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
“Pro-Israel Policy groups such as AIPAC work with unlimited funding to divert US policy in the region ( Middle East )” Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and former Foreign Secretary of the British Labor Party
“The United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its nuclear program” Sheldon Adelson, biggest donor to the Republican Party and major fundraiser for pro-Israel political action committees, speech at Yeshiva University, New York City, October 22, 2013.
The question of war or peace with Iran rests with the policies adopted by the White House and the US Congress. The peace overtures by newly elected Iranian President Rohani have resonated favorably around the world, except with Israel and its Zionist acolytes in North America and Europe . The first negotiating session proceeded without recrimination and resulted in an optimistic assessment by both sides. Precisely because of the initial favorable response among the participants, the Israeli government escalated its propaganda war against Iran . Its agents in the US Congress, the mass media and in the Executive branch moved to undermine the peace process. What is at stake is Israel’s capacity to wage proxy wars using the US military and its NATO allies against any government challenging Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East, its violent annexation of Palestinian territory and its ability to attack any adversary with impunity.
To understand what is at stake in the current peace negotiations one must envision the consequences of failure: Under Israeli pressure, the US announced that its ‘military option’ could be activated – resulting in missile strikes and a bombing campaign against 76 million Iranians in order to destroy their government and economy. Teheran could retaliate against such aggression by targeting US military bases in the region and Gulf oil installations resulting in a global crisis. This is what Israel wants.
We will begin by examining the context of Israel ’s military supremacy in the Middle East . We will then proceed to analyze Israel ’s incredible power over the US political process and how it shapes the negotiation process today, with special emphasis on Zionist power in the US Congress.
The Context of Israeli Military Supremacy in the Middle East
Since the end of World War II , Israel has bombed, invaded and occupied more countries in the Middle East and Africa than previous colonial power, except the US . The list of Israel ’s victims includes: Palestine , Syria , Lebanon , Egypt , Iraq , Jordan , Sudan and Yemen . If we include countries where Israel has launched quasi-clandestine terrorist attacks and assassinations, the list would be greatly expanded to include a dozen countries in Europe and Asia – including the US through its Zionist terror network.
Israel ’s projection of military power, its capacity for waging offensive wars at will, is matched by its near-total impunity. Despite their repeated violations of international law, including war crimes, Israel has never been censored at an international tribunal or subjected to economic sanctions because the US government uses its position to veto UN Security Council resolutions and pressure its NATO-EU allies.
Israel’s military supremacy has less to do with the native techno-industrial ‘brilliance’ of its war-mongers and more to do with the transfers and outright theft of nuclear, chemical and biological technology and weapons from the US (Grant Smith “Ten Explosive US Government Secrets of Israel” IRMEP). Overseas Zionists in the US and France have played a strategic (and treasonous) role in stealing and illegally shipping nuclear technology and weapon components to Israel, according to an investigation by former CIA Director Richard Helms.
Israel maintains huge nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon stockpiles refusing any access to international arms inspectors and is not obliged to abide by the non-proliferation treaty, because of US diplomatic intervention. Under pressure from the local ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC), the US government has blocked any action which might constrain Israel ’s production of weapons of mass destruction. In fact the US continues to provide Israel with strategic weapons of mass destruction for use against its neighbors – in violation of international law.
US military aid and technology transfers to Israel exceed $100 billion dollars over the past half century. US diplomatic and military intervention was crucial in rescuing Israel from defeat during the 1973 war. US President Lyndon Johnson’s refusal to defend the unarmed intelligence ship, the USS Liberty in 1967, after it had been bombed and napalmed by Israeli fighter planes and warships in international waters, constituted a tremendous victory for Israel thanks to Johnson’s Zionist advisers. Because of its impunity, even in killing American servicemen, Israel has been given a free hand to wage aggressive wars to dominate its neighbors, commit acts of terrorism and assassinate its adversaries throughout the world without fear of retaliation.
Israel ’s uncontested military superiority has converted several of its neighbors to quasi-client collaborators: Egypt and Jordan have served as de facto allies, along with the Gulf monarchies, helping Israel repress the region’s nationalist and pro-Palestinian movements.
The most decisive factor in the rise and consolidation of Israel ’s power in the Middle East has not been its military prowess but its political reach and influence via its Zionist agents in the US . Washington ’s wars against Iraq and Libya , and its current support of the mercenary assault against Syria , have destroyed three major secular nationalist opponents of Israel ’s hegemonic ambitions.
As Israel accumulates more power in the region, expanding its colonization of Palestinian territory, it looks eastward toward destroying the last remaining obstacle to its colonial policies: Iran .
For at least two decades, Israel has directed its overseas agents – (the ZPC) – to destroy the government of Iran by destabilizing its society, assassinating its scientists, bombing its military establishments and laboratories and strangling its economy.
After the ZPC successfully pushed the US into war against Iraq in 2003 – literally shredding its complex secular society and killing over a million Iraqis – it turned its sights on destroying Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the secular government of Syria as a way to isolate Iran and prepare for an attack. While thousands of Lebanese civilians were slaughtered in 2006, Israel ’s attack of Lebanon failed, despite the support of the US government and the ZPC’s wild propaganda campaign. Hysterical at its failure and to ‘compensate’ for its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah and to ‘boost morale’, Israel invaded and destroyed much of Gaza (2008/9) – the world’s largest open air prison camp.
Lacking military capacity to attack Iran on its own, Israel directed its agents to manipulate the US government to start a war with Teheran. The militarist leaders in Tel Aviv have unleashed their political assets (ZPC) throughout the US to work to destroy Iran – the last formidable adversary to Israel supremacy in the Middle East .
The Israeli-ZPC strategy is designed to set the stage for a US confrontation with Iran , using its agents in the Executive branch as well as its ongoing corruption, bribery and control of the US Congress. ZPC control over the mass media enhances its propaganda campaign: Everyday the New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles and editorials promoting Israel ’s war agenda. The ZPC uses the US State Department to force other NATO states to likewise confront Iran .
Israel’s Proxy War with Iran: US Political Pressure, Economic Sanctions and Military Threats
Alone, Israel’s ‘war’ with Iran would not amount to much more than its cyber sabotage, the periodical assassinations of Iranian scientists using its paid agents among Iranian terrorist groups and non-stop brow-beating from Israeli politicians and their ‘amen crowd’. Outside of Israel , this campaign has had little impact on public opinion. Israel’s ‘was’ on Iran depends exclusively on its capacity to manipulate US policy using its local agents and groups who dominate the US Congress and through the appointments of officials in key positions in the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice , and as Middle East ‘advisors’. Israel cannot organize an effective sanction campaign against Iran ; nor could it influence any major power to abide by such a campaign. Only the US has that power. Israel ’s dominance in the Middle East comes entirely from its capacity to mobilize its proxies in the United States who are assigned the task of securing total submission to Israel ’s interests from elected and appointed government officials – especially in regard to Israel ’s regional adversaries.
Strategically placed, ‘dual US-Israeli citizens’ have used their US citizenship to secure high security positions in the Government directly involved in policies affecting Israel . As Israelis, their activities are in line with the dictates of Tel Aviv. In the Bush administration (2001-2008) high placed ‘Israel Firsters’ dominated the Pentagon (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith), Middle East Security (Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross), the Vice President’s office (‘Scooter’ Libby), Treasury (Levey) and Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff). In the Obama administration the ‘Israel Firsters’ include Dennis Ross, Rahm Emanuel, David Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Jack “Jake the Snake” Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Michael Froman as Trade Representative among others.
Israel ’s Proxy Power within the Executive branch is matched by its dominance of the US Congress. Contrary to some critics, Israel is neither an ‘ally’ or ‘client’ of the US . Evidence of the gross asymmetry of the relation abounds over the past half century. Because of these powerful proxies in Congress and the Executive branch, Israel has received over $100 billion dollar tribute from the US over the past 30 years, or $3 billion plus a year. The US Pentagon has transferred the most up-to-date military technology and engaged in several wars on Israel ’s behalf. The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against potentially lucrative trading and investment partners in the Middle East ( Iran , Iraq and Syria ) depriving US agricultural and manufacturing exporters and oil companies of over $500 billion in revenues. The White House sacrificed the lives of over 4,400 US soldiers in the Iraq War – a war promoted by Israel ’s proxies at the behest of Israel ’s leaders. The State Department has rejected friendly and profitable relations with over 1.5 billion Muslims by backing the illegal settlement of over half million Jewish colonists on military-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem .
The strategic question is how and why this one-sided relation between the US and Israel persists for so long, even as it goes counter to so many strategic and elite US interests? The more immediate and pressing question is how this historically lopsided relation effects contemporary US-Iran sanctions and nuclear negotiations?
Iran and the Peace Negotiations
Undoubtedly the newly elected Iranian President and his Foreign Minister are prepared to negotiate an end to hostilities with the US by making major concessions ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. They have stated they are open to reducing or even ending the production of highly enriched uranium; reducing the number of centrifuges and even allowing intrusive, unannounced inspections, among other promising proposals. The Iranian government proposes a roadmap with end goals as part of the initial agreements. The European Union’s Foreign Secretary Lady Ashton has commented favorably on the initial meeting.
The US Administration has given conflicting signals following the Iranian overtures and the opening meeting. Some individual comments are guardedly positive; others are less encouraging and rigid. Administration Zionists like Jack ‘Jake’ Lew, the Treasury Secretary, insists sanctions will remain until Iran meets all US (read ‘Israeli’) demands. The US Congress, bought and controlled by the ZPC, rejects the promising Iranian overtures and flexibility, insisting on military ‘options’ or the total dismantling of Iran’s legal and peaceful nuclear program – ZPC positions designed to sabotage the negotiations. To that end, Congress has passed new, more extreme, economic sanctions to strangle the Iran ’s oil economy.
How Israel’s Political Action Committees Control the US Congress and Prepare War with Iran
The Zionist Power Configuration uses its financial firepower to dictate Congressional policy on the Middle East and to ensure that the US Congress and Senate do not stray one iota from serving Israel ’s interests. The Zionist instrument used in the purchase of elected officials in the US is the political action committee (PAC).
Thanks to a 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Super PACs-linked to Israel spend enormous sums to elect or destroy candidates – depending on the candidate’s political work on behalf of Israel . As long as these funds do not go directly to the candidate, these Super PACs do not have to reveal how much they spend or how it is spent. Conservative estimates of ZPC- linked direct and indirect funds to US legislators run close to $100 million dollars over the past 30-year. The ZPC channels these funds to legislative leaders and members of Congressional committees dealing with foreign policy, especially sub-committee chairpersons dealing with the Middle East . Unsurprisingly, the largest Congressional recipients of ZPC money are those who have aggressively promoted Israel ’s hard-line policies. Elsewhere around the world, such large scale payoffs for legislative votes would be considered blatant bribery and subject to felony prosecution and imprisonment for both parties. In the US , the purchase and sale of a politician’s vote is called ‘lobbying’ and is legal and open. The legislative branch of the US government has come to resemble a high-price brothel or white slavers’ auction – but with the lives of thousands at stake.
The ZPC has purchased the alliance of US Congress people and Senators on a massive scale: Of 435 members of the US House of Representatives (sic), 219 have received payments from the ZPC in exchange for their votes on behalf of the state of Israel . Corruption is even more rampant among the 100 US Senators, 94 of whom have accepted pro-Israel PAC and Super PAC money for their loyalty to Israel . The ZPC showers money on both Republicans and Democrats, thus securing incredible (in this era of Congressional deadlock), near unanimous (‘bipartisan’) votes in favor of the ‘Jewish State’, including its war crimes, like the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon as well as the annual $3 billion dollar plus US tax-payer tribute to Tel Aviv. At least 50 US Senators have each collected between $100 thousand and $1 million in ZPC money over the past decades . In exchange, they have voted for over $100 billion in tribute payments to Israel … in addition to other ‘services and payments’. The members of the US Congress are cheaper: 25 legislators have received between $238,000 and $50,000, while the rest got peanuts. Regardless of the amount, the net result is the same: Congressional member pick up their script from their Zionist mentors in the PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC and back all of Israel ’s wars in the Middle East and promote US aggression on behalf of Israel .
The most outspoken and influential legislators get the biggest chunk of Zionist payola: Senator Mark Kirk (Bombs over Teheran!) tops the ‘pigs at the trough’ list with $925,000 in ZPC payoffs, followed by John McCain (Bombs over Damascus!) with $771,000, while Senators Mitch McConnell, Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, Richard Durban and other Zionophilic politicos are not shy about holding out their little begging bowls when the pro-Israel PAC bagmen arrive! Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tops the ‘House’ list with $238,000 for her 100% pro-Israel record as well as for being more war-mongering than even Netanyahu! Eric Cantor got $209,000 for championing ‘wars for Israel ’ with American lives while cutting Social Security payments to US seniors in order to increase military aid to Tel Aviv. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, got $144,000 for ‘whipping the few wobbly’ Democrats back into Israel ’s ‘camp’. House Majority Leader John Boehner was paid $130,000 to do the same among the Republicans.
The ZPC has spent huge amounts to punish and destroy a dozen or so dissident legislators who had stood up to Israel ’s wars and grotesque human rights record. The ZPC has poured millions into individual campaigns, not only financing opposition candidates who pledged allegiance to the Israel but mounting scurrilous character assassinations of Israel’s critics in office. These campaigns have been mounted in the most obscure parts of the US , including in majority African-American districts, where local Zionist interests and influence are otherwise absolutely nil.
There are no comparable PACs, Super PACs, party leaders, or civic organization that can contest the power of Israel ’s Fifth Column. According to documents archived by the courageous researcher, Grant Smith of IRMEP, when it comes to Israel , the US Justice Department has adamantly refused to enforce its own federal laws requiring the prosecution of US citizens who fail to register as foreign agents while working for a foreign country – at least since 1963. On the other hand, the ZPC, through the so-call ‘Anti-Defamation League’, has successfully pressured the Justice Department, the FBI and NSA to investigate and prosecute law-abiding, patriotic US citizens critical of Israel ’s land grabs in Palestine and the Zionist corruptors of the US political system on behalf of their foreign master.
The corruption and degradation of US democracy is made possible by the equally compromised and corrupted ‘respectable press’. Media critic, Steve Lendman, has pointed out the direct link between Israel and the mass media in his investigation of the New York Times. The leading (‘fair and balanced’) journalists reporting on Israel have strong family and political ties to that country and their articles have been little more than propaganda. Times reporter Ethan Bronner, whose son served in the Israel Defense Forces, is a long-time apologist for the Zionist state. Times reporter Isabel Kershner, whose ‘writing’ seem to come straight out of the Israeli Foreign Office, is married to Hirsh Goodman an adviser to the Netanyahu regime on ‘security affairs’. The Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, lives comfortably in the ancestral home of a Palestinian family dispossessed from that ancient city.
The Times unflinching pro-Israel posture provides a political cover and justification for the corrupted US politicians as they beat the war drums for Israel . It is no surprise that the New York Times, like the Washington Post, is deeply engaged in disparaging and denouncing the current US-Iran negotiations – and providing ample space for the one-sided rhetoric of Israeli politicians and their US mouthpieces, while studiously excluding the more rational, pro-rapprochement voices of experienced former US diplomats, war-weary military leaders and representatives of the US business and academic communities.
To understand Congress’ hostility to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and their efforts to scuttle them through the imposition of ridiculous new sanctions, it is important to get to the source of the problem, namely the statements of key Israeli politicians, who set the line of march for their US proxies.
In late October, 2013, Former Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin spoke of ‘having to choose between ‘the bomb’ or the bombing’ – a message which immediately resonated with the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (Daily Alert, October 24, 2013). On October 22, 2013, Israel ’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, called for harsh new sanctions on Iran and insisted that the US use them as leverage to demand that Iran agree to entirely abandon its peaceful nuclear energy and enrichment program. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon affirmed that ‘ Israel will not accept any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium’. It is Israel ’s position to threaten war (via the US ) if Iran does not submit to unconditional surrender of its nuclear program. This defines the position of all the major pro-Israel PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC. They in turn proceed to dictate policy to their ‘lick-spittles’ in the US Congress. As a result, Congress passes even more extreme economic sanctions on Iran in order to sabotage the ongoing negotiations.
Those who have received the biggest Zionist pay-offs from the pro-Israel PACs are the most vociferous: Senator Mark Kirk ($925,379), author of a previous sanctions bill, demands that Iran end its entire nuclear and ballistic missile program (!) and declared that the US Senate “should immediately move forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves” (Financial Times, 10/18/13, p. 6). The US House of Representatives (sic) has already passed a bill sharply limiting Iran ’s ability to sell its main export, oil. Once again, the Israel- ZPC – Congressional axis seeks to impose Israel ’s war agenda on the American people! In late October 2013, Secretary of State Kerry was ‘grilled’ for 7 hours by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with the craven Kerry promising to promote Israel ’s agenda on dismantling Iran ’s nuclear enrichment program.
To counter the campaign to strangle Iran ’s oil economy, promoted by Israel ’s flunkeys in the Congress, the Iranian government has offered generous contracts to the US and EU oil companies (Financial Times 10/29/2013, p 1). Existing nationalist provisions are being removed. Under the new terms, foreign companies book reserves or take equity stakes in Iranian projects. Iran hopes to attract at least $100 billion dollars in investments over the next three years. This stable country boasts the world’s largest gas and the fourth largest oil reserves. Because of the current US ( Israel )-imposed sanctions, production has fallen from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to 2.58 million barrels per day in 2013. The question is whether ‘Big Oil’, the giant US and EU companies have to power to challenge the ZPC-stranglehold over US-EU sanction policy. So far, the ZPC has dominated this critical policy and marginalized ‘Big Oil’ using threats, blackmail and coercion against US policymakers. This has effectively shut out US companies from the lucrative Iranian market.
As the US and the 5 other countries attempt to negotiate with Iran , they face enormous obstacles overcoming Israel ’s power over the US Congress. Over past decades Israel ’s agents have bought the loyalties of the vast majority of Congress people, training them to recognize and obey the whistles, signals and script from the war mongers in Tel Aviv.
This ‘Axis of War’, has inflicted enormous damage on the world resulting in the deaths of millions of victims of US wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa . The gross corruption and widely recognized bankruptcy of the US legislative system is due to its slavish submission to a foreign power. What remains in Washington is a debased vassal state despised by its own citizens. If the ZPC controlled Congress succeeds once again in destroying the negotiations between the US and Iran via new war-like resolutions, we, the American people, will have to pay an enormous price in lives and treasure.
The time to act is now. It is time to stand up and expose the role played by the Israeli PACs, Super PACs and the 52 Major American Jewish Organization in corrupting Congress and turning “our” elected representatives into flunkeys for Israel’s wars. There has been a deafening silence from our noted critics –few alternative media critics have attacked Israel ’s power over the US Congress. The evidence is openly available, the crimes are undeniable. The American people need real political leaders with the courage to root out the corrupted and corruptors and force their elected members in the House and Senate to represent the interest of the American people.
In this column last week, I stated the salient reasons why pastors will not take a public stand on issues regarded as controversial or political. I believe every point I made are the real reasons pastors refuse to stand for much of anything–or even objectively study anything outside their comfort zone. To read this column, go to:
To review, most pastors refuse to take a stand because:
1. They are success oriented and have an innate aversion to anything that is considered to be controversial. And, to them, there is nothing more controversial than politics.
2. They are afraid that if they take a controversial stand, they will lose members–and more importantly, tithes and offerings. Most churches are neck-deep in debt and are heavy-laden with staff and overhead. The thought of losing even a few giving families is enough intimidation to make sure that they do nothing to offend the people of the congregation. And since the pastor never addresses controversial issues or preaches “hard” sermons, his congregation is filled with people who harbor myriads of big-government, socialist ideas and would immediately bolt at any mention of Biblical Natural Law principles that ran counter to their leftist ideologies.
3. They have an erroneous interpretation of Romans 13 that civil government must be submitted to regardless of how evil or immoral its laws might be. This fallacious interpretation of Romans 13 (which is taught in practically every Christian school and college in America) has made them de facto slaves and worshippers of the state. As did Germany’s pastors and Christians in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, America’s pastors and Christians suffer from national “exceptionalism.” This fallacy leads them to believe that by serving the state, they are serving God. In their minds, one cannot be “right with God” if they are not totally submissive to the state.
4. The 501c3 non-profit corporation status of the Internal Revenue Code under which the vast majority of churches throughout America operate has intimidated pastors and church leaders to the point that they will do–or not do–almost anything to stay in the good graces of the IRS. To most pastors, this means staying absolutely as far away from political issues as possible–even if those issues were moral and spiritual in nature a long time before they were considered political.
5. Most pastors are ignorant of the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty. In the same way that many attorneys are completely ignorant of constitutional government, pastors are completely ignorant of Biblical Natural Law principles. Attorneys are not taught constitutional principles in law school, and pastors are not taught Biblical Natural Law principles in Bible school.
But there is one more reason why many pastors will not take a stand that I did not address in the aforementioned column: their belief in a pre-tribulation rapture.
The word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible. The English word “rapture” is taken from the Latin word “rapere” and means to “catch away.” Theologically, it means that Christians will be caught away or taken to Heaven while they are still alive. There are several scriptural passages that Christians believe relate to this event, but the most cited is I Thessalonians 4:16, 17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (Greek word “harpazo”) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Of course, Christians throughout the centuries have taught and believed a variety of nuances of eschatology. The various interpretations of The Second Coming of Christ are almost limitless. There are pre-tribulational, pre-millennialists; mid-tribulational, pre-millennialists; post-tribulational, pre-millennialists; partial-rapture, pre-tribulational, pre-millennialists; post-millennialists; pre-wrath, (almost) post-millennialists; amillennialists, etc. And to each of these interpretations there is a plethora of sub-divisions and schisms.
Christians have historically believed that they will be resurrected to be with Christ. However, that conviction–historically and by itself–did not prevent Christians from being engaged in whatever the political, social, or cultural battles of the time might have been. From the earliest days of Christianity, believers were politically and socially engaged in their communities and countries. During the Roman Empire, a baby was not protected by law until the father granted it official human status. Until then, babies could be legally killed or allowed to die. Christians by the thousands would go out into the streets at night and rescue babies that had been “thrown away” and left to die. During the Dark Ages, when the Bible was banned, Christians continued to widely copy and distribute the scriptures. Reformers such as Ulrich Zwingli died defending Switzerland’s Protestant Reformation on the battlefield. Colonial Christians (including pastors) in great numbers participated in America’s War for Independence. The great German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, joined a Nazi resistance movement. Each of these Christian believers held their individual, respective views of the Lord’s coming and personal resurrection, but this did not keep them from being politically, socially, and culturally–and sometimes militarily–involved in their communities and countries.
However, with the broad acceptance of what has become known as Dispensationalism, many pastors and churches in America have almost totally removed themselves from political affairs. Except for voting (which is mostly kept private), pastors avoid politics like the plague. A few will talk in very broad and general terms about America “turning back to God,” etc., but what that means specifically is seldom addressed. And if pressed for an explanation, most pastors will piously say, “God has not called me to get involved in politics.” I’m not sure that God has called them to play golf either, but that doesn’t prevent a host of them from engaging regularly in that worldly activity.
Dispensationalism, as it is called today, was popularized by John Darby, C. I. Scofield, and Lewis Sperry Chafer. In more modern times, John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Tim LaHaye, and Hal Lindsey contributed immensely to Dispensationalism’s theological acceptance. The key element of Dispensationalism, as it relates to eschatology, is the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture of Christians. The idea is that the world is going to continue to get worse and worse until finally the Anti-Christ will arise as a global leader and will usher in seven years of “Great Tribulation,” wherein a sizeable portion of the world’s population will be destroyed. But before “The Great Tribulation” begins, Christian believers will be raptured into Heaven. Dispensationalists further believe that following the seven year Tribulation period, Christ will physically return to Jerusalem and establish a 1,000 year reign (called The Millennium) in which the Davidic Kingdom will be restored to Israel.
Now, let me state plainly that it is not my intention at this point to disparage the sincerity of faith and belief of the vast numbers of pastors and Christians who subscribe to Dispensationalism. Whether the pre-tribulation rapture is a correct Biblical interpretation or not is NOT the focus of this discussion. I find a sizeable number of pastors and Christians who subscribe to post-millennialism and other forms of eschatology to be just as disengaged from speaking out and engaging the political process as pre-tribulationists.
That being said, I believe it is an absolute fact that many pastors and Christians are using the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture to justify sitting back and doing nothing to actively resist evil and wickedness. In their minds, there is no need to be politically involved because everything is going to get worse anyway–but they are going to be raptured to Heaven before it all falls apart. I have actually had pastors say to me, “Chuck, by resisting evil government, you are fighting against God, because it is God’s will that government gets worse and worse so that Jesus can come back.”
The wretchedness of this kind of thinking should be obvious to any rational person. In the first place, how arrogant are these American Christians to think that they are so special that God would have to rapture them before any real tribulation began? Think of the millions of Christians in oppressed nations throughout history–and even today–who have already been, and continue to be, IN GREAT TRIBULATION. The tribulation of Christian martyrs throughout church history is legendary. Have they never read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs? Do they not know what has taken place in southern Sudan over the last 20 years? Have they not read the history of Christians in Mao’s China, Amin’s Uganda, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, etc. Who do they think they are? Why should Christians in America be spared what Christians throughout the world have endured and are enduring? Even if their interpretation of a pre-tribulation rapture is correct, that doesn’t mean for one moment that Christians in America would not be called on to suffer great tribulation at the hands of a wicked and oppressive government–especially considering that the vast majority of pastors are doing almost nothing to resist our government from becoming wicked and oppressive. For the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture to be used as some kind of sit-back-and-do-nothing-
Secondly, people who use the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine as an excuse to justify being disconnected from political involvement by saying things like, “Jesus is coming soon, so it doesn’t matter!” are demonstrating either acute cowardice or immeasurable ignorance.”
Christians throughout the millennia have looked for the return of Jesus. The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ has been held sacred by Christians of every generation for over two thousand years. That Jesus is coming soon doesn’t stop us from going to school and getting an education; it doesn’t stop us from going to work every day to earn a living; it doesn’t stop us from planning our financial futures or saving for retirement; it doesn’t stop us from teaching and training our children; it doesn’t stop us from learning and exercising personal skills; it doesn’t stop us from locking our doors or buying expensive alarm systems to protect us from the bad guys; and it doesn’t stop these disconnected pastors from spending years trying to perfect their golf game. Neither should it stop us from preserving the liberties and freedoms of our nation.
I am reminded of the Old Testament king of Judah, Hezekiah. He was told by the prophet that God was going to judge his country with great oppression, but that it would not happen until after he expired, some 15 years later. Hearing that, Hezekiah said (paraphrase), “Oh goodie! At least it won’t happen while I’m alive.”
I ask you, what kind of father and grandfather would rather see his own children and grandchildren endure persecution and oppression than him do something in his lifetime to prevent it? What kind of uncaring, hard-hearted, pleasure-mad sorry-excuses-for-manhood are we that we would not want to sacrifice our own comfort, our own possessions, our own lives, in order to provide something better for our children and grandchildren?
These stand-for-nothing pastors do NOT know when Jesus is coming. And they do not know what kind of tribulation their children and grandchildren are going to endure at the hands of future tyrants and despots because they refused to do something that could have prevented it.
Our Christian forebears believed in the return of Christ and in personal resurrection. Whether they were pre-millennial, post-millennial, pre-tribulational, mid-tribulational, post-tribulational, etc., they didn’t allow their personal interpretation of Bible prophecy keep them from doing what was the right thing to do when it was in their power to do it. They were statesmen, leaders, and even warriors. They worked; they dug; they studied; they taught; they led; and they fought. And when needed, they risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
Are we really more spiritual than were they? Are we really more studied? More intelligent? More dedicated? More sincere? More courageous? Or more Christ-like?
How dare this generation of spoiled, lazy, comfort-laden, cowardly, sheepish, success-motivated, passive pulpits sit in judgment on the Christian men and women of history who, regardless of their personal interpretation of eschatology, actively engaged in the social, cultural, and, yes, political affairs of their countries–and helped bequeath to us, their posterity, a free and independent land? How dare they use the doctrine of the rapture as an excuse to justify their own indifference? And more importantly, how dare Christians tolerate such cowardice and carnality?
Thirdly, Dispensationalists allow their interpretation of Bible prophecy relating to future Israel to obfuscate the divine principles of liberty as it relates to present America. Preachers such as John Hagee have twisted the scriptures to support almost unlimited wars of aggression against Middle Eastern countries in the name of befriending Israel. In reality, unconstitutional war, nation-building, foreign interventionism, etc., is no friend to Israel, the United States, or any other country.
America’s foreign policy is a global nightmare. It has made enemies where none existed. It has made it increasingly difficult for American missionaries to give the Gospel to people in foreign countries. In many countries, it has inflamed the persecution of Christians. It has greatly contributed to the economic bankruptcy of the United States. It has turned the affections of the world against us. It has turned many American Christians from peacemakers to warmongers. Under the rubric of the “war on terror,” America is being turned into a giant police state. In truth, the Warfare State that has been created in this country is not a blessing to Israel (or any other country), but a curse. But the Dispensationalists’ interpretation of prophecy tends to blind them to these maladies.
Yes, many pastors and Christians have a rapture problem. But the problem is not really the doctrine itself but the way it is misapplied. I know pastors of all theological and eschatological backgrounds who are actively engaged in the freedom fight; and I know pastors of all theological and eschatological backgrounds who are disengaged from the freedom fight. It’s up to the man. If men want to, they can hide behind anything. And when pastors choose to hide behind the rapture, it becomes a problem for all of us.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers . . . . The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” ~ Aldous Huxley
Hello, welcome, come on in. Please find a seat. I’m excited to be here with you today; we will take a look at how public opinion is so easily molded by promoters of the state. Many of us use the word “propaganda” a lot and it’s helpful to understand some basics about what propaganda is and how it is used. Messages released through traditional media organs can now be more effectively challenged directly by interested persons from outside the media priesthood, thanks to the Internet. Until we do this more effectively there will continue to be a trend of hyperactivity towards the police state at home and abroad and the serial-warring will continue. So, here we are; let’s get to it.
The word “propaganda” is often used when trying to explain how the state has been able to maintain such a powerful stranglehold over the collective imagination. Propaganda walks the fine line between what is known and what is purposely hidden while appealing to base emotions of fear and loyalty. Americans have been conditioned to react to this word by associating it with words like Nazi, Fascist, Communist and Terrorist. Basically, propaganda is what Bad Guys do, not Good Guys. Why would Good Guys do anything but tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
You see, Good Guys don’t control the media and good old capitalist media hacks are just giving the people what they want. Right? So, when you say “propaganda,” many people will immediately think that there is no way “our professional journalists” and “our politicians” could possibly do anything so awful to the good people of the United States of America as to inseminate the seed of propaganda into the Red, White and Blue body politic. No sir-ree, only conspiracy theorists believe stuff like that. Only Bad Guys do that and “we,” by definition, are the Good Guys. Now back to reality.
The traditional media machine is sold as being a necessary social institution, completely outside of the state (except for licenses – but don’t mind them), that wields a mighty pen with righteous indignation at political scandals and as giving The People a “voice.” The Third Rail of politics is used to “keep them honest” or “keep their feet to the fire,” for noble purposes, of course, like, say Social Security, Health Care, the Drug War or bombing foreigners. Because these trained and certified journalists had to work their way up the corporate ladder, honing their integrity, sense of honesty and desire to speak truth to power! But, gasp, people today look to the Internet and read ideas written by people who didn’t study in the media education mills or learn to kiss the right spots on the behinds of the right people! The self-serving glorification of mainstream media persons can only be surpassed by politicians themselves. The good news is that liberty has a golden opportunity today because this monopoly on the communication of ideas to the masses controlled by the melded interests of the state and big corporations has been disrupted by new technology.
The manipulation of messages to promote favorable outcomes for a messenger when interpreted by those receiving the message is as old as the first handshake. But how that message is delivered has changed profoundly a few notable times, including the most recent iteration over the past 150 or so years. The written word, developed thousands of years ago, changed communication with the masses from a very personal event with lots of shouting to a non-personal event that put the focus of thought onto the words themselves. It changed everything in society, some good and some not so good. The elite always have used their influence to promote conditions that ensure and/or expand their positions and advantages, often at the expense of the common man. This is not new; however, it has become more complex over the ages.
When the printing press came along in the Middle Ages, it allowed for many copies of written ideas to be distributed simultaneously; this changed how society organized again. The world gets smaller with each advance in communication technology. The most recent step with computers is a continuation of the electronic communications revolution started in the mid to late-1800s. The inventions of telegraph, telephone, radio and television communications made distances literally disappear for people spreading ideas far and wide. The computer has combined all of these technologies into one platform. Now there is a race between liberty and the state seeking to squelch the freedom of ideas in society with laws, regulations, licenses and official messages crowding out the truth.
The term propaganda has its roots in the writings of the Medieval Catholic Church priests wishing to propagate their faith to wider audiences using the new technology: the printing press. Machiavelli wrote a popular book for monarchists that incorporated some age-old theocratic tactics and strategies for modern (at the time) use. Hitler is often given credit for the modern resurgence of propaganda with his use of rituals, including nighttime rallies, fire, symbolism, loudspeakers, mass printing of pamphlets, film distribution, and radio transmissions as well as his autobiographical best-selling book Mein Kampf. But it is Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and the man known as the “father of public relations” in the United States that deserves the real credit for modern propaganda. I don’t have the time today to go into a detailed history, so please do a search for Edward Bernays for a little interesting homework on the man who inspired the use of modern propaganda.
I want to spend the rest of our limited time looking at a recent article in the mainstream media as a case study in how crude propaganda is passed off of as serious journalism. It goes on everyday in every country, hidden in plain sight. Lies implying the “why” mixed-in with the hard, cold facts of who, what, where and when told by messengers posturing as journalists simply reporting impartial facts to We the People; their agendas hidden behind the façade of good intentions and given legitimacy by official blessings. These statist scribes are the perpetrators of never-ending war as they advertise a continuum of ridiculous propaganda phrases like “Making the World Safe for Democracy,” “World’s Policeman” and “War on Terror.”
First and foremost, propaganda must maintain the veil of legitimacy by speaking with authority. Power (of Authority) is to be reckoned with is the theme of all primary communications. Further, the faithful must always kneel to the powerful or society will fall apart is the subtext to all statist propaganda. Authority must be seen as the savior of society, so the people will ignore the universal faults of the state’s all too human agents. A good example of this in the run-up to the “strike” on Syria using “precision bombing” is the recent piece by Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent called “The White House Walk-and-Talk That Changed Obama’s Mind on Syria.” I didn’t choose this example because it is exceptional, quite the contrary, it is all too typical and you have probably read countless versions of the same message in all of the mainstream media organs.
First, a picture is inserted showing the powerful, wise leaders in deep thought as they weigh the fate of the world on the scales of justice. This helps to establish the authority of the words that follow. Then it’s simply the Hegelian Dialectic writ large. Party A’s political agenda (thesis) is reported and discussed along with the opposing political agenda of Party B (anti-thesis). Then what results is not the clear triumph of either argument, it is the advancement to a “superior” argument C (synthesis). Position C was the elite objective all along and now the process starts over again. This is how each step on the path to perpetual war is so seamless no matter who occupies the chairs at the table of authority. Both sides are allowed occasional meaningless victories to shore up their base and stay in the game, but true victory is ever elusive and defeat always on the horizon. This is the futile system of organizing society we have inherited and glorify; a system based on lies and obfuscation to ensure elite control of the debate. We can do better.
Here is the link to the whole article published on August 31, 2013 at NBCNews.com.
Here is the picture of the official deciders provided by official photographers and released by official spokespersons with caption, by-line and intro:
President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisers in the White House Situation Room on Saturday to discuss strategy in Syria. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is fourth from right.
By Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent
A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.
Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said. Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer” and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.
NBC’s Chuck Todd says up front these powerful wise men met to “discuss strategy in Syria,” but it is really to discuss strategy for how to get away with bombing Syria. The strategy of bombing Syria is de facto assumed from the start: the leader of the little state on the other side of the world is “a thug and a murderer,” so therefore, the leader of the big state must bomb the people of the little state until they overthrow their leader. Isn’t that the definition of terrorism? State murder is referred to as a strategy, while independent murder is terrorism.
Todd then describes the political process for seeking congressional authorization for a strike on Syria, and says that the president’s decision to wait on Congress is a departure from 30 years of strengthening executive branch power. Thus, Our Fearless Leader is not afraid to go his own way to do the right thing and is a Man of the People.
Obama’s National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that “consultation” in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.
Officials said that after the president met with national security advisers on Aug. 24, they determined the evidence showed Syria’s Assad regime had used chemical weapons in an attack earlier this month. At that time, the president indicated he was leaning toward a strike.
Note the use of institutional words describing mere mortal men to give these deciders the anointing of authority to “strike” at the enemy. These experts “determined the evidence” does indeed support their agenda, as if it could have been any other way. Our Fearless Leader was only “leaning toward a strike.”
But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administration’s strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action.
Ah, so the legitimacy of initiating violence and raining bombs upon foreign peoples who are not a threat to this politician’s constituency is undermined by his constituency opposing his attack. Our Allies seem to be having the same problem; this is nasty business in a purported democracy, but just a speed bump for the propagandist to navigate. Note that the article doesn’t say that Congress questioned the President’s strategy of bombing Syria, just his strategy of how to accomplish this already determined goal by selling that agenda.
While Obama’s advisers argued Friday night in private that the humiliating defeat for Cameron starkly illustrated the risks of asking for congressional input, the president responded that the vote in Parliament demonstrated exactly why he should seek a vote on this side of the Atlantic, senior officials told NBC News.
And, the president insisted, seeking legislative backing was the approach most consistent with his philosophy. While debate within the administration continued into late Friday, by Saturday morning the senior advisers acquiesced.
President Obama says the nation should and will take action against the Syrian government, but not without congressional approval.
So President Obama has already made up his mind to bomb Syria, but he wants Congress to publicly back his decision so that when the action goes bad, he can spread the blame around. Congress, on the other hand, wants Obama to order the missile attack on Syria, but is afraid of the voters and doesn’t want to go on record endorsing it. It’s all “legal,” you know, for the emperor to bomb whoever he wants whenever he wants, but it would just be more “consistent with his philosophy” if he had some public support. This entire session was over the timing of the attack with the major concern being getting re-elected, not doing the right thing.
The president also noted, “while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.”
White House aides said they are fairly confident that Congress will grant them the authority to launch a strike, although they maintain that Obama would be acting within his constitutional authority even if Congress rejects the authorization and Obama orders military intervention.
There’s an upside to that cooling-off period too, aides said. The delay gives Obama time to make his case to Congress and to keep pushing for international support.
This is the purpose of the article: to “make the case” for a strike. Notice again how the article is careful not to frame the decision as being one between attacking and not attacking Syria, but of how to sell a decision that has already been made. The only question is timing. The rest of the article is pure hypocrisy and emotional appeals seeking to give the impression that killing Syrians is the moral thing to do. Pure theater of the absurd promulgated by a willing hack posing as a “journalist.”
Now, is there some apparatchik sitting in a US Ministry of Propaganda giving orders to NBC newsmen or any other mainstream media hacks about what to write and publish? No, there doesn’t have to be, which is worse, because dribble like the above article is seen as “independent” and “just reporting the news.” And it is well written for accomplishing its purpose. However, does it even hint that there is a case for non-intervention? No. Does it ever mention that the “rebels” being supported by Obama and his minions are “thugs and murderers”? No. Does it say that evidence has been provided indicating that the surrogate terrorists seeking to overthrow the Syrian leader have used chemical weapons, originally started the conflict and are mostly from other Arab countries allied with the US? Of course not, because that does not promote the official agenda.
The fact that this attack has not yet occurred is testament to the power of the Internet and how it affects public opinion. Even just ten years ago, the emperor could send out some trumped up evidence (e.g. yellow cake purchases) against the hated dictator-of-the-month who stopped being useful to their CIA handlers and these lap dog journalists would fight over who could exaggerate the official propaganda the most. Today it is common knowledge that the US government and its surrogates have been backing “thugs and murderers” in Syria and that they have not been successful. Since these agents of death and mayhem are failing at their assignment to overthrow the Syrian dictator, the US government felt compelled to escalate the killing by becoming directly involved.
Ten years ago, the missiles would already be raining down on the water, sewer and electric plants of Syria in “precision strikes,” causing even greater human misery. You see, these brilliant strategic thinkers believe that the way to “save” people from their dictators is to destroy their society and its infrastructure, thus starving the people that aren’t directly killed by missiles and bombs. This then necessitates an occupation with “boots-on-the-ground” (that will be denied will ever happen right up to the time they “must” be sent in) to help them partially rebuild what was destroyed, also to be paid for by US taxpayers. And, of course, this requires giant embassies and military bases to be built by government contractors around the country. How long this game plan can be delayed is hard to foresee, but I doubt that it can be avoided for long, given the sociopathic powers that be. Still, this delay reveals that the elite recognize their grip on popular opinion is waning.
In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted here that President Obama really didn’t make this decision himself, as it was made years ago by his superiors in the so-called military-industrial-complex. Obama is just the current Puppet-in-Chief trying to sell more wars to the American public. Just listen to this short excerpt from an interview of General Clark. Here is the main point:
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: …I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
Well, there you go. That’s all we have time for today and I’m afraid I’ve already gone long. I hope that when you read and listen to “the news” or “official statements” that you remember to use your propaganda filter and take it with a grain of salt. Challenge official lies whenever and however you can. And when these shameless liars start waving the flag to inspire you to give up more treasure and blood for big corporations and their political machines, don’t fall for it. Remember, real Good Guys don’t need propaganda if they are doing the right thing. So stand up to the powerful media mavens and be heard because your voice is just as legitimate as any journalist’s. Speaking truth to power is essential if we are to break the cycle of endless war. Thank you for coming.
Source: Mark Davis | Strike the Root
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
- Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
- Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
- British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
- 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
- Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
- President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
- None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
- The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
- We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
- The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
- In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
- President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
- Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
- Guatemala 1954
- Indonesia 1958
- Cuba 1959-1961
- Guatemala 1960
- Congo 1964
- Laos 1964-73
- Vietnam 1961-73
- Cambodia 1969-70
- Guatemala 1967-69
- Grenada 1983
- Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
- Libya 1986
- El Salvador 1980s
- Nicaragua 1980s
- Iran 1987
- Panama 1989
- Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
- Kuwait 1991
- Somalia 1993
- Bosnia 1994, 1995
- Sudan 1998
- Afghanistan 1998
- Yugoslavia 1999
- Yemen 2002
- Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
- Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
- Afghanistan 2001 to present
- Pakistan 2007 to present
- Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
- Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
- Libya 2011
- Syria 2013?
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
- The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
- Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
- Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
- Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
- The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
- The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
- William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
- Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
- Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
- Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩
Wars of aggression follow. False arrests target innocent victims. Terror threats repeat. They’re strategically timed. They change the subject. They divert attention.
They fool most Americans. They do so most of the time. Here we go again. Media scoundrels march in lockstep. They regurgitate Big Lies.
On August 2, The New York Times headlined “Qaeda Messages Prompt US Terror Warning,” saying:
“The United States intercepted electronic communications this week among senior operatives of Al Qaeda, in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa, American officials said Friday.”
“The intercepts and a subsequent analysis of them by American intelligence agencies prompted the United States to issue an unusual global travel alert to American citizens on Friday, warning of the potential for terrorist attacks by operatives of Al Qaeda and their associates beginning Sunday through the end of August.”
Al Qaeda’s a longstanding US asset. It’s used strategically as enemy and ally. Terror threats are fabricated. Bin Ladin was used as “Enemy Number One” years after he died.
Obama didn’t kill him. He was seriously ill with kidney disease. He had other illnesses. In December 2011, he died naturally. The Pakistan Observer reported it. So did BBC and Fox News.
In July 2002, The New York Times said he’s been dead for “almost six months.” He was “buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan.”
On August 1, 2013, The State Department headlined “Temporary Post Closures and Worldwide Travel Alert.” It’s like previous ones. They’re fake.
“The following posts normally open on Sunday will be closed” on August 3 and 4, 2013. It’s because of “increased security concerns.”
“For further information, please click on the links below. A Worldwide Travel Alert has also been issued.”
US Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
US Embassy Algiers, Algeria
US Embassy Amman, Jordan
US Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
US Consulate Basrah, Iraq
US Embassy Cairo, Egypt
US Consulate Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
US Embassy Djibouti, Djibouti
US Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh
US Embassy Doha, Qatar
US Consulate Dubai, United Arab Emirates
US Consulate Erbil, Iraq
US Consulate Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
US Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan
US Embassy Khartoum, Sudan
US Embassy Kuwait City, Kuwait
US Embassy Manama, Bahrain
US Embassy Muscat, Oman
US Embassy Nouakchott, Mauritania
US Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
US Embassy Sana’a, Yemen
US Embassy Tripoli, Libya
According to an unnamed senior American official,”more than the usual chatter” was intercepted. Specifics were omitted. There are none. They don’t exist.
They come at Ramadan’s close. They followed Russia granting Snowden asylum. They came three days after fake Israeli/Palestinian peace talks began.
They’re during worsening economic crisis conditions. They affect growing millions. They’re when Washington threatens escalated war on Syria.
They’re at the same time administration officials try justifying institutionalized global spying. Meta-data mining is standard practice. NSA monitors everyone it targets all the time everywhere.
Russell Tice is a former Office of Naval Intelligence/Defense Intelligence Agency/NSA analyst. His career spanned 20 years.
In December 2005, he accused NSA and DIA of unconstitutionally wiretapping US citizens. He got national attention, saying:
“Everyone at NSA knew what they were doing was illegal, because it’s drilled into our heads over and over that it’s against NSA policy, that you do not do that. The choice is to speak out and get fired.”
On August 1, he was interviewed on PBS’ News Hour. He said NSA collects “everything.” It accumulates content “word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.”
Every phone call, email, and other personal communication is gathered and stored. Nothing escapes its scrutiny. It lies claiming otherwise. Meta-data collection is official policy. It’s longstanding. It’s done with technological ease.
Earlier he said NSA “targets, sucks-in, stores and analyzes illegally obtained content from the masses in the United States.”
Elected officials are monitored. So are federal judges. Candidate Obama’s phone was tapped. His private emails were read.
Public awareness grows. Fearmongering diverts attention. False flags shift attention from what matters. Administration officials take full advantage.
On August 2, Russia Today headlined “US issues global travel alert over al-Qaeda attack threat,” saying:
It “warn(ed) US citizens about the ‘continued potential for terrorist attacks’ in the Middle East and North Africa.”
It comes weeks ahead of the 12th 9/11 anniversary. It’s also the Benghazi, Libya first anniversary.
The travel alert remains throughout August. The State Department “alert(ed) US citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa and possibly occurring and emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.”
“Current information suggest that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorists attacks booth in the region and beyond and they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.”
Americans were warned about potential dangers on subways, air travel, railways, ships, other forms of public transportation, and prime tourist sites.
Media scoundrels regurgitate fearmongering. They do it ad nauseam. On August 3, CNN headlined “US issues global travel alert, to close embassies due to al Qaeda threat.”
Embassy closings and travel alert warning remain in place. Britain and Germany said they’ll “close their embassies in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Sunday and Monday. The UK Foreign Office said it was a precautionary measure.”
An unnamed US senior official in Yemen called the threat there “much worse than it has (been) in a long time.”
According to other unnamed US officials:
“Various Western targets – not just those tied to the United States -are under threat.”
Former US ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill said:
“There have been incidents where they’ve closed down a number of embassies in the Middle East because the information is not specific enough to say that ‘embassy X’ got to be closed as opposed to other embassies.”
“But I think this, closing all of these embassies in the Middle East to North Africa, is in fact unprecedented. At least, I didn’t see this during my career.”
Unsubstantiated fearmongering lacks credibility. The usual “experts” hype it. US broadcasters and cable channels feature them. So do major broadsheets.
Notable past terror attacks were false flags. Perhaps Obama has another one in mind. Perhaps multiple ones. Maybe something major.
Last April’s Boston Marathon bombing was a black ops scheme. It was state-sponsored terrorism. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were set up. They were innocent patsies.
They had nothing to do with it. Police murdered Tamerlan in cold blood. Dzhokhar faces longterm hard time.
The FBI bears responsibility for US terror plots. So does CIA. It’s longstanding policy. Post-9/11, it escalated.
Bush declared war on terrorism. Obama continues what he began. Washington needs enemies. When none exist, they’re invented.
Muslims are America’s target of choice. Innocent victims are entrapped. Doing so lets FBI operatives claim fabricated war on terror victories.
It lets NSA officials saying spying uncovers plots before they hatch. It lets America get away with murder. It does so on a global scale.
Lies, damn lies, and repeated lies facilitate state sponsored terrorism. It remains ongoing. Lots more is planned. America’s waging war on humanity. It’s longstanding US policy.
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.
Barack Obama is a master trickster, a shape-shifter, and a methodical liar. The man who has arrogated to himself the right to kill at will, anywhere on the globe, accountable only to himself, based on secret information and classified legal rationales, now says he is determined that Washington’s “perpetual war” must one day end – sometime in the misty future after he is long gone from office. He informed his global audience of potential victims that he had signed a secret agreement (with himself?) that would limit drone strikes to targets that pose “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and cannot be captured – a policy that his White House has always claimed (falsely) to be operative. He promises to be more merciful than before, “haunted” as he is by all the nameless deaths, although he admits to having done no wrong.
He is a man of boundless introspection, inviting us to ride with him on his wildly spinning moral compass. But, most of all, he is not George Bush – of that we can be certain, if only because he is younger and oratorically gifted and Black. “Beyond Afghanistan,” he said, “we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.” Thus, magically, he redefined the U.S. war on terror out of existence (in perpetuity) by breaking the conflict down to its daily, constituent parts, while simultaneously affirming that America will soon travel “beyond Afghanistan” despite the fact that many thousands of Special Operations troops will continue their round the clock raids in the countryside while drones rain death from the skies for the foreseeable future.
Such conflicts, we must understand, are necessitated by the “imminence” of threats posed to U.S. security, as weighed and measured by secret means. His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence. He is also the arbiter of who is to be detained in perpetuity, without trial or (public) charge, for “association” with “terrorists” as defined by himself. He has no apologies for that.
America must turn the page on the previous era, because “the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11.” A reevaluation is in order, since “we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.” In that case, why not call for repeal of the layers of war on terror legislation that have accumulated over the last 12 years, including Obama’s own NDAA preventive detention bill? Or, he could simply renounce these measures and refuse to employ them as a matter of policy. Instead, the president defended his own maximalist interpretation of the law, and claimed that the legal basis for his kill-at-will authority is firmly rooted in the Congress’s 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AMUF). Although he made vague reference to changes that Congress might make in the AMUF, there was no substantive indication that he sought to impose restrictions on his own or any other president’s authority to wage war precisely as he has for the last four years.
Obama’s blanket interpretation of AMUF – the legal logic – had previously been considered a state secret. It was news to much of the U.S. Senate, too, until assistant secretary of defense Michael Sheehan, in charge of special operations (death squads) at the Pentagon, told lawmakers earlier this month that the AMUF allows Obama to put “boots on the ground” anywhere he chooses, including “Yemen or the Congo,” if his classified logic compelled him to do so.
The senators were stunned – although it is no secret that Obama has already put U.S. Special Forces boots on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan, and has sent a combat brigade on permanent posting on the continent. Central Africa is one part of the world in which al Qaida has found little traction. The purported “bad guy” hiding in the bush, Joseph Kony, is the Christian leader of the remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Obama authorized the deployment under the doctrine of Humanitarian Military Intervention, or Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a war-making notion that is, at best, ill-defined under international law and non-existent in U.S. statutes. However, if Obama is sincere (!) in wanting to phase out AMUF, as he averred last week, he’s always got R2P as a backup.
Death squad honcho Sheehan is a believer in the perpetual lifespan of AMUF, which he considers operative until al Qaida has been consigned to the “ash heap of history” – an eventuality that is “at least 10 to 20 years” away. Since this is the guy who carries out Obama’s kill orders (the identity of his counterpart in the CIA is, of course, a secret), one would think that Sheehan and Obama would be on the same page when it comes to al Qaida and AMUF. But then, we are told that page has turned.
Obama is very good at flipping pages, changing subjects, hiding the pea in his hand while we try to figure out which bowl it’s under. His call for Congress to come up with a substitute for AMUF – without yet offering his own version – is a ploy to more explicitly codify those powers assumed by Bush and expanded upon by the Obama administration. Or, the Congress can do nothing – a very likely outcome – and Obama can pretend to be the reluctant, self-restrained global assassin, preventive detainer and regime changer for the rest of his term.
Not a damn thing has changed.
Back Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Source: Black Agenda Report
Take off your partisan hat and open your minds to the actual uninterrupted high treason that is part of the foreign policy establishment. Party politics is often just a show that plays to their respective bases. However, the tract and direction of extending the transnational empire just continues on a global scale. The full-blown treason committed by every administration that practices the internationalist vision of democracy domination is really a masquerade for worldwide dominion. Presidents are mere temporary talking heads for the oligarchy that actually rules. Murdering their own diplomats and hired help is incidental, when 1,455,590 Iraqi deaths since the U.S. invasion are ignored and dismissed.
Just how well is the consistent and bipartisan aggressive interventionist foreign policy doing? Go over the list of The Arab Spring country by country.
The Wall Street Journal provides a timeline on U.S. Government Reaction to the Benghazi Attack. “For days after the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, intelligence officials and the Obama administration said it was likely the outgrowth of protests sparked by an anti-Islamic video made in the U.S. Follow some of the administration statements on the Libya attack.”The infamous propaganda voice for the Obamaistas, Media Matters puts forth their partisan spin in, What Dick Cheney’s Benghazi Criticism Misses.
“David Martosko of the Daily Mail Online provided former Vice President Dick Cheney a platform to criticize the Obama administration’s failure to anticipate the September 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, without noting that seven attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities occurred during the Bush administration.”
Such diversion seeks to limit focus on the literal events that caused the Benghazi attack and the real reasons why Ambassador Christopher Stevens was left to perish by the Obama/Clinton foreign policy team of betrayers.
The shameful chronicle of the intentional and politically motivated stand down that doomed Stevens and his defenders was sensitively told during Gregory Hicks’ 30 Minute Recount of Benghazi Attack. While the Congressional hearings were praised for the attempt to restrain partisan grandstanding, the Washington press corps avoids placing blame on the administration as a tenant of their loyalty test. A government cover-up is made easy when the imperium friendly media is reporting on a proclaimed progressive administration.
The facts necessitate that even the venerable CBS mainstream media machine reluctantly admits that the Thousands of Libyan missiles from Qaddafi era missing in action, are a central concern with the overthrow of the Libyan regime.
“In the case of Libya’s missing MANPADS, there was also concern they would get into the Syrian conflict. “Once they start getting sold on the black market, we can’t control them,” says one source.
The source added he’s unaware of any U.S. attempt to send recovered Libyan MANPADS to arm Syrian rebels seeking to depose President Bashar al-Assad.”
According to the Business Insider, the veracity of this CBS source is questionable. Connect the dots and go back to the reason why a cover-up of the Benghazi murders becomes crucial to the long-term goals to destabilize the Middle East. The US Is Openly Sending Heavy Weapons From Libya To Syrian Rebels cites the following:
“The Obama administration has decided to launch a covert operation to send heavy weapons to Syrian rebels, Christina Lamb of The Sunday Times of London reports.Diplomatic sources told the Sunday Times that the U.S. “bought weapons from the stockpiles of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.”
The heavy arms include mortars, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and the controversial anti-aircraft heat-seeking SA-7 missiles, which are integral to countering Bashar Al-Assad’s bombing campaign.”
Now compute the decades old design for the territory as stated by Wes Clark and the neocon dream. Glenn Greenwald provides further documentation in Salon that the various Middle Eastern and North African wars were planned before 9/11:
“General Wesley Clark … said the aim of this plot [to "destroy the governments in ... Iraq, ... Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran"] was this: “They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.” He then recounted a conversation he had had ten years earlier with Paul Wolfowitz — back in 1991 — in which the then-number-3-Pentagon-official, after criticizing Bush 41 for not toppling Saddam, told Clark: “But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran [sic], Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.” Clark said he was shocked by Wolfowitz’s desires because, as Clark put it: “the purpose of the military is to start wars and change governments? It’s not to deter conflicts?”
The diabolic union between Neoconservatives and Neoliberals produces a litter of demonic adventures that build up the body count and push the region into a globalist cesspit of satanic dimensions. In order to comprehend the interconnection of conflicts it is important to understand the deceptive war on terror and the assembled alliance with the Al Qaeda bogyman.
The message in the essay, It’s Dishonest to Talk about Benghazi Without Talking About the Syrian War, is a reality that many cowardly Americans are unwilling to deal with, much less act upon.
“Both parties are avoiding the bigger picture … The fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have been using Benghazi as the center of U.S. efforts to arm the Al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels.
Specifically, the U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:”
What possible justification is there to intervene in Syria? The presupposed civil war is really a designed coup d’état overthrow that only benefits a greater Israel regional expansion. Note how the policy wonks work in their nefarious planning for destabilization. The flagship establishment mouthpiece Foreign Policy has the mission to signal the intentions of government stratagem as the master plans are implemented, in the article How to destabilize the Assad regime.
“In order to re-up its strategy, the administration should employ a cross-governmental approach that enlists the Treasury, Commerce, and Defense Departments. The Treasury Department should use sanctions to limit Assad’s ability to repatriate funds from oil exports and more properly enforce the 2012 GRAHVITY sanctions prohibiting the transfer of internet, communications, or surveillance technology to Syria. The Treasury Department should also prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with Assad’s enablers by designating those entities that continue to supply him with resources. Congress could bolster the latter measure by requiring federal contractors to certify that they are not in business with Assad’s enablers. Congress should also prohibit foreign financial institutions enabling Assad from doing business with U.S. banks. Meanwhile the Commerce Department should secure tighter control over the delivery of information and communications technology to Syria especially through authorized foreign distributors. Finally, as mandated by an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, the Pentagon should cease its business with Rosoboronexport, one of Assad’s chief enablers, instead of entering into new contracts as it has expressed the intention to do.”
What do you call the treachery, when your own government is committing the subversiveness?
The cryptic psychopolitical spook Dr. Steve Pieczenik presents an astounding analysis that answers this question in the You Tube, Benghazi Truth: Obama Was Running Secret Army. His call to action is a rare and daring challenge to the military that is worth a sober assessment if for no other reason than observing the anxious and flabbergasted reaction from Alex Jones. The treason committed, depends upon the nationalist loyalties of the government agents. In this case, the evidence seems well placed that the security apparatus is serving the wrong master.The substance of the Benghazi duplicity and scandalous evasion of accountability is an entrenched practice that permeates every level of command and control. The courage of Gregory Hicks, Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom is an act of legitimate patriotism seldom seen out of Foggy Bottom.
If professional State Department public servants can speak truth to power, where are the guts of the General Military Officers? If the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a brood of poodle puppies and lap dogs, God Save the Republic. Dr. Pieczenik is In Search of James Mattoon Scott. Most subservient subjects are oblivious to the Seven Days in May scenario. Perpetuating the myth, that civilian command preserves the constitutional liberties of citizens, does not conform to the record of presidential dictatorship. When state treason is codified normality, the mere murder of four more Americans is hardly an afterthought to the executioners of the country. Respecting commander in chief traitors is an absurd national death wish.
On the front of the March 11, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, legless athlete Oscar Pistorius stands like a physical specimen held up by his prosthetic legs. The title reads, “Man, superman, gunman: Oscar Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence,” by Alex Perry.
“Don’t keep sweeping your troubles under the rug for someday you’ll trip over it.” Taylor Wapaha
While reading the article, I felt overwhelmed by the statistics: South Africa # 6 in the world for gun killings, 88 percent rise in home robberies in the past five years and total racial separation. Black poverty skyrocketed after the end of apartheid. Two surveys found: “…28 percent of men admitted to being rapists and 46 percent of victims were less than 16 years of age, 23 percent under 11 and 9 percent under six years old. Out of 3.5 million residents of Cape Town, 2.1 million live in shacks without toilets or running water.”
“In the townships, vigilante beatings and killings are the norm,” wrote Time writer Alex Perry. “South Africa’s private security industry employs 411,000 people, more than double the number of police officers. South Africa knows crime as a vast stretch of lawlessness covering an area twice the size of Texas. As much as $50 billion annually is lost to graft and crime.”
Much of Africa comprises dictators and unimaginable human brutality toward women. When you include the Muslim world’s honor killings of 5,000 women killed by fathers, brothers and husbands annually, you get a sick feeling in your stomach. While the world “rapes” Africa for its natural resources, its human residents suffer indescribable misery from Cape Town to Cairo. Note Egypt’s internal revolution, Syria killing of over 70,000 and Libya’s ongoing war, Somalia’s starving people, Sudan, etc.
What about human nature in America?
In my Denver Post, another equally disturbing article appeared by Lisa Wirthman: “I felt like I was dying inside.” (February 24, 2013) The rape victim said, “I was paralyzed by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety attacks.”
Domestic violence in America:
- One in four U.S. adult women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. A woman in America suffers a violent attack every 15 seconds 24/7. Four million abuse cases annually.
- Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)
In America in the 21st century in a highly educated society: rape and brutality continue without pause.
In the meantime, our country brutalized and killed countless people in Iraq in a war started by George W. Bush via the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” David Brown, Washington Post staff writer said, “A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”
When it comes to mechanized violence, our U.S. Military killed over 2.1 million men, women and children in Vietnam. The total deaths from the 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may total over one million human beings. How can our U.S. Congress act with such arrogance and self-righteousness to continue those wars for so long with so much cost and so much death? Yet, we sweep it under the rug and out of our minds.
War on Mother Nature succeeding
While we spend so much money on the “War on Terror”; “War on Poverty”; “War on Drugs” and other such “wars”, we fail dramatically. Ten years of war in Iraq did absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect the United States of America. Instead, it ravaged a sovereign society and flooded our country with tens of thousands of Muslim refugees. Same with Afghanistan!
Notwithstanding, our “War on Mother Nature” proceeds with blinding speed. We humans, in the blink of 50 years and the invention of plastic, managed to create the 100 million ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of Texas, floating 1,000 miles off San Francisco. It kills millions of marine and avian life annually. We have done nothing to stop adding to it. No deposit-return laws worldwide—no nothing.
(Unfathomable billions of pieces of plastic washing throughout the oceans, lakes, seas, rivers and streams of the world—all created by humans around the planet.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
“The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter,” said ocean reporter Richard Grant. “But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was discarded on land. There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.”
(Endless plastic trash washes up on beaches around the world and kills wildlife by the millions.) Photo bywww.thewritefuture.com
In an Associated Press article by Verena Dobnic, “River of trash”, (March 3, 2013) she reports, “Just across the East river from midtown Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. Oily, rainbow-slick water is filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food. Ditched vehicles are stuck in the mud. What was once a watershed is now a sewage shed. Today, the creek’s bottom is lined with 15 foot thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed “black mayonnaise.”
(Wildlife eat the plastic trash that eventually kills them.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
With endless poisons injected into our rivers, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000 mile square dead-zone at its mouth. The Yangtze, Ganges and other great rivers create 20,000 square mile dead zones at their mouths. Yet, we humans do absolutely nothing to clean up our messes all over the planet.
I’ve tried for 40 years to get Peter Coors of Coors Brewing to support a 10 cent deposit return law in Colorado. Instead, his money killed our deposit-return efforts in Colorado in 1974 and 1988. Why do men and women with money and power in this country—do nothing for the good of our environment? Why do the men and women of our U.S. Congress do absolutely nothing for the good of our natural world?
What would solve so many of the aforementioned problems? Answer: first and foremost—education to create responsible citizens who care about their world, loving families, jobs, stable communities, recreation and a healthy natural world. Is it asking too much for our leaders to work for the betterment of our lives rather than endless wars, profits over humanity and destruction of planet?
In the end, with another 3.1 billion people projected to be added to this planet within the next 37 years, is there any hope for civility, care about our planet and care about our fellow human beings?
You must understand the duplicity of our U.S. Congress and President Obama. They place the interests of illegal aliens and businesses who hire them over and above American citizens. The White House and Congress place illegality of businesses who hire illegal aliens and the illegality of the alien migrants—over and above 47 million Americans who cannot secure jobs, but must live on taxpayer funded food stamps.
Ironically, Obama and Congress import 100,000 legal immigrants every 30 days in light of the fact that we suffer 14 million unemployed Americans. They import green card holding Somalian, Congolese, Sudanese and Indian immigrants who displace and take jobs from our own minority working poor. When those immigrants can’t find jobs, they apply for and receive welfare in free food, housing, medical and allowances. It costs you billions of dollars as a taxpaying American. With 100,000 added every 30 days, there is not letup.
Yet, Congress and Obama want to legalize 20 million illegal aliens to give them access to our Social Security, housing, food stamps, medical and schools. In a swoop of the pen, our financially broken and $16 trillion in-debt country will take on 20 million dish washers, nannies, gardeners and unskilled and uneducated poor. It defies anyone’s imagination.
They won’t enforce the laws on the books, but they want to legalize illegality. They won’t enforce any new laws either, thus, millions more can be expected to pour into America like a Human Katrina.
“Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide [that adds 80 million net gain annually to the planet], but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates
Dan Stein, president of The Federation for American Immigration Reform, www.FAIRUS.org talk about what we face this week.
“President Obama’s outline for overhauling the nation’s immigration policy places the interests of illegal aliens above the vital interests of American workers and taxpayers,” said Stein. “The president’s speech in Las Vegas sketched out a reform plan designed to aid and abet those who broke our immigration laws, increase competition for American workers, and pander to those who politically profit from illegal immigration, rather than truly fix a system that has been broken for decades.
“President Obama’s plan offers nothing to American workers except the certainty of even greater competition for scarce jobs and further suppression of their wages. It offers nothing to American taxpayers except assurance they will pay ever increasing costs as millions of low-skilled illegal immigrants move through the amnesty process and become eligible for government assistance programs.
“President Obama’s immigration reform plan is sadly premised on the notion that it is the illegal immigrants who are the victims of our nation’s dysfunctional immigration policies, and our policies must be changed to address their grievances. In fact, it is the American people who are the true victims of our dysfunctional immigration policies, and especially this president’s defiant refusal to enforce laws meant to protect them.”
“Immigration “reform,” as outlined by the president, would not only leave our failed policy of family chain migration in place, but would actually speed up admissions of extended relatives who enter the country irrespective of their job skills and education. The plan also calls for increases in employment-based immigration, even as we are still grappling with historically high levels of unemployment affecting workers in virtually all segments of our labor market.”
While promising amnesty and increased legal immigration, President Obama offered nothing regarding enforcement of the law, except maintaining the same non-enforcement policies he has implemented during his first term.
“Given President Obama’s record on immigration enforcement, his promises to secure the border and enforce federal law are simply worthless,” responded Stein. “For one thing the GAO recently chastised the administration for its claims that our borders are under control by noting that the administration does not even have a ‘yardstick’ for measuring operational control of our borders.
“Second, President Obama has asserted virtually unlimited discretion to ignore the immigration laws. He has also demonstrated a willingness to grant blanket work authorization to entire classes of illegal aliens. Much like REAL ID, it could be years, even a decade or more, before the mandate for universal E-Verify is carried out. In the meantime, countless millions of new illegal immigrants are likely to show up with the assurance that as long as they do not commit a violent crime, there will be no consequence for violating our immigration laws.
“President Obama’s actions during his first administration made it clear that his immigration policies are geared toward satisfying the economic and political interests of illegal aliens and their supporters. The legislative plan he outlined today confirms that the interests of the American people are not part of his vision of immigration reform.”
Contact Dan Stein at www.FAIRUS.org . Better yet, join FAIR and bring your individual power to collective power with over 250,000 members.
Apparently, it’s a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people – with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years – in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.
So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based
Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali. Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The formerly wimpy Hollande – now enjoying his “resolute”, “determined”, tough guy image reconversion – has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.
French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.
The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).
Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.
Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council – faster than a collection of Marvel heroes – duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors – part of the ECOWAS regional bloc – were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened – and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.
Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate – and impoverished – countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.
To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe’s cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.
General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what’s really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those “vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara”?
It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government’s incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.
The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010. Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department’s Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this “freedom” business Mali has been the proverbial “steady ally” – as in counterterrorism partner – fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Over the last few years, Washington’s game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.
An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch’s papers – for instance, The Times of London – and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.
Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs’ independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.
After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The “international community” spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other – Islamist – groups; Ansar ed-Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Meet the players
The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration – and development – for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi’s army. But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.
AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to “The Doctor”, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.
Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as “The Uncatchable”, has recently joined MUJAO.
MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It’s the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, “in the name of Allah”, to respond by attacking “the heart of France”.
Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of – inevitably – Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It’s interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.
Gimme ‘a little more terrorism’
No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo’s military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad – especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu. How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It’s useless to ask the question to US drones.
The official “leading from behind” Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing “could rally jihadis” around the world and lead to – what else – attacks on the West. Once again the good ol’ Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.
There’s no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to. The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that “from categorically refusing an intervention – saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous”, Algiers went to “open Algerian skies to the French Mirages”.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.
So let’s turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcomingThe Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).
Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, “Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the ‘Global War on Terror’ has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.”
In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, “a little more terrorism” in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush – or the neo-cons behind him – wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.
Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that “little more terrorism”. Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as “terrorists”; the perfect pretext for Bush’s Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon’s Operation Flintlock – a trans-Sahara military exercise.
The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.
The Tuaregs – the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel – number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.
Keenan’s analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine’s Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO’s Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.
Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That’s the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.
Round up the usual freedom fighters
Washington’s “leading from behind” position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.
And that’s it.
Not really. Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.
Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road – and by the (Niger) river – and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.
As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller wassaying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.
AFRICOM’s spy planes have been “observing” Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are – what else – contractors who do not wear military uniforms.
Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM’s commander, once more gave a big push to the “mission to advance US security interests across Africa”. Now it’s all about the – updated – US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to “strengthen democratic institutions”; encourage “economic growth, trade and investment”; “advance peace and security”; and “promote opportunity and development.”
In practice, it’s Western militarization (with Washington “leading from behind”) versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa. In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.
Already in early December a “multinational” war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.
The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, “multinational” proxy army about to get into the action, it’s the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony “in trouble” to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.
Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.
A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it’s been reported), led by who else but the “uncatchable” Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.
The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced – what else – the new French “crusade” and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.
As blowback goes, this is just the hors d’oeuvres. And it won’t be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.
So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about “peace”); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed “kinetic military operations”.
Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There’s no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Asia Times Online
After all the hollow and uninspired elections that this country has suffered through over the past several decades, one might think that at some point long ago the American public would have finally struck a plateau of disenfranchisement; that we could sink no further into despondency, that there is a saturation limit to the corruption of our voting process. Unfortunately, there has been no such luck. I have to say that in all honesty I have never seen more people gut jumbled and disgusted with our electoral system than I have in 2012. Sure, there is still a hyper-gullible segment of the populous that continues to play the game, but even those idiots are beginning to admit that the choices offered are dismal at best, catastrophic at worst. The fog of the false Left/Right paradigm is starting to lift, and all that lay in its wake is a hoard of lost wide-eyed flabbergasted followers without a coattail or a talking point to cling to. Sudanese refugees have a better chance of survival than these people do…
Even in the more obvious of fraudulent past elections there was at least an attempt by the establishment to present a pageant of conflicting ideologies (George W. Bush vs. John Kerry comes to mind). There has always been the Democrat who pretends to be anti-war, or the Republican who pretends to be small government, or the Democrat who pretends to defend our right to privacy, and the Republican who pretends to be pro-2nd Amendment. But in 2012, even the theater of rhetoric has disappeared. Both primary party candidates seem to be sharing the same intestinal tract and the same teleprompter, and now, the average American is asking a new set of questions. They do not wonder how these men will change things for the better. Not at all. Instead, they wonder which one will do LESS DAMAGE while in office. This is the terrible reality we have come to understand in our society today. It is a sad awakening, but a necessary one.
As you read this now, the new President of the United States is being “chosen” or has been chosen. Whoever the “winner” happens to be is ultimately irrelevant. They do not count. They are mascots. Middle management cronies running through the motions to distract the masses while enacting the policies of their superiors. They are fry cooks serving greasy overpriced democracy with no real sustenance. What does matter, though, is what comes next. I’m sorry to say that the idea that one man will do less damage than the other is a naïve sentiment. Democrat? Republican? Obama? Romney? The crimes and calamities wrought will be exactly the same. Take a look into my crystal ball and see the future. Here is how the winner will destroy America…
1) He Will Continue The Policy Of Dollar Devaluation
Neither candidate has expressed any interest through the election or even before it to protect the value of our currency, and both candidates have supported steps towards quantitative easing and fiat printing in order to delay an inevitable national debt crisis. Both Romney and Obama have sung the praises of Ben Bernanke (Romney changed his tune just in time for his campaign, but who’s buying that?) and the private Federal Reserve despite the consistent failures of that despotic institution to produce any tangible economic results with their Keynesian methods.
The dollar will see a vast devaluation during the term of this candidate and a loss of world reserve status, leading to stagflation (a combination of the worst elements of deflationary and inflationary crises in the same event). Skyrocketing prices and crumbling unemployment will be the highlights of his presidency, because he will never take measures to reign in or dismantle the primary root cause of the problem; the Federal Reserve itself.
2) He Will Continue Extreme Government Debt Spending
Neither candidate has offered a practical or operable solution to the $16 trillion official national debt problem we now face, let alone the tens of trillions of dollars in entitlement obligations that the Treasury Department never talks about. A nation can only live off food stamps and credit for so long before it implodes like a wet paper sack. And this is exactly what we have become; an entire culture of debt addicts and money hounds searching for our next fix of foreign or central bank cash. The fact is, both Obama and Romney would INCREASE spending while using fiat injections to buttress an ever weakening economy in the name of “stability”. The new president will claim that if spending cuts are initiated, it will send the U.S. financial system into a tailspin and a “return” to recession conditions. This will of course be a lie. We have not left recession/depression conditions since 2008.
3) He Will Support And Expand On Wars In The Middle East
There is no such thing as a mainstream “anti-war candidate” in 2012. Not even a fake one. Obama’s measures of state violence and complete lack of respect for the sovereign internal matters of foreign nations surpass the madness of George Bush Jr. He has even gone so far as to assert that his office has the right to assassinate American citizens without trial, evidence, or due process of the law. Not only has he asserted the right to this power, he has used it! Romney’s position, hilariously, is that Obama has not gone far enough! Either way, the winner in 2012 is going to leap like a vile locust into new countries and unleash a plague of laser guided death. The next president WILL be a war hungry president.
4) He Will Lock Down The Web And Limit Internet Speech
Both Romney and Obama have expressed a desire to establish cybersecurity measures which include vast new governmental authority over the functions and operations of the internet. The ultimate goal? To gain legal precedence for the right to dictate web content, up to and including the ability to label any website a subversive threat to national security or a recruitment tool for “extremists”.
With the establishment spreading completely baseless accusation of cyberthreats coming from every corner of the globe (but mostly from Iran) it would seem that they are conditioning the public for a future encounter with a cyber event, and telling them who to blame when it occurs. The problem is, the most prominent cyber security threats to the internet in the past few years have come not from the Middle East, or Russia, or China, but the U.S. and Israel (Stuxnet anyone?). Keep this in mind when our new president blames the next cyber attack on a convenient political target and then uses the event as an excuse to regulate the web.
5) He Will Erase American Civil Liberties
This president will find a reason, or he will create a reason to diminish Constitutional protections including our right to trial and due process. Both candidates have offered unflinching support for the National Defense Authorization Act and its provisions for indefinite detainment. Neither man has ventured any sincere concerns over the broad nature of the language involved in the labeling of “terrorists” and “extremists”. Literally anyone can now be categorized as an enemy combatant and a threat to national security for almost any reason, and this appears to be the way Obama and Romney like it. That is to say, they both want totalitarian powers, or at the very least, they have made no effort to turn them down.
It is important to note that there has never been a government in history that sought out such powers and did not actually use them. Only a fool would assume his favorite elitist candidate in 2012 will not utilize the extreme authorities now amassed for the executive branch over the past decade.
6) He Will Embrace A Globalist Dynamic And Abandon American Sovereignty
Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are surrounded by “advisers” who are also members of the Council On Foreign Relations, an institution which openly calls for the dissolution of American sovereignty on a regular basis and the creation of a centralized global system dominating the financial, social, and political life of every nation in the world. With the economic stability of the U.S. on the verge of oblivion, it is very likely that a historic crisis will ensue during the first term of the next president, and that he will in response suggest a new global system as the solution.
This system has already been created, in part, by the IMF and World Bank in concert with member governments and revolves around the issuance of a new world reserve currency (Special Drawing Rights) as the centerpiece. I can guarantee with absolute certainty that the next president, regardless of who he happens to be, will promote an IMF rescue package coupling the dollar to the SDR and turning over full economic control of America to an international body. He will make it sound rational, reasonable, and even advantageous, but in the end, he will be selling the globalist snakeoil he was conscripted to sell before his election campaign ever started.
In 2012, it will not be about voting. It will not be about “winning”. It will not even be about getting to the next election. It will be about survival. As big a joke as the 2012 elections have become even to the generally unaware, I am not laughing. I do not need to look at the promises of either candidate. I do not need to weigh their half-assed quick fix policies. All I have to do is look at the current downward trend and understand that the president, whoever he may be, will continue it. If anything is to truly change, it will be because we as Americans finally walk away from the game, enacting our own solutions and our own opposition instead of handing over our power to sniveling errand boys wrapped in flags and expensive suits and self-rightousness every four years. 2012 is going to be the beginning of upheaval and renewal, for better or for worse, and it is certain that the guy in the White House into 2013, Republican or Democrat, is going to be a part of the problem, nothing more.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Recent attacks on American embassies and consulates in numerous Muslim countries are claimed to be irrational and undue reactions to a film portraying the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a degraded manner. The film is intentionally sacrilegious and incendiary toward Islamic beliefs and seems intended to add fuel to the rage of a Muslim world already incensed at the U.S. for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for destructive American drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia and multiple other nations, and one-sided support for Israel accompanied by platitudes for Palestinians. Thus, the roots of widespread anti-Americanism are much deeper than can be explained merely by recent events. Instead, Muslim fury can be traced to the ever increasing intervention by Washington in Muslim countries since the end of World War II. Prior to that, the U.S. was considered a non-interventionist, even anti-imperialist, friend in much of the region. Yet, even before the war ended President Roosevelt made a secret deal with the Saudi king to provide American protection (and ultimately arms as well, used primarily to suppress his own population) to the Saudis in return for unobstructed American corporate access to the recently discovered Saudi oilfields.
Few today remember American policies during the Iranian crisis of 1946, when the U.S. obliquely threatened to force Soviet Troops out of Iran. American, British and Soviet troops occupied Iran in 1941 because it had tilted toward the Nazis under the father of the later American client, Shah Reza Pahlavi. The Soviets occupied the oil fields of northern Iran with Washington’s approval during the war to prevent them from falling into Nazi hands. The Soviets were supposed to withdraw in March of that year but refused until a deal could be arranged whereby the USSR could purchase Iranian oil in order to begin rebuilding its war-ravaged society. Initially the Truman Administration encouraged the Iranian government to accept the deal. Then when the Red Army did withdraw also encouraged the Iranians to renege on the arrangement. It is worth noting that the Red Army did not then re-occupy the territory, thereby putting the lie to the claim made immediately after WWII that the Soviets were bent on world domination. There was nothing, not even employing atomic weapons, that the U.S. could have done to stop the Red Army had it chosen to reoccupy Iran’s oilfields since that would have destroyed the very resources that were being contested. The Soviets were only one of the principal obstacles to American post-war plans- though they were trumpeted as the prime mover. Equally important was nationalism, especially the sort of national independence craved by countries possessing vital resources that the U.S. coveted. Few also realize that until WWII the U.S. was the prime exporter of petroleum. By war’s end the U.S. had used so much of its domestic oil, and its hydrocarbon-based economy had grown so exponentially, that from that point on the U.S. was impelled to begin importing oil.
Many do remember the overthrow of the prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadeqh in 1953. Exceeding its legal mandate to gather intelligence, the newly minted Central Intelligence Agency, initiated its first successful overthrow of a constitutional and elected government because that government decided that Iranian oil belonged to the Iranians and not to the British oil company that would eventually become British Petroleum. The American scheme was calculated to ensure that American companies would thereafter dominate Iranian oil production and get rid of most British competition in Iran as well. The Shah and his brutal government was then installed to act as Washington’s gendarme in the region. To ensure his rule the U.S. military and CIA then trained his dreaded secret police in the fine arts of torture and terror.
Meanwhile the CIA was active in similar efforts across the planet to undermine any form of nationalism, socialism, or communism that would interfere with the overarching American agenda, which was not the promotion of “democracy” but the installation of friendly clients into positions of power in countries considered strategic for their resources or geographic position. Space does not allow a complete catalog but of importance to current events is certainly the role the “Company” played in the overthrow of the British client king of Iraq in 1958, an intrigue in which Saddam Hussein played a role and that led eventually to his dictatorship, one with which Washington was happy to cooperate after the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979. The famous film of Donald Rumsfeld warmly shaking Saddam’s hand perfectly illustrates the lower depths to which Washington has too often stooped to achieve its ends. The U.S. provided highly technical intelligence to Iraq against Iran, aiding the mass slaughter that ensued, and when he used poison gas made from chemicals provided by American corporations against Iraqi Kurds during the war with Iran, Washington prevented sanctions against his regime. At that point he was assisting the American agenda to weaken Iranian fundamentalism so his crimes could be whitewashed. However, his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 became the perfect rationale to inject what evolved into a permanent American military presence in the Persian Gulf.
At the time of 9-11 Michael Scheur was the CIA’s foremost expert on Al Qaeda. His writings emphasize that Americans had to take seriously the reasons spelled out by Osama Bin Laden for Al Qaeda’s antagonism toward the U.S. One of those principal motivations was the American military presence in Saudi Arabia during and after Operation Desert Storm. Bin Laden said clearly that the presence of “infidel” troops on sacred Islamic soil was a desecration. Thereafter, all American forces were to be driven from all Islamic lands. The widespread perception in the Muslim world that Americans had defiled the holiest sites of Islam and were exploiting Muslim resources while propping up corrupt dictatorial apostates like the rulers of the Arab Gulf states contributed to the relative ease with which al Qaeda could recruit new Jihadis to its cause.
Scheur also noted that bin Laden said that the attacks on 9-11 were intended to promote further intervention by Washington in the region and thus promote more of the anti-Americanism that he hoped would fuel his movement. To a great extent American actions have worked almost precisely to Bin Laden’s plan and the current explosion of violence around the world toward the U.S. is a direct outgrowth of the increasing resentment and hatred long stored in memory across the Middle East. Washington is reaping the violent whirlwind sowed by itself.
The so-called “Arab Spring” represented an upwelling of long-simmering opposition to numerous dictatorships in the region, most of them propped up by Washington with a few exceptions that rankled like Libya and Syria. Though President Obama and Hillary Clinton mouthed piously about popular democracy and the “will of the people,” such didn’t help the hapless residents of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where instantaneous and brutal repression followed, with mere sighs from Washington. Remember that at first, President Obama supported Hosni Mubarak in Egypt until the intensity of the demonstrations in Cairo forced the U.S to abandon him. But not before the Egyptian military high command stepped up to reassure the State Department that it would take his place. Then they threw Mubarak “under the bus.” Nevertheless, the sheer pressure of popular demand for a voice necessitated an election. Since the Egyptian Army is financed and armed by Washington, and Egypt receives the second largest sum of foreign aid (after Israel) widespread knowledge that the Egyptian Army is a creature of the U.S. led to victory in the elections by the despised Muslim Brotherhood. After the election the Egyptian courts sought to prevent the seating of this Parliament dominated by the Brotherhood and with representation by the even more vehement Salafists, but the newly seated president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, does indeed represent the Brotherhood. One reason the Army allowed the elections was because its leadership feared that rank and file troops would not support repression in the face of such an uprising from the depths of their own social origins. Morsi is being very careful now. It remains to be seen how the new configuration of power, of Islamists vs. the Army, will evolve.
The killing of the American ambassador and three other Americans in Libya prompted an embittered Secretary Clinton to ask how those who owed their “liberation” to the U.S. could be so ungrateful to their emancipators, thereby confirming how little she understands of the circumstances fostering the Libyan uprising, nor those her government has wrought, or the degree to which the planned outcome of U.S. intervention islikely to fail utterly. The standard interpretation of what transpired in Libya is that the U.S. and its European allies in NATO conducted a humanitarian intervention to rid Libya of another brutal dictator. It is true that Muammar Qaddaffi ruled autocratically but in this he was supported by a substantial majority at least in western Libya, where traditional tribes were loyal.
Libya came into existence as an independent state only in 1951. Before that it had been an Italian colony, or rather three separate colonies cobbled together and given the name the ancient Romans called most of North Africa. In its efforts to subdue these colonies Italy became the very first European empire to use the airplane in primitive bombing runs on resisting tribes. In this they were soon followed by the French in Syria and Lebanon, and by the British in Iraq and Afghanistan, facts still well remembered in the region. Therefore, like so many nations that acquired independence after World War II, Libya was an artificial construct, merging mutually suspicious or hostile ethnic groups and tribes into a configuration designed by former colonial masters to serve their interests. When Qaddaffi overthrew the corrupt king of Libya in 1969, who made sweetheart deals with western oil companies, and hoarded revenues from Libya’s newly discovered oil, he took over a country already riven with tribal animosities. One of his difficulties was that much of Libya’s oil was in the east, where tribes different from his own loyalists dwelled. He suppressed opposition brutally.
Another problem which Quaddaffi dealt with successfully – and which brought him the unending hostility of the west and led to a deadly cat and mouse game that played out over forty years- were those western oil companies that dominated the industry and reaped the greatest share of profits. Qaddaffi immediately nationalized oil but allowed some companies to remain. However, he imposed significantly higher taxes and royalties on those, like the American company Occidental, resulting in a considerable increase in revenues available to him but he used these to raise the standard of living substantially, mainly for his loyalists, but also to an extent for the entire population. Whether his example stimulated what followed is unclear but the facts are that numerous other former oil producing colonies of the western powers subsequently initiated their own nationalizations, thereby upsetting longstanding and profitable western arrangements. He also refused to peg the Libyan currency, the dinar, to the International Monetary Fund, and refused to submit to the World Bank and International Bank for Settlements. Qaddaffi also styled himself the champion of pan-Arabism, the movement to unify the entire Arab world and funded many nationalist movements hostile to the west.
During all this time the CIA was actively involved with Qaddaffi’s opponents to find a way to overthrow him. This lethal contest led to mutual terrorism (though most American media and scholarly accounts omit the U.S. actions) and culminating in the atrocity of Lockerbie, followed by the bombing of Libya, including Qaddaffi’s house where his adoptive three year old daughter was killed. Qaddaffi then intensified efforts to acquire chemical weapons, and even undertook a nuclear program. However sanctions led him to submit the Lockerbie suspects for trial in the UK, and later to give up these WMD programs. At that point western media reports declared that Qaddaffi had “normalized’” affairs with the west.
Whatever he imagined about his new relations with former enemies, the CIA had other ideas. So when the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and soon spread across the entire region, many Libyans followed suit and Libya descended into the civil war that Washington and NATO then leapt upon in order to accomplish finally what the western governments and energy corporations had desired all along- the overthrow of Qaddaffi and his replacement with an installed government essentially of handpicked clients who would restore Libyan resources to western corporate domination. In the midst of fighting the private global intelligence company STRATFOR published and circulated a detailed map showing most of Libya’s oil was located in the eastern area of Benghazi. It was also well known that the oil Libya produced was of a type that is refined easily into the gasoline required in European automobiles. South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham waxed feverishly over the lure of profits, braying “Let’s get in on the ground. There’s a lot of money to be made in Libya. Lots of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.” Even before the “revolution” had succeeded and a new government was installed, the rebel group claiming authority announced the dissolution of Qaddaffi’s national bank and replaced it with a new central bank tied to international institutions, which, of course, are dominated by the western financial establishment.
As media images showed clearly, Qaddaffi still had enormous support. The “rebels” included eastern tribal members long hostile to rule from western Libya, but also ethnic minorities like the Berbers, but also Libyan members of al Qaeda as well as al Qaeda jihadists from around the Arab and Muslim world. Included in the toxic mix were CIA operatives and covert American Special Forces. Without western arms supplied to Qaddaffi’s opponents, and especially the U.S. led bombing campaign it is likely Qaddaffi would have hung on. The result we see today, however, was utterly predictable.
The so-called government installed in Tripoli, in the west of Libya, has no control over anything, especially in eastern Benghazi. In May the interim prime minister’s offices were attacked with four aides killed. In June a bomb exploded in the same consulate building where Ambassador Stevens was killed. The British ambassador narrowly escaped assassination last spring. The January ransacking of the National Transition Council offices provides evidence that factions in Benghazi want independence, not the unified state. What more would it have taken for Washington to realize that its best laid plans were going awry? Writing in the Guardian, Benjamin Barber notes that at minimum 100,000 militants of one faction or another, all armed with American and NATO weapons (including the rocket-propelled-grenade launchers used against the American consulate) continue to wage war or jihad upon each other, and that al Qaeda is as much a home –grown faction as any other. Indeed, al Qaeda raised its flag over the Benghazi courthouse the day after Qaddaffi was killed.
On March 2, 2007 Retired General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO forces, and 2004 Democratic contender for the presidency, appeared on Amy Goodman’s televised program Democracy Now. In the interview he revealed that shortly before the invasion of Iraq a highly placed Pentagon officer divulged a secret plan to him to overthrow the governments of seven countries-Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. Speaking in San Francisco the following October Clark repeated this and added commentary about a conversation he had in 1992 with Paul Wolfowitz, a prime architect of George W. Bush’s policies, who at the time was number three in the Defense department. Quoting Wolfowitz Clark said: “One thing we learned [in the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region- in the Middle East- and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq- before the next superpower comes along to stop us.”
The Neo-Conservatives were supposed to have been swept from power by the new Obama Administration, and yet the withdrawal (that is not really a withdrawal) from Iraq was negotiated by Bush, and the “surge” in Afghanistan ordered by Obama out neo-conned the neo-cons, just as the “liberation” of Libya certainly followed their template if not their foolish expectations. Syria awaits our humanitarian ministrations. But that may prove the most disastrous escapade of all.
Source: Paul Atwood | CounterPunch.org
From protests in Chile to a “coup” in Paraguay, the worrying signs come across Latin America that it may have an Arab Spring of its own, but in fact those are the signs of a new form of war waged against the region.
A specter haunts Latin America
Latin America is undergoing increasingly violent turmoil on many fronts. This often makes it difficult to distinguish between spontaneous, bona fide social protest and covert foreign intervention, just as we see today throughout the Arab world.
In spite of Latin America’s decades of experience with foreign-orchestrated military coups, in today’s world the local military are no longer an option. They were necessary proxies acting as local cops for the US during the Cold War, until they became a redundant embarrassment.
So just as the ’60s and ’70s saw a domino effect of “anti-communist military coups” – graciously applauded by the US and UK – the ’80s and ’90s saw a comeback of “democracy”, riding on the wave of “human rights”. In short: military boots were “out”; corrupt controllable “democratic” politicians were “in”.
Nominally “democratic” governments mean local power no longer managed by guns and bayonets but by tons of money. As the Global Power Masters execute a highly complex planet-wide strategic reset, Latin America is ripe for another turn of the screw: a new bout of “Spring” treatment.
It would, however, be a mistake to think this will be a copy of the Arab Spring, because a key factor behind today’s global Machtpolitik lies in understanding prevailing local conditions, which in Latin America are very different from those of the Arab world.
What makes each country tick?
Last year’s lighting of the Arab Spring fuse depended very much on understanding that fact huge sectors of the local populations – particularly the young – were fed up with authoritarian, long-entrenched regimes: whether Mubarak’s 31 years in Egypt, Gaddafi’s 42 years in Libya or the al-Assads’ 40 years in Syria.
But there’s no way this can be done in Latin America, because all governments here are nominally “democratic”, with corrupt politicians taking turns in mismanaging their countries.
On the religious front, Islam demands active militancy from its followers to defend the Faith, so an important dividing line for the Arab Spring is the centuries-old conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, plus the modern struggle between clerical and secular regimes.
Such highly complex issues have thwarted the Muslim world’s ability to unite under one solid and strong leadership, so fundamental to neutralize decades – centuries! – of Western interference and intervention in that region. Divide and conquer has always been imperialism’s leitmotiv.
By playing one side against the other; by appealing to the naïve young yearning for change whose paradigms are (de)formed by Western pop “culture”, last year’s triggering of social and generational conflict was really a “piece of cake”: from Tunisia to Egypt; from Libya to Syria; from Sudan to Iran.
At most, the tricky part was keeping FOW’s (Friends of the West) like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain isolated from this process. The West’s ability to slosh trillions of Petro-Dollars, plus the Western Media’s extreme discretion towards “friendly countries”, the ominous presence of the US Fifth Fleet and a little help from our (Israeli) friends seems to have done the trick. So far, anyway…
Latin America is not at all like this. Not a chance of violently pitting Catholics against Protestants…and since all countries are formally “democratic”, people won’t readily take to the streets to get rid of any authoritarian regimes because, officially, there are none. Maybe a Monsanto-coup in Paraguay or an electoral money-for-your-vote hiccup in Mexico, but the US is too busy looking at Chavez in Venezuela to bother.
Where, then, is the war front in Latin America?
War in ‘Spring’ time
When we talk of war, we normally think in terms of World War II-like invading armies. But war has become far more covert and far less overt. Today, more subtle forms are used like engineering financial or social coups or – as Libya and now Syria learned – engineering civil war.
In traditional war, the focus is on military hardware, strategy and territorial logistics. ‘Spring’ wars, however, are remote-planned, and then deployed inside the target country. First you identify dividing lines in local society: what are people’s grievances, which religious fervors and ethnic hatreds are ripe for stirring.
Then comes PsyWar channeling through NGO’s, local militants and lobbies, opposition politicians, paid journalists and, of course, yours truly “The Embassy”. Throughout Latin America, “la Embajada” is an ominous phrase pointing to US, UK and Israeli embassy meddling.
And if they can’t get their desired “Regime Change”, there’s always “Plan B”: escalate to blatant financing, training and arming of local subversives, terrorists and gangs as in Libya and Syria.
Latin America’s war front
The real war in Latin America, where deadly shots are fired and people get killed and maimed, lies in the increasingly huge gap pitting the rich (small numbers, huge power) against the poor (huge numbers, small power).
Latin America’s war is fought in the “villa miseria” slums of Buenos Aires, Bogotá and México; in the “favelas” of Rio de Janeiro; in the shanty towns of Caracas, Guayaquil and every single city in our region.
The poor are becoming increasingly aware of just how poor they are. In today’s global consumer society the rich slap them on the face through TV, the internet and “entertainment” media. The corporate overworld constantly reminds them of just how wonderful life can be if you’re rich and buy their cars, laptops, cell phones, houses, holiday packages. Too poor to enjoy that? Alas, too bad!
Mass social frustration lies at the root of Latin American war. It branches out into street crime, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, gang warfare, pornography. It physically, intellectually and spiritually annihilates untold millions of people in the streets of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia or Argentina.
In contrast to the Muslim world, where religious fervor keeps the rich-versus-poor divide in check, Latin American Catholic and Protestant churches have lost their social appeal and strength. The spiritual vacuum they left has been filled with greedy striving for material wealth.
Not that this is anything new. The big difference now is the unprecedented technological capability available to trigger and control social wars; escalating them to outright insurrection and civil war when it suits the global power masters’ objectives.
But that works both ways, because that same technology is making people more and more politically aware and active. As Trilateral Commission ideologue and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recently lamented, “people’s growing political awareness” is a threat… to the global elites.
The whole world is being pushed into war mode, where every victory or defeat in one region has far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. We The People suffered defeat in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. In Syria, Iran and Venezuela, We The People fight ongoing battles.
Given the colossal economic crisis affecting the US, Europe, UK – even Israel – if a “Latin Spring” is unleashed on the Rich-versus-the-Poor Front, then Latin America’s ability to fight back intelligently and effectively could have dramatic and positive global consequences.
Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina.www.asalbuchi.com.ar
Source: Adrian Salbuchi | RT
On Friday the New York Times asserted that President Obama, from his first months in office, ordered a wave of “increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks” against Iran and its nuclear program”.
The program, code-named “Olympic Games”, was an acceleration of Bush era attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Reportedly, Obama ramped up the attacks even after the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus directed against foreign nuclear facilities, became public knowledge due to a programming error. The Stuxnet virus jumped from computer to computer, taking out 1000 of the 5000 Iranian uranium centrifuges.
The virus eventually broke free from control and traveled around the world through the internet.
At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.
“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.
Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed.
The US government has never admitted using so-called cyberweapons, but the Times piece suggests officials are now able to “cripple” infrastructure in a way previously only bombs and troops could achieve.
Stuxnet became public in 2010, but fast forward to today, and this week a new ’super virus’ has hit Iran and the Middle East again. This advanced virus, “can activate a computer’s audio systems to listen in on Skype calls or office chatter. It can also take screenshots, log keystrokes and — in one of its more novel functions — steal data from Bluetooth-enabled cellphones.”
This powerful virus, dubbed “Flame” has already spread between nations, showing up in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, and the West Bank.
Experts are suggesting this virus may have come from Israel, and while Israel hasn’t admitted such a role, those charges aren’t being denied by its government.
While there seems to be mainstream support for the strong-arm tactics of governments and their use of cyber weapons, it appears to be a one-way street.
Should China, Iran, or Russia be suspected of being behind a destructive virus attack on the US or its close allies, the world could expect a dramatic and disproportionate military response.
In fact, in 2011 the Pentagon “concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.”
However, because the Pentagon deems cyber attacks an act of war, how can these attacks against sovereign countries go unchallenged?
“The Rules of Armed Conflict that guide traditional wars are derived from a series of international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, as well as practices that the U.S. and other nations consider customary international law. But cyber warfare isn’t covered by existing treaties. So military officials say they want to seek a consensus among allies about how to proceed.”
Former US President Richard Nixon famously said, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” It is almost certain that any attacks made by the US or its allies against sovereign nations in the form of cyber warfare will go unchecked and unpunished.
What complicates the issue further is the repeated declarations coming from experts and officials that Iran is working to further it’s nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and does not possess the desire, or the facilities, to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
In March of this year, the west placed financial sanctions on Iran, blocking Iranian banks access to international markets. Sanctions are approved by the UN and are not illegal, but they are a move, historically, that teeters on the edge of being an all-out act of war.
This, combined with the suspicion that western governments are assassinating civilian Iranian scientists related to its nuclear program is yet another provocation in what seems to be escalating into a point of no return for both sides.
There are many downsides to playing with this type of cyber warfare fire. And they seem to all end in a world-wide military conflict. How long before Iran finally retaliates to these unsubtle acts of war against it? What will the outcome be when these super viruses are used either by hackers with malintent, or employed by governments in false-flag operations to frame domestic political activists, ’hacktivists’, or foreign nations?
At what point does the rest of the world stand up and declare these subversive engagements true ’acts of war’, and throw water on this fire before it spreads to consume us all?
Source: Elizabeth Leafloor | RedIceCreations.com
Are They Forming an Alliance?
Beirut - University students surveyed last month in Lebanon on the subject of how to improve their society and move it in the direction of meeting international human and civil rights norms identified three groups most in urgent need of immediate Lebanese governmental action.
Not surprising perhaps, but nevertheless refreshing, were the students’ strongly expressed convictions, regardless of particular sect, that those most victimized by Lebanon’s government and current laws are the roughly 200,000 migrant domestic workers, woman, who make up half of Lebanon’s population, and the estimated 250,000 Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their country, Palestine.
Last month’s suicide by domestic worker 33 years old Alem Dechasa-Desisa, following a beating in front of her Ethiopian Consulate by Ali Mahfouz and his colleague, whose recruitment agency arranged for Alem to work in Lebanon, was condemned across this country and angered those watching the video of the beating on LBCI TV.
This incident once more raised the near slavery plight of workers from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Philippines, and Nepal and elsewhere who are excluded from the Lebanon’s labor law. Among the triad of the most wretched in Lebanon, domestic workers suffer the most.
Once again, the Lebanese government issued a seemingly pro forma statement to say it would investigate the despicable abuse of domestic workers. Few here have confidence that anything will come of the current “investigation” any more than usually results from police or ministry investigations of domestic workers abuse. “The Lebanese authorities only opened an investigation because they found themselves in the media spotlight,” Nadim Houry, the deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, told a news conference, adding that “The government urgently needs to address the root causes that are driving so many migrant domestic workers to despair.” More than a dozen civil society groups also cited a culture of impunity when it comes to the abuse of domestic workers in Lebanon.
In a 2008 study, Human Rights Watch found that there had been an average of one death a week from unnatural causes among domestic workers in Lebanon, including suicides and unexplained falls from tall buildings. Domestic workers are subject to restrictive immigration rules based on employer-specific sponsorship that puts workers at risk of exploitation and makes it extremely difficult for them to leave abusive employers, The Philippines, Ethiopia and other countries have banned their citizens from working in Lebanon due to the lack of protection from Lebanon yet many still come here in order to work and send money back home to their families.
According to HRW, the most common complaints documented by the embassies of labor-sending countries and civil society groups include mistreatment by recruiters, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, forced confinement to the workplace, a refusal to provide any time off for the worker, forced labor, and verbal and physical abuse. HRW also cited information prepared by KAFA Violence & Exploitation, a Lebanese women’s rights group, concerning nine suspicious deaths in August 2010.
A number of factors mean that MDWs often do not file or pursue complaints against their employers, but rather settle on unfavorable terms. These include lack of judicial support, fear of counter charges and being held in detention, and restrictive visa policies that make it hard for MDWs to see through cases that can take months or years to wend through the protracted judicial process. For many, the need to earn money to support their families, and the impulse of abused workers to return home quickly prompts them to withdraw their complaints rather than seek redress. A Human Rights Watch review of 13 criminal cases that MDWs brought against employers found they took an average of 24 months to be resolved, while MDW complaints for unpaid wages filed in civil courts lasted between 21 and 54 months. Complaints brought before labor courts, which are supposedly faster than regular civil courts because their procedures are simpler, lasted 32 months on average.
The wretched women of Lebanon– half of the population…
Lebanese law prevents women married to a non-Lebanese from passing citizenship on to her children. Much like the right to property, which women in Lebanon, like Palestinians also don’t enjoy fully, the value of citizenship and family rights for women and their children is meaningless when the state restricts transferability. This means that many children born and raised in Lebanon are required to regularly reapply for permits to continue living in their birth country.
Since Lebanese law does not provide a clear judicial standard, children must deal with the administrative maze of Lebanon’s corrupt and notoriously inefficient bureaucracy. As the children grow into adults, they face restrictions on foreign labor, property ownership and a host of other implications much like Palestinian refugees. While diaspora Lebanese may have citizenship from other countries, they can also claim Lebanese citizenship via paternal consanguinity, but people born and raised in Lebanon depend on the arbitrary decisions of the security services.
Women also remain invisible in positions of formal power such as Parliament. No women serve in Lebanon’s cabinet, while only four women our of 128 MP’s – the usual group of wives, sisters and daughters of high ranking Lebanese officials – are Members of Parliament. Some have proposed a quota for women in Parliament. According to lawyer Anthony Elghossain “ in a political culture that derides women for being outspoken and active, a quota would amount to little more than a paper reform. Indeed, without changing other aspects of Lebanese electoral law, a quota system would probably add a bunch of “yes women” to the flock of male sheep that is Lebanon’s legislature.”
The question of “marital rape” also continues to make a mockery of current Lebanese laws. Male rapists may rape at will since their crime is not defined as rape in the first place just so long as long as they are married to the woman they rape or if they subsequently propose marriage to their victims.
Nearly impossible as it is to believe, some in Lebanon’s Parliament such as Imad Hout told The Beirut Daily Star last month that “[t]here’s nothing called rape between a husband and a wife,” but only the act of “forcing someone violently to have intercourse.”
Whenever Parliament finally agrees to consider changing domestic relations law, it always ends up postponing serious consideration or a vote on proposals with a press release saying in effect, “This subject requires more study. Legislative action deferred.”
Palestinians need for basic civil rights including the right to work and to own a home
Due to an educational effort on the subject of civil rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon over the past few years, this issue is perhaps better known than the situation of domestic workers and women. But the urgent need to change Lebanese to grant Palestinians elementary civil rights is currently no closer to being achieved than are the above cases.
However, given the recent increase in activism among all three communities and their increasing inclination to collaborate, there is reason for some optimism for all three segments of Lebanese society which are organizing with international and increased domestic support
Currently the most dynamic action at organizing and working for change is coming from women in the Palestinian community. Long marginalized from key roles in the refugee camp “popular committees” Palestinian women in several of the 12 camps are challenging the male domination of the camps. This is particularly true in Bedawwi and Nahr al Bared camps in north Lebanon where Palestinian NGO’s such as Najdeh (“help”) are training and supporting women’s empowerment and urging them get involved in camp management since women best know the needs of the families and how to relate to them.
This dynamism is encouraging domestic workers to organize as well as offering support for women’s groups to demand their rights. The coming months may see more formal alliances among Lebanon’s most marginalized and wretched groups–domestic workers, women and Palestinian refugees. With growing civil society support for their efforts they may finally achieve the dismantling of archaic Lebanese laws and attitudes.