A talk at Rhodes Forum, October 5, 2013…
First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued. We cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. It will take some time until the realisation of what we’ve gone through seeps in: it is normal for events of such magnitude. The turmoil in the US, from the mad car chase in the DC to the shutdown of federal government and possible debt default, are the direct consequences of this event.
Remember the Berlin Wall? When it went down, I was in Moscow, writing for Haaretz. I went to a press-conference with Politburo members in the President Hotel, and asked them whether they concurred that the end of the USSR and world socialist system was nigh. I was laughed at; it was an embarrassing occasion. Oh no, they said. Socialism will blossom, as the result of the Wall’s fall. The USSR went down two years later. Now our memory has compacted those years into a brief sequence, but in reality, it took some time.
The most dramatic event of September 2013 was the high-noon stand-off near the Levantine shore, with five US destroyers pointing their Tomahawks towards Damascus and facing them – the Russian flotilla of eleven ships led by the carrier-killer Missile Cruiser Moskva and supported by Chinese warships. Apparently, two missiles were launched towards the Syrian coast, and both failed to reach their destination.
It was claimed by a Lebanese newspaper quoting diplomatic sources that the missiles were launched from a NATO air base in Spain and they were shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system. Another explanation proposed by the Asia Times says the Russians employed their cheap and powerful GPS jammers to render the expensive Tomahawks helpless, by disorienting them and causing them to fail. Yet another version attributed the launch to the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim.
Whatever the reason, after this strange incident, the pending shoot-out did not commence, as President Obama stood down and holstered his guns. This was preceded by an unexpected vote in the British Parliament. This venerable body declined the honour of joining the attack proposed by the US. This was the first time in two hundred years that the British parliament voted down a sensible proposition to start a war; usually the Brits can’t resist the temptation.
After that, President Obama decided to pass the hot potato to the Congress. He was unwilling to unleash Armageddon on his own. Thus the name of action was lost. Congress did not want to go to war with unpredictable consequences. Obama tried to browbeat Putin at the 20G meeting in St Petersburg, and failed. The Russian proposal to remove Syrian chemical weaponry allowed President Obama to save face. This misadventure put paid to American hegemony , supremacy and exceptionalism. Manifest Destiny was over. We all learned that from Hollywood flics: the hero never stands down; he draws and shoots! If he holsters his guns, he is not a hero: he’s chickened out.
Afterwards, things began to unravel fast. The US President had a chat with the new president of Iran, to the chagrin of Tel Aviv. The Free Syrian Army rebels decided to talk to Assad after two years of fighting him, and their delegation arrived in Damascus, leaving the Islamic extremists high and dry. Their supporter Qatar is collapsing overextended. The shutdown of their government and possible debt default gave the Americans something real to worry about. With the end of US hegemony, the days of the dollar as the world reserve currency are numbered.
World War III almost occurred as the banksters wished it. They have too many debts, including the unsustainable foreign debt of the US. If those Tomahawks had flown, the banksters could have claimed Force Majeure and disavow the debt. Millions of people would die, but billions of dollars would be safe in the vaults of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. In September, the world crossed this bifurcation point safely, as President Obama refused to take the fall for the banksters. Perhaps he deserved his Nobel peace prize, after all.
The near future is full of troubles but none are fatal. The US will lose its emission rights as a source of income. The US dollar will cease to serve as the world reserve currency though it will remain the North American currency. Other parts of the world will resort to their euro, yuan, rouble, bolivar, or dinar. The US military expenditure will have to be slashed to normal, and this elimination of overseas bases and weaponry will allow the US population to make the transition rather painlessly. Nobody wants to go after America; the world just got tired of them riding shotgun all over the place. The US will have to find new employment for so many bankers, jailers, soldiers, even politicians.
As I stayed in Moscow during the crisis, I observed these developments as they were seen by Russians. Putin and Russia have been relentlessly hard-pressed for quite a while.
- The US supported and subsidised Russia’s liberal and nationalist opposition; the national elections in Russia were presented as one big fraud. The Russian government was delegitimised to some extent.
- The Magnitsky Act of the US Congress authorised the US authorities to arrest and seize the assets of any Russian they deem is up to no good, without a recourse to a court.
- Some Russian state assets were seized in Cyprus where the banks were in trouble.
- The US encouraged Pussy Riot, gay parades etc. in Moscow, in order to promote an image of Putin the dictator, enemy of freedom and gay-hater in the Western and Russian oligarch-owned media.
- Russian support for Syria was criticised, ridiculed and presented as a brutal act devoid of humanity. At the same time, Western media pundits expressed certainty that Russia would give up on Syria.
As I wrote previously, Russia had no intention to surrender Syria, for a number of good reasons: it was an ally; the Syrian Orthodox Christians trusted Russia; geopolitically the war was getting too close to Russian borders. But the main reason was Russia’s annoyance with American high-handedness. The Russians felt that such important decisions should be taken by the international community, meaning the UN Security Council. They did not appreciate the US assuming the role of world arbiter.
In the 1990s, Russia was very weak, and could not effectively object, but they felt bitter when Yugoslavia was bombed and NATO troops moved eastwards breaking the US promise to Gorbachev. The Libyan tragedy was another crucial point. That unhappy country was bombed by NATO, and eventually disintegrated. From the most prosperous African state it was converted into most miserable. Russian presence in Libya was rather limited, but still, Russia lost some investment there. Russia abstained in the vote on Libya as this was the position of the then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev who believed in playing ball with the West. In no way was Putin ready to abandon Syria to the same fate.
The Russian rebellion against the US hegemony began in June, when the Aeroflot flight from Beijing carrying Ed Snowden landed in Moscow. Americans pushed every button they could think of to get him back. They activated the full spectre of their agents in Russia. Only a few voices, including that of your truly, called on Russia to provide Snowden with safe refuge, but our voices prevailed. Despite the US pressure, Snowden was granted asylum.
The next step was the Syrian escalation. I do not want to go into the details of the alleged chemical attack. In the Russian view, there was not and could not be any reason for the US to act unilaterally in Syria or anywhere else. In a way, the Russians have restored the Law of Nations to its old revered place. The world has become a better and safer place.
None of this could’ve been achieved without the support of China. The Asian giant considers Russia its “elder sister” and relies upon her ability to deal with the round-eyes. The Chinese, in their quiet and unassuming way, played along with Putin. They passed Snowden to Moscow. They vetoed anti-Syrian drafts in the UNSC, and sent their warships to the Med. That is why Putin stood the ground not only for Russia, but for the whole mass of Eurasia.
There were many exciting and thrilling moments in the Syrian saga, enough to fill volumes. An early attempt to subdue Putin at G8 meeting in Ireland was one of them. Putin was about to meet with the united front of the West, but he managed to turn some of them to his side, and he sowed the seeds of doubt in others’ hearts by reminding them of the Syrian rebel manflesh-eating chieftains.
The proposal to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons was deftly introduced; the UNSC resolution blocked the possibility of attacking Syria under cover of Chapter Seven. Miraculously, the Russians won in this mighty tug-of-war. The alternative was dire: Syria would be destroyed as Libya was; a subsequent Israeli-American attack on Iran was unavoidable; Oriental Christianity would lose its cradle; Europe would be flooded by millions of refugees; Russia would be proven irrelevant, all talk and no action, as important as Bolivia, whose President’s plane can be grounded and searched at will. Unable to defend its allies, unable to stand its ground, Russia would’ve been left with a ‘moral victory’, a euphemism for defeat. Everything Putin has worked for in 13 years at the helm would’ve been lost; Russia would be back to where it was in 1999, when Belgrade was bombed by Clinton.
The acme of this confrontation was reached in the Obama-Putin exchange on exceptionalism. The two men were not buddies to start with. Putin was annoyed by what he perceived as Obama’s insincerity and hypocrisy. A man who climbed from the gutter to the very top, Putin cherishes his ability to talk frankly with people of all walks of life. His frank talk can be shockingly brutal. When he was heckled by a French journalist regarding treatment of Chechen separatists, he replied:
“the Muslim extremists (takfiris) are enemies of Christians, of atheists, and even of Muslims because they believe that traditional Islam is hostile to the goals that they set themselves. And if you want to become an Islamic radical and are ready to be circumcised, I invite you to Moscow. We are a multi-faith country and we have experts who can do it. And I would advise them to carry out that operation in such a way that nothing would grow in that place again”.
Another example of his shockingly candid talk was given at Valdai as he replied to BBC’s Bridget Kendall. She asked: did the threat of US military strikes actually play a rather useful role in Syria’s agreeing to have its weapons placed under control?
Putin replied: Syria got itself chemical weapons as an alternative to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. He called for the disarmament of Israel and invoked the name of Mordecai Vanunu as an example of an Israeli scientist who opposes nuclear weapons. (My interview with Vanunu had been recently published in the largest Russian daily paper, and it gained some notice).
Putin tried to talk frankly to Obama. We know of their exchange from a leaked record of the Putin-Netanyahu confidential conversation. Putin called the American and asked him: what’s your point in Syria? Obama replied: I am worried that Assad’s regime does not observe human rights. Putin almost puked from the sheer hypocrisy of this answer. He understood it as Obama’s refusal to talk with him “on eye level”.
In the aftermath of the Syrian stand-off, Obama appealed to the people of the world in the name of American exceptionalism. The United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional”, he said. Putin responded: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” This was not only an ideological, but theological contradistinction.
As I expounded at length elsewhere, the US is built on the Judaic theology of exceptionalism, of being Chosen. It is the country of Old Testament. This is the deeper reason for the US and Israel’s special relationship. Europe is going through a stage of apostasy and rejection of Christ, while Russia is deeply Christian. Its churches are full, they bless one other with Christmas and Easter blessings, instead of neutral “seasons”. Russia is a New Testament country. And rejection of exceptionalism, of chosenness is the underlying tenet of Christianity.
For this reason, while organised US Jewry supported the war, condemned Assad and called for US intervention, the Jewish community of Russia, quite numerous, wealthy and influential one, did not support the Syrian rebels but rather stood by Putin’s effort to preserve peace in Syria. Ditto Iran, where the wealthy Jewish community supported the legitimate government in Syria. It appears that countries guided by a strong established church are immune from disruptive influence of lobbies; while countries without such a church the US and/or France give in to such influences and adopt illegal interventionism as a norm.
As US hegemony declines, we look to an uncertain future. The behemoth might of the US military can still wreck havoc; a wounded beast is the most dangerous one. Americans may listen to Senator Ron Paul who called to give up overseas bases and cut military expenditure. Norms of international law and sovereignty of all states should be observed. People of the world will like America again when it will cease snooping and bullying. It isn’t easy, but we’ve already negotiated the Cape and gained Good Hope.
(Language edited by Ken Freeland)
When is a bank an appendage of state? In China, the incorporation of commercial banking under the auspice of governmental policy is virtually indistinguishable. Philosophically, any government should have control of their currency and structure the precepts of banking and lending system. Capitalist banking would command a greater pragmatic function if competition among banks was based upon free enterprise. However, under the central banking scheme governments regulate banks, but are creatures of fractional reserve debt money issued by central bank parentage. The Chinese way has included a touch of mystery when analyzed within the context of western international banking.
How did a communist economic model transform into a partner of the globalist banksters cabal? Setting the political questions aside, the business of building an economy requires the acquisition of money on a scale that most societies are unable to access. The difference in the Great Wall nation became the favorite police state pattern for the corporatists to move their manufacturing facilities that grew a trading surplus, which accrued huge sums. China alone has amassed official reserves of US$3.2 trillion.
Translate this occurrence into a banking advantage would have you believe that Forbes’ reporting is correct. Written earlier this year, Red Banks Rising: Will China Become The World’s Banker?, has a Sino banking buy spree in full motion.
“In February China’s central bank issued a three-step plan that would tear down the barriers surrounding China’s big banks. Hopes quickly emerged that China’s banks could become international players much like China’s industrial companies, providing capital to a global economy that could use it. “Chinese banks are well positioned to follow Chinese companies abroad and provide financing; the question is whether they will also provide services to foreign companies,” says Ben Simpfendorfer, a Hong Kong-based consultant. “China would benefit from exporting its cash, and the rest of the world would benefit, especially foreign buyers of Chinese goods.”
For the most part the only Chinese financial firms putting serious money to work internationally are driven by Beijing’s politics. China Development Bank, a policy institution, has done some big deals in Africa and lent $10 billion to Petroleo Brasileiro, Brazil’s state-run oil company. There have been signs, however, that China’s big commercial banks are preparing to go global, too. ICBC has been opening and buying branches from New York to the Netherlands and last year paid $600 million for assets of Standard Bank in Argentina. It is now hiring scores of bankers in Brazil. “The Chinese banks will play a larger role internationally than they have in the past,” says John Weinshank, the corporate finance chief at China Construction Bank’s New York branch, which built a $2 billion loan book in two years. “That’s the plan. I can assure you we will be expanding in the Americas over the next two years.”
A second establishment flagship publisher, The Economist presents a viewpoint that a Giant reality-check, is on the horizon, Four of the world’s biggest lenders must face some nasty truths.
“CHINA’S banks are not real banks,” says Andrew Rothman of CLSA, a broker recently acquired by China’s CITIC Securities. The country’s biggest financial institutions are so closely held by the state that they are, in effect, arms of the treasury. Cosseted by rules that protect them from competition, they deliver huge profits in good times: bank profits as a share of China’s economic output equalled nearly 3% last year, whereas the highest ratio achieved in recent decades by American banks was only 1% of GDP (in 2006). In bad times the state is there to clean up, just as it did during a surge in dud loans in 1990s.
But the bargain that has driven China’s “Big Four” banks to the top of the global league tables is breaking down. Profitable though they are now, another wave of non-performing loans will soon hit them. As the Chinese economy rebalances, the state is less willing than it was in the past to pour credit into state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at the expense of households and private firms. Mr Rothman’s epithet will not hold forever. China’s big banks are slowly becoming real institutions.”
While the Chinese banks are adapting to international commerce circumstances, the fact that Chinese yuan does not have a reserve currency function has allowed the state-controlled regime to enjoy foreign exchange benefits that other countries resent. The day is coming, when fundamental rescaling of the world banking system, will alter the way that Chinese banks operate. The accounting firm of Ernest and Young presents the following view in a report, Challenges for central banks: wider powers, greater restraints.
“Emerging countries’ greater importance to the world economy has generated criticism of Western monetary policy and led to calls for some kind of international monetary reform. One of the strongest proponents of such reform is China. On the one hand, the capital restrictions and the state-controlled finance system enabled the Chinese authorities to partly shield the country from the worst effects of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 and to engineer a remarkable, if inflationary, stimulus. On the other hand, these same factors mean that China, in the words of Jin Liqun, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of China’s sovereign fund, China Investment Corporation, is the only one of the six biggest world economies that does not have its own international currency.”
Having it their way, while everyone else is shackled to floating currency convertibility, means that China’s state protecting racket will break down if a reserve currency role is eventually implemented. Since at this stage it is impossible to separate state control from business risk lending, the future of the top ten Chinese Banks are dependent upon the way the financial community navigates within the treacherous waters of the China Sea.
If the prototype of Chinese banking, with a reciprocal relation under the wing of state direction forecasts international banking, just what will the banksters do with the loss of their preeminence. If the past is a reliable gauge, bidding against the moneychangers is a tall order.
Cold-blooded barbarity reflects US policy. Democracy’s more illusion than reality. Rule of law principles don’t matter. They’re systematically spurned.
Dissent’s increasingly targeted. Freedom’s imperiled. Obama’s ruthless. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He’s waging war on truth-tellers. He targeted more whistleblowers than all his predecessors combined.
Merrian-Webster calls a police state “a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.”
The Oxford dictionary calls it “a totalitarian state controlled by a political police force that secretly supervises the citizens’ activities.”
America raised the stakes higher. It did so with technological ease. It mass-spies everywhere all the time on everyone. It does so lawlessly. Core constitutional principles are violated. Foreign country statutes are defied.
Washington prioritizes state terrorism. It commits global espionage. It does so on an unprecedented scale. It’s lawless and unprincipled. It targets federal employees exposing wrongdoing. Acting responsibly is criminalized.
Whistleblowers reflect duty above and beyond the call. Legions more like them are necessary. Sunshine’s our best defense. Washington demands darkness.
US-style realpolitik reflects New World Order harshness. Edward Snowden’s more than an American hero. His revelations help everyone.
He fled security and prosperity for safety. He took temporary refuge in Hong Kong. On Sunday, he flew to Moscow.
Ecuador’s Russian ambassador Patricio Chavez and other embassy staff met him. They did so at Sheremetyevo Airport. He requested asylum.
Russia Today said Ecuador granted him refugee status. Expect he’ll get asylum unless he has an unannounced destination in mind.
Perhaps he’s granted safe haven elsewhere. Maybe he did it secretly. Given the enormous risks he faces, it makes sense to do so. He needs all the protections he can get.
Julian Assange said he’s “in a safe place and his spirits are high. Due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration, we cannot go into further detail at this time.”
“Unfortunately we cannot reveal what country he is in at this time.” Perhaps he’s in Russia. Maybe elsewhere. He’s wise to keep his whereabouts a closely-held secret.
Washington revoked his passport. He’s wrongfully charged under Espionage Act provisions. The White House asked Russia to detain him. It wants him extradited. Moscow responded nyet diplomatically. It did so by not complying.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden lied saying:
Snowden’s disclosures “suggest that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the US, not to advance internet freedom and free speech.”
She expressed disappointment with Hong Kong authorities. They let him leave despite Washington’s “request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the US-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement.”
“We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to US-Hong Kong and US-China bilateral relations.”
Expect little sympathy in return. America’s waging political and cyberwar on China. Lawless spying and hacking were revealed. Beijing and Hong Kong aren’t pleased.
Xinhua is China’s official press agency. It called ongoing US practices “troubling.” America’s “the biggest villain in our age,” it said.
Hayden said Moscow’s decision to let Snowden travel to Russia further complicates bilateral relations.
Chuck Shumer (D. NY) calls himself Israel’s Senate “guardian.” Others call him US senator from AIPAC.
On CNN’s State of the Nation, he said:
“The bottom line is very simple: allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden.”
He’s “aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R. SC) told Fox News Sunday:
“I don’t think he’s a hero. I believe he hurt or nation. He compromised our national security program designed to find out what terrorists were up to.”
“So, the freedom trail is not exactly China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela. So, I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there will be consequences if they harbor this guy.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told CBS Face the Nation she doesn’t believe Snowden’s a whistleblower.
“Whatever his motives are – and I take him at face value – he could have stayed and faced the music. I don’t think running is a noble thought,” she said.
Washington wants him arrested wherever he goes. It asked Ecuador not to admit him. It wants him extradited. It wants him silenced. It wants him brutalized like Bradley Manning.
It wants other potential whistleblowers warned. Hopefully they’re emboldened to tell all. It’s more than ever a national imperative.
On Monday, an unnamed senior administration official said:
“Mr. Snowden’s claim that he is focused on supporting transparency, freedom of the press and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador.”
“His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the US, not to advance internet freedom and free speech.”
On Monday, Russia Today said Snowden left Moscow at 14:04 local time (11:04 GMT). He’s traveling on Aeroflot flight SU 150. He’ll fly through US air space briefly en route to Havana.
A follow-up report said he wasn’t seen on board. Two seats (17A and C) were reserved in his name. RT correspondent Egor Pishunov’s aboard.
“(S)omething out of the ordinary is definitely happening,” he said. An unnamed airport security team member said Snowden remains in Sheremetyevo’s transit zone.
What’s ongoing isn’t clear. Perhaps SU 150 is clever deception. Maybe Snowden’s airborne on an unannounced flight. Perhaps he will be later. Maybe he arrived secretly at an undisclosed destination.
Given Washington’s intensive targeting, traveling secretly makes sense. Snowden’s safety demands extreme precautions. He’s not entirely safe anywhere.
America governs lawlessly. CIA hitmen operate everywhere. An unnamed State Department official said:
“The United States has been in touch via diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries in the Western Hemisphere through which Snowden might transit or that could serve as final destinations.”
“The US is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”
Washington’s going to extraordinary lengths to get him. Jean le Carre couldn’t have written a more riveting espionage thriller. He’s 81. Perhaps he’ll do one on Snowden.
His 1963 novel titled “The Spy Who Came In from the Cold” remains his best know work. It was an international best-seller.
Snowden’s no spy. The Whistleblower Who Came In from the Cold might be a suitable title. Sub-plots could include others doing the same thing. Le Carre might have another winner.
Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon advises WikiLeaks. In 1998, he indicted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
He said “what is being done to Mr. Snowden and to Mr. Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people.”
Snowden’s not safe anywhere. Disappearing entirely won’t help. When America’s long arm goes all out, targets remain vulnerable.
Assassins “R” Us reflect official US policy. Abductions and disappearances are commonplace. Capture and eliminate are prioritized. Covert operatives are experts at finding people.
Techniques include bribing, pressuring, threatening, and otherwise intimidating targeted officials to comply. America can exert enormous coercion.
It’s hard resisting strong-armed tactics. They’ll be exerted full-force against Snowden. He knows and said so.
“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” he said.
“There’s no saving me. I do not expect to see home again.”
Some things matter most, he added.
“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. (Ahead they’ll be) tyranny.”
That and harmful effects on his family worry him most. “That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said.
It should give everyone sleepless nights!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
On May 4, he called US president Obama the “grand chief of devils.”
Obama, who has betrayed democracy in America, unleashing execution on American citizens without due process of law and war without the consent of Congress, provoked Maduro’s response by suggesting that Maduro’s newly elected government might be fraudulent. Obviously, Obama is piqued that the millions of dollars his administration spent trying to elect an American puppet instead of Maduro failed to do the job.
If anyone has accurately summed up Washington, it is the Venezuelans.
Who can forget Chevez standing at the podium of the UN General Assembly in New York City speaking of George W. Bush? Quoting from memory: “Right here, yesterday, at this very podium stood Satan himself, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulphur.”
Hegemonic Washington threw countless amounts of money into the last Venezuelan election, doing its best to deliver the governance of that country to a Washington puppet called Henrique Capriles, in my opinion a traitor to Venezuela. Why isn’t this American puppet arrested for treason? Why are not the Washington operatives against an independent country–the US ambassador, the counsels, the USAID/CIA personnel, the Washington funded NGOs–ordered to leave Venezuela immediately or arrested and tried for spying and high treason? Why allow any presence of Washington in Venezuela when it is clear that Washington’s intention is to make Venezuela a puppet state like the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, and on and on.
There was a time, such as in the Allende-Pinochet era, when the American left-wing and a no longer extant liberal media would have been all over Washington for its illegal interference in the internal affairs of an independent country. But no more. As CounterPunch’s Jeffrey St. Clair has recently made clear, the American left-wing remains “insensate to the moral and constitutional transgressions being committed by their champion”–the first black, or half-black, US president–leaving “Rand Paul to offer official denunciations against [Washington’s] malignant operations” against independent countries.
Against the Obama regime’s acts of international and domestic violence, “the professional Left, from the progressive caucus to the robotic minions of Moveon.org, lodge no objections and launch no protests.” St. Clair has written a powerful article. Read it for yourself: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/03/the-game-of-drones/print
I think the American left-wing lost its confidence when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Chinese communists and Indian socialists turned capitalist. Everyone misread the situation, especially the “end of history” idiots. The consequence is a world without strong protests of Washington’s and its puppet states’ war criminal military aggressions, murder, destruction of civil liberty and human rights, and transparent propaganda: “Last night Polish forces crossed the frontier and attacked Germany,” or so declared Adolf Hitler. Washington’s charges of “weapons of mass destruction” are even more transparent lies.
But hardly any care. The Western governments and Japan are all paid off and bought, and those that are not bought are begging to be bought because they want the money too. Truth, integrity, these are all dead-letter words. No one any longer knows what they mean.
The moronic George W. Bush said, in Orwellian double-speak, they hate us for our freedom and democracy. They don’t hate us because we bomb them, invade them, kill them, destroy their way of life, culture, and infrastructure. They hate us because we are so good. How stupid does a person have to be to believe this BS?
Washington and Israel present the world with unmistakable evil. I don’t need to stand at the UN podium after Bush or Obama. I can smell Washington’s evil as far away as Florida. Jeffrey St. Clair can smell it in Oregon. Nicolas Maduro can smell it in Venezuela. Evo Morales can smell it in Bolivia from where he cast out CIA-infiltrated USAID. Putin can smell it in Russia, although he still permits the treasonous “Russian opposition” funded by US money to operate against Russia’s government. The Iranians can smell it in the Persian Gulf. The Chinese can smell it as far away as Beijing.
Homeland Security, a gestapo institution, has “crisis actors” to help it deceive the public in its false flag operations.
The Obama regime has drones with which to silence American citizens without due process of law.
Homeland Security has more than a billion rounds of ammunition, tanks, a para-military force. Detention camps have been built.
Are Americans so completely stupid that they believe this is all for “terrorists” whose sparse numbers require the FBI to manufacture “terrorists” in so-called “sting operations” in order to justify the FBI’s $3 billion special fund from Congress to combat domestic terrorism?
Congress has taxpayers paying the FBI to frame up innocents and send them to prison.
This is the kind of country American has become. This is the kind of “security” agencies it has, filling their pockets by destroying the lives of the innocent and downtrodden.
“In God we trust,” reads the coinage. It should read: “In Satan we follow.”
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
On April 4 the Pentagon announced that it was sending a mobile missile defense system to Guam as a “precautionary move” to protect the island from the potential threat from North Korea. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) comprises ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, as well as naval vessels capable of shooting down missiles.
On the same day, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that North Korea posed a “real and clear danger” to the island, to U.S. allies in the region, and even to the United States. Its leaders have “ratcheted up their bellicose, dangerous rhetoric,” Hagel told the National Defense University in Washington. Areas at risk include South Korea and Japan, he added, as well as Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. “We have to take those threats seriously,” he said.
It is the job of defense secretaries to take all threats seriously, but there is less than meets the eye to this one. While media coverage of tensions with North Korea makes it appear that its recent threats in response to the ongoing “Foal Eagle” U.S.-South Korean military exercises came unexpectedly, Pyongyang has a long history of objecting vehemently to such war games. North Korea is using bizarre rhetoric—as it has done many times before—but there is no “real and present danger,” because the country’s nuclear and missile delivery capabilities are rudimentary now and will remain so for years to come. Its three nuclear tests thus far—in 2006, 2009 and on February 12 of this year—amounted to a total yield of around 10 kilotons, or less than one-half the power of the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in August 1945. At least two, and possibly all three, of those tests used plutonium as the fissile material. Crude and bulky, plutonium devices cannot be fitted onto a missile.
North Korea’s claims to have miniaturized its latest device are unproven and probably untrue: no tell-tale isotopes indicative of weapons-grade uranium have been detected. In addition, at the moment, its uranium-enrichment facilities are not producing requisite quantities of highly-enriched uranium (HEU). The Yongbyon site—the country’s main nuclear facility—has been limited to electricity generation for the past five years, as part of a disarmament-for-aid deal signed in September 2005. The agreement’s implementation was always wrought with difficulties, however. Last month, the regime vowed to restart all facilities at Yongbyon—presumably including uranium enrichment to weapons-grade levels (HEU). They have the technical ability to do this, but even if the enrichment program proceeds immediately North Korea will be several years away from producing a deliverable device on a reliable missile.
In the final months of Kim Jong-il’s life it appeared that the talks with the U.S. on the control of North Korea’s nuclear facilities would be restarted. After he died in December 2011, his young son and successor Kim Jong-un soon shifted emphasis from hoped-for cooperation to confrontation. In February 2012, Pyongyang unexpectedly announced that it would suspend nuclear activities and observe a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for American food aid. That agreement was suspended after North Korea unsuccessfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite a year ago, which caused major embarrassment to the regime. A successful launch came last December, swiftly followed by the tightening of international sanctions in January (this time supported by China), a third nuclear test in February, and the ongoing escalation of warlike rhetoric since early March.
That rhetoric is a mix of bluster and bravado. Even if it had the theoretical wherewithal to threaten the United States—which it does not have—North Korea could not do it credibly: a single missile, or two, or five, would be fairly easy to intercept and destroy, and the ensuing retaliation would turn much of the People’s Democratic Republic into a parking lot. In the fullness of time the North may develop a device capable of fitting into a warhead, but it will have no guidance system necessary for accuracy and no re-entry technology to bring an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) back to Earth. According to the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, North Korea has something that can hit American shores, but a “functioning nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile is still at least several years away.”
Even if it were to miniaturize a half-dozen nuclear weapons and perfect some form of functioning delivery system, North Korea would not be able to use them as a means of blackmail to alter the regional balance of power. The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel have possessed nuclear weapons for decades. None of them has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use the bomb. The possession of nuclear weapons by one of the parties did not impact the outcome in Korea in 1953, or Suez in 1956, or prevent the two superpowers’ defeats, in Vietnam and Afghanistan respectively. It makes no difference to China’s stalled efforts to bring Taiwan under its control. South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the pressure to dismantle the Apartheid in the early 1990’s. The political effect of a country’s possession of nuclear weapons has been to force its potential adversaries to exercise caution and to freeze the existing frontiers. There is no reason to think that North Korea will be an exception to the rule.
The root causes of North Korea’s apparently reckless behavior are predominantly domestic, as usual. Kim Jong-un, the third absolute ruler in the dynasty established by his late grandfather Kim Il-sung, is young (29), untested and insecure. When his father Kim Jong-il died on December 17, 2011, the military and Party leadership accepted his third son as the designated successor, but it was not immediately clear whether Jong-un would in fact take full power right away. A cult of personality started developing right away. With no track record of achievement and no sign of outstanding talent, he was hailed as the “great successor to the revolutionary cause,” “outstanding leader of the party, army and people,” “respected comrade identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il,” even as “a great person born of heaven”—an eccentric metaphor for a society nominally based on the teaching of dialectical materialism. The titles followed: within days of his father’s death, Kim Jon-un was declared Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and “supreme leader of the country.” In March of last year, he was appointed first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea; three months later, he was awarded the rank of a field marshal.
The plethora of titles does not mean that Kim Jong-un automatically commands the same level of authority and unquestioning obedience enjoyed by his father and grandfather before him. According to a psychological profile put together by U.S. intelligence, Kim Jong-un may feel compelled to prove just how tough he is in order to make up for his inexperience. One of the CIA’s former top experts on North Korea, Joseph DeTrani, regards him as a young man insufficiently well prepared for the position, with limited foreign exposure, who has the urge to prove his toughness to his own military by emulating his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. But the heir is unlikely to start a general war, which he knows he cannot win, and in which China—his often reluctant backer—would likely remain aloof. “It would probably mean his defeat, and his defeat would probably mean the downfall of his regime and, very probably, the end of him as well,” according to the Telegraph’s David Blair. “Assuming that he’s not suicidal, he is very unlikely to start a general conflagration.” The danger remains, however, that North Korea, having ratcheted up the rhetoric for so long and having issued so many blood-curdling threats, feels that it has to do something.
My hunch is that in the end Kim the Third will do nothing. South Korea refrained from retaliation when one of its naval vessels was sunk under mysterious circumstances in disputed waters in March 2010, or when North Korea bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November of that year. This time the leaders in Seoul appear determined to respond to any hostile act. While China is urging all sides to tone it down, its warnings are primarily directed at North Korea. Beijing has conveyed a warning to Pyongyang that any incident would subject the North to swift and vigorous retaliation. It is noteworthy that there are no significant troop movements along the 38th parallel, and the feverish tone of North Korea’s state media appears to have abated in recent days. The specific warnings that preceded the Yeonpyeong attack are now absent. The regime is well aware of North Korea’s inadequacies in the nuclear and missile technologies. Economically it is a mess. According to the CIA economic assessment issued last month, North Korea’s industrial and power output have receded to pre-1990 levels, while frequent crop failures since the catastrophic 1995 famine have produced chronic food shortages and malnutrition. Its people depend for survival on international food aid deliveries, mainly from China.
Once this latest teacup storm is over, a coherent long-term American response should address the question as to why North Korea feels it needs nuclear weapons in the first place. This is not because Kim Jong-un plans to reunify the peninsula by force—that he cannot do, with or without the bomb—but because Pyongyang regards the United States as a real threat. North Korea is one of the tightest despotisms in existence, but ever since it was designated the eastern pivot of the “Axis of Evil” in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address its leaders have rational grounds to feel threatened. According to President Obama, the nuclear test offered only an illusion of greater security to North Korea. This is incorrect. The possession of nuclear weapons, far from providing an “illusion” of greater security, is the only reliable insurance policy to those states that Washington may deem fit for regime change. Had Serbia had the bomb in 1999 or Iraq in 2003, they would not have been subjected to illegal American attacks on patently spurious grounds.
Some imagination is needed in Washington, including a rethink of the old orthodoxy that nuclear proliferation is inherently dangerous. It is not. Since 1945, there have been many wars, but no catastrophic ones on par with 1914-1918 or 1939-1945. This long peace—lasting for close to seven decades thus far—is due almost entirely to the existence of nuclear weapons and to their possession by an expanding circle of powers. Contrary to the will of the United States—whose leaders do not want other countries to possess what America has possessed, and used, since 1945—nuclear proliferation has been a major factor in the preservation of peace. The “Balance of Terror” is a grim term which denotes a comforting reality, and its logic applies to the lesser powers, such as India and Pakistan, which went to war three times after the Partition—in 1947, 1965, and 1971—but not since then. On previous form, the violence in Kashmir in March 2008 and the Pakistani-linked terrorist attacks in Bombay in November of that year would have reignited the conflict—but they did not. The possession of nuclear weapons by both adversaries has been a major war-inhibiting factor for over four decades, and it will likely remain so for many years to come.
What is valid for the Subcontinent should apply to the North Korean peninsula. Sanctions or no sanctions, Pyongyang will not give up its bomb. For the sake of regional peace and stability, South Korea should acquire one as well—and there is no reason for Japan not to follow suit. Back in the 1970’s, the Ford Administration induced South Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for not withdrawing American soldiers. Now is the time to reverse the sequence. Washington should grant a free nuclear hand to Seoul in return for the mutually agreed U.S. troop withdrawal. The latest crisis strengthens the case for the long-overdue withdrawal of the remaining 28,000 American troops from the Korean peninsula. It is high time to let the countries directly affected by Pyongyang’s actions—South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia—deal with North Korea themselves, to the best of their abilities.
If you listen to the alarm coming out of the imperium empire media, you would think that missiles would be flying at any moment. That medieval torture regime noted for starving their population is boasting that a bellicose attack is imminent. Of course, their propagandists are pointing the finger at the Yankee bully that is the perennial bogyman posed to snuff out the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Such an earthly paradise is billed as a “genuine workers’ state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests.”
Indeed such a freedom loving society takes pride in professing their government is the rightful leadership for the entire Korean peninsula. Such bold determination to dominate the imposter that has set up shop in the south must mean that the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il dynasty will prevail. Both adopted the Songun, or “military-first” policy in order to strengthen the country and its government. North Korea is the world’s most militarized country, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Now the grand Kim Jong-un general in chief is ready to hit the nuke button as a sign of his manhood.
Does it really matter that North Korea Defies World Body with Third Nuke Test, or is this just another opportunity for the world community to play the role of the white knight as it slays an infantile dragon that causes trepidation among his commie mentors?
“Still, three Security Council resolutions – in 2006, 2009 and 2013 – critical of North Korea’s nuclear program and tightening sanctions on Pyongyang – had the blessings of China, a permanent member with veto powers.
But the harshest of possible sanctions – a naval blockade, an oil embargo or a cutoff of economic aid from China – have escaped Security Council resolutions, at least so far.
The 15-member Council met in an emergency session Tuesday and issued a predictable statement condemning the test as “a grave violation” of its three resolutions and describing North Korea as a country which is “a clear threat to international peace and security”.”
When the Guardian newspaper writes, Now North Korea defies even China, should we really believe that the true Asian tiger is powerless to reign in the unhinged stepchild.
“In this tense game of diplomatic-military poker, South Korea is not even the North’s principal adversary. Kim Jong-il is now blithely defying all the major regional actors – the US, China, Russia and Japan – while actively exploiting differences between them. It makes little difference whether his aim is recognition and security guarantees; economic and financial assistance; or the succession of his son. Kim is playing off the great powers against each other, to see what he can get out of them. The result is virtual diplomatic meltdown.
Just look at what has happened since last month’s bombardment of Yeonpyeong island. China, the North’s only influential ally, has come under strong US pressure to pull its supposed client into line. China’s perceived failure to do so is straining relations with Washington. James Steinberg, the US deputy secretary of state, visited Beijing today carrying the message: China must do more, fast.”
China saved the original North Korean dictatorship from defeat with their intervention of troops back in November 1950. Mao and Stalin fired up the cold war into a blood stained conflict that never ended. The uneasy armistice at the cease of arms, supposedly now terminated, allows for active deployment of the most sophisticated weapons. Is this a fragile standoff or should the prudent student of the global gulag conclude, that the Chinese and even the Russians, are eager to confront the Western allies through a standalone surrogate?
The New York Times hints at the answer in the article, China Looms Over Response to Nuclear Test by North Korea.
“The Chinese military, and to a lesser extent the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, assert strong influence on China’s Korea policy, and both powerful entities prefer to keep North Korea close at hand, Chinese and American analysts say.
While the People’s Liberation Army is not even able to conduct military exercises with the North Koreans – the government in the North forbids such contact with outsiders – Chinese military strategists adhere to the doctrine that they cannot afford to abandon their ally, no matter how bad its behavior, analysts here say.
At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party looks upon the North Korean Communist Party – led by Kim Jong-un, the grandson of the nation’s founder – as a fraternal brotherhood. Indeed, relations between the two countries are conducted largely between the two parties rather than between the two foreign ministries, the more normal diplomatic channel.
In an early sign that Mr. Xi is unlikely to veer from past policy, the state-run news agency, Xinhua, criticized the United States and its allies for essentially forcing the North’s aggression by causing the country to feel insecure.”
Blame the U.S. for causing insecurity, when the sordid record of capitulation to the repeated game of North Korean chicken, resembles a farmers feed the world that largely benefits corporate agriculture. Putting and keeping Kim Jong-un on a short choke chain leash is certainly within the power of the Chinese.
Since China is the preferred economic model of the globalists and North Korea is the chosen police state version for social repression, what possible reason would China have to intervene by stopping the challenge to the American military?
The Storm Clouds Gathering video, The North Korean Nuclear Crisis What You Aren’t being Told, provides a perceptive analysis of the current confrontation.
The proper method to interpret Sino-American foreign policy is through a lens of transnational monopoly control. The real masters of Asian industrialization and American decline operate above and beyond national sovereignty. The best explanation of perceived unstable skirmishes that lead to deployed conflicts, must accept that it is good business for the globalists to keep tensions high with frequent warfare.
The bondage cult that adores the North Korean regime is an expendable ritual killer machine that excels in making threats, but comes up short, when faced with superior force defense. The mission assigned for North Korea is to stir the pot for state of war stress, while backing down without losing face domestically.
Defense News offers a familiar establishment appeasement attitude viewpoint in the report, Has China Had Enough of N. Korean Antics? Maybe Not.
“North Korea’s continuous provocations defying China’s demands, warnings and brazen neglect of China’s key strategic and security interests certainly drive many in China, both in the public and among elites, to ‘soul-searching’ on its North Korea policy,” said Wang Dong, director, School of International Studies, Center for Northeast Asian Strategic Studies, Peking University, Beijing.
China will join the international community in tightening sanctions against the regime, “but it will also carefully ensure the sanctions do not ‘threaten’ another key goal of China, which is peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Wang said.”
Get real folks! The notion that North Korea is defying Chinese interests is ridiculous. The actual international community consensus that controls worldwide politics, seeks to dismantle the global influence of America and deepen damage on the U.S. political system.
Fear of a nuclear exchange with Kim Jong-un military is rooted in the false premise that North Korea can and would operate separately from Chinese or Russian direction. Ratcheting up the threats makes high drama, but produces a low probability for an actual attack.
The prospects for direct negotiations with the AmeriKan “Beloved Leader”, Barack Hussein Obama might well take place at a Tehran Conference II. What a great diplomatic coup for a peacemaker of banksters’ interests to immerge as the capitulator in chief. Averting WWIII by compliance and singing an international ecumenical anthem is the ultimate game plan from this latest trumped up crisis.
Do not rule out a false flag incident. The dogs of war like to play in the killing fields of properly planned out maneuvers. However, that threatened surge of a 10 million horde, breaching the 38th parallel, has a greater likelihood that the rush would be to seize Samsung electronics, than to mop up the debris from depleted uranium.
An inevitable World War III will be fought under the direction of unworldly principalities. Kim Jong-un is a cartoon caricature and a paper tiger, more suited for his 15 minutes of fame, than a reincarnated Napoleon.
Watch for the real fallout from this episode of “true grit”. Keep your eye on the monetary radioactive dust cloud. The threat of war is the best cover for a heist of global propositions. When in trouble, the great powers mobilize for pillage. The North Korea gulag is a nightmare that readies replication for the rest of the world. The cabal of globalists is the actual warmongers.
To quote the immortal line in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, as filmed by John Huston, “Let’s talk about the black bird” – let’s talk about a mysterious bird made out of gold. Oh yes, because this is a film noir worthy of Dashiell Hammett – involving the Pentagon, Beijing, shadow wars, pivoting and a lot of gold.
Let’s start with Beijing’s official position; “We don’t have enough gold”. That leads to China’s current, frenetic buying spree – which particularly in Hong Kong anyone can follow live, in real time. China is already the top gold producing and the top gold importing nation in the world.
Gold accounts for roughly 70% of reserves held by the US and Germany – and more or less the same for France and Italy. Russia – also on a buying spree – is slightly over 10%. But China’s percentage of gold among its whopping US$3.2 trillion reserves is only 2%.
Beijing is carefully following the current shenanigans of the New York Federal Reserve, which, asked by the German Bundesbank to return the German gold it is holding, replied it would take at least seven years.
German financial journalist Lars Schall has been following the story since the beginning, and virtually alone has made the crucial connection between gold, paper money, energy resources and the abyss facing the petrodollar.
Whenever Beijing says it needs more gold, this is justified as a hedge “against risks in foreign reserves” – aka US dollar fluctuation – but especially to “promote yuan globalization”. As in, suavely, having the yuan compete with the US dollar and the euro “fairly” in the “international market”.
And here’s the (elusive) heart of the matter. What Beijing actually wants is to get rid of the US dollar peg. For that to happen, it needs vast gold reserves. So here’s Beijing pivoting from the US dollar to the yuan – and trying to sway vast swathes of the global economy to follow the path. This golden rule is Beijing’s Maltese Falcon: “The stuff dreams are made of”.
Have drone, will travel
Qatar also does pivoting – but of the MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) kind. Doha has been financing Wahhabis and Salafis – and even Salafi-jihadis – as in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rebels in Libya, Free Syrian Army gangs in Syria, and the pan-Islamic gang that took over northern Mali.
The State Department – and later the Pentagon – may have woken up to it, as in the arrangement brokered by Doha and Washington together to spawn a new, more palatable Syria “coalition”. But still very potent are those dangerous liaisons between the francophile Emir of Qatar and the Quai d’Orsay in Paris – which gathered plenty of steam already during the reign of King Sarko, aka former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Every informed geopolitical observer has tracked leak after leak by former French intelligence operatives to the deliciously wicked satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, detailing Qatar’s modus operandi. It’s a no-brainer. Qatar’s foreign policy reads as Muslim Brotherhood Here, There and Everywhere (but not inside the neo-feudal emirate); this is Qatar’s Maltese Falcon. At the same time Doha – to the delight of French elites – is an avid practitioner of hardcore neoliberalism, and a top investor in France’s economy.
So their interests may coalesce in promoting disaster capitalism – successfully – in Libya and then – still unsuccessfully – in Syria. Yet Mali is something else; classic blowback – and that’s where the interests of Doha and Paris diverge (not to mention Doha and Washington; at least if one does not assume that Mali has been the perfect pretext for a renewed AFRICOM drive.)
Algerian media is awash in outrage, questioning Qatar’s agenda (in French). Yet the pretext – as predicted – worked perfectly.
AFRICOM – surprise! – is on a roll, as the Pentagon gets ready to set up a drone base in Niger. That’s the practical result of a visit by AFRICOM’s commander, General Carter Ham, to Niger’s capital Niamey only a few days ago.
Forget about those outdated PC-12 turbo props that have been spying on Mali and Western Africa for years. Now it’s Predator time. Translation: chief-in-waiting John Brennan plans a Central Intelligence Agency shadow war all across the Sahara-Sahel. With permission from Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, it’s time to start humming a remixed hit: “I see a grey drone/ and I want it painted black”.
AFRICOM does Niger is indeed sweeter than cherry pie. Northwest Niger is the site of all those uranium mines supplying the French nuclear industry. And it’s very close to Mali’s gold reserves. Imagine all that gold in an “unstable” area falling into the hands of … Chinese companies. Beijing’s Maltese Falcon moment of finally having enough gold to dump the US dollar peg would be at hand.
The Pentagon even got permission for all its surveillance gear to refuel in – of all places – crucial Agadez. The French legion may have been doing the hard work on the ground in Mali, but it’s AFRICOM which will ultimately reap the profits all across the Sahara-Sahel.
Don’t you know about the (Asian) bird?
And that brings us to that famous pivoting to Asia – which was supposed to be the number one geopolitical theme of the Obama 2.0 administration. It may well be. But certainly alongside AFRICOM pivoting all over the Sahara/Sahel in drone mode, to Beijing’s growing irritation; and Doha-Washington pivoting in their support of the former “terrorist” turned “freedom fighter”, and vice-versa.
And we did not even mention the non-pivoting involved in this noir plot; the Obama 2.0 administration keeping its appalling embrace of the medieval House of Saud and “stability in the Arabian peninsula”, as recommended by an usual suspect, a mediocre – yet influential – “veteran intelligence official“.
Play it again, Sam. In that outstanding Maltese Falcon scene at the start of our plot between Humphrey Bogart (let’s say he plays the Pentagon) and Sydney Greenstreet (let’s say he plays Beijing), the official is the goon, the third guy in the picture. The pivoting to Asia is essentially a product of Andrew Marshall, an allegedly Yoda-like totem of US national security.
Marshall has been behind the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) – all of you Donald Rumsfeld freaks know about it – failed Shock and Awe (which only served to destroy Iraq almost beyond repair, even with disaster capitalism involved); and now the concept calledAir Sea Battle.
Air Sea Battle’s premise is that Beijing will attack US forces in the Pacific, which is, frankly, ridiculous (even with help from a monster false-flag operation). The US would then retaliate via a “blinding campaign” – the naval equivalent of Shock and Awe. Both the US Air Force and the US Navy loved the concept because it implies a lot of hardware spending to be stationed in plenty of sophisticated Pacific bases, and in the high seas.
So even as David Petraeus-style counterinsurgency has pivoted to John Brennan’s CIA shadow wars, the real deal is the pivoting to Asia; a pseudo-strategy, concocted to keep the Pentagon budget at exorbitant levels, promoting a new cold war with China. “They will never amass enough gold to impose their evil plans”, one could hear Marshall say about China (without Bogart or Greenstreet’s aplomb, of course). Hammett would be appalled; Marshall’s Maltese Falcon is the stuff (war) dreams are made of.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2008). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Asia Times
The long-term goal of Communist Red Chinese is to take over the wealth creation resources of the planet. The quasi merger between the authoritarian Maoists and the global capitalists plays out as a sorry act in the Beijing Red Theater. The performance designed to distract and confuse really has the destruction of Western economies as the climax. The sell out of the West, under the skilled dirty hands of Herr Heinz Henry A. Kissinger, is entering the final stages of a planned implosion. Now that the de-industrialization of America as described in the article, Free Trade Created the Chinese Model, has taken placed, the theft of our natural assets is the next to go. The Chinese exploits the use of U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones. A depiction of the function and working of such Foreign-Trade Zones follows:
“Other countries around the world have Free Trade Zones that are often confused with the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program. While there are similarities, the FTZ program is very different from other countries’ Free Trade Zone. In a number of “free trade zones” in other countries – particularly those in developing countries – the sole benefit is the avoidance of internal customs duties on products that are re-exported from the Free Trade Zone. Often, the goods are not even allowed to be sold in the country where the Free Trade Zone exists. You often here these zones referred to as “Export Processing Zones”. The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program not only allows the sale and importation of merchandise to the U.S. Commerce, but in many cases enables companies to reduce or eliminate duties on products manufactured for domestic consumption. This relief from inverted-tariff benefit is one of the key distinctions between the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program and other countries Free Trade Zone programs. Generally Free Trade Zones offer significantly less opportunity for benefits and tariff savings. As previously mentioned, in many cases you must actually export all the merchandise you bring into a Free Trade Zone (if it is a Export Processing Zone. In other cases, importation is allowed, but not manufacturing of merchandise. Under the U.S. FTZ program, companies can obtain FTZ benefits such as, duty exemption on re-exports, duty elimination on waste, scrap, and yield loss, duty exemption on damaged, or nonconforming items, reduction in merchandise processing fees (MPF) and brokerage fees through weekly entry, cash flow savings, and relief from ad valorem tax, and the previously described relief from inverted tariffs.”
Watch the video, Chinese Move Into Foreign Trade Zones On American Land, for an informative discussion on the effects that allow wholesale entry of Red Chinese companies to operate on American soil.
A previous Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert is available on the WND report, CHINA INVADES U.S. WITH ‘FREE-TRADE ZONES’ which documents an additional twist to the economic treason that the political class is foisting on our country.
“A plan being pushed by the Chinese Central Bank would set up “development zones” in the United States that would allow China to “establish Chinese-owned businesses and bring in its citizens to the U.S. to work.” Under the plan, some of the $1.17 trillion that the U.S. owes China would be converted from debt to “equity”. As a result, “China would own U.S. businesses, U.S. infrastructure and U.S. high-value land, all with a U.S. government guarantee against loss.” Does all of this sound far-fetched? Well, it isn’t. In fact, the economic colonization of America is already far more advanced than most Americans would dare to imagine.”
Another Dr. Corsi assertion is outlined in the Market Daily News article; Does China Plan To Establish Chinese Cities And Special Economic Zones All Over America?
“A key argument of Corsi’s book, “America for Sale: Fighting the New World Order, Surviving a Global Depression, and Preserving USA Sovereignty,” is that China will not long continue to subsidize the Obama administration’s trillion-dollar annual federal budget deficits without demanding U.S. assets in return.”
This same news account goes on to document many examples on auctioning off American assets to the Chinese Triad consortium of collectivists. Take the time to review the dirty deeds that passes under the rubric of Free Trade.
The terminal game is as simple as it is devious. China poised to play debt card – for U.S. land states the obvious:
“The basic idea is to turn Asian savings, China’s in particular, into real business interests rather than let them be used to support U.S. over-consumption.”
Chinese cash reserves used to acquire real assets relies upon the “Interoperability Principle”, the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together. What a way to collaborate for the systematic economic liquidation of domestic property. A country that is debt ridden beyond servicing the obligation is already insolvent. What the Beijing regime is confirming is that U.S. Treasury Bonds are paper promises of default.
The People’s Republic of China wants to own the business enterprises and not the liabilities of the Dollar. The complicity of the banksters that plot the convergence of the world economy under their monitory manipulation clearly understands that fiat currencies are not real assets. Their partnership with the imperial communists is shaping the model for the American continent.
Stripping of real property as a national resource is a key component in the shakedown and impoverishment of the United States. Financing the national debt has a much higher price than paying the interest.
Turning over operative control of the importation ports is not enough for the “Chinese Diaspora”. They want physical possession of the title. Do not be surprised when the money centered banks pass on their ample portfolio of foreclosed property into a Chinese holding company in lieu of T-Bills.
The Foreign-Trade Zones are sentry outposts for the orderly transfer of wealth to the globalist cabal. This process has the full blessing of the criminal political class that masquerades as lawful public officials. America has been sold out to a foreign power that is the brainchild of our domestic traitors.
Apparently, it’s a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people – with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years – in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.
So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based
Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali. Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The formerly wimpy Hollande – now enjoying his “resolute”, “determined”, tough guy image reconversion – has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.
French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.
The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).
Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.
Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council – faster than a collection of Marvel heroes – duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors – part of the ECOWAS regional bloc – were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened – and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.
Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate – and impoverished – countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.
To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe’s cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.
General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what’s really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those “vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara”?
It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government’s incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.
The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010. Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department’s Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this “freedom” business Mali has been the proverbial “steady ally” – as in counterterrorism partner – fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Over the last few years, Washington’s game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.
An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch’s papers – for instance, The Times of London – and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.
Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs’ independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.
After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The “international community” spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other – Islamist – groups; Ansar ed-Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Meet the players
The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration – and development – for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi’s army. But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.
AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to “The Doctor”, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.
Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as “The Uncatchable”, has recently joined MUJAO.
MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It’s the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, “in the name of Allah”, to respond by attacking “the heart of France”.
Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of – inevitably – Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It’s interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.
Gimme ‘a little more terrorism’
No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo’s military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad – especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu. How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It’s useless to ask the question to US drones.
The official “leading from behind” Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing “could rally jihadis” around the world and lead to – what else – attacks on the West. Once again the good ol’ Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.
There’s no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to. The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that “from categorically refusing an intervention – saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous”, Algiers went to “open Algerian skies to the French Mirages”.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.
So let’s turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcomingThe Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).
Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, “Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the ‘Global War on Terror’ has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.”
In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, “a little more terrorism” in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush – or the neo-cons behind him – wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.
Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that “little more terrorism”. Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as “terrorists”; the perfect pretext for Bush’s Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon’s Operation Flintlock – a trans-Sahara military exercise.
The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.
The Tuaregs – the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel – number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.
Keenan’s analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine’s Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO’s Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.
Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That’s the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.
Round up the usual freedom fighters
Washington’s “leading from behind” position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.
And that’s it.
Not really. Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.
Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road – and by the (Niger) river – and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.
As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller wassaying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.
AFRICOM’s spy planes have been “observing” Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are – what else – contractors who do not wear military uniforms.
Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM’s commander, once more gave a big push to the “mission to advance US security interests across Africa”. Now it’s all about the – updated – US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to “strengthen democratic institutions”; encourage “economic growth, trade and investment”; “advance peace and security”; and “promote opportunity and development.”
In practice, it’s Western militarization (with Washington “leading from behind”) versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa. In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.
Already in early December a “multinational” war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.
The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, “multinational” proxy army about to get into the action, it’s the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony “in trouble” to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.
Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.
A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it’s been reported), led by who else but the “uncatchable” Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.
The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced – what else – the new French “crusade” and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.
As blowback goes, this is just the hors d’oeuvres. And it won’t be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.
So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about “peace”); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed “kinetic military operations”.
Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There’s no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at email@example.com
Source: Asia Times Online
Who’d have guessed it? When the Chinese aren’t busy effecting forced abortions, persecuting political dissidents, sending contaminated products to our shores, or shipping us other junk that malfunctions a month after you buy it, they concern themselves with our well-being.
In an article published by the Chinese government-front media outlet Xinhua, the Beijing regime calls on the Obama administration to use the Sandy Hook massacre as a pretext for more gun control. The outlet writes, “Every time a tragedy occurs, there are renewed appeals for gun regulation. However, the calls disappointingly always fail.” Gee, we wouldn’t want to disappoint the Chinese fascists again now, would we?
And that’s a good approximation of what they are. When you institute free-market reforms (which is smart), become the most rapacious, money-hungry, product-pirating vulture capitalists on the planet, but yet maintain an iron-fist grip on the private sector and social sphere, you don’t with credibility get to call yourselves socialists or communists. (This isn’t to imply that communism is better, just different.) Take note of this, Jeffrey Immelt and the rest of you dim bulbs who say things such as Chinese “state run communism” “works” a bit. What works for them is being the most cutthroat, playing-for-keeps economic player in the game. They’re communists like Bill Clinton is a celibate.
Back to the issue at hand, Xinhua writes that the Newtown victims’ “blood and tears demand no delay for the U.S. gun control,” that “with no re-election pressure, President Obama is currently in the best position to promote it” and concludes with, “If Obama wants to take practical measures to control guns, he has to make preparation for a protracted war and considerable political cost.” Wow, to paraphrase the Rodney Dangerfield character in Back to School, “They really care.
About what I have no idea.”
Perhaps the mercenary Chinese regime sees with every American shooting victim a diminution in their most lucrative market. Or perhaps the Beijing fascists just don’t like the idea of murdering free agents and prefer mass killing government run.
This brings us to the title of the Xinhua piece, “Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control.” Well, they say write what you know, and the Chinese regime certainly is an authority on shedding innocent blood. Back when they were still giving socialism that old college try and before they made Mao spin in his devilish grave, they murdered 40 to 70 million of their own people (it’s too bad those poor souls weren’t equipped with AR-15s, huh?). I don’t know what the body count is up to now, but I do know this: I trust the American people with arms far more than I trust the Chinese government with them.
And, obviously, Beijing doesn’t trust us with them, either. Maybe they heard about how the Japanese ruled out invading the US mainland during WWII because, we’re told, they knew that Americans were heavily armed. Hey, it would be nice if you never had to worry about such a stumbling block in the future, eh, you Chinese oligarchs?
Ironically, on the very day of the tragic Newtown massacre, a criminal in China slashed 22 schoolchildren with a knife. And I realize, Chinese-government mouthpiece Xinhua, you would no doubt say that because of your laws, his attack wasn’t nearly as deadly as Adam Lanza’s. I would say that because of our laws, our government isn’t nearly as deadly as yours.
Speaking in Dublin last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that a new effort was under way by “oppressive governments” to “re-Sovietize” Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She took a stab at Russia and her regional allies for their alleged crackdown on democracy and human rights, only hours ahead of meeting Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss Syria and other issues of mutual concern.
Addressing a group of “civil society advocates” on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers’ meeting, Clinton decried a wave of repressive tactics and laws aimed at curtailing U.S. “outreach efforts” in Russia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and other Soviet successor states. “There is a move to re-Sovietize the region,” Clinton declared. “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” she said, alluding to Moscow’s initiatives for greater regional integration. “But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”
To support her claims Clinton presented one Igor Kochetkov, an activist with the “Russian LGBT Network”—a homosexual advocacy group financed by U.S. taxpayer money—who declared that Russian authorities were stifling the discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She also produced one Olga Zakharova, supposedly a journalist, who said that the use of social media was being restricted by the Russian authorities. Clinton warned that there is a concerted effort under way to eliminate American and international assistance to such human rights advocates.
It is noteworthy that the “Eurasian Union and all of that” is, in Clinton’s view, a neo-Soviet project primarily designed to violate human rights as she defines them. In fact the Eurasian Union (EAU) is a project of regional political and economic integration openly modeled on the European Union. It was first suggested by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1994, and the idea was revived by Russia’s then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in October 2011. The following month the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement to establish the EAU by 2015. The agreement included the blueprint for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission—clearly emulating the European Commission in Brussels—which started work on the first day of this year.
Clinton’s pledge to throw a spanner into this project—“we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it,” as she put it—reflects her dangerous arrogance. Her ability to do anything of the kind is limited, however, and if she believes otherwise she is deluded. More seriously, there is no rational reason for the United States to oppose regional integration of post-Soviet countries. The EAU is not a threat to American interests—unless those interests are defined as open-ended, full-spectrum dominance over the planet. She is unnecessarily throwing down the gauntlet and thus undermining a cooperative relationship with Russia, which in view of America’s many challenges in the greater Middle East and in the Pacific region—not to mention the disengagement from Afghanistan—should be among our top foreign policy priorities.
Secretary of State’s complaint about Russia’s “repressive tactics” aimed at curtailing U.S. “outreach efforts” is hypocritical in the extreme. She was alluding to a recently enacted law regulating the work of Russian regime-change focused “NGOs” funded by the U.S. taxpayer money, and funneled through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute. In fact the Russian law regulating such activities was patterned directly on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which regulates activities of foreign governments in the United States. FARA would require full public disclosure of those same activities that the U.S. Department of State has been lavishly funding in Russia during Clinton’s tenure. She is forgetting that the Federal Election Campaign Act flatly prohibits foreign involvement in American political process that she regards as legitimate and desirable when conducted in Russia by Washington’s protégés under the guise of promoting democracy.
As for the restrictions on social media, Russia blacklists websites devoted to drug use, suicide promotion and paedophilia. The government was accused of using the law as a tool for censorship after two—two—popular sites were banned. We may take Clinton’s criticism seriously when she expresses similar concern over Internet censorship by our NATO ally Turkey—which bans access to thousands of sites—or by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which block access to all sites which engage in the criticism of those countries’ governments, not to mention those “deemed offensive to Islam.”
Hillary Clinton’s performance in Dublin reinforces my view (see the September 2012 issue of Chronicles) that she is the worst secretary of state in U.S. history. The substance and style of her foreign policymaking have undermined the national security of the United States. Her standing abroad is abysmal. It ranges from raw hate in the Muslim world—Egyptian protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at her motorcade last July—to contempt (Jerusalem), eye-rolling irritation (Moscow, Beijing, most of Latin America), or grudging endurance (Europe).
Clinton has abused her position in pursuit of a radical ideological outlook formed in the late 1960’s. Her disregard for long-established international norms and mechanisms is as revolutionary on the global scene as Obama’s presidency is domestically. She has undermined this country’s national security in various ways—her support for the misnamed Arab Spring, her Syrian policy, her Russian policy, her Balkan policy, her obsessive advocacy of “gay rights” in traditionally Christian countries—but the roots of those decisions are in her view of the United States as an ideological proposition. She does not see America as a real country populated by real people, whose security interests are rationally quantifiable on the basis of tangible costs and benefits. “When I ask people, ‘What do you think the goals of America are today?’ people don’t have any idea,” she told MSNBC in 2007. “We don’t know what we’re trying to achieve. And I think that in a life or in a country you’ve got to have some goals.”
The notion of a country having “goals” is the product of an un-American, corporatist, liberal-fascist paradigm that demands permanent cultural revolution at home and permanent “engagement” abroad. The result is a foreign policy that is part-Ribbentrop, part-New Age. Any outcome desired by Hillary Clinton becomes nonnegotiable; any opposition to it is more than a personal affront; it is an insult to “history.” To lie for the higher truth is a virtue, and to enforce the lie is a test of will.
Subterfuge came first. Mrs. Clinton has reduced the ability of American diplomats to function effectively by signing orders early in her tenure—revealed by Wikileaks—instructing Foreign Service officers to spy on the diplomats of other nations. She also told State Department officials overseas to collect the fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans of foreign leaders, and to obtain passwords and credit-card numbers used by foreign officials. Some spies have always masqueraded as diplomats, but under Clinton all American diplomats are rightly assumed to be at least part-time spooks. Remarkably, she has succeeded in evading scrutiny by congressional oversight committees. Three or four decades ago, such revelations would have resulted in the offending secretary of state’s resignation, but the legacy of her husband and his successor have altered the moral climate, making Mrs. Clinton safe from sanction.
More serious in their impact on America’s national security are Hillary Clinton’s strategic blunders. There is no rational explanation for her support for the forces of jihad in North Africa, the “Arab Spring” that is predictably reshaping the region (and particularly Egypt, the key player in that region) into a foreign policy realist’s nightmare. Clinton turned the Egyptian “revolution” into her own pet project because of her ideological makeup: a seemingly popular mass movement was ipso facto historically preordained, and therefore worthy of support. Her relentless pressure on Egyptian generals to surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country was patently not in the American interest. The process now continues in Syria, where a false-flag chemical weapons atrocity is a distinct possibility.
Clinton and her team treat meddling and intervention as a moral imperative and a test of American leadership. The doubters are maligned in terms unprecedented in diplomatic discourse. That Russia and China vetoed her U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war against Syria was, according to her U.N. Ambassador and possible successor Susan Rice, “disgusting and shameful.” Such “diplomacy” is indicative of neurosis, not statesmanship. It merely hastens the decline of American power and influence around the world, the long-term process enhanced during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom.
Russia and China represent Washington’s final frontier. Building up around their borders and encircling both countries with US bases makes anything ahead possible.
Prioritizing peace isn’t America’s long suit. Unchallenged global dominance assures war. One country after another is ravaged. Multiple direct and proxy wars remain ongoing. Flashpoints easily shift from one region to another or target several at the same time.
Currently, the Middle East is ground zero. Longstanding US plans want Syrian and Iranian governments replaced by pro-Western ones. Russia opposes US imperialism for good reason. Recent exchanges between both sides show strain.
On October 12, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed Turkey’s anti-Russian/Syrian provocation. Fighter jets forced a Moscow inbound Syrian airliner to land in Ankara. “We have no doubt (about) serious military equipment” being shipped, she claimed. She lied.
In less than so many words, she accused Russia of aiding and abetting Washington’s enemy. AP said Obama officials “Friday accused Russia of pursuing a ‘morally bankrupt’ policy in Syria.”
“Everybody else on the Security Council is doing what it can unilaterally to ensure that the Assad regime is not getting support from the outside.”
“No responsible country (should help) the Assad regime and particularly those with responsibilities for global peace and security as UN Security Council members.”
Washington, of course, planned and initiated conflict. Stopping it is as simple as withdrawing support, halting Turkey’s involvement, telling Saudi Arabia and Qatar to back off, informing other regional and Western states the same way, and calling off its dogs.
Russian nationals were on board the inbound flight. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lied or didn’t tell all, saying, “We received information that the plane’s cargo did not comply with rules of civil aviation.”
Syria justifiably accused Turkey of “air piracy.” Its Foreign Ministry said “the hostile Turkish behavior is additional evidence of the aggressive policy adopted by Erdogan’s government, taking into account the training and harbouring of gunmen and facilitating their infiltration through its borders and bombing Syrian territories.”
Syrian Air’s Airbus A-320 departed Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. On entering Turkey’s airspace, Turkish Air Force F-16s forced it to land in Ankara. On board were 37 passengers. They included crew members and 17 Russian nationals with children.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of endangering the lives of those on board. FM spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said “the Turkish authorities without explaining the reason and in violation of the bilateral Consular Convention did not allow diplomats to meet with the Russian citizens.”
They and others on board were forcibly held for nine hours without food or other assistance. They were abused. Crew members were accosted at gunpoint. Turkish authorities demanded they sign a statement saying an emergency landing was necessary. They refused.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been spoiling for a fight for months. He serves shamelessly as Washington’s lead regional belligerent. He’s little more than a convenient stooge. Obama may get the war he wants without direct US involvement.
Erdogan claimed Moscow was sending “equipment and ammunition” to Syria. Syria’s Foreign Ministry accused him of lying.
Russia was very irate. A formal protest was lodged. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We have no secret, and we have scrutinized the details. There were no weapons on board the plane and could not have been any.”
“There was a cargo on the plane that a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer.” The plane carried radar parts. International agreements permit them.
The pilot landed “because he knew he was not transporting anything illegal. We are waiting for an official reply why our diplomats were not allowed to meet with Russian passengers on board.”
So far, Ankara stonewalled. It displayed no weapons seized because there are none. Vladimir Putin indefinitely postponed a planned visit. Weeks earlier, he accused Washington of being back in bed with Al Qaeda. It’s no secret. Hillary Clinton admitted it months ago.
Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party called for decisive action. It wants Turkey’s Moscow ambassador expelled.
Other hostile exchanges followed. Tensions already are heightened. Russian Foreign Ministry deputy media and press director, Maria Zakharova, said:
“Based on news coming from Syria, terrorism has become the top among the means of the armed opposition. This raises a serious concern as it obviously signals the growing role of the radical extremists in the ranks of the ‘Syrian opposition.’”
Security Council condemnation statements should be followed by corresponding deeds, she stressed. It hasn’t happened so far.
At Washington’s behest, Turkey falsely accused Moscow of shipping weapons and/or weapons grade material. At the same time, Western and regional countries actively supply anti-Assad mercenaries with heavy weapons and munitions.
It’s been ongoing since early last year. Funding, training, and directing foreign fighters are involved. CIA and UK intelligence elements are active players. So are Western and regional special forces.
Washington, Britain and Turkey actively wage war on Syria without declaring it. On October, 13 Hurriyet Daily News said Erdogan accused international countries of encouraging Assad. He told participants at an Istanbul World Forum:
“So what is the source of this attitude? If we have to wait for what one or two of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will say, then the consequences for Syria will be very dangerous.”
“The UN, which was an onlooker to the massacres of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans 20 years ago, is having the same kind of blindness in Syria today. What kind of explanation can be made for the injustice and the inability that is being displayed here?”
His comments targeted Moscow and Beijing. On October 13, Hurriyet Daily News headlined “Syria row hits Assembly,” saying:
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) submitted a motion to censure Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. It was rejected. On June 6, so was an earlier one. Erdogan’s government was accused of aiding and abetting anti-Assad mercenaries in Turkish territory.
Davutoglu threatened to sue CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. CHP deputy Osman Koruturk said Turkey was coming to “the last exit before the bridge (on Syria). If we miss this exit, we will proceed through uncertainties in foreign policies.”
At the same time, Ankara bolstered its presence on Syria’s border. Armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and 250 tanks were deployed in Sanliurfa, Mardin and Gaziantep provinces.
NATO was asked to activate radar and other technical capabilities against Syria. Syrian air defenses and offensive positions are targeted.
Erdogan ordered military readiness. Maybe he knows something he’s not revealing. On Friday, in response to a Syrian helicopter attack on Azmar bordering Turkey, Ankara scrambled two fighter jets.
Each incident builds on earlier ones. At some point perhaps, a point of no return gets crossed. Ankara warned Damascus. Baseless accusations claimed Syria fired mortars on Turkish territory.
Anti-Assad militants were responsible. Assad wants tensions cooled and good relations restored. Washington wants its lead regional belligerent stoking conflict.
Turkish Chief of General Staff General Necdet Ozel warned about launching cross-border attacks “with greater force.” Conditions are dangerously close to full-scale war. Ankara awaits word from Washington.
It’s ready to attack on cue. NATO support may be involved. Fresh from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps EU/North Atlantic Alliance countries want to say thank you. What better way than by waging war. It’s what NATO/EU nations do best.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Perot was the last man to make a serious independent run for President. That was back in 1992. He withdrew from the race after he and his family had received serious threats against their lives. By the time he had gathered himself enough to reenter the race, all of his momentum was lost and Republican hacks like Rush Limbaugh had a heyday making sport of him. But the things Perot tried to warn us about back then have all come to pass. The economic malaise that currently envelopes this country could have been averted had Presidents and Congresses from both major parties over the past two decades had the sagacity and courage to heed Ross Perot and Ron Paul’s warnings. In fact, looking back, Bill Clinton looks like a fiscal saint compared to fiscal sinners G.W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Yahoo! News covers the story: “Former presidential contender and billionaire Ross Perot is worried that America is a sitting duck for an unnamed foreign invader. In an interview for his new autobiography, Perot said the nation’s weak economy has left us open for a hostile takeover–and neither presidential candidate is the man to save the country.
“Citing an impending fiscal cliff, Perot warned of disaster. ‘If we are that weak, just think of who wants to come here first and take us over,’ the former CEO of info-tech company Perot Systems told USA Today on Monday.
“‘The last thing I ever want to see is our country taken over because we’re so financially weak, we can’t do anything,’ Perot says.
“When asked for his take on the presidential race, Perot added, ‘Nobody that’s running really talks about it, about what we have to do and why we have to do it. They would prefer not to have it discussed.’”
See the report here.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the American people do not truly understand the danger they are in. The national news media is mostly about NOT reporting what’s going on. The conspiracy of silence by the three major network news shows and the cable news shows is so overwhelmingly successful, the average American citizen truly doesn’t realize how dangerously close our country is to utter destruction–either by an economic collapse or by a nuclear war, or both. And all the two major parties can do is cast all the blame on each other, while the truth of the matter is BOTH major parties in Washington, D.C., are equally culpable for the jeopardous condition in which America now finds herself.
And Ross Perot is right: neither Obama nor Romney have the guts to even discuss (much less work to fix) the real causes of America’s fiscal woes.
Perot is also correct in his observation that America could be “taken over” by a foreign power. While the Bush and Obama administrations were beating the war drums for aggression against Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and God only knows who else in the Middle East, they have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the clear and present danger posed by China and Russia. The fact that China and Russia are salivating over nuclear war with the United States seems totally lost to the State Department, CIA, NSA, DHS, the mainstream media, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and 95% of the American people.
Allow me to say at this point that if you live within a couple hundred miles to the east of a major nuclear target area, I would be making plans to relocate NOW. But you do what you want. That’s just what I would do. And in case you do not know where the major nuclear target sites are located in the United States, I highly encourage you to order Joel Skousen’ masterpiece: Strategic Relocation. Learn about it here.
Joel believes that China and Russia will not launch their nuclear attack against us for another ten years or so, but when it happens, it will be the catalyst for both a financial collapse and the rise of a totalitarian government. This leads to my question. Are we going to be taken over (as Mr. Perot is worried about), or are we already being taken over? Is our threat Beijing and Moscow or Washington, D.C.?
Without a doubt, the threat posed by Russia and China is very, very real (unlike the pseudo-threat posed by Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.). In fact, Russian and China have been preparing their countries’ civil defense and fallout shelters for years. The only such shelters that are being constructed in the United States, however, are those the federal government is building for the power-elite. And that is being done virtually invisibly.
But even short of a nuclear attack from Russia and China, is not the America that we knew, the America that was governed by a constitution, the America that believed in the principles of federalism and limited government, the America that regarded the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights as sacrosanct, the America that believed in paying its bills, the America that had an intrinsic fear of God within it, ALREADY being taken over?
Virtually every principle upon which America was founded and that guided this nation for over 200 years is being thoroughly expunged. Every one of them! My fear is that by the time a foreign power decides to push the button, the America that will be destroyed will only be a museum of what this country once was. The real America is being destroyed NOW–not by a foreign power, but from within!
As an example, try to wrap your brain around this report: “Close to half of Americans say they are in favour of police departments deploying surveillance drones domestically.
“According to a survey conducted by The Associated Press and The National Constitution Center, 44 percent support the idea of police using unmanned aerial vehicles to track suspects and carry out investigations.
“Only 36 percent said that they ‘strongly oppose’ or ‘somewhat oppose’ police use of drones, according to the survey.
“The poll also found that only one third of Americans say they are significantly concerned about their privacy being eroded by the adoption of drones by police forces throughout the country.
“Thirty-five percent of respondents said they were ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ when asked if they believed that police departments’ use of drones for surveillance would impact their privacy.
“Almost exactly the same number, 36 percent, noted that they were ‘not too concerned’ or ‘not concerned at all’, while twenty-four percent were neutral on the issue, saying they were only ‘somewhat concerned’ about a potential loss of privacy.
“David Eisner, president and CEO of the constitution center in Philadelphia, told the AP that he was somewhat baffled by the response to the poll:
“‘I had assumed that the idea that American police would be using the same technology that our military is using in Afghanistan would garner an almost hysterical response,’ Eisner said. Support for drone use ‘shows that people are feeling less physically secure than they’d like to because they are willing to accept fairly extreme police action to improve that security.’”
See the report here.
So, how could half of the American people be utterly unconcerned or even enthusiastic about this country being turned into a giant surveillance society? Are they so ignorant of history as to not realize that the most glaring observation of every totalitarian regime in modern–or even not so modern–memory was always the implementation of a massive surveillance network within the country? It seems that there is virtually no intrusion into our personal lives and liberties so egregious that the American people will not support it, if it is presented as a way of making them more “secure.”
Today, the vast majority of the American people don’t think twice about the government tracking them and listening to them through their cell phones, spying on their financial transactions, recording their phone conversations, reading their emails, scanning the data on their computers, setting up ubiquitous checkpoints on highways, and now sending drones over their homes and neighborhoods–drones that are currently being used to kill mostly innocent men, women, and children in the Middle East. Yes, you read it right: mostly innocent men, women, and children.
“We pledge allegiance to the republic for which America stands and not to its empire for which it is now suffering.” 1
Louis XVI needed a revolution, Napoleon needed two historic military defeats, the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions, the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires needed World War I, the Third Reich needed World War II, the Land of the Rising Sun needed two atomic bombs, the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home. What will the American Empire need?
Perhaps losing the long-held admiration and support of one group of people after another, one country after another, as the empire’s wars, bombings, occupations, torture, and lies eat away at the facade of a beloved and legendary “America”; an empire unlike any other in history, that has intervened seriously and grievously, in war and in peace, in most countries on the planet, as it preached to the world that the American Way of Life was a shining example for all humanity and that America above all was needed to lead the world.
The Wikileaks documents and videos have provided one humiliation after another … lies exposed, political manipulations revealed, gross hypocrisies, murders in cold blood, … followed by the torture of Bradley Manning and the persecution of Julian Assange. Washington calls the revelations “threats to national security”, but the world can well see it’s simply plain old embarrassment. Manning’s defense attorneys have asked the military court on several occasions to specify the exact harm done to national security. The court has never given an answer. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, consider an empire embarrassed.
And we now have the international soap opera, L’Affaire Assange, starring Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ecuador, and Julian Assange. The United States’ neo-colonies of Sweden (an active warring member of NATO in all but name) and the United Kingdom (with its “special relationship” to the United States) know what is expected of them to earn a pat on the head from their Washington uncle. We can infer that Sweden has no legitimate reason to demand the extradition of Julian Assange from London from the fact that it has repeatedly refused offers to question Assange in the UK and repeatedly refused to explain why it has refused to do so.
The Brits, under “immense pressure from the Obama administration”, as reported to former British ambassador Craig Murray by the UK Foreign Office,2 threatened, in a letter to the Ecuadoran government, to raid the Ecuadoran embassy in London to snatch Assange — “[You] should be aware that there is a legal basis in the United Kingdom, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987, which would allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the existing facilities of the embassy”. Over the August 18 weekend the London police actually made their way into the building’s internal fire escape, coming within a few feet of Assange’s room, as he could hear. The law cited by the Brits is, of course, their own law, one not necessarily with any international standing.
The UK has now formally withdrawn its threat against the embassy, probably the result of much international indignation toward Her Majesty’s Government. The worldwide asylum system would fall apart if the nation granting the asylum were punished for it. In this violent world of terrorists, imperialists, and other dreadfuls it’s comforting to know that an old fashioned value like political asylum can still be honored.
A look back at some US and UK behavior in regard to embassies and political asylum is both interesting and revealing:
In 1954, when the United States overthrew the democratically-elected social democrat Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and replaced him with a military government headed by Col. Carlos Castillo Armas, many Guatemalans took refuge in foreign embassies. US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles insisted that the new Guatemalan government raid those embassies and arrest those individuals, whom he referred to as “communists”. But Castillo Armas refused to accede to Dulles’ wishes on this issue. Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, in their comprehensive history of the coup,3 state:
“In the end, Castillo Armas disregarded Dulles’ suggestions. He himself was a product of the widespread belief in Latin America that embassy asylum and safe-conduct passes were a fair resolution to political conflicts. Virtually every politically active Guatemalan, including Castillo Armas, had sought political asylum in an embassy at one time or another and had obtained safe conduct from the government. Dulles’ suggestion for a ‘modification’ of the asylum doctrine was not even popular within the American Embassy.”
It should be noted that one of those who sought asylum in the Argentine Embassy in Guatemala was a 25-year-old Argentine doctor named Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who is one of Assange’s lawyers, came to international attention in 1998 when he indicted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet while he was in England. But the British declined to send Pinochet to Spain to face the indictment, in effect giving him political asylum, and allowed this proverbial mass murderer and torturer to walk free and eventually return to Chile. Julian Assange, not charged or found guilty of anything, is a de facto prisoner of the UK; while the New York Times and the BBC and the numerous other media giants, who did just what Assange did by publishing Wikileaks articles and broadcasting Wikileaks videos, walk free.
This past April, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest in China and took refuge at the American Embassy in Beijing, sparking diplomatic tension between the two countries. But the “authoritarian” Chinese government did not threaten to enter the American Embassy to arrest Chen and soon allowed him to accept an American offer of safe passage to US soil. How will Julian Assange ever obtain safe passage to Ecuador?
In August 1989, while the Cold War still prevailed many East Germans crossed into fellow-Soviet-bloc state Czechoslovakia and were granted political asylum in the West German embassy. How would the United States — which has not said a word against the British threat to invade the Ecuadoran embassy — have reacted if the East Germans or the Czechs had raided the West German embassy or blocked the East Germans from leaving it? As matters turned out, West Germany took the refugee-seekers to West Germany by train without being impeded by the Soviet bloc. A few months later, the weaker “Evil Empire” collapsed, leaving the entire playing field, known as the world, to the stronger “Evil Empire”, which has been on belligerence autopilot ever since.
In 1986, after the French government refused the use of its air space to US warplanes headed for a bombing raid on Libya, the planes were forced to take another, longer route. When they reached Libya they bombed so close to the French embassy that the building was damaged and all communication links were disabled.4
In 1999, NATO (aka the USA), purposely (sic) bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.5
After Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy and was granted asylum by the South American country, the US State Department declared: “The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS [Organization of American States] Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law.”6
Ecuador called for a meeting at the OAS of the foreign ministers of member countries to discuss the whole situation. The United States opposed the request. For Washington the issue was simple: The UK obeys international law and extradites Assange to Sweden. (And then, chuckle-chuckle, Sweden sends the bastard to us.) End of discussion. Washington did not want the issue blown up and prolonged any further. But of the 26 nations voting at the OAS only three voted against the meeting: The US, Canada, and Trinidad & Tobago; perhaps another example of what was mentioned above about a dying empire losing the long-held admiration and support of one country after another.
The price Ecuador may pay for its courage … Washington Post editorial, June 20, 2012:
“There is one potential check on [Ecuadoran president Rafael] Correa’s ambitions. The U.S. ‘empire’ he professes to despise happens to grant Ecuador (which uses the dollar as its currency) special trade preferences that allow it to export many goods duty-free. A full third of Ecuadoran foreign sales ($10 billion in 2011) go to the United States, supporting some 400,000 jobs in a country of 14 million people. Those preferences come up for renewal by Congress early next year. If Mr. Correa seeks to appoint himself America’s chief Latin American enemy and Julian Assange’s protector between now and then, it’s not hard to imagine the outcome.”
On several occasions President Obama, when pressed to investigate Bush and Cheney for war crimes, has declared: “I prefer to look forward rather than backwards”. Picture a defendant before a judge asking to be found innocent on such grounds. It simply makes laws, law enforcement, crime, justice, and facts irrelevant. Picture Julian Assange before a military court in Virginia using this argument. Picture the reaction to this by Barack Obama, who has become the leading persecutor of whistleblowers in American history.
Since L’Affaire Assange captured world headlines the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, have on several occasions made statements about the deep-seated international obligation of nations to honor extradition requests from other nations. The United States, however, has a history of ignoring such requests, whether made formally or informally, for persons living in the US who are ideological allies. Here’s a partial sample from recent years:
- Former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, whom the Venezuelan government demanded be turned over to stand trial for his role in suppressing riots in 1989. He died in 2010 in Miami. (Associated Press, December 27, 2010)
- Former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada fled to the United States in 2003 to avoid a trial for the death of about 60 people in La Paz during a military crackdown on demonstrators. In 2008, Bolivia formally served the US government with a request to extradite him back to Bolivia, which was not acceded to. (Associated Press, February 13, 2006; also see his Wikipedia entry)
- In 2010, a US federal judge denied Argentina’s extradition request for former military officer Roberto Bravo, who was facing 16 murder charges stemming from a 1972 massacre of leftist guerrillas in his homeland. (Associated Press, November 2, 2010)
- Luis Posada, a Cuban-born citizen of Venezuela, masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. Inasmuch as part of the plotting took place in Venezuela, that government formally asked the United States for his extradition in 2005. But instead of extraditing him, the United States prosecuted him for minor immigration infractions that came to naught. Posada continues to live as a free man in the United States.
- In 2007 German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA operatives who had abducted German citizen Khaled el-Masri in 2003 and flown him to Afghanistan for interrogation (read torture). The CIA then realized they had kidnapped the wrong man and dumped el-Masri on the side of an Albanian road. Subsequently, the German Justice Minster announced that she would no longer request extradition, citing US refusal to arrest or hand over the agents. (The Guardian (London), January 7, 2011)
- In November 2009 an Italian judge convicted a CIA Station Chief and 22 other Americans, all but one being CIA operatives, for kidnapping a Muslim cleric, Abu Omar, from the streets of Milan in 2003 and flying him to Egypt for the usual interrogation. All those convicted had left Italy by the time of the judge’s ruling and were thus tried in absentia. In Italy they are considered fugitives. Although there were verdicts, arrest warrants and extradition requests in the case, the Italian government refused to formally forward the requests to their close allies, the Americans; which, in any event, would of course have been futile. (Der Spiegel [Germany] online, December 17, 2010, based on a Wikileaks US cable)
The hidden, obvious, peculiar, fatal, omnipresent bias of American mainstream media concerning US foreign policy
There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? (I’ve been asking this question for years and so far I’ve gotten only one answer — Someone told me that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer had unequivocally opposed the invasion of Iraq. Can anyone verify that or name another case?)
In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.7
Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Fidel or Raul Castro of Cuba, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Rafael Correa of Ecuador (even before the current Assange matter), or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?
Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon?
Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s domestic or foreign policies? And keeps his/her job?
Who in the mainstream media treats Julian Assange or Bradley Manning as the heros they are?
And this same mainstream media tell us that Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. do not have a real opposition media.
The ideology of the American mainstream media is the belief that they don’t have any ideology; they are instead what they call “objective”.
It’s been said that the political spectrum concerning US foreign policy in the America mainstream media “runs the gamut from A to B.”
Long before the Soviet Union broke up, a group of Russian writers touring the United States were astonished to find, after reading the newspapers and watching television, that almost all the opinions on all the vital issues were the same. “In our country,” said one of them, “to get that result we have a dictatorship. We imprison people. We tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. How do you do it? What’s the secret?”8
On October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.”9
- Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review ↩
- Craig Murray, “America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally: Former UK Ambassador“, Information Clearing House, August 16, 2012 ↩
- Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (1982), pp.222-3 ↩
- Associated Press, “France Confirms It Denied U.S. Jets Air Space, Says Embassy Damaged”,
April 15, 1986 ↩
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, pp.308-9 ↩
- Josh Rogin, “State Department: The U.S. does not recognize the concept of ‘diplomatic asylum’”, Foreign Policy, August 17, 2012 ↩
- Boston Globe, February 18, 1968, p.2-A ↩
- John Pilger, New Statesman (London), February 19, 2001 ↩
- Index on Censorship (London), October 18, 2001 ↩
As the world economy plunges and the financial markets debate the future of EU, the London Olympics provide a pretext to take a holiday and party all night. The latest example of excess and self-absorbed haughtiness, promotes an agenda of internationalism. The spirit of the games is less about sportsmanship than promotion of indoctrination. The cost to produce such an extravaganza approaches sums that necessitate a bailout from the IMF. The article, Winner’s curse? The economics of hosting the Olympic Games, illustrates a disturbing cost for hosting the Games.
“The complete official budget, initially pegged at $3.8 billion for the Games, has nearly quadrupled, and some estimates from British media have set the total cost at as high as $38 billion.
The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta cost $2 billion US. Hosting costs grew to $4.8 billion in Sydney four years later. Athens is estimated to have spend between $15 billion and $32 billion on hosting the 2004 Olympics.
And, at $42 billion, the 2008 Beijing Games are widely thought to be the most expensive ever. Chinese authorities have declined to release the official figures needed to confirm that figure.”
The notion that global comradeship is built through athletic competition is the message behind the quadrennial event. Seldom if ever does the TV viewing audience question the enormous sums required to conduct the amusing circus. So, what does the financial community say about the effect of these sports events, especially in these trying times? The analysis in the Guardian, Will the Olympics get the economy growing again? Don’t bank on it, provides some answers.
“Citi’s Michael Saunders is frank in his assessment: “In our view, the Olympics are likely to be very entertaining. But the Games are not an economic policy.”
Saunders has examined the data from 10 Olympics held between 1964 and 2008 and found that although growth tends to rise in the runup to the tournament, the effect starts to fall away even before the Games begin – and afterwards, growth tends to be weaker.
The trend is explained by the fact that many of the positives that come from the Olympics (such as jobs created during the construction phase) are out of the way long before the opening ceremony, while negatives (such as lost productivity as Britons stay glued to their TVs) come during and after the Games. The anticipation of extra revenue from foreign visitors, economists say, also fails to take into account visitors who might have come to the UK anyway and just change the timing of their visit.”
Yet in an even more in-depth report, Olympic Economics, The Pre-Games Show, the notorious ‘Vampire Squid’ of international banksters produces a lengthy analysis.
“Goldman Sachs has put out a 39-page report (PDF) on the subject (plus, somewhat incongruously, athlete interviews). The bank’s analysts conclude that games in Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976) lost big bucks, while Los Angeles (1984), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996) “each made a profit.”
Breaking even or making a profit certainly goes a long way to justify the immense expense. However, when governments absorb the losses and cost overruns to produce the symbolic script of worldwide “good will”, the propaganda budgets get a bump from their countries treasuries.
So who benefits from the Olympic “Passion Play” process and how does it work in the bidding competition? Andrew Zimbalist, write in Atlantic magazine.
“The city (principal) is not properly represented by the local organizing committee (agent). The committee that nominally represents the city really represents itself and bids according to its sense of the private benefit (of its members) versus the private cost, rather than the city’s public benefit versus public cost. Since the private cost is diminutive and the private gain extraordinary, the local organizing committees, on behalf of the cities, are bound to overbid, wiping out any modest, potential economic gains.”
Therefore, basic business restraint and prudent judgment is often absent from the marathon race to gain the rewarding decision to go crazy by hosting the Games.
The public has a much different attitude towards the Olympics than the financial movers and shakers. The corporatist jet set loves to merge their interest with that of statist bureaucracies. The Guardian continues and makes an insightful assessment.
“David Cameron started the ball rolling on Thursday with what was billed as the biggest investment conference ever hosted in the UK. The event was a who’s who of the global financial system: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde rubbed shoulders with Mario Draghi, governor of the European Central Bank and Angel Gurría, secretary general of the OECD. There was also an impressive roll-call of business leaders, with Google chairman Eric Schmidt sharing a platform with Cisco’s John Chambers.”
The centralization of the global economy is supercharged through the figurative meaning of the interlocking rings. The five continents Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe wave their flags under the Olympic banner. These rallies, designed to merge communal synergism under an international symbol, feed the transnational economy. Breaking down national pride may not be easy to see through the repetitive media coverage, but the true intent of holding the Games is to forge a unified system of coordinated financial inclusion.
Just as the budget overruns become the rule for most Olympic venues, the world economic model runs on unsustainable debt. The cavalier attitude toward the economic risks and financial obligations incurred, to light the torch, seems more to do with national ego than practical benefits.
Much like other pet projects of the international community, the Olympics are useful as a training exercise for programming the thinking of rabid and crazed sports buffs. The World (soccer to American observers) Cup, routinely herd psycho fans into confined stadiums. The frequent result engenders a martial law response to chaotic conduct.
The Olympics seeks to instill compliant behavior through more docile means. The accurate assessment of the economic consequences of holding the Olympics more closely resembles a contest of the Hunger Games than Chariots of Fire.
Once upon a time, early in the previous century, a line in the sand was drawn, from Acre to Kirkuk. Two colonial powers — Britain and France — nonchalantly divided the Middle East between themselves; everything north of the line in the sand was France’s; south, it was Britain’s.
Many blowbacks — and concentric tragedies — later, a new line in the sand is being drawn by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Between Syria and Iraq, they want it all. Talk about the return of the repressed; now, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council compound, they’re in bed with their former colonial masters.
Blow by blow
No matter what militarized Western corporate media spins, there’s no endgame in Syria — yet. On the contrary; the sectarian game is just beginning.
It’s 1980s Afghanistan all over again. The over 100 heavily armed gangs engaged in civil war in Syria are overflowing with Gulf Cooperation Council funds financing their Russian RPGs bought on the black market. Salafi-jihadis cross into Syria in droves — not only from Iraq but also Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan, following enraged calls by their imams. Kidnapping, raping and slaughtering pro-Assad regime civilians is becoming the law of the land.
They go after Christians with a vengeance. They force Iraqi exiles in Damascus to leave, especially those settled in Sayyida Zainab, the predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood named after Prophet Muhammad’s grand-daughter, buried in the beautiful local mosque. The BBC, to its credit, at least followed the story.
They perform summary executions; Iraq’s deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP how Iraqi border guards saw the Free Syrian Army (FSA) take control of a border outpost and then “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers”.
The Bab al-Hawa crossing between Syria and Turkey was overrun by no less than 150 multinational self-described mujahideen — coming from Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Chechnya, and even France, many proclaiming their allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
They burned a lot of Turkish trucks. They shot their own promo video. They paraded their al-Qaeda flag. And they declared the whole border area an Islamic state.
Hand over your terrorist ID
There’s no way to understand the Syrian dynamics without learning that most FSA commanders are not Syrians, but Iraqi Sunnis. The FSA could only capture the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq because the whole area is controlled by Sunni tribes viscerally antagonistic towards the al-Maliki government in Baghdad. The free flow of mujahideen, hardcore jihadis and weapons between Iraq and Syria is now more than established.
The idea of the Arab League — behaving as NATO-GCC’s fully robed spokesman — offering exile to Bashar al-Assad may be as ridiculous as the notion of the CIA supervising which mujahideen and jihadi outfits may have access to the weapons financed by Qatar and the Saudis.
At first, it might have been just a bad joke. After all, the exile offer came from those exact same paragons of democracy, the House of Saud and Qatar, who control the Arab League and are financing the mujahideen and the anti-Syria jihad.
Baghdad, though, publicly condemned the exile offer. And the aftermath — in fact on the same day — was worthy of The Joker (yes, Batman’s foe); a wave of anti-Shi’ite bombings in Iraq, with over 100 people dead, duly claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda’s local franchise. Spokesman Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi energetically urged the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Nineveh to join the jihad and topple the “infidel” government in Baghdad.
The mujahideen/jihadi back and forth between Syria and Iraq has been more than confirmed by Izzat al-Shahbandar, a senior member of Iraq’s Parliament and close aide to Prime Minister al-Maliki. Baghdad even has updated lists. The crossover could only spawn more frenetic Orwellian newspeak, nailed by the website Moon of Alabama.
Mujahideen and jihadis active in Iraq are now “Iraqi insurgents”. And mujahideen and jihadis active in Syria remain the usual “Syrian rebels”. They have been all decommissioned as “terrorists”. Under this logic, the Colorado Batman shooter may also be described as an “insurgent”.
Follow the money
As it stands, the romanticized Syrian “rebels” plus the insurgents formerly known as terrorists cannot win against the Syria military — not even with the Saudis and Qataris showering them with loads of cash and weapons.
Nor is there any evidence the regime is contemplating a retreat to the Alawite mountains in northern Syria, as evoked by this collective foreign policy blog discussion. After all, the “rebels” do not control any territory.
What’s certain is who would profit from Syria being progressively balkanized. The House of Saud and Qatar would love nothing better than to have the civil war exported to Iraq and Lebanon; in their very narrow calculations, that would eventually yield fellow Sunni regimes.
So expect Saudi and Qatari funds buying every well-connected Syrian regime apparatchik in sight — even while the urban Sunni bourgeosie still has not abandoned the ship.
And as the civil war spreads out, a tsunami of weapons will keep inundating Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and of course Turkey, boosting assorted guerrilla outfits, Kurdish included — yet one more facet of now ostracized neo-Ottoman Turkey impotently watching nation states carved out of that 1920s colonial line in the sand being smashed.
Strategically, this will always be a war by proxy; essentially Saudi Arabia vs Iran — with the House of Saud behind hardcore Islamists of all colors compared to Qatar supporting “its” Muslim Brotherhood. But most of all this is the US-NATO-GCC vs Iran.
Israel’s motives go way beyond the Saudi-Qatari sectarian lust. Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has just excavated a Bushism — calling Iran-Syria-Hezbollah an “axis of evil”. What Tel Aviv wants in the long run is clear; for Washington, Obama administration or not, to bring down the axis.
Meanwhile, this long-term goal does not prevent Defense Minister Ehud Barak from getting crazy — speculating on an invasion of Syria based on a hypothetical transfer of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles or even chemical weapons to Hezbollah.
Washington for its part would love at least a pliable/puppet Sunni regime in Damascus to turbo-charge the encircling of Iran — without increasing Israel’s substantial fears. Meanwhile, what passes for “smart power” is no more than glorified wishful thinking. Here in detail is how pro-Israel functionaries in the US are designing post-Assad Syria.
Meet the new Bane
For all its production values, NATO’s jihad — in conjunction with al-Qaeda affiliates and copycats — still has not delivered regime change. UN Security Council sanctions won’t be forthcoming, as Beijing and Moscow have already stressed three times. So Plan Bs keep surfacing all the time. The latest is straight from the Iraq playbook; Damascus will attack civilians with chemical weapons. This lasted only for a few news cycles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made it clear; regime change is anathema, especially for a reason that eludes most in the West — jihadis at the gates of Damascus means they are a stone’s throw from the Caucasus, the possible new pearl in a lethal collar bound to destabilize Muslim Russia.
Blowback meanwhile is ready to strike like the Medusa. What is for all practical purposes NATO-GCC mujahideen/jihadi death squads will be more than happy to bleed Syria across sectarian lines — in the sand and especially in urban areas. It’s hunting season now, not only for Alawites but also Christians (10% of the population).
A foreign policy that privileges Sunni jihadis formerly known as terrorists to create a “democratic” state in the Middle East seems to have been conjured by Bane — the Hannibal Lecter meets Darth Vader bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter of the Batman trilogy. And yes, we are his creators. While the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity, a masked Sunni jihadi superman is slouching towards Damascus to be born.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at email@example.com
1. http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage /world-news/detail/articolo/siria-syria-15868/
4. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/07/nyt-terrorists-are -now-insurgents.html#comments
5. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/07/20/ inside_the_secret_effort_to_plan_for_a_post_assad_syria
Source: Asia Times