The real reason why the U. S. A. continues its presence in Afghanistan is Iran the country which is an annoyance for Israel, said Karen Kwiatkowski, a writer and former U. S. Air Force officer.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
“Thank you very much, Richard, and I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future."
Since the early 1960s Simon Wiesenthal’s name has become synonymous with Nazi hunting. His standing is that of a secular saint. Nominated four times for the Nobel peace prize, the recipient of a British honorary knighthood, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Légion d’honneur and at least 53 other distinctions, he was often credited with some 1,100 Nazi “scalps”. He is remembered, above all, for his efforts to track down Adolf Eichmann, one of the most notorious war criminals.
His reputation is built on sand, however. He was a liar — and a bad one at that. From the end of the second world war to the end of his life in 2005, he would lie repeatedly about his supposed hunt for Eichmann as well as his other Nazi-hunting exploits. He would also concoct outrageous stories about his war years and make false claims about his academic career. There are so many inconsistencies between his three main memoirs and between those memoirs and contemporaneous documents, that it is impossible to establish a reliable narrative from them. Wiesenthal’s scant regard for the truth makes it possible to doubt everything he ever wrote or said.
A controversial suit brought by a U.S. Army reservist has been joined by a retired Army two-star general and an active reserve Air Force lieutenant colonel.
Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook filed the suit July 8 in federal court here asking for conscientious objector status and a preliminary injunction based upon his belief that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.
An Air Force study, released without much fanfare on Wednesday, suggests that tomorrow’s dogfighers might not have pilots in the cockpit. The Unmanned Aircraft System Flight Plan which sketches out possible drone development through the year 2047, comes with plenty of qualifiers. But it envisions a radical future. In an acronym-dense 82 pages, the Air Force explains how ever-larger and more sophisticated flying robots could eventually replace every type of manned aircraft in its inventory — everything from speedy, air-to-air fighters to lumbering bombers and tankers.
Mysterious, glowing clouds previously seen almost exclusively in Earth’s polar regions have appeared in the skies over the United States and Europe over the past several days.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
An American engineer was convicted of waging a 30-year campaign of industrial espionage after police found 300,000 pages of sensitive material at his home.
Chinese-born Dongfan 'Greg' Chung, 73, stole the documents while working for Boeing and Rockwell International as a stress analyst.
Investigators believe at least some of the material, which included information about the US space shuttle and a booster rocket, was handed on to China.
Chung was convicted of six counts of economic espionage, one count of acting as a foreign agent, one count of conspiracy and one count of lying to federal agents.
He could face up to 90 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.
The endless silver birch forests of the Russian Far East might appear so desolate and windswept that no one could possibly be interested in them. Yet the vast swath of territory between Lake Baikal and Vladivostok may become a new theatre of confrontation between Russia and China in the decades ahead.
For now, the two giant neighbours have been thrust together by their shared suspicion of America and they cooperate as tactical allies, working in the United Nations Security Council to contain Washington's power. But this affinity is based on little more than having the same rival. The empty lands of the Russian Far East, far closer to Beijing than Moscow, contain major sources of tension between the two powers.
An al-Jazeera journalist who was imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay plans to launch a joint legal action with other detainees against former US president George Bush and other administration officials, for the illegal detention and torture he and others suffered at the hands of US authorities.
The case will be initiated by the Guantánamo Justice Centre, a new organisation open to former prisoners at the US base, which will set up its international headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, later this month.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The deployment into the Red Sea, confirmed by Israeli officials, was a clear signal that Israel was able to put its strike force within range of Iran at short notice. It came before long-range exercises by the Israeli air force in America later this month and the test of a missile defence shield at a US missile range in the Pacific Ocean.
Israel has strengthened ties with Arab nations who also fear a nuclear-armed Iran. In particular, relations with Egypt have grown increasingly strong this year over the “shared mutual distrust of Iran”, according to one Israeli diplomat. Israeli naval vessels would likely pass through the Suez Canal for an Iranian strike.
“This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran. These manoeuvres are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats,” an Israeli defence official said.
It is believed that Israel’s missile-equipped submarines, and its fleet of advanced aircraft, could be used to strike at in excess of a dozen nuclear-related targets more than 800 miles from Israel.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A U.S. Army Reserve major from Florida scheduled to report for deployment to Afghanistan within days has had his military orders revoked after arguing he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his eligibility for office.
His attorney, Orly Taitz, confirmed to WND the military has rescinded his impending deployment orders.
Online encyclopedia can't make up its mind on president's birthplace!
“For Ghana, Obama’s visit will be a celebration of another milestone in African history as it hosts the first-ever African-American President on this presidential visit to the continent of his birth.”
Doubts about Obama’s birth certificate are now spreading in military circles. U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook has refused to deploy to Afghanistan on the grounds that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief. Cook’s lawyer, Orly Taitz, has filed separate lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
What is a Hero?
A prime example here in the U.S. is President Barack Obama. He is young, slender, personable, attractive and is worshipped as heroic because he is the first Black American President. The fact that he literally cannot make a speech without a teleprompter is considered unimportant by his worshippers. And the fact that he is nothing but an Illuminati controlled sock-puppet who was placed, not elected, into office, also goes unnoticed by most. The point is that a cult of personality has been raised so high around this man that few can see him for what he really is.
January 13, 2009
U.S. President-elect Obama has chosen president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Richard Haass, along with senior CFR-member Richard Holbrooke, and CFR-member Dennis Ross as special Foreign Envoys/ Foreign Policy Advisors, reporting directly to Obama (as reported by CBS News). Richard Holbrooke has also been a CFR director three times, as he is presently. Richard Haas is also a CFR director.
Even the CBS Evening News (reported by CFR-member anchor-propagandist Katie Couric) identified Haass as the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Not surprisingly, CBS did not bother to mention that both Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Neither did CBS report that Richard Haass and Dennis Ross are also members of the Trilateral Commission, the more selective creation (1973) of David Rockefeller and Obama adviser/supporter Zbigniew Brzezinski. Richard Holbrooke is also a former member of the Trilateral Commission.
And of course, neither did CBS report that Richard Haass, Richard Holbrooke, and Dennis Ross, have each also been Bildberger attendees.
In what ultimately could prove to be a turning point in the legal challenges to Barack Obama's eligibility to be president, a federal judge in California has planned a hearing on the merits of a federal court case raising those questions.
According to attorney Orly Taitz, who is working on multiple cases alleging Obama is a "usurper" because he doesn't meet the constitutional requirement that only a "natural born citizen" can be president, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled in a hearing today that her case will move forward.
The hearing was on her motion for a default order against Obama, because although Taitz said she notified him of the action, Obama's attorneys did not make an appearance.
Her complaint was filed against the president on Jan. 20, the day of his inauguration, over his actions before he became president.
Taitz has told WND if her motion for default is granted she immediately would request access to Obama's birth records and other documentation that could determine his eligibility to occupy the Oval Office.
Congress is outraged that Cheney concealed a CIA program to assassinate al Qaeda leaders, but they should also be investigating why Obama is continuing — and expanding — U. S. assassinations.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Largest ground combat operation since the Vietnam War
The Pentagon and its NATO allies have launched the largest combat offensive to date in their nearly eight-year war in South Asia - Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) with 4,000 US Marines, attack helicopters and tanks and Operation Panchai Palang (Panther's Claw) with several hundred British engaged in airborne assaults - in the Afghan province of Helmand.
The American effort is the largest ground combat operation conducted by Washington in Asia since the Vietnam War.
Other NATO and allied nations have also boosted or intend to increase their troop strength in Afghanistan, with German forces to exceed 4,000 for the first time, Romanian troops to top 1,000 and contingents to be augmented from dozens of other NATO member and partner states, including formerly neutral Finland and Sweden.
The US, NATO, NATO's Partnership for Peace and Contact Countries and other allied nations - states as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Macedonia - have some 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, all under the command of America's General Stanley A. McChrystal, former head of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and a counterinsurgency master hand. The Afghan-Pakistani war theater resembles the Vietnam War in more than one manner.
The US troop contingent has nearly doubled since last year, more than quintupled in five years, and will be in the neighborhood of 70,000 soldiers by year's end.
Concurrent with the ongoing offensive the US has fired missiles from aerial drones into Pakistan in the two deadliest strikes of the type ever in that country, killing 65 and 50 people in two recent attacks.
Large-scale government military operations on the Pakistani side of the border, coordinated with the Pentagon through its new Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell and with NATO through the Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission, have uprooted and displaced well in excess of two million civilians, the largest population dislocation in Pakistan since the 1947 partition of British India.
Il G8 dominato dall'aggravarsi della crisi finanziaria
C’è un tragico simbolismo nella convocazione del vertice dei leader delle nazioni industrializzate di quest 'anno (G8) ieri nella città italiana di L'Aquila. All'inizio di quest'anno la piccola città italiana è stato scossa da un terremoto che ha lasciato il suo centro medievale in rovina e ha causato la morte di oltre 300 vittime.
La decisione del Presidente del Consiglio italiano Silvio Berlusconi di spostare il vertice dalla sua sede prevista, una nave di lusso al largo delle coste della Sardegna, alla caserma della Guardia di Finanza nella periferia della città in rovina di L'Aquila, è stata una cinica manovra volta a deviare l’attenzione dei media dall’intensificarsi della crisi sociale del paese. Tuttavia, per molti aspetti il nuovo contesto è del tutto appropriato.
Più di un quarto di secolo dopo la sua fondazione,anche il club delle nazioni del G8 si trova in rovina. In seguito alla crisi finanziaria internazionale, le nazioni del G8 si sono dimostrate completamente incapaci di elaborare una qualsiasi risposta comune per contenere la più grande crisi che ha afflitto il sistema capitalista dagli anni ‘30. Al contrario, gli antagonismi nazionali e regionali tra i principali membri del G8 si stanno rapidamente inasprendo.
Originariamente fondato nel 1975, sulla base di una iniziativa dei leader della Germania e della Francia di creare un coerente quadro finanziario a seguito della devastante crisi petrolifera del 1973, il gruppo è composto da: Canada, Francia, Germania, Stati Uniti, Italia, Giappone, Russia e Regno Unito. Un altro posto alla conferenza annuale del G8 è destinato all'Unione europea che non può ospitare o tenere un vertice.
Per decenni, la premessa per la riuscita collaborazione del G8 è stato il dominio economico, militare e politico degli Stati Uniti. Ora, l’aggravarsi della crisi finanziaria ha rivelato l'entità della crisi economica e sociale degli Stati Uniti e gettato le relazioni politiche internazionali nel caos. L’intero quadro dei rapporti politici del dopoguerra si sta disgregando, e i capi di governo dei paesi membri del G8 ora ammettono apertamente che il gruppo non rappresenta più lo stato attuale delle relazioni internazionali, e che è ormai un anacronismo.
Il G8 attualmente esclude un certo numero di stati la cui economia è in rapida crescita, in particolare la Cina, ora la quarta maggiore potenza economica mondiale, l'India e il Brasile, che hanno un PIL di dimensioni equivalenti alla Russia, membro del G8.
Il governo italiano ha cercato di aggiustare lo squilibrio della composizione del G8 invitando non meno di 40 nazioni e organizzazioni internazionali per la riunione, e per la prima volta il G8 ha in programma di rilasciare una dichiarazione congiunta con il gruppo di nazioni emergenti, G5 - Cina, India, Messico, Brasile e Sud Africa più Egitto.
Il frenetico ordine del giorno stilato dal governo italiano - una serie di incontri in tre giorni tra 40 diverse nazioni- non può nascondere il fatto che il G8 non è in grado di accordarsi su eventuali decisioni vincolanti o di vere e proprie misure per affrontare le implicazioni sociali e politiche della crisi finanziaria.
Commentatori politici più esperti stanno già liquidando eventuali aspettative sul vertice. Secondo Milena Elsinger, un’analista presso il Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V. (DGAP—Consiglio Tedesco sulle Relazioni con l’Estero), il vertice produrrà solo "vaghe dichiarazioni di intenti".
Per quanto riguarda il G8 stesso, solo una settimana prima del vertice il cancelliere tedesco Angela Merkel ha dichiarato apertamente al parlamento tedesco che il forum non è più in grado di affrontare le sfide future. "Stiamo vedendo che il mondo sta crescendo insieme e che i problemi che abbiamo di fronte non possono essere risolti dai soli paesi industrializzati", ha detto la Merkel. Ha poi retrocesso il G8 a un forum per le discussioni preliminari: “decisioni globali e rilevanti che vengono prese in una più grande configurazione”.
Merkel e altri leader europei intendono creare una nuova struttura economica e politica che aumenti il peso specifico dei principali paesi europei nell’economia mondiale-in particolare, contro il persistere di una posizione dominante dell'America. A questo proposito, il rafforzarsi delle relazioni con le economie emergenti come la Cina, l'India e il Brasile è di importanza cruciale. Prima di partire per il vertice di L'Aquila, il presidente francese Nicolas Sarkozy ha organizzato una visita di alto livello del Presidente brasiliano Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
La posta in gioco è alta. Nonostante gli strenui tentativi da parte di Berlusconi e degli altri capi di Stato del G8 di mostrare il lato migliore della crisi e sottolineare l'importanza di presunti "verdi germogli" di crescita, il vertice è dominato dalla crisi finanziaria che diventa più profonda.
Alla vigilia del vertice, il primo ministro britannico Gordon Brown ha dichiarato che era imminente una seconda ondata della crisi finanziaria, mentre il capo dell’Organizzazione Mondiale del Commercio Pascal Lamy ha ammonito che "il peggio della crisi in termini sociali deve ancora a venire, il che significa che c’è da aspettarsi il peggio della crisi anche in termini politici. "
Dietro le quinte del G8, è in corso una corsa selvaggia per stabilire nuovi allineamenti politici e nuove alleanze. In particolare, molti stati in tutto il mondo sono intenti ad intensificare le relazioni politiche e commerciali con l’economia emergente in più rapida crescita - la Cina, la cui partecipazione è stata considerata di vitale importanza per il successo del G8.
Il monito di Lamy è stato prontamente confermato il primo giorno del vertice del G8, quando il presidente della Cina, Hu Jintao, è stato costretto a tornare in patria, a causa degli sconvolgimenti sociali e dei conflitti etnici nella provincia dello Xinjiang.
Mentre le principali nazioni rappresentate al vertice del G8 sono intente a stabilire nuove alleanze politiche, la loro pratica nell'attuale crisi economica è sempre più caratterizzata da interessi ed egoismi nazionali. Questo è stato chiaro fin dal primo giorno di discussione in occasione del vertice (mercoledì), che è stato in gran parte dedicato alle questioni ambientali e al cambiamento climatico.
Già prima del vertice, alti diplomatici dal piu’ ampio Forum delle Maggiori Economie a 16 nazioni hanno abbandonato un punto di riferimento nel comunicato di bozza di vertice a raggiungere l'obiettivo di dimezzare le emissioni di gas serra entro il 2050. La Cina e l'India hanno espresso obiezioni al traguardo, citando la mancanza di progressi compiuti dal più grande inquinante del mondo di CO2: gli Stati Uniti.
Il recente progetto di legge sul cambiamento climatico e sul risparmio energetico approvato dal Senato e la Camera dei Rappresentanti non prevede eventuali riduzioni delle emissioni di CO2 fino all'anno 2050. Il disegno di legge comprende anche disposizioni protezionistiche favorendo il commercio e l'industria americani.
Sulla base della proposta di legge degli Stati Uniti sull’ambiente, l'amministrazione Obama è considerata come un’anatra zoppa sulle questioni climatiche. Il comunicato rilasciato mercoledì non ha fatto proposte concrete e ha semplicemente confermato la totale incapacità del G8 di ottenere qualsiasi tipo di accordo valido sul calo delle emissioni dei gas serra.
Anche all'ordine del giorno di mercoledì, e senza dubbio a dominare le discussioni per il resto della settimana, è stato il come rispondere alla crisi finanziaria mondiale. Negli ultimi mesi, le reazioni a questa crisi da parte delle principali potenze del G8 sono state completamente divergenti e le differenze continuano a crescere. Un asse europeo incentrato sui governi francese e tedesco ha richiesto l'adozione di una "strategia di uscita" dalla crisi ed una azione efficace al fine di regolamentare le pratiche speculative delle grandi banche.
Contrari a un tale atteggiamento sono i settori finanziari e i governi di Stati Uniti e Regno Unito, che sono invece favorevoli ad ulteriori misure di salvataggio per le banche e sono contrari a qualsiasi controllo efficace sulle strategie di investimento bancario.
La differenza tra le due parti e’ scoppiata in occasione della riunione dei ministri delle finanze del G8 a giugno come parte della preparazione per il vertice corrente. Al vertice del G8 dei ministri delle finanze, il Ministro delle Finanze tedesco Peer Steinbrück ha richiesto una rapida fine alla spirale del debito e ha sottolineato il pericolo di inflazione. Egli ha dichiarato che ulteriori programmi di stimolo non sono "né necessari né opportuni". Egli è stato sostenuto dai delegati di Francia e Italia.
Steinbrück è stato contrastato nel corso di tale riunione dal Segretario del Tesoro americano Timothy Geithner. Quest’ultimo è stato sostenuto dal direttore del Fondo Monetario Internazionale Dominique Strauss-Kahn, che ha dichiarato che i governi devono essere disposti ad aumentare i loro programmi di salvataggio per le banche e l'industria. La posizione degli Stati Uniti e Strauss-Kahn, è stata anche sostenuta anche dal primo ministro britannico Gordon Brown.
Dal meeting di giugno, le differenze tra le due parti si sono intensificate. Solo pochi giorni prima del vertice de L'Aquila, Steinbrück ha accusato il Primo Ministro Brown di prendere la posizione della lobby finanziaria di Londra a discapito delle pianificate autorita’ regolatrici dell’UE. Le ultime dichiarazioni di Brown, che avvertono su una seconda ondata della crisi, devono essere viste come la risposta del suo governo a quello tedesco. Queste dichiarazioni sono inoltre un cenno di approvazione alle banche britanniche che Londra è pronta a liberare ulteriore denaro per il salvataggio del malato sistema finanziario del paese.
Ulteriori e più dettagliate discussioni su come rispondere alla crisi economica si terranno giovedi e venerdì, ma se ci si basa sul passato, tutti gli indicatori segnalano un intensificarsi delle tensioni tra i rivali dell’asse anglo-americano e le nazioni leader europee. L’antagonismo tra queste due fazioni, assieme ai segnali di un protezionismo rampante da parte degli Stati Uniti, la Cina, e altre grandi nazioni, presagiscono la fine del ciclo di Doha dell’Organizzazione Mondiale per il Commercio. I capi del G8 avevano promesso di finalizzare queste trattative finalizzate a ridurre le barriere commerciali in tutto il mondo al vertice di quest’anno.
A solo un giorno dalla sua riunione e con tali questioni controverse come la guerra in Afghanistan condotta dagli Stati Uniti e le relazioni con l'Iran anche all'ordine del giorno, questa edizione del G8 già rispecchia l'enorme portata della discordia politica e la rivalità tra le grandi potenze.
Reports in the American press on Friday and Saturday reveal massive illegality in the US government and intelligence apparatus. They demonstrate not only routine violations of democratic rights through illegal spying and wiretapping both at home and abroad, but also disregard for legally required reports to Congress.
According to a report Sunday in the New York Times, the CIA kept the House and Senate intelligence committees in the dark for eight years about a “secret counterterrorism program,” on the instructions of then Vice President Richard Cheney. The Times account said that the current CIA Director Leon Panetta, a former Democratic congressman, recently told both the House and Senate intelligence committees about the existence of the program and Cheney’s role in concealing it.
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, citing an internal study by five intelligence agency officials, that the electronic surveillance under the Bush administration “went beyond the widely publicized warrantless wiretapping program ... encompassing additional secretive activities that created ‘unprecedented’ spying powers.”
This program, conducted by the National Security Agency and separate from the CIA program, “came to be known in the Bush administration as the ‘President’s Surveillance Program’,” the newspaper said. The study was conducted jointly by the Inspectors General of the Justice Department, Pentagon, CIA, Directorate of National Intelligence and National Security Agency. The unclassified version of the study, released Friday night, blacked out all details of the expanded surveillance program.
As in the case of the CIA program, the office of the vice president played a central role in enforcing secrecy and cover-up of the NSA operation. Cheney’s legal adviser and later chief of staff, David Addington, had to personally approve every government official who was to be “read in” to the program by the NSA. Addington refused to be interviewed by the Inspectors General, as did former CIA director George Tenet, former attorney general John Ashcroft, and John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer tasked with drafting legal guidelines for the secret surveillance.
At the direction of the then-vice president, Congress was not notified of a highly classified counter-terrorism program for eight years, sources say.
Washington - The CIA kept a highly classified counter-terrorism program secret from Congress for eight years at the direction of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, according to sources familiar with an account that agency Director Leon E. Panetta provided recently to House and Senate committees.
The sources declined to provide any details on the nature of the program, but said that the agency had opened an internal inquiry in recent days into the history of the program and the decisions made by a series of senior officials to withhold information about it from Congress.
Cheney's involvement suggests that the program was considered important enough by the Bush administration that it should be monitored at the highest levels of government, and that the White House was reluctant to risk disclosure of its details to lawmakers.
Panetta killed the program on June 23 after learning of it, four months after he became director of the CIA. He then called special sessions with the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Here’s how reporters Steven Lee Myers and Marc Santora of the New York Times described the highly touted American withdrawal from Iraq’s cities last week:
“Much of the complicated work of dismantling and removing millions of dollars of equipment from the combat outposts in the city has been done during the dark of night. Gen. Ray Odierno, the overall American commander in Iraq, has ordered that an increasing number of basic operations — transport and re-supply convoys, for example — take place at night, when fewer Iraqis are likely to see that the American withdrawal is not total.”
Acting in the dark of night, in fact, seems to catch the nature of American plans for Iraq in a particularly striking way. Last week, despite the death of Michael Jackson, Iraq made it back into the TV news as Iraqis celebrated a highly publicized American military withdrawal from their cities. Fireworks went off; some Iraqis gathered to dance and cheer; the first military parade since Saddam Hussein’s day took place (in the fortified Green Zone, the country’s ordinary streets still being too dangerous for such things); the U.S. handed back many small bases and outposts; and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki proclaimed a national holiday — “sovereignty day,” he called it.
All of this fit with a script promisingly laid out by President Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign. More recently, in his much praised speech to the students of Egypt’s Cairo University, he promised that the U.S. would keep no bases in Iraq, and would indeed withdraw its military forces from the country by the end of 2011.
Unfortunately, not just for the Iraqis, but for the American public, it’s what’s happening in “the dark” — beyond the glare of lights and TV cameras — that counts. While many critics of the Iraq War have been willing to cut the Obama administration some slack as its foreign policy team and the U.S. military gear up for that definitive withdrawal, something else — something more unsettling — appears to be going on.
And it wasn’t just the president’s hedging over withdrawing American “combat” troops from Iraq – which, in any case, make up as few as one-third of the 130,000 U.S. forces still in the country — now extended from 16 to 19 months. Nor was it the re-labeling of some of them as “advisors” so they could, in fact, stay in the vacated cities, or the redrawing of the boundary lines of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, to exclude a couple of key bases the Americans weren’t about to give up.
On Friday, June 12, Harith al-Obaidi, leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni bloc in the Iraqi Parliament, was shot dead outside a mosque just minutes after giving a sermon condemning the Maliki government for human rights abuses. Obaidi, who was a leader in the opposition movement against the government and had strong support among both Sunnis and the Shi’ite bloc loyal to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was a long-time advocate for human rights and a staunch critic of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Only the day before, Obaidi had given a speech in parliament calling for the resignation of top government officials for their ties to human rights abuses in Iraq. In addition, the neighborhood where the mosque he had given the sermon was located had several checkpoints, thus begging the question of how a gunman could have made his way, undetected, to the mosque.
Blitz of “Cyber Attacks” as Rockefeller Bill Approaches
A determined propaganda blitz is well underway as the government sets the stage for the passage of Cybersecurity Act of 2009, introduced in the Senate earlier this year. If passed, it will allow Obama to shut down the internet and private networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access. In other words, the bill allows the government to impose authoritarian control over electronic communications.
Earlier today, the corporate media reported on a “powerful attack that overwhelmed computers at U.S. and South Korean government agencies,” allegedly launched by North Korea. “South Korean intelligence officials believe the attacks were carried out by North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces,” the Associated Press reported.
It should be noted that South Korea’s intelligence apparatus — known as the Korean Central Intelligence Agency — was formed under the auspices of the U.S. Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War and is notorious for intervening in that country’s politics and kidnapping Koreans living abroad and torturing them. In other words, anything South Korean intelligence tells the corporate media should be taken with a large grain of salt.
An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse".
This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet – obtained by The Independent on Sundayahead of its official publication next month. Backed by a diverse range of leading organisations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing "invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society".
The impact of the global recession is a key theme, with researchers warning that global clean energy, food availability, poverty and the growth of democracy around the world are at "risk of getting worse due to the recession". The report adds: "Too many greedy and deceitful decisions led to a world recession and demonstrated the international interdependence of economics and ethics."
Climate scientists have warned of wild weather in the year ahead as the start of the global "El Niño" phenomenon exacerbates the impact of global warming. As well as droughts, floods and other extreme events, the next few years are also likely to be the hottest on record, scientists say.
The moves now being made by the world's political establishment to lock us into December's Copenhagen treaty to halt global warming are as alarming as anything that has happened in our lifetimes. Last week in Italy, the various branches of our emerging world government, G8 and G20, agreed in principle that the world must by 2050 cut its CO2 emissions in half. Britain and the US are already committed to cutting their use of fossil fuels by more than 80 per cent. Short of an unimaginable technological revolution, this could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economic activity: no electricity, no transport, no industry. All this is being egged on by a gigantic publicity machine, by the UN, by serried ranks of government-funded scientists, by cheerleaders such as Al Gore, last week comparing the fight against global warming to that against Hitler's Nazis, and by politicians who have no idea what they are setting in train.
What makes this even odder is that the runaway warming predicted by their computer models simply isn't happening. Last week one of the four official sources of temperature measurement, compiled from satellite data by the University of Huntsville, Alabama, showed that temperatures have now fallen to their average level since satellite data began 30 years ago.
The Imperial Regime in Washington apparently believes it has reduced the heroic Swiss to a state of subservience, because its most recent demands savor of the same arrogant, unwarranted self-assurance that led Herr Gessler to place his hat atop the pole in Altdorf's town square.
Last year, Washington tried to impose a $780 million fine on the Swiss for their refusal to enforce U.S. tax laws within their own country.
Next week, the Regime intends to press its claims in court – that is, in its own courts – in the hope of forcing the Swiss to turn over confidential information on some 52,000 Americans who have private accounts protected by Swiss law.
To their eternal credit, and the benefit of those who cherish freedom everywhere, the Swiss are responding to Washington's imperial bullying with the equivalent of William Tell's laughter, augmented by an upraised middle digit.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
President Barack Obama on Friday warned Iran that the world will take “further steps” against the Tehran regime if it fails to begin negotiating over the future of its nuclear weapons programme later this year.
Friday, July 10, 2009
The British Army has paid out compensation for, or is in the process of investigating the deaths of, at least 104 civilians killed in clashes in Helmand in just 18 months, Channel 4 News can reveal.
British forces in Afghanistan have used one of the world’s most deadly and controversial missiles to fight the Taliban.
Apache attack helicopters have fired the thermobaric weapons against fighters in buildings and caves, to create a pressure wave which sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has admitted to the use of the weapons, condemned by human rights groups as “brutal”, on several occasions, including against a cave complex.
The use of the Hellfire AGM-114N weapons has been deemed so successful they will now be fired from RAF Reaper unmanned drones controlled by “pilots” at Creech air force base in Nevada, an MoD spokesman added.
Thermobaric weapons, or vacuum bombs, were first combat-tested by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s and their use by Russia against civilians in Chechnya in the 1990s was condemned worldwide.
The secret decision to buy the Hellfire AGM-114N missiles was made earlier this year following problems attacking Taliban fortified positions.
British Apache pilots complained that standard Hellfire antitank missiles were going straight through buildings and out of the other side. Even when they did explode, there were limited casualties among the Taliban inside, particularly when a building contained a number of rooms.
American Apache pilots overcame the problem in Iraq with the thermobaric Hellfire.
The weapons are so controversial that MoD weapons and legal experts spent 18 months debating whether British troops could use them without breaking international law.
Eventually, they decided to get round the ethical problems by redefining the weapons.
“We no longer accept the term thermobaric (for the AGM-114N) as there is no internationally agreed definition,” said an MoD spokesman. “We call it an enhanced blast weapon.”
The redefinition has allowed British forces to use the weapons legally, but is undermined by the publicity of their manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, which markets them as thermobaric.
When the American military bought them in 2005, President George W. Bush said: “There are going to be some awfully surprised terrorists when the thermobaric Hellfire comes knocking.”
Despite the Bush rhetoric, it is unlikely anyone targeted by the missile would know much about it. The laser-guided missile has a warhead packed with fluorinated aluminium powder surrounding a small charge.
When it hits the target, the charge disperses the aluminium powder throughout the target building. The cloud then ignites, causing a massive secondary blast that tears throughout any enclosed space.
The blast creates a vacuum which draws air and debris back in, creating pressure of up to 430lb per sq in. The more heavily the building is protected, the more concentrated the blast.
The cloud of burning aluminium powder means victims often die from asphyxiation before the pressure shreds their organs.
Jim Gribschaw, Lockheed Martin’s program director for air-to-ground missiles systems, said the thermobaric Hellfire was “capable of reaching around corners to strike enemy forces hiding in cases, bunkers and hardened multi-room complexes.”
Human Rights Watch argues they are “particularly brutal” and that their blast “makes it virtually impossible for civilians to take shelter”.
Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat defense spokesman, said: “It is staggering the MoD has added these weapons to Britain’s arsenal in cloak-and-dagger secrecy. Parliament has never assented to their use.”
He added: “Gordon Brown claimed the moral high ground when Britain supported a ban on cluster munitions but leaving a loophole for these weapons casts a different picture on the true position.”
The MoD said: “We are conscious of the controversial aspects (of this weapon) but it is being used sparingly and under strict circumstances where it is deemed appropriate by the commander on the ground.”
A spokesman added that it could “achieve objectives with the minimum coalition casualties and reduced collateral damage”.
Source: "The Sunday Times"
“In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much,” she said. “See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service.“ — Michelle Obama
No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.
How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michele are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:
- $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (CHIEF OF STAFF)
- $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY)
- $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- Winter, Melissa E. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $90,000 - Medina, David S. (DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (DIRECTOR AND PRESS SECRETARY TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND ADVANCE FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
- Reinstein, Joseph B. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
- $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND EVENTS COORDINATOR FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF ADVANCE AND TRIP DIRECTOR FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- Lewis, Dana M. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT AND PERSONAL AIDE TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR SCHEDULING AND TRAVELING AIDE TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE FIRST LADY)
- Tubman, Samantha (DEPUTY ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR,SOCIAL OFFICE)
- $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
- $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (STAFF ASSISTANT TO THE SOCIAL SECRETARY)
- Bookey, Natalie (STAFF ASSISTANT)
- Jackson, Deilia A. (DEPUTY ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE FIRST LADY)
July 9, 2009
PARIS: Researchers working for the United Nations cultural agency say the US military in Iraq inflicted considerable damage on one of the world's most important archaeological sites at Babylon.
UNESCO has vowed to make Babylon a World Heritage site to prevent similar vandalism in future wars.
Its ruins, 90 kilometres south of Baghdad, are considered one of the world's Seven Wonders, and are more than 4000 years old. Soon after the US-led invasion in 2003, the site became military "Camp Alpha".
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Honduras, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan
(and the Boomerang Effect)
by James Petras
July 09, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- The recent events in Honduras and Iran, which pit democratically elected regimes against pro-US military and civilian actors intent on overthrowing them can best be understood as part of a larger White House strategy designed to rollback the gains achieved by opposition government and movements during the Bush years.
In a manner reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s New Cold War policies, Obama has vastly increased the military budget, increased the number of combat troops, targeted new regions for military intervention and backed military coups in regions traditionally controlled by the US . However Obama’s rollback strategy occurs in a very different international and domestic context. Unlike Reagan, Obama faces a prolonged and profound recession/depression, massive fiscal and trade deficits, a declining role in the world economy and loss of political dominance in Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and elsewhere. While Reagan faced off against a decaying Soviet Communist regime, Obama confronts surging world-wide opposition from a variety of independent secular, clerical, nationalist, liberal democratic and socialist electoral regimes and social movements anchored in local struggles.
Obama’s rollback strategy is evident from his very first pronouncements, promising to reassert US dominance (‘leadership’) in the Middle East, his projection of massive military power in Afghanistan and military expansion in Pakistan and the destabilization of regimes through deep intervention by proxies as in Iran and Honduras.
Obama’s pursuit of the rollback strategy operates a multi-track policy of overt military intervention, covert ‘civil society’ operations and soft-sell, seemingly benign diplomatic rhetoric, which relies heavily on mass media propaganda. Major ongoing events illustrate the rollback policies in action.
In Afghanistan, Obama has more than doubled the US military forces from 32,000 to 68,000. In the first week of July his military commanders launched the biggest single military offensive in decades in the southern Afghan province of Helmand to displace indigenous resistance and governance.
In Pakistan, the Obama-Clinton-Holbrooke regime successfully put maximum pressure on their newly installed client Zedari regime to launch a massive military offensive and rollback the long-standing influence of Islamic resistance forces in the Northwest frontier regions, while US drones and Special Forces commandoes routinely bomb and assault villages and local Pashtun leaders suspected of supporting the resistance.
In Iraq, the Obama regime engages in a farcical ploy, reconfiguring the urban map of Baghdad to include US military bases and operations and pass off the result as “retiring troops’ to their barracks”. Obama’s multi-billion-dollar investment in long-term, large-scale military infrastructure, including bases, airfields and compounds speaks to a ‘permanent’ imperial presence, not to his campaign promises of a programmed withdrawal. While ‘staging’ fixed election between US-certified client candidates is the norm in Iraq and Afghanistan where the presence of US troops guarantees a colonial victory, in Iran and Honduras, Washington resorts to covert operations to destabilize or overthrow incumbent Presidents who do not support Obama’s rollback policies.
The covert and not-so-invisible operation in Iran found expression in a failed electoral challenge followed by ‘mass street demonstrations’ centered on the claim that the electoral victory of the incumbent anti-imperialist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a result of ‘electoral fraud’. Western mass media played a major role during the electoral campaign exclusively providing favorable coverage of the opposition and negative accounts of the incumbent regime. The mass media blanketed the ‘news’ with pro-demonstrator propaganda, selectively presenting coverage to de-legitimize the elections and elected officials, echoing the charges of ‘fraud’. The propaganda success of the US-orchestrated destabilization campaign even found an echo among broad sections of what passes for the US ‘left’ who ignored the massive, coordinated US financing of key Iranian groups and politicos engaged in the street protests. Neo-conservative, liberal and itinerant leftist ‘free-lance journalists’, like Reese Erlich, defended the destabilization effort from their own particular vantage point as ‘a popular democratic movement against electoral fraud.’
The right/left cheerleaders of US destabilization projects fail to address several key explanatory factors:
1. None, for example, discuss the fact that several weeks before the election a rigorous survey conducted by two US pollsters revealed an electoral outcome very near to the actual voting result, including in the ethnic provinces where the opposition claimed fraud.
2. None of the critics discussed the $400 million dollars allocated by the Bush Administration to finance regime change, domestic destabilization and cross border terror operations. Many of the students and ‘civil society’ NGO’s in the demonstrations received funding from overseas foundations and NGO’s – which in turn were funded by the US government.
3. The charge of electoral fraud was cooked up after the results of the vote count were announced. In the entire run-up to the election, especially when the opposition believed they would win the elections – neither the student protesters nor the Western mass media nor the freelance journalists claimed impending fraud. During the entire day of voting, with opposition party observers at each polling place, no claims of voter intimidation or fraud were noted by the media, international observers or left backers of the opposition. Opposition party observers were present to monitor the entire vote count and yet, with only rare exception, no claims of vote rigging were made at the time. In fact, with the exception of one dubious claim by free-lance journalist Reese Erlich, none of the world’s media claimed ballot box stuffing. And even Erlich’s claims were admittedly based on unsubstantiated ‘anecdotal accounts’ from anonymous sources among his contacts in the opposition.
4. During the first week of protests in Tehran, the US, EU and Israeli leaders did not question the validity of the election outcome. Instead, they condemned the regime’s repression of the protestors. Clearly their well-informed embassies and intelligence operative provided a more accurate and systematic assessment of the Iranian voter preferences than the propaganda spun by the Western mass media and the useful idiots among the Anglo-American left.
The US-backed electoral and street opposition in Iran was designed to push to the limits a destabilization campaign, with the intention of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, undermining Tehran’s opposition to US military intervention in the Gulf, its occupation of Iraq and , above all, Iran’s challenge to Israel’s projection of military power in the region. Anti-Iran propaganda and policy making has been heavily influenced for years on a daily basis by the entire pro-Israel power configuration in the US. This includes the 51 Presidents of the Major America Jewish Organizations with over a million members and several thousand full-time functionaries, scores of editorial writers and commentators dominating the opinion pages of the influential Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times as well as the yellow tabloid press.
Obama’s policy of roll back of Iranian influence counted on a two-step process: Supporting a coalition of clerical dissidents, pro-Western liberals, dissident democrats and right-wing surrogates of the US. Once in office, Washington would push the dissident clerics toward alliances with their strategic allies among pro-Western liberals and rightists, who would then shift policy in accordance with US imperial and Israeli colonial interests by cutting off support for Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Venezuela, the Iraqi resistance and embrace the pro-US Saudi-Iraqi--Jordan-Egypt clients. In other words, Obama’s roll back policy is designed to relocate Iran to the pre-1979 political alignment.
Obama’s roll back of critical elected regimes to impose pliant clients found further expression in the recent military coup in Honduras. The use of the high command in the Honduras military and Washington’s long-standing ties with the local oligarchy, who control the Congress and Supreme Court, facilitated the process and obviated the need for direct US intervention—as was the case in other recent coup efforts. Unlike Haiti where the US marines intervened to oust democratically elected Bertrand Aristide, only a decade ago,and openly backed the failed coup against President Chavez in 2002, and more recently, funded the botched coup against the President-elect Evo Morales in September 2008, the circumstances of US involvement in Honduras were more discrete in order to allow for ‘credible denial’.
The ‘structural presence’ and motives of the US with regard to ousted President Zelaya are readily identifiable. Historically the US has trained and socialized almost the entire Honduran officer corps and maintained deep penetration at all senior levels through daily consultation and common strategic planning. Through its military base in Honduras, the Pentagon’s military intelligence operatives have intimate contacts to pursue policies as well as to keep track of all polical moves by all political actors. Because Honduras is so heavily colonized, it has served as an important base for US military intervention in the region: In 1954 the successful US-backed coup against the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz was launched from Honduras. In 1961 the US-orchestrated Cuban exile invasion of Cuba was launched from Honduras. From 1981-1989, the US financed and trained over 20,000 ‘Contra’ mercenaries in Honduras which comprised the army of death squads to attack the democratically elected Nicaraguan Sandinista government. During the first seven years of the Chavez government, Honduran regimes were staunchly allied with Washington against the populist Caracas regime.
Obviously no military coups ever occurred or could occur against any US puppet regime in Honduras. The key to the shift in US policy toward Honduras occurred in 2007-2008 when the Liberal President Zelaya decided to improved relations with Venezuela in order to secure generous petro-subsidies and foreign aid from Caracas. Subsequently Zelaya joined ‘Petro-Caribe’, a Venezuelan-organized Caribbean and Central American association to provide long-term, low-cost oil and gas to meet the energy needs of member countries. In more recent days, Zelaya joined ALBA, a regional integration organization sponsored by President Chavez to promote greater trade and investment among its member countries in opposition to the US-promoted regional free trade pact, known as ALCA.
Since Washington defined Venezuela as a threat and alternative to its hegemony in Latin America, Zelaya’s alignment with Chavez on economic issues and his criticism of US intervention turned him into a likely target for US coup planners eager to make Zelaya an example and concerned about their access to Honduran military bases as their traditional launching point for intervention in the region.
Washington wrongly assumed that a coup in a small Central American ‘banana republic’ (indeed the original banana republic) would not provoke any major outcry. They believed that Central American ‘roll-back’ would serve as a warning to other independent-minded regimes in the Caribbean and Central American region of what awaits them if they align with Venezuela.
The mechanics of the coup are well-known and public: The Honduran military seized President Zelaya and ‘exiled’ him to Costa Rica; the oligarchs appointed one of their own in Congress as the interim ‘President’ while their colleagues in the Supreme Court provided bogus legality.
Latin American governments from the left to the right condemned the coup and called for the re-instatement of the legally-elected President. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, not willing to disown their clients, condemned unspecified ‘violence’ and called for ‘negotiations’ between the powerful usurpers and the weakened exile President – a clear recognition of the legitimate role of the Honduran generals as interlocutors.
After the United Nations General Assembly condemned the coup and, along with the Organization of American States, demanded Zelay’s re-instatement, Obama and Secretary Clinton finally condemned the ousting of Zelaya but they refused to call it a ‘coup’, which according to US legislation would have automatically led to a complete suspension of their annual ($80 million) military and economic aid package to Honduras. While Zelaya met with all the Latin American heads of state, President Obama and Secretary Clinton turned him over to a lesser functionary in order not to weaken their allies in Honduran Junta. All the countries in the OAS withdrew their Ambassadors…except the US, whose embassy began to negotiate with the Junta to see how they might salvage the situation in which both were increasingly isolated – especially in the face of Honduras’ expulsion from the OAS.
Whether Zelaya eventually returns to office or whether the US-backed junta continues in office for an extended period of time, while Obama and Clinton sabotage his immediate return through prolonged negotiations, the key issue of the US-promoted ‘roll-back’ has been extremely costly diplomatically as well as politically.
The US backed coup in Honduras demonstrates that unlike the 1980’s when President Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada and President George Bush (Papa) invaded Panama, the situation and political profile of Latin America (and the rest of the world) has changed drastically. Back then the military and pro-US regimes in the region generally approved of US interventions and collaborated; a few protested mildly. Today the center-left and even rightist electoral regimes oppose military coups anywhere as a potential threat to their own futures.
Equally important, given the grave economic crisis and increasing social polarization, the last thing the incumbent regimes want is bloody domestic unrest, stimulated by crude US imperial interventions. Finally, the capitalist classes in Latin America’s center-left countries want stability because they can shift the balance of power via elections (as in the recent cases in Panama, Argentina) and pro-US military regimes can upset their growing trade ties with China, the Middle East and Venezuela/Bolivia.
Obama’s global roll-back strategy includes building offensive missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, not far from the Russian border. Concomitantly Obama is pushing hard to incorporate Ukraine and Georgia in NATO, which will increase US military pressure on Russia’s southern flank. Taking advantage of Russian President Dimitry Medvedev’s ‘malleability’ (in the footsteps of Mikail Gorbechev) Washington has secured free passage of US troops and arms through Russia to the Afghan front, Moscow’s approval for new sanction against Iran, and recognition and support for the US puppet regime in Baghdad. Russian defense officials will likely question Medvedev’s obsequious behavior as Obama moves ahead with his plans to station nuclear missiles 5 minutes from Moscow.
Roll-Back: Predictable Failures and the Boomerang Effect
Obama’s roll-back strategy is counting on a revival of right-wing mass politics to ‘legitimize’ the re-assertion of US dominance. In Argentina throughout 2008, hundreds of thousands of lower and upper-middle class demonstrators took to the streets in the interior of the country under the leadership of pro-US big landowners associations to destabilize the ‘center-left’ Fernandez regime. In Bolivia, hundreds of thousands of middle class students, business-people, landowners and NGO affiliates, centered in Santa Cruz and four other wealthy provinces and heavily funded by US Ambassador Goldberg, Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy took to the streets, wrecking havoc and murdering over 30 indigenous supporters of President Morales in an effort to oust him from power. Similar rightist mass demonstrations have taken place in Venezuela in the past and more recently in Honduras and Iran.
The notion that mass demonstrations of the well-to-do screaming ‘democracy’ gives legitimacy to US-backed destabilization efforts against its democratically-elected adversaries is an idea promulgated by cynical propagandists in the mass media and parroted by gullible ‘progressive’ free-lance journalists who have never understood the class basis of mass politics.
Obama’s Honduran coup and the US-funded destabilization effort in Iran have much in common. Both take place against electoral processes in which critics of US policies defeated pro-Washington social forces. Having lost the ‘electoral option’ Obama’s roll-back looks to extra-parliamentary ‘mass politics’ to legitimize elite effort to seize power: In Iran by dissident clerics and in Honduras by the generals and oligarchs.
In both Honduras and Iran, Washington’s foreign policy goals were the same: To roll-back regimes whose leaders rejected US tutelage. In Honduras, the coup serves as a ‘lesson’ to intimidate other Central American and Caribbean countries who exit from the US camp and join Venezuelan-led economic integration programs.Obama’s message is clear: such moves will result in US orchestrated sabotage and retaliation.
Through its backing of the military coup, Washington reminds all the countries of Latin America that the US still has the capability to implement its policies through the Latin American military elites, even as its own armed forces are tied down in wars and occupations in Asia and the Middle East and its economic presence is declining. Likewise in the Middle East, Obama’s destabilization of the Iranian regime is meant to intimidate Syria and other critics of US imperial policy and reassure Israel(and the Zionist power configuration in the US ) that Iran remains high on the US roll-back agenda.
Obama’s roll-back policies in many crucial ways follow in the steps of President Ronald Reagan (1981-89). Like Reagan, Obama’s presidency takes place in a time of US retreat, declining power and the advance of anti-imperialist politics. Reagan faced the aftermath of the US defeat in Indo-China, the successful spread of anti-colonial revolutions in Southern Africa (especially Angola and Mozambique), a successful democratic revolt in Afghanistan and a victorious social revolution in Nicaragua and major revolutionary movements in El Salvador and Guatemala. Like Obama today, Reagan set in motion a murderous military strategy of rolling-back these changes in order to undermine, destabilize and destroy the adversaries to US empire.
Obama faces a similar set of adversarial conditions in the current post-Bush period: - Democratic advances throughout Latin America with new regional integration projects excluding the US; defeats and stalemates in the Middle East and South Asia; a revived and strengthened Russia projecting power in the former Soviet republics; declining US influence over NATO military commitments , a loss of political, economic, military and diplomatic credibility as a result of the Wall Street-induced global economic depression and prolonged un-successful regional wars.
Contrary to Obama, Ronald Reagan’s roll-back took place under favorable circumstances. In Afghanistan Reagan secured the support of the entire conservative Muslim world and operated through the key Afghan feudal-tribal leaders against a Soviet-backed, urban-based reformist regime in Kabul. Obama is in the reverse position in Afghanistan. His military occupation is opposed by the vast majority of Afghans and most of the Muslim population in Asia.
Reagan’s roll-back in Central America, especially his Contra-mercenary invasion of Nicaragua, had the backing of Honduras and all the pro-US military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Brazil, as well as rightwing civilian government in the region. In contrast, Obama’s roll-back coup in Honduras and beyond face democratic electoral regimes throughout the region, an alliance of left nationalist regimes led by Venezuela and regional economic and diplomatic organizations staunchly opposed to any return to US domination and intervention. Obama’s roll-back strategy finds itself in total political isolation in the entire region.
Obama’s roll-back policies cannot wield the economic ‘Big Stick’ to force regimes in the Middle East and Asia to support his policies. Now there are alternative Asian markets, Chinese foreign investments, the deepening US depression and the disinvestment of overseas US banks and multi-nationals. Unlike Reagan, Obama cannot combine economic carrots with the military stick. Obama has to rely on the less effective and costly military option at a time when the rest of the world has no interest or will in projecting military power in regions of little economic significance or where they can attain market access via economic agreements.
Obama’s launch of the global roll-back strategy has boomeranged, even in its initial stage. In Afghanistan, the big troop build-up and the massive offensive into ‘Taliban’ strongholds has not led to any major military victories or even confrontations. The resistance has retired, blended in with the local population and will likely resort to prolonged decentralized, small-scale war of attrition designed to tie down several thousand troops in a sea of hostile Afghans, bleeding the US economy, increasing casualties, resolving nothing and eventually trying the patience of the US public now deeply immersed in job losses and rapidly declining living standards.
The coup, carried out by the US-backed Honduran military, has already re-affirmed US political and diplomatic isolation in the Hemisphere. The Obama regime is the only major country to retain an Ambassador in Honduras, the only country which refuses to regard the military take-over as a ‘coup’, and the only country to continue economic and military aid. Rather than establish an example of the US’ power to intimidate neighboring countries, the coup has strengthened the belief among all South and Central American countries that Washington is attempting to return to the ‘bad old days’ of pro-US military regimes, economic pillage and monopolized markets.
What Obama’s foreign policy advisers have failed to understand is that they can’t put their ‘Humpty Dumpty’ together again; they cannot return to the days of Reagan’s roll-back, Clinton’s unilateral bombing of Iraq, Yugoslavia and Somalia and his pillage of Latin America.
No major region, alliance or country will follow the US in its armed colonial occupation in peripheral (Afghanistan/Pakistan) or even central (Iran) countries, even as they join the US in economic sanctions, propaganda wars and electoral destabilization efforts against Iran.
No Latin American country will tolerate another US military putsch against a democratically elected president, even national populist regimes which diverge from US economic and diplomatic policies. The great fear and loathing of the US-backed coup stems from the entire Latin American political class’ memory of the nightmare years of US backed military dictatorships.
Obama’s military offensive, his roll-back strategy to recover imperial power is accelerating the decline of the American Republic. His administration’s isolation is increasingly evidenced by his dependence on Israel-Firsters who occupy his Administration and the Congress as well as influential pro-Israel pundits in the mass media who identify roll-back with Israel’s own seizure of Palestinian land and military threats to Iran.
Roll-back has boomeranged: Instead of regaining the imperial presence, Obama has submerged the republic and, with it, the American people into greater misery and instability.
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
James Petras most recent books Whats Left in Latin America Coauthored with Henry Veltmeyer (Ashgate press 2009) and Global Depression and Regional Wars (Clarity press 2009 – August)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will grant President Barack Obama permission next week to ship U.S. weapons supplies across its territory, or through its airspace, en route to Afghanistan, sources on both sides told Reuters on Saturday.
The transit deal will open up an important corridor for the United States as it steps up its Afghan war against Taliban insurgents by sending in more troops. Routes via Pakistan have come under attack by militants.
Surprisingly, Aldrin's reservations about describing what it's like to kick up moon dust for an hour and a half, as he did on July 20, 1969, are in marked contrast to his willingness to discuss – free of charge – the dark side of his life: his struggles with depression and alcoholism, his two failed marriages, his difficult relationship with his father, and the tragedy of his mother (born Marion Moon), who killed herself shortly before the lunar mission because she did not think she could handle her son's imminent fame.
And, while refusing to elaborate on his celebrated description of the Moon's "magnificent desolation" – the title of his new autobiography – he is happy to talk about the man who accompanied him on his incredible journey. Not that happy is quite the word to describe his relationship with Neil Armstrong – now or 40 years ago.
The results of US President Obama's visit to Moscow remain at the center of media debates. In Russia quite a few commentators are open about their disappointment particularly with the relatively minor importance of the nuclear disarmament document produced by the talks. In essence it represents a replay of the 2002 Treaty between the US and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions. As for the urgent problems in various parts of the world where the interests of Russia and the US are interwoven, what is being discussed is not the promised reset but a modernization of the entire configuration of the system and an overhaul on the fundamental level in the geopolitical, military, and economic spheres. Obviously, greater sensitivity to Russia's interests in Asia, Africa, and Latin America as well as in the relations with China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and the post-Soviet republics should be built into the configuration as otherwise no real reset is possible. However, quite obviously this is not going to materialize. Obama's Administration is determined to protect strictly and persistently the US geopolitical interests in Eurasia.
On May 15, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) was introduced in the House purportedly "To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy." In fact, it's to let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy and fuel as well as create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation. It does nothing to address environmental issues, yet on June 26 the House narrowly passed (229 - 212) and sent it to the Senate to be debated and voted on.
4 July 2009 - The Obama administration has ordered the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2 MEB) into a potentially bloody offensive in the southern province of Helmand. The objective is the suppression of the ethnic Pashtun population, which is overwhelmingly hostile to the seven-and-a-half year US and NATO occupation of the country and rejects the legitimacy of the Afghan puppet government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
Early Thursday morning, 2 MEB began what has been described as the biggest airlift of marines since the Vietnam War. Code-named “Khanjar”—Pashtun for “strike of the sword”—the operation is the largest undertaken by the Marine Corp since it led the assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004. In all, some 4,000 marines and a 600-strong battalion of the Afghan Army are involved, supported by an array of jet fighters, unmanned drones and helicopter gunships.
An article in Friday’s New York Times by veteran war correspondent Carlotta Gall, who has worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001, made clear why Helmand has been targeted for the first major operation in Obama’s Afghan “surge”.
She wrote that the “mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan”. People have “taken up arms against the foreign troops to protect their homes or in anger at losing relatives in airstrikes”.
Gall noted: “The southern provinces have suffered the worst civilian casualties since NATO’s deployment into the region in 2006. Thousands of people have been displaced by fighting and taken refuge in the towns. ‘Now there are more people siding with the Taliban than with the government’, said Abdul Qadir Noorzai, head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission...”
One man interviewed by Gall in June declared: “Who are the Taliban? They are the local people.” Another, whose house was bombed by US jets two months ago, said: “We Muslims don’t like them [the foreign troops]. They are the source of danger.”
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The history of the economic crisis in Germany before the Second World War began with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The WWI winners deprived the country of a part of its territories with three-quarters of iron ore reserves. German was supposed to pay $33 billion of reparations.
Germany plunged into the chaos of inflation. One US dollar cost 4.2 trillion Deutsch Marks. People were lining up for food brings bags of money along.
That was the time when Adolf Hitler urged the nation to switch to dictatorship to rescue the nation’s economy. German authorities conducted a monetary reform in 1923, which made the economy of the country grow.
Germany suffered most from the Great Depression in the United States in 1929. The economic setback in the United States deprived Germany of the source of finance. The frequent change of governments in the nation exacerbated the situation even more. Adolf Hitler became Germany’s fifth chancellor on January 30, 1933 . Everyone hoped that Hitler would stay at power for a couple of months, like his four predecessors, but Hitler gave all of them something to remember.
German banker Schacht organized a secret meeting of the new chancellor with Bosch, Krupp and other prominent financiers and industrialists. Hitler promised all them to do away with the crisis, communists, trade union, the Treaty of Versailles and to recreate the nation’s army. The oligarchs agreed to support Hitler.
Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht is a legendary persona. He chaired Germany’s Reichsbank in 1923, conducted successful reforms, stopped the hyperinflation and attracted loans from the United States. He became known as the savior of the nation. Schacht resigned in 1930 and became an official spokesman for Morgan, a renowned banker linked with Rockefeller and Rothschild. Schacht did a lot to help German Nazis and Hitler rise to power.
It was obviously easy for Hitler to destroy his political rivals. However, it was a lot harder to retrieve the paralyzed economy of the country with 68,000 bankrupt enterprises and a huge army of the unemployed.
On March 23, The Reichstag passed the law about the liquidation of the disastrous state in the nation. The deputies delegated full authorities to the chancellor. Schacht chaired the Reichsbank again. Fuhrer believed that Schacht was the only Arian who could outwit Jews in terms of finance.
Fuhrer issued the law about the reduction of unemployment in June of 1933. Over two million people started building autobahns, railways and channels. The government was reducing taxes for the companies that were expanding their investment activities and contributing to the growth of employment. The unemployment rate was halved in a year and was completely liquidated in 1936.
The nation extricated from the crisis in the heavy industry in 1935. The Fuhrer was getting ready for war. Schacht did his best to fund the defense industry of Germany. He used a parallel currency – Mefo bills – to cover a half of all expenses to rearm the German army.
Hitler was concealing his revanchist plans looking back at the international community. However, the crisis in the West gave Germany an opportunity to bid farewell to the Treaty of Versailles. Germany pulled out from the League of Nations. Germany officially announced its plan to concentrate fully on the defense industry within four years. Germany was controlling all of its imports strictly. The nation launched enterprises to produce synthetic rubber and fuel made of local coal since there were no oil reserves in the country. Over 250,000 people were involved in the aircraft-building industry.
The incoming head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday he did not see any hard evidence Iran was trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear arms.
"I don't see any evidence in IAEA official documents about this," Yukiya Amano told Reuters in his first direct comment on Iran's atomic program since his election, when asked whether he believed Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons capability.
Former U.S. Congresswoman speaks from jail in Israel
Palestine, July 4, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - This is Cynthia McKinney, I'm speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies and even toys and crayons - I had a suitcase full of crayons for the children.