“The tribal mentality effectively indoctrinates an individual into the tribe’s beliefs, ensuring that all believe the same; the structure of reality, what is and what is not possible for the members of the group is thus agreed upon and maintained by the group.”— Carolyn Myss.
To fully understand how societies operate, one must go back to where everything started, to the very beginning, from the days when people left the caves and started to come together to form small tribes.
In order to survive, people started gathering for food, then sharing it, and trading it between themselves (natural human interaction), people were minding their own business living their own lives, taking care of their young, as it is normal in any species. But there was always someone who wanted to control them all, whom we call a sociopath in these days, but that’s a subject for another day. In this article we will talk about their historical antagonists.
There was once a young man, fresh out puberty, and just before starting his first hunting with his fellow adult males he was repeatedly told what is expected from him in life: start hunting, get a wife, give your offerings to the gods, etc. “That is the real world!” he was told time and time again, but one day he started to wonder, “What else is there in the world? This can’t be all there is!” He wasn’t satisfied with the answers he was given. He wanted to explore, he wanted to break free from the inflexible tribe mentality, and make his own destiny. So after uncountable afternoons wondering if there was something else behind that hill he was told marked the end of the world, one day he decided to take action. He was set on discovering for himself. His journey was about to start then.
Due to his nature, the ruler of the tribe (almost certainly a sociopath), couldn’t possibly have one of his tribe members, whom he saw merely as human cattle, just pick up and leave. What if more people decided to leave as well? Or even worse, what if the young man came back with news about some wonderful new place where the trees were filled with fruits, or rivers filled with fishes, or plains filled with animals? After all, sociopaths always rule by means of scarcity and fear (they are incapable of love after all.) So faced with the situation, the ruler convinced the rest of the tribe that this was all there was to the world, and that thinking that there might be something more was a ludicrous fantasy, and whoever thinks differently was a threat to the tribe!
And people believed the ruler. He talked a big game about unity and hope, and how he cared about their well-being, and folks ate it all up! It was an easy sell in fact, because for most people, whoever think differently must be the enemy.
The ruler then escalated, as it is most common among sociopaths. He went further and told his tribe members (human stock) that they should punish and execute the curious young man, wait for it… For his own safety! And people bought it. It’s astonishing to observe how to this date people still believe that sociopaths are making up all kinds of rules for their own safety. But let’s return to our story.
The rest of the tribe had no trouble at all executing the young man for daring to explore for himself. Worse than that they had no problem justifying their crime by claiming that they did it for his own safety. Unbelievable, I know, but trying to explain to them the absurdity and of their actions is like teaching a dog how to drive a car, although if I had to bet, I’d probably put my money on the dog.
They bought into those imaginary, made-up rules, and the problem was they wanted to subject everyone else to them as well, which showcases the dangers of collectivism. As I always say: Collectivism to a sociopath is like the bible to a priest, a tool without which everyone would realize that their power is in fact imaginary.
[Side issue: It becomes clear that rulers are exactly what's holding us back as a species, and that without them people would have left the caves literally centuries ago.]
So when the ruler (almost inevitably a sociopath) realized that he could just make some rules up, and torture, imprison, and kill with total impunity, it was then just a matter of a time before the real question became, how many more rules should he invent to have absolute control over his fellow tribe members’ entire lives?
Rulers then began to make up all kinds of crazy stories, about the history of the world, gods and deities only they could speak to. They invented all kinds of bogeymen as well, and how did people respond? They believed it all! For some strange reasons those stories, right out of the imagination of a sociopath, didn’t seem as ludicrous fantasies to them, no matter how insane they sounded, even worse than that they began to pass them onto their own children as true facts, and if that wasn’t enough, some of them let their whole lives revolve around those fables.
Unfortunately, trying to explain to them how insane those stories sound, is like trying to teach a baboon how to post pictures on Instagram, although if I had to bet, I’d put my money on the baboon.
The sociopaths, observing the reactions of people to those fables, couldn’t believe their eyes! They realized that controlling people was basically child’s play, so they started treating people as children, and how does most people effectively control a child? You give them a treat if they do what you ask for them, and you punish or scare them with some bogeyman story if they don’t do as you say (the statist way of parenting). The thing is, rulers are all about taking, and not so much about giving, so why would they reward people with real things, if they can offer them imaginary tales of eternity in paradise?
Talking about taking, it was then just a matter of time until the sociopathic rulers started to figure out ways to take more from people. Soon enough they convinced people that those deities they previously made up were now demanding a piece of every fruit that is gathered, a portion of every wild boar that is hunted, and a slice of every fish that is caught. And the portion then became bigger and bigger. The sad part is that those tribe members believed that that was their duty. The problem however was that they wanted to subject everyone else to the same.
You don’t relate do you?
Let’s try this again:
There was a young man, fresh out of his local indoctrination center just about to enroll in some university. He was repeatedly told what is expected from him in life: finish university, get a job, pay your taxes, etc. “That is the real world!” He was told time and time again, but one day he started to wonder, “what else is there in the world? This can’t be all there is!” He wasn’t satisfied with the answers he were given and he wanted to explore life on his own, he wanted to break free from the inflexible societal group mentality, and make his own destiny, so after uncountable afternoons wondering what if there are other ways to live life, one day he decided to take action. He was set on discovering for himself how the world really works, his journey was about to start.
So once he took his first step, stopped accepting and complying with all those imaginary rules he was supposed to just accept, he started to question them. At first he couldn’t figure out why the government is constantly coming up with all these new rules and regulations, so he started analyzing the parameters on which the state bases its restrictions.
So he started with “drugs”. Since our young protagonist didn’t know much about the nature of the government he just couldn’t understand how pharmaceutical drugs companies were given free range, facing little to no regulations despite the high numbers of people who lose their lives due to secondary effect of prescription drugs, and despite the fact that all the latest shootouts had as presumed authors people who were hooked on similar substances: James Holmes (the Aurora massacre), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hoax), Aaron Alexis (Navy Yard shooting), etc.
On the other side peaceful consumption of marijuana seemed to be one of the reasons behind landing good and decent people in jail, making the US the largest prison population on the planet, despite the fact that marijuana is scientifically proven to calm people down. So the government (generally with a selection of sociopaths, Pareto’s law) rules by scarcity (oil, shortage) and fear (they are incapable of love after all), and that’s why they always create all these artificial divisions, race, religion, income, social and educational background, sexual orientations. All they can do to keep people operating on law vibrations.
Due to their nature, the government (generally with a selection of sociopaths), wouldn’t possibly have one of their fellow citizens whom they see merely as human cattle, just smoke some joiny in peace and live and let live. What if more people decided to live in peace as well? Or even worse, what if they all realized that all these divisions are artificial, and that those enemies they were supposed to fear are fabled? What if people realized that the nature of the con job?
So faced with the situation, the government convinced the rest of society that they should punish and imprison the curious young man, wait for it… For his own safety! And people bought it. They had no trouble believing that the reason government is sending all those “substance users” to rape camps where they are sexually tortured and beaten up on a daily basis, until the day they may or may not end their lives to stop the agony and the suffering, is simply because the government is a benevolent organization that cares about them.
Unbelievable, I know, but trying to explain to them the absurdity of their actions, is like teaching a propagandist to say the truth, but If I had to bet…You know who I’m putting my money on.
Society (modern day tribe members) bought into those imaginary, made-up rules, and accepted and enforced those barbaric punishments the bully inflicts on their victims if they don’t comply with his made-up rules. The problem is they wanted to subject everyone else to them as well, which showcases the dangers of collectivism.
“Society’s leaders, through illegal dictum, deception and force define a space in which life is supposed to occur”. — Jon Rappaport.
So when the government (generally with a selection of sociopaths) realized that they could just make some rules up, and torture, imprison, and kill with total impunity, it was then just a matter of a time before the real question became, how many more rules should he invent to have absolute control over their fellow citizens’ entire lives?
Sociopaths then began to make up all kinds of crazy stories, about two planes that took down three buildings, passports that don’t burn… They invented all kinds of bogeymen as well, some bearded man who lives in caves, and how did people respond? They believed it all! For some strange reasons those stories, right out of the imagination of a sociopath, didn’t seem as ludicrous fantasies to them, no matter how insane they sounded, so they consented to all kinds of violations on their privacy.
The sociopaths then, observing the reactions of people to those fables, couldn’t believe their eyes! They realized that controlling people was basically child’s play. I mean which grown up would consent to be scratched and felt up by some creep every time they wanted to board a plane?
It was then just a matter of time until the sociopathic rulers started to figure out ways of how to attack innocent people and take their resources. Soon enough they convinced people that those fables enemies they previously made up, should be stopped, so they started taking a portion of everybody’s income to pay for all those horrific wars, to pay for the murder, torture, an dismemberment of literally millions of innocent people. And the portion then became bigger and bigger… The sad part is that those tribe members (civilized people? Really?) believed that that was their duty to finance the genocide and the genetic wrecking of young children, the problem however is that they wanted to subject everyone else to the same.
“There’s a lot of ways of dividing people in two classes, but let me give you the one that’s relevant now: There’s two ways you can deal with your fellow human beings, one, there are people who believe you should deal with people voluntarily, without using violence without using force, that’s one type. The other type is a person that believes that you should deal with people, or you have to deal with people coercively, by force. Now, guess which type is inevitable attracted to government? It’s the worst criminal type of personalities.”— Doug Casey
You might want to get a second passport to escape from these sociopaths.
Adil Elias is The Dollar Vigilante’s Rio de Janeiro group moderatorand TDV Latin America (TDVLA) Editor (email@example.com). After living in several different countries, he finally based himself in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil seeking a relaxed environment away from all the large numbers of increasingly stressed people in Europe, without missing on the happy vibe and the laidback beach culture the city of Rio de Janeiro has to offer.
It hugely enriches providers. It does so at the expense of giving everyone universal single payer coverage. More on that below.
Obamacare is rife with problems. It leaves millions uninsured. It leaves millions more underinsured. It makes healthcare coverage more expensive.
Mandated market rules include rude awakenings. Many consumers are left paying much more than they thought.
Most plans include huge deductibles and co-pays. Doing so means tens of millions face unaffordable out-of-pocket costs.
Federal subsidies for America’s poor are woefully inadequate. Millions live from paycheck to paycheck. Limited resources make expensive treatments unaffordable.
Insurers have plenty of wiggle room. They can’t deny preexisting conditions. They can delay. They can block in backdoor ways.
They can game the system for profit. They wrote the law that way. They assured it benefits them hugely.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) made a fiasco debut. Healthcare.gov doesn’t work. Accessing it is nightmarish. When it’ll be fixed, who knows.
Since launched on October 1, federal and state exchanges enrolled only 106,185. Healthcare.gov managed only 26,794. Administration officials hoped for at least half a million.
On November 14, Obama addressed a press conference. He sought to put lipstick on a pig. He tried to quell growing anger.
Insurers sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of policyholders. They don’t meet ACA rules. Consumers have no choice. They’re stuck with mandated provisions. It doesn’t matter if they like them or not.
Obama promised Americans they could keep their coverage if they wish. They can keep their providers, he said. He lied.
His fix is too little, too late. Instead of canceling unqualified plans on January 1, consumers get to keep them through 2014.
Obama’s announcement came ahead of House Republican sponsored legislation. It passed 261 to 157.
Doing so included 39 Democrats. It lets all consumers keep their plans. It lets others buy whatever type coverage they wish.
It undercuts Obamacare. It has no chance to become law. Some Senate Democrats aren’t happy with Obama’s fix.
Legislation is being considered to change it. ItMajority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) isn’t likely to permit it. At least not any time soon.
Senators Mary Landrieu (D. LA) and Mark Udall (D. CO) have competing bills. Landrieu wants consumers able to keep their current plans indefinitely. Udall wants them available though 2015.
Democrat senators up for reelection next year express greatest concern. Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC) called Obama’s fix a “step in the right direction.” It’s “not enough, and we need to do more,” she said.
Other Senate Democrats said they’ll wait to see how insurers respond. Will cancelled policyholders be given their coverage back?
Some congressional Democrats expressed anger. Obama didn’t alert them. Some learned about his fix from press reports. Others knew nothing until he announced it.
He operates this way. Transparency isn’t his long suit. He upsets members of his own party. An observer called it “par for the course.”
Obamacare’s future may depend on how things go from here. If problems stay unresolved, growing dissatisfaction will follow.
Cost and inadequate coverage are major issues. Millions will discover they’ve been had. How they react remains to be seen.
Obama’s popularity is slipping. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows only 39% approval. It’s a new low.
Gallup’s latest poll has Congress at 9%. It’s an all-time low. In its congressional ratings for 39 years, Capitol Hill’s average was 33%. Post-9/11, affirmation hit a 56% high.
Americans today deplore both sides of the aisle. They do so for good reason. They sold out their constituents. They do it consistently.
Republicans oppose Obamacare for the wrong reasons. Democrats support its worst features. Quinnipiac’s poll showed only 19% of Americans believe ACA will improve their healthcare quality.
Another 43% expect it to worsen. About one-third expect no change either way. America is the only developed country without some form of universal coverage.
Many developing ones have it. Thais get it. So do Taiwanese. Brazilians have what Americans lack. All Venezuelans and Cubans are fully covered.
It’s constitutionally guaranteed. It’s state-funded. It’s not commodified. It’s not run by marketplace rules. It’s not based on the ability to pay. It’s free.
Chavez called healthcare “a fundamental social right, and the state will assume the principal role in the construction of a participatory system for national public health.”
It’s not just a right. It’s essential for participatory democracy. It’s preventative as well as treating symptoms when they occur.
It includes emergency services, mental health, surgeries, cancer care and other expensive illnesses, dental and eye treatment, prescription drugs, as well as free eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Healthcare is based on need, not bottom line priorities. Venezuelans in every barrio are covered. An “army of white jackets” provide universal care. It’s a reality throughout the country.
Comprehensive community medicine is policy. It’s part of a Chavez/Fidel Castro agreement. It swaps oil for Cuban medical professionals.
They provide care. They help train Venezuelan doctors. They staff Venezuela’s “Barrio Adentro” (Inside the Barrio) public health program.
They provide healthcare based on Cuba’s preventative, community-based model.
Article 50 of Cuba’s Constitution guarantees everyone the “right to health protection and care. The state guarantees (it) by:
providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers;
providing free dental care;
promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccination and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.”
“All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.”
All Cubans get state-sponsored healthcare. They get it free. It matches what developed countries provide.
It’s a model for developing ones. Medical professionals live in communities they serve. They know the people they treat.
They call their system medicina general integral (comprehensive general medicine). It focuses on prevention.
It treats illnesses and diseases as soon as possible. It works as intended. It controls health problems effectively.
It’s unmatched in treating infectious diseases. It deals effectively with chronic ones. It works wonders with limited resources.
It provides medical services in over 150 countries. Venezuelans benefit. So do Haitians, Peruvians, Nicaraguans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians, Ghanaians, Angolans and Namibians among others.
Cuba matches America’s life expectancy. It has double or more the number of physicians per 1,000 population.
It has an overall lower mortality rate. It has an exemplary national health and nutrition education program.
It emphasizes chemical-free, non-GMO, organically grown fresh produce.
It delivers top quality healthcare at a minuscule cost compared to America. It shows treatment doesn’t have to be expensive.
Extensive services include rehabilitation, x-rays, ultrasound, optometry, ophthalmology, endoscopy, thrombolysis, emergency services, traumatology, clinical lab services, family planning, dentistry, pre and postnatal child care, immunization, diabetic and elderly care.
Others include dermatology, psychiatry, psychology, cardiology, general medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, and mouth diseases.
Acupuncture and message therapy are provided. So are electromagnetic therapy, mud therapy, reflex therapy, heat therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and more.
Quality care, results, and patient satisfaction are stressed. Americans deserve the same type universal coverage.
They currently pay over twice as much as other industrialized nations. They’ll pay more when Obamacare is fully implemented. Millions will be left uncovered. Millions more will get much less than they need.
Pay more, get less is official US healthcare policy. Anyone can get whatever they want provided they pay for it. Millions can’t afford expensive care. Expect it to become more out of reach ahead.
Universal single payer coverage alone works effectively. Insurers provide no care whatever. They’re predatory middlemen. They add over $400 billion annually in administrative costs.
Eliminating them assures big savings. Americans deserve coverage for all medical services.
They include physician visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, preventive care, longterm when needed, mental health, dental, vision, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and alternative treatments among others.
Eliminating administrative waste means more available resources. Everyone in/no one out would replace marketplace medicine.
Financial barriers no longer would exist. Insurance premiums would disappear. So would co-pays and deductibles.
Patients could choose providers freely. Doctors would regain autonomy over delivering care. It would feature prevention and healing.
It would de-commodify medicine. It would end providing the least care for the most profit. It would deliver healthcare responsibly.
It would take fear out of getting ill. At least in terms of receiving and paying for it. Treatment would be readily available no matter the problem or cost.
Isn’t that what healthcare is supposed to be? It’s a fundamental human right.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Paul Craig Roberts thinks the Fed has backed itself into corner. A rise in interest rates would strengthen the dollar, give the dollar new life as world reserve currency, and halt the movement into gold, but a rise in rates would collapse the bond and stock markets and reduce the value of derivatives on the banks’ balance sheets. I asked Dr. Roberts if the Fed would sacrifice the dollar in order to save the banks and what the effect would be on Washington’s power viv-a-vis the rest of the world. His answers to these three questions suggest that Washington’s days of financial hegemony and world leadership are numbered.
Mike Whitney: Is the US dollar at risk of losing its position as reserve currency? How would this loss affect US leadership and other countries?
Paul Craig Roberts: In a way the dollar has already lost its reserve currency status, but this development has not yet been officially realized; nor has it hit the currency markets. Consider that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have announced their intention to abandon the use of the US dollar for the settlement of trade imbalances between themselves, instead settling their accounts in their own currencies. (There is now a website, the BRICSPOST, that reports on the developing relations between the five large countries.) There are also reports that Australia and China and Japan and China are going to settle their trade accounts without recourse to the dollar.
Different explanations are given. The BRICS imply that they are tired of US financial hegemony and have concerns about the dollar’s stability in view of Washington’s excessive issuance of new debt and new money to finance it. China, Australia, and Japan have cited the avoidance of transaction fees associated with exchanging their currencies first into US dollars and then into the other currencies. They say it is a cost-saving step to reduce transaction costs. This may be diplomatic cover for discarding the US dollar.
The October 2013 US government partial shutdown and (exaggerated) debt default threat resulted in the unprecedented currency swap agreements between the Chinese central bank and the European central bank and between the Chinese central bank and the Bank of England. The reason given for these currency swaps was necessary precaution against dollar disruption. In other words, US instability was seen as a threat to the international payments system. The dollar’s role of reserve currency is not compatible with the view that precautions must be taken against the dollar’s possible failure or disruption. China’s call for “a de-Americanized world” is a clear sign of growing impatience with Washington’s irresponsibility.
To summarize, there has been a change in attitudes toward the US dollar and acceptance of US financial hegemony. As the October deficit and debt ceiling crisis has not been resolved, merely moved to January/February, 2014, a repeat of the October impasse would further erode confidence in the dollar.
Regardless, most countries have come to the conclusion that not only has the US abused the reserve currency role, but also the power of Washington to impose its will and to act outside of law stems from its financial hegemony and that this financial power is more difficult to resist than Washington’s military power.
As the world, including US allies, made clear by standing up to Washington and blocking Washington’s military attack on Syria, Washington’s days of unchallenged hegemony are over. From China, Russia, Europe, and South America voices are rising against Washington’s lawlessness and recklessness. This changed attitude toward the US will break up the system of dollar imperialism.
Mike Whitney: How is the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing impacting the dollar and financial instruments?
Paul Craig Roberts: The Federal Reserve’s policy of creating large amounts of new money in order to support the balance sheets of “banks too big to fail” and to finance continuing large budget deficits is another factor undermining the dollar’s reserve currency role. The liquidity that the Federal Reserve has pumped into the financial system has created enormous bubbles in bond and stock markets. US bond prices are so high as to be incompatible with the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and massive creation of new dollars.
Moreover, central banks and some investors have realized that the Federal Reserve is locked into the policy of supporting bond prices. If the Federal Reserve ceases to support bond prices, interest rates will rise, the prices of debt-related derivatives on the banks’ balance sheets will fall, and the stock and bond markets would collapse. Therefore, a tapering off of quantitative easing risks a financial panic.
On the other hand, continuing the policy of supporting bond prices further erodes confidence in the US dollar. Vast amounts of dollars and dollar-denominated financial instruments are held all over the world. Holders of dollars are watching the Federal Reserve dilute their holdings by creating 1,000 billion new dollars per year. The natural result of this experience is to lighten up on dollar holdings and to look for different ways in which to hold reserves.
The Federal Reserve can print money with which to purchase bonds, but it cannot print foreign currencies with which to purchase dollars. As concerns over the dollar rise, the dollar’s exchange value will fall as more dollars are sold in currency markets. As the US is import-dependent, this will translate into higher domestic prices. Rising inflation will further spook dollar holders.
According to recent reports, China and Japan have together reduced their holdings of US Treasuries by some $40 billion. This is not a large sum compared to the size of the market, but it is a change from continuing accumulation. In the past, Washington has been able to count on China and Japan recycling their trade surpluses with the US into US Treasury debt. If foreign willingness to acquire Treasury debt declines and the federal budget deficit does not, the Federal Reserve would have to increase quantitative easing, thus putting even more pressure on the dollar.
In other words, in order to avoid an immediate crisis, the Federal Reserve has to continue a policy that will produce a crisis down the road. It is either a financial crisis now or a dollar crisis later.
Eventually, the Federal Reserve’s hand will be forced. As the dollar’s exchange value declines, so will the value of dollar-denominated financial instruments regardless of how many bonds the Federal Reserve purchases.
Mike Whitney: How is China likely to respond to America’s changing economic position?
Paul Craig Roberts: When I met with Chinese policymakers in 2006, I advised them that there was a limit to how long they could rely on the US consumer market as jobs offshoring was destroying it. I pointed out that China’s large population provided policymakers with the potential for an enormous economy. They replied that the one-child policy, which had been necessary in early years to keep population from outrunning social infrastructure, was blocking the development of a domestic consumer economy. As peasant farmers no longer could rely on multiple children for old age insurance, they hoarded their earnings in order to provide for their old age. Chinese policymakers said that they intended to develop a social security system that would give the population confidence to spend more of their earnings. I do not know to what extent China has moved in this direction.
Since 2006 the Chinese government has let the yuan appreciate 25% or 33%, depending on the choice of base. The increase in the currency’s exchange value has not hurt exports or the economy. Moreover, the US no longer manufactures many of the items for which it is dependent on China, and other developing countries do not have the combination of the technology that US corporations have given to China and China’s large excess supply of labor. So it is unlikely that China faces any threat to its development except for US policies designed to cut China off from resources, such as the new US military focus on the Pacific announced by the Obama regime.
China’s large dollar holdings are the consequence of the technological prowess that China acquired from Western corporations offshoring jobs to China. What is important to China is the technology and business know-how, which they have now acquired. The paper wealth represented by dollar holdings is not the important factor.
China could destabilize the US dollar by converting its holdings into dollar currency and dumping the dollars into the exchange markets. The Federal Reserve would not be able to arrange currency swaps with other countries large enough to buy up the dumped dollars, and the dollar’s exchange value would fall. Such an action could be a Chinese response to military encirclement by Washington.
In the absence of a confrontation, the Chinese government is more likely to gradually convert its dollars into gold, other currencies and real assets such as oil and mineral deposits and food businesses.
Quantitative easing is rapidly increasing the supply of dollars, but as other countries move to other arrangements for settling their trade imbalances, the demand for dollars is not rising with the supply. Thus, the dollar’s price must fall. Whether the fall is slow over time or sudden due to an unanticipated Black Swan event remains to be seen.
Beirut — Being subjected to the Zionist lobby can get tedious — particularly its chronic parading of an often disoriented and fast-deteriorating fellow, who should surely be tending a vegetable or flower garden somewhere in Occupied Palestine, where he lives on stolen land. International lawyers, even some at Hebrew University, have come to recognize the half century of crimes against humanity meted out by Shimon Peres upon hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, and thus one could be forgiven for rolling eyes at the Israeli president’s concerns over demons said to be haunting his sleeping and waking moments, as he complains that perhaps, just maybe, he was wrong in his calculations 70 years ago.
Those demons are Palestinians, and it is perhaps the supreme irony of ironies that Peres now finds himself lamenting over what became of the ideals of Judaism—the very same ideals he spent half a century of his life destroying in the name of fascist Zionism. “I could not face my parents were I ever to see them again,” the Israeli president, an avowed agnostic, told a member of Congress a few months back.
‘Peres’ Complaint’ has been increasingly heard over the past couple of years, confided to some of his US and EU Zionist lobby hosts during fundraising and legacy-reinforcing appearances. It often manifests itself as a continuous monologue, much as if narrated at his psychoanalytic group therapy session, and often about the same subjects he claims have haunted him for decades. One of these reportedly is the whole concept of an eretz Israel land grab as a divinely-ordained destiny for a “chosen” Jewish people.
At a cocktail party last year, Peres was overheard telling Vice President Biden, “Who knows if there is a god or not? But if so, I doubt he deals in real estate!” Biden appeared shocked, quickly summoning a waiter for replacement glasses of scotch, hoping to cheer the president of Israel up a bit. “He needs to be more philosophical,” Biden said, reporting on his “psychoanalytic session” with Peres, later explaining, “Sure the hand writing is on the wall regarding a future for Israel is clear for all to see, but it could be worse!”
Peres’ Complaint, like Portnoy’s in Philip Roth’s 1969 novel, revolves around the dilemma of, as Roth penned, “his sense of himself, his past, and that his ridiculous destiny is so fixed“.
Portnoy’s Complaint is a disorder in which claimed ethical impulses are perpetually warring, almost Hamlet-like, with extreme longings, often of a perverse nature, reminding some of a sort of sexual dysfunction.
Peres’s Complaint is similar in many ways, but takes a varied form. In an interview published by the Brazilian newspaper the Folha de Sao Paulo, Peres was asked what he would say to Iran’s President Rouhani if the two were to pick up the telephone and speak directly.
“I would tell him nobody in the world is threatening Iran. So why does Iran threaten other countries? Tell me. I don’t understand why Iran threatens Israel. Why?” he replied.
Peres knows that Iran has not threatened other countries, but rather that it is Israel which has threatened the whole region, and which did so within minutes of his Zionist-Labor terrorist-backed associates declaring themselves a “country.”
Peres ended his short interview with Folha de Sao Paulo with this bit of sage erudition:
“In politics, and in life, you can only judge things based on facts. There has been no change on Iran—the facts contradict the speeches.”
The words were spoken as if the speaker were satisfactorily contemplating the last remaining 19th century European colonial enterprise…along with his own role in setting up and governing it.
Peres’ Complaint to colleagues is that he has to say things to the public that are beginning to sound hollow after six decades of trying to parry and neutralize the Palestinian resistance to Zionist theft and colonization. Peres no longer believes what he used to “about the Zionist BS,” as one congressional source put it.
During his last visit to Washington, while rushing from a meeting at the Rayburn House Office Building with AIPAC and some Congressional staffers, Peres in his haste handed half an armload of documents and reports to an aid to carry for him. Unnoticed at the time, one of the documents slipped under the table where the meeting was held, and was found later. On it were some handwritten comments, in Hebrew, in Peres’ hand.
Common respect for individual privacy bars this observer from revealing what the handwritten notes said, but the document itself is most certainly in the public domain and includes some of the latest reports on the status of the Zionist occupation.
The first few pages are a summary of the UN Human Rights Council’s report criticizing the deep water drillings by the Israeli national water company Mekorot and the Israeli agri-industrial firm Mehadrin in the occupied Jordan Valley. These drillings have caused the drying up of Palestinian wells and springs. As Dr. Elias Akleh reminds us, nearly 80% of all drilled water from the Jordan Valley is consumed by Israeli illegal colonies in the West Bank. The Palestinians are not allowed to drill their own water wells, and the Israeli government routinely destroys Palestinian pools for collecting rain water, claiming “construction without permits”—permits which, of course, are impossible for Palestinians to obtain. Many other wells and water springs have also been destroyed, poisoned and contaminated as Israeli colonies have intentionally channeled their raw sewage into Palestinian towns and agricultural areas.
But getting back to the document, circled in pen is a statement in a 1941 speech by David Ben-Gurion: “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders, the waters of the [rivers] Jordan and Litani.”
And there is another excerpt of note—documenting the decades-old practice of declaring a coveted piece of land a “military area” and then evicting its residents, surrounding it with barbed wire, uprooting all trees, stripping the land of vegetation, and facilitating the arrival of extremist squatters with mobile homes who later start building their colonies.
Still other findings relate to the intensification of home demolitions, citing recent figures showing that armed, religious-extremist squatters are allowed to illegally build their small colonies on top of confiscated Palestinian hills while enjoying the protection of the Israeli army. Palestinians are forbidden to build new homes or even remodel existing ones to make additional space for family expansion. The Israeli terrorist forces increasingly exercise their early hour routine of driving their bulldozers into some Palestinian suburbs to demolish a Palestinian home that was built without a permit.
“The army breaks into the Palestinian home, gives the Palestinian family ten minutes to evacuate and starts demolishing the home,” says Dr. Akleh. “Palestinians are denied building permits. Many Palestinians are given the order to demolish their own homes, otherwise the Israeli army would demolish it and the home owner will be charged exorbitant fees. In contrast, Israel continues its plans of illegal colonies (settlements) building. This Israeli systematic policy of Palestinian home demolishing and colony building on confiscated Palestinian land contravenes the 4th Geneva Convention.”
On and on the president’s document reads…
Included in bold type are excerpts from the recent Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights report documenting what Palestinian schools and students have suffered in recent weeks—a remarkable escalation in attacks by Israeli soldiers and extremist settlers. The report claims the attacks, including school raids, destruction of school property, as well as detaining and assaulting students, have become more frequent, especially by settlers. Recent examples include the Jalud School and Beit Dajan School in Nablus, and the Khader School in Bethlehem. The international community is increasingly reacting to these terrorist practices. Recently a letter by a group of British intellectuals, entitled “Action for Palestine” and calling upon Israeli authorities to end the pattern of abuse of Palestinian children, was published in the UK Guardian newspaper.
But the army has also intensified its arrests and kidnapping of Palestinian children accused of stone throwing. Many children are routinely intercepted on their way to school at Israeli military checkpoints, searched, humiliated, and at times arrested. Israeli forces conduct routine middle of the night raids of Palestinian homes, where they break into the homes, smash furniture, and terrorize the families, dragging young boys from their beds and blindfolding them before dumping them on the floor of a military jeep and driving them to a prison in Israel. In the prison, where their parents are not allowed to see them, the children are harshly interrogated, threatened, tortured; some raped and imprisoned.
The 213 page document was presumably heavy reading for the polish-born Szymon Perski, ardent protégé of Ben-Gurion and Dayan and an early supporter of the West Bank settlers during the 1970s.
Shimon Peres’ guilt-edged insecurity these days is far more important when it comes to the masking—and unmasking—of an abettor of racist Zionism. His complaint, like Portnoy’s Complaint, is also emblematic of the times during which he has lived and his uncertainty as to whether he has squandered his life in an evil cause.
“I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and fear.”
Portnoy’s Complaint…or Peres’?
“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” 1
Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?
For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game. Washington and its main Mideast allies in the conflict – Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have not impeded the movement to Syria of jihadists coming to join the rebels, recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while Qatar and the Saudis have supplied the rebels with weapons, most likely bought in large measure from the United States, as well as lots of of what they have lots of – money.
This widespread international support has been provided despite the many atrocities carried out by the jihadists – truck and car suicide bombings (with numerous civilian casualties), planting roadside bombs à la Iraq, gruesome massacres of Christians and Kurds, grotesque beheadings and other dissections of victims’ bodies (most charming of all: a Youtube video of a rebel leader cutting out an organ from the chest of a victim and biting into it as it drips with blood). All this barbarity piled on top of a greater absurdity – these Western-backed, anti-government forces are often engaged in battle with other Western-backed, anti-government forces, non-jihadist. It has become increasingly difficult to sell this war to the American public as one of pro-democracy “moderates” locked in a good-guy-versus-bad-guy struggle with an evil dictator, although in actuality the United States has fought on the same side as al Qaeda on repeated occasions before Syria. Here’s a brief survey:
Afghanistan, 1980-early 1990s: In support of the Islamic Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”), the CIA orchestrated a war against the Afghan government and their Soviet allies, pouring in several billions of dollars of arms and extensive military training; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year; pressuring and bribing Pakistan to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary.
It worked. And out of the victorious Moujahedeen came al Qaeda.
Bosnia, 1992-5: In 2001 the Wall Street Journal declared:
It is safe to say that the birth of al-Qaeda as a force on the world stage can be traced directly back to 1992, when the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic issued a passport in their Vienna embassy to Osama bin Laden. … for the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. 2
A few months later, The Guardian reported on “the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims – some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in “the war against terrorism”. 3
In 1994 and 1995 US/NATO forces carried out bombing campaigns over Bosnia aimed at damaging the military capability of the Serbs and enhancing that of the Bosnian Muslims. In the decade-long civil wars in the Balkans, the Serbs, regarded by Washington as the “the last communist government in Europe”, were always the main enemy.
Kosovo, 1998-99: Kosovo, overwhelmingly Muslim, was a province of Serbia, the main republic of the former Yugoslavia. In 1998, Kosovo separatists – The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – began an armed conflict with Belgrade to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against the Serbs. 4
However, when US-NATO forces began military action against the Serbs the KLA was taken off the US terrorist list, it “received official US-NATO arms and training support” 5 , and the 1999 US-NATO bombing campaign eventually focused on driving Serbian forces from Kosovo.
In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, an independence so illegitimate and artificial that the majority of the world’s nations still have not recognized it. But the United States was the first to do so, the very next day, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory.
The KLA have been known for their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.
Nota bene: In 1992 the Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs reached agreement in Lisbon for a unified state. The continuation of a peaceful multi-ethnic Bosnia seemed assured. But the United States sabotaged the agreement. 6
Libya, 2011: The US and NATO to the rescue again. For more than six months, almost daily missile attacks against the government and forces of Muammar Gaddafi as assorted Middle East jihadists assembled in Libya and battled the government on the ground. The predictable outcome came to be – the jihadists now in control of parts of the country and fighting for the remaining parts. The wartime allies showed their gratitude to Washington by assassinating the US ambassador and three other Americans, presumably CIA, in the city of Benghazi.
Caucasus (Russia), mid-2000s to present: The National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House have for many years been the leading American “non-government” institutions tasked with destabilizing, if not overthrowing, foreign governments which refuse to be subservient to the desires of US foreign policy. Both NGOs have backed militants in the Russian Caucasus area, one that has seen more than its share of terror stretching back to the Chechnyan actions of the 1990s. 7
“Omission is the most powerful form of lie.” – George Orwell
I am asked occasionally why I am so critical of the mainstream media when I quote from them repeatedly in my writings. The answer is simple. The American media’s gravest shortcoming is much more their errors of omission than their errors of commission. It’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. So I can make good use of the facts they report, which a large, rich organization can easier provide than the alternative media.
A case in point is a New York Times article of October 5 on the Greek financial crisis and the Greeks’ claim for World War Two reparations from Germany.
“Germany may be Greece’s stern banker now, say those who are seeking reparations,” writes theTimes, but Germany “should pay off its own debts to Greece. … It is not just aging victims of the Nazi occupation who are demanding a full accounting. Prime Minister Antonis Samarass government has compiled an 80-page report on reparations and a huge, never-repaid loan the nation was forced to make under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945. … The call for reparations has elicited an emotional outpouring in Greece, where six years of brutal recession and harsh austerity measures have left many Greeks hostile toward Germany. Rarely does a week go by without another report in the news about, as one newspaper put it in a headline, ‘What Germany Owes Us’.”
“The figure most often discussed is $220 billion, an estimate for infrastructure damage alone put forward by Manolis Glezos, a member of Parliament and a former resistance fighter who is pressing for reparations. That amount equals about half the country’s debt. … Some members of the National Council on Reparations, an advocacy group, are calling for more than $677 billion to cover stolen artifacts, damage to the economy and to the infrastructure, as well as the bank loan and individual claims.”
So there we have the morality play: The evil Germans who occupied Greece and in addition to carrying out a lot of violence and repression shamelessly exploited the Greek people economically.
Would it be appropriate for such a story, or an accompanying or follow-up story, to mention the civil war that broke out in Greece shortly after the close of the world war? On one side were the neo-fascists, many of whom had cooperated with the occupying Germans during the war, some even fighting for the Nazis. Indeed, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, acknowledged in August 1946 that there were 228 ex-members of the Nazi Security Battalions – whose main task had been to track down Greek resistance fighters and Jews – on active service in the new Greek army. 8
On the other side was the Greek left who had fought the Nazis courageously, even forcing the German army to flee the country in 1944.
So guess which side of the civil war our favorite military took? … That’s right, the United States supported the neo-fascists. After all, an important component of the Greek left was the Communist Party, although it wouldn’t have mattered at all if the Greek left had not included any Communists. Support of the left (not to be confused with liberals of course) anywhere in the world, during and since the Cold War, has been verboten in US foreign policy.
The neo-fascists won the civil war and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a suitably repressive internal security agency, named and modeled after itself, the KYP. For the next 15 years, Greece was looked upon much as a piece of real estate to be developed according to Washington’s political and economic needs. One document should suffice to capture the beauty of Washington’s relationship to Athens – a 1947 letter from US Secretary of State George Marshall to Dwight Griswold, the head of the American Mission to Aid Greece, said:
During the course of your work you and the members of your Mission will from time to time find that certain Greek officials are not, because of incompetence, disagreement with your policies, or for some other reason, extending the type of cooperation which is necessary if the objectives of your Mission are to be achieved. You will find it necessary to effect the removal of these officials. 9
Where is the present-day Greek headline: “What The United States Owes Us”? Where is the New York Times obligation to enlighten its readers?
The latest step in the evolution of America’s Police State
“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”
So say many Americans. And many Germans as well.
But one German, Ilija Trojanow, would disagree. He has lent his name to published documents denouncing the National Security Agency (NSA), and was one of several prominent German authors who signed a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to take a firm stance against the mass online surveillance conducted by the NSA. Trojanow and the other authors had nothing to hide, which is why the letter was published for the public to read. What happened after that, however, was that Trojanow was refused permission to board a flight from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, to Miami on Monday, September 30. Without any explanation.
Trojanow, who was on his way to speak at a literary conference in Denver, told the Spiegel magazine online website that the denial of entry might be linked to his criticism of the NSA. Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it has contacted US authorities “to resolve this issue”. 10
In an article published in a German newspaper, Trojanow voiced his frustration with the incident: “It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free’.”11
Further irony can be found in the title of a book by Trojanow: “Attack on freedom. Obsession with security, the surveillance state and the dismantling of civil rights.”
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who oversees the NSA and other intelligence agencies, said recently that the intelligence community “is only interested in communication related to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.” 12
It’s difficult in the extreme to see how this criterion would apply in any way to Ilija Trojanow.
The story is a poignant caveat on how fragile is Americans’ freedom to criticize their Security State. If a foreigner can be barred from boarding a flight merely for peaceful, intellectual criticism of America’s Big Brother (nay, Giant Brother), who amongst us does not need to pay careful attention to anything they say or write.
Very few Americans, however, will even be aware of this story. A thorough search of the Lexis-Nexis media database revealed a single mention in an American daily newspaper (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch), out of 1400 daily papers in the US. No mention on any broadcast media. A single one-time mention in a news agency (Associated Press), and one mention in a foreign English-language newspaper (New Zealand Herald).
- Washington Post, September 26, 2013 ↩
- Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001 ↩
- The Guardian (London), April 22, 2002 ↩
- RT TV (Moscow), May 4, 2012 ↩
- Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001 ↩
- New York Times, June 17, 1993, buried at the very end of the article on an inside page ↩
- Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post, “Barbarians at the Gate: Terrorism, the US, and the Subversion of Russia”, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, October 16, 1946, column 887 (reference is made here to Bevin’s statement of August 10, 1946) ↩
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. V (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), pp. 222-3. See William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 3 for further details of the US role in postwar Greece. ↩
- Associated Press, October 2, 2013 ↩
- Huffington Post, “Ilija Trojanow, German Writer, Banned From US For Criticizing NSA”, October 1, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, October 5, 2013 ↩
“The European race’s last three hundred years of evolutionary progress have all come down to nothing but four words: selfishness, slaughter, shamelessness and corruption.”
It only took the rest of the world 300 years to catch on to the evil that masquerades as “western civilization,” or perhaps it only took the rise of new powers with the confidence to state the obvious. Anyone doubtful of America’s responsibility for the evil needs to read The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.
The “New American Century” proclaimed by the neoconservatives came to an abrupt end on September 6 at the G20 meeting in Russia. The leaders of most of the world’s peoples told Obama that they do not believe him and that it is a violation of international law if the US government attacks Syria without UN authorization.
Putin told the assembled world leaders that the chemical weapons attack was “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.” In other words, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington–the axis of evil.
China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina joined Putin in affirming that a leader who commits military aggression without the approval of the UN Security Council puts himself “outside of law.”
In other words, if you defy the world, obama, you are a war criminal.
The entire world is waiting to see if the Israel Lobby can push obama into the role of war criminal. Many are betting that Israel will prevail over the weak american president, a cipher devoid of all principle. A couple of decades ago before the advent of the american sheeple, one of the last tough Americans, Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly declared that “no US president can stand up to Israel.” America’s highest ranking military officer could not get an honest investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.
We are yet to see an american president who can stand up to Israel. Or, for that matter, a Congress that can. Or a media.
The obama regime tried to counter its smashing defeat at the G20 Summit by forcing its puppet states to sign a joint statement condemning Syria. However the puppet states qualified their position by stating that they opposed military action and awaited the UN report.
Most of obama’s bought-and-paid-for “supporters” are impotent, powerless. For example obama counts the UK as a supporting country because of the personal support of the discredited UK prime minister, david cameron, despite the fact that cameron was repudiated by the British Parliament in a vote that prohibits British participation in another of Washington’s war crimes. So, although cameron cannot bring the British people and the British government with him, obama counts the UK as a supporter of obama’s attack on Syria. Clearly, this is a desperate count of “supporting countries.”
The Turkish puppet government, which has been shooting its peacefully demonstrating citizens down in the streets, with no protest from obama or the Israel Lobby, supports “holding Syria accountable,” but not itself, of course, or Washington.
The puppet states of Canada and Australia, powerless countries, neither of which carry one ounce of world influence, have lined up to do the bidding of their Washington master. The entire point of having the top government job in Canada and Australia is the payoff from Washington.
The obama cipher also claims the support of Japan and the Republic of Korea, another two countries devoid of all diplomatic influence and power of any kind. Helpless Japan is on the verge of being destroyed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, for which it has no solution. As the radiation leaks spread into the aquifer upon which Tokyo and surrounding areas rely, Japan is faced with the possibility of having to relocate 40 million people.
Saudi Arabia, implicated in the transfer to al-Nusra rebels of the chemical weapons used in the attack, supports Washington, knowing that otherwise its tyranny is toast. Even the neoconservatives headed by obama’s shrill National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, want to overthrow the Saudis.
Obama claims also to have support from France and Germany. However both Hollande and Merkel have stated clearly that a diplomatic solution, not war, is their first choice and that the outcome rests on the UN.
As for Italy and Spain’s support, both governments are hoping to be rewarded with the Federal Reserve printing enough dollars to bail out their indebted economies so that both governments are not overthrown in the streets for their acquiescence to the looting of their countries by international banksters. Like so many Western governments, those of Italy and Spain, and, of course, Greece, support the international banksters, not their own citizens.
The president of the European Commission has declared that the European Union, the central overlord over Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, does not support a military solution to the Syrian Crisis. “The European Union is certain that the efforts should be aimed at a political settlement,” Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters at the G20 meeting. The EU has the power to issue arrest warrants for the heads of EU governments that participate in war crimes.
What this reveals is that the support behind the liar obama is feeble and limited. The ability of the Western countries to dominate international politics came to an end at the G20 meeting. The moral authority of the West is completely gone, shattered and eroded by countless lies and shameless acts of aggression based on nothing but lies and self-interests. Nothing remains of the West’s “moral authority,” which was never anything but a cover for self-interest, murder, and genocide.
The West has been destroyed by its own governments, who have told too many self-serving lies, and by its capitalist corporations, who offshored the West’s jobs and technology to China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, depriving the Western governments of a tax base and the support of its citizens.
It is difficult to know whether citizens in the West hate their corrupt governments any less than do Muslims, whose lives and countries have been devastated by Western aggression, or than do citizens of third world countries who have been impoverished by being looted by predatory First World financial organizations.
The idiot Western governments have pissed away their clout. There is no prospect whatsoever of the neoconservative fantasy of US hegemony being exercised over Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, South America, Iran. These countries can establish their own system of international payments and finance and leave the dollar standard whenever they wish. One wonders why they wait. The US dollar is being printed in unbelievable quantities and is no longer qualified to be the world reserve currency. The US dollar is on the verge of total worthlessness.
The G20 Summit made it clear that the world is no longer willing to go along with the West’s lies and murderous ways. The world has caught on to the West. Every country now understands that the bailouts offered by the West are merely mechanisms for looting the bailed-out countries and impoverishing the people.
In the 21st century Washington has treated its own citizens the way it treats citizens of third world countries. Untold trillions of dollars have been lavished on a handful of banks, while the banks threw millions of Americans out of their homes and seized any remaining assets of the broken families.
US corporations had their taxes cut to practically nothing, with few paying any taxes at all, while the corporations gave the jobs and careers of millions of Americans to the Chinese and Indians. With those jobs went US GDP, tax base, and economic power, leaving Americans with massive budget deficits, a debased currency, and bankrupt cities, such as Detroit, which once was the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
How long before Washington shoots down its own homeless, hungry, and protesting citizens in the streets?
Washington represents Israel and a handful of powerful organized private interests. Washington represents no one else. Washington is a plague upon the American people and a plague upon the world.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
- Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
- Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
- British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
- 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
- Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
- President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
- None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
- The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
- We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
- The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
- In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
- President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
- Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
- Guatemala 1954
- Indonesia 1958
- Cuba 1959-1961
- Guatemala 1960
- Congo 1964
- Laos 1964-73
- Vietnam 1961-73
- Cambodia 1969-70
- Guatemala 1967-69
- Grenada 1983
- Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
- Libya 1986
- El Salvador 1980s
- Nicaragua 1980s
- Iran 1987
- Panama 1989
- Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
- Kuwait 1991
- Somalia 1993
- Bosnia 1994, 1995
- Sudan 1998
- Afghanistan 1998
- Yugoslavia 1999
- Yemen 2002
- Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
- Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
- Afghanistan 2001 to present
- Pakistan 2007 to present
- Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
- Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
- Libya 2011
- Syria 2013?
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
- The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
- Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
- Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
- Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
- The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
- The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
- William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
- Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
- Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
- Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩
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.
“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” — Pablo Picasso.
From George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to the Wachowskis’ The Matrix, Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report and most recently Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, writers and filmmakers have used science fiction to both forecast the future while also holding up a mirror to the present. The best among these transcend what is largely escapist entertainment and engage their audiences in a critical dialogue about what happens when power, technology and militaristic governance converge.
With its dystopian vision of a post-apocalyptic Earth in which the majority of humanity is relegated to an overpopulated, diseased, warring planet while the elite live a life of luxury and perfect health on an orbiting space station, Elysium fits in perfectly alongside the futuristic books and films featured in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, which warn of a totalitarian future at our doorsteps.
However, while much has been said about Blomkamp’s use of Elysium to raise concerns about immigration, access to healthcare, worker’s rights, and socioeconomic stratification, what I found most striking and unnerving was its depiction of how the government will employ technologies such as drones, tasers and biometric scanners to track, target and control the populace, especially dissidents. Mind you, while these technologies are already in use today and being hailed for their potentially life-saving, cost-saving, time-saving benefits, it won’t be long before the drawbacks to having a government equipped with technology that makes it all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful far outdistance the benefits.
For those who insist that such things are celluloid fantasies with no connection to the present, I offer the following.
Fiction: One of the most jarring scenes in Elysium occurs towards the beginning of the film, when the protagonist Max Da Costa waits to board a bus on his way to work. While standing in line, Max is approached by two large robotic police officers, who quickly scan Max’s biometrics, cross-check his data against government files, and identify him as a former convict in need of close inspection. They demand to search his bag, a request which Max resists, insisting that there is nothing for them to see. The robotic cops respond by manhandling Max, throwing him to the ground, and breaking his arm with a police baton. After determining that Max poses no threat, they leave him on the ground and continue their patrol.
Reality: The United States government is presently developing robot technology that can mimic human behavior. Consider ATLAS, an android being developed by the Department of Defense. Standing at 6 feet tall and 330 pounds, the robot moves, walks, and runs like a human. While still in testing stages, it bears an eerie resemblance to the robotic cops featured in Elysium. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine a time in the near future when artificial intelligence robots are responsible for policing citizens. Considering how difficult it is today to exercise one’s constitutional rights when confronted by SWAT-team attired police with little regard for the Constitution, imagine trying to assert your rights when confronted with autonomous machines programmed to maintain order at all costs?
Fiction: In another scene ripped from the present, Max Da Costa is hunted by four drones while attempting to elude the authorities. The drones, equipped with x-ray cameras, biometric readers, scanners and weapons, are able to scan whole neighborhoods, identify individuals from a distance—even through buildings, report their findings back to police handlers, pursue a suspect, and target them with tasers and an array of lethal weapons. These drones, strikingly similar to currently existing Quadrotor drones, are depicted in A Government of Wolves.
Reality: Comprising an $82 billion industry, at least 30,000 drones are expected to occupy U.S. airspace by 2020. These drones, some of which will be deceptively small and capable of videotaping the facial expressions of people on the ground from hundreds of feet in the air, will usher in a new age of surveillance in American society. Not even those indoors, in the privacy of their homes, will be safe from these aerial spies, which can be equipped with technology capable of peering through walls. In addition to their surveillance capabilities, drone manufacturers have confirmed that drones can also be equipped with automatic weapons, grenade launchers, tear gas, and tasers. The FBI, DEA, and US Border Patrol are already using drone technology for surveillance operations.
Biometric scanners and national IDs
Fiction: Throughout Elysium, citizens are identified, sorted and dealt with by way of various scanning devices that read their biometrics—irises, DNA, etc.—as well as their national ID numbers, imprinted by a laser into their skin. In this way, citizens are tracked, counted, and classified. The end result is that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide to escape the government’s all-seeing eyes.
Reality: Given the vast troves of data that the government in its many forms (NSA, FBI, DHS, etc.) is collecting on all Americans, we are not far from a future where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. In fact, between the facial recognition technology being handed out to police across the country, license plate readers being installed on police cruisers, local police creating DNA databases by extracting DNA from non-criminals, including the victims of crimes, and police collecting more and more biometric data such as iris scans, we are approaching the end of anonymity in America today. It won’t be long before police officers will be able to pull up a full biography on any given person instantaneously, including their family and medical history, bank accounts, and personal peccadilloes.
Fiction: In a meeting with his robotic parole officer, Max finds his mood and emotions being scanned, analyzed and assessed by his android counterpart. Perceiving a heightened level of stress and frustration in Max, who is finding it difficult to reason with an automaton lacking in reason, the robot offers him mood-altering pills to counteract his perceived “aggression.”
Reality: Advances in neuroscience indicate that future behavior can be predicted based upon activity in certain portions of the brain, potentially creating a nightmare scenario in which government officials select certain segments of the population for more invasive surveillance or quarantine based solely upon their brain chemistry. Most recently, researchers at the Mind Research Center scanned the brains of thousands of prison inmates in order to track their brain chemistry and their behavior after release. In one experiment, researchers determined that inmates with lower levels of activity in the area of the brain associated with error processing allegedly had a higher likelihood of committing a crime within four years of being released from prison. While researchers have cautioned against using the results of their research as a method of predicting future crime, soon it will undoubtedly become a focus of study for government officials.
Brain to Machine Interface
Fiction: In Blomkamp’s world of Elysium, humans are not only able to store computer data in their brains and transfer this data by way of brain-computer interfaces, but they can also plug directly into computer systems that control every aspect of society and government. In such a world, a single key stroke can establish a dictatorship or unchain an enslaved population.
Reality: Although still in its infancy, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished—for good or ill—using brain-computer interfaces. Scientists have already created machines that allow people to manipulate robotic arms using just their thoughts. In the near future, we may see scientists observing human thought using “smart dust”—nanomachines the size of dust—which can be placed in the brain to observe neural behavior. Furthermore, hackers have already been able to “steal” information from human brains using extant brain-computer interfaces which read brain waves and are commercially available for $200-300. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have created a brain-to-brain interface between lab rats, which allows them to transfer information directly between brains. In one particular experiment, researchers trained a rat to perform a task where it would hit a lever when lit. The trained rat then had its brain connected to an untrained rat’s brain via electrodes. The untrained rat was then able to learn the trained rat’s behavior via electrical stimulation. This even worked over great distances using the internet, with a lab rat in North Carolina guiding the actions of a lab rat in Brazil.
Making the Leap from Fiction to Reality
When Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931, he was convinced that there was “still plenty of time” before his dystopian vision became a nightmare reality. It wasn’t long before he realized that his prophecies were coming true far sooner than he had imagined. The question that must be asked, writes Huxley in Brave New World Revisited, is what can be done about it?
Does a majority of the population think it worthwhile to take a good deal of trouble, in order to halt and, if possible, reverse the current drift toward totalitarian control of everything? … [R]ecent public opinion polls have revealed that an actual majority of young people in their teens, the voters of tomorrow, have no faith in democratic institutions, see no objection to the censorship of unpopular ideas, do not believe that government of the people by the people is possible and would be perfectly content, if they can continue to live in the style to which the boom has accustomed them, to be ruled, from above, by an oligarchy of assorted experts.
That so many of the well-fed young television-watchers in the world’s most powerful democracy should be so completely indifferent to the idea of self-government, so blankly uninterested in freedom of thought and the right to dissent, is distressing, but not too surprising.
“Free as a bird,” we say, and envy the winged creatures for their power of unrestricted movement in all the three dimensions. But, alas, we forget the dodo. Any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. Something analogous is true of human beings. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone—or at least by bread and circuses alone.
“In the end,” says the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s parable, “in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves, but feed us.’” And when Alyosha Karamazov asks his brother, the teller of the story, if the Grand Inquisitor is speaking ironically, Ivan answers, “Not a bit of it! He claims it as a merit for himself and his Church that they have vanquished freedom and done so to make men happy.” Yes, to make men happy; “for nothing,” the Inquisitor insists, “has ever been more insupportable for a man or a human society than freedom.”
Nothing, except the absence of freedom; for when things go badly, and the rations are reduced, the grounded dodos will clamor again for their wings—only to renounce them, yet once more, when times grow better and the dodo-farmers become more lenient and generous. The young people who now think so poorly of democracy may grow up to become fighters for freedom. The cry of “Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,” may give place, under altered circumstances, to the cry of “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Source: John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute
A cornered rat has a deadly bite, or so says the lore from the 19th century, when rat baiting was common sport. The same is true of a cornered empire today. Every hour that goes by presents the evidence. It’s getting absolutely dangerous out there for anyone who dares to stand up against the empire and for basic human rights, which is to say that it is dangerous to corner the rat.
Recall the NSA’s Edward Snowden blockbuster revelations that the U.S. national security state has been data-mining all email, cell calls, chat and other communications and routinely investigates the results without any authority of law whatsoever. Seeing this all around him, Snowden came forward because he was disgusted by the practice, but also because the whole operation was taking place without any public knowledge, much less congressional approval.
Now, you might think that this information would be a terrible embarrassment to the agencies involved, and to the president who is supposed to be overseeing them. You might think there would be a scramble to find a fall guy, and maybe even a pullback on the part of the bureaucracies themselves. Under normal conditions — where the law matters and government was actually accountable to the governed — exposure on this level might cause the bad guys to do damage control.
But these are not normal conditions. The national security state is too well developed and too habituated to the perception of itself as the final ruler and the arbiter of all law. It believes itself to be above Congress, above any appointed official, and above the court system too, even the military court system. It is a government unto itself and it gets its way.
Snowden had only behaved as a patriot should, but he then found himself on the run from the law, trying to find safe haven somewhere in the world where the U.S. did not have control. The safe haven he found was the old Cold War enemy of Russia — a deeply embarrassing reality for those of us who cheered the U.S. victory in the Cold War.
But that was just the beginning. The national security state is out there right now trying to settle all family business, Godfather style, taking down anyone and everyone who might have assisted him in his deeds.
The fate of the email provider Lavabit is an example. This is the small company, run out of a Dallas apartment by one Web developer and a few friends, that has provided encrypted email. It is widely believed that this is the service that Snowden used to communicate with reporters.
Well, Lavabit was hit with an order from some agency within the state apparatus. It demanded access to all records and, most probably, a direct pipeline to the company’s own servers. In the past, Lavabit had complied with specific requests for information whenever it seemed reasonable. But this one was different. It was a demand for sweeping access.
Lavabit took the principled stand and shut down its own thriving business rather than go along.
This was a real act of courage. When an order like this comes from Homeland Security, it comes with a demand that the recipient not speak to anyone about the demand, on penalty of law. What about business partners? The order says no one. What about spouses? No one. What about attorneys? Again, no exceptions. You are laid bare and totally captured. It’s not different from jail. One wrong move and your life is over.
(Having been on the receiving end of one of these orders myself, I’m still reluctant to talk about it. I completely understand what it is like.)
“I could be arrested for this action,” Ladar Levison told NBC News. Indeed. In interviews, he chooses his words very carefully, fully aware that one misplaced bit of information would lead him out of compliance with the order from Homeland Security and cause him to spend untold amounts of time in prison.
Just so we are clear here, this totally arbitrary attack occurred after the Snowden revelations, in seeming and shameless retribution. And it was not the only attack. An Internet service called Silent Circle, which specializes in private communications, saw the writing on the wall and pre-emptively shut down its email service. Now the company tells its customers that email is not and cannot be secure. It is focusing entirely on cell coverage and text messaging.
These are just the two attacks we know about. Many other services that advertise secure email have most likely been approached. It wouldn’t be surprising if they failed to mention this to their subscribers. Again, this is the nature of the orders the government issues.
They say comply immediately and tell no one, or else. Maybe you think you would do the principled thing and refuse, but anyone who believes that has not been on the receiving end of such demands. There are few things more terrifying in this world than to have the imperial spotlight suddenly hit your face.
Continuing on with Homeland’s family business, a remarkable thing happened to Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who revealed Snowden’s NSA leaks. His domestic partner, who is not even a reporter, was arbitrarily detained at Britain’s Heathrow Airport on route from Germany to Brazil. The authorities took his computer, files, and even his cellphone, so that he couldn’t even communicate with those who were expecting to meet him at the airport.
He was detained without explanation for a full nine hours, which is the maximum that British law allows. The purpose of the law, of course, is to stop terrorism, but here we see how it is really used. It is used in an attempt to intimidate someone close to a journalist who leaked the Snowden stories — a clear aping of old mob tactics of going after loved ones.
It’s all part of the great drama called “the empire strikes back.”
The beauty here was that the secret of his detention came out super fast. Greenwald himself wrote a blog post for The Guardian, and within minutes, the story was all over the Internet and world press. Indeed, the next day, The New York Times featured a detail report about the detention. It was yet another black eye on the national security state, and more indication that it is on the fast track toward being enemy No. 1.
This kind of behavior seems counterproductive in every way. No private-sector business that was caught bilking its customers would respond by ramping up the rip-off. Not even politicians can get away with this sort of thing. But the FBI, the NSA, and Homeland Security believe that they are invulnerable and don’t have to obey anything or anyone, and especially not public opinion. At the same time, they want to operate in secret.
What they do not understand is that in a world of freely flowing information, nothing they do is a secret anymore. There’s no turning back: What the NSA and Homeland have done to citizens of the world, people are now doing to NSA and Homeland.
The rat is cornered. The empire is panicked and behaving exactly as we might expect, complete with nasty hissing and biting and victims all around. But this is not a sign of its strength. It is a sign of its desperation to preserve its power and privilege in world that is moving beyond these search-and-destroy tactics. The national security state has its data-mining centers, but the institution called the Internet is working daily to bring accountability to their egregious tactics.
Source: Jeffrey Tucker | Laissez Faire Today
Americans will soon be locked into an unaccountable police state unless US Representatives and Senators find the courage to ask questions and to sanction the executive branch officials who break the law, violate the Constitution, withhold information from Congress, and give false information about their crimes against law, the Constitution, the American people and those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. Congress needs to use the impeachment power that the Constitution provides and cease being subservient to the lawless executive branch. The US faces no threat that justifies the lawlessness and abuse of police powers that characterize the executive branch in the 21st century.
Impeachment is the most important power of Congress. Impeachment is what protects the citizens, the Constitution, and the other branches of government from abuse by the executive branch. If the power to remove abusive executive branch officials is not used, the power ceases to exist. An unused power is like a dead letter law. Its authority disappears. By acquiescing to executive branch lawlessness, Congress has allowed the executive branch to place itself above law and to escape accountability for its violations of law and the Constitution.
National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper blatantly lied to Congress and remains in office. Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, has also misled Congress, and he remains in office. Attorney General Holder avoids telling Congress the truth on just about every subject, and he also remains in office. The same can be said for President Obama, one of the great deceivers of our time, who is so adverse to truth that truth seldom finds its way out of his mouth.
If an American citizen lies to a federal investigator, even if not under oath, the citizen can be arrested, prosecuted, and sent to prison. Yet, these same federal personnel can lie to Congress and to citizens with impunity. Whatever the American political system is, it has nothing whatsoever to do with accountable government. In Amerika no one is accountable but citizens, who are accountable not only to law but also to unaccountable charges for which no evidence is required.
Congress has the power to impeach any presidential appointee as well as the president. In the 1970s Congress was going to impeach President Richard Nixon simply because he lied about when he learned of the Watergate burglary. To avoid impeachment, Nixon resigned. In the 1990s, the House impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about his sexual affair with a White House intern. The Senate failed to convict, no doubt as many had sexual affairs of their own and didn’t want to be held accountable themselves.
In the 1970s when I was on the Senate staff, corporate lobbyists would send attractive women to seduce Senators so that the interest groups could blackmail the Senators to do their bidding. Don’t be surprised if the NSA has adopted this corporate practice.
The improprieties of Nixon and Clinton were minor, indeed of little consequence, when compared to the crimes of George W. Bush and Obama, their vice presidents, and the bulk of their presidential appointees. Yet, impeachment is “off the table,” as Nancy Pelosi infamously declared. http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2006/11/08/cq_1916.html Why do Californian voters send a person to Congress who refuses to protect them from an unaccountable executive branch? Who does Nancy Pelosi serve? Certainly not the people of California. Most certainly not the US Constitution. Pelosi is in total violation of her oath of office. Will Californians re-elect her yet again? Little wonder America is failing.
The question demanding to be asked is: What is the purpose of the domestic surveillance of all Americans? This is surveillance out of all proportion to the alleged terrorist threat. The US Constitution is being ignored and domestic law violated. Why? Does the US government have an undeclared agenda for which the “terrorist threat” is a cover?
What is this agenda? Whose agenda is more important than the US Constitution and the accountability of government to law? No citizen is secure unless government is accountable to the Constitution and to law. It is an absurd idea that any American is more threatened by terrorism than by unaccountable government that can execute them, torture them, and throw them in prison for life without due process or any accountability whatsoever. Under Bush/Obama, the US has returned to the unaccountable power of caesars, czars, and autocrats.
In the famous play, “A Man For All Seasons,” Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England, asks: So, you would have me to cut down the law in order to chase after devils? And what will we do, with the law cut down, when the devil turns on us?
This is the most important legal question ever asked, and it is seldom asked today, not in our law schools, not by our bar associations, and most certainly not by the Justice (sic) Department or US Attorneys.
American conservatives regard civil liberties as mere excuses for liberal judges to coddle criminals and terrorists. Never expect a conservative Republican, or more than two or three of them, to defend your civil liberty. Republicans simply do not believe in civil liberty. Democrats cannot conceive that Obama–the first black president in office, a member of an oppressed minority–would not defend civil liberty. This combination of disinterest and denial is why the US has become a police state.
Civil liberty has few friends in government, the political parties, law schools, bar associations, or the federal judiciary. Consequently, no citizen is secure. Recently, a housewife researched online for pressure cookers looking for the best deal. Her husband was searching for a backpack. The result was that a fully armed SWAT team appeared at the door demanding to search the premises and to have questions answered. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/government-knocking-doors-because-google-searches/67864/
I am always amazed when someone says: “I haven’t done anything wrong. I have nothing to fear.” If you have nothing to fear from the government, why did the Founding Fathers put the protections in the Constitution that Bush and Obama have stripped out? Unlike the Founding Fathers who designed our government to protect the citizens, the American sheeple trust the government to their own demise.
Glenn Greenwald recently explained how the mass of data that is being accumulated on every American is being mined for any signs of non-terrorist-related criminal behavior. As such warrantless searches are illegal evidence in a criminal trial, the authorities disguise the illegal way in which the evidence is obtained in order to secure conviction based on illegally obtained evidence.http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35773.htm
In other words, the use of the surveillance justified by the “war on terror” has already spread into prosecutions of ordinary criminals where it has corrupted legal safeguards and the integrity, if any, of the criminal court system, prosecutors and judges.
This is just one of the many ways in which you have much to fear, whether you think you are doing anything wrong or not. You can be framed for crimes based on inferences drawn from your Internet activity and jokes with friends on social media. Jurors made paranoid by the “terrorist threat” will convict you.
We should be very suspicious of the motive behind the universal spying on US citizens. The authorities are aware that the terrorist threat does not justify the unconstitutional and illegal spying. There have been hardly any real terrorist events in the US, which is why the FBI has to find clueless people around whom to organize an FBI orchestrated plot in order to keep the “terrorist threat” alive in the public’s mind. At last count, there have been 150 “sting operations” in which the FBI recruits people, who are out of touch with reality, to engage in a well-paid FBI designed plot. Once the dupes agree, they are arrested as terrorists and the plot revealed, always with the accompanying statement that the public was never in any danger as the FBI was in control.
When 99 percent of all terrorism is organized by the FBI, why do we need NSA spying on every communication of every American and people in the rest of the world?
Terrorism seldom comes from outside. The source almost always is the government in power. The Czarist secret police set off bombs in order to blame and arrest labor agitators. The Nazis burned down the Reichstag in order to decimate the communists and assume unaccountable power in the name of “public safety.” An alleged terrorist threat is a way of using fear to block popular objection to the exercise of arbitrary government power.
In order to be “safe from terrorists,” the US population, with few objections, has accepted the demise of their civil liberties, such as habeas corpus, which reaches back centuries to Magna Carta as a constraint on government power. How, then, are they safe from their government? Americans today are in the same position as the English prior to the Great Charter of 1215. Americans are no longer protected by law and the Constitution from government tyranny.
The reason the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution was to make citizens safe from their government. If citizens allow the government to take away the Constitution, they might be safe from foreign terrorists, but they are no longer safe from their government.
Who do you think has more power over you, foreign terrorists or “your” government?
Washington defines all resistance to its imperialism and tyranny as “terrorism.” Thus, Americans who defend the environment, who defend wildlife, who defend civil liberties and human rights, who protest Washington’s wars and robbery of the people in behalf of special interests, all become “domestic extremists,” the term Homeland Security has substituted for “terrorist.” Those who are out of step with Washington and the powerful private interests that exploit us, other peoples, and the earth for their profits and power fall into the wrong side of Bush’s black and white division of the world: “you are for us or against us.”
In the United States independent thought is on the verge of being criminalized as are constitutionally guaranteed protests and the freedom of the press. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/10/james-risen-prison-journalism-criminalised The constitutional principle of freedom of speech is being redefined as treason, as aiding an undefined enemy, and as seeking to overthrow the government by casting aspersions on its motives and revealing its secret misdeeds. The power-mad inhabitants of Washington have brought the US so close to Gestapo Germany and Stalinist Russia that it is no longer funny. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to see the difference.
The neoconservatives have declared that Americans are the “exceptional” and “indispensable people.” Yet, the civil liberties of Americans have declined the more “exceptional” and “indispensable” that Americans become. We are now so exceptional and indispensable that we no longer have any rights.
And neither does the rest of the world. Neoconservatism has created a new dangerous American nationalism. Neoconservatives have given Washington a monopoly on right and endowed its military aggressions with a morality that supersedes the Geneva Conventions and human rights. Washington, justified by its “exceptionalism,” has the right to attack populations in countries with which Washington is not at war, such as Pakistan and Yemen. Washington is using the cover of its “exceptionalism” to murder people in many countries. http://news.antiwar.com/2013/08/11/us-drones-pound-yemen-but-targets-arent-all-militants/print/ Hitler tried to market the exceptionalism of the German people, but he lacked Washington’s Madison Avenue skills.
Washington is always morally right, whatever it does, and those who report its crimes are traitors who, stripped of their coddling by civil liberties, are locked away and abused until they confess to their crimes against the state. Anyone who tells the truth, such as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden, are branded enemies of the state and are ruthlessly persecuted.
How does the “indispensable, exceptional nation” have a diplomatic policy? How can a neoconized State Department be based on anything except coercion? It can’t. That is why Washington produces nothing but war and threats of war.
Wherever a person looks, whatever a person hears, it is Washington’s threat–“we are going to bomb you into the stone age” if you don’t do what we want and agree to what we require. We are going to impose “sanctions,” Washington’s euphemism for embargoes, and starve your women and children to death, permit no medical supplies, ban you from the international payments system unless you relent and consent to being Washington’s puppet, and ban you from posting your news broadcasts on the Internet.
This is the face that Washington presents to the world: the hard, mean face of a tyrant.
Washington’s power will survive a bit longer, because there are still politicians in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the NGOs in Russia, who are paid off by the almighty dollar. In exchange for Washington’s money, they endorse Washington’s immorality and murderous destruction of law and life.
But the dollar is being destroyed by Quantitative Easing, and the domestic US economy is being destroyed by jobs offshoring.http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/TAA0731131.html
Rome was powerful until the Germans ceased to believe it. Then the rotten edifice collapsed. Washington faces sooner or later the same fate. An inhumane, illegal, unconstitutional regime based on violence alone, devoid of all morality and all human compassion, is not acceptable to China, Russia, India, Iran, and Brazil, or to readers of this column.
The evil that is Washington cannot last forever. The criminals might destroy the world in nuclear war, but the lawlessness and lack of humanity in Washington, which murders more people as I write, is no longer acceptable to the rest of the world, not even to its European puppet states, despite the leaders being on Washington’s payroll.
Gorbachev is correct. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a debacle for the entire world. It transformed the US from the “city upon the hill,” the “beacon for humanity,” into an aggressive militarist state. Consequently, Amerika has become despised by everyone who has a moral conscience and a sense of justice.
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
A row between the US and Moscow over Snowden’s extradition has reached a new level of tension after Barack Obama canceled a long-planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, again showing the adherence of US to double-standard politics.
This goes back to Putin finally deciding to give temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, specifically ignoring Obama’s personal directive that Snowden should be handed over to the US. With this measure, Putin echoes Russia’s and the world’s growing weariness with America’s hegemonic carrot-and-stick strategy, and its double talk.
Both presidents had agreed to hold a summit in Moscow next month to discuss bilateral issues but, reading between the lines, one can clearly sense the increasing frustration the US and its key global allies feel towards Russia and China, the only two major powers that can stand up to them, bringing some measure of traditional balance-of-power to today’s world; even if uneasy and fragile
As with Julian Assange, the case involving Edward Snowden is well-known around the world: both men were in a position to access credible behind-the-curtain information, together with the documentation backing it up, and they both came out boldly disclosing it to the public.
If the proof is in the pudding, then America’s rage and ire, as well as that of its allies’, are proof that these disclosures are in fact true, which is why such a large portion of global public opinion hail Snowden and Assange as true heroes and freedom fighters.
For when it comes to assessing the true motives and unconfessable activities and goals behind much of US, UK and Israeli foreign and domestic policies, millions of modern-day Hamlets can smell that there is definitely something very rotten and not precisely in the State of Denmark.
If, as we believe, the supranational global power elites are embedded deep inside the public and private power structures of key nations – notably the United States and the United Kingdom – then clearly their Achilles Heel is any and all disclosure of their crimes, their meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, their direct or indirect involvement in false-flag attacks, their support of genocidal regimes when it serves their purpose, their murderous invasions and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya, and their obscene funding and support of terrorists, guerrillas and mafias in Syria and elsewhere, under the PsyOps cover of ‘Arab Spring’.
Now, if giving temporary asylum to a disgruntled 30-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) operative like Snowden has such impact on the US power structure – so much so that it led the president of the United States to cancel a key summit with the President of Russia – then one can only wonder at the fear and trembling they must feel when assessing potentially much more serious ‘security breaches’.
What if a really organized group of truly powerful insiders-turned-outsiders were to decide to confront Washington, New York, London and Tel-Aviv with unquestionable evidence and proof of their crimes and their criminal perpetrators? What if, say, somebody comes up with total and undisputable proof on the truth behind 9/11? Or Iraq and Libya? Or Wall Street in 2008? Or London 7/7…?
Russia and China: America’s 21st-century foes
Naturally global hegemons abhor anyone standing up to them, which is clearly what Russia has been doing for the past decade. At the UN, where Russia had been more accommodating to many US interests, after the US-backed monstrous assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on live TV and the rape of Libya in 2011, its appears Moscow got really fed up.
Assassinating global leaders to the chuckling of Hillary Clinton on CBS News is definitely not on Moscow’s agenda.
A key change in Russian foreign policy can thus be clearly seen in the cases of Iran and, more significantly, in Syria – a traditional Russian ally.
The US, UK and Israel know full well that even if they continue to finance the worst terrorists, mafias, murderers, arms-dealers and Al-Qaeda operatives – whom they collectively dub as ‘freedom fighters’ - against the legitimate government of Bashar Assad, Russia just won’t budge.
Putin’s message is clear: the West will not have its way in Syria. Period.
Many readers are probably asking, what about China? Isn’t China supposed to be the key Pentagon target in the years to come because it continues to grow and grow, and its economy will soon surpass that of the US?
Yes, but that’s just the economy and, yes, China does hold almost $2 trillion in US Treasury Bills, which gives them the potential to wreak havoc on the US by just liquidating them short-term in the major global financial markets. China could, if it wanted, send the US Dollar crumbling down like the World Trade Center twin towers did in 2001.
But the US knows China will not do that; not now, anyway, as they have much more to lose from a US financial collapse than they have to win. China knows that triggering the mass devaluation of those Treasuries would backfire and explode in their own face.
Besides, China has never had, nor has today, global hegemonic aims. China seems quite happy to be and remain the undisputed power in South East Asia and the Western Pacific, something that is in sharp contrast with the US/UK/Israel, which together insist on running the whole world: politically, territorially, financially, even trying to impose its courts and laws.
In addition, China has few issues for open conflict: Tibet, Taiwan, a couple of disputed islands with Japan, perhaps, but that’s basically it. Their struggle lies on the economic and resources stage.
Now, compare that to the permanent conflicts the US and its allies stir up in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Central Europe etc.
China does not really need to be contained; it is self-contained. The US and its allies, however, must be contained and, seeing the way things are going, in the long run they must be stopped.
Russia might have far less economic clout than the US, however the Kremlin has always had clear long-term geopolitical objectives; intelligently designed and planned ever since the times of the tsars, later under the Bolsheviks, and today under its mature, coherent and consistent leadership.
For Russia not only has global aims, Russia understands the world and its multicultural complexities far better than the US. On this, Russia is only rivaled by Britain… and China.
So is the US now slipping back into ‘Evil Empire’, Russia-standing-in-the-way-of-‘democracy’; Russia-supporting-the-bad-guys rhetoric?
The truth is that Russia is helping to unmask American social and political decadence, financial weakness, and psychopathic imperial overdrive.
When Russia stands up to America, it shows strength, personality and self-respect. The world looks on and applauds.
On August 7, Obama appeared on Jay Leno’s popular ‘Tonight Show’, whining and complaining about Putin, accusing Moscow of slipping back into “Cold-War mode”. He listed US grievances against Russia: missile defense and arms control, trade relations, global security, human rights, civil society… and advising President Putin not to look at the past but to “think about the future as there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate.”
Obama doesn’t seem to understand that to think correctly about the future, requires learning from the experience of the past. Addressing the Snowden Affair in isolation is but another example of US double-standards and double talk.
As journalist Glenn Greenwald of London’s The Guardian newspaper reminded his readers on that same day, whilst Obama and the mainstream media today express so much distress over Snowden’s Russian asylum, they seem to forget past cases where the tables were turned, and which did not involve a young, mild-mannered whistleblower, but rather where the US protected the worst criminals and murderers.
For instance, the US refused to heed an extradition request from Italy for two CIA agents indicted in the alleged 2003 abduction of an Egyptian cleric in Milan (New York Times, February 28, 2007); later, when CIA agent Robert Seldon Lady was released in Panama, he was flown back to the US to avert the possibility he might be extradited to Italy (Washington Post, July 19, 2013).
Then we have America’s refusal to extradite former CIA-supported Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada – who for all practical purposes was given US asylum – so he could stand trial for genocide and war crimes in Bolivia (The Guardian, September 9, 2012). Or the case of Luis Posada Carriles, whose extradition to Venezuela was also refused by the US, over his alleged role in the 1976 terror bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people (El Paso Times, December 30, 2010).
The list does not stop there. In recent years, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil filed repeated requests and legal summons asking the US to give up one Sir Henry A. Kissinger, wanted for questioning over his decades-long involvement with CIA-backed military regime murders in those countries during the 1970s, under a mass genocide strategy which later became known as ‘Plan Condor’.
But again, the Global Power Elite always stands behind its problem children like Sir Henry to the very end. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón went so far as to ask Interpol to arrest Kissinger for questioning during a visit to London but – Alas! – to no avail.
And we won’t even mention the repeated extradition requests filed by Belgian Courts against former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his war crimes and crimes against humanity, filed by Lebanese victims of his 2001 killing sprees.
The list is far too long. But the double standards are glaringly obvious, which does not seem to unduly bother the Global Hegemons, for they are far too used to always having their way.
And even when they do take some risk they use their overpowering leverage to play their game safely, as if saying “let’s flip a coin: heads we win; tails you lose”.
Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina
Traditionally, metals markets are supposed to be a solid fundamental signal of the physical and psychological health of our overall economy. Steady but uneventful commodities trade meant a generally healthy industrial base and consumption base. An extreme devaluation was a signal of deflation in consumer demand and a flight to currencies. Extreme price hikes meant a flight from normal assets and currencies in the wake of possible hyperinflation. This is how gold and silver markets were originally designed to function – however, I welcome you to the wacky world of 2013, where bad financial news is met with the cheers of investors who believe stimulus will last forever, where foreign investors dump the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade while mainstream dupes argue that the Greenback is invincible, and where everyone and their uncle seems to be buying precious metals yet the official market value continues to plunge.
Is this weird? As Bill Murray would say: “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria…!”
The reason our entire fiscal system now operates in a backwards manner is due to one simple truth – every major indicator of our economy today is manipulated by our central bank, which uses its printing press to prop up everything from equities to treasuries to municipal bonds. They openly admit to it. They are proud of the fact. They swagger about as if they are the heroes of the day. They act as if we should be thankful. But what is reality here?
First, let’s lay out some very straightforward undeniable facts about our economic situation that no one with any intelligence could argue against:
Fact #1: Our Economy Is Supported By Federal Reserve Stimulus
For the past few years, the Fed has created dollars out of thin air to fill the debt void in corporate banks, in U.S. Treasury Bonds, in city and state municipal bonds, in stocks, and even in foreign banks in the EU. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and current branch head Richard Fisher have both admitted in mainstream interviews that stock markets are essentially sustained by the central bank, and that this has been done to give people the psychological illusion of economic health. This stimulus has been relatively constant in one form or another, from TARP bailouts to QE1 to QE3. Fed interest rates on bank lending have been artificially reduced to near zero, meaning international banks can borrow money from the Fed (which it creates from thin air) at almost no extra cost. The fiat is flowing nonstop.
Fact#2: Our Economy Is Addicted To Stimulus
Anytime the Fed suggests it might end or “taper” stimulus measures, the stock market takes a dive. Anytime there is a semblance of good economic news, the stock market takes a dive. Anytime conscientious government representatives (what few there are) suggest that uncontrolled Fed printing is dangerous and should be stopped, Fed or Treasury officials claim that without such stimulus measures, everything will collapse.
Anytime there is detrimental economic news in the mainstream, the stock market rises as investors take bets that the Fed will continue stimulus for just a little longer. I think it is safe to say that it is a fact that our financial culture has become utterly addicted to money printing from the Fed.
Fact #3: Stimulus Has Done Little Or Nothing To Improve Our Economic Situation Since 2008
Where are the tangible benefits of the Fed printing bonanza? Yes, our debt crisis has been stretched out for a few extra years, but has it been solved? Of all the trillions in national debt accrued through government spending, where has the money actually gone?
Have lending standards been relaxed, and are private loans (not corporate loans) anywhere close to pre-2008 levels?
Have real jobs with sustainable incomes actually been created? Or, have millions of full time high paying jobs been replaced with low hour low pay wage slave jobs? Is the Labor Department counting temp-jobs with three month turnovers created by big box retailers like Walmart as real jobs? (Hint: The answer is yes.)
Has the housing market actually improved, or, are private owners disappearing as big banks and corporate investors swoop in to snatch up insolvent properties for pennies on the dollar and then putting them back on the market as rentals? (Hint: The answer is an emphatic “yes”)
Is the stock market really on solid footing, or, if stimulus stops, will it completely implode?
What has stimulus actually accomplished other than sacrificing the stability of our currency for the sake of five years of financial doldrums?
Fact #4: Stimulus Cannot Continue Forever
This is one fact the average mainstream financial analyst does not seem to grasp. I hear the argument that foreign exporters need the U.S. and the dollar, and that they will “never” dump the greenback. I’m sorry to have to break it to those folks, but they are ALREADY dumping the dollar in bilateral trade with each other. China, the second largest economy in the world, the largest exporter/importer in the world, and the largest foreign investor in U.S. dollars and treasuries, has been slowly but surely removing the dollar as the reserve currency in most of its international trading:
I could go on and on and on. The latest news announces that China has just signed a new deal with Russia supplying china with 25 years worth of petroleum, and this oil will NOT be purchased in dollars, meaning the Greenback’s status as the petrodollar is being openly challenged:
Foreign investors are moving away from the dollar. This is a fact, and it will inevitably lead to the end of the dollar’s world reserve status, and thus, the end of the dollar as we know it. Stimulus, at that point, would be useless, as our currency’s overall value crumbles and the Fed is forced to hyperinflate just to pay the bills. Stimulus will end, one way or another, and when it does the results will be the same; moderate to severe collapse followed by skyrocketing prices on all goods. The longevity of the event will depend on how it is handled.
Gold And Silver Go Three Dimensional
As I pointed out earlier, metals markets are supposed to reflect certain fundamental trends in our fiscal system. However, as has been thoroughly documented, international banks like JP Morgan and companies like the CME have gone far out of their way to manipulate PM markets. JP Morgan has been caught red handed using coordinated short positions to force silver down. Gold and silver certificates (otherwise known as ETF’s) have been issued by banks for literally tons of metals that don’t exist. There is no vault where these metals are held. JP Morgan’s physical holdings are limited, and when they finally run out, the scam will be exposed, and the ETF market will go down like the Hindenburg.
Official market prices for gold and silver have seen a heartbreaking drop in the past few months, yet, foreign central banks around the world are buying like they know something average Americans do not. China is set to become the largest holder of Gold reserves in the next two years:
Russia continues to stockpile gold every month for the past nine months:
Sales of U.S. Mint gold and silver coins are hitting record highs in 2013:
So, if demand is high, and purchases are high, then why is the market price on metals going down. I believe this conundrum has much to do with something I warned about years ago as a sure signal of coming economic breakdown; namely, the decoupling of Paper Metals from Physical Metals.
Investors are beginning to shun ETF’s and fake gold and are beginning to buy only physical holdings. The official market value is based almost entirely on the flow of ETF’s. People stop buying paper metals, and paper metals go down. But, this is absolutely no reflection of the real value of physical coins and bars on the street. This trend is dangerous for the manipulation game headed by giants like JP Morgan. The more physical gold investors buy, the less they have to back their fake ETF’s. Eventually, they will be exposed, and metals trade will break through the 2 dimensional world of paper trading into 3 dimensional physical supply and demand.
This is probably why JP Morgan has suddenly announced that the bank will be leaving commodities trading entirely:
The news come conveniently as multiple large banks including JP Morgan come under scrutiny by regulators for everything from energy price manipulation to shadily run “metals warehouses”:
Both China and Russia have begun discussing a new Bretton Woods-style agreement which would back the Yuan with gold and change the very fabric of the international monetary system. This concept falls right in line the developing nations’ demand for a replacement of the U.S. dollar, and, the IMF’s new Special Drawing Rights currency, which is partially valued in gold, and backed by the IMF’s unaudited gold horde:
JP Morgan fleeing commodities markets? Paper gold decoupling from physical gold? China and Russia suggesting a new Bretton Woods? Is this a signal for something monolithic on the horizon for the global economy? If there is a sudden shift by developing nations away from the dollar and towards a basket currency system partially valuated in gold, this would be disastrous for the American fiscal structure. I have been tracking the slow dump of the greenback since 2006, and I have to say, I’ve never seen escalation like I have seen in the past year. If foreign central banks are planning to drop the dollar as the world reserve, their behavior in metals markets suggests they may be ready to act soon.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Many pesticides have been found to cause grave danger to our bees, and with the recent colony collapses in Oregon, it’s time to take a hard look at what we would be missing without bee pollination.
In just the last ten years, over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bees either become so disoriented they can’t find their way back to their hives and die away from home, or fly back poison-drunk and die at the foot of their queen. There are many arguments as to what is causing CCD, but the most logical and likely culprit is the increased usage of pesticides by the likes of Monsanto and others.
A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the same pesticide on more than a third of its crops – nearly 143 million acres. Two more pesticides linked to bee death are imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. These are also used extensively in the US, while elsewhere, they have been taken out of circulation.
Recently, the FDA also seized Terrence Ingram’s bees, a naturalist who had been studying bees for over 30 years, and had a colony that was resistant to Monsanto’s Round Up. Ingram’s prized hives, along with their queens, were destroyed by the FDA, and Ingram was given no warning that his bees would be demolished.
List of Crop Plants Pollinated by Bees
While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if all our bees continue to perish:
- Kiwi Fruit
- Rose Hips
- Black and Red Currants
- Prickly Pear
- Passion Fruit
- Lima Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Adzuki Beans
- Green Beans
- Orchid Plants
- Custard Apples
- Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
- Macadamia Nuts
- Sunflower Oil
- Goa beans
- Palm Oil
- Star Apples
- Brazil Nuts
- Mustard Seed
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
- Congo Beans
- Sword beans
- Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
- Black Eyed Peas
If one of your favorites is on this list, you should consider becoming a bee activist.
Source: Natural Society
“Edward Snowden must be caught and punished at any cost.” Who said that? Was it some overbearing British sovereign back in 1776 who said it? Had Edward Snowden just signed the American colonies’ famous Declaration of Independence? The way that Snowden has been hounded and pursued and intimidated in the last few weeks, one would certainly think so.
According to an essay entitled “The Price They Paid,” signers of the original Declaration of Independence of 1776 were also hounded, imprisoned and even tortured and killed because they stood up for their beliefs.
And here we are now, 237 years later, out celebrating the Fourth of July like it actually meant something — while true patriots like Edward Snowden are being hunted down like dogs on the highway by the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. And nobody here seems to either notice or care.
And ditto for Bradley Manning.
According to a recent article by Paul Rogers on current revolts in Egypt, Brazil, Tunisia, Turkey, etc., “The sheer unpredictability of mass protest [is] a matter of great concern to political elites and their security cohorts across the world. That really is deeply worrying for them, and something that will cause them to double their efforts to track what is happening and predict its evolution — an effort no doubt aided by the use of PRISM and the other forms of mass surveillance. What, though, if even those systems don’t have a proper handle on what is happening [or can actually keep a lid on it either]? That will give political elites sleepless nights in the weeks and months to come.” http://www.opendemocracy.net/
First comes Occupy Wall Street. Then comes the Arab Spring. And then Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, not necessary in that order. Like in the spring of 1776, popular revolts against economic tyranny seem to be popping up all over like wack-a-moles. No wonder George III was afraid.
“So what’s your point, Jane,” you might ask. Hmmm. I guess my point is that working class people, little people, the salt of the earth people like you and me are making our current economic ruling classes just a tiny bit wary on this Fourth of July weekend of 2013.
But they still haven’t started to get pee-your-pants afraid quite yet. They still have armies and police and the NSA. And trillions of dollars stashed away in the Caymans and penthouses on Wall Street and Michelin-starred restaurants to eat at. “What me worry?” Not quite yet.
But they are worried enough — that the salt of the earth might someday finally get tired of being used, trod on and taken advantage of while they continue to be corporate welfare queens — that they are out there stalking Edward Snowden and torturing Bradley Manning and fretting about what is happening in Egypt and Brazil and Turkey.
But the economic elite almost certainly know that the little people here in America will never get uppity because they know that most Americans are under their thumb; out celebrating the Fourth of July by watching fireworks displays on TV, drinking Cokes and going shopping at dollar stores.
Protests in Brazil indicate what goes way, way beyond a cheap bus fare.
When, in late 2010, Dilma Rousseff was elected President after eight years of the impossibly popular Lula, a national narrative was already ingrained, stressing that Brazil was not the “country of the future” anymore; the future had arrived, and this was a global power in the making.
This was a country on overdrive – from securing the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics to a more imposing role as part of the BRICS group of emerging powers.
Not unlike China, Brazil was breathlessly exploiting natural resources – from its hinterland to parts of Africa – while betting heavily on large agribusiness mostly supplying, you guess it, China.
But above all Brazil fascinated the world by incarnating this political UFO; a benign, inclusive giant, on top of it benefitting from a lavish accumulation of soft power (music, football, beautiful beaches, beautiful women, endless partying).
The country was finally enjoying the benefits of a quarter of a century of participative democracy – and self-satisfied that for the past ten years Lula’s extensive social inclusion policies had lifted arguably 40 million Brazilians to middle class status. Racial discrimination at least had been tackled, with instances of the Brazilian version of affirmative action.
Yet this breakneck capitalist dream masked serious cracks. Locally there may be euphoria for becoming the sixth or seventh world economy, but still social exclusion was far from gone. Brazil remained one the most (deadly) unequal nations in the world, peppered with retrograde landowning oligarchies and some of the most rapacious, arrogant and ignorant elites on the planet – inevitable by-products of ghastly Portuguese colonialism.
Students take part in a demonstration at Praca da Se, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Miguel Schincariol)
And then, once again, corruption raised its Hydra-like head. Here’s a first parallel with Turkey. In Brazil as in Turkey, participative democracy was co-opted, ignored or forcefully diluted among an orgy of “mega-projects” generating dubious profits for a select few. In Turkey it revolves around the ruling party AKP’s collusion with business interests in the “redevelopment” of Istanbul; in Brazil around public funds for the hosting of the World Cup and the Olympics.
The new capitalist dream could not mask that the quality of life in Brazil’s big cities seemed to be on a downward spiral; and that racism – especially in the police – never went away while the demonization of peasant and Native Brazilian leaders was rampant; after all they were obstructing the way of powerful agribusiness interests and the “mega-projects” craze.
What can a poor boy do
There’s no Turkey Spring – as there’s no Brazilian Spring. This isn’t Tunisia and Egypt. Both Turkey and Brazil are democracies – although Prime Minister Erdogan has clearly embarked on a polarizing strategy and an authoritarian drive. What links Turkey and Brazil is that irreversible pent-up resentment against institutional politics (and corruption) may be catalyzed by a relatively minor event.
In Turkey it was the destruction of Gezi park; in Brazil the ten-cent hike in public bus fares was the proverbial straw that broke the (white) elephant’s back. In both cases the institutional response was tear gas and rubber bullets. In Turkey the popular backlash spread to a few cities. In Brazil it went nationwide.
This goes way, way beyond a cheap bus ride – although the public transport scene in Brazil’s big cities would star in Dante’s ninth circle of hell. A manual worker, a student, a maid usually spend up to four hours a day back-and-forth in appalling conditions. And these are private transport rackets controlled by a small group of businessmen embedded with local politicians, who they obviously own.
Students protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Daniel Guimaraes)
Arguably the nationwide, mostly peaceful protests have scored a victory – as nine cities have decided to cancel the bus fare hike. But that’s just the beginning.
The mantra is true; Brazilians pay developed world taxes and in return get sub-Saharan Africa quality of service (no offense to Africa). The notion of “value for money” is non-existent. It gets even worse as the economic miracle is over. That magical “growth” was less than 1% in 2012, and only 0.6% in the first quarter of 2013. The immensely bloated state bureaucracy, the immensely appalling public infrastructure, virtually no investment in education as teachers barely get paid $300 a month, non-stop political corruption scandals, not to mention as many homicides a year as narco-purgatory Mexico – none of this is going away by magic.
Football passion apart – and this is a nation where everyone is either an expert footballer or an experienced coach – the vast majority of the population is very much aware the current Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup are monster FIFA rackets. As a columnist for the Brazilian arm of ESPN has coined it, “the Cup is theirs, but we pay the bills.”
Public opinion is very much aware the Feds played hardball to get the “mega-events” to Brazil and then promised rivers of “social” benefits in terms of services and urban development. None of that happened. Thus the collective feeling that “we’ve been robbed” – all over again, as anyone with a digital made in China calculator can compare this multi-billion dollar orgy of public funds for FIFA with pathetically little investment in health, education, transportation and social welfare. A banner in the Sao Paulo protests said it all;“Your son is ill? Take him to the arena.”
A demonstrator holds a Brazilian national flag during a protest turned violent, in downtown Rio de Janeiro on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Christophe Simon)
Remember “Standing Man”
The neo-liberal gospel preached by the Washington consensus only values economic “growth” measured in GDP numbers. This is immensely misleading; it does not take into account everything from rising expectations for more participative democracy to abysmal inequality levels, as well as the despair of those trying to just survive (as in the orgy of expanded credit in Brazil leaving people to pay annual interest rates of over 200% on their credit cards).
So it takes a few uprooted trees in Istanbul and a more expensive shitty bus ride in Sao Paulo to hurl citizens of the “emerging markets” into the streets. No wonder the Brazilian protests left politicians – and “analysts” - perplexed and speechless. After all, once again this was people power – fueled by social media – against the 1%, not that dissimilar from protests in Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Unlike Erdogan in Turkey – who branded Twitter “a menace” and wants to criminalize social networking – to her credit Rousseff seems to have listened to the digital (and street) noise, saying on Tuesday that Brazil “woke up stronger” because of the protests.
The Brazilian protests are horizontal. Non-partisan; beyond party politics. No clear leaders. It’s a sort of Occupy Brazil – with a cross-section of high-school and college students, poor workers who struggle to pay their bus fare, vast swathes of the tax-swamped middle class who cannot afford private health insurance, even homeless people, who after all already live in the streets. Essentially, they want more democracy, less corruption, and to be respected as citizens, getting at least some value for their money in terms of public services.
The die is cast. Once again, it’s people power vs. institutional politics. Remember “Standing Man” in Taksim Square. The time to take a stand is now.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.