Archive | June 17th, 2014

Wake Up America: Helmet Cam Shows SWAT Taser Man to Death During No-Knock Raid

NOVANEWS

“Nobody is listening to the cries in the house that he’s not fighting you. He just can’t breathe.”

FORT WORTH — The family of a man who died after being shocked with a Taser says police video shows the man did not resist.

The raid by Fort Worth police in May 2013 was captured by helmet cameras worn by officers. Lawyers for the family of Jermaine Darden obtained the video and released it to News 8.

Fort Worth officers came with a “no knock” warrant after undercover cocaine buys at the home last year. They wanted surprise in case anyone inside was armed.

There were several people in the little house on Thannisch Avenue, including children. Jermaine Darden, 34, was kneeling on a couch, and may have been sleeping.

 

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The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq. Towards the Creation of a US Sponsored Islamist Caliphate

NOVANEWS
Global Research

 

The Western media in chorus have described the unfolding conflict in Iraq as a “civil war” opposing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham against the Armed forces of the Al-Maliki government.

(Also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS))

The conflict is casually described as “sectarian warfare” between Radical Sunni and Shia without addressing “who is behind the various factions”. What is at stake is a carefully staged US military-intelligence agenda.

Known and documented, Al Qaeda affiliated entities have been used by US-NATO in numerous conflicts as “intelligence assets” since the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war. In Syria, the Al Nusrah and ISIS rebels are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, which oversees and controls the recruitment and training of paramilitary forces.

The Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) re-emerged in April 2013 with a different name and acronym, commonly referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The formation of a terrorist entity encompassing both Iraq and Syria was part of a US intelligence agenda. It responded to geopolitical objectives. It also coincided with the advances of Syrian government forces against the US sponsored insurgency in Syria and the failures of both the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its various “opposition” terror brigades.

The decision was taken by Washington to channel its support (covertly) in favor of a terrorist entity which operates in both Syria and Iraq and which has logistical bases in both countries. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s Sunni caliphate project coincides with a longstanding US agenda to carve up both Iraq and Syria into three separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, and a Republic of Kurdistan.

Whereas the (US proxy) government in Baghdad purchases advanced weapons systems from the US including F16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham –which is fighting Iraqi government forces– is supported covertly by Western intelligence. The objective is to engineer a civil war in Iraq, in which both sides are controlled indirectly by US-NATO.

The scenario is to arm and equip them, on both sides, finance them with advanced weapons systems and then “let them fight”.

US-NATO is involved in the recruitment, training and financing of ISIS death squads operating in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS operates through indirect channels in liaison with Western intelligence. In turn, corroborated by reports on Syria’s insurgency, Western special forces and mercenaries integrate the ranks of ISIS.

US-NATO support to ISIS is channeled covertly through America’s staunchest allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. According to London’s Daily Express “They had money and arms supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

“through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West [has] supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al‑Qaeda connected militias. ( Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)

While the media acknowledges that the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting ISIS, it invariably fails to mention that both Doha and Riyadh are acting on behalf and in close liaison with Washington.

Under the banner of a civil war, an undercover war of aggression is being fought which essentially contributes to further destroying an entire country, its institutions, its economy. The undercover operation is part of an intelligence agenda, an engineered process which consists in transforming Iraq into an open territory.

Meanwhile, public opinion is led to believe that what is at stake is confrontation between Shia and Sunni.

America’s military occupation of Iraq has been replaced by non-conventional forms of warfare. Realities are blurred. In a bitter irony, the aggressor nation is portrayed as coming to the rescue of a “sovereign Iraq”.

An internal “civil war” between Shia and Sunni is fomented by US-NATO support to both the Al-Maliki government as well as to the Sunni ISIS rebels.

The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies. (See map of Middle East below)

“Supporting both Sides”

The “War on Terrorism” consists in creating Al Qaeda terrorist entities as part of an intelligence operation, as well as also coming to the rescue of governments which are the target of the terrorist insurgency. This process is carried out under the banner of counter-terrorism. It creates the pretext to intervene.

ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which is broadly committed to secular forms of government. The caliphate project is part of a US intelligence agenda.

In response to the advance of the ISIS rebels, Washington is envisaging the use of aerial bombings as well as drone attacks in support of the Baghdad government as part of a counter-terrorism operation. It is all for a good cause: to fight the terrorists, without of course acknowledging that these terrorists are the “foot soldiers” of the Western military alliance.

Needless to say, these developments contribute not only to destabilizing Iraq, but also to weakening the Iraqi resistance movement, which is one of the major objectives of US-NATO.

The Islamic caliphate is supported covertly by the CIA in liaison with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkish intelligence. Israel is also involved in channeling support to both Al Qaeda rebels in Syria (out of the Golan Heights) as well to the Kurdish separatist movement in Syria and Iraq.

More broadly, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) encompasses a consistent and diabolical logic: both sides –namely the terrorists and the government– are supported by the same military and intelligence actors, namely US-NATO.

While this pattern describes the current situation in Iraq, the structure of “supporting both sides” with a view to engineering sectarian conflict has been implemented time and again in numerous countries. Insurgencies integrated by Al Qaeda operatives (and supported by Western intelligence) prevail in a large number of countries including Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic, Pakistan. The endgame is to destabilize sovereign nation states and to transform countries into open territories (on behalf of so-called foreign investors).

The pretext to intervene on humanitarian grounds (e.g. in Mali, Nigeria or the Central African Republic) is predicated on the existence of terrorist forces. Yet these terrorist forces would not exist without covert US-NATO support.

The Capture of Mosul: US-NATO Covert Support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Something unusual occurred in Mosul which cannot be explained in strictly military terms.

On June 10, the insurgent forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, with a population of over one million people. While these developments were “unexpected” according to the Obama administration, they were known to the Pentagon and US intelligence, which were not only providing weapons, logistics and financial support to the ISIS rebels, they were also coordinating, behind the scenes, the ISIS attack on the city of Mosul.

While ISIS is a well equipped and disciplined rebel army when compared to other Al Qaeda affiliated formations, the capture of Mosul, did not hinge upon ISIS’s military capabilities. Quite the opposite: Iraqi forces which outnumbered the rebels by far, equipped with advanced weapons systems could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels.

There were 30,000 government forces in Mosul as opposed to 1000 ISIS rebels, according to reports. The Iraqi army chose not to intervene. The media reports explained without evidence that the decision of the Iraqi armed forces not to intervene was spontaneous characterized by mass defections.

Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting. (Guardian, June 12, 2014, emphasis added)

The reports point to the fact that Iraqi military commanders were sympathetic with the Sunni led ISIS insurgency intimating that they are largely Sunni:

Speaking from the Kurdish city of Erbil, the defectors accused their officers of cowardice and betrayal, saying generals in Mosul “handed over” the city over to Sunni insurgents, with whom they shared sectarian and historical ties. (Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2014)

The report is misleading. The senior commanders were largely hardline Shiite. The defections occurred de facto when the command structure collapsed and senior (Shiite) military commanders left the city.

What is important to understand, is that both sides, namely the regular Iraqi forces and the ISIS rebel army are supported by US-NATO. There were US military advisers and special forces including operatives from private security companies on location in Mosul working with Iraq’s regular armed forces. In turn, there are Western special forces or mercenaries within ISIS (acting on contract to the CIA or the Pentagon) who are in liaison with US-NATO (e.g. through satellite phones).

Under these circumstances, with US intelligence amply involved, there would have been routine communication, coordination, logistics and exchange of intelligence between a US-NATO military and intelligence command center, US-NATO military advisers forces or private military contractors on the ground assigned to the Iraqi Army in Mosul and Western special forces attached to the ISIS brigades. These Western special forces operating covertly within the ISIS could have been dispatched by a private security company on contract to US-NATO.

Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria

Yaser Al-Khodor/Courtesy Reuters

In this regard, the capture of Mosul appears to have been a carefully engineered operation, planned well in advance. With the exception of a few skirmishes, no fighting took place.

Entire divisions of the Iraqi National Army –trained by the US military with advanced weapons systems at their disposal– could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels. Reports suggest that they were ordered by their commanders not to intervene. According to witnesses, “Not a single shot was fired”.

The forces that had been in Mosul have fled — some of which abandoned their uniforms as well as their posts as the ISIS forces swarmed into the city.

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the entire western bank of the city overnight after Iraqi soldiers and police apparently fled their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/10/mosul-falls-to-al-qaeda-as-us-trained-security-forces-flee/

A contingent of one thousand ISIS rebels takes over a city of more than one million? Without prior knowledge that the US controlled Iraqi Army (30,000 strong) would not intervene, the Mosul operation would have fallen flat, the rebels would have been decimated.

Who was behind the decision to let the ISIS terrorists take control of Mosul? Who gave them the “green light”

Had the senior Iraqi commanders been instructed by their Western military advisers to hand over the city to the ISIS terrorists? Were they co-opted?

Source: The Economist

Was the handing over of Mosul to ISIS part of a US intelligence agenda?

Were the Iraqi military commanders manipulated or paid off into allowing the city to fall into the hands of the ISIS rebels without “a single shot being fired”.

Shiite General Mehdi Sabih al-Gharawi who was in charge of the Mosul Army divisions “had left the city”. Al Gharawi had worked hand in glove with the US military. He took over the command of Mosul in September 2011, from US Col Scott McKean. Had he been co-opted, instructed by his US counterparts to abandon his command?

(image left) U.S. Army Col. Scott McKean, right, commander, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Armored Division, talks with Iraqi police Maj. Gen. Mahdi Sabih al-Gharawi following a transfer of authority ceremony on September 4, 2011

US forces could have intervened. They had been instructed to let it happen. It was part of a carefully planned agenda to facilitate the advance of the ISIS rebel forces and the installation of the ISIS caliphate.

The whole operation appears to have been carefully staged.

In Mosul, government buildings, police stations, schools, hospitals, etc are formally now under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In turn, ISIS has taken control of military hardware including helicopters and tanks which were abandoned by the Iraqi armed forces.

What is unfolding is the installation of a US sponsored Islamist ISIS caliphate alongside the rapid demise of the Baghdad government. Meanwhile, the Northern Kurdistan region has de facto declared its independence from Baghdad. Kurdish peshmerga rebel forces (which are supported by Israel) have taken control of the cities of Arbil and Kirkuk. (See map above)

Concluding Remarks

There were no Al Qaeda rebels in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. Moreover, Al Qaeda was non-existent in Syria until the outset of the US-NATO-Israeli supported insurgency in March 2011.

The ISIS is not an independent entity. It is a creation of US intelligence. It is a US intelligence asset, an instrument of non-conventional warfare.

The ultimate objective of this ongoing US-NATO engineered conflict opposing the al-Maliki government forces to the ISIS insurgency is to destroy and destabilize Iraq as a Nation State. It is part of an intelligence operation, an engineered process of transforming countries into territories. The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies.

The ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which historically has been committed to a secular system of government. The caliphate project is a US design. The advances of ISIS forces is intended to garnish broad support within the Sunni population directed against the al-Maliki government

Through its covert support of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Washington is overseeing the demise of own proxy regime in Baghdad. The issue, however, is not “regime change”, nor is the “replacement” of the al-Maliki regime contemplated.

The division of Iraq along sectarian-ethnic lines has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than 10 years.

What is envisaged by Washington is the outright suppression of the Baghdad regime and the institutions of the central government, leading to a process of political fracturing and the elimination of Iraq as a country.

This process of political fracturing in Iraq along sectarian lines will inevitably have an impact on Syria, where the US-NATO sponsored terrorists have in large part been defeated.

Destabilization and political fragmentation in Syria is also contemplated: Washington’s intent is no longer to pursue the narrow objective of “regime change” in Damascus. What is contemplated is the break up of both Iraq and Syria along sectarian-ethnic lines.

The formation of the caliphate may be the first step towards a broader conflict in the Middle East, bearing in mind that Iran is supportive of the al-Maliki government and the US ploy may indeed be to encourage the intervention of Iran.

The proposed re-division of both Iraq and Syria is broadly modeled on that of the Federation of Yugoslavia which was split up into seven “independent states” (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia (FYRM), Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, the re division of Iraq into three separate states is part of a broader process of redrawing the Map of the Middle East.

The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers”. (See Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East” By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, November 2006)

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How Government and the Media Equate Political Dissent with “Conspiracy Theories” and “Home Grown Terrorism”

NOVANEWS
Global Research

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels

In this age of propaganda and disinformation when mainstream media outlets act as presstitutes for the corporatized federal government, there has been an overt movement in recent years to label dissenters, patriots, government critics and even returning US soldiers from the warfronts as potential homegrown terrorists. For decades the government and co-opted mainstream media’s onetime favorite tactic heavy-handedly used to customarily dismiss their critics was to simply label those exposing government deception as “conspiracy theorists.” However, with distrust mounting amongst Americans toward both their leaders (86% distrust government) and the media (over 60% little or no trust toward media), this strategy is no longer working because so many conspiracies have been proven to be real. With a fascist state worried that its authority is fast slipping away amongst its populace, today the stakes have never been higher. Slander, character assassination and guilt by association are increasingly utilized nowadays as favorite tools to systematically destroy, discredit and demonize those citizens courageous enough to speak the truth exposing government lies, deception, theft and destruction.

Raising the stakes from the relative benign label “conspiracy theorist” to “homegrown terrorist” reflects a parallel process the US government has historically employed in manufacturing convenient enemies as needed – Russia and China’s expanding Communism from the 1950’s cold war through the 1980’s, to al Qaeda’s expanding terrorism in the twenty-first century and now back to Russia and China’s expanding imperialism all over again. The vicious cycle locked by design in a forever do-loop as the same subversive strategy remains unchanged throughout the years, only the names and dates change as the government self-servingly sees fit. As long as there are enemy targets to conveniently blame designed to induce fear and elicit support from a dumbed down, brainwashed and powerless American public, war and the military security complex will continue to flourish on a perpetual permanency basis, of course at the expense of humanity both domestically and globally.

Evidence of this formula for laying waste to what the US government targets as its next enemy can be observed with the latest propaganda spin covering the recent Las Vegas shooting spree killing two policemen and a third armed bystander as victims of so called home grown terrorism. Last weekend’s shootout conveniently resurrects the Timothy McVeigh-Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber from the 1990’s era right back into our nightly news living rooms peddling the same domestic brand of “homegrown” terrorism to once again fear. Be on the lookout that your neighbor is not some neo-Nazi (though in Ukraine the US makes them national heroes and leaders) hater of America and its government. Your more than 25 local or 50 state fusion centers along with Homeland Security are all there at your service to enthusiastically take your concerns very seriously as Americans turn against Americans ratting them out in mostly imagined, paranoid fear.

That said, no doubt there are a handful of violent extremists with warped political agendas bent on killing other Americans and these few individuals do need to be apprehended by law enforcement prior to committing murderous acts. But the operational keyword here is handful. Yet the fear tactics so zealously embraced and deployed by the government-media outlets purposely exaggerate the actual danger, preying on public fear that promotes a sense of mass and cultural paranoia in the population. Additionally, this is just another self-serving device of deception inherently used to justify and proliferate the ever expanding existence of the military security complex.

This latest mass shooting was perpetrated by a disgruntled, hatemongering husband and wife team Jerad and Amanda Miller who were quickly referred to in the press as “homegrown terrorists” angry at their federal government for tyrannically overstepping its authority and control over the American people. After gunning down at point blank range the police officers sitting in a pizzeria, then planting a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a swastika on their lifeless bodies, the married couple walked away towards a nearby Walmart where outside in the parking lot they encountered a man carrying a not so concealed weapon. After the wife realized he was armed and trying to stop them, she killed the would-be fallen hero. The murdering couple proceeded inside the Walmart and moved to the back of the store prior to engaging in a shootout with the arriving SWAT team. A witness allegedly overheard the husband yell out, “the revolution is about to start!” Ultimately the wife reportedly shot her husband and then killed herself.

Right away the media began interviewing various “hate experts” from organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) referencing the spiked rise in anti-government militia groups as part of a growing backlash of angry Americans responding to what they believe has become a militarized police state. The SPLC maintain that since 2010 there have been 32 instances of terrorism by far-right groups. Though it may be a fact that homegrown terrorism is increasing, it sends a very broad stoke message that repeatedly reverberates off the media echo chamber walls and translates into countless headlines stating that the Vegas shooters were avid adherents to the so called “Patriot” movement, the name ascribed those Americans espousing their Second Amendment rights amidst growing calls for gun control.

As self-proclaimed “patriots” some are literally and others rhetorically calling for revolution as the means to take back their country from an invasive federal government that since 9/11 has usurped citizens’ constitutional rights and civil liberties. The gun toting motley crew that assembled a couple months ago to defend Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy “rights” would be considered card carrying members of the Patriot movement. Last weekend’s Las Vegas killers were allegedly in Nevada but rejected and ousted for being too radical by even Bundy’s militant mod squad.

Lumping anyone critical of the federal government in with so called homegrown terrorists is a transparent smear tactic currently being pumped out by both mainstream media outlets and individuals very high up in the federal government. For instance, Arie Perliger, a social science professor who is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the director of research at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, authored a report last year that purposely and brazenly spewed this very dangerous message to America’s future leaders.

Perliger categorizes fringe right wing extremist groups such as “patriotic” members of various paramilitary organizations not unlike last weekend’s Vegas couple and the Bundy camp as well as hardcore Christian fundamentalists, tea party fanatics, gun rights activists, survivalists and the home school crowd in with the progressive left that include libertarians, constitutionalists, civil rights and civil liberties activists and political activists like the Occupy movement. He is preaching hate and distrust to cadets and Americans alike when he generalizes all of these diverse groups from both the political right and left into one enemy camp because they all happen to be critical of the federal government.

Warning America to watch out for this dangerous and violent anti-government enemy lurking everywhere, in effect implicates and demonizes all these groups, lumping them all together as potential homegrown terrorists. Yet this is the political extremism heading the US Combating Terrorism Center at prestigious West Point. If such dangerous thinking comes from those holding such powerful positions in America, no wonder the government, military and police have turned Americans against Americans and our nation tragically into such a dangerously militarized police state.

But really there is nothing new in this perverse form of bigotry and hate. It is really just more of the same post-9/11 Bush neocon doctrine of overly simplistic black and white thinking expressed by the war criminal himself, “You’re either with us or against us.” This over-the-top ploy is aimed in one fell swoop to separate and pit Americans against each other into two very distinct opposing camps. Clearly an agenda that battle lines are currently being drawn could possibly end up as the rallying battle cry in America’s second civil war.

The “with us” camp are those Americans blindly obedient and loyal to the government who simply do what they’re told, coerced into joining the one in six Americans already employed in the sprawling, overarching military-homeland-security-prison complex that include both government and private contractors. The “against us” crowd are those Americans outside this fascist domain being vilified as potential homegrown terrorists because they openly oppose and criticize the government’s pervasive theft, violent destruction, ruthless tyranny, increasing oppression and web of relentless propaganda and deceit. Obviously the latter group are likely already on a growing government watch list slated for the FEMA roundups as soon as martial law is declared after the next major false flag is firmly planted with a bang on American soil.

In recent years Americans choosing to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public places as demonstrators to express dissenting views have been brutally attacked with tear gas, maced, beaten and forcibly arrested by terrorists in police uniform. The Occupy Wall Street movement from 2011 was effectively destroyed by a nationalized campaign out of Washington delivering marching orders to its militarized police force to literally and violently wage war on a defenseless, unarmed population. The overkill tactics to violently injure, arrest, imprison and aggressively persecute and prosecute US protestors have now become a shameful national policy toward dissent in America.

This oppressive strategy is designed to clearly send the message to American citizens that they can no longer exercise their constitutional rights because the courts are rigged by treasonous criminals wearing long dark robes who unlawfully no longer uphold the US Constitution that they swore under oath to protect. The same applies to all our elected members of the federal government who have betrayed both their Constitution and their constituents. Since the coup that was the inside job of 9/11, the fascists in power have instituted a systematic practice of totalitarianism with an out of control executive branch that under wartime powers gave rise overnight to dictatorship and a legislative branch characterized by a corrupt two party system bought and owned by the same oligarchic interests they now represent (since they clearly do not represent the citizens who elected them) that by polarized design is completely dysfunctional, broken and worthless. This is what happens when a supposed democracy morphs into oligarchy.

A predatory corporatized oligarchy bent on destroying America has decimated the middle class in two simultaneous decade long war defeats, eliminated a onetime thriving, vibrant manufacturing sector through greedy profit gouging and outsourcing, and allowed its cities and infrastructure to become crumbling urban war zones and disaster zones waiting to happen. Oligarchs plotted and devised this sinister New World Order scheme to take down America and make it just another Third World nation struggling desperately to survive in a global era of extreme austerity and impoverishment. Nearing full execution of the devastating pre-9/11 neocon regime change agenda to take down seven sovereign nations in five years, few of us ever realized until recently that the eighth would be America. But on 9/11 a coup took place whereby the Constitution was overthrown, no longer recognized or accepted as the rule of law.

Also by calculated design, US foreign policy has left nation after nation around the globe far worse off than before US interventions, permanently immersed in sectarian civil wars, be they by invasion, regime change, protracted occupation or prolonged siege of economic sanctions. After inventing, training, financing and arming al Qaeda, using it to pull off the most sinister false flag in human history with 9/11, wage war under false pretense and destroy so many lives and nations – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, the list goes on and on.

Now where no al Qaeda even existed before, al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, the Middle East and Africa are stronger in territory and number than ever before. America propagated the al Qaeda myth and continues to hire al Qaeda mercenaries to fight its proxy wars in Syria and Libya and the Balkans throughout the 1990’s.

Like Vietnam fell two years after the American military left, now in Iraq the same pattern is recurring. After capturing Iraq’s second largest city as well as Fellujah earlier this year, al Qaeda aligned forces are heading south to the Baghdad capital threatening to overthrow the US installed puppet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Soon enough history will be once again repeating itself in Afghanistan when Americans are gone and the Taliban will likely overpower the weaker, corrupt, US puppet government there. This US pattern is a recurring global nightmare of unfathomable death, waste and destruction that has been operating nonstop decade after decade with no end in sight.

In a growing warmongering climate of extreme geopolitical polarization, militarization and feudal debtor-based privatization, the war drums are beating louder on every continent with wars already begun and others about to commence, with a looming World War III precariously hanging over the earth in the balance. This present world in utter turmoil is in fact the conspiracy the oligarchs have long been planning, using the old divide and conquer strategy that historically works like a demonic curse every time. Their plan is now well underway toward being fully executed.

This is why it becomes so importantly crucial for the US government as the oligarchic apparatus to ensure that Americans be propagandized into turning against each other. If Americans can be conned into accepting that dangerously destructive “us versus them” mindset, then an ever increasingly polarized America will successfully be drawn into two opposing enemy camps, those who are part of and favoring the tyranny of a US police state nation and those who refuse to react as intimidated, fearful sheeple sounding the needed alarm to oppose a cold blooded agenda of tyranny and oppression. Many of us who love our country are patriots not out to violently overthrow or destroy the US government. It is both equally grossly unfair and grossly untrue to conveniently lump those of us who love our nation and Constitution with terrorists. There are more homegrown terrorists working for the US government than any other terrorists. Those of us who truly love our country are willing to fight for our stolen lost rights and liberties through such nonviolent civil disobedience methods espoused by our modern day role models Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

America’s founding fathers achieved a remarkable feat eloquently defining America’s rule of law based on carefully crafted principles of checks and balances, civil liberties and freedom embedded in and protected by our Constitution. The vast majority of us Americans protesting the dismantling of our Constitution are neither terrorists nor violent. But we will not idly stand by and watch our rights be further trampled by an oppressive, morally bankrupt and thoroughly broken government determined to enslave, imprison and murder its own citizenry. The present government is using underhanded divisiveness to maliciously instill crippling fear and toxic hatred in people that can then be malevolently used as the diabolical driving force and incendiary fuel to both domestically and globally ignite massive conflict, war, death and destruction. Life ultimately is made of choice. And we as a nation, a people and a human race must choose life over death.

 

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The Middle East and the Pivot to Asia: Obama’s US Foreign Policy Bait and Switch

NOVANEWS
Global Research

President Obama chose to ignore the most important strategic aspect of U.S. foreign policy in his major address May 28 at West Point graduation ceremonies. It was perhaps thought politically wise to emphasize current events rather than military preparations for a possible major future confrontation with China.

Instead Obama mainly focused on defending his policies against mounting criticism from warhawks in both parties variously demanding that the U.S. attack Syria, or Iran or Venezuela, and adopt more provocative measures toward Russia. He was even criticized for not being tougher toward China, which is preposterous, as we shall discuss in this article when deeds, not words, are examined.

Obama swings back and forth on toughness (he’ll bomb, not bomb, Syria) but he was correct to spend time explaining why he opposed the hawks this time around. Why get bogged down in Syria and Iran or into immediate clashes with Beijing and Moscow when there is a far more important long-range objective for the White House and those who rule America. At the same time, on his trip to Poland in early June, Obama rattled sabers to the delight of European allies, sending jets and military equipment and encouraging them to increase defense spending against the nonexistent “threat” from Russia.

Oddly, the president identified “terrorism” as the main direct threat to America “for the foreseeable future,” but just a year ago he suggested the war on terrorism was ending. He also wants several African countries to join the war on terrorism in place of the U.S. in most cases and is spending $5 billion to pay them off. He further pledged to continue supplying the non-jihadist sector of the war against the Syrian government when everyone knows the jihadists, particularly al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are responsible for the large bulk of the fighting.

Entirely omitted from his speech was the “pivot” to Asia and the principal thrust of foreign/military policy — maintaining unilateral (or unipolar) U.S. global hegemony when time appears to be running out on this endeavor. Washington attained solo world leadership, which it has transformed into world domination, by default, when the Soviet Union unexpectedly imploded more than 20 years ago, leaving but one superpower on top. That superpower has no intention of abdicating the global throne.

During this same period, however, other nations — such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, for example — have arisen to demand a more representative and collegial multilateral world order in place of one-nation world leadership. They think the U.S. throws its weight around more than it should; that it is too violent toward other countries and peoples; and that its main goal as leader is to further its own interests first, not those of the world. These states are getting stronger as America becomes weaker economically and politically incapacitated in internal affairs. Washington’s ability to order other nations around, which goes back in some cases to the mid-1800s, is declining, but this probably will continue for many years.

Much of Latin America, as an example of this change in world affairs, has broken away from its former overlord. And look how these other key countries have changed: Russia from 1991 to 2001 was prostrate and subservient to the United States. China until the mid-1990s was not considered a major industrial society. India, until somewhat later was in the same category. Brazil’s rise was even more recent. At the same time it appears that the U.S. economy has become stagnant, boosted by periodic financial bubbles that eventually burst in the face of the deteriorating working class, lower middle and portions of the middle class.

It is worth stressing at this point that (1) elements of multilateral leadership have already appeared on the world stage and that (2) Beijing has not evidenced a scintilla of interest in itself becoming world hegemon, replacing the U.S.

For these and other reasons the number one strategic foreign/military objective of the present and future U.S. government is to block or greatly delay the inevitable development of multilateral leadership, though it is never acknowledged openly. (Should the U.S. ever consent to sharing leadership in future, it probably would demand the status of first among equals.)

Obama hinted at his long-range goal in the West Point speech, camouflaged in nationalist jingoism, hubris and braggadocio:

“The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come…. Here’s my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership…. I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”

In the first sentence substitute for the words “indispensable nation” the words “global hegemon” and you get the point. And while it is true that in time China may far exceed the U.S. economically and develop several major allies in the process, the U.S. military will insure American supremacy continues through this century — or so Obama slyly suggests.

Obama not only neglected to mention retaining hegemony, he avoided touching on Washington’s program to preserve its exalted status — the three-year-old reorientation of foreign policy primacy from the Middle East to Asia.

The transition has been slower than expected because the White House and State Department have been preoccupied by Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Israel/Palestine, the Afghan war, drone wars in several other countries, and the Ukrainian imbroglio — this latter an entanglement of White House creation by supporting the ouster of the democratically elected president in Kiev. Political paralysis at home is another reason. The budget crisis forced Obama to cancel attending an important weeklong journey to four Asian countries in October to attend two regional summit meetings. Also the resignation of prime pivot advocate Hillary Clinton slowed the pivot process.

The delay in focusing on Asia provoked Richard N. Haass, who heads the establishment’s Council on Foreign Relations, to write April 22:

“U.S. foreign policy is in troubling disarray…. The change [to Asia] is warranted by the fact that the United States has enormous interests in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to many of the countries likely to dominate the current century…. A Secretary of State [John Kerry] can only do so much; time spent in Jerusalem and Geneva is time not spent in Tokyo and Beijing.”

The pivot has moved somewhat forward with Obama’s recent (April 22-27) trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Asia policy has two main goals: (1) To politically constrain the international rise of China even within its own logical sphere of interest in East Asia. (2) To interject Washington deeply into Asia’s economic milieu, and for American corporations to become more profitably involved with the region’s extraordinary economic growth, especially since it now is the most advantageous location for direct investment, both to and from the United States.

Like the “Devil’s Pitchfork,” the pivot has three prongs:

1. Political: The best way to undermine China regionally is to surround the country with U.S. allies, a process that is nearly complete. Washington has been engaged in this effort since the success of the Communist revolution in 1949. To quote from an article in the May-June Foreign Affairs: “The United States has five defense treaty allies in the region (Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand), as well as strategically important partnerships with Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan and evolving ties with Myanmar” and Vietnam. In East/Southeast Asia this leaves Beijing with friendly Russia, troubled North Korea, essentially allied Cambodia, and Laos with one foot in China and the other in Vietnam.

Since the pivot was announced, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam have become embroiled with China over territorial claims in the vast East and South China Sea as never before. These are long standing differences but were largely low-key disputes until the U.S. interjected itself on behalf of its allies.

It was reported May 25 in Chinatopix that Washington is constructing a new “security alliance [consisting] of the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and Japan, according to unnamed official sources in the Philippine government. Press reports from Manila said Washington also wants to include Singapore and Thailand in the alliance while encouraging Malaysia to become its strategic partner.”

Last month, Obama announced the U.S. would abide by the terms of its defense treaty with Japan if its dispute with China about dominion over the Diaoyu islands (called Senkaku by Japan) became a serious confrontation. The U.S. hasn’t said what it would do in that event. At worst is the surreal possibility of a war over possession of several uninhabited mostly barren islands that are little more than rocks, the largest being 1.7 miles square. The irony is that the Obama Administration does not have a position on which country actually has the right to possession —Taiwan also claims the islands — but it will defend Japan in event of a confrontation.

“In the Chinese perception,” according to J.M. Norton in The Diplomat April 21:

“Washington is the principal driver of Japan’s transformation. Over time it has helped transform [‘pacifist’] Japan’s self-defense force into a national military. And it has assisted the Japanese side in acquiring and manufacturing through joint cooperation technologically advanced weapon systems, some of which have offensive capabilities. Right now the Chinese leadership sees the U.S. as the main driver of Japan’s resurgence and as lacking the political will to restrain an increasingly assertive Japan. Further, the current Japanese leadership’s increasing assertiveness takes place in the context of growing nationalism with an imperial twist. In short, from the Chinese viewpoint, U.S. leaderships have spurred the ‘revival and outward expansion of Japanese militarism,’ which represents a violation of Chinese concerns articulated in the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué establishing Sino-U.S. relations.”

2. Economic: Washington’s hoped for economic power in the Far East is the vast expansion of the relatively small Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was formed by the Bush Administration in 2006. The Obama Administration seeks to transform the TPP into the most important free trade organization in the East Asia/Pacific region with participating countries from the Americas, the main Pacific island nations, and as many states on the Asian mainland as possible. Ideally, from the White House perspective, such an entity would surpass all other East and South Asian regional trade groupings. China, which has been excluded from the TPP, supports development of an inter-Asian trade organization similar to a 2012 proposal by the Association of South East Asian Nations. According to a June 9 article in Global Times by Lancaster University (UK) Professor Du Ming, “Both ASEAN and China share concerns that the TPP may be a centrifugal force arising to rip asunder the economic integration of East Asia.”

An important purpose of the TPP is to position the U.S. as a major economic actor in Asia, reinforcing its global dominance and extending its sphere of influence into China’s front and back yards. The trade deal, however, has encountered many problems in the U.S. as well as Asia. Among some countries, including many people and politicians in the U.S., there is a fear that the still mostly secret deal allows capitalism to run riot against the interests of the people. Congress has rejected Obama’s demand for fast-track approval of TTP, indicating continued delay as changes are made. Supporters of environmental sanity, labor rights and full disclosure are among the most vociferous opponents.

Despite satisfying the U.S. by apparent willingness to return toward militarism, Japan’s right wing nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused Obama his main reason for visiting Tokyo in April. He did not agree to become a TPP member, despite the American president’s extreme entreaties. Japan — the intended Asian keystone of the project — demands concessions on agricultural tariffs and automobiles.

It must be understood that the United States has no desire to weaken China economically, just politically so that it cannot erode Washington’s unilateral world leadership. Indeed, as Indian correspondent M. K. Bhadrakumar wrote in Asia Times May 9:

“China’s growth is integral to the recovery and rejuvenation of the American economy. China is potentially the principal source of investment in the American economy. China’s proposed reforms in the direction of opening up the financial system and domestic market are hugely attractive for the American business.”

3. Military: This is where all Washington’s continual pledges that it isn’t out to “contain” China fall apart. The U.S. has surrounded China with an ever-increasing ring of military fire, from NSA surveillance and spy satellites, to Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force bases; from nuclear-armed submarines and a majority of America’s 11 mammoth aircraft carriers to warships, bombers and fighters in dozens of varieties; from short-, medium- and long-range missiles to thousands of nuclear weapons that can be fired from the U.S. and demolish hundreds of major Chinese cities. This does not include firepower from America’s ally, Japan, which amazingly possesses a larger and stronger navy and air force than China.

While it is true China is far behind the U.S. in military technology, weapons development and a contemporary arsenal it is trying to catch up. The U.S. continually complains about the size of Beijing’s war budget, but it is at most a tenth that of the U.S. budget. Indeed, the 2012 combined military spending of China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy and Brazil are close but cannot match the Pentagon’s yearly spending about $650 billion — and this doesn’t count an almost equal sum for national security outlay, including Homeland Defense, enormous interest payments on past war debts, building and maintaining nuclear weapons, fielding 17 government spy agencies and costs related to security and war by other government departments.

But isn’t the U.S. cutting defense spending while China is increasing? In answer we’ll quote from President Obama’s November 2011 speech to the Australian parliament when he announced the U.S. was expanding its role in the Asia/Pacific region:

“I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not, I repeat, will not, come at the expense of the Asia Pacific. Indeed, we are already modernizing America’s defense posture across the Asia Pacific. It will be more broadly distributed, maintaining our strong presence in Japan and the Korean peninsula, while enhancing our presence in South-East Asia.”

Two things must be kept in mind:

(1) Militarily, China is at least 20 years behind the U.S., but it is swiftly improving its weapons technology, development and manufacturing. The U.S., however, is doing the same and it plans to retain a huge lead well into the future. (2) Beijing has sought no military bases abroad (compared to 800 for the Pentagon) because its main interest by far is developing, enriching and protecting its own territory. Don’t touch Tibet. Breakaway Taiwan does not deny it is part of China, so its apostasy is accepted. Hong Kong is what the Chinese Communist Party used to call a bourgeois democracy, but it remains part of China so hands off. China has some sharp squabbles with its neighbors, which is unfortunate, but it is about China Sea territories Beijing has long assumed were part of China. The present system is too confrontational and it is not all because of China by any means, despite contrary White House allegations.

Since the pivot was announced, the number of U.S. bases in Asia/Pacific has been expanding rapidly, from Australia to the Philippines. According to Agence France Presse April 28:

“The Pentagon has been scouring the western Pacific for alternative airfields for its aircraft, harbors for its ships and bases for its troops…. The plan to spread the U.S. military’s presence across the region accelerated in late April as President Barack Obama visited the Philippines. Although Manila asked the U.S. to vacate its longstanding bases in the country [in 1991 after mass protests], Chinese assertiveness has generated a change of heart: the U.S. and the Philippines signed a new agreement today that will allow more visits by U.S. aircraft and ships and a rotating presence of marines….

“The U.S. military has been quietly putting in place arrangements that will give it a much broader geographic presence in the Asia-Pacific region to deal with the growing challenge from China…. One part of that new approach has been to boost [military] co-operation with longstanding allies…. The other approach has been to revamp older facilities on the many small islands further out into the Pacific, most of which are at the outer edge of China’s missile range.”

Incidentally, the U.S. and Japan have both agreed not to respect China’s establishment of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea that includes the Diaoyu islands. Beijing’s zone overlaps that of Tokyo (which has existed since 1969), reflecting differences over territorial rights. Beijing’s zone extends 81 miles from China, exactly the length of Tokyo’s zone from Japan. The ADIZ, in accordance with international rules, requires aircraft to be identified when entering the zone. The day after China’s move last November, a U.S. plane entered the zone intentionally not identifying itself, a practice that has continued without any Chinese retaliation. Should an airplane enter the U.S. ADIZ refusing to identify itself, warplanes would force the offending aircraft to the ground one way or another.

It could fill a book to list and describe all the military preparations the U.S. is taking vis-à-vis China. If Beijing just took one similar step, such as sending a surveillance ship into the Caribbean, as the U.S. does routinely in the China Sea, there would be a threatening outcry from Washington to desist or face military action.

The point is that while aspects of the pivot may have slowed down somewhat, the military part is developing rapidly. Reports about the buildup appear in the press from time to time, but the great majority of the American people have no idea what’s happening, and many who do are misled.

It’s probably understandable why President Obama refused to mention the pivot, much less the details, in his speech. But if he did it would only be in superficial generalities about America’s good intentions. As yet there has not been an honest national discussion of the purpose behind the military buildup, the defense treaties, the TPP, the effort to contain China and the dedication to continue American leadership (global hegemony) for the rest of the century. To do so, in a nationwide speech no less, would make it appear that a serious future confrontation may be on the horizon. And that, of course, is impossible — isn’t it?

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on The Middle East and the Pivot to Asia: Obama’s US Foreign Policy Bait and Switch

Racist Nazi Raids: Anti-Arab violence by Jewish Nazi youth on rise in I$raHell ” Video ”

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Another War for I$raHell — Featuring America’s Newest Allies: al Qaida ” VIDEO ”

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Two Occupations Ending in Hopeless Disasters

NOVANEWS
No Peace and No Democracy

by GARY LEUPP

U.S. military occupations typically have two aspects, which are, at least theoretically, destructive and productive respectively. The classic U.S. occupation—the one held up as the model by those urging more—was that of Japan, from 1945 to 1952.  Its two main missions were “demilitarization” following defeat in war and “democratization.”  The latter meant the acceptance of a U.S.-dictated new constitution and at least the appearance of popular rule, and general incorporation into the U.S.-led imperialist camp.

Before and during the occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003, some neocons and President Bush himself offered this supposedly grand success story as the template for that project. (John Dower, a leading scholar on the Japanese occupation, pointed out from before the war the absurdity of assuming that the course of events in an advanced, industrialized country of ethnically homogeneous people could be replicated in a developing, ethnically and religiously divided society like Iraq. Bush, he argued, was misusing historical analogy for propaganda’s sake.)

The U.S. formally ended its occupation of Japan, while maintaining a vast military presence, in 1952.  The economy, largely due to U.S. military special procurements, had finally revived to the 1937 level during the Korean War, then grown to 150% of that level by 1952. There was stability; labor demonstrations and protests against U.S. bases were common and sometimes violent, but there was nothing remotely resembling civil war. It surely was a success story, from Washington’s point of view, if not necessarily from the point of view of the Japanese obliged to forego neutrality in the Cold War.

Witness now,  eleven years after the Iraq invasion,  two and half years of the Pentagon’s sulky withdrawal, the fruits of that imperial project.  Where is the demilitarization, the pacification, the law and order? Where is the “democracy,” or even any credible claim to central authority?

The lid that the secular Baathists had kept on the simmering historical conflicts between Shiite and Sunni,  Arab and Kurd, religious and irreligious, was blown off by the occupier, who presided over the de factodivision of the country into a quasi-independent Kurdistan seeking ever more autonomy, and the rest of Iraq divided through ongoing ethnic cleaning into exclusively Shiite and Sunni Arab communities.

Estimates of civilian deaths caused by the war between 2003 and 2011 are as high as over half a million. Over half the country’s Christians have fled. Over four out of twenty-three million Iraqis have fled the country or are internal refugees. The position of women in society has obviously declined; today headscarves and conservative attire are, if not legally mandatory in public, necessary to escape hostile attention. TheGuardian reported in 2007 that Iraqi women’s lives had “become immeasurably worse, both rapes, burnings and murders a daily occurrence.” Gay people have it worse. A 2012 Reuters piece notes that while “many gays…had been able to live fairly comfortably in Iraq under Saddam’s largely secular rule,” hundreds have been murdered since the invasion and regime change of 2003—14 young men in eastern Baghdad alone in three weeks in 2012.

According to a recent article in Lebanon’s Daily Star, entitled “Once an Arab model, Baghdad now the world’s worst city”:  “Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally mixed neighborhoods [in the capital of Baghdad], while the government sits in the heavily fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the U.S. and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis…”

According to Amir al-Chalabi, head of an NGO working to improve Baghdad urban services, the city which was once the wonder of the world “has become deserted, and it suffers from instability. At night, it turns into a ghost town because of the lack of lighting.” The standard of living attained under the vilified Baathists has collapsed, and while the oil sector has revived, it provides little employment, now (if we can believe the CIA) at 15%.

The U.S. game plan in Iraq was not to install what would look like a multi-party democratic system post-haste; Paul Bremer, commissar of the “Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq” from May 2003 to April 2004,  publicly opined that a rush towards democracy might damage U.S. interests. (He had initially said, “We’re going to be running a colony almost.”) It was not U.S. benevolence but massive pro-democracy, anti-occupation demonstrations that forced the U.S. to gradually allow “free” elections (but minus the banned Baathist party, how could they be free?) and the more or less formal transfer of sovereignty in 2009.

The regime of Nuri al-Maliki midwifed into power by the U.S. is corrupt, dysfunctional, and unpopular. Sympathetic to and influenced by neighboring Shiite Iran, it has avoided complete U.S. domination. (It does not, for example, support the U.S. policy of toppling the Syrian regime.) But it is now appealing for U.S. aid in repressing its foes and is dependent on the U.S. for aid. The U.S. is providing $14 billion in F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters, Hellfire missiles and reconnaissance drones, and al-Maliki can’t bite the hand that feeds him.

The regime is dominated by religious-sectarian (as opposed to more secular)  Shiites who have elbowed aside top Sunni officials (on grounds of “terrorism”) and provoked a massive resurgence of Sunni resistance in the vast province of Anbar . That is where the famous “surge” of 2007 occurred: U.S. forces and Sunni mercenaries united against al-Qaeda, repressing them temporarily.

But all for naught.  The al-Qaeda split-off faction called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  has in recent days rapidly and dramatically taken the cities of Fajullah (site of the deadliest battle U.S. troops have fought since Da Nang, in November 2004), Tikrit (where government troops surrendered to ISIS at their officers’ command), and Mosul. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who had taken refuge in the latter city are now fleeing again for their lives.

ISIS now controls territory larger than Israel and Lebanon combined. The U.S. successfully,  at the cost of 4488 U.S. soldiers’ lives, transformed a secular modern country in which al-Qaeda had no significant presence, and was seen as a terrorist threat to the Baathist state, into an al-Qaeda base a million times the size of bin Laden’s puny training camps in Afghanistan.

I wonder what extra dimension of meaning this adds to the many veterans of that imperialist war, effectively brainwashed at some point to think that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were comrades in arms, and that by toppling Saddam they’d dealt a big blow to al-Qaeda terrorism.

Instead, with the steady inspiring echo of “USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!” in the background, their actions inflated bin Laden’s small group into the welter of jihadi armies now controlling sections of at least seven countries.

There is no end to the war launched by George W. Bush in 2003. No end to the pain nor the national humiliation. There is none of the demilitarization or democratization of the “successful” Japanese model. Secretary of State Colin Powell told George W. Bush in the war planning stage that the Pottery Barn rule pertained: “If you break it, you own it.” The U.S. has broken Iraq, and now awkwardly shares ownership with Iran, which Washington’s been trying to break for years. The war was a total disaster, a catastrophe, a colossal crime that the Obama administration refused from the get-go to investigate and punish. It is hard to see how it even enhanced the global position of U.S. imperialism; it has not even been a great boon for the energy companies. Its chief historical function has been to sicken and terrify the world, convincing it that that the U.S. is run by madmen. Don’t you dare fuck with us, is the message, because we are really crazy!

And witness now,  eight years, eight months and four days after the invasion of Afghanistan, the fruits of that other imperial project. Let us ask the same questions. Where is the demilitarization, the pacification, the law and order? Where is the “democracy,” or even any credible claim to central authority?

The cruel peace that the Taliban imposed on Afghanistan (or at least, 90% of it) from 1996, following eighteen years of incessant civil war, was also destroyed by the occupier from late 2001. Disdaining to distinguish the Taliban from al-Qaeda,  the U.S.-Coalition forces bombed them both, causing the Talibs on the plea of tribal elders to abandon the cities including their headquarters of Kandahar and fade into the countryside to regroup and fight another day. Al-Qaeda camps were leveled and an unknown quantity of these militants escaped into Pakistan, along with Taliban who quickly organized support in the latter country, which is now—thanks to the U.S. invasion of its neighbor—plagued with its own Taliban spin-offs fighting the Islamabad regime.

At least 20,000 civilians are thought to have died as a result of the ongoing war. But the Taliban has steadily regained strength and is now capable even of bold strikes in Kabul. It has forged alliances with erstwhile foes such as Hezb-e-Islami (headed by former CIA asset Gulbuddin Hekmatyar).  Its success has persuaded military intelligence analysts and top generals that the Afghan War can’t be won militarily but there must be a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. (This is notwhat they were saying in the first years of the hopeless war, but a conclusion they’ve rationally drawn no doubt realizing that for many, many Afghans, the Taliban is far less onerous than the western infidel presence.)

Missile strikes “accidently” wiping out wedding parties. Night time home raids—doors kicked in and all. Drone strikes which, whether or not they hit innocent civilians, terrorize whole regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border causing sleepless nights, heart attacks, miscarriages…  This terror-war causes Afghan parliamentarians to walk out and protest every so often. It causes current President Hamid Karzai (if only to affect a strident nationalism and save his own political ass) to periodically lash out at the U.S.  The indifference of the foreign troops to Afghans’ lives and perceived insults to Afghan culture have produced the ongoing wave of “green on blue” attacks. In the crucible of war, U.S. trainers and the Afghan soldiers they train—the friendliest forces—have reached a toxic level of mutual contempt.

The U.S.-subsidized Afghan National Army, designed to establish and maintain peace, theoretically has 200,000 men (versus an estimated 25,000 Taliban). It is trained by the most modern army in the world. But its annual desertion rate is around 25%, and in serious encounters with the Taliban it’s had a tendency to crumble leaving most of the fighting to U.S. forces. It’s unlikely that, as the number of these U.S. forces reaches 10,000 or even zero (an unlikely though possible, as occurred in Iraq) and the Afghan army assumes full responsibility to handling the “insurgency,” the fighting will appreciably abate.

And democratization in Afghanistan? From the Loya Jirga farce in 2002, in which the U.S. envoy, Afghan-American State Department mentee of Paul Wolfwitz thrust the CIA asset down the Afghans’ throats, to the last election in 2009 so plainly fixed to favor Karzai that Peter Galbraith, a U.S. diplomat sent by the UN as a special envoy responsible for elections monitoring, was obliged to resign in protest. Elections in Afghanistan have been mere theatrical events, producing media images of inked thumbs and lines of voters, designed to legitimate the occupation.

Isn’t it wonderful, we’re supposed to think—whatever else has gone a little wrong—that the Afghan people can finally enjoy democracy? Soon another CIA asset, the winner in the last rigged balloting, Abdullah Abdullah, will ascend to power (or such power as is allowed him) having assured his sponsors that yes indeed, he will sign the agreement for the maintenance of U.S. military presence beyond this year, as demanded by the Obama administration.

As for women coming out from “behind the burqa” (the traditional Pashtun female outfit) thanks to the liberating progressive introduced by foreign occupiers? This is nowhere in sight. The current leadership shares the extremely conservative patriarchal mindset towards women we see in the Taliban. Many women remain in prison for the crime of deserting their husbands or refusing their parents’ marriage choices. The occasional death penalty decision meted out from the Afghan Supreme Court for such offenses as alleged conversion to Christianity tells us much about progress of “freedom” acquired under U.S. tutelage over the last dozen years.

No. The most creative defense lawyer trying to defend these two occupations—these twin crimes against humanity—will be hard-pressed to do so, or even to defend them as ultimately vindicated by results. The results, it turns out are horrific.

These occupations, conducted in the name of the people of this country, are a national shame. But they were not the decision of the people, however the people may have been misled by warmongers’ disinformation. They resulted from decisions based on geopolitical calculations underlined by an amoral and brainless commitment to U.S. exceptionalism, including the right to slaughter without any international legal consequences.

The consequences are unfortunately not felt at the Hague, in the International Court of Justice that the U.S. refuses to join (on the straightforward grounds that U.S. forces must never be tried by foreigners, possibly falling victim to anti-American sentiment).

The consequences are rather felt in the innumerable ways rage and hatred express themselves, when the most arrogant and vicious attack the most weak and vulnerable. By inflicting such ongoing pain throughout the “Greater Middle East,” those secretly praying for another 9/11 seem hell-bent on provoking one, following their last gangbang in Libya and the abortion of the planned Syria assault last August based (once again) on lies. Their failures never deter them. They know they need never apologize. They are assured of employment as cable news “foreign policy experts,” fawning interviews and sometimes book sales.

These occupations have been failures, even if if judged by the occupiers’ expectations and plans. If judged by common global moral standards, they are world-class atrocities. That they should be followed by an al-Qaeda faction’s conquest of much of Iraq and Syria, and the prospect of a Taliban return to power in Afghanistan, is deeply troubling.

But hardly less so than the prospect of an ongoing U.S. berserker rampage designed to instill fear and obedience in a world less and less inclined to fear, respect or obey the exceptional nation, and the One Percent who drive its global aggression.

Posted in USAComments Off on Two Occupations Ending in Hopeless Disasters

On to Baghdad

NOVANEWS
The Latest Regional Slugfest

by MIKE WHITNEY

While President Barack Obama’s top political and military advisers deliberate on how best to address the growing crisis in Iraq, a small army of battle-hardened Islamic extremists, volunteers and ex-Baathists have swept to within 50 miles of Baghdad threatening to seize the Capital, topple the government of President Nouri al-Maliki and ignite another firestorm of sectarian violence. Although Obama has characterized the bloody onslaught as an “emergency situation” requiring a prompt response, he has not yet committed to particular course of action. Meanwhile, the increasingly-anxious residents of Baghdad are hurriedly stocking up on food and bottled water figuring that another war could be just hours away.

Even now, little is known about the shadowy group of Sunni radicals who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). What is known, however, is that they are an extremely proficient military force that can strike with lightening speed, dispatch their better-equipped adversaries effortlessly, and enlist the support of the local people to join their ranks. ISIS could never have captured a city the size of Mosul unless the bulk of the population saw them as liberators not occupiers. It’s clear that al-Maliki has failed to win the hearts and minds of the people in the Sunni heartland where he is seen as a dispassionate tyrant who rules with an iron fist. Still, none of this explains why the ISIS has emerged from obscurity just recently or what their real objectives are. Here’s a clip from the Alakhbar News that helps answer that question:

“A lot of theories are being bandied about…The most logical analysis leans in two directions that meet at some point. The first argues that ISIS… sensed a US-Iranian understanding on the horizon and the signs of a regional front emerging to liquidate the takfiri Islamist movement including ISIS. The seeds of this front emerged first in Syria, and its signs were detectable in Iraq given the talk about military preparations and arms deals to regain state control over al-Anbar province. All this prompted ISIS to wage a preemptive strike to fortify its positions and prepare for the crushing battle expected to come.

The second direction alludes to an operation meant to lure ISIS into a trap similar to what the United States did with Saddam Hussein before he invaded Kuwait in order to rally regional support to eliminate him…..The international reaction to the fall of Mosul reinforces the second analysis. ” (Theories behind the ISIS takeover of Iraqi province, al-Akakhbar)

So, is ISIS march on Baghdad a preemptive strike designed to undermine a US-Iranian alliance that would sabotage their political future or has the disparate militia been lured into a trap? It is impossible to say at the present time, but at least one veteran journalist thinks he knows where the groups funding comes from. Here’s a short excerpt from an article by Robert Fisk with the revealingly title “Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia”:

“So after the grotesquerie of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 suicide killers of 9/11, meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama.

From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles…

Remember that the Americans captured and recaptured Mosul to crush the power of Islamist fighters. They fought for Fallujah twice. And both cities have now been lost again to the Islamists. The armies of Bush and Blair have long gone home, declaring victory.

Under Obama, Saudi Arabia will continue to be treated as a friendly “moderate” in the Arab world, even though its royal family is founded upon the Wahhabist convictions of the Sunni Islamists in Syria and Iraq – and even though millions of its dollars are arming those same fighters. Thus does Saudi power both feed the monster in the deserts of Syria and Iraq and cozy up to the Western powers that protect it.” (Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, Belfast Telegraph)

Fisk is not alone in pinning the blame on Saudi Arabia. There’s also this from Al-Thawra news which is Syrian state media:

“Terrorism is spreading in front of the eyes of the western world… and alongside it are the fingers of Saudi Arabia, providing money and arms…In the events in Iraq and the escalating terrorist campaign, no Western country is unaware of the role Saudi is playing in supporting terrorism and funding and arming different fronts and battles, both inside and outside Iraq and Syria.

The emergence of these organizations is not the result of a vacuum but rather long and clear support for terrorism… which the Gulf has dedicated its finances to expanding.” (These actions were taken) “with Western knowledge and in most cases clear and explicit orders.” (Saudi behind ISIS onslaught in Iraq: Syrian state media, Alakhbar)

While neither Fisk nor al-Thawra provide any proof of their claims, we suspect that when the money-trail is finally uncovered, the evidence will once again point to Riyadh, the Capital of global terrorism. Here’s more from Alakhbar:

“Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki addressed his military officers on TV in light of security reports stating that the attackers are Baathists affiliated with Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri – who was vice president under Saddam – as well as officers from the former Iraqi army and Fedayeen Saddam. According to the reports, more than 40 officers who had served in Saddam Hussein’s army conspired with the attackers. There are tales of betrayal involving senior military leaders including General Abboud Qanbar, Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan and General Mahdi al-Ghazzawi, all members of the former army.” (ISIS “success” facilitated by betrayal, Iraqi government inadequacies, Alakhbar)

So the ISIS is not just a group of disgruntled jihadis after all. The ranks of full of ex-Baathists and professional military who are ready for a winner-take-all, no-holds-barred clash in Baghdad.

And what does al-Maliki intend to do to defend the capital from this rampaging horde of highly-motivated, combat-tested Sunni troopers?

He plans to launch an enlistment campaign to organize a “popular army” similar to the National Defense Forces in Syria.

Got that? The ISIS militia is just a few miles from Baghdad and al-Maliki thinks he’s going to whip up an army in the next couple hours that will repel them.

Good luck with that, Mr President.

Of course, many people feel that Obama and Co. are just pretending to be surprised at the sudden turn of events; that they actually knew something like this was brewing all along but decided to look the other way figuring that the ISIS’s aggression would help to implement their larger regional strategy to disempower Arab-controlled nation-states by erasing existing borders and creating a “soft partition” that would strengthen US-Israeli hegemony making it easier to repress the indigenous population and pilfer their resources. This is from an article by Al Hayat correspondent, Raghida Dergham:

“While ISIS, with its haphazardness, destructive ideology, and appalling ignorance, spreads from Deir al-Zour to the borders of Kurdistan, achieving its wretched victories, regional and international powers are rushing to take advantage of the situation to further their interests…

All trans-border armies think themselves as makers of a new history by overturning Sykes-Picot. These are the armies of destroying and abolishing borders. As it seems, no one is standing in their way no matter how much NATO powers pretend to be panicked and no matter how many concerned statements the United Nations make. What is frightening is that there are international forces supporting mobile radical armies in their bid to cross borders, to use them in wars of attrition against traditional armies, with a view to partition existing countries in the Arab region.

ISIS not the response to the plans to fragment the Arab region and strengthen Iranian hegemony but is actually an instrument in those plans, whether ISIS is aware of this or naïvely oblivious to the fact. ISIS is destroying the Arabs and undermining Sunni moderates, because it is part of a sinister project to which it was driven voluntarily or by coincidence. All those extending help to ISIS and similar groups like al-Nusra Front, and other Salafist or Wahhabi militias, are directly contributing to the collapse of Syria and Iraq, no matter how much they think they are making history.

Iraq today is on the brink of collapsing into civil war and partition, if not fragmentation. No one will come out victorious in the coming Iraq war.” (ISIS ‘Achievements’ in Iraq and Syria a Gift to the Iranian Negotiator?, Raghida Dergham, Huffington Post)

The author clearly believes that Iran is a big player in these regional games of power politics, but as she concedes later in the article: “the United States is not innocent of these plans. In the minds of many, it is the side that manufactures and encourages extremism, be it Sunni or Shiite, to divide the Arab region and allow Iran to dominate it, with Israeli collusion.”

Isn’t this what’s really going on? While outside observers may not know the particular details, they can assume with some confidence that foreign powerbrokers — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US — are all deeply involved and are looking for ways to shape the outcome. All four of these countries are up to their axels in the bloody game of geopolitics, and are using Iraq as a staging ground for the own hegemonic ambitions.

Although we have no idea what will happen in the next few weeks, we know who the losers will be in this latest regional slugfest, the Iraqi people.

Posted in IraqComments Off on On to Baghdad

America’s New Apartheid

NOVANEWS
Segregation by Incarceration

by GARRY LEECH

Many people associate the mass imprisonment of a population with authoritarian regimes. Consequently, many Americans are surprised when they learn that the country that incarcerates more of its own citizens than any other is the United States. With 2.3 million prisoners, the “land of the free” has more people in prison than China, which has a population four times the size of the United States. A hugely disproportionate percentage of those incarcerated are African-Americans as Washington’s war on drugs constitutes the latest incarnation of racist policies that have existed since the country’s founding.

The United States has a long and ongoing history of implementing policies ensuring that Blacks are segregated from whites, both physically and in terms of experiencing different rights. While still a British colony, the white settlers, having exterminated much of the indigenous population, imported Black slaves from Africa to work the plantations and to serve as domestic servants. Upon achieving independence from Britain, the new “democracy” with its “Bill of Rights” immediately made evident its hypocrisy to the benefit of privileged white males by continuing the practice of slavery and only allowing white male property owners to vote. In short, there was no “independence” for Blacks.

Our history classes celebrate that white hero Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves while ignoring the fact that most nations in the Americas had abolished slavery almost half a century before the United States. In fact, only two countries—Brazil and the Spanish colony of Cuba—maintained slavery longer than the “land of the free.” That celebrated champion of freedom, Thomas Jefferson, only freed his slaves upon his death, when he no longer had a need to exploit them. In fact, slavery wasn’t abolished until almost one hundred years after independence. And when slavery was finally abolished in the United States in 1865, blacks still remained second-class citizens under a system of apartheid in which a series of Jim Crow laws kept African-Americans segregated from whites.

It wasn’t until the mid-1960s, one hundred years after the abolition of slavery and almost two hundred years after independence, that officially-sanctioned segregation eventually ended and all Blacks in the United States finally obtained the right to vote and to equal access to public schools and other public spaces. But the US government soon found another tool for implementing social control over Blacks in order to segregate them from the general white population: the war on drugs. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared illegal drugs to be “public enemy number one.” During the next two years, drug arrests and incarceration rates increased significantly, with a disproportionate number of those targeted being African-Americans.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan intensified the war on drugs by declaring that illegal drugs constituted a threat to national security. That same year, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act with very little debate, establishing harsher and mandatory prison sentences for crack and powder cocaine. But the mandatory sentences for crack were much harsher than those for powder cocaine. Consequently, a conviction for selling 500 grams of powder cocaine resulted in a five-year mandatory sentence, whereas only five grams of crack cocaine would trigger the same five-year sentence. In other words, a conviction for possession of crack resulted in a prison sentence 100 times longer than a conviction for the equivalent amount of powder cocaine. Essentially, Congress imposed disparate sentencing laws for basically the same drug, since both crack and powder cocaine are derived from the coca plant. Furthermore, crack became the only drug that carried a mandatory sentence for first offenders.

A quarter of America’s 2.3 million prisoners are in jail for non-violent drug offenses—more than the total number of prisoners in the European Union. In 1980, there were 41,000 imprisoned drug offenders but that number had skyrocketed to more than half a million by 2011, according to The Sentencing Project, a non-profit organization that analyzes the US criminal system. The race and class bias of the 1986 sentencing laws soon became apparent as the ratio of Blacks who were imprisoned compared to whites increased dramatically. Because crack was much cheaper than powder cocaine it became popular in poor urban neighborhoods, many of which were Black. In contrast, most of the principal users of powder cocaine were middle- and upper-class whites living in relatively wealthy suburban neighborhoods. Black neighborhoods have also endured the

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militaristic presence of heavily-armed police narcotics squads carrying out “zero tolerance” drug policies. And so, while record numbers of low-level urban drug dealers and users are being sent to prison, most middle and upper class white suburban dealers and users remain free to indulge their habits with little police harassment.

By the late 1990s, despite constituting only 13 percent of the nation’s drug users, Blacks represented 58 percent of imprisoned drug offenders. Furthermore, the majority of these offenders were low-level dealers or users; in fact, statistics released by the United States Sentencing Commission showed that only 11 percent of federal drug offenders were high-level dealers. This rate of incarceration contributed to a social breakdown in many poor inner-city neighborhoods. The number of Black children growing up fatherless skyrocketed, with 70 percent living in single-parent homes without their biological father at the beginning of the 21st century compared to only 14 percent twenty years earlier.

In 2010, Congress finally addressed the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine by reducing it to an 18:1 ratio and eliminating mandatory prison terms for crack possession. While an improvement, the new sentencing laws still disproportionately impact Blacks and, because they are not retroactive, thousands of drug offenders convicted under the old laws remain incarcerated.

While the mass imprisonment of African-Americans has created a social crisis, particularly in poor urban neighborhoods, it has proven to be an economic boon for corporations and rural communities. Under neoliberalism, the prison system has been largely privatized, thereby turning it into a for-profit industry. And it is not only the corporations that operate the prisons that profit, but also companies that use prisoners as cheap labor to handle their customer service operations. Prisoners are paid as little as fifty cents an hour to work in prison call centers performing the customer service and marketing operations of some of America’s largest and richest corporations. As Microsoft stated in a marketing document, such a set-up “can reduce the burden on corporate marketing.”

Also, in the neoliberal era, rural communities have struggled to survive economically and one solution has been to host prisons. With an average of 35 jobs created for every 100 inmates, local elected officials began viewing prisons as an economic development tool. In the first two decades following Reagan’s intensification of the war on drugs, 213 prisons were opened in rural areas, housing prisoners from distant cities and even other states. Furthermore, many of these prisons were operated by private corporations.

This process has had devastating consequences on poor minority communities in cities. First, it has made it even more difficult for children to maintain a relationship with their imprisoned fathers because of the expense and time required to visit distant prisons. Second, it has undermined the democratic system by shifting federal dollars and elected representation away from urban neighborhoods to rural communities.

One of the incentives to entice rural communities to build these prisons in their backyards has been to allow them to include the prison population in their census count, which translates into more federal funding for the local community. The Wall Street Journal illustrated how this process works in the small Arizona town of Florence, which, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2000 census, had an “official” population of 17,054. However, 11,830 of the town’s residents were prisoners, whose presence translated into about $4 million annually in federal funds for the small community. The town received this funding based on its total population, despite the fact that it bore no responsibility for the cost of housing the prisoners.

The flip side of this coin occurs in communities where prisoners are from, primarily poor inner-city neighborhoods. With increasing numbers of Blacks being sent to distant prisons as a result of mandatory drug sentencing, the census count shows a smaller population, resulting in less federal funding. Given that the census only occurs every ten years, many prisoners return home to live in under-funded urban neighborhoods while rural communities continue reaping the financial benefits from their incarceration.

The disproportionate incarceration of Blacks also has implications for democracy. All but two US states prohibit prisoners from voting while incarcerated and twelve states disenfranchise convicted felons for a specific period of time following their release or for life. As of 2010, disenfranchisement laws meant that six million Americans were prohibited from voting in elections with Blacks constituting a hugely disproportionate percentage of the disenfranchised. In fact, one out of every thirteen African-Americans are banned from voting.

The mandatory sentencing and disenfranchisement laws are not the only forms of legislation that have disproportionately affected minorities and lower economic classes. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 contains a provision stating that anyone with a felony conviction for using or selling drugs is subject to a lifetime ban on receiving government financial assistance and food stamps. This provision only applies to drug offenders, not to violent felons. Consequently, someone who has served a sentence for murder or rape remains eligible for welfare benefits upon their release.

By 2002, according to The Sentencing Project, there were more than 92,000 women, and by extension 135,000 children, affected by the lifetime ban on receiving welfare and food stamps. While Black and Hispanic women constitute approximately 23 percent of the US female population, they represent 48 percent of women affected by the ban. By 2011, the number of women affected had doubled to more than 180,000. While in recent years some states have opted out of the ban on felons being eligible for food stamps and welfare, more than half still retain the lifetime ban or a modified version of it.

In 1998, Congress enacted a similar ban preventing drug offenders from receiving government grants or financial aid for college education. Tens of thousands of college-bound students have been denied federal aid because of prior drug convictions, often for past misdemeanors such as marijuana possession. As is the case with the lifetime welfare ban, the college aid ban only applies to drug offenders, while convicted murderers and rapists remain eligible for government grants and student loans. As a result of the war on drugs, Black males are almost seven times more likely to go to prison than whites, resulting in a disproportionate number of young Black men being declared ineligible for federal college aid.

Ultimately, US drug-war policies that have utilized mandatory sentencing laws, disenfranchisement and lifetime bans on receiving welfare benefits and student financial aid have disproportionately affected minorities and the lower classes. A Black teenager convicted for a first offense of possessing five grams of crack cocaine could be sentenced to five years in prison, lose his or her right to vote for life, become ineligible to receive welfare benefits and food stamps, and not qualify for student financial aid should he or she want to get an education in order to obtain a decent job.

This dead-end approach generates almost unsurpassable barriers for individuals and families attempting to change their lives, thereby continuing the cycle of marginalization experienced by many Blacks from generation to generation. Furthermore, it could be argued, given that a hugely disproportionate percentage of prisoners are Black, that the exploitation of their labor in prison call centres constitutes modern-day slavery while disenfranchisement undermines the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement. Ultimately, millions of Blacks continue to be segregated through imprisonment and the denial of their basic rights. Though the mechanisms of oppression have changed over time from segregation through slavery to segregation under Jim Crow laws to segregation by incarceration, many Blacks in the United States continue to be treated as second-class citizens in the 21st century.

Posted in USA1 Comment

Capitalism’s Bullets in Latin America

NOVANEWS
Invisible Empires, State Power and 21st Century Colonialism


by BENJAMIN DANGL

The notorious US private militia group Academi – previously known as Blackwater – trained Brazilian security forces in North Carolina in preparation for the current World Cup in Brazil, as reported by sportswriter Dave Zirin. Zirin pointed to the 2009 diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, which revealed that Washington viewed the expected World Cup-related crises as opportunities for US involvement. Zirin wrote that for Washington, “Brazil’s misery created room for opportunism.”

Capitalism’s bullets follow the World Cup just as they do Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed with the US. Five years ago this month, protests were raging in northern Peru where thousands of indigenous Awajun and Wambis men, women and children were blockading roads against oil, logging and gas exploitation on Amazonian land. The Peruvian government, having just signed an FTA with the US, was unsure how to deal with the protests – partly because the controversial concessions in the Amazon were granted to meet the FTA requirements. According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, on June 1st, 2009 the US State Department sent a message to the US Embassy in Lima: “Should Congress and [Peruvian] President Garcia give in to the [protesters’] pressure, there would be implications for the recently implemented Peru-US Free Trade Agreement.” Four days later, the Peruvian government responded to the protest with deadly violence, leading to a conflict which left 32 dead.

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The US is infamous for its imperial history in the region. But Washington isn’t the only empire in its backyard. Global and local forces of capitalism, imperialism and modern-day colonialism are at work across Latin America, from soccer stadiums to copper mines.

China has outpaced the US as the primary trading partner with the region’s richest countries; most of its business is in the area of natural resource extraction. And for many nations in the southern cone, Brazil – now a world superpower outpacing Britain as the 6th largest economy – is an imperial force, utilizing much of the region’s natural wealth, land and hydroelectric power to fuel its booming industries and population.

Capitalism has many faces and allies, and they’re not just based in the global north or within these economic giants. As sociologist William Robinson writes, “The new face of global capitalism in Latin America is driven as much by local capitalist classes that have sought integration into the ranks of the transnational capitalist class as by transnational corporate and financial capital.” From Mexico to Argentina, this local capitalist class has created some 70 globally-competitive transnational conglomerates.

Friends of empire and capital are found at the heights of power among Latin America’s political leaders. While the US has spied on Latin America for years, as recently made clear by Edward Snowden’s leaks, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet administration asked for the US government’s help in spying on Mapuche indigenous leaders defending land rights during her first term in office. While the US supported the coup against Fernando Lugo of Paraguay in 2012, before he was pushed out of office, Lugo himself called for a state of emergencyin the countryside to expand repression of campesino activists fighting soy company incursions on their land.

For many indigenous communities in Latin America, the state, often in alliance with transnational corporations, maintains a colonialist worldview into the 21st century, particularly in the area of natural resource extraction in mining, oil and gas industries. As Professor Manuela Picq of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador writes, “The unilateral expropriation of land for mining today is a continuation of the Doctrine of Discovery. It conceptualized the New World as terra nullis, authorizing colonial powers to conquer and exploit land in the Americas. […] Today, the idea of ‘empty’ lands survives in extractivist practices.”

Indeed, mining concessions have been granted on 80% of Colombia’s legally-recognized indigenous territories, and 407,000 square kilometers of Amazon-based mining areas are on indigenous land. As a part of this region-wide extractivist land grab, Picq explains that 200 activists were killed in Peru between 2006 and 2011, 200 people were criminalized in Ecuador for protesting the privatization of natural resources, and 11 anti-extractivist activists have been murdered in Argentina since 2010.

The mining industry is also typically devastating for the environment, whether it’s run by the state or the private sector. Picq points out that Guatemala’s Marlin mine, owned by the Canadian company Goldcorp, utilizes in just one hour the same amount of water a local family uses over the span of 22 years, and the mining industry in Chile – where the state owns the largest copper producing company in the world – utilizes 37% of the nation’s electricity.

Capitalism, empire and 21st century colonialism come from afar and descend on their victims in Latin America. But these forces are also in the tear gas canisters that Brazil’s security forces use at the World Cup, in the state that extracts natural resources on indigenous territory, and in the free trade deals signed in blood.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Capitalism’s Bullets in Latin America

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