, according to the big TV networks, news. As FAIR documented (Extra!3/14) in the year after Obama mentioned TPP in his 2013 State of the Union address, there were no stories about TPP on the three major networks.

FAIR wants you to sign a petition to ABCCBS and NBC to encourage them to cover what is by any standard a big news story.

And we’ve made a short video that we think drives home the point. Take a look:

If War Was Funded Like College Tuition

April 25th, 2014 by David Swanson

Are you as tired as I am of news stories about college tuition costs rising? I’ve been out of college for many years, and you’d have to pay me to go back, but this is ridiculous.

To see how ridiculous, try a little thought experiment. Imagine opening your newspaper and reading this:

“War and War Preparations Costs to U.S. Households Rose Again This Year

“Continuing a decades-long trend, the cost each U.S. resident pays for his or her wars and war preparations rose 5.3 percent this year.

“With all costs of the U.S. military, across numerous government departments, reaching $1.2 trillion annually, according to Chris Hellman of the National Priorities Project, and with a U.S. population of 314 million people, bills to those opting for war-making as their foreign policy choice this year came to $3,822 each — not counting room, board, and books.”

Of course, that bill is for anyone who supports the U.S. government’s spending priorities and anyone who doesn’t, and it’s a bill for every person, from disabled senior citizen to new-born infant.

It’s a bill that might strike some as a bit high.  So, here’s one way this imaginary news story might develop:

“In an expanding trend, thousands of Americans opted for a smaller military investment this year.  Choosing to pay their share of a military the size of China’s — $188 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute — some war consumers bought the $599 war plan this year.

“Others opted for the Russian model at a cost of $280.  But with polls showing that Americans believe Iran to be the greatest threat to peace, the Iranian-sized military has become this year’s most rapid climber in the rankings; of course, the $20 price tag doesn’t hurt.

“Buddy Beaverton of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, remarked at the post office as he mailed a check: ‘If we could have Canada’s annual supply of wars for $59 each, why should I have to pay $3,822? It’s bad enough they’ve got cheaper prescription drugs that we’re not allowed to buy!’”

Mr. Beaverton would have a point.  Some other nations that don’t invest in wars and war preparations the way the United States does also make college education free or affordable — and still have plenty of money to spare for frivolous luxuries like healthcare or energy systems that don’t render the planet unlivable.

What would our lives be like if college were as free and unquestionable as military spending is now, but military spending arrived as an optional bill?

Those who didn’t want it could choose not to pay.  Those who wanted a coast guard, a national guard, and some anti-aircraft weapons could chip in a few bucks.  Those who wanted a bit more than that could pay a bit more.

And those who wanted troops in 175 nations, aircraft carriers in every sea, enough nuclear weapons to destroy life on several planets, and fleets of drones with which to traumatize and antagonize several nations at once — well, they could pay their $3,822, plus of course another $3,822 for anybody opting out.

What a naive proposal! Left to individual choice, the commons would be destroyed, and our national defense would crumble!

Really?  People in the United States give over $300 billion to charity each year.  Nobody forces them to.  If they believed weapons and wars were the most important cause to donate their dollars to, they’d do it.  No nation on earth spends $300 billion or anywhere close to it on its military, other than the United States.

And with the government no longer funding the military in its socialistic manner, it might choose instead to fund many of the humanitarian causes to which private charity is now largely devoted. Private giving could take care of the Pentagon.

But if wisdom about the counter-productive results of militarism spread, if nonviolent alternatives were learned, if free college had a positive impact on our collective intellect, and if the fact that we could end global poverty or halt global warming for a fraction of current military spending leaked out, who knows? Maybe militarism would fail in the free market.

The leaked summary of the findings from the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report confirm previous reporting by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR): The CIA enlisted health professionals to use their skills to destroy the minds of prisoners, breaking with longstanding ethical and legal obligations of health professionals. The collaboration of high-level government officials, CIA leadership, and select health professionals enabled a culture of torture, which undermined the United States’ moral authority, destroyed public trust in medical ethics, helped recruit people who would use terrorism, and yielded little of value in protecting the nation.

“At a time in U.S. history when legitimate security needs demanded the highest levels of professional expertise and competence, the CIA instead rejected or ignored internal critiques of a patently unlawful, flawed interrogation program,” said PHR expert on torture, Dr. Scott Allen, professor of medicine and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of California, Riverside. “They placed a critical intelligence program in the hands of poorly qualified contract health professionals who were willing to violate professional ethics, scientific integrity, and the law.” In order to secure legal clearance for these individuals, the CIA misrepresented the known science documenting the harmful effects of the techniques and went to great lengths to obfuscate a program that would not and could not withstand legal, ethical, or scientific scrutiny.

“It is time for Congress, the White House, and intelligence agencies to declassify the entire record of the country’s clandestine and military culture of torture,” stated PHR advisor on psychological ethics, Steven Reisner, who is also president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. “In particular, the U.S. government’s use of health professionals to develop and employ programs that violated medical ethics and the law must be publicly accounted for.” To accomplish this, PHR is repeating its call for total transparency on the part of the U.S. government to make clear the extent to which the CIA, military, and government officials violated the UN Convention against Torture. Additionally, PHR is calling on the U.S. government to hold those officials accountable, with the aim of restoring the legal and ethical boundaries that keep the U.S. government’s actions consistent with its obligations under human rights law.

PHR calls on the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence and Armed Services Committees to hold public hearings to reveal the extent of the United States’ involvement in torture and ill-treatment and to work to reinstate laws aligned with existing international treaties. Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director stated, “We must guarantee that the United States no longer advocates for or practices torture in any form, including in the treatment of those detained by U.S. armed forces or intelligence agencies and those held in confinement.”

PHR has written extensively on the involvement of health professionals in the torture of detainees in practices directed by U.S. forces. Reports include: Break Them DownLeave No MarksBroken Laws, Broken LivesAiding Torture, and Experiments in Torture, among others.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

Defenders of an open, innovative and fair internet are up in arms Thursday after learning the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rule proposals that will kill the online principle known as “net neutrality.”

The death of net neutrality—which has governed the equal treatment of content since the internet was created—will create, say critics, a tiered internet that allows major internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut special and lucrative deals with content providers who can afford to pay for special “fast lanes.” The result will be an internet that will incentivize slower traffic by ISPs and the creation of privatized, corporate-controlled “toll-roads” that will come to dominate a once fair and free environment.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst.” —Todd O’Boyle, Common Cause

As reported by various outlets, the  new rules have been circulated by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to the other members of the commission and will be officially announced on Thursday.

Image right: Free Press

“With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet,” said Craig Aaron, president of the media advocacy group Free Press. “Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls. These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.”

Chairman Wheeler defended the new proposals and denied the rule changes were an attack on the open internet, but Aaron rejected those claims and said that trying to argue these new rules protect net neutrality is an insult.

“This is not Net Neutrality,” he stated. “It’s an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise. The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law. Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won’t protect Internet users.”

“Everyday users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.” —Craig Aaron, Free Press

Those who have fought hardest to protect the idea of a free and equal digital playing field for all users, however, said Wheeler’s claims don’t pass the laugh test and rebuked the Chairman’s proposals in the strongest possible terms.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, told the New York Times. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”

And speaking with Time magazine, Lauren Weinsten, a veteran tech-policy expert and prominent Net-neutrality advocate, said: “This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.”

She continued: “The nation’s largest Internet service providers have hit the ultimate jackpot. These companies keep secret all of the information needed to evaluate whether violations of Internet openness have occurred, and because the FCC moves so slowly, by the time it acts, a company that’s been victimized could be out of business.”

And Free Press’ Aaron put particular emphasis on the perverse incentives the new rules would create, explaining:

“This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.” —Lauren Weinsten, tech expert

The FCC apparently doesn’t realize the dangerous incentives these rules would create. The routing of data on the Internet is a zero-sum game. Unless there is continual congestion, no website would pay for priority treatment. This means the FCC’s proposed rules will actually produce a strong incentive for ISPs to create congestion through artificial scarcity. Not only would this outcome run counter to the FCC’s broader goals, it actually undermines the so-called Section 706 legal basis for these rules.

This proposal is short-sighted and should be strenuously opposed by the broader Internet community — including millions of Americans who have urged Chairman Wheeler and his predecessors to safeguard the open Internet. The only parties cheering this idea on will be the largest ISPs who stand to profit from discrimination. We urge Chairman Wheeler’s colleagues not to support this item as currently drafted and demand nothing less than real Net Neutrality.

Both Common Cause and Free Press have already posted petitions on their sites where concerned citizens can voice their opposition and join the fight to oppose the FCC’s new rules.

The Free Press petition states, in part:

People everywhere understand that the Internet is a crucial driver of free speech, innovation, education, economic growth, creativity and so much more. They demand real Net Neutrality rules that protect Internet users from corporate abuse.

But the Federal Communications Commission is proposing rules that would kill — rather than protect — Net Neutrality and allow rampant discrimination online.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one could do anything about it.

We must stop the FCC from moving forward with these rules, which would give the green light to ISPs eager to crush Net Neutrality.

The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by designating broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. Anything else is an attack on our rights to connect and communicate.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

US Sends Apache Attack Helicopters to Egyptian Junta

April 25th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The Obama administration has approved the shipment of Apache attack helicopters to the military junta that rules Egypt. The decision was communicated to the military regime April 22 by defense secretary Chuck Hagel in a phone call to the Egyptian minister of defense, General Sedki Sobhy.

Hagel also told his Egyptian counterpart that US Secretary of State John Kerry will soon certify to Congress that “Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship and is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.” These certifications are required under US law to permit the continuation of US military aid.

The ten Apache helicopters are “in support of Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai,” according to a Pentagon press release, but there is no restriction on their use once the weapons are in Egyptian hands. The murderous gunships can be redeployed from strafing restive Bedouin tribesmen along the border with Israel to massacring demonstrators in cities like Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

The US will continue to withhold certain weapons, including F-16 fighter jets, M-1 tanks and Harpoon missiles, whose shipment has been suspended since the July 2013 coup that overthrew the elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that the US government had certified Egypt was cooperating with the US military and with the Israelis.

“Now that we’ve completed this look and we know that Egypt has been continuing the fight against terrorism in the Sinai, we believe that they need this additional equipment to continue that fight,” he said. “We continue to have very close dialogue with Egypt focused on counterterrorism.”

Other US government spokesmen discussed the political whitewash of the military regime made by the Pentagon and State Department, as part of the formal certification process required each year.

“We are not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition,” said Admiral John Kirby in a statement that urged “the Egyptian government to demonstrate progress on a more inclusive transition that respects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians.”

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for a transition to democracy “as Egypt will be more secure and prosperous if it respects the universal rights of its citizens.”

These anodyne statements cover up the brutal reality of mass murder and repression in Egypt. The military slaughtered more than 2,000 people, most of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the first weeks after the coup. An estimated 21,000 people have been jailed, including many students and youth active in the revolutionary movement that brought down longtime military dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Three of the most prominent leaders of the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square, Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel and Ahmed Douma, have been convicted of violating a decree issued by the junta that bans all political gatherings and protests held without prior permission from the police. Earlier this month an appeals court upheld penalties of three years of hard labor and fines of $7,000 on each man.

The military is now imposing a far bloodier version of the Mubarak regime under the auspices of its current strongman, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who stepped down as chief of staff and defense minister last month in order to become the military’s favored candidate in presidential elections set for May 26-27.

The dictatorship has outlawed strikes, which continue to erupt nonetheless, particularly among textile and other industrial workers and among public employees. These include those who work on the Suez Canal, Egypt’s key strategic asset from the standpoint both of world trade and imperialist military operations in the region.

Even more savage repressive measures are likely once the presidential election is completed. Last month a court in the Nile delta city of Minya sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for the killing of a single policeman, after a hurried two-day proceeding in which most of the defendants were tried in absentia.

By comparison, during 30 years of the Mubarak dictatorship, a total of 90 Islamist militants were sentenced to death—mainly those involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and other attempted assassinations—of whom 68 were executed.

A separate trial of 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including the group’s top leader, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, began last month as well. The ousted president, Mohammed Mursi, is on trial on multiple trumped-up charges that could bring a death sentence.

The regime has proposed two new anti-terrorism laws that would expand on the existing ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed late last year. Under these laws, holding a leadership position in the Muslim Brotherhood or other “terrorist” group would become punishable by death.

Terrorism would be defined so broadly that, according to Amnesty International, the law “criminalizes strikes and peaceful demonstrations in schools, universities and those emanating from mosques.” Joining any group so defined would become punishable by ten years in prison.

The shipment of the Apaches is in addition to $650 million in direct US aid to the Egyptian military set for the current fiscal year. That amount represents half the usual US subsidy, with the balance on hold while the Obama administration labors to find a legal way around the clear congressional ban on aiding a regime originating in a military coup.

The green light for sending Apaches to Egypt underscores the cynicism of the US government and media propaganda about US concern for democracy and human rights in countries ranging from Ukraine to Venezuela. A relative handful of people have been killed in the course of civil strife in those countries, but the US media presents the crisis in Ukraine as the justification for a US-NATO intervention that could provoke war between nuclear-armed powers.

But in Egypt, where the military has carried out a series of massacres, suppresses democratic rights, and is entrenching a ferocious dictatorship, the Obama administration is tacitly endorsing the repression and openly aiding the bloodstained rulers.

In this context, it is worth noting the speech this week by former British prime minister Tony Blair, which gave full-throated support to the Egyptian military’s suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair remains an unapologetic defender of the crimes committed by US president George W. Bush with his assistance, including the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Blair called for Western leaders to embrace a religious conception of the conflicts in the Middle East, in which radical Islam was understood as the main enemy. He argued that no significant distinction could be made between political movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.

He said that the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood was “dangerous and corrosive; and cannot and should not be treated as a conventional political debate between two opposing views of how society should be governed.”

While noting the death sentences to more than 500 people as one of the “things we strongly disagree with,” Blair concluded with an outright endorsement of al-Sisi, declaring, “The next president will face extraordinary challenges. It is massively in our interests that he succeeds. We should mobilise the international community in giving Egypt and its new president as much assistance as we can.”

Ukrainian Regime Launches Fascist-Led Crackdown

April 25th, 2014 by Alex Lantier

Image: Pro-Russian protesters in Slavyansk. 

The Western-backed regime in Kiev and fascist militias allied to it launched a bloody crackdown against pro-Russian protests across eastern Ukraine yesterday. With the Kremlin massing forces on Russia’s border with Ukraine, threatening to intervene defend ethnic Russians, the situation is on the brink of a war between Russia and Ukraine, which could escalate into a direct clash between Russia and NATO.

Deadly fighting broke out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, held by pro-Russian protesters. Ukrainian armored personnel carriers reportedly assaulted several checkpoints set up by pro-Russian forces, though protesters continued to hold the city. Five protesters were reported killed amid contradictory reports. Several Ukrainian armored vehicles were reportedly set afire in the fighting, and protesters rebuilt the checkpoints later in the day.

Thirty thugs armed with baseball bats from the fascist Right Sector militia, which led the February 22 putsch that installed the current regime in Kiev, stormed buildings held by protesters in the nearby port city of Mariupol.

Responsibility for this bloodshed lies above all with the United States and its European allies, who have pressed Kiev to launch these assaults in a policy calculated to provoke Moscow. A first attempt to organize a crackdown a week ago with Ukrainian regular troops came after CIA director John Brennan’s visit to Kiev. It quickly ground down, however, amid popular opposition and refusals by Ukraine troops to fire on the population.

This bloody crackdown underscores the filthy hypocrisy of the Western intervention in Ukraine. During the February putsch, Western governments and media denounced the pro-Russian regime’s attempts to crack down on the fascist groups leading the protests and denounced moves to mobilize the army. Now, after a visit to Kiev by US Vice President Joe Biden, the unelected, far-right puppet regime in Kiev is unleashing a new military crackdown with Western support. Aware of the lack of support more broadly in the army, it is relying directly on the fascists.

Russian media cited Kremlin estimates that the Kiev regime had mobilized 11,000 troops, 160 tanks, 230 infantry vehicles, and 150 artillery pieces for the crackdown.

Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh announced that he was moving to the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk and setting up a “Donbas” fighting squadron. “I moved my headquarters to Dnepropetrovsk,” he said. “The purpose is to prevent the spread of the Kremlin infection.”

Yarosh boasted that he was working directly with the regime in Kiev. “We coordinate all of our actions with the leadership of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the security services of Ukraine,” he said.

In an interview with Russia’s Gazeta, the leader of the pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, said that the formation of a Right Sector-led battalion in the east “could lead to fratricidal war.”

The Kiev regime’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, moved to stoke this civil war, announcing the creation of a special force of 12,000 volunteer fighters to crush the pro-Russian protests. It will reportedly include not only Yarosh’s “Donbass” squadron, but also a “Dnepr” fighting battalion under the control of business oligarch Igor Kolomoysky.

The Kiev regime is also imposing special pay cuts on eastern Ukrainian workers, ostensibly to pay for repairs to the city of Kiev after the February putsch. Some 2,000 coal miners working in mines in Krasnodon for Ukraine’s richest man, oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, are reportedly striking to protest the state-enforced pay cut.

These provocations come amid a large-scale military build-up throughout eastern Europe by the US and the NATO powers. US paratroopers landed in Poland today, part of a broader build-up that has seen US forces sent also to the Baltic States, Romania, and the Black Sea.

US President Barack Obama, speaking from Japan while on a tour of Asia, indicated that further economic sanctions were “teed up” and could rapidly be imposed on Russia.

After a meeting of Russia’s top military council, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced large-scale Russian military exercises, apparently to prepare an intervention in eastern Ukraine. Videos posted to YouTube showed Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers massing around Novoshakhtinsk and nearby cities along the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Shoigu also criticized the deployment of US troops throughout Eastern Europe and the decision of the Ukrainian regime to launch a crackdown.

“The starting gun on the use of weapons against their own civilians has already been fired,” he said. “If today this military machine is not stopped, it will lead to a large number of dead and wounded… Civilians are being attacked by national guard units as well as by battalions of extremists from Right Sector.”

The military standoff between Moscow and the Kiev regime and its NATO backers, which had led to the gravest danger of war between the major powers since World War II, is the product of the reckless decision of Washington and Berlin to support the fascist putsch in February. Having unleashed these forces and stoked broad popular opposition in more pro-Russian sections of eastern Ukraine, the imperialist powers are now escalating the bloodshed, apparently seeking to goad Moscow into an intervention with potentially disastrous consequences.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s denunciation of Moscow yesterday evening was a political fraud. He attacked Moscow for not respecting the terms of the April 17 Geneva agreement on Ukraine, which called for all armed militias to stand down. Accusing Russia of “distraction, deception, and destabilization,” he said: “Not a single Russian official has publicly gone on television in Ukraine and called upon the separatists … to give up their weapons and get out of the Ukrainian buildings.”

In fact, the United States and its European allies negotiated this agreement in bad faith. Not only did they not call on their fascist allies to disarm, they are building fascist militias up in order to carry out a violent crackdown against the population in sections of the country more closely tied to Russia.

Russian officials made repeated statements indicating that the Western powers’ policies were jeopardizing vital Russian national security interests and might justify military intervention.

“If the Kiev regime started military action against the country’s population, this is without doubt a very serious crime,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a media forum.

Putin said that the eastern Ukraine crackdown justified Russia’s support for pro-Russian protesters in Crimea who declared independence from the Kiev regime, and ultimately rejoined Russia. “We would have seen there the same things which are now happening in the east of Ukraine or even worse. That’s one more proof to the fact we did it all correctly and in time,” Putin said.

In a statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov concluded that aggressive moves by the Western powers in Ukraine were part of a broader campaign to isolate Russia and undermine its national security.

“Few doubt that we are talking not only about Ukraine’s fate,” Lavrov said. “They are trying to use Ukraine as a pawn in a geopolitical game. Our Western partners, first and foremost the United States, tried to behave as winners in the Cold War and pretend that one can ignore Russia in European affairs and undertake activities that directly damage Russian security interests.”