“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.
Today we’re hearing a lot about Spiritism or Spiritualism, not to be confused with spiritual or spirituality, as in “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” or “I’m into spirituality.” The term Spiritism has replaced what was once called animism and other religious practices involving the invocation of spiritual beings.
Some religions meld Spiritualism with Christianity. For example, a blend of Christian and African folk beliefs that originated in Brazil is now practiced in the U.S. Spiritualism is much the same as Spiritism only it has adopted Christian rites and prayers. People visiting Spiritualistic services can be misled into thinking they’re Christian churches. The problem is Christianity cannot be melded with any other religion or practice.
One of the major tenets of Spiritism is reincarnation. The classic form of reincarnation originated in India in the 9th century BC. Reincarnation has become a hot topic in our post-modern culture.
There are a whole host of beliefs about reincarnation. The most widely touted belief is that upon death one’s spirit exits the body in search of another body to inhabit. Believing in reincarnation gives hope for continuing one’s existence in further lives to work off one’s karma. Karma is broadly defined as the consequences of one’s actions.
Ask professing Christians as they flow through the doors of a Sunday worship service if they believe in reincarnation, some will give you a cavalier “Yes,” as if it’s no big deal for believers to mix Christianity with mystical beliefs. However, believing in reincarnation is a very big deal for the serious Christian. For example, reincarnation is a central tenet within Hinduism, not Christianity!
The thing Christians need to come to terms with is that belief in reincarnation goes against what the Bible teaches regarding the soul’s final judgment by a holy God. What Jesus Christ clearly taught is that unrepentant sinners are condemned to an eternity in hell. Jesus never mentioned reincarnation – not once!
Hebrews 9:27 reveals what occurs when human beings die:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Listen to what Paul says happens when we die:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.(2 Cor. 5:8)
It is imperative that serious Christians view mysticism as evil. When Paul came face to face with the Jewish mystic Elymas, he charged him with being a child of the devil and an enemy of righteousness. Moreover, he accused the mystic of perverting the right ways of the Lord. (Acts 13:10) Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul caused him to go blind. Not only did he put out the sorcerer’s eyes, he also put him out of a job! When it came to confronting evil, Paul never backed down, never hesitated, wavered or vacillated. He had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer when it came to evildoers.
God forbids any sort of participation in paganism for our own protection. His reason is simple: its roots are steeped in pagan idolatry and drug use. The occult world is an open door to Satan’s world. Those who enter find themselves on a quest for ‘hidden wisdom’ or ‘deeper truth.’ And, not surprisingly, the sought after ‘hidden wisdom’ is not meant for everyone, it’s meant for a select few such as New Age disciples and gurus.
We call those who possess supernatural power (power’s what it’s all about) shamans, witchdoctors, clairvoyants, trance channelers, spiritists, and the list goes on. So, how does a spiritist go about getting in contact with the spirit world? By receiving radiation, frequencies or vibrations from the dead. “Communication from the spirit world manifests itself in psychical phenomena (e.g., telepathy, clairvoyance, trance speaking, and apparitions) and in physical phenomena (e.g., levitation, automatic writing, and poltergeist and ectoplasmic activities).” (Source)
The Bible tells us that it is God who instigates communication, not man. Generally the Lord will use angels as His envoys to humans. We know very little about angels, either the elect or the fallen. However, the scriptures inform us that on occasion the Lord sent a holy elect angel to Earth to deliver messages. And He also sent angles to minister to people, to protect them, and also to execute His judgment. The angels have one purpose: to glorify God’s holy Name and to carry out His will.
There are also fallen angels – the rebellious ones! The most notorious of the lot is Lucifer aka Satan. The Bible refers to the fallen angels as demons, spirits of darkness and evil spirits. The ones that rebelled against God fell from grace. Consequently, they were hurled out of heaven, lock stock and barrel. Bible expositor John MacArthur elucidates what happened next:
At that point, Satan gained the rulership of the world, and the term world took on a third meaning: the evil system opposed to God that now dominates this planet. The system that Satan began will continue to develop up to the time period known as the Great Tribulation.
As I have made clear, Christianity and Spiritism have nothing in common whatsoever. I mean, think about it. Can you trust God and Satan at the same time? Here’s what Paul said:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the uncleanthing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
Satan is known as the “father of lies.” Even those who are guided by an “inner voice” can be deceived, warns occultist Nicholas Weeks:
Channels such as [Alice] Bailey are sincere and convinced that their inner voices and visions are real Masters. Unhappily, sincerity is no protection from delusion. In 1884 Master KH wrote to a psychic of that time, giving an explanation for the befuddling of a channel or seer. ‘Since you have scarcely learned the elements of self-control, in psychism, you must suffer bad consequences. You draw to yourself the nearest and strongest influences “often evil” and absorb them, and are psychically stifled or narcotised by them. The airs become peopled with resuscitated phantoms. They give you false tokens, misleading revelations, deceptive images. Your vivid creative fancy evokes illusive Gurus and chelas [disciples], and puts into their mouths words coined the instant before in the mint of your mind, unknown to yourself. The false appear as real, as the true, and you have no exact method of detection since you are yet prone to force your communications to agree with your preconceptions. (Source)
And to think, many Christians are now engaged in magical mystical practices such as contemplative prayer that can give the practitioner misleading revelations and deceptive images, where the false may appear real. (See a column I wrote on contemplative prayer here.)
Keep in mind that the spirits that speak through the mouths of the willing are demons. People who get themselves into a mind-altering trance with the purpose being to channel a benevolent spirit may end up becoming demon possessed! Granted, some channelers are really nothing more than convincing actors who write the script as they go along. These are the charlatans who do it for money or fame – or both. However, there are many dupes that allow their bodies to be used by spirit entities that use the occasion to spew anti-Christian propaganda!
The Bible tells us to, “Prove [test] all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 John 4:1). We’re also told to flee (run like a maniac) from the devil who “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Now, picture a lion hiding in the brush to pounce on an unsuspecting wildebeest. The devil’s like the hungry lion, only he’s waiting to pounce on Christ’s sheep! Unfortunately many Christians fail to obey God’s command to resist the devil, which is one of the reasons Christianity’s in the sorry state it’s in today.
Far too many followers of Jesus Christ are unaware that our Lord quite literally detests all forms of sorcery. There are no exceptions! Sorry to be a wet blanket, but even astrology is banned. And it doesn’t matter if it’s done “just for fun.” One cannot be a Presbyterian on Sunday and a spiritist the other six days of the week.
This brings me to two blogs I stumbled on. Both male bloggers declare their love for Christ and state that the Bible is the standard by which they live their lives. One studies apologetics; the other is a youth pastor. They both have their Zodiac signs on display. That way if you land on aspiring apologist’s blog, you’ll know that he’s a Gemini; likewise, if you land on youth pastor’s blog, you’ll discover that he’s a Virgo. One can only assume that these young men have not yet read Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Exodus 22:18 and other similar passages where God commands His people to steer clear of sorcery. And yet these so-called Bible believers find time to read up on astrology?
Christians who are confronted with an evil practice must lace up their trusty running shoes and high tail it out of there, pronto! Keep away from horoscopes (astrology), numerology, séances, tarot cards, tealeaves, palm reading, crystal balls, talking boards, omens or signs. Moreover, do not get involved in wizardry, witchcraft, the study of Kabbalah, nature religion (Wicca), and the practice of yoga (its sole purpose is purely spiritual). Believers must flee from any and all pagan customs and practices. Those who are currently involved in any of the above must bring it to an end today!
Since dabbling in sorcery is a sin against God, repentance is of paramount importance. So if you’ve been dabbling, repent! And never return to any sort of evil practice — even if it’s “just for fun.”
Bear in mind that the demonic powers operating in the realm of the occult are very real. These spirits are stronger and more dangerous than people realize. The Bible warns us to “regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:31).
The Apostle Paul understood all too well that evil forces are ever present in the “heavenlies.” Hence, he admonished followers of Christ to wear the “armor of God” to protect against familiar spirits that prey on gullible humans. He even gave specific instructions to the Church in Ephesus:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:1-12).
Christian — take Paul’s instructions to heart and daily put on the full armor of God to protect against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
The Old Serpent and the Slacker—an allegory on the “Armor of God” By Marsha West
Are You Armed for Battle? By Marsha West
Occult – On Solid Rock Resources
Angels – On Solid Rock Resources
New Age Movement – On Solid Rock Resources
Contemplative Prayer – On Solid Rock Resources
Christian Yoga? – On Solid Rock Resources
What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political beliefs?
I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing drones from an office in Nevada.
Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?
The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy. 1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well. 2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years. “Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded murder.”
But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses the right to say it was an accident?
Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.
From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan for world domination.
The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.
Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years, President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.
As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else, we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship material”. 3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan. 4 Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.
A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.
USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging jihad.” 5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide; to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question them.
It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be thrilled to find out that he was wrong.
Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you enough; it may tell you nothing.
But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks … We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’” 6
Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. 7
President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago
I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated 1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC. 8 I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25 years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.
Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of aggressive war.”
It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war’.”
In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?
And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”? How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.
Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.” No comment.
“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.
“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers – not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.
“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”
Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties, self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.
“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”
See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”
So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.
And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected the following year? Lord help us.
This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word “Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.” 9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.
At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:
“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.
“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,” Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”
Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.” 10
Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:
The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided – a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.”
To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded, in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.
One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.
How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular focus on tourism and related services.” 11
Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”. Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States.
Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001; not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.
William Blum speaking in Wisconsin, near Minnesota
Saturday, July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. Peacestock is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in an idyllic location near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, and has a peace-themed agenda. Kathy Kelly, peace activist extraordinaire, will also speak.
You can camp there and be fed well, meat or vegetarian. Full information at:http://www.peacestockvfp.org 11
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010 ↩
- Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21 ↩
- Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50. ↩
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ↩
- USA Today, December 3, 2012 ↩
- ForeignPolicyJournal.com, April 21, 2013 ↩
- The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2013; Politico.com, April 24 ↩
- Full text of speech ↩
- Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library ↩
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2013 ↩
- Anti-Empire Report, #52, December 11, 2007 ↩
Senate Bill 744, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, promises the most prolific invasion of America since Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. But with one deadly difference: those storms subsided so we could repair the damage.
If S744 passes, we face endless immigration numbers to the tune of a minimum of 33 million immigrants within the first decade. Passing that bill means an increase of legal immigration from its current 1 million annually to 1.5 million annually. All totaled with immigrants, their offspring, chain migration and diversity visas, a mind numbing 100 million immigrants will land on America within 37 years—by 2050. (Source: www.NumbersUSA.org ; US Population Projections by Fogel/Martin ; PEW Research Center)
Even more sobering, we face a total population growth via “population momentum” of 138 million people to grow from 316 million in 2013 to 438 million people by 2050.
Their horrific impact on our schools, medical systems, infrastructure, water, resources, energy and environment cannot be calculated, but will exceed anything anyone can imagine. The impact of 100 million immigrants can and will degrade our quality of life and standard of living beyond anyone’s understanding. Their impact upon our environment cannot be measured, but it will be catastrophic for all Americans.
“Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.
Dennis Lynch created one of the most powerful films on illegal immigration. (six minutes) The number of Asian/Chinese coming across the border is rarely mentioned. But if you stop and consider the implications you will likely come to the same conclusion as many of us. An unsecured southern border presents a clear and present danger to all of us and this specific threat has little to do with cheap labor.
(Illegals migrate from the interior of Mexico, but come from as far south as Brazil.)
These immigrants bring incompatible cultures, religions and political clout. They displace American citizens, utilize welfare, housing and food stamps. They overwhelm villages, towns and cities.
Today, California pays over $10 billion in services annually for its estimated 3 to 4 million illegal aliens and its countless legal immigrants.
“Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide [that adds 80 million net gain annually to the planet], but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates
Frankly, it never was much of a “League” of Arab states.
And arguably it never really achieved a whole lot but two dozen lavish ‘summits’ offering inflated rhetoric, often calculated to assuage the Arab people about their central cause, Palestine.
This, despite high hopes across Arabia when its founders promulgated a Charter on March 22, 1945 and took a solemn oath to prevent the theft of Palestine by European colonists. Yet, notions of fundamental fairness require that we all acknowledge, that to its credit, the Arab League has tried to achieve a modicum of pan-Arab cooperation on issues involving economic and financial affairs, commercial relations, customs, currency and questions of agriculture and industry, communications including, railroads, roads, aviation, navigation, postal services, cultural affairs, nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments and extradition of criminals and even a bit regarding social affairs and health issues.
Despite years of pledges to eliminate visas requirements, along the lines of the European Schengen visa it should be noted that only one Arab country has waived visas for their Arab sisters and brothers internationally.
That would be the Syrian Arab Republic.
It is Syria, along with Palestine, out of all the 22 Arab League members, who most consistently and steadfastly have represented Arab Nationalism, Arab resistance to occupation, and the stated goals enunciated 66 years ago when the Arab League was established.
Many are asking why the ‘sanctions of its members-happy’ Arab League consistently fails to act on what is happening in Palestine and why it never has kept its pledge to suspend the AL membership of countries that host Israeli embassies against their people’s will.
There was once upon a time, now appearing far, far, away, that the Arab League countries were trying to achieve the liberation of Palestine. Or so they claimed. Then suddenly, the association morphed into twenty countries claiming to being committed to solving the issues of Palestine and Lebanon. Low and behold it was not so long after that the Arab League became nineteen countries trying to solve the questions of Palestine, Lebanon and Somalia.
How we all change with time. This week, during the 24th “Arab Summit” eleven countries, being pressured by outside interests with hegemonic geopolitical visions for the region, claimed they wanted to solve life’s problems on behalf of the other members.
If there is an Arab summit ten years from now, what will its agenda like?
This week the global community saw that the Charter and by-laws of the Arab league has not been respected with respect to the Syrian crisis from the beginning despite its mission to bring together Arabs. Rather it has been actively working to prevent coming together especially with respect to Syria.
The organization was created at the time when a racist Zionist state was considered extremely unlikely by most countries but, to make sure, an association of Arab states was organized to prevent, at all costs, the rumored Zionist project from becoming a reality. The first decision of the newly established League of Arab States was to boycott any Jewish organization that would assistant in the theft of Palestine by the European financed Zionist movement.
Today unfortunately, and perhaps fatally for the AL, the complete obverse has obtained. In countless ways the Arab League is supporting the occupation of Palestine, while allowing itself to be preempted and shaped into an instrument of Western foreign policy as it plots against and among its own members their minders behalf. Far removed from its raison d’etre which according to its Charter is to focus on and ensue a coming together of its members, it does everything that would promote the desires of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine while dividing the Arabs and preventing any kind of real union among them.
Much as the USA and its allies have corralled and preempted the UN Security Council, its agents have hijacked the League of Arab states and five other regional organizations. Now in their sites according to congressional source who follows this issue. One international organization that has entered the sights of these western controlled hegemonic forces is the revitalized the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Some Arab League analysts claim that here won’t be much left of the Arab League by 2020. One joke currently making the rounds on Capitol Hill is “Which will implode first, the Arab League or its master, the Zionist occupiers of Palestine?” Answer: “Too close to call.”
Last week in Doha, Qatar, the proceedings amounted to a deep self-inflicted, perhaps fatal, wound for the AL. Its legitimacy unraveled when it essentially declared war on one of its founding members and replaced it with its anointed, funded, staffed, armed, recognized, group with not the faintest pretense of abiding by its Charter including Article VIII, a main pillar of the concept of a League of Arab States:
“Each member-state shall respect the systems of government established in the other member-states and regard them as exclusive concerns of those states. Each shall pledge to abstain from any action calculated to change established systems of government.”
In summary, there is nothing in the Arab League Charter permitting that body to expel or even sanction Syria. In fact, doing so violates the Charter. As seen many times, but recently in Libya, foreign intervention is never humanitarian rather it is always geo-political. Syrians, not by outsiders can best solve its internal problems.
Is it now left to the BRICS states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to stand up to the AL and to help halt the conflict in Syria? There is growing sentiment in Syria that this group of five emerging powers may become a major hope for the Syrian people that suffer from blatant foreign interference in their affairs and suffering from the Arab League acting against their interests. The AL members who voted to expel or sanction Syria are merely channeling the geo-political interests of the United States and Israel, which are increasingly viewed among the Arab pubic as “unofficial members” of the Arab League.
There is no escaping the fact that the result of the decisions made in Doha is that the Arab League has refused a peaceful settlement for Syria and that the AL recognition of the national coalition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people contradicts the Geneva Communique and makes irrelevant, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out this week, the mission of UN and Arab League mediator for Syria, Brahimi. Given that one of the founders of the mandate, the Arab League, proclaims that the national opposition is the only legitimate Government of Syria, advocates and joins in the arming of the forces anointed to oust the regime how can there be negotiations? This decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition not only violates international law, but again in the words of Lavrov, “is a blatant encouragement of confrontation of the irreconcilable forces on both sides to make them fight this war to the bitter end.”