With everything on the line, no country hosting a Olympiad can afford to take it easy on security – especially Russia.
With terror threats already made openly and through back channels, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has already been ramped-up as one of the biggest security operations in events history. But there’s a bigger story unfolding here – a tectonic shift in world geopolitics.
Putin Winds Back His Gains of 2013
News reports now place the probable cost of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia at more than $51 billion making them the most expensive-ever. Security costs help explain this. Vladimir Putin’s ironclad determination to make the games a success – makes them a rising political risk, not only for domestic political consumption but also a challenge to Russia’s federal unity and relations with its Asian neighbors, and internationally. Making the Sochi games a PR disaster is the goal of Putin’s enemies.
The Islamic Bomb Lady was officially seen by Russian police. They identified her as 22 year old terrorist Razmena Ibragimova, displayed on Russia’s official Sochi blog sites like the one above. Her terrorist credentials were bolstered by a clumsily falsified side-profile photograph, portraying her bulging neck probably hiding explosives behind her scarf. Officially she was part of the Volgograd bombing conspiracy and Razmena is now the Most Wanted Lady in Russia.
Once Upon a Time There was Pingpong Diplomacy
Cold war-era diplomacy of the 1960s included the “ping-pong diplomacy” US-China phase, but today’s Russia-Saudi Arabia jousting is measured by the number of body parts on the pavement after each designer bomb attack by a throwaway human suicide bomber. To date, Saudi Arabia has scored several direct hits against Putin’s Russia, but the ex-KGB chief is unlikely to take that lying down. Revenge hits against Saudi-backed Arab capitals, and against Riyadh-backed forces active in Syria are either certain or not impossible, to ram home the Putin message that Saudi Arabia is a small country on the edge of “The World Island” that talks a lot too loud – only thanks to oil.
At home in Russia, the Islamic kamikaze bombing scare, which in fact may have been Soviet-era agitprop not needing any Saudi petro-dollars or American nods to be executed, enables Putin to further seal the power of his New State apparatus. The new state is little changed from the old USSR, which set the southern Caucus Republics as the acid test arena for total power by Moscow.
Today, Razmena is placarded on wanted posters all across Sochi. According to one poster on display at all security checkpoints in Sochi’s airport, Ibragimova is “currently located on Sochi territory” and ‘could attempt a suicide bombing’ at any time, according to the poster.
Ramming home the fear message for visitors who will pay at least $500-a-day to be in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, she is described as having been spotted on the street near the Russian foreign ministry building, and in streets near the upmarket hotels of Sochi. Imagine that. Not great in terms of events marketing, but the Russian Bear can ill-afford to be shy this time around.
Stalingrad and the Terror Republic
Under its former name Stalingrad, today’s Volgograd was the Martyr City for Soviet resistance to Nazi Germany, but security analysts estimate that hundreds of the 2000-odd Islamic terror attacks on Russian Federal territory since 1990 have been in or around Volgograd. Veterans of the 1990s-era conflict waged by Moscow against breakaway independence movements state that at the time most of them flew the Islamic flag and were eager to receive Saudi petrodollars. The theater was however already widening across the Caucasian Republics including Chechnya, Ingueshetia, Daghestan, Tatarstan, and in Russian satrape republics such as Azerbaijan, and the 1990s veterans recall that in that period, ruthless terror-versus-terror tactics and strategy became the norm.
These veterans, some of them now Douma parliamentarians say the intensity of conflict has moved up, from that previous terror war level to a much wider “conflict of civilizations”, even a threat to the continued existence of Russia. Tom Nichols, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College cited by Stripes .com 15 January said the intensity of conflict.. “ has made the Russians — who already are used to a strong state security apparatus — far more willing to empower its internal security forces way beyond anything Americans would ever allow”.
Saudi terror strategy may be comfortable for its Riyadh purveyors, players and payers safe in Riyadh, when it concerns Mali, Niger, South Sudan, the Central African Republic or Riyadh’s other low-income Black African asymmetric war theaters, but in the Russia Caucuses this is a high risk gambit and historic conflict that Islam always lost. Inside the Russian Federation, longstanding political conflicts are already sufficient to make government difficult. Adding a layer of Saudi-financed and American-tolerated Islamic extremism may create a runaway process of domestic conflict – which for Putin and his oligarchs is exactly what they want to intensify and seal their total power.
For Russian leaders, the calls by some Syrian rebels for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in their homeland sound uncomfortably similar to the goals of Doku Umarov, the Chechen leader of the so-called, ‘Caucasus Emirate’. The stated aim of Umarov’s group, designated by Moscow, and by Washington as a terrorist organization, is to establish an Islamic state on Russian territory. Chechen fighters like Omar Abu al-Chechen, who leads an expatriate jihadist force known as the Faithful Immigrant Brothers in Syria, have sparked Kremlin fears that the real goal of extremists is to make Syria into a base for future terror operations inside Russia.
Chechnya has become ever more critical to Kremlin strategists, the front line theater for Russian-Saudi conflict with Sochi an easy ride from its borders. This theater is particularly acute due to the fact that Syria has thousands of fighters who, according to the Russian Spetznaz special services, are a serious and real threat for the country. Ramzan Kadyrov, the former Chechen rebel placed in charge by Kremlin and an adept at counter-terror war, has on many recent occasions said that Islamist insurgents in Chechnya have reached “plague proportions” and in his view are only biding their time before moving north to Russia – and to Europe.
Syria Split Could Set Russia Alight
State Douma deputy and Foreign relations commission chief Anatoly Ermolin, with a long military track record in Chechnya and the Caucuses during the 1990s bluntly says : “I think this is one of the most dangerous things for any government. They (the Islamists) are very serious and believe they can organize an Islamic state….They consider (Russia) to be their territory. We are dry wood; it’s very easy to set fire to the situation.”
Ermolin is openly alarmed and alarmist because he believes the disastrous conflict in Syria divided Russia and NATO-member countries into two camps, with the US-led west leaning to support or at least tolerance of the Islamists, despite the increasingly frenzied extremist nature of Syria’s opposition. For Russia this means it is next in line for destabilization, by Islam under the guise of, and stoked by Western-Russian rivalry and conflict. Ermolin says there can soon be a major realignment of international relations and vital interests.
Add the Saudi terror chief, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan (photo, left) into this mix and the fuse is nearly lit. The London Telegraph reported back in October about Saudi Arabia’s under the table offer to Russia for a chance to ‘control the world’s oil market’ in some type of strategic alliance between OPEC and Russia – but only if Russia would wash its hands of the Assad regime in Syria. That was the carrot. The stick was somewhat more barbaric:
Bandar threatened to unleash his Chechen terrorists in order to shutdown, and possibly kill civilians at Sochi. He is alleged to have said:
‘‘I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Games are controlled by us’’
Beyond Saudi Arabia international racketeering and extortion, in there is fear in Germany, France, the UK and Italy – as there is in Russia, of what happens when thousands of young “jihadis” return from the Syrian war. Russian foreign relations experts like Ermolin say this will be the acid test, and in the Middle East will surely and certainly coincide with the equally rising threat of more open and wider conflict between Sunni Saudi Arabia, and Shia Iran. The dangers of another Iran-Sunni war like the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war are claimed by Russian policy experts to have been completely underestimated in the west. As they and Russian military analysts say, the potential for a repeat of the 1980-88 war “going nuclear” is high.
Russian experts also say the dangers of Iran itself destabilizing and “turning to terror” have been ignored or underestimated in the west. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel, backed by the US and several EU countries, especially France give either open or covert support to anti-Iranian Sunni terror movements, making all out Iran-versus-Sunni war the logical follow-up. In the case of Iranian defeat, spillover will, the Russians say, be large scale regional, not contained. As a result, although never stated as a driver for US and European thawing towards Iran, the risk of Iran being destabilized have to be taken seriously.
Whistling in the Dark
To date, western understanding of the war theater’s dimensions and component drivers is, Russians say, woeful. The USA’s Boston Bombings, for example, were laughably unprofessional pinpricks. European domestic experience of eradicating Islamist insurgents, they add, is close to zero making for permanent underestimation of the threat.
Reasons for this western blind spot to the insurgent threat, which in Russia now straddles both ethnic religious and nationalist political lines – notably in Tartarstan – can be traced to different Russian and western interpretations of geopolitics. For Russians, even in the 1930s Stalin era, Halford Mackinder’s theory of “The World Island”, centered on Russia but spreading south through the Caucuses to Arabia, North Africa and Europe was taken as a game plan and threat – or prize – for the USSR. Putin’s Russian Federation of today is driven by geopolitical hopes and fears linked to the Mackinder theory.
To be sure, Washington has decided the dispatch of a small anti-terror group of experts to Sochi, more for protecting US athletes and comforting domestic political opinion than aiding Moscow, but soon, analysts and Russian leaders say, Moscow and Washington will have to collaborate better. To do this, they will have to set aside other issues that get in the way. The USA’s new isolationism, however, may also hamper this needed collaboration, and like the Europeans, the US may be tempted to turn Russia’s difficulties to its advantage – by pouring oil and Saudi petro-dollars on the fire.
Senior Russian political figures like Alexander Khinshtein, Vice chairman of the State Douma’s Security and anti-corruption commission, make it plain that formerly contained, localized and specific Islamic terror threats and action have massively changed since the 1990s. Khinshtein says that “Terrorism cannot be a local problem; it is not a problem for just one place.” Russian news releases and investigations concerning the Volgograd bombings already say these attacks – which are part of a longstanding organized campaign – link closely to non-Islamic political independence movements in Russia’s Caucasian republics.
The challenge from the Islamic south, to Russia’s “world island” has now mutated and coalesced with other movements and issues that, in the 1990s, were totally separate. The Sochi theater for terror war and counter-terror war concerns the whole world.
Source: 21st Century Wire
Obama’s war on Syria rages. It’s taken a horrific toll nationwide. Tens of thousands died. Dozens more do daily.
Millions were displaced. Numbers internally and abroad range up to one-third of Syria’s population. Humanitarian crisis conditions exist. Human suffering is extreme.
Peace talks reflect more illusion than reality. On January 22, they’re scheduled to begin.
On Sunday and Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with so-called Friends of Syria countries in Paris.
They include America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and UAE.
They’re imperial collaborators. They no friends of the great majority of Syrians. On Sunday, they issued a joint statement, saying:
“Assad and his close associates with blood on their hands will have no role in Syria.”
Throughout nearly three years of conflict, they’ve wrongfully blamed him for Western-backed insurgent crimes.
They’re imperial collaborators. They’re responsible for horrific bloodshed. They want regime change. They want mass slaughter and destruction to achieve it.
They want sole right to choose who’ll rule. They want Syrians having no say. They want pro-Western stooges in charge. They’re ravaging and destroying a once peaceful country.
They’re responsible for high crimes against peace. No end of conflict looms. It’s unclear if talks will take place as scheduled. It’s unclear if it matters.
It’s unclear who’s attending. Divided opposition groups may not come. They’re preoccupied with slaughtering each other instead.
On January 12, AFP headlined ”700 killed in Syria rebel-jihadist battle: monitor.”
Hundreds more are missing. Fighting rages. It’s been ongoing for days. Civilians are caught in the middle. Perhaps well over 1,000 died. Expect many more to perish.
Northern provinces are affected. Aleppo, Idlib and Raqa are hard hit. So are Hama and Homs. At least 16 suicide attacks occurred. Dozens were killed. More die daily. Syria remains a cauldron of violence.
On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius lied, saying:
“It’s the regime of Bashar al-Assad that is feeding terrorism. We must bring that regime to an end.”
“There is no solution to the Syrian tragedy apart from a political solution. And there is no possibility to achieve (it) if Geneva two does not take place.”
Geneva I ended in failure. Washington and other opponents demanded he must go. They demand he go now. They do so illegitimately.
On Sunday, John Kerry discussed prospects for Middle East peace. He addressed Syria. He blamed Assad for Obama’s war.
“There is an urgent need for the Syrian regime to implement its obligations under the UN Security Council Presidential Statement,” he said.
“We believe it is possible for the regime to (cease fighting) before Geneva – local ceasefires if necessary – a ceasefire with respect to Aleppo, and send the signal that they are prepared to set a different mood, a different climate, a different stage for the possibility of success in Geneva.”
“They have the power to do that. And the opposition has pledged that if they will do that. The opposition will live by it.”
False! Kerry knows it. Extremist elements continue fighting. They reject peace talks. Washington bears full responsibility for ongoing conflict. Assad defends Syria responsibly.
He’s battling US-backed foreign invaders. Don’t expect Kerry to explain. Continued aggression is planned.
Washington is directly involved in supplying lethal aid. It’s been doing it all along. It’s coming cross border from Turkey and Jordan. Israel is supplying weapons. CIA and US special forces are directly involved.
Kerry lied saying Assad “disregard(s) the most basic human rights.” Extremist opposition forces are barbaric. They’ve committed numerous atrocities. Assad is wrongfully blamed.
Washington wants war on Syria continued. Geneva II won’t end it. Demanding Assad must go is illegal.
Syrians alone have sole right to decide who’ll lead them. Foreign interference violates international law.
Kerry is an unindicted war criminal. He has no legitimacy whatever. He’s less than optimistic about Syria.
“None of us have an expectation,” he said. “(F)ull agreement” is unlikely.
“What we do expect is to begin to get the parties at the table convened and negotiating and beginning a process of waging an even stronger effort to provide for this political solution.”
“It’ll take a little bit of time, but I’m confident that it needs that forum. It needs all the players at the table.”
“It needs the umbrella of the United Nations.” It needs Assad gone, according to Kerry.
On Sunday, Friends of Syria countries issued a statement saying Geneva Two’s objective is replacing Assad with transitional governance.
They want one fully empowered. They want pro-Western stooges in charge. They want what Syrians won’t tolerate.
Ahmad Jarba heads the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. He replaced Moaz al-Khatib. He’s no friend of Syrians. He’s one-sidedly pro-Western.
He issued a statement saying:
“The most important aspect of today’s meeting is that we all agree to say that the Assad family has no future in Syria.”
“Removing Assad from Syria for the future has now been clearly established in a unanimous decision adopted by (Friends of Syria countries) without the possibility for ambiguity.”
Lavrov responded saying:
“Our partners are blinded by an ideological mission for regime change.”
“I am convinced that the West is doing this to demonstrate that they call the shots in the Middle East. This is a totally politicized approach.”
Russia is fundamentally opposed. It respects Syrian sovereignty. International laws matter. Putin calls force against sovereign nations unacceptable. He said waging it is aggression.
Removing Assad assures endless conflict. Doing so frees jihadists to run wild. Syria will resemble Iraq and Libya.
Daily conflict kills dozens in both countries. Violence shows no signs of ending. Pro-Western puppet governance can’t stop it.
Institute of World Economy and International Relations senior fellow Stanislav Ivanov believes peace in Syria remains elusive.
He doubts Geneva II will work. Given what remains ongoing, it’s destined to fail, he said.
He believes a UN-sponsored conference should precede Geneva. All relevant international parties should be involved.
Iran should be invited unconditionally. It won’t attend Geneva any other way.
Center for Contemporary Iranian Studies Rajab Safarov calls Geneva talks this month futile.
“The conference will not take place because of the US,” he said. “Washington cannot get rid of the heavy pressure from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They are not interested in finding a solution to the Syrian issue,” he added.
“There are almost no chances this conference and even holding it can succeed,” he said.
“Assad needs 4-6 months (more fighting) maximum. After that there will be no opposition in Syria. And no need” for peace talks, he believes.
At the same time, he thinks Geneva II can achieve something positive. Geneva I failed by demanding Assad must go.
Friends of Syria countries demand it now. Doing so runs counter to what most Syrians wish. Peace remains a convenient illusion.
Expect conflict without end to continue. It’s virtually certain without Iran’s involvement to end it.
Regional violence shows no signs of ending. Greater war looms possible. Post-9/11, millions died. Washington bears full responsibility.
It’s waging war on humanity. Expect other countries to be ravaged and destroyed before it ends.
The entire region may become embroiled in conflict. Global war is possible. Imagine the potential consequences. Imagine what no responsible leaders should risk.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Russian intelligence has now reportedly obtained solid proof that Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the twin terror attacks on the city of Volgograd.
The attacks killed more than 32 people and injured over 100 others. Most of the victims were civilians.
According to an informed Russian official source, reported by the Fars News Agency, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has informed President Vladimir Putin of the Saudi link to the Volgograd massacre.
This will come as no surprise to Putin. The Russian leader was warned by the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan during a heated four-hour private meeting back in July that Wahhabi-sponsored terrorists based in the North Caucasus region of Russia would be targeting the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The Sochi Games are due to open on February 7. Volgograd is a key transport hub linking Moscow with the southern Russian territory and the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in particular, where the Winter Olympics are to be held.
The double bombings on Volgograd’s transport system on 29-30 December were therefore unmistakably an assault on Russia’s hosting of the Olympics. The atrocity caused the deaths of several women and children, and in the aftermath President Putin was livid in his disgust at the attacks. He said there was no justification, whatsoever, for the killing of innocent civilians and he vowed to “destroy the terrorists” behind the bombings.
This raises the onerous question: What will Putin do next if he has, in fact, been told that the authors of the Volgograd crime against humanity are connected to the Saudi rulers? This could be construed as an act of war.
There are unconfirmed reports that Putin and his senior intelligence officers have already drawn up plans to “destroy Saudi Arabia” over its systematic sponsoring of terrorism on Russian territory.
The Volgograd atrocity is just the latest in a long series of terrorist acts connected to Saudi-sponsored radicals in the North Caucasus. Back in October, another suicide bomb on a packed bus in Volgograd left six dead.
The group believed to be behind these attacks is known as the Caucasus Caliphate, led by Doko Umarov. Saudi Arabia is a major source of funds for the Caucasus Caliphate, which espouses the same fundamentalist ideology as the Saudi-sponsored Takfiris operating in Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq.
Based in Chechnya and Dagestan, Umarov has publicly stated that “all means necessary would be used to derail” the Sochi Olympics.
Previously, the same network carried out suicide bomb attacks on Moscow’s metro system in 2010 and 2011, which caused dozens of deaths.
The Caucasus extremists are known to have close logistical connection with both American and Saudi military intelligence.
Indeed, from the early 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Americans and the Saudis redeployed their Afghan Al Qaeda tactics into the southern Russian territories as a way to further destabilize Moscow. One of the architects of this plan was former CIA chief William Casey. This US and Saudi covert operations fuelled the
two Chechen wars of 1994-95 and 1999-2000.
Although Moscow has since managed to subdue the large-scale violence, the Caucasus Caliphate remains a potent source of terrorism and sabotage, as the latest horror in Volgograd all too grimly attests.
Saudi spy chief Bandar’s earlier threat to Putin that the Sochi Games were at risk of attack from the Caucasus-based terror groups was thus no idle threat.
In retrospect his words amount to self-indictment. Bandar reportedly boasted to Putin: “We control them (the Caucasus militants).” This implies that Saudi Arabia can turn on and off the conduct of these terror groups. That places Saudi Arabia as the ultimate author of a catalogue of crimes that Russia has endured for the most part of 20
years, the latest being in the city of Volgograd.
It is not known what precise evidence Russian intelligence has lately uncovered that allegedly pinpoints Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Volgograd massacre.
But there is already copious circumstantial evidence, as well as Bandar’s own braggadocio.
One of the suicide bombers in the Volgograd double attack has been identified as Russian national Pavel Pechyonkin (32). He reportedly traveled to Syria last year and fought in the ranks of Saudi-backed extremists trying to topple the government of Bashar al Assad.
Many other Russian nationals have also been recruited by Saudi Arabia’s terror sponsors to wage regime-change war in Syria. Perhaps it was in Syria that the Volgograd bomber was recruited for that specific mission.
If the Russians have acquired hard evidence of Saudi collusion in terrorism on their soil, there is firm legal ground for Russia to exact retaliation under the doctrine of self-defense.
In a second meeting between Bandar and Putin, the Russian leader reportedly told the Saudi in no uncertain terms that his support for terrorism was “a double-edged sword” that would eventually inflict damage on those who wield it.
For years now Saudi Arabia has gotten away with covert state-sponsored terrorism disrupting its Middle East neighbors. Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are but the latest victims. The Saudis have done this with impunity in the service of American imperialism, just as Zionist Israel has likewise functioned as an imperial crime syndicate.
But now Saudi Arabia may have swung its double-edged sword too recklessly. It has apparently been caught red-handed in an outrage against the Russian bear. Prince Bandar, we can be sure, will from now on be making extra checks beneath his car.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
Source: Press TV
A month ago, a student toting a shotgun, machete and 125 rounds of ammunition marched into Arapahoe High School in Denver, Colorado. His target: to kill the debate teacher whom he felt treated him poorly.
On his way to the teacher, he shot a beautiful girl named Claire Davis in the face. She hung on for a week before dying of her wounds. The killer, a regular 17-year-old high school student, tall and lanky, with good looks, shot himself before Swat teams could reach him.
As a former teacher who started teaching in the 1970s, my colleagues and I could not imagine such violence. But here in Denver, we suffered Columbine shootings by Klebold and Harris when they mowed down a dozen kids and teachers. Another killer shot and killed “Emily” in Bailey, Colorado a few years back. Recently, James Holmes marched into a Denver movie theater to unleash his own killing spree on a bunch of innocent movie attendees.
Even more disturbing: bullied teachers–145,100 public-School teachers physically attacked by students and 276,700 threatened with injury every year.
Over 4,800,000 women, both girlfriends and wives, suffering beatings by their men annually in the United States—a beating every 15 seconds.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women suffer rape in the U.S. annually. That’s more than 600 women everyday.
The United States carried on two ten-year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where we killed an estimated 250,000 civilians. We killed many more Muslim fighters by the tens of thousands. We destroyed their country with our bombs. Because those third world countries lack birth records, identification and death certificates—the numbers could be much higher.
In most large city in America, such as Denver, newscasters relate killings every night of the week. Chicago, Houston, Detroit and Los Angeles suffer gang killings nightly.
One in four children suffers bullying by a teen thug in high schools across America every day during school terms. In other words, our children cannot attend school without fear of being beat up, harassed, called names and demeaned by meaner, bigger students who have no other purpose in life but to manifest their thuggery.
What bothers me: we promote horrific violence via our continuous wars promoted by bankers and the military industrial complex that profit at the cost of human lives. We promote TV violence such as “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS” where lots of people commit diabolical mayhem. We support social media arcade games for kids like “Doom” and worse. Our movies feature horrific violence that pours into our kids minds and emotions. It’s like the 60s movie “Clockwork Orange” seems normal. You can watch television “Cops” where violence becomes normal. Our drones in the Middle East kill any number of humans without identity.
Today, 68 percent of African-American children grow up under the parenting of single mothers and most of them living on welfare and food stamps. Who babysits those kids? Answer: television. What do they see? Answer: violence. How do they respond? Answer: black flash mobs, “knockout” games, shoplifting and gang violence.
Over 2.3 million Americans languish in prison. We spent $1 trillion in the last 43 years on the “War on Drugs”, but a pittance for raising healthy kids. Why haven’t we spent as much money on discovering peaceful ways to rear our children as we spend on killing other people in contrived wars?
This information bothers me because Claire Davis could have been my daughter. Congresswoman Gabby Gifford could have been my friend. Your kid might be the one being bullied. I suffered bullying and getting beat up as a skinny kid in grade school and high school.
Question: are we a moral and ethical civilization or do we feature immorality and unethical behavior manifested in our wars and violence as stated above?
Today, 2014, one in six Americans faces hunger. That includes one in five children. (Source: www.feedingamerica.org)
What makes for peaceful, happy and contributing citizens? Answer: jobs for parents, homes for kids, excellent schools, playgrounds, after school activities and positive guidance by two parents.
What can we do to change course toward a moral, ethical, peaceful and happy nation?
- We need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and other countries around the world. Let our fathers come back home to be fathers instead of fighting useless wars.
- We need to limit imports from China and other nations that take jobs away from our 14 million unemployed and 48 million citizens subsisting on food stamps. We can make all those manufactured products as well as Chinese workers.
- We need to stop importing 100,000 legal immigrants every 30 days into America that take jobs away from our own working poor.
- We need turn our war machine money into production for alternative energy, conservation and environmental balance.
- We need to pay teachers and educational professionals much better salaries in order to educate our children to the highest excellence for competing in the 21st century. We need classes to teach parents how to parent with respect, loving discipline and positive living. (Source: www.LoveandLogic.com)
- We need to examine how and why we create so much violence in our society. Then, we must take action to stop it such as stopping violent video games, stopping bullying by parenting peaceful kids, stopping TV violence seen by our young and stop glorifying war, violent movies and violent TV for children.
You can think of a dozen other ideas, but in the end, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we will continue to suffer daughters, sons, fathers and mothers involved in violence and death.
Iraq today is a grim reflection of America’s ruthless imperial agenda. It includes mass slaughter, destruction, devastation, deprivation, human misery and unending violence.
On August 31, 2010, Obama displayed criminal contempt. He’s done it many times. He declared an end to America’s combat mission in Iraq, saying:
“Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility.”
Ignored was America’s genocidal legacy. Iraq was ravaged and destroyed. Pre-1990 Iraq no longer exists. Charnel house conditions replaced it.
So did plunder on the grandest of grand scales, millions of internal and external refugees, ongoing violence, dozens of daily deaths, a plague of preventable diseases, ecocide, and overall conditions too horrific to ignore.
Remember Fallujah. In September 2004, the UN Human Rights Council issued a report titled“Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah: Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial.”
It discussed horrific conditions, saying:
“From the (2003) outset and at the start of the indiscriminate and merciless campaign of collective punishment and willful destruction, undertaken by the occupational troops of the United States of America,” innocent civilians endured an “inhumane siege and indiscriminate killing” during April and May 2004.
“(G)enocidal massacres” included “sustained and targeted bombing(s), aimed directly at the homes of defenseless civilians.”
A November/December massacre followed. Thousands more Iraqis were slaughtered, wounded and maimed.
Depleted and enriched uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous and other terror weapons were used.
Chris Busby is a radiation expert. “We went to Fallujah, and we found the levels of cancer high,” he said.
“We looked at the parents of children with congenital malformation, and we did analysis of their hair to see what was inside their hair that might be genotoxic, that might be the sort of thing that can cause congenital malformation.”
“The only thing that we found was uranium. We found uranium in the mothers of the children with congenital malformations.”
“We know that uranium is genotoxic, that it causes these levels of genetic damage, and because of that it also causes cancer.”
“The only source of uranium was the use by the American-led forces of uranium weapons.”
“Not only depleted uranium weapons, but as we later found out slightly enriched uranium weapons, which we believe they were using in order to cover their tracks.”
Fallujah was besieged. Food, medicines and other vital supplies were kept out. US soldiers were ordered to kill anything that moved.
Young and old were targeted. Men, women, boys and girls were indiscriminately attacked.
Between both Fallujah battles, US warplanes kept bombing residential and industrial areas.
Negotiations to halt fighting failed. Washington blocked them. It did so to continue mass killing and destruction.
Hundreds were arrested. Imprisonments followed. So did horrific torture and ill-treatment.
Fallujah witnesses confirmed wholesale slaughter of unarmed civilians. They were killed inside their houses and mosques.
Some were shot after being arrested. Others were blown up inside their homes.
Children saw their parents shot. Adults witnessed their spouses and children killed. US and complicit Iraqi forces looted homes and stores.
Thousands of others were destroyed. A Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah Citizens said 7,000 houses were demolished.
So were 8,400 stores, workshops, clinics, warehouses and other structures. Sixty-five mosques were totally destroyed. So were five dozen primary, secondary and higher education schools.
Thirteen government buildings were leveled. Water and sewer systems were destroyed. So were two electrical power substations. Other infrastructure targets were demolished.
Around 100,000 domestic and wild animals died from toxic exposure. Four libraries containing valued Islamic manuscripts and books were burned.
Virtually everything in Fallujah was fair game. It remains symbolic of imperial US viciousness.
Subsequent Fallujah health statistics showed:
around 6,000 previously unknown or rarely seen diseases; and
sharp increases in leukemia, other cancers, infant mortality, birth defects, miscarriages, abnormal deliveries, and other health problems similar to what Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors experienced.
Will the third battle of Fallujah repeat what happened earlier? US forces aren’t directly involved. Iraqi government troops are battling Anbar Province Al Qaeda affiliated Sunni militants.
In December, Washington began supplying Nuri al-Maliki’s government with dozens of Hellfire missiles, other weapons and drones.
It’s unclear whether US operators will wage drone warfare like what’s ongoing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. If al-Maliki’s forces can’t contain things on their own, bet on US involvement.
On Sunday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Al Qaeda affiliated elements are “seeking to gain control of territory inside the borders of Iraq.”
“(They represent a) common enemy of the United States and the Republic of Iraq, and a threat to the greater Middle East.”
Al Qaeda is a US creation. It’s used strategically as both ally and enemy. John Kerry issued a statement saying:
“We will stand with the government of Iraq and with others who will push back against their efforts to destabilize. We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground.”
Vice President Biden spoke with al-Maliki. His office issued a statement saying “the United States stands with Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
Iraq is a failed state. It’s a dysfunctional wasteland. Nightmarish conditions exist. Multiple car bombings occur almost daily.
So does other nationwide violence. Iraq is a virtual war zone. Dozens die daily. Fighting never ended. Al-Maliki is a convenient US stooge.
Al Qaeda affiliated elements largely gained control of Ramadi and Fallujah. Al-Maliki reinforced nearby Iraqi forces. Air strikes and artillery shelling followed.
Perhaps laying siege to both towns is planned. Will mass destruction and massacres follow?
On Tuesday, fierce clashes occurred between so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters and government forces.
ISIL elements are Sunni militants. They’re linked to Al Qaeda. They’re heavily involved in Syria.
Both countries share a common border. It’s porous. Militants fighting Assad’s forces cross it easily to fight in Iraq.
Sectarian tensions are high. Violence increased after Iraqi forces attacked Hawija Sunni protesters last April. Dozens were killed.
Deadly car bombings continue nationwide. In 2013, Iraq’s death toll was the highest since 2007. In Anbar Province, Iraqi forces, local tribes and ISIL fighters are waging three-way war.
Before 2003, Iraq had no Al Qaeda elements. No threat existed. Washington’s war changed things.
Iraq is a cauldron of violence. Fighting shows no signs of ending. Expect things to get much worse before it ebbs.
If US drone warfare complements Iraqi forces on the ground, mass killing and destruction may follow. It may happen with or without US involvement.
The third battle for Fallujah may replicate the first two. Expect Ramadi and other parts of Anbar Province to be affected.
Civilians will suffer most. Millions died since GHW Bush’s Gulf War. Clinton’s sanctions alone claimed around 1.5 million lives.
GW Bush’s war, Obama continuing where he left off, and subsequent violence, disease, and deprivation took millions more.
On October 7, 2001, America’s new millennium wars began. They continue out-of-control. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are war zones.
Fighting rages daily. Iraqi government forces are preparing to storm Fallujah. Expect another bloodbath to follow.
Washington bears full responsibility. Bush I and II, Clinton and Obama are unindicted war criminals.
Millions of regional deaths bear witness to their high crimes. They continue daily with no end.
They do so when polls show Afghanistan is Washington’s most unpopular war in history. Over 80% of Americans oppose it. Less than 20% support it.
It rages out-of-control. It shows no signs of ending. With or without most US forces remaining, it could continue for another decade or longer.
It reflects America’s addiction to war. It reveals state terror as official US policy. It shows contempt for rule of law principles. It suggests conflicts without end will continue.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Canada’s Conservative government is trying to convince Canadian Jews to support its right-wing imperialistic worldview.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently spoke to the annual Toronto gala of the Jewish National Fund, which has a long history of dispossessing Palestinians and discriminating against non-Jews.
Echoing the words of Theodor Herzl, a founder of political Zionism, Harper told the 4,000 attendees that Israel is a “light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness.”
Shortly before this event the Minister for Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney spoke at the launch of the Canadian chapter of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Established by a former colonel in the Israeli military, MEMRI selectively (mis)translates stories from Arab and Iranian media in a bid to advance expansionist Israeli interests.
Kenney told the audience assembled at Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue that MEMRI is “a peaceful weapon of truth-telling in a civilizational conflict in which we are all engaged.”
The comments from Harper and Kenney certainly play well with those in the Jewish community committed to Israeli and Western imperialism, but they also spur that sentiment. Most people respect power and when leading politicians say a country is involved in a “civilizational conflict” against “a region of darkness” it tends to shape opinion.
Few Canadian Jews — or others among the target audience for that matter — realize that Harper and Kenney don’t take this “clash of civilizations” talk literally (if they did they wouldn’t be deepening political ties with a number of Middle Eastern monarchies and selling billions of dollars in weaponry to the region’s “darkest” regime, Saudi Arabia.)
While the Harper government’s pro-Israel comments are particularly extreme, they are far from unique in Canadian history. For more than a century non-Jewish Canadians have promoted a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Similar to Europe, Zionism’s roots in Canada are Christian, not Jewish. Early Canadian support for Zionism was based on the more literal readings of the Bible that flowed out of the Protestant Reformation.
They were also tied to this country’s status as a dominion of the British Empire, which in the latter half of the nineteenth century began to see Zionism as a potential vehicle to strengthen its geostrategic position in the region.
At the time of confederation, Canada’s preeminent Christian Zionist was Henry Wentworth Monk. To buy Palestine from the Ottoman Empire in 1875, Monk began the Palestine Restoration Fund.
Unsuccessful, seven years later he took out an ad in the Jewish World proposing a “Bank of Israel” to finance Jewish resettlement. Irving Abella’s book A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada describes Monk as “an eccentric but respected businessman” who took up a campaign in Canada and England to raise funds for buying land in Palestine during the 1870s and 1880s.
“In 1881 Monk even proposed setting up a Jewish National Fund,” Abella writes. “He issued manifestoes, wrote long articles, spoke to assorted meetings and lobbied extensively in England and Canada to realize his dream.”
Monk called for the British Empire to establish a “dominion of Israel” similar to the dominion of Canada. In the 1978 book Canada and Palestine, Zachariah Kay notes: “Monk believed that Palestine was the logical center of the British Empire, and could help form a confederation of the English-speaking world.”
Monk was not alone in Canada. Citing a mix of Christian and pro-British rationale, leading Canadian politicians repeatedly expressed support for Zionism. In 1907, two cabinet ministers attended the Federation of Zionist Societies of Canada convention, telling delegates that Zionism had the support of the government, according to Kay’s book.
Kay’s book also states that Arthur Meighen, then solicitor-general and later prime minister, proclaimed in November 1915: “I think I can speak for those of the Christian faith when I express the wish that God speed the day when the land of your forefathers shall be yours again. This task I hope will be performed by that champion of liberty the world over — the British Empire.”
The 1917 Balfour Declaration, which declared British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, boosted support for Zionism in this country. In the years thereafter, Canadian politicians of various stripes repeatedly urged Jews (and others) to support Zionism.
During a July 1922 speech to the Zionist Federation of Canada, the anti-Semitic Prime Minister Mackenzie King “was effusive with praise for Zionism,” explains David Bercuson in Canada and the Birth of Israel. King told participants their aspirations were “in consonance” with the greatest ideals of the “Englishman.”
A dozen years later, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett told a coast to-coast radio broadcast for the launch of the United Palestine Appeal fund drive that the Balfour Declaration and the British conquest of Palestine represented the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.
According to a 1962 book by Canadian Zionist Bernard Figler, Bennett said, “When the promises of God, speaking through his prophets, are that the home will be restored in the homeland of their forefathers…Scriptural prophecy is being fulfilled. The restoration of Zion has begun.”
Jewish Zionism must be understood from within the political climate in which it operated. And Canada’s political culture clearly fostered Zionist ideals.
British imperialism, Christian Zionism and nationalist ideology were all part of this country’s political fabric. Additionally, in the early 1900s most Canadians did not find it odd that Europeans would take a “backward” people’s land, which is what settlers did to the indigenous population here.
A number of books about Canada’s Jewish community discuss how elite Canadian Jews, especially after the 1917 Balfour Declaration, were more active Zionists than their US counterparts. In Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey, Gerald Tulchinsky explains: “The First World War accentuated differences between Canadian and American Jewry. For example, loyalty to Britain’s cause provided Zionists with opportunities to identify their purposes with Britain’s imperial mission.”
When British General Edmund Allenby led a campaign in late 1917 to take Palestine from the Ottomans as many as 400 Canadians (about half recruited specifically for the task) fought in Allenby’s Jewish Legion. Sometimes beleaguered Jewish communities were praised by the media for taking up England’s cause to conquer Palestine.
Since Israel’s creation in 1948 different Canadian governments have expressed varying degrees of support. But overall, the laudatory public declarations have continued.
After a long career of support for Zionism as external minister and prime minister, Lester Pearson referred to that country as “an outpost, if you will, of the West in the Middle East.”
External Affairs Minister Don Jamieson echoed this sentiment in an October 1977 speech. “Israel is an increasingly valuable ally of the West and Jews and non-Jews alike should see to it that Israel remains … an ally of the Western world,” Jamieson said. “We in Canada must see to it that when Israel is making such tremendous sacrifices, we should stand ready to help Israel with oil and material assistance.”
Yes, the current government is more aggressive in its public declarations than any before it and this has helped drive the establishment Jewish community to an even more hardline position.
To the Conservatives’ delight, two years ago the ninety-year old Canadian Jewish Congress was disbanded by its wealthy donors in favor of an even more Israel-focused Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. Similarly, the Conservatives’ strong ties to Christian Zionism has prodded the Zionist lobby group B’nai Brith to deepen its ties with Canada Christian College and the prominent right-wing evangelist Charles McVety.
At the same time, the anti-racist sectors of Canada’s Jewish community have made major strides in recent years. Groups such as Independent Jewish Voices, Not In Our Name, Jewish Voice for Peace, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Women in Solidarity with Palestine and Jews for a Just Peace, have undercut the notion that all Canadian Jews support Israeli policy or Zionism. But these groups are unlikely to become dominant voices within the Jewish community until there is a shift in Canada’s political culture.
Canadian Zionism has long been part of the religious and political establishment. In every community there are those who take the side of the rich and powerful.
Source: Global Research
The War Is Against Paganism…
Crowns and thrones may perish.
Kingdoms rise and wane
But the Church of Jesus constant will remain
Gates of Hell can never
‘Gainst the Church prevail
We have Christ’s own promise
And that cannot fail
“To gain this victory, we must wage the war. Too many want victory without the war, as though eloquence, patriotic or religious gush, ever overcame an enemy.” R. J. Rushdoony,” Numbers” Pg. 270
Patty and I spent Christmas in Destin, Florida. Destin is an upscale resort town named from a Yankee fisherman who settled there in the mid-Nineteenth Century. It is home to one of the nation’s largest outlet malls.
In one of the shoe outlets we met a clerk from Maine. Her story is typical of many who have been victimized by the massive changes that have been foisted on the world. Born, raised, and married in a shoe prosperous Maine town, she and her husband had two children and were living lavishly. He was a manager at a shoe manufacturing plant where she also worked. Their combined income was in the high six figures providing them a luxurious lifestyle.
As the inexorable Asian labor monster invaded the shoe industry her husband lost his job. The entire industry shrunk and he was unable to find work. She became the sole wage earner under a company promise that there would be no additional lay-offs. The promise was broken and shortly her job was also moved offshore. They lost everything: their home, their car, and their ability to support two children. Without prospects of employment in Maine they moved to Florida where they are now working at dramatically lower incomes. They have re-established their family and, though far less affluent, are again living an orderly life. Since many employees of Maine factories are still struggling, they consider themselves fortunate.
Their story can be multiplied hundreds-of -thousands of times as industry after industry has been devastated by the planned economic reorganization of the world.
Maine is one of a number of areas that have been severely affected. The Northeast quadrant has been hardest hit with factory closings and the accompanying disruption of the social order. Some attempt to cite automation as a culprit but automation provides a social benefit while wholesale robbery is a devastating crime.
The current economic disaster was preceded by an earlier mini-disaster when the Japanese were given free access to our markets. Now, Asians in several countries have entered the fray and despite efforts by the compliant media to cover it up debilitating disruption is clearly evident.
Since 1950 into the first decade of the Twenty-First Century Detroit, Michigan has lost over 61 percent of its population, Gary, Indiana 55 percent, Youngstown, Ohio over 60, Flint, Michigan over 43, Cleveland, Ohio over 56, Dayton, Ohio over 46, Canton, Ohio over 37, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over 54. Though it is growing in income Chicago has still lost over 25 percent of its population.
The kettle holding the United States population was put over very low heat in the 1950s. The drum beat of women’s liberation began and continued relentlessly until after several decades single income homes became archaic being replaced by a household income that included two working adults. This malicious manipulation was imposed without adequate confrontation.
Then we began to hear about the competitive nature of the American work force and how they could successfully compete in the new world market. Soon the Japanese had usurped a major percentage of the automotive industry forcing the irascibly persuasive Lee Iacocca to shame the congress into loaning Chrysler enough money to keep it afloat.
But the bloody Japanese axe that struck the auto industry was only the beginning. The Chinese horde soon followed and suddenly every “Made in USA” product disappeared from our stores. Faced with labor costs a fraction of U. S. standards, industry after industry moved manufacturing to Asia.
The competition was not over the ability of American workers to produce goods as efficiently as Asian labor, as it had been framed. It was instead over the standard of living Americans had enjoyed compared to the standard of living of Chinese peasants. As the Twenty-First Century arrived, a multitude of Americans were like the family from Maine working in retail, health-care or fast food for wages of half or less than their previous employment.
Current propaganda tells us our economy is improving and new jobs are being created. It is all propaganda; don’t believe it! In the new world order competition will force labor costs to parity and parity is lower still.
Though they have prepared for an uprising the powers behind centralization want to maintain peace as long as they can continue extending world domination. The media, a propaganda arm of world government, will continue to report improvement as long as people can be convinced.
Human efforts are useless in stopping this onslaught. The battle is between Christianity and paganism. The only effective weapon against paganism is the God of the Bible and His Law.
Rousas Rushdoony explains, “When men forsake God, they forsake all truth, because for them there is no difference between good and evil, nor between truth and lies”. “Numbers” Pg.316
The Bible, Old and New Testament, Law and Grace, comprise the full gospel. The full gospel would have stopped tyranny in its infancy, but we have forsaken the full gospel and replaced it with the “creative word” of men. I received an email today from my kid sister entitled “What a Church Service”; a video of Andre Rieu leading a musical worship service for a large congregation. Beautiful it is, but an appropriate church service it is not. It is a secular multicultural extravaganza with beautiful music.
Christians who seek to be entertained with music and praise and do not have ears to hear what God requires of His people are useless in stopping the advance of Satan. It is truth and justice and the seating of King Jesus at the throne of power that should be the objective of every Christian congregation. Lies, fantasy, and all the manipulations of arrogant men should be confronted from our pulpits and by our congregations. It is our Christian duty to counter the evil establishment bringing their wrath against the power of the Church of Jesus Christ. When the Christian religion fails to create wrath in God’s enemies there is a serious problem in the Christian religion.
We are being overrun by the minions of evil. We should be fighting a war. We need preachers whose intrepid denouncements will inspire us to enter the battle on the side of the God of the Bible.
The enemy controls our television stations, our newspapers, our government, and, sadly, most of our churches. The voices of dissent are few. Wake up Christians and hear the call to battle!
When a newspaper erroneously contends our economy is improving our pulpits must present Christians with the statistics that prove otherwise. Christians are truth-tellers! When the Media promotes homosexuality our pulpits must denounce it with God’s Words from the Bible. Christian duty requires that we confront evil.
Muslims are busy fighting for control of the Middle East. They appear to be overcoming the secular tyrants. Islam is a false religion and an enemy to Christianity but it is not the core danger to world freedom. In that battle Islam is an ally against the wicked forces of the new world order.
It is time to stop playing church. It is time for every Christian minister to disregard reputation and directly confront the secular forces that threaten peace and order God intends for His creation.
Churches that concentrate on the end times, on tongues and prophecy, evangelism, or on being theologically reformed should forsake their niche religions and confront the secular minions with the full gospel. The size of a church or its growth is of no importance; what is important is its strength against the forces of evil. Reputations must be sacrificed; our God and King is being threatened and we are His soldiers. It is our duty to fight for the elevation of His government– both civilians and rulers are subject to the rule of King Jesus.
As Patty and I exited a restaurant in Destin late in the afternoon on Christmas day we noticed a table of 8 young men with their heads bowed. We thought it wonderful that all these young people were honoring the One True God. However, on second look they were honoring the IPhone god instead.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has published the list of senators who so far have agreed to co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, aka the Wag the Dog Act of 2014. You’ll recall that the initial list, which was introduced by its principal engineers, Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, Dec 19, included 26 co-sponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, to which newly elected New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly added his name. Since then, 20 other senators — all Republicans, unsurprisingly — have added their names, for a grand total of 47 — still short of a majority, let alone one that could survive an Obama veto that the White House has already committed the president to cast if the bill is passed in its present form.
According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below, 53 senators, including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill, or, in the dreaded moniker used by AIPAC to score lawmakers’ voting records (presumably for the benefit of the “pro-Israel” PACs that decide how to dole out campaign cash), are labeled “DNC.” They will undoubtedly be the top targets for AIPAC’s legendary powers of persuasion when the Senate reconvenes early next week.
What is remarkable about this list, however, is that very few of the 47 co-sponsors have chosen to publicize their support for the bill to their constituents through local media or other means. A handful of the original co-sponsors put out press releases, as did Rob Portman, a late joiner. Lamar Alexander, another late-comer, courageously “tweeted” his backing for the bill. “If this were a bill senators were excited about; that is, something they thought they’d earn a lot of credit for — and not draw a lot of heat — from their voters, you’d think all of the co-sponsors would be proudly touting their support,” one veteran Hill observer told me. “Clearly, even for the Republican [co-sponsors], that doesn’t seem to be the case with this bill.”
In other words, the co-sponsors appear to be targeting a very narrow constituency — AIPAC, which is now touting their names — rather than their voters back home, most of whom probably have no idea of what their senator’s position is or what may be at stake. Which raises an interesting question: If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support?
One other point: others — most recently and convincingly, Colin Kahl and Paul Pillar — have argued just how counter-productive and potentially dangerous this bill is, and we have republished their arguments for the benefit of LobeLog readers in recent days. But it should be stressed that the 47 co-sponsors of this bill, most notably the 14 Democrats who have signed on to it, have effectively decided that Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC are more credible sources about Iran and what it is likely to do in the P5+1 negotiations if this sanctions bill becomes law than either the U.S. diplomats who are directly involved in the talks or the U.S. intelligence community. Which is a rather startling fact, especially given, for example,Bibi’s predictive record on Iraq in the run-up to the U.S. invasion and his quarrels with his own intelligence community with respect to Iran.
U.S. officials beginning at the top with Obama, then running through John Kerry and Wendy Sherman have stated repeatedly that the passage of a new sanctions bill — even one that would take effect prospectively — would not only violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Nov. 24 agreement; it would also call into serious question Washington’s good faith; quite possibly isolate the U.S. within the P5+1 with disastrous results for the existing sanctions regime; and sufficiently strengthen hardliners in Tehran to force its government to toughen its demands at the negotiating table, if not abandon the diplomatic path altogether (and with it the chances of a peaceful diplomatic settlement). As the most recent assessment by the intelligence community, for which these same 47 senators have approved annual budgets ranging as high as 70 billion dollars in recent years, concluded: “[N]ew sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”
Of course, that’s precisely why Netanyahu and AIPAC are pushing the new sanctions package.
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013
Below is a list of senators who have cosponsored or indicated their intention to cosponsor The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.
47 Members Who Cosponsored
|First Name||Last Name||State||Party||Status|
53 Members Who Did Not Cosponsor
|First Name||Last Name||State||Party||Status|
Jim Lobe is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the neoconservative influence in the Bush administration. The Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), Lobe has written for various outlets and was featured in BBC and ABC television documentaries about motivations for the US invasion of Iraq. Read his complete biography.
Source: Jim Lobe
One thing about the ongoing crisis in Syria almost never mentioned in our media – even the alternative media – is the role of the nonviolent opposition to the Baathist regime. After the uprising began in the spring of 2011, the government engaged this opposition in discussions about reform of the Syrian political system. Out of these discussions came a new constitution, approved in February 2012 by 90% of the electorate in a popular referendum with a 57% turnout rate.
Prior to the new constitution, Syria was officially a one-party state: the Baathist party, to which the current and former president belonged, being that party. In 2007 the nomination by the Syrian parliament of Bashar al-Assad as President of Syria was approved by 98% of the electorate with a 96% turnout rate – just the sort of mandate you would expect of an authoritarian regime. Under the new constitution Syria became a multiparty state; elections to parliament were open to any political party.
In May of last year parliamentary elections under the new constitution were held. There were two blocs contending for the vote: the pro-government National Progressive Front, comprised of 6 parties, and the oppositional Popular Front for Change and Liberation, which included two parties. Of the 250 seats in the assembly, the Baathists won 134 seats with 34 seats distributed among the other parties in the National Front, including 6 seats for the two factions of the Communist Party. The opposition shared 5 seats. Seventy-seven members of the new parliament were not affiliated with any party. The constitution stipulates that at least half of the members of the assembly must be workers or farmers.
In other words, the Syrian parliament encompasses a diversity of opinion we can only dream of seeing in our own Congress – quite a coup for the nonviolent opposition. An election for President is scheduled for next May, quite a concession for a man our media labels a “thug”, “dictator”, “tyrant”, especially as most governments, including our own, when facing a stressful situation become more authoritarian (e.g., Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, Palmer Raids of the 1920s, the Patriot Act, etc.) . It can be argued that the Syrian peaceful revolution is the most successful transition to democracy of the Arab Spring. What more does the violent opposition want? No wonder they have to rely on foreign Jihadists to do their fighting!
Critics of the Syrian regime will claim the elections were fraudulent, or, as the Obama administration put it, “ludicrous”. I have no idea whether this is the case and would welcome the views of those better informed than me. I suspect critics of the elections seldom offer any supporting evidence for their claims. Every country grapples with seeing that their elections are fair (cf. Voter ID laws). Before we dismiss the newfound democracy in Syria as a sham, maybe we should give it a chance, especially as the lives of thousands of people – mostly Syrian but perhaps some of our own – are at risk. If the administration’s goal in Syria is regime change, maybe it should wait and see whether the Syrian people effect it in a peaceful manner next spring or, if the incumbent is re-elected, accept the fact that democracy doesn’t always work out the way we would like.
Postscript: If you didn’t know about recent political developments in Syria, don’t feel bad. I attended an event the other day where none of the speakers – neither Cole Bockenfeld and Stephen McInerney of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) nor Shadi Hamid, Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution – were aware of the elections held under the new Syrian constitution.
The events in Volgograd are part of a much larger body of events and a multi-faceted struggle that has been going on for decades as part of a cold war after the Cold War—the post-Cold War cold war, if you please—that was a result of two predominately Eurocentric world wars. When George Orwell wrote his book 1984 and talked about a perpetual war between the fictional entities of Oceania and Eurasia, he may have had a general idea about the current events that are going on in mind or he may have just been thinking of the struggle between the Soviet Union and, surrounded by two great oceans, the United States of America.
So what does Volgograd have to do with the dizzying notion presented? Firstly, it is not schizophrenic to tie the events in Volgograd to either the conflict in the North Caucasus and to the fighting in Syria or to tie Syria to the decades of fighting in the post-Soviet North Caucasus. The fighting in Syria and the North Caucuses are part of a broader struggle for the mastery over Eurasia. The conflicts in the Middle East are part of this very grand narrative, which to many seems to be so far from the reality of day to day life.
“Bandar Bush” goes to Mother Russia
For the purposes of supporting such an assertion we will have to start with the not-so-secret visit of a shadowy Saudi regime official to Moscow. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the infamous Saudi terrorist kingpin and former House of Saud envoy to Washington turned intelligence guru, last visited the Russian Federation in early-December 2013. Bandar bin Sultan was sent by King Abdullah to solicit the Russian government into abandoning the Syrians. The goal of Prince Bandar was to make a deal with the Kremlin to let Damascus be overtaken by the Saudi-supported brigades that were besieging the Syrian government forces from Syria’s countryside and border regions since 2011. Bandar met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two held closed-door discussions about both Syria and Iran at Putin’s official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.
The last meeting that Bandar had with Putin was a few months earlier in July 2013. That meeting was also held in Russia. The July talks between Prince Bandar and President Putin also included Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. One would also imagine that discussion about the Iranians increased with each visit too, as Bandar certainly tried to get the Russians on bad terms with their Iranian allies.
After Bandar’s first meeting with President Putin, it was widely reported that the House of Saud wanted to buy Russia off. Agence France-Presse and Reuters both cited the unnamed diplomats of the Arab petro-monarchies, their March 14 lackeys in Lebanon, and their Syrian opposition puppets as saying that Saudi Arabia offered to sign a lucrative arms contract with Moscow and give the Kremlin a guarantee that the Arab petro-sheikdoms would not threaten the Russian gas market in Europe or use Syria for a gas pipeline to Europe.
Russia knew better than to do business with the House of Saud. It had been offered a lucrative arms deal by the Saudi regime much earlier, in 2008, to make some backdoor compromises at the expense of Iran. After the compromises were made by Moscow the House of Saud put the deal on ice. If the media leaks in AFP and Reuters were not tactics or lies in the first place aimed at creating tensions between the Syrian and Russian governments, the purportedly extravagant bribes to betray Syria were wasted on the ears of Russian officials.
The House of Saud and the undemocratic club of Arab petro-monarchies that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have always talked large about money. The actions of these self portrayed lords of the Arabia Peninsula have almost never matched their words and promises. To anyone who deals with them, the House of Saud and company are known for habitually making grand promises that they will never keep, especially when it comes to money. Even when money is delivered, the full amount committed is never given and much of it is stolen by their corrupt partners and cronies. Whether it is the unfulfilled 2008 arms contract with Russia that was facilitated with the involvement of Iraqi former CIA asset Iyad Allawi or the overabundant commitments of financial and logistical aid to the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples that never materialized, the Arab petro-sheikhdoms have never done more than talk grandly and then get their propagandist to write articles about their generosity and splendor. Underneath all the grandeur and sparkles there has always been bankruptcy, insecurity, and emptiness.
A week after the first meeting with Bandar, the Kremlin responded to the media buzz about the attempted bribe by Saudi Arabia. Yury Ushakov, one of Putin’s top aides and the former Russian ambassador to the US, categorically rejected the notion that any deal was accepted or even entertained by the Kremlin. Ushakov avowed that not even bilateral cooperation was discussed between the Saudis and Russia. According to the Kremlin official, the talks between Bandar and Putin were simply about the policies of Moscow and Riyadh on Syria and the second international peace conference being planned about Syria in Geneva, Switzerland.
More Leaks: Fighting Fire with Fire?
If his objective was to get the Russians to abandon Syria, Prince Bandar left both meetings in Russia empty-handed. Nevertheless, his visit left a trail of unverifiable reports and speculation. Discretion is always needed when analyzing these accounts which are part of the information war about Syria being waged on all sides by the media. The planted story from the Saudi side about trying to buy the Russians was not the only account of what took place in the Russian-Saudi talks. There was also a purported diplomatic leak which most likely surfaced as a counter-move to the planted story about Bandar’s proposal. This leak elaborated even further on the meeting between Bandar and Putin. Threats were made according to the second leak that was published in Arabic by the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir on August 21, 2013.
According to the Lebanese newspaper, not only did Prince Bandar tell the Russians during their first July meeting that the regimes of the GCC would not threaten the Russian gas monopoly in Europe, but he made promises to the Russians that they could keep their naval facility on the Mediterranean coast of Syria and that he would give the House of Saud’s guarantee to protect the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in the North Caucasian resort city of Sochi, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, from the Chechen separatist militias under Saudi control. If Moscow cooperated with Riyadh and Washington against Damascus, the leak discloses that Bandar also stated that the same Chechen militants fighting inside Syria to topple the Syrian government would not be given a role in Syria’s political future.
When the Russians refused to betray their Syrian allies, Prince Bandar then threatened Russia with the cancellation of the second planned peace conference in Geneva and with the unleashing of the military option against the Syrians the leak imparts.
This leak, which presents a veiled Saudi threat about the intended attacks on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, led to a frenzy of speculations internationally until the end of August 2013, amid the high tensions arising from the US threats to attack Syria and the threats coming from Iran to intervene on the side of their Syrians allies against the United States. Originating from the same politically affiliated media circle in Lebanon, reports about Russian military preparations to attack Saudi Arabia in response to a war against Syria began to circulate from the newspaper Al-Ahed also, further fueling the chain of speculations.
A House of Saud Spin on the Neo-Con “Redirection”
Seymour Hersh wrote in 2007 that after the 2006 defeat of Israel in Lebanon that the US government had a new strategy called the “redirection.” According to Hersh, the “redirection” had “brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.” With the cooperation of Saudi Arabia and all the same players that helped launch Osama bin Ladin’s career in Afghanistan, the US government took “part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria.” The most important thing to note is what Hersh says next: “A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
A new House of Saud spin on the “redirection” has begun. If there is anything the House of Saud knows well, it is rounding up fanatics as tools at the service of Saudi Arabia’s patrons in Washington. They did it in Afghanistan, they did it Bosnia, they have done it in Russia’s North Caucasus, they did it in Libya, and they are doing it in both Lebanon and Syria. It does not take the British newspaperThe Independent to publish an article titled “Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis” for the well-informed to realize this.
The terrorist bombings in Lebanon mark a new phase of the conflict in Syria, which is aimed at forcing Hezbollah to retreat from Syria by fighting in a civil war on its home turf. The attacks are part of the “redirection.” The House of Saud has accented this new phase through its ties to the terrorist attacks on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on November 19, 2013. The attacks were carried out by individuals linked to the notorious Ahmed Al-Assir who waged a reckless battle against the Lebanese military from the Lebanese city of Sidon as part of an effort to ignite a sectarian civil war in Lebanon.
Al-Assir’s rise, however, was politically and logistically aided by the House of Saud and its shameless Hariri clients in Lebanon. He is also part of the same “redirection” policy and current that brought Fatah Al-Islam to Lebanon. This is why it is no surprise to see Hariri’s Future Party flag flying alongside Al-Qaeda flags in Lebanon. After Al-Assir’s failed attempt to start a sectarian Lebanese civil war, he went into hiding and it was even alleged that he was taken in by one of the GCC embassies.
In regard to the House of Saud’s roles in the bombings in Lebanon, Hezbollah would confirm that the attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut was linked to the House of Saud. Hezbollah’s leadership would report that the Abdullah Izzam Brigade, which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda and tied to the bombings, is directly linked to the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, the Saudi agent, Majed Al-Majed, responsible for the attack would be apprehended by Lebanese security forces in late-December 2013. He had entered Lebanon after working with Al-Nusra in Syria. Fars News Agency, an Iranian media outlet, would report on January 2, 2014 that unnamed Lebanese sources had also confirmed that they had discovered that the attack was linked to Prince Bandar.
Wrath of the House of Saud Unleashed?
A lot changed between the first and second meetings that Prince Bandar and Vladimir Putin had, respectively in July 2013 and December 2013. The House of Saud expected its US patron to get the Pentagon involved in a conventional bombing campaign against Syria in the month of September. It is more than likely that Riyadh was in the dark about the nature of secret negotiations that the US and Iran were holding through the backchannel of Oman in the backdrop of what appeared to be an escalation towards open war.
Bandar’s threat to reassess the House of Saud’s ties with Washington is probably a direct result of the US government keeping the House of Saud in the dark about using Syria as a means of negotiating with the Iranian government. US officials may have instigated the House of Saud to intensify its offensive against Syria to catalyze the Iranians into making a deal to avoid an attack on Syria and a regional war. Moreover, not only did the situation between the US and Iran change, Russia would eventually sign an important energy contract for Syrian natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea. The House of Saud has been undermined heavily in multiple ways and it is beginning to assess its own expendability.
If one scratches deep enough, they will find that the same ilk that attacked the Iranian Embassy in Beirut also attacked the Russian Embassy in Damascus. Both terrorist attacks were gifts to Iran and Russia, which served as reprisals for the Iranian and Russian roles in protecting Syria from regime change and a destructive war. It should, however, be discerned if the House of Saud is genuinely lashing out at Iran and Russia or if it being manipulated to further the goals of Washington in the US negotiations with Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus.
In the same manner, the House of Saud wants to generously reward Hezbollah too for its role in protecting Syria by crippling Hezbollah domestically in Lebanon. Riyadh may possibly not want a full scale war in Lebanon like the Israelis do, but it does want to neutralize and eliminate Hezbollah from the Lebanese landscape. In this regard, Saudi Arabia has earnestly been scheming to recruit Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman and the Lebanese military against Hezbollah and its supporters.
The Saud grant of three billion dollars to the Lebanese Armed Forces is not only blood money being given to Lebanon as a means of exonerating Saudi Arabia for its role in the terrorist bombings that have gripped the Lebanese Republic since 2013, the Saudi money is also aimed at wishfully restructuring the Lebanese military as a means of using it to neutralize Hezbollah. In line with the House of Saud’s efforts, pledges from the United Arab Emirates and reports that NATO countries are also planning on donating money and arms to the Lebanese military started.
In addition to the terrorists bombings in Lebanon and the attack on the Russian Embassy in Damascus, Russia has also been attacked. Since the Syrian conflict intensified there has been a flaring of tensions in Russia’s North Caucasus and a breakout of terrorist attacks. Russian Muslim clerics, known for their views on co-existence between Russia’s Christian and Muslim communities and anti-separatist views, have been murdered. The bombings in Volgograd are just the most recent cases and an expansion into the Volga of what is happening in the North Caucasus, but they come disturbingly close to the start of the Winter Olympics that Prince Bandar was saying would be “protected” if Moscow betrayed Syria.
Can the House of Saud Stand on its Own Feet?
It is a widely believed that you will find the US and Israelis pulling a lot of the strings if you look behind the dealings of the House of Saud. That view is being somewhat challenged now. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, threatened that Saudi Arabia will go it alone against Syria and Iran in a December 2013 article. The letter, like the Saudi rejection of their UN Security Council seat, was airing the House of Saud’s rage against the realists running US foreign policy.
In this same context, it should also be noted for those that think that Saudi Arabia has zero freedom of action that Israeli leaders have stressed for many years that Tel Aviv needs to cooperate secretly with Saudi Arabia to manipulate the US against Iran. This is epitomized by the words of Israeli Brigadier-General Oded Tira: “We must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran.”
Along similar lines, some may point out that together the House of Saud and Israel got France to delay an interim nuclear agreement between the Iranians and the P5+1 in Geneva. The House of Saud rewarded Paris through lucrative deals, which includes making sure that the grant it gives to the Lebanese military is spent on French military hardware. Saad Hariri, the main Saudi client in Lebanon, even met Francois Hollande and French officials in Saudi Arabia in context of the deal. Appeasing the House of Saud and Israel, French President Hollande has replicated France’s stonewalling of the P5+1 interim nuclear deal with Iran by trying to spoil the second Syria peace conference in Geneva by saying that there can be no political solution inside Syria if President Bashar Al-Assad stays in power.
Again, however, it has to be asked, is enraging Saudi Arabia part of a US strategy to make the Saudis exert maximum pressure on Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus so that the United States can optimize its gains in negotiations? After all, it did turn out that the US was in league with France in Geneva and that the US used the French stonewalling of an agreement with Iran to make additional demands from the Iranians during the negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that the US negotiation team had actually circulated a draft agreement that had been amended in response to France’s demands before Iran and the other world powers even had a chance to study them. The draft by the US team was passed around, in Foreign Minister Lavrov’s own words, “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
Instead of debating on the level of independence that the House of Saud possesses, it is important to ask if Saudi Arabia can act on its own and to what degree can the House of Saud act as an independent actor. This looks like a far easier question to answer. It is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia can act on its own in most instances or even remain an intact state. This is why Israeli strategists very clearly state that Saudi Arabia is destined to fall apart. “The entire Arabian Peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia,” the Israeli Yinon Plan deems. Strategists in Washington are also aware of this and this is also why they have replicated models of a fragmented Saudi Arabia. This gives rise to another important question: if they US assess that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not a sustainable entity, will it use it until the burns out like a flame? Is this what is happening and is Saudi Arabia being sacrificed or setup to take the blame as the “fall guy” by the United States?
Who is Hiding Behind the House of Saud?
Looking back at Lebanon, the messages from international media outlets via their headlines is that the bombings in Lebanon highlight or reflect a power struggle between the House of Saud and Tehran in Lebanon and the rest of the region. Saying nothing about the major roles of the US, Israel, and their European allies, these misleading reports by the likes of journalists like Anne Barnard casually blame everything in Syria and Lebanon on a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, erasing the entire history behind what has happened and casually sweeping all the interests behind the conflict(s) under the rug. This is dishonest and painting a twisted Orientalist narrative.
The outlets trying to make it sound like all the Middle East’s problems are gravitating around some sort of Iranian and Saudi rivalry might as well write that “the Saudis and Iranians are the sources behind the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the sources behind the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that crippled the most advanced Arab country, the ones that are blockading medication from reaching Gaza due to their rivalry, the ones who enforced a no-fly zone over Libya, the ones that are launching killer drone attacks on Yemen, and the ones that are responsible for the billions of dollars that disappeared from the Iraqi Treasury in 2003 after Washington and London invaded that country and controlled its finances.” These outlets and reports are tacitly washing the hands of actors like Washington, Tel Aviv, Paris, and London clean of blood by trying to construct a series of false narratives that either blame everything on a regional rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh or the premise that the Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims are fighting an eternal war that they are biologically programmed to wage against one another.
Arabs and Iranians and Shias and Sunnis are tacitly painted as un-human creatures that cannot be understood and savages to audiences. The New York Times even dishonestly implies that the Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims in Lebanon are killing one another in tit-for-tat attacks. It sneakily implies that Hezbollah and its Lebanese rivals are assassinating one another. Bernard, its reporter in Lebanon who was mentioned earlier, along with another colleague write:
In what have been seen as tit-for-tat attacks, car bombs have targeted Hezbollah-dominated neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of Beirut and Sunni mosques in the northern city of Tripoli.
On Friday, a powerful car bomb killed Mohamad B. Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister who was a major figure in the Future bloc, a political group that is Hezbollah’s main Sunni rival.
The New York Times is cunningly trying to make its readers think that Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing as part of a Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict by concluding with an explanation that the slain former Lebanese finance minister belonged to “Hezbollah’s main Sunni rival” after saying that the bombings in Lebanon “have been seen as tit-for-tat attacks” between the areas that support Hezbollah and “Sunni mosques” in Tripoli
The US and Israel wish that a Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict was occurring in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East. They have been working for this. It has been them that have been manipulating Saudi Arabia to instigate sectarianism. The US and Israel have been prodding the House of Saud—which does not represent the Sunni Muslims, let alone the people of Saudi Arabia which are under its occupation—against Iran, all the while trying to conceal and justify the conflict being instigated as some sort of “natural” rivalry between Shiites and Sunnis that is being played out across the Middle East.
It has been assessed with high confidence by outsiders concerned by the House of Saud’s inner dealings that Prince Bandar is one of the three Al-Saud princes managing Saudi Arabia’s security and foreign policy; the other two being Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Saudi deputy foreign minister and one of King Abdullah’s point men on Syria due to his ties to Syria from his maternal side, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the interior minister. All three of them are tied to the United States more than any of their predecessors. Prince Bandar himself has a long history of working closely with the United States, which explains the endearing moniker of “Bandar Bush” that he is widely called by. “Chemical Bandar” can be added to the list too, because of the reports about his ties to the Syrian chemical weapon attacks in Ghouta.
As a US client, Saudi Arabia is a source of instability because it has been conditioned hence by Washington. Fighting the terrorist and extremist threat is now being used by the US as a point of convergence with Iran, which coincidently has authored the World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) motion at the United Nations. In reality, the author of the regional problems and instability has been Washington itself. In a masterstroke, the realists now at the helm of foreign policy are pushing American-Iranian rapprochement on the basis of what Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor of the US, said would be based on Tehran and Washington working together to secure Iran’s “volatile regional environment.” “Any eventual reconciliation [between the US and Iranian governments] should be based on the recognition of a mutual strategic interest in stabilizing what currently is a very volatile regional environment for Iran,” he explains. The point should not be lost either that Brzezinski is the man who worked with the Saudis to arm the Afghan Mujahedeen against the Soviets after he organized an intelligence operation to fool the Soviets into militarily entering Afghanistan in the first place.
The House of Saud did not work alone in Afghanistan during the Cold War either. It was rigorously backed by Washington. The United States was even more involved in the fighting. It is the same in Syria. If the diplomatic leak is to be believed about the meeting between Bandar and Putin, it is of merit to note that “Bandar Bush” told Putin that any “Saudi-Russian understanding” would also be part of an “American-Russian understanding.”
Has the “Redirection” Seen its Stalingrad?
Volgograd was called Stalingrad for a part of Soviet history, in honour of the Republic of Georgia’s most famous son and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It was Volgograd, back then called Stalingrad, where the Germans were stopped and the tide of war in Europe was turned against Hitler and his Axis allies in Europe. The Battle of Stalingrad was where the Nazis were defeated and it was in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe where the bulk of the fighting against the Germans was conducted. Nor is it any exaggeration to credit the Soviets—Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Tartar, Georgian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Chechen, and all—for doing most of the fighting to defeat the Germans in the Second World War.
Judging by the bellicose 2013 New Years Eve speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the terrorist attacks in Volgograd will be the start of another Battle of Stalingrad of some sorts and the launch of another Russian “war on terror.” Many of the terrorists that Russia will go after are in Syria and supported by the House of Saud.
The opponents of the Resistance Bloc that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian resistance groups form have called the battlefields in Syria the Stalingrad of Iran and its regional allies. Syria has been a Stalingrad of some sorts too, but not for the Resistance Bloc. The alliance formed by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel has begun to unravel in its efforts to enforce regime change in Syria. The last few years have marked the beginning of a humiliating defeat for those funding extremism, separatism, and terrorism against countries like Russia, China, Iran, and Syria as a means of preventing Eurasian cohesion. Another front of this same battle is being politically waged by the US and the EU in the Ukraine in a move to prevent the Ukrainians from integrating with Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
Volgograd and the Conquest of Eurasia
While speculation has been entertained with warning in this text, most of what has been explained has not been speculative. The House of Saud has had a role in destabilizing the Russian Federation and organizing terrorist attacks inside Russia. Support or oppose the separatist movements in the North Caucasus, the point is that they have been opportunistically aided and used by the House of Saud and Washington. Despite the authenticity of the narrative about Bandar’s threats against Russia, Volgograd is about Syria and Syria is about Volgograd. Both are events taking place as part of the same struggle. The US has been trying to encroach into Syria as a means of targeting Russia and encroaching deeper in the heart of Eurasia.
When George Orwell wrote 1984 he saw the world divided into several entities at constant or “eternal” war with one another. His fictitious superstates police language, use total surveillance, and utterly manipulate mass communication to indoctrinate and deceive their peoples. Roughly speaking, Orwell’s Oceania is formed by the US and its formal and informal territories in the Western Hemisphere, which the Monroe Doctrine has essentially declared are US colonies, confederated with Britain and the settler colonies-cum-dominions of the former British Empire (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa). The Orwellian concept of Eurasia is an amalgamation of the Soviet Union with continental Europe. The entity of Eastasia on the other hand is formed around China. Southeast Asia, India, and the parts of Africa that do not fall under the influence of Oceanic South Africa are disputed territory that is constantly fought for. Although not specifically mentioned, it can be extrapolated that Southwest Asia, where Syria is located, or parts of it are probably part of this fictional disputed territory, which includes North Africa.
If we try to fit Orwellian terms onto the present set of global relations, we can say that Oceania has made its moves against Eurasia/Eastasia for control of disputed territory (in the Middle East and North Africa).
1984 is not just a novel, it is a warning from the farseeing Orwell. Nonetheless, never did he imagine that his Eurasia would make cause with or include Eastasia through a core triple alliance and coalition comprised of Russia, China, and Iran. Eurasia will finish, in one way or another, whatOceania has started. All the while, as the House of Saud and the other rulers of the Arab petro-sheikhdoms continue to compete with one another in building fancy towers, the Sword of Damocles is getting heavier over their heads.
Source: Global Research
The ideological chains that bind and subdue us are stronger and more effective than any chain forged from steel. These manacles are more freedom inhibiting than a prison cell or solitary confinement. Belief, faith, and hope can imprison as well as liberate us. By the power of suggestion, a thin cotton string can effectively tether an elephant.
Politicians and their associates in the corporate media are master manipulators of language and images. Anytime you hear them speak, think of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave). Virtually everything that we see and hear, nearly everything we have been told, is an officious lie, an illusion created to deceive and control us. The purpose of deception is to promote the dogma and welfare of those in power, while implicitly disempowering those who are being deceived. Language is rarely, if ever, neutral. Coercive ideology lurks behind every sentence.
In a sense, all language is propaganda, even the words on this page. For instance, in this short essay, I declare my intention to lead my readers to a conclusion that I hope will awaken them, promote consciousness, and encourage principled behavior that is conducive to the collective emancipation of the working class.
Our faith in capitalistic institutions promotes the pretense of democracy, while it delivers plutocracy, corporate fascism, and militarism. Similarly, imprudent belief in the American Dream induces people to behave in ways that promote the welfare of those in power rather than the perspectives of those of us struggling to be free. Belief in this discredited notion keeps workers from organizing against their oppressors.
The puppeteers casting shadows on the cave wall know that the images they project are not real. By contrast, the indoctrinated audience interprets the shadows as authentic figures rather than the phantasms they are. The purveyors of mythos and propaganda, the authors of the sanctioned historical narrative that defines reality for the masses, are consciously misleading us. The empowered are aware that we are attempting to navigate a house of mirrors with trap doors, but we continue to believe that the flickering images on the cave wall are real. Interpretation is everything.
Americans believe that we are a free and representative republic, because that is what we have always been told, despite evidence to the contrary. But choosing our oppressors every few years makes us neither free nor democratic. Electoral outcomes that are determined by capital do not give us a real voice in fashioning an equitable economic agenda, taxation, or foreign policy, including decisions about war. Participation in bogus systems of power binds us to delusions and keeps us ideologically imprisoned. They prevent us from taking meaningful action.
In America, working people are excluded from all of the important decisions that profoundly affect their lives. Legislators at all levels of government are beholden to the corporations and wealthy individuals who fund their campaigns. To the power elite, “we the people” are little more than background noise to be tuned out.
Cast a stone at the mirrors and the illusion immediately dissolves into shards of broken glass. A perplexing chain reaction is set in motion; worlds fall like rows of dominoes and fill the vacuum vacated by appearance with new images, new ideas, and new possibilities. Polaris abruptly appears with the stars of Ursa Minor wrapped around her like a jeweled necklace glistening in the velvet black darkness of eternal night. She was always there but concealed behind striated walls of silvered glass in the great American funhouse of lies and delusion we call reality.
Bearing the Allegory of the Cave in mind, consider this: If a worker puts his faith in an economic system that exploits and alienates him, his faith shackles rather than liberates him. Correspondingly, if a man believes that his oppressor is his liberator or protector, he ideologically imprisons himself and promotes behavior that benefits and strengthens his tormentor rather than himself or his socioeconomic class. If he believes that the systems of power serve him and promote justice rather than work for his capitalist masters, he will not attempt to dismantle them. The worker must then not only overcome his oppressor, he must first transcend his own ideological beliefs and ignorance before he can even begin to extricate himself.
In many ways, us workers are our own worst enemy. We lose our humanity, become alienated from our highest self, our families, our communities, our coworkers, and the Earth Mother. As participants in and recipients of unfettered capitalism, we have become the unwitting tools of universal oppression and militarism we claim to disdain. Our demise stems from the misinterpretation of reality and our shifting location within a volatile matrix of phantasmagoric holograms, none of which are real.
We believe what we hear and do what we are told rather than think critically about anything. Questioning authority makes us uncomfortable, and there are always consequences to challenging the dominant paradigm. We have an abiding psychological need to believe that everything we think we know about our country and the world is as advertised because the alternative terrifies us. We thus surrender our conscience and our life to become a tool of the unscrupulous sociopaths in power.
The American worker must comprehend that his assigned role within the capitalist system is not to be a thoughtful or conscious human being, but rather an efficient economic serf, a dehumanized automaton concealed within in a human husk. Painful as this reality is, it does not behoove us to believe or act otherwise. The worker’s plight is like being a solider in the war-torn Middle East: take orders and do what you are told. Check your conscience and your humanity at the door. We all know where that leads.
Armed with this knowledge, perhaps we may finally begin the vital work of our individual and collective emancipation. Our subordinate role in this unequal economic, social, and political arrangement must be challenged and subverted. No one is born a slave. The only power anyone has over us is that which we allow them to have.
How do you sum up 2013 as a year for the United States and her citizens? What criteria do you use? Good, bad and ugly? As Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations. Well, do ya’ punk?” The same could be said for our country. Do we understand our limitations?
On the immigration front, 20 million illegal aliens “itched” to get themselves legalized so they could continue their “Aztlan Reconquista” of the four southwestern states. Spanish co-equals English in America because Congress runs from any sense of responsibility to our immigration laws and the English language that built America. As their numbers grow, illegal migrants march toward their goal with the help of President Barack Obama, himself a non-citizen, the ACLU, and 535 Congressional critters that refuse to enforce our Constitutional laws.
After 11 years replete with $1 trillion wasted, our military men and women remain in the Islamic insane asylum of Afghanistan doing nothing but pouring money and lives down the rat-hole. The military industrial complex works its wonders with Obama and Congress to start a war with Iran. The bankers and moneychangers lick their chops at the thought of endless and meaningless wars overseas. As General Smedley Butler said in his memoirs, “War is a racket for bankers and politicians.”
Psychologists expect anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 young men will commit suicide from their senseless service in the Islamic nuthouse of the Middle East. Endless forms of PTSD cause broken marriages, fatherless families, alcoholic & drug addicted soldiers and nonstop misfortune for our military veterans.
For a 5th straight year, Barack Obama proves himself an inept, incompetent and totally lackluster president of the United States. Food stamp recipients charged from 36 million at the beginning of his first term to 48.1 million subsisting on food stamps today. He drove the federal deficit from $12 trillion in 2008 to its current $18 trillion in 2013. More blacks suffer unemployment, poverty, incarceration and welfare than under any other president.
While 14 million Americans remained unemployed and 7 million under employed, Obama and Congress imported over 2.0 million legal and illegal immigrants into America in 2013. Obama and Congress failed to create jobs for the 48.1 million Americans living on food stamps, but they increased section 8 housing, “free” school lunches, medical care and ESL courses for illegal foreign children.
Because the U.S. continues as the third largest and fastest growing country because of immigration, we also accelerate global carbon footprint with millions of added car exhausts, chimneys and factories that acidifies our oceans and causes such horrific weather changes that create Hurricane Sandy, Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan. With the expected 100 million additional immigrants in the next 36 years, we can expect Mother Nature to respond commensurately.
On the sociological front, we saw Hispanic George Zimmerman kill one young thug named Trayvon Martin that created national headlines while 1,400 black Americans killed another 1,400 black Americans—but no one at the national level, the Black Caucus or Al Sharpton made a mention of blacks slaughtering blacks. Meanwhile, the mainstream media made not one mention of “Black Flash Mobs” or “Black Knockout Games” where American blacks run around killing whites for the fun of it. Three blacks in Oklahoma killed a white Australian college baseball player, “For the fun of it.”
If you look at the dropout/flunkout rates in our educational systems such as a 76 percent high school dropout rate in Detroit, Michigan to 60 percent flunkout rate in Mexican-dominated Los Angeles, we continue on our downward spiral of a “functionally illiterate” civilization where dumb people outnumber educated people, but enjoy endless welfare, food, cell phones, medical care and housing on the backs of those of us who study, work and contribute.
On the federal level, we see a culture of corruption in the Obama White House and Congress that gave us incompetence, malfeasance and covered up the Benghazi murders, Fast and Furious gun running, NSA spying, 22 Islamic jihad compounds now operating in America and imported tens of thousands of Muslims via legal immigration that will end up undermining our country’s culture, language and laws.
Sharia Law charges into our country as fast as their numbers grow. Obama features eight Islamic staff working full time in the White House. In the next three years, we will see countless tens of thousands of Muslims imported into America to bring “hope and change” for Islam in America. At some point, Muslims will bomb our electrical grid with multiple-coordinated teams, which will make 9/11 look like a garden party. Few of us realize our vulnerability, and remember, when jihad warriors succeed, they enjoy 72 virgins in Islamic heaven.
On the health-care front, Obamacare stumbled, faltered and fell on every level. Ironically, Americans show they don’t care about their health, as over half of our population grows intolerably obese. Fifty millions Americans smoke, 10 million alcoholics abound while diabetes became a national epidemic. Cancer continues as the number one killer, but few connect it to our contaminated air, water and soil via endless chemicals injected into our biosphere.
On the trade front, China owns us. They buy U.S. companies, land and entire office districts here in the USA. By the time they get done, they will dictate what we do, who we are and how we operate.
As we transform and deform into a polyglot, chaotic, multi-lingual and multicultural society, we continue to watch the Middle Class degrade into non-existence. We watch the American flag become the Mexican flag, the Middle Eastern flag and hundreds of other flags from immigrants that could care less about America.
On the international front, no one suspects or reports on the growing radioactive plume originating from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. That radio-active water circulates into all the oceans—contaminating every living creature below the waters around the world—and contaminating all the fish and marine life we use for food. That event will prove the greatest ecological debacle for humanity for all of history. Cancers, destroyed eco-systems, degraded oceans and much worse await humanity.
What’s amazing about 2013? Men wasted 29 hours weekly watching the idiot box as to football, baseball, hockey and basketball. For the Americans with jobs, we partied, played and ordered pizza. We drove around without the faintest clue as to what Congress and Obama continue accomplishing: utterly and completely ignoring our sacred Constitution and Bill of Rights.
As we dance into 2014, I can only appreciate that our country faces financial collapse, sociological degradation, environmental deterioration, accelerated immigration numbers to 2.0 million annually, millions of jobless whites, blacks and Hispanics, energy exhaustion, environmental breakdown and resource depletion.
Will 2014 get better? This should foreshadow the answer as Mark Twain said, “Suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; ah, but I repeat myself.”
Another Facebook writer said, “Obama is what you get when you allow idiots, illegals and welfare recipients to vote.”
The CIA really screwed up back in 1961 when it plotted to murder Patrice Lumumba — and just look at the mess they created in all of central Africa as a result, even today. The CIA also blew it bigtime when it assassinated the democratically-elected president of Iran back in 1952 — and Iran has pretty much been one of the CIA’s biggest headaches ever since.
And of course there was also the CIA’s famous Mandela fiasco — wherein “The Company” supported apartheid in South Africa and schemed to have Mandela thrown in jail. No wonder Raul Castro was so welcome at Mandela’s funeral. Cuba was a major anti-apartheid player, while the CIA once again stood on the wrong side of history, supported the Bad Guys and helped engineer the evils of bantustans, mass torture, dumpasses and the cold-blooded slaughter of school girls — plus the CIA, like one other dynasty I could mention right now, also put out false propaganda that South Africa was awash with happy Blacks picking cotton.
The CIA’s next total blunder took place in Chile. How many thousands and thousands were tortured and killed there for no reason as a result of CIA interference in a democratically-elected government there? According to the Washington Post, the number was 32,197 — but we may never know the real statistics for sure. Let’s list Chile as another political (and moral) failure for “The Agency”.
Don’t even get me started on Vietnam. Or Cambodia. A land-war in Asia? Never a good idea.
And let’s not forget the CIA’s disgusting and ugly ongoing disaster in Central America, starting in 1954 when the CIA drew up a “disposal list” to systematically assassinate 58 of Guatemala’s democratically-elected leaders in order to install the worst sort of dictators there. This illegal and immoral strategy eventually cost American taxpayers untold billions of dollars — yet another big “Fail” for the “Certified Incompetents of America”.
And even today, when farmers in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala go out to plow their fields, they are still finding silent graves filled with whitened bones planted there by CIA-backed Death Squads. That whole decade of the 1980s was just one big blood bath after another in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. I shudder to even think about it. So much shame is there. And so much bad PR for America.
But let’s not forget Iraq either, the CIA at its very lowest ebb. False intel there. A trillion dollars frittered away on creating corpses — a million of them by some counts. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
And the CIA-backed neo-cons in Israel have also been a big failure. Those IDF blackshirts have turned out to be nothing more than Cossacks in sheep’s clothing as they run their viscous pogroms through the Christian and Muslim shtetls of the West Bank and Gaza http://www.roitov.com/
Not to mention CIA failures in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Belfast, Beirut, Georgia, Cuba, Grenada and Dallas. You can always count on the CIA to back the wrong players and/or play the wrong game. The whole Middle East is in flames today, thanks to the CIA. Not to mention the alleged blow-back in 2001 at the World Trade Center — or was that just another one of the CIA’s failed war games too? Either way, America also lost bigtime here due to the CIA. http://www.
Imagine if “The Agency” had been around during the 1776 Revolution! With the kind of help that it has to offer, we’d still be saluting the Queen and sipping High Tea. And the CIA would have just loved George Armstrong Custer. “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.” Sounds like CIA spies wrote that report.
“But Jane,” you might ask, “if the CIA has had so many abominable black marks against it and such dismal failures on its books, how come ‘The Company’ hasn’t gone bankrupt yet?” That’s a very good question. If any other corporation in America had failed its customers this often, abysmally and immorally, one would think that it would have been forced to go bankrupt a long time ago. Its publicly-traded stock would have been worthless and laughed at. But not this “Company”. Apparently the CIA leads a very charmed life.
I occasionally wish that I could do something like that too — start a business and know for sure and always that no matter what wrong thing I would ever do with it, what ever bad business decision I would ever make or how often I would horribly screw up, I would still automatically make almost a hundred billion a year anyway. Wouldn’t that be cool — to just sit back and receive corporate welfare like “The Agency” does, no matter how badly I blow it. Those CIA people certainly do have it all going on.
“But Jane,” you might also ask, “the CIA is a government operation, not a corporation.” Yeah right. You just keep telling yourself that. The CIA never has to answer to We the People. It answers only to the corporations that own it. That’s not “government”. Government, in a true democracy, must be of service to its people. And how the freak have We ever been served by having America’s reputation shredded to ribbons throughout the world?
According to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, Barack Obama now ranks among the least popular presidents in the last century. In fact, his approval rating is lower than Bush’s was in his fifth year in office. Obama’s overall approval rating stands at a dismal 43 percent, with a full 55 percent of the public “disapproving of the way he is handling the economy”. The same percentage of people “disapprove of the way he is handling his job as president”. Thus, on the two main issues, leadership and the economy, Obama gets failing grades.
An even higher percentage of people are upset at the way the president is implementing his signature health care system dubbed “Obamacare”. When asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling “implementation of the new health care law?” A full 62% said they disapprove, although I suspect that the anger has less to do with the plan’s “implementation” than it does with the fact that Obamacare is widely seen as a profit-delivery system for the voracious insurance industry. Notwithstanding the administration’s impressive public relations campaign, a clear majority of people have seen through Obama’s health care ruse and given the program a big thumb’s down.
Of course, Obamacare is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The list of policy disasters that preceded this latest fiasco is nearly endless, including everything from blanket pardons for the Wall Street big-wigs who took down the global financial system, to re-upping the Bush tax cuts, to appointing a commission of deficit hawks to slash Social Security and Medicare (Bowles-Simpson), to breaking his word on Gitmo, to reneging on his promise to pass Card Check, to expanding to wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, to droning 4-times as many civilians as the homicidal maniac he replaced as president in 2008.
Obama’s treatment of undocumented immigrants has been particularly shocking although the details have been kept out of the media, presumably because the news giants don’t want to expose the Dear Leader as a heartless scoundrel who has no problem separating mothers from their children, locking them up in privately-owned concentration camps and booting them out of the country with nothing more than the shirt on their back. Check out this blurb which sums up Obama’s “progressive” immigration policy in one paragraph:
“Obama is on track to deport 3 million immigrants without papers by the end of his second term, more than any other president. George W. Bush deported about 2 million over two terms. Obama will likely hit that mark this month….. The average daily count of immigrants in detention now is about 33,000. In 2001, it was 19,000. In 1994, it was 5,000, according to the Detention Watch Network. Almost all of the detainees and deportees are Latino. True, the population of illegal immigrants has also doubled in that time to more than 11 million. But the detainee and deportee counts have escalated more than twice as fast.
“He could go down as the worst president in history toward immigrants,” said Arturo Carmona, executive director of the liberal activist group Presente.org.
Hooray for the Deporter in Chief! You’re Numero Uno, buddy. You even beat Bush! Is it any wonder why the man’s ratings are in freefall?
All told, Obama has been bad for the economy, bad for civil liberties, bad for minorities, bad for foreign wars, and bad for health care. He has, however, been a very effective lackey-sock puppet for Wall Street, Big Pharma, the oil magnates, and the other 1% -vermin Kleptocrats who run the country and who will undoubtedly attend his $100,000-per-plate speaking engagements when he finally retires in comfort to some gated community where he’ll work on his memoirs and cash in on his 8 years of faithful service to the racketeer class.
But, let’s face it; no one really gives a rip about “drone attacks in Waziristan” or “hunger strikes in Gitmo”. What they care about is keeping their jobs, paying off their student loans, putting the food on the table or avoiding the fate of next-door-neighbor, Andy, who got his pink slip two months ago and now finds himself living in a cardboard box by the river. That’s what the average working stiff worries about; just scraping by enough to stay out of the homeless shelter. But it’s getting harder all the time, mainly because everything’s gotten worse under Obama. It’s crazy. It’s like the whole middle class is being dismantled in a 10-year period. Wages are flat, jobs are scarce, incomes are dropping like a stone, and everyone’s broke. (Everyone I know, at least.) Did you know that 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Check it out:
“Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.
Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults.
Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all….
Last week, online lender CashNetUSA said 22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.”
Are you kidding me? What’s that? Who do you know that’s able to save money in this economy? Maybe rich uncle Johnny whose lived on canned sardines and Akmak for the last 50 years, but nobody else can live like that. Subtract the rent, the groceries, the doctor bills etc, and there’s barely enough leftover to fill the tank to get to work on Monday. Saving just isn’t an option, not in the Obamaworld, that is.
Now check this out from Business Insider:
“Thousands of Americans aged 55 and older are going back to school and reinventing themselves to get an edge in a difficult labor market, hoping to rebuild retirement nest eggs that were almost destroyed by the recession….
According to the Federal Reserve, household financial assets, which exclude homes, dropped from a peak of $57 trillion in the third quarter of 2007 to just over $49 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year, the latest period for which data is available.
A survey to be released this summer by the Public Policy Institute of AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans, found a quarter of Americans 50 years and older used up all their savings during the 2007-09 recession. About 43 percent of the 5,000 respondents who took part in the survey said their savings had not recovered.” (“Unemployed Baby Boomers Are Getting Hired By Going Back To School”, Business Insider)
Sure they’re going back to work. What do you expect them to do? They’re broke! They got wiped out in Wall Street’s mortgage laundering scam and they’re still behind the eightball five years later. And what’s left of the money they set aside for retirement is yielding a big zilch thanks to the Fed’s zero rate policy which is forcing people back into another decade of penal servitude at minimum wage. That’s why you see so many hunched over graybeards in red vests with “Happy to Serve You” splattered on their chests lugging shopping bags out to the cars for old ladies. Because they’re broke and out of options. Everyone knows someone like this unless, of course, they’re one of the fortunate few who make up the Nobel 1%; aka–The Job Cremators. Then they don’t have to fret about that sort of thing.
Here’s another gem you might not have seen in USA Today a few months back:
“Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend….
Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63% of whites called the economy “poor.”
“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income….
Nationwide, the count of America’s poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15% of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession. While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white…
“Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. “Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.” (“4 in 5 in USA face near-poverty, no work”, USA Today)
Does Obama have any idea of the damage he’s doing with his Rich-First policies? The country is in a terrible state and yet Obama continues to approve bills that throw millions of people off unemployment benefits, sharply cut government spending, or undermine vital safetynet programs that keep the sick and the elderly from dying on the streets. It’s like he’s trying to reduce 300 million Americans to grinding third world poverty in his short eight-year term. Is that the goal?
Did you know that–according to Gallup–20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year? Or that –according to a Feeding America hunger study–more than 37 million people are now using food pantries and soup kitchens? Or that one out of six Americans is now living in poverty which is the highest level since the 1960s? Or that the gap between the rich and poor is greater than any in history?
Everything has gotten worse under Obama. Everything. And, not once, in his five years as president, has this gifted and charismatic leader ever lifted a finger to help the millions of people who supported him, who believed in him, and who voted him into office.
These latest poll results indicate that many of those same people are beginning to wake up and see what Obama is really all about.
Adam Smith said governments are “instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor.” Wars are waged to make them richer.
Howard Zinn called war “terrorism magnified a hundred times.” Make it many thousands of times.
Michael Parenti said “the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize (is) to wage war or support those who wage (it) instead of peace.”
In his book titled “The Face of Imperialism,” he discusses a richly financed military/industrial complex. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff call it the “military-industrial media complex.”
Waging wars requires selling them. Public support is needed. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky call it “Manufacturing Consent.”
Propaganda works as intended. Minds are manipulated to support war. Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked. Patriotism, national security, and democratic values are highlighted.
Longstanding US policy facilitates earning obscene amounts from militarism, wars, homeland security, and related operations.
Doing so has nothing to do with external or internal threats. It’s unrelated to spreading democracy. It isn’t about humanitarian intervention.
It about advancing America’s imperium. Parenti calls the process “the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries. (It) “carves up whole continents.”
“(T)he dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.”
Capitalist imperialism differs from earlier forms. It dominates other economies and political systems. It accumulates enormous amounts of wealth.
It uses money to make more of it. It gains market control. It exploits resources and labor.
According to Marx and Engels:
Bourgeois capital “chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere…It creates a world after its own image.”
Societies are destroyed and remade to do it. Nations are pillaged for profit. Populations become disenfranchised. Workers become serfs. Local cultures become mass-market consumer ones.
Agribusiness replaces local farming. Competitive industries are eliminated. Foreign investment crowds out local capital.
Dominance legitimizes capital’s divine right. Plunder assures obscene profits. Capital accumulation demands more. Profiteering becomes a be-all-and-end-all.
Businesses price according to what the market will bear. Profiteers take advantage of emergency or other out-of-ordinary conditions to cash in excessively.
WikiLeaks calls profiteering “a pejorative term for the act of making profit by methods considered unethical.”
Price fixing is illegal. Price gouging reflects grabbing all you can. It’s charging more than what’s considered reasonable and fair.
War profiteers are in a class by themselves. They thrive on war. They depend on it. Their businesses require conflicts and instability to prosper. The more ongoing, the greater the potential profits.
Lot of players profit from wars. Companies develop technologies with military applications. Black marketeers cash in.
Politicians taking campaign contributions, special favors or bribes benefit handsomely. Nations do by acquiring control over territory, resources and exploitable people.
Private military contractors include companies offering a wide range of services. They provide everything from tactical combat to security to consulting to logistics to technical support.
In his book titled “Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War,” Pratap Chatterjee describes a company tainted by sweetheart deal no-bid contacts, bribes, kickbacks, inefficiency, shoddy work, corruption, fraud, gross overcharging, worker exploitation, and other serious offenses.
Other companies operate the same way. Military spending is hugely wasteful. Fraud and abuse are rampant. War is extremely profitable. Why else would so many be waged.
Mercenaries are guns for hire. They’re for sale to the highest bidder. They’re in it for the money. They’re unchecked, unaccountable and unprincipled.
Arms and munitions companies benefit most. Amounts spent are mind-bogging.
Bloomberg says defense budgets “contain hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.”
According to BusinessWeek, redundancy wastes lots of money. “One need only spend 10 minutes walking around the Pentagon or any major military headquarters to see” it.
Why doesn’t Congress trim fat? Because politicians want lots of pork for constituents. It’s a great vote-getter.
BusinessWeek explained more, saying:
“Why is sensible military budgeting so difficult? Because lawmakers, including small-government Republicans, protect defense business in their home states with the ferocity of Spartans.”
“Even if the Pentagon offered up (sensible) cuts…Congress would almost certainly reject them.”
“The senators and representatives don’t have the political courage to face voters and tell them that the republic simply does not need the weapon under construction in their hometown.”
Trillions of dollars are spent. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta once said DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”
Even during October’s 16 day shutdown, huge amounts of wasteful spending continued.
Ralph Nader calls now the time to address bloated military spending. Let’s “start shutting down the waste and fraud in our military budget,” he stresses.
Billions get tossed around mindlessly. Profiteers never had it better. Government watchdogs identify hundreds of billions of potential savings from unneeded weapons, defective ones, no-bid excess, overpayments, and outright fraud.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) conducts research on security, war and peace.
“A world in which sources of insecurity are identified and understood, conflicts are prevented or resolved, and peace is sustained,” it says.
It reports on “recent trends in military expenditure(s).”
Amounts spent are huge. In 2012, nominal global military spending exceeded $1.7 trillion. It’s around historic highs.
In real terms, it exceeds peak amounts spent during the Cold War. Post-9/11, spending increased sharply. America led the way.
In 2012, 15 nations accounted for over 80% military spending. SIPRI lists them as follows:
- America: $682 billion – 39%
- China: $166 billion – 9.5%
- Russia: $90.7 billion – 5.2%
- Britain: $60.8 billion – 3.5%
- Japan: 59.3 billion – 3.4%
- France: $58.9 billion – 3.4%
- Saudi Arabia: $56.7 billion – 3.2%
- India: $46.1 billion – 2.6%
- Germany: $45.8 billion – 2.6%
- Italy: $34 billion – 1.9%
- Brazil: $33.1 billion – 1.9%
- South Korea: $31.7 billion – 1.8%
- Australia: $26.2 billion – 1.5%
- Canada: $22.5 billion – 1.3%
- Turkey: $18.2 billion – 1%
- Others 18%
SIPRI calculates nominal military spending. Amounts America spends far exceeds annual defense authorizations.
Other allocations are for the Energy Department, State Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Treasury, NASA, military construction, various categories related to security, and interest attributable to past defense outlays.
Black intelligence, Pentagon and other budgets add many tens of billions more. So do supplemental military allocations. Foreign aid is mostly military related.
The Library of Congress listed the top 10 2012 recipients and amounts as follows:
Israel: $3.075 billion
Note: Israel gets special benefits provided no other nations.
They include annual $3 billion + direct appropriations, undisclosed additional amounts, state-of-the-art weapons and technology, billions in loan guarantees, military loans as grants, privileged contracts for Israeli companies, trade exemptions, and more.
Special allocations are buried in various agency budgets. Low or no-interest loans are provided. Some are never repaid. Most often, whatever Israel wants it gets.
- Afghanistan: $2.327 billion
- Pakistan: $2.102 billion
- Iraq: $1.683 billion
- Egypt: $1.557 billion
- Jordan: $676 million
- Kenya: $652 million
- Nigeria: $625 million
- Ethiopia: $580 million
- Tanzania: $531 million
US defense related spending exceeds $1.5 trillion annually. It’s half or more what other nations spend in total.
Militarism defines America. So do permanent wars. They’re a national addiction. They’re part of the national culture.
Violence is the American way. Wars are glorified. Pacifism is considered sissy. Peace is deplored. Conflicts persist with no end.
War profiteers gorge themselves at the public trough. Their operations thrive on war. They depend on it.
They’re waged for profit and dominance. They continue without end. Peace is verboten. It’s a convenient illusion.
Howard Zinn once asked “(h)ow can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
Why most Americans put up with it they’ll have to explain. Doing so lets Washington get away with mass murder and then some. It lets war profiteers benefit at our expense.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Performers and religious figures reacted angrily to the veteran rock star’s argument that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious,” he said in an American online interview last week.
Waters, 70, a well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, has frequently defended himself against accusations that he is antisemitic, claiming he has a right to urge fellow artists to boycott Israel.
This summer he was criticised for using a pig-shaped balloon adorned with Jewish symbols, including a Star of David, as one part of the stage effects at his concerts. Waters countered that it was just one of several religious and political symbols in the show and not an attempt to single out Judaism as an evil force.
Now leading American thinker Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has raised the stakes by describing Waters’ views as audacious and clearly antisemitic.
Writing in the New York Observer, the rabbi said: “Mr Waters, the Nazis were a genocidal regime that murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul.” The rabbi was responding to Waters’s latest comments on the Middle East.Speaking to the leftwing CounterPunch magazine, the musician criticised the US government for being unduly influenced by the Israeli “propaganda machine”.
The former Pink Floyd frontman, who has recently toured the world with a show based on the influential 1979 album The Wall, went on to describe the Israeli rabbinate as “bizarre” and accused them of believing that Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East were “sub-human”. Waters suggested the “Jewish lobby” was “extraordinarily powerful”. On the subject of the Holocaust, he said: “There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian people being murdered.”
Speaking from New York on Saturday night, Waters strongly rejected Rabbi Boteach’s characterisation of his views. He said: “I do not know Rabbi Boteach, and am not prepared to get into a slanging match with him. I will say this: I have nothing against Jews or Israelis, and I am not antisemitic. I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies.
“If Rabbi Boteach can make a case for the Israel government’s policies, I look forward to hearing it. It is difficult to make arguments to defend the Israeli government’s policies, so would-be defenders often use a diversionary tactic, they routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an antisemite.”
Waters continued: “The Holocaust was brutal and disgusting beyond our imagination. We must never forget it. We must always remain vigilant. We must never stand by silent and indifferent to the sufferings of others, whatever their race, colour, ethnic background or religion. All human beings deserve the right to live equally under the law.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to advocate passionately for a cause, but drawing inappropriate parallels with the Holocaust insults the memory of the six million Jews – men, women and children – murdered by the Nazis. These kinds of attacks are commonly used as veiled antisemitism and should be exposed as such.”
Jo-Ann Mort, vice-chair of US Jewish group Americans for Peace Now, is calling for musicians and other entertainers to go to Israel to understand that there is also Israeli opposition to discrimination against Arabs. Speaking to the Observer from California, she said it was important for international performers to “speak their mind to audiences about the nation’s successes and failures. Just as Israeli musicians – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – do.”
“The media in Israel flock to foreign entertainers. Performers would have the opportunity to make their viewpoints known – and it will also help to break the logjam that fundamentalists have had on both sides,” she argued.
Mort supports the anti-boycott approach of Israeli singer and activist David Broza, whose forthcoming album East Jerusalem/West Jerusalemfeatures covers of songs that urge understanding, including Waters’s own song Mother, from the album The Wall.
“Music captivates your head and your mind,” Broza recently argued. “If it comes with good vibes, then everyone wants to be part of it. The hard work comes from having a belief in what you are doing and in not stopping at the barricades that are posted at every corner.”
Last week Waters’s words drew a strong response from the Community Security Trust, the body that monitors anti-Jewish activity in Britain. A spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle that Waters’s comments “echo the language of antisemitism” and added that the musician was “living proof of how easily people who pursue extreme anti-Israel politics can drift into antisemitic statements and ideas”.
Bicom, the UK-based Israel advocacy organisation, also condemned Waters’s views. Chief executive Dermot Kehoe said: “The statements by Roger Waters calling for a cultural boycott of Israel and comparing the country to Nazi Germany are repugnant and fly in the face of both the reality in Israel today and the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.”
In August Waters used his Facebook page to respond to allegations that he was an “open hater of Jews”, made by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in an interview with an American weekly Jewish newspaper, the Algemeiner.
“Often I can ignore these attacks, but Rabbi Cooper’s accusations are so wild and bigoted they demand a response,” Waters wrote, adding that he had “many very close Jewish friends”.
Source: The Guardian