Archive | April 3rd, 2015

TEPCO Under Fire after Hiding Massive Radioactive Waste Leak at Fukushima for a Full Year

Global Research

A major bombshell has dropped concerning the failed cleanup efforts at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The shuttered plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has apparently been hiding for an entire year the fact that radioactive waste has been quietly pouring into the ocean from an onsite drainage ditch.

Sputnik News reports that TEPCO, which is also managing remediation efforts at the site (with guidance from the Japanese government), concealed from the public the fact that highly contaminated radioactive water has been flowing from the drainage ditch directly into the ocean. Local fishermen and others have since expressed outrage over the news.

“I don’t understand why you (TEPCO) kept silent about the leakage even though you knew about it,” stated Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, according to Sputnik. “Fishery operators are absolutely shocked.”

The news comes as TEPCO continues to sustain criticism over the way it’s handled cleanup efforts since the 2011 tsunami and earthquake took their toll. In recent months, TEPCO has been exposed for attempting to cover up the fact that U.S. Navy sailors were exposed to harmful radiation, as well as concealing true levels of radioactive waste releases into the Pacific Ocean.

And this latest revelation only reiterates TEPCO’s tarnished legacy, proving that the company can’t be trusted with adequately addressing the looming problems that are still present at Fukushima more than four years since the disaster occurred.

“This was part of an ongoing investigation in which we discovered a water puddle with high levels of radiation on top of the Reactor No. 2 building,” contended a TEPCO spokesman as to why the company delayed reporting the leak, adding that “because this also happens to be one of the sources for this drainage system, we decided to report everything all at once.”

Promises that Fukushima radiation is “under control” broken; TEPCO still sponsoring 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

Since samples of ocean water collected from near the drainage pipe allegedly didn’t show any “substantial” radioactive spikes, TEPCO claims that it didn’t feel the need to report the leak, at least until now. This, as the company struggles to continue building radioactive waste storage tanks onsite at the plant to address the never-ending stream of waste pouring from the failed reactor buildings.

As you may recall from back in September 2013, when Tokyo was announced to be the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised the International Olympic Committee and the world that all radiation leaks at Fukushima were “under control.” TEPCO was also named to be the primary sponsor for the Olympic Games.

But this latest disclosure proves that this simply isn’t the case, regardless of whether or not this latest leak situation violates the regulations set forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (which TEPCO claims it doesn’t).

“The trust of the people in Fukushima is the most important thing” to us, explained a company spokesperson in an apology. “We’ve been working with that in mind, but unfortunately, we have damaged that trust this time.”

Meanwhile, a major investigation is currently underway to assess how Fukushima radiation, as it continues to make it’s way into soil, water and eventually into food, is affecting the safety of what people are eating both in Japan and abroad. More on this is available in a recent report published in Nature:

Sources for this article include:

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Key Facts to Understand Why Yemen Has Become a Political Flashpoint

Global Research


With the recent military operations on the part of the Arab League against the Yemeni Houthi rebels, much has been made of the operation in the mainstream media outlets. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of information provided regarding this act of military aggression is inaccurate, skewed, or an outright falsehood.

The Western mainstream press is reporting the Arab League operation in precisely the manner in which the State Department and related government agencies prefer for the operation to be reported – as if it were an attempt by the Arab League to put down a violent rebellion that threatens “stability” and “democracy” in the Middle East and to combat a proxy war that was initiated and controlled by Iran.

While a detailed discussion of the situation in Yemen is beyond the scope of this article, there are nevertheless a number of facts that must be addressed.

The Houthis Are Not Iranian Proxy Forces

While the general representation of Houthi forces in the Western mainstream press is that they are proxy forces created and controlled by Iran in order to fight against the Sunni nations and the US-allied Gulf State monarchies, the truth is that the Houthis are not Iranian proxies at all. The Houthis are an entirely indigenous force made up of Yemenis who have been fighting government oppression since the so-called Arab Spring found its way into Yemen.

There are, of course, ideological and religious similarities between the Houthis and the ruling governmental structure of Iran, both being Shiite and both opposing the US-Saudi alliance. Indeed, the Houthis and Iranians are brothers in arms in much the same way as Iran and Hezbollah maintain similar allegiances, though clearly not to the extent of the Hezbollah/Iranian relationship. Still, Iran has apparently provided some assistance to the Houthis in their battle against Western puppets and Western-backed al-Qaeda groups as well as financial and, presumably, intelligence assistance.

However, the provision of minimal assistance – while clearly geopolitically motivated – is not the same as maintaining a proxy force. To that end, there has been no evidence to show that Iran controls the Houthis and directs their fighters as a proxy army.

As Jason Ditz of writes,

The Houthi movement has its origins in the 1993 parliamentary elections. Longtime dicator Ali Abdullah Saleh’s GPC party won a plurality, but in trying to ensure a weakened opposition Saleh negotiated a deal with Hussein al-Houthi, a powerful member of the opposition al-Haq Party. Houthi was to distance himself from Haq and back the GPC in return for support from the ruling party.

Houthi did as he was asked, and was stabbed in the back in the 1997 election, when Saleh’s office heavily campaigned against him, costing him his seat in parliament. Out of office, Hussein decided to travel abroad to complete his doctorate.

He returned in 2001, and quickly became an influential religious leader, aiming to unite the various independent clerics of Zaidi Shi’ism under a single banner. Successful in this, he began publicly condemning Saleh as a US puppet, while harshly condemning the US invasion of Iraq.

By 2004, the Yemeni military was moving against Houthi and his followers, and Hussein was killed on September 10, 2004, putting a temporary end to hostilities.

Hussein’s father, Badr al-Din Houthi started an uprising in 2005, and his brother Abdul Malik Houthi started an even bigger one in 2007. Their demands centered around equal treatment for their homeland, around Sadaa, which always got the short end of infrastructure investment.

By 2009 the region was in full-scale war, with Saleh vowing to defund public schools and all other basic social spending to pay for weapons to wipe the Houthis out.

Even the US State Department admits that Iran does not control the Houthis as a proxy force. Ambassador Stephen Seche wrote in a 2009 cable that was leaked by WikiLeaks that “Contrary to ROYG claims that Iran is arming the Houthis, most analysts report that the Houthis obtain their weapons from the Yemeni black market and even from the ROYG military itself.”

Hadi Was A Western Puppet, Saleh Was A Western Puppet

The leader that the Saudis, with the backing of the United States and NATO, have rushed in to protect was by no means a “democratically-elected” President. Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was placed into power by a deal brokered by the GCC after the previous President was overthrown. Hadi was “elected” but was the only candidate running for office, meaning that he was, for all intents and purposes, placed into power by the GCC. The previous President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced to resign as a result of the Western-controlled Arab Spring color revolution in 2011.

Hadi himself was not only complicit with the geopolitical goals of the United States and Saudi Arabia but he was involved in the support of Western-backed groups like al-Qaeda and their activities inside Yemen.

It should also be noted that, while Saleh was deposed by protests directed by the West, Saleh was himself largely controlled from Washington, D.C. Saleh worked with the United States in their drone bombing program inside Yemen, as well as ceding territory to al-Qaeda terrorists. Saleh was notoriously oppressive in his rule and was rewarded for killings and torture of protesters by a lavish hotel room in the United States after he was removed from power to make room for the new boss who was the same as the old boss.

GCC Action Is Illegal, It Is An Invasion/Illegal War

No one should be capable of executing enough mental gymnastics to convince themselves that Saudi Arabia is in the slightest concerned with democracy or human rights. Indeed, the country itself has neither. Clearly, Saudi Arabia or the Arab League is not concerned with the will of the Yemeni people either.

The reason that Saudi Arabia has jumped at the opportunity to invade Yemen is not to defend against Iranian influence, but to prevent it.

While the Iranians do not have control over the Houthi movement today, a total seizure of power of the Yemeni government by the Houthis would no doubt produce that influence in the very near future, thus causing Saudi Arabia to be partially surrounded by the Iranian arc of influence, scant and geographically broken as it may be. This is precisely why the United States and Israel are behind the GCC and Arab League in this maneuver as well as to protect the US puppet leader that has been removed as figurehead of Yemen, a slight glitch in the power matrix that the West would very much like to remedy as soon as possible.

The truth is that the Arab League, GCC, Saudi Arabia and its US/NATO/Israeli backers are engaging in direct military action against Yemen now is because its ability to control the affairs of the state via political puppetry, bribery, and color revolutions has ceased to produce results. In other words, hard power is being employed because soft power has failed.

Hypocritical Action

The military action and the stance taken by NATO, the US, and the West in regards to Yemen versus Syria and Ukraine is yet another openly hypocritical position taken by these powers in an attempt to justify their geopolitical goals.

For instance, in Yemen, it is considered an offense worthy of a “coalition” invasion from the Arab League if the Houthis overthrow a president that was essentially placed in his position by a foreign power after that foreign power had coordinated the revolt that sent him packing in the first place. It is considered a violation of international law if the Houthis oust this “leader” and replace him with someone else.

In Syria, however, there is no barbaric atrocity or literal crime against humanity that is not justified in order to facilitate the destruction of the government of Bashar al-Assad. While Yemenis are condemned for overthrowing their corrupt and oppressive government, the legitimate, secular, and reforming leadership of Bashar al-Assad is considered illegitimate. The so-called “rebels” in Syria are considered the representation of democracy. The rebels in Yemen are considered a threat to international order.

In Ukraine also, the US instigated a color revolution that saw the ousting of a democratically (relatively speaking) elected President. In Ukraine, however, unlike Yemen, the individuals on the ground who overthrew that government engaged in a campaign of attempted extermination of select members of their countrymen and were hailed as heroes and worthy of support, even to the point of pushing the possibility of nuclear war with Russia by the United States.

Clearly, some “rebels” are more equal than others. The concept of “international law,” “democracy,” “human rights,” and “self-determination” are obviously one-way streets.

The representation of Iran’s involvement in the rebellion in the Western mainstream press is equally hypocritical. Remember, in both Ukraine and Syria, the United States has been not only the initiator of the destabilization but an open supporter of it. In Yemen, however, Iran is being painted as an international terrorist and destabilization artist. Although there is little evidence to point to Iran as being behind the Yemeni rebellion, its role has been painted as a meddler. The US, NATO, and the GCC, however, are painted as friends of democracy and human rights.

Is Syria Next?

The Arab League aggression in Yemen has now created a dangerous precedent for the crisis growing across the Middle East, particularly in Syria. With the Arab League, particularly Saudi Arabia, granting itself the authority to invade countries at will based on phony pretexts (in true American fashion), many are beginning to wonder whether or not the same type of action will soon take place in Syria. While the pretext is not likely to be the “rebels” that the Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis, Jordanians, and other feudal monarchies have been openly supporting since the beginning of the foreign-backed terrorist invasion, it may very well be based upon alleged claims of Assad’s “crimes against humanity,” “chlorine bombs,” “barrel bombs,” or other phantom atrocities.

With the Western public so out to lunch, a Saudi invasion of Syria based on human rights concerns will no doubt go unnoticed. After all, their own country’s invasion of foreign countries has gone unnoticed in the past, so there is no reason to think the American people will be awake at the wheel for a Saudi act of war and aggression.

With that in mind, it is unfortunately believable to wonder whether or not the Arab League may in fact use the presence of ISIS or al-Qaeda in Syria as a means to initiate a bombing campaign against the Syrian government since absolutely ridiculous narrative of Assad’s “cooperation with” or “indirect support” to ISIS has been floated with relative success amongst the general public.

Regardless, the actions of the Arab League in Yemen are a bad omen for Syria and Assad.


In the end, the Yemeni operation is nothing more than another move on the geopolitical grand chessboard by team NATO and its allies and associates in the GCC and the Arab League including Israel. The Anglo-American goal in Yemen is to restore the “order” that was disturbed when Western puppet Hadi was removed by the Houthi rebellion. It is also designed to prevent any entrenchment of Iranian influence in Yemen. Unfortunately, not only has Yemeni self-determination been attacked by the Arab League and the Anglo-Americans, but a dangerous precedent has been set for other potential battlefields across the Middle East, particularly for Syria.

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Why Iran Distrusts the US in Nuke Talks

Global Research

Image: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took a stroll in downtown Geneva and along the Rhone River for almost 15-minutes on January 14, 2015 during an earlier stage of bilateral talks that continue this week in the Swiss town of Lausanne. (Photo: AP file)

The Iranians may be a bit paranoid but, as the saying goes, this does not mean some folks are not out to get them. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his knee-jerk followers in Washington clearly are out to get them – and they know it.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the surreal set of negotiations in Switzerland premised not on evidence, but rather on an assumption of Iran’s putative “ambition” to become a nuclear weapons state – like Israel, which maintains a secret and sophisticated nuclear weapons arsenal estimated at about 200 weapons. The supposed threat is that Iran might build one.

Israel and the U.S. know from their intelligence services that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program, but they are not about to let truth get in the way of their concerted effort to marginalize Iran. And so they fantasize before the world about an Iranian nuclear weapons program that must be stopped at all costs – including war.

Among the most surprising aspects of this is the fact that most U.S. allies are so willing to go along with the charade and Washington’s catch-all solution – sanctions – as some U.S. and Israeli hardliners open call for a sustained bombing campaign of Iranian nuclear sites that could inflict a massive loss of human life and result in an environmental catastrophe.

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

On March 26, arch-neocon John Bolton, George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the United Nations, graced the pages of the New York Times with his most recent appeal for an attack on Iran. Bolton went a bit too far, though, in citing the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of November 2007, agreed to unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. Perhaps he reasoned that, since the “mainstream media” rarely mentions that NIE, “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” he could get away with distorting its key findings, which were:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. … We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. …

“Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”

An equally important fact ignored by the mainstream media is that the key judgments of that NIE have been revalidated by the intelligence community every year since. But reality is hardly a problem for Bolton. As the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, Bolton made quite a name for himself by insisting that it was the proper function of a policy maker like him – not intelligence analysts – to interpret the evidence from intelligence.

An ‘Embarrassment’

So those of us familiar with Bolton’s checkered credibility were not shocked by his New York Times op-ed, entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Still less were we shocked to see him dismiss “the rosy 2007 National Intelligence Estimate” as an “embarrassment.”

Actually, an embarrassment it was, but not in the way Bolton suggests. Highly embarrassing, rather, was the fact that Bolton was among those inclined to push President Bush hard to bomb Iran. Then, quite suddenly, an honest NIE appeared, exposing the reality that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had been stopped in 2003, giving the lie not only to neocon propaganda, but also to Bush’s assertion that Tehran’s leaders had admitted they were developing nuclear weapons (when they had actually asserted the opposite).

Bush lets it all hang out in his memoir, Decision Points. Most revealingly, he complains bitterly that the NIE “tied my hands on the military side” and called its findings “eye-popping.”

A disgruntled Bush writes, “The backlash was immediate. [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad hailed the NIE as a ‘great victory.’” Bush’s apparent “logic” here is to use the widespread disdain for Ahmadinejad to discredit the NIE through association, i.e. whatever Ahmadinejad praises must be false.

But can you blame Bush for his chagrin? Alas, the NIE had knocked out the props from under the anti-Iran propaganda machine, imported duty-free from Israel and tuned up by neoconservatives here at home.

In his memoir, Bush laments: “I don’t know why the NIE was written the way it was. … Whatever the explanation, the NIE had a big impact — and not a good one.”

Spelling out how the Estimate had tied his hands “on the military side,” Bush included this (apparently unedited) kicker:

“But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”

It seems worth repeating that the key judgments of the 2007 NIE have been reaffirmed every year since. As for the supposedly urgent need to impose sanctions to prevent Iran from doing what we are fairly certain it is not doing – well, perhaps we could take some lessons from the White Queen, who bragged that in her youth she could believe “six impossible things before breakfast” and counseled Alice to practice the same skill.

Sanctions, Anyway, to the Rescue

Despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, the United States and other countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions ostensibly to censure Iran for “illicit” nuclear activities while demanding the Iran prove the negative in addressing allegations, including “intelligence” provided via Israel and its surrogates, that prompt international community concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

And there’s the rub. Most informed observers share historian/journalist Gareth Porter’s conclusion that the main sticking point at this week’s negotiations in Lausanne is the issue of how and when sanctions on Iran will be lifted. And, specifically, whether they will be lifted as soon as Iran has taken “irreversible” actions to implement core parts of the agreement.

In Lausanne, the six-nation group (permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) reportedly want the legal system behind the sanctions left in place, even after the sanctions have been suspended, until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officially concludes that Iran’s nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful – a process that could take many years.

Iran’s experience with an IAEA highly influenced by the U.S. and Israel has been, well, not the best – particularly since December 2009 under the tenure of Director-General Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat whom State Department cables reveal to be in Washington’s pocket.

Classified cables released by Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and WikiLeaks show that Amano credited his success in becoming director-general largely to U.S. government support – and promptly stuck his hand out for U.S. money.

Further, Amano left little doubt that he would side with the United States in the confrontation with Iran and that he would even meet secretly with Israeli officials regarding their purported evidence on Iran’s hypothetical nuclear weapons program, while staying mum about Israel’s actual nuclear weapons arsenal.

According to U.S. embassy cables from Vienna, Austria, the site of IAEA’s headquarters, American diplomats in 2009 were cheering the prospect that Amano would advance U.S. interests in ways that outgoing IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei never did.

In a July 9, 2009, cable, American chargé Geoffrey Pyatt – yes, the same diplomat who helped Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland choose “Yats” (Arseniy Yatsenyuk) to be the post-coup prime minister of Ukraine – said Amano was thankful for U.S. support for his election,” noting that “U.S. intervention with Argentina was particularly decisive.”

A grateful Amano told Pyatt that as IAEA director-general, he would take a different “approach on Iran from that of ElBaradei” and that he “saw his primary role as implementing” U.S.-driven sanctions and demands against Iran.

Pyatt also reported that Amano had consulted with Israeli Ambassador Israel Michaeli “immediately after his appointment” and that Michaeli “was fully confident of the priority Amano accords verification issues.” Pyatt added that Amano privately agreed to “consultations” with the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission.

In other words, Amano has shown himself eager to bend in directions favored by the United States and Israel, especially regarding Iran’s nuclear program. His behavior contrasts with that of the more independent-minded ElBaradei, who resisted some of Bush’s key claims about Iraq’s supposed nuclear weapons program, and even openly denounced forged documents about “yellowcake uranium” as “not authentic.” [For more on Amano, see’s America’s Debt to Bradley Manning.”]

It is a given that Iran misses ElBaradei; and it is equally clear that it knows precisely what to expect from Amano. If you were representing Iran at the negotiating table, would you want the IAEA to be the final word on whether or not the entire legal system authorizing sanctions should be left in place?

Torpedoing Better Deals in 2009 and 2010

Little has been written to help put some context around the current negotiation in Lausanne and show how very promising efforts in 2009 and 2010 were sabotaged – the first by Jundullah, a terrorist group in Iran, and the second by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. If you wish to understand why Iran lacks the trust one might wish for in negotiations with the West, a short review may be helpful.

During President Barack Obama’s first year in office, the first meeting of senior level American and Iranian negotiators, then-Under Secretary of State William Burns and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, on Oct. 1, 2009, seemed to yield surprisingly favorable results.

Many Washington insiders were shocked when Jalili gave Tehran’s agreement in principle to send abroad 2,640 pounds (then as much as 75 percent of Iran’s total) of low-enriched uranium to be turned into fuel for a small reactor that does medical research.

Jalili approved the agreement “in principle,” at a meeting in Geneva of representatives of members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. Even the New York Times acknowledged that this, “if it happens, would represent a major accomplishment for the West, reducing Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon quickly, and buying more time for negotiations to bear fruit.”

The conventional wisdom in Western media is that Tehran backed away from the deal. That is true, but less than half the story – a tale that highlights how, in Israel’s (and the neocons’) set of priorities, regime change in Iran comes first. The uranium transfer had the initial support of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And a follow-up meeting was scheduled for Oct. 19, 2009, at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

The accord soon came under criticism, however, from Iran’s opposition groups, including the “Green Movement” led by defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has had ties to the American neocons and to Israel since the Iran-Contra days of the 1980s when he was the prime minister who collaborated on secret arms deals.

At first blush, it seemed odd that it was Mousavi’s U.S.-favored political opposition that led the assault on the nuclear agreement, calling it an affront to Iran’s sovereignty and suggesting that Ahmadinejad wasn’t being tough enough.

Then, on Oct. 18, a terrorist group called Jundullah, acting on amazingly accurate intelligence, detonated a car bomb at a meeting of top Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders and tribal leaders in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan in southeastern Iran. A car full of Guards was also attacked.

A brigadier general who was deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces, the Revolutionary Guards brigadier commanding the border area of Sistan-Baluchistan, and three other brigade commanders were killed in the attack; dozens of other military officers and civilians were left dead or wounded.

Jundullah took credit for the bombings, which followed years of lethal attacks on Revolutionary Guards and Iranian policemen, including an attempted ambush of President Ahmadinejad’s motorcade in 2005.

Tehran claims Jundullah is supported by the U.S., Great Britain and Israel, and former CIA Middle East operations officer Robert Baer has fingered Jundullah as one of the “good terrorist” groups benefiting from American help.

I believe it no coincidence that the Oct. 18 attack – the bloodiest in Iran since the 1980-88 war with Iraq – came one day before nuclear talks were to resume at the IAEA in Vienna to follow up on the Oct. 1 breakthrough. The killings were sure to raise Iran’s suspicions about U.S. sincerity.

It’s a safe bet that after the Jundullah attack, the Revolutionary Guards went directly to their patron, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, arguing that the bombing and roadside attack proved that the West couldn’t be trusted. Khamenei issued a statement on Oct. 19 condemning the terrorists, whom he charged “are supported by certain arrogant powers’ spy agencies.”

The commander of the Guards’ ground forces, who lost his deputy in the attack, charged that the terrorists were “trained by America and Britain in some of the neighboring countries,” and the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards threatened retaliation.

The attack was front-page news in Iran, but not in the United States, where the mainstream media quickly consigned the incident to the memory hole. The American media also began treating Iran’s resulting anger over what it considered an act of terrorism and its heightened sensitivity to outsiders crossing its borders as efforts to intimidate “pro-democracy” groups supported by the West.

Despite the Jundullah attack and the criticism from the opposition groups, a lower-level Iranian technical delegation did go to Vienna for the meeting on Oct. 19, but Jalili stayed away. The Iranians questioned the trustworthiness of the Western powers and raised objections to some details, such as where the transfer should occur. The Iranians broached alternative proposals that seemed worth exploring, such as making the transfer of the uranium on Iranian territory or some other neutral location.

But the Obama administration, under mounting domestic pressure to be tougher with Iran, dismissed Iran’s counter-proposals out of hand, reportedly at the instigation of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and neocon regional emissary Dennis Ross.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Watching all this, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saw parallels between Washington’s eagerness for an escalating confrontation with Iran and the way the United States had marched the world, step by step, into the invasion of Iraq.

In spring 2010, hoping to head off another such catastrophe, the two leaders dusted off the Oct. 1 uranium transfer initiative and got Tehran to agree to similar terms on May 17, 2010. Both called for sending 2,640 pounds of Iran’s low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for nuclear rods that would have no applicability for a weapon. In May 2010, that meant roughly 50 percent of Iran’s low-enriched uranium would be sent to Turkey in exchange for higher-enriched uranium for medical use.

Yet, rather than embrace this Iranian concession as at least one significant step in the right direction, U.S. officials sought to scuttle it by pressing instead for more sanctions. The U.S. media did its part by insisting that the deal was just another Iranian trick that would leave Iran with enough uranium to theoretically create one nuclear bomb.

An editorial in the Washington Post on May 18, 2010, entitled Bad Bargain,” concluded wistfully/wishfully: “It’s possible that Tehran will retreat even from the terms it offered Brazil and Turkey — in which case those countries should be obliged to support U.N. sanctions.”

On May 19, a New York Times’ editorial rhetorically patted the leaders of Brazil and Turkey on the head as if they were rubes lost in the big-city world of hardheaded diplomacy. The Times wrote:

“Brazil and Turkey … are eager to play larger international roles. And they are eager to avoid a conflict with Iran. We respect those desires. But like pretty much everyone else, they got played by Tehran.”

The disdain for this latest Iranian concession was shared by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was busy polishing her reputation for “toughness” by doing all she could to undermine the Brazil-Turkey initiative. She pressed instead for harsh sanctions.

“We have reached agreement on a strong draft [sanctions resolution] with the cooperation of both Russia and China,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 18, making clear that she viewed the timing of the sanctions as a riposte to the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement.

“This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide,” she declared. Her spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, was left with the challenging task of explaining the obvious implication that Washington was using the new sanctions to scuttle the plan for transferring half of Iran’s enriched uranium out of the country.

Obama Overruled?

Secretary Clinton got her UN resolution and put the kibosh on the arrangement that Brazil and Turkey had worked out with Iran. The Obama administration celebrated its victory in getting the UN Security Council on June 9, 2010, to approve a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran. Obama also signed on to even more draconian penalties sailing through Congress.

It turned out, though, that Obama had earlier encouraged both Brazil and Turkey to work out a deal to get Iran to transfer about half its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for more highly enriched uranium that could only be used for peaceful medical purposes. But wait. Isn’t that precisely what the Brazilians and Turks succeeded in doing?

Da Silva and Erdogan, understandably, were nonplussed, and da Silva actually released a copy of an earlier letter of encouragement from Obama.

No matter. The tripartite agreement was denounced by Secretary Clinton and ridiculed by the U.S. mainstream media. And that was kibosh enough. Even after Brazil released Obama’s supportive letter, the President would not publicly defend the position he had taken earlier.

So, once again. Assume you’re in the position of an Iranian negotiator. Trust, but verify, was Ronald Reagan’s approach. We are likely to find out soon whether there exists the level of trust necessary to start dealing successfully with the issue of most concern to Iran – lifting the sanctions.

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The Destructive Legacy of Arab Liberals

Global Research
A supporter of Egypt's deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak kisses a poster of him in front of Torah Prison

Image: Arab liberals have allied with Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia to wreak an unparalleled record of destruction. (Ahmed Asad / APA images)

It has become commonplace to present Arab Islamists of all political stripes (liberals, conservatives, radicals, neoliberals, moderates, extremists, nonviolent, violent, etc.) as a most, if not the most, dangerous political force in the Arab world since the 1967 War.

In fact, and as the following will show, it has been a new brand of Arab liberals — secularists and Islamists (though the former have been far more dangerous) — who have been and continue to be a most dangerous and destructive political force in the post-1967 Arab world.

The Western, Israeli and Saudi war against Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and anti-imperialist Arab nationalism required the birth of a new liberal intelligentsia. Their emergence on the scene in the late 1950s and in the 1960s, before the war, was part of the American-sponsored “cultural Cold War,” which financed intellectuals across the world for the anti-communist and anti-socialist liberal imperial crusade that also targeted anti-imperialist Third World nationalisms.

This was part and parcel of the Eisenhower Doctrine, which the Americans inaugurated in 1957 to intervene militarily and in every other way in the Middle East to fend off Soviet influence. It was in this context that the US intervened in Lebanon in 1958 against Arab nationalism with Saudi- and US-funded Lebanese liberals cheering on in the liberal press.

Many of these liberal Arab intellectuals were lackeys of US intelligence and they and their newspapers were financed by the US and Gulf regimes, especially the Saudis. They would exalt the virtues of the liberal West against Soviet and non-Soviet forms of communism and socialism and would attack Nasserist Arab nationalism.

While some would argue that Arab liberals are not true to the liberal tradition, I am less concerned with how well they approximate an imaginary Western liberalism, or whether they are “true” or “false” liberals, than with the fact that they present themselves and are presented by others as adhering to “liberal” principles. These include free parliamentary and executive elections, freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of association, civilian control of government and the military, a capitalist economy and varying degrees of separation between government and religious authorities.

Out of Egypt

In the post-1967 War period, the emergence of this new brand of Arab liberals was seen as confined to the Egyptian Sadatist intelligentsia whose main aim was to combat Nasserism in both its socialist and nationalist aspects and promote pro-Americanism. As the new century dawned, the Egyptian example became widely generalized across the entire Arab world.

The 1970s Egyptian liberals sang the praises of American power and imperialist capitalist penetration of their country and pushed for full surrender to the Israeli Jewish settler-colony under the banner of the “peace” negotiated by Nasser’s successor, President Anwar Sadat.

They insisted that Israel should be forgiven all its sins and that rendering Egypt its lackey and the lackey of the US would bring about many economic and political benefits to Egyptians. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose liberal transformation in the 1970s allowed them a seat at the Sadatist table, would join the political contest on the side of the liberal secularists against the Nasserist legacy.

Aside from state intellectuals, prominent litterateurs and artists pushed for this campaign. These extended from writers Yusuf Sibai to Naguib Mahfouz, and lesser figures like playwright Ali Salem, not to mention famous composer and singer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, intellectuals and academics of the ilk of Anis Mansour and Saad Eddin Ibrahim and many others. While Mahfouz and Abdel Wahab belong to an earlier generation of Egyptian liberals that have little in common with the post-1960s liberals, including mediocre state functionaries like Mansour, who edited the state-owned magazine October, they all joined the Sadatist ideological project in one way or another.

In this context, it should be mentioned that while the earlier generation of Arab liberals that emerged in the early part of the twentieth century and prospered in the 1920s and 1930s were mostly pro-European in their “civilizational” outlooks, they were not always pro-colonial, though a good number of them were. Indeed some, like Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, the “father of Egyptian liberalism” and anti-Arab Egyptian nationalism, were even friendly to Zionism. Al-Sayed would go as far as attending the celebrations of the opening of Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1925.

While the Sadatist liberals were condemned and excommunicated across the Arab world (indeed Sibai, who served as minister of culture under Sadat, was assassinated by the Abu Nidal group on account of his visit to Israel and his support for the Sadatist surrender), their alliance with the US and Israel and their promotion of the selling out of Egypt to a new business class would not bring prosperity. Rather, it brought enormous poverty to most Egyptians and destroyed whatever achievements in education and healthcare the pre-liberal Nasserist order had achieved.

The only thing that increased and became more advanced in this liberal-supported Egypt was the level of political and economic repression for decades to come and the alienation of millions of Egyptians who lost even the possibility of an economic future, except for the hundreds of thousands (later upwards of four million Egyptians) whose employment was subcontracted to neighboring countries — Libya, Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf states. Meanwhile, tens of millions of Egyptians languished at home in dire poverty.

Liberalism spreads to Palestine

Soon, and by the late 1980s, the political and economic line the Egyptian liberals pushed for, let alone the international alliances they favored, would be adopted wholesale by a new class of Palestinian, Iraqi and, to a much more limited extent, Algerian intellectuals, who had until then been solid anti-imperial leftists and socialists.

In this vein, West Bank and Gaza-based Palestinian intellectuals pushed for a two-state solution that would grant those territories an independent state at the expense of diaspora Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It was the rights of the latter two groups of Palestinians that these intellectuals, under the sponsorship of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), wanted to barter for an independent state granted exclusively to the one-third of the Palestinian people that lives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Indeed, many began to predict that the US-sponsored “peace process,” which they supported, would turn the West Bank and Gaza into a new “Singapore,” an economic miracle that would transform the lives of these Palestinians at the expense of the rest.

Once the PLO adopted this line of thinking fully, Palestinian liberal intellectuals became advisors, consultants, negotiators and ministers in the Palestinian Authority and brought about more massive poverty across the West Bank and Gaza, the erosion of international support for Palestinian rights and multiplied the forces of repression of the Palestinians by adding the PA security forces to the Israeli occupation army. This has led to the squandering of Palestinian political and economic achievements during the first intifada.

Imperial invasions

Simultaneous with the rise of this liberal intellectual class among Palestinians, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait unleashed a new class of Iraqi liberals who were allied with American imperial geostrategic interests and who immediately called, in the name of democracy and the end of dictatorship, for an imperial invasion of Iraq.

The US-led invasion in 1991 expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but left Saddam Hussein’s government in place, albeit under sanctions that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives — a price US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright notoriously deemed “worth it” to pursue American aims.

The 2003 US-led invasion, under the pretext of locating “weapons of mass destruction,” finally granted the liberals’ wish, and as a consequence cost the lives and livelihoods of untold millions and destroyed the entire country while enriching this class of comprador intellectuals and the new and old business classes they serve.

Indeed, many of them went into service for the US occupation of the country and the ensuing regime it established. While the Iraqi liberals were the first Arab liberals to call openly for an imperial invasion of their country, one could point to the precedent of Gibran Khalil Gibran and pro-French Lebanese liberal expatriates based in New York who had called in 1918 for a French invasion or “protection” of Syria to liberate it from the Turks.

Concomitant with these developments was the Algerian military coup against the elected Islamists in early 1992, which unleashed a massive civil war and military violence that led to upwards of 200,000 dead Algerians. Some of the extremist liberal secularists, like the Rally for Culture and Democracy party, supported the army’s “eradication” of the Islamists.

Sectarian incitement

Ironies abound. Terrified by the popular Arab schadenfreude expressed in massive demonstrations across the Arab world in solidarity with Iraq, demonstrations that did not sympathize with Kuwait and other oil-producing Gulf countries, the illiberal Saudis launched pan-Arab newspapers and satellite channels that bombarded the Arab world with pro-Saudi and pro-US liberal propaganda to reverse this Arab anti-imperial nationalist tide that also opposed the Arab regimes allied with US imperialism.

Intellectuals from across the Arab world joined the effort, abandoning old leftist, communist, Nasserist and Islamist positions and adopted the much, much more profitable pro-US and pro-Israel liberal line politically, and the neoliberal economic order being globalized. By the dawn of the new century, the Saudis and the Americans issued new orders to their media and agents to spread an unprecedented sectarian campaign against Shiites inside and outside the Arab world.

The campaign would be first articulated in 2004 by the new and neoliberal King Abdullah of Jordan, a self-styled “liberal” monarch who possesses absolute and unchecked power. The king expressed his and others’ fear of the rise of a Shiite crescent” in the region.

It is in this regional context that Syrian liberals joined the fray. Upon the long-awaited death of President Hafez al-Assad in 2000, they launched what they called a “Damascus Spring” from intellectual salons and from the halls of the US embassy in Damascus, whose cultural attaché was a main sponsor of their “Spring.”

While they would soon be suppressed by the authoritarian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Syrian liberals would re-emerge in 2011 claiming to speak for “revolutionary” forces that have, with the full participation of the repressive Assad regime, caused the death of hundreds of thousands and destroyed the country.

The US ambassador would also aid in their efforts by making appointments and assigning roles within the Syrian exile opposition. Not unlike their Iraqi counterparts, the Syrian liberals — secularists and Islamists alike — called for imperial intervention in the name of democracy and to end the Syrian dictatorship. They got what they wished for in the form of the draconian Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS — also known as ISIL or just “Islamic State”).

Not to be outdone, Lebanese liberals and former Lebanese leftists, communists and Arab nationalists would also have their own “Spring” following the assassination of the corrupt and corrupting neoliberal billionaire, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. They would help launch a local sectarian anti-Shiite campaign in the country and would call for more imperial intervention to save them from their powerful Syrian, but not their more dangerous Israeli, neighbor. They would also relaunch anti-Palestinian campaigns by cheering the Lebanese army’s destruction of the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007. While their country was under heavy Israeli bombardment in 2006, many of these liberals cheered on the Israelis privately and publicly and prayed for the destruction of Hizballah fighters to restore a “liberal” Lebanese order that they longed for.

Liberal extremism

The proliferation of Arab liberals through the good offices of their US and Saudi patrons would lead to more liberal extremism. Saudi-financed newspapers (both print and electronic, like Asharq Al-Awsat andElaph) began to espouse openly Zionist and pro-Israeli positions without apology.

Arab liberals would also abet an anti-democratic Palestinian Authority coup in 2007 against the democratically elected Hamas, a coup that was successful in the West Bank but failed in Gaza. This Palestinian liberal and comprador class of intellectuals also sought to fully submit to US and Israeli political, military and economic diktat (then neoliberal Prime Minister Salam Fayyad best exemplified this submissiveness) and hoped that the 2008-2009, 2012 and the 2014 Israeli invasions of Gaza would finish off Hamas, a hope that would be dashed by the steadfastness of Hamas and other groups committed to military resistance.

It is with this as background that Arab liberals — secularists and Islamists among them — would emerge during the so-called Arab “Spring of 2011 as leaders of the revolts of Egypt and Tunisia (and Syria and Libya, Bahrain and Yemen). In the telling case of Tunisia, the liberal Islamists’ (mainly the al-Nahda party) and secularists’ infighting brought about a modus operandi that led to the partial restoration of the ancien régime.

In Egypt, the secularist liberals were transformed into outright fascists overnight and allied themselves openly with the Mubarakist forces, both in government, the military and the business sector against the liberal and neoliberal Muslim Brotherhood, which was only able, during its brief stint in power, to ally itself with the Mubarakist army, which ended up toppling its government.

The communists and the Nasserists joined the liberal ranks by transforming themselves, like the liberals, into fascists who fancy their fascism as a form of “liberalism.” They argued tirelessly and still argue that supporting a military coup against the elected and liberal Muslim Brotherhood, and the massive massacres that the coup authorities committed, were the epitome of liberalism and the restoration of a liberal order.

Arab liberals have gone as far as launching a war against European Muslims and Arabs, demanding that they ought to assimilate into their “host” Christian and secular societies. The liberal Sheikh of al-Azhar, the chief cleric of this central Muslim institution, demanded that French Muslim women abide by French laws and not wear the hijab. Yet it is the same Arab and Muslim liberals who demand that Arab Christians must not be made to submit to the majority Muslim culture of their societies and that respect by Muslims and Muslim states must be accorded to their differing Christian religious traditions.

One is dumbfounded by what Saudi and US money and political power (and the crucial Israeli role) can do in a short period of time. The proliferation of US- and European-funded nongovernmental organizations across the Arab world since the early 1990s (as is the case elsewhere around the globe) has successfully conscripted whole armies of Arab intellectuals and technicians into US-, Israeli- and Saudi-style liberalism.

It is these Arab liberals — especially and mostly the secularists among them — who helped bring about and justify such massive levels of destruction across the Arab world. The Islamist liberals in turn called for and cheered NATO intervention in Libya, which took place directly, and in Syria, which took place indirectly through massive infusions of cash and weapons. These levels of destruction are unprecedented in scope even in colonial times.

Tallying these Arab liberal achievements, we find that the horror they visited or helped visit on the Arab world is enormous. The death and injury of millions from Iraq to Syria, to Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt, to Yemen and Libya, the complete destruction of Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Libya and now Yemen, the massive poverty in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and Syria, let alone in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, among others, have all been abetted by a majority of Arab liberals.

In fact, many of these events came about as a direct result of policies that liberals in government service or in the opposition and among intellectuals called for and helped bring about. These liberals continue to work assiduously to justify the destruction and shift the blame for these crimes onto others and to justify all sorts of crimes committed by their patrons.

Neither the radical and extremist ISIS nor its precursor al-Qaida can lay claim to such a stellar record of destruction and misery. The destruction wrought by and with the backing of liberals has been so immense that even the horrors that the Baath party, in its Iraqi and Syrian versions, has visited on Syria and Iraq and on their neighbors, is smaller in comparison. Yet it is these same liberals who continue to speak of freedom, peace and prosperity while they bring about more repression, war and poverty.

Arab liberals and Arab liberalism have been a principal enemy of social, political and economic justice across the Arab world during the last half-century. To claim otherwise would be to ignore their criminal record and to remain oblivious to the horrific reality they helped engender.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on The Destructive Legacy of Arab Liberals

Iran Makes Sweeping Concessions to US in Nuclear “Framework” Deal

Global Research

Iran and the P-6—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany—announced Thursday that they have finalized the “parameters” for an agreement to “normalize” Iran’s civil nuclear program.

Reached after eight days of heated bargaining, during which time the US twice threatened to quit the talks, yesterday’s agreement will form the basis for a final agreement to be reached no later than June 30.

Should a final agreement be reached, it would represent a significant shift in US-Iranian relations, bound up with US efforts to bring Iran more closely in line with its operations in the Middle East. At the same time, the deal places onerous restrictions on Iran, while holding out the possibility for a resumption of the US-backed war drive at any time in the future.

While the first paragraph of the US fact sheet outlining the parameters’ agreement stipulates “important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon,” the four pages that follow contain sweeping concessions on the part of Iran’s clerical-bourgeois regime.

These include:

* Submitting to the most intrusive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection ever devised. IAEA inspectors will have carte blanche to enter any site or facility in Iran that they deem “suspicious” in perpetuity.

* Dramatically curtailing Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium and its existing stockpile of enriched uranium. For the next 10 years, Iran will be allowed to operate just 5,060 of its 19,000 centrifuges and those it does operate must be “first-generation,” i.e., extremely slow.

* The dismantling of much of Iran’s civil nuclear infrastructure. The core of the heavy reactor at Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor is to be “destroyed or removed from the country” and the facility redesigned and rebuilt so as to prevent the production of weapons-grade plutonium.

The punishing US and EU sanctions that have halved Iran’s oil exports since 2011 and frozen it out of the world banking system will be “suspended”—not permanently removed. Moreover, their suspension will begin only when Iran has made good on all parts of the deal that are immediately applicable.

If it any time the US and EU declare that Iran has not complied with any aspect of the agreement, the “sanctions will snap back into place.”

Tehran will have to fulfill even more onerous conditions before the UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted. Iran will not only have to implement all the above-enumerated “key nuclear steps,” but also “address the IAEA’s concerns about the Possible Military Dimensions” (PMDs) of its nuclear program. The US used this device against Saddam Hussein, demanding that he prove Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

Even were the PMDs issue to be resolved to the satisfaction of the IAEA—an international body dominated by the US and its allies—the UN Security Council Resolutions that target Iran will in reality no more be eliminated than the punishing US-EU economic sanctions. Tehran has agreed that the “core provisions in the UN Security Council resolutions” limiting Iran’s access to “sensitive technologies” and providing a host of punitive measures will be incorporated in a new UN Security Council resolution.

Should a still-to-be-defined “dispute resolution process” fail to resolve a complaint about Iran’s implementation of the final nuclear deal levelled by any of the P-6 powers, the way will be open, under the parameters’ agreement, for the re-imposition of all previous UN sanctions.

Yesterday’s agreement was announced in Lausanne, Switzerland by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif. US President Barack Obama, however, quickly seized center stage.

In a White House appearance early Thursday afternoon, Obama touted the agreement as a huge diplomatic coup for the US, while boasting that Iran had been brought to heel by the “toughest sanctions in history.”

He underlined that if the “parameters” are not transformed into a final accord acceptable to the US, or if Iran violates any element of the final deal, “all options” will be on the table for him and any future US president. “All options on the table” is a favorite US euphemism for punitive action up to and including all-out war.

Speaking to sections of the political establishment that oppose an accommodation with Iran—this includes virtually the entire Republican Party and much of his own Democratic Party—Obama argued that the only realistic alternative was “another war in the Middle East.”

Obama went out of his way to reassure Washington’s traditional Mideast allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. He announced that he is inviting the leaders of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council to a summit at Camp David. Later, he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reportedly told him that “there is no daylight (between us) when it comes to our support for Israel’s security and our concerns about Iran’s destabilizing policies.”

Iran’s government is also claiming victory. Foreign Minister Zarif said the agreement demonstrated that the Iranian people “will never bow to pressure.” The reality is that the Iranian bourgeoisie, reeling under the sanctions’ devastating impact on Iran’s economy and terrified of a challenge from the working class, is desperate for a rapprochement with US and European imperialism.

The US ruling elite and their corporate media speak ominously of Iranian “aggression” and failure to adhere to international law. What hypocrisy!

It is the US that has waged an unrelenting campaign against Iran since the 1979 revolution overthrew the tyrannical regime of the US-backed Shah. This has included supporting and arming Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War, a decades-long economic embargo, numerous threats of military attack, and a covert war against Iran’s nuclear program involving cyber-warfare and, in collaboration with Israel, the assassination of Iranian scientists.

While the US repeatedly threatens Iran with war if it does not demonstrate to Washington’s satisfaction the peaceful character of its nuclear program, it turns a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Obama’s attempt to effect an accommodation with Iran has angered Washington’s traditional Mideast allies and is being bitterly contested within the US military-security and political establishments.

Israel’s Netanyahu, who, like the Saudi oil sheiks, fears that an Iranian-US rapprochement will erode his state’s regional influence, lost no time yesterday in railing against the agreement. “This deal,” proclaimed Netanyahu, “would legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, bolster Iran’s economy, and increase Iran’s aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.”

The Republican Party leadership was also quick to denounce the agreement. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk claimed, “Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler,” while Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton termed yesterday’s agreement “a list of dangerous concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons.” Cotton authored an “open letter” signed by 47 Senators to Iran that claimed any deal entered into by the Obama administration could be repudiated by Congress or a future president.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would press forward with legislation requiring Congress endorse any final agreement with Iran before it can take effect.

Obama and his domestic critics share the same basic strategic goal, i.e., shoring up US hegemony over the Middle East and the entire globe. They differ at present on the tactics to be employed in regards to Iran in pursuit of that aim.

Under conditions where repeated US wars have blown up the Middle East and there already is a tacit Washington-Tehran alliance in opposing the Islamic State in Iraq, Obama calculates that the Iranian regime can be enlisted in helping restabilize the region under US dominance.

Even more importantly, the proponents of a deal with Iran calculate that if this oil-rich country can be brought into Washington’s strategic orbit, it will greatly strengthen the US’s hand in confronting its more significant and formidable adversaries, Russia and China.

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Can Evil Be Defeated?

Global Research
Paul Craig Roberts

John W. Whitehead is a constitutional attorney. As head of the Rutherford Institute he is actively involved in defending our civil liberties. Being actively involved in legal cases, he experiences first hand the transformation of law from a shield of the American people into a weapon in the hands of the government.

American civil liberty was seriously eroded prior to 9/11 and the rise of the police / warfare state, a story I tell in How America Was Lost. Lawrence Stratton and I documented the loss of law as a shield of the American people in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000, 2008). Whitehead in his book, A Government of Wolves (2013) and in his just released Battlefield America (2015) shows how quickly and thoroughly the police state has taken root.

We live in an electronic concentration camp. We are addicted to images on screens that disinform and propagandize us to accept and even welcome the police state activities that have destroyed our autonomy, privacy, and independence.

I write many columns on this subject. The advantage of a book is that it all comes together under one cover, and that is what Whitehead has done in Battlefield America.

«The outlook for civil liberties grows bleaker by the day, from the government’s embrace of indefinite detention for US citizens and armed surveillance drones flying overhead to warrantless surveillance of phone, email and Internet communications, and prosecutions of government whistle-blowers. The homeland is ruled by a police-industrial complex, an extension of the American military empire. Everything that our founding fathers warned against is now the new norm. The government has trained its sights on the American people. We have become the enemy. All the while, the American people remain largely oblivious».

Whitehead gives it to us straight. We are continually abused in the name of protecting us. Just ordinary Americans are subject to far worst abuse from government than they ever could be from criminals and terrorists, both of which are bogymen used to justify the government’s terrorism of the citizenry.

Four-year old children are handcuffed by police. Ninety-five year old citizens with walkers are body-slammed with their neck broken by police. War veterans without legs and wheelchair bound are shot and murdered by police. The police always justify their abuse and criminal acts by claiming they felt threatened. What kind of heavily armed police, usually together in gangs, is threatened by a four-year old, a 95-year old, a double amputee? The fact that police get away with this brutality shows their total lack of humanity and the total transformation of the purpose of police. Today a paranoid police protect not the public but the police state and themselves from the public. We pay them to abuse and murder us.

On September 6, 7, and 8, 2014, the Washington Post reported that state and local police had become bandits, as in Mexico, who stop drivers in order to rob them. In «Stop and Seize,» the Washington Post reported that «aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes».

There are now training courses in which police are trained in the art of highway robbery. September 11, 2001, was used to create an industry that trains police in the aggressive techniques of highway interdiction. It is now routine for a traffic stop, whether justified or not, to result in the confiscation of your cash, other possessions, and your car itself. You can be robbed by police on the basis of their assumptions without being ticketed or chargedwith a crime.

Whitehead reports that in fiscal year 2012 the federal government alone seized $4.2 billion in assets despite the fact that in 80 percent of the cases no charge was issued.

Did you know that the school security industry is a $4.9 billion annual business that instills in youth acceptance of tyranny and punishments for infractions that are simply the normal behavior of youth?

Did you know that in 2006 a Halliburton subsidiary, Dick Cheney’s firm, was awarded a $385 million federal contract to build concentration camps in the US?

Did you know that Republicans have privatized the prison system and turned it into a $70 billion per year industry that demands ever more incarceration of citizens in order to drive profits. Consequently, 2.7 million American children now have at least one parent in prison, often on charges that would not constitute crimes in a civilized country.

US prison labor is now the cheapest form of labor available with prisoners paid between 93 cents and $4.73 per day. Prisoners make office furniture, work in call centers, fabricate body armor, take hotel reservations, work in slaughterhouses, manufacture textiles, shoes, and clothing, process agricultural products like milk and beef, package Starbucks coffee, shrink wrap software for Microsoft, sew lingerie for Victoria’s Secret, produce the military’s helmets, shirts, pants, tents, bags, canteens, and a variety of other equipment, make circuit boards for IBM, Texas Instruments and Dell. Sew McDonald’s uniforms, and perform labor services for Boeing, Motorola, Compaq, Revlon and Kmart.

Even the «mainstream» presstitute media has reported the US military drills in South Florida where military teams working with local police practiced rounding up American citizens for detention. The media has also reported the upcoming military occupations in Texas and Utah. There are protests but not on the level that a people conscious of the threat to their liberty would mount.

It seems clear that these are federal troops practicing control of the population which is being stripped of the constitutional right to hold government accountable. The pointless lockdown of Boston and its suburbs and the gratuitous house to house searches, a martial law exercise clearly prepared prior to the Boston Marathon Bombing, used fear created by the bombing, possibly a false flag operation, to teach the population compliance with, and acceptance of, martial law. The insouciant American population went along with it. If someone points out how they were manipulated, the fools scream «conspiracy theorist».

The official explanation of the military exercises practicing population control in South Florida, Texas and Utah is that the military is practicing for overseas actions. Why then are local police involved? More likely we are witnessing drills described in the US Army’s 2010 publication, «Internment and Resettlement Operations».

It is now routine for police to amuse themselves by carrying out strip searches and vaginal searches of women. Police go out of their way to provoke resistance so that they can beat, taser, and murder. If they can’t provoke it, they beat, taser, and murder anyway and claim their victim resisted arrest or threatened them. Have you noticed how the police find everyone threatening?

Whitehead shows that the educational system, entertainment, and television serve to indoctrinate and teach compliance. Television can do more than form public opinion. It is used to alter the worldview of the population. Our cars, household appliances, and smart homes are becoming devices designed to spy on us and report noncompliance. A society is being created in which there can be no autonomy and no freedom.

The technology that permits the electronic concentration camp is produced by thoughtless people who have no concern for liberty. How, Whitehead asks, do we maintain our humanity in the face of technologies designed to dehumanize us?

America now has preemptive prosecution. Whitehead reports that 95 percent of those convicted of terrorism between 2001 and 2010 were prosecuted not for deeds, but for beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations.

The two most engaging chapters in Battleground America are «The Matrix» and «The Posthuman Era», together a mere 17 pages. The fusion of machines with humans to which trans-humanists are committed will destroy human sensibility, memory, and morality, and probably humans themselves.

Corporate America is in it for the money. Whitehead tells us: «With every smartphone we buy, every GPS device we install, and every Twitter, Facebook, and Google account we open, we’re helping Corporate America build a dossier for its government counterparts on who we know, what we think, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time».

Whitehead quotes Bill Joy, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems: «I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of evil».

Jim Edwards says, «we humans are now data bits».

In the penultimate chapter, Whitehead tells us what we can do, a question that I am forever asked by readers. Whitehead says that armed revolt is not an option. He believes that the tens of millions, perhaps 100 million, Americans who have pistols, rifles, and shotguns are not only unorganized, but outgunned. The 21stcentury has been used to militarize state and local police forces and to brutalize their attitude toward the American public. Even police in small towns now have helicopters, armored personnel carriers, tanks, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, drones, night vision, heat sensors, sensors that can see through the walls of houses and into cars.

If this is not enough, in comes the National Guard or federal troops, Army Rangers, Navy Seals. Or simply the release of germs. Washington can deal with its citizens the same way it dealt with the indigenous peoples we call Indians. Washington has retained in its hands live smallpox, a deadly killer, and there now have been several generations of Americans who have not had smallpox vaccination, because the disease was eliminated by vaccination. All the government has to do is to release smallpox on resistant populations, and, of course, the government has numerous other such means.

How did it come to this?

In my opinion, as I so often write, Americans are distracted by sex, entertainment, the difficulty of providing for themselves and for families. They are locked into the disinformation that sustains the American Matrix, blinded by their patriotism and the 4th of July speeches and by their indoctrination that Americans are «exceptional and indispensable». And, of course, by their ignorance and arrogance. Americans simply have no clue.

The purpose of the evil that masquerades as a government in Washington is to prevent those few Americans who do have a clue from informing the rest of the population. Whistleblowers are arrested and falsely prosecuted and imprisoned. Journalists have been intimidated into silence.

Now, to Whitehead’s answer to what can we do. He says that we can mount «militant nonviolent resistance». This worked for Christians in the decomposing Roman Empire.

It worked for Mahatma Gandhi in India against the British colonialists. It was working for Martin Luther King in America before he was assassinated, most likely by the FBI.

Whitehead says that the mass of the citizenry cannot be assassinated. If citizens simply stop cooperating by listening to the lies on TV, by purchasing the devices used to control them, by amusing themselves in front of propaganda screens, by learning again how to think, how to be human, how to be moral, the American police state can be defeated.

It worked in the past, and possibly it can work again. If not, Washington will remain the home of Sauron, a threat to every American citizen and to the entire world.

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Debt Default, “Chain Reactions” and the Financial Stage of US-led Wars

Global Research

It is pretty much a given that we are living the end times of a three ring financial circus.  If you doubt this, only a small amount of research on your part will confirm this.  The odds in my opinion are quite high that we will witness some sort of military confrontation as usually occurs when business deals go bad. 

The three leading acts today are Greece, Ukraine and special guest under the Big Top is Austria.  We don’t want to slight the tensions in the Middle East but that is already in the military stage, today let’s look more closely at the financial stage.

Greece has already begun raiding public pensions to run even day to day operations.  The current estimate is they will run out of cash before the end of April.  It is no wonder they are having high level meetings with Moscow and will meet with Mr. Putin this coming Monday.  It has been said they are not looking for a handout.  This may be so but they will certainly be talking about running a pipeline through their country.  As I have said all along, broke is broke, they simply cannot make payment on what they have already borrowed from the West.

The West, led by Germany may be able to restructure terms or even offer the Greeks more current cash.  Any deal made will not solve anything as whatever Greece accepts (if they do) will also need to be paid back.  Paying one credit card off with another one does not lower your balance, on the contrary, the total balance rises and this is the problem.  Greece as recently as 2010 was the shining star of Europe, just as a bank rated AAA on a Friday afternoon is bankrupt on Monday morning, so went Greece.

What is being missed here is Greek debt is held widely by German and French banks …and by the ECB itself.  When Greece does finally default, these already undercapitalized banks will capsize, but this is only part of it.  Just as happened back in 2008, there may be 10 times the amount of CDS (insurance) written versus their debt, now we are talking $3.5 trillion.  Do you know of any entity on the planet that could make good on this policy?

Before finishing on Greece, James Turk did an interview yesterday with King World news where he theorizes there will shortly be a “crossover” of debt owed the ECB and Greek banking deposits.  The banks have bled down to 130 billion euros while the ECB holds nearly 100 billion worth of Greek debt.  James believes a “bail in” of Greek banks will occur before the bank balances are too small to cover the debt. .  I believe this “crossover” has already happened.  I say this because many of the deposits are small.  I just don’t believe there are enough large deposits left to steal in order to cover the debt owed the ECB.  Can they really bail in small deposits of widows or retirees without a massive proletariat revolt?  I can envision small depositors of all ages out in the streets with pitchforks hunting down anyone who even looks like a banker!

Another financial tent which will fold is Ukraine.  The situation here is less cut and dry than Greece because Russia is involved.  A little refresher for you, Russia lent Ukraine $3 billion+ at the end of 2013.  They did this to try to help stabilize the country, within two months “their guy” was out and “our guy” was in.  Ukraine has payments due on debt in June and they do not have the funds (nor their gold as this has already been pilfered).   This debt held by Russia comes due at the end of this year and because it was written under “English law”, any restructuring must be approved by Russia.

The odds of Russia allowing a restructuring are virtually zero because they know any extra funds will be used to restart Ukraine’s assault on the Russian population of the east.  The risk of a default by Ukraine has risen greatly.  Just as with Greece, it is not only so much about the amount of debt itself, it’s about how much CDS “insurance” has been written.  Just as Greece is just another link in the derivatives chain, so too is Ukraine.  Any default will involve $1 trillion plus when derivatives are taken into account, are there a spare trillion or more (or even multiples of this) for any of these links should they break?

It is much more complicated than this but Russia will not aid the West at their own expense.  Please understand this, it is not about the money for Russia, the entire episode is about leverage, both financial and political.  You can add the leverage gained of debt problems to the fact Russia is a huge supplier of gas to Europe, who do you think Europe will side with when push comes to shove?

Under the Big Top but receiving the least amount of attention or press coverage is Austria and their banking problems.  It seems the collapse of Hypo-Alpe Adria bank is reaching the next level, it was only a matter of time.  Pfandbriefbank Oesterich AG is the next potential casualty .

They have a 600 million euro payment in June (lots of June deadlines?) but won’t be able to make this without invoking “guarantees”.  One of these guarantees comes from the state of Carinthia itself, already unwilling and they say unable to perform.  This is not even a large number, but, it affects the whole system in a domino effect where bank A owes bank B who owes bank C and down the line.

You should look at this as an illustration of just how thin the margins really are, a 600 million euro shortfall can have such a large impact?  The fear is if Hypo doesn’t pay, Pfandbriefbank will not be able to either.  What is really interesting is the 2 year debt of Pfandbriefbank is trading at around 95 cents, down nearly 15% since just last week.  The debt market is already smelling this one out!  Also please keep in mind that Austria was supposed to be one of the “strong” European countries (rated AAA) and Hypo was highly rated right up until their announcement of impairment, what other overnight surprises might we see?

To refresh your memory, Austrian bank problems were triggered when Switzerland broke their peg with the euro.  Many real estate loans were taken out in Swiss francs because the interest rate was so low.  Once the franc revalued higher, many of these loans were greater in value than the underlying real estate itself through no fault of the borrower other than to have borrowed in francs.  Obviously another area where the revaluation has done damage is to the bank’s balance sheets.  The lenders are now effectively short francs while those whom have sold derivative insurance against a lower euro or higher franc are now sitting on huge losses.  Trust me when I use the term “chain reaction” because this is already in motion!

This “three ring circus” as I have dubbed it is by no means all there is, it does however have a finite time frame.  Greece and Ukraine owe monies before the end of June.  Pfandbriefbank also has a payment due in June.  Will any of these payments actually get done?  None of them?  I’d like to point out the obvious here, in neither of these three situations does the ability to pay exist without “help” from another source.  How long will these “sources” be available and what happens when they are no longer?  To this point it has been a hell of a show, it is best not to stay to watch the final act!

Posted in USAComments Off on Debt Default, “Chain Reactions” and the Financial Stage of US-led Wars

The Good Soldier: Former US Serviceman Joshua Key


Refuses to Fight in Iraq. Living in Limbo.

Global Research

I will never apologize for deserting the American army. I deserted an injustice and leaving was the only right thing to do. I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq.” -Joshua Key in The Deserter’s Tale


Length (59:19)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Joshua Key is one of dozens of US Gis who sought refuge in Canada rather than be forced to serve in a war they considered legally and morally war.

He served from April to November of 2013, the first year of the war. He then went AWOL during a visit to the United States. By March of 2005 he had made it up to Canada and sought refugee status.

Ten years ago, Canada had earned respect around the world for refusing to officially join then President Bush’s ‘Coalition of the Willing.

Times have changed since those early years. The Canadian government under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is arguably the most bellicose Western Leader with regard to military offensives, supposedly against ISIS/ISIL in Iraq, This same government is now determined to return all military deserters back to the US where they face lengthy prison sentences, especially if they have been outspoken against the war.

Joshua Key was the very first US GI to write a memoir of his time in Iraq, let alone a critical account.

Key is not allowed to utilize Canada’s medicare system nor is he allowed to earn an income, leaving he, his Canadian wife and Canadian-born children to rely on donations.

A fund-raiser was held for Mr. Key and his family on Sunday March 29. Also speaking at the event were Michelle Robidoux, organizer with the Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign, and Alyssa Manning, a legal representative for Joshua and his fellow War resisters.

This week’s Global Research News Hour, a special holiday edition, features audio from the March 29 fund-raiser.

Michelle Robidooux brings audience members up to date on the campaign, including the negative actions being taken against the cases of several war resisters.

Alyssa Manning provides legal precedents which furnish a case for letting war resisters stay in Canada.

Finally Joshua Key provides his first person account of his time in Iraq, his abandonment of the war, and his efforts to live in peace in Canada.


Length (59:19)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)


The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at .

The  show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.


Posted in USAComments Off on The Good Soldier: Former US Serviceman Joshua Key

9/11 Truth: Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?

Global Research

AE9/11 Truth Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent — or Worse — About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.

Fran Shure

In answering the question in the title of this essay, the January 2015 segment — Learned Helplessness — reported on the conditioned responses of utter helplessness and hopelessness resulting from ongoing painful trauma or adversity that involves actual or perceived lack of control.

Here, in the March 2015 installment [there was no February installment, because the January piece appeared in the February newsletter], we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome.


A dynamic that may help explain the “nothing we can do about it” reaction to the evidence that refutes the official 9/11 account is the “abuse syndrome,” as described by clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine. To maintain control, abusive spouses, bosses, and governments shove lies, physical and emotional abuse, and injustice in their victims’ faces. When the victims continue to be afraid to exit from these relationships or fail to fight back, they get weaker, they feel humiliated by their passivity, they feel broken, and they feel shame.1

Our true nature does not harbor feelings of shame. Originating from trauma, shame is characterized by self-hatred and a fundamental sense that we are unworthy and unlovable.

Eventually, victims in a relationship marked by trauma can develop a deep-seated fear that they cannot survive without the abuser in their lives. This belief increases their feelings of helplessness.

An even more extreme form of this dynamic involves victims of captivity, who may become attached to their captors, and may even defend them. Known as the “Stockholm syndrome,” this relationship can also apply to children who are, psychologically and physically, de facto captives to abusive parents.2


Psychologist and sexual-addictions counselor Patrick J. Carnes gives us a further understanding of the abuse syndrome by introducing the concept of “betrayal bonding” or, alternately, “trauma bonding.” He has found that these dysfunctional bonds originate when those who are betrayed (usually children) bond with someone who is destructive to their well-being, resulting in a template for future “insane loyalties.”3

Normally, we think of abusive relationships as applying to individuals — typically children abused by their parents or wives battered by their violent husbands — but other authors, including Levine, recognize that the abuse syndrome can also apply to groups or to entire societies.


For example, James F. Tracy, associate professor of media studies at Florida Atlantic University, has applied the four stages that domestic abuse victims traverse to collective abuse, and he has coined the phrase “battered citizen syndrome” to define this new, broader category. Tracy emphasizes that abuse of citizens by governments has reached the point of a “grave societal malady.” Battered citizens, Tracy says, traverse these same four stages (if they in fact manage to free themselves from their government’s abusive actions).  Specifically, battered citizens will:

  1. deny that there is political violence toward citizens by their governments, when such violence obviously exists;
  2. experience guilt and low self-esteem from believing that somehow they are to blame for the political violence; or experience fear for having been fingered as potential terrorists by the government, which induces them to rationalize or tolerate officials’ destruction of civil liberties;
  3. reach eventual “enlightenment,” realizing that they are not to blame for the ill-treatment, yet they may still try to work with the abusive government; and finally
  4. show responsibility for leaving the abusive relationship by working to establish new modes of governance.4

In other words, whether we are children, spouses, or citizens, we have a deep need to trust our parents, spouses, and our government. When we are abused physically or emotionally in these relationships, we try to keep that trust intact by rationalizing the abuser’s actions and blaming ourselves. When we acquiesce in this way, however, we feel disempowered, which in turn causes our anger and frustration to build. If we have the courage to think for ourselves, we realize that we do not deserve this abuse — even though we still may try to work with the abusers. As we gain further courage, we fight back, if we are physically able, or we leave the abusive relationship. Through this process, we regain our integrity, self-respect, and sense of empowerment.


Another example of citizen-battering — through the calculated manipulation of public opinion by governments, as well as by corporations — was instigated by Sigmund Freud’s Austrian-born American nephew, Edward L. Bernays.

Propaganda Bernays Library

Strongly influenced by Freud, Bernays was convinced that human beings are innately driven by monstrous, irrational, inner desires and fears, which civilization is meant to restrain.

As is true for many of us, Bernays was a complicated fellow who, while sincerely wanting democracy to flourish, also believed that the common citizen was, frankly, too stupid to be trusted with democracy.

His utopian vision was a democratic society in which the dangerous libidinal energies lurking just below the surface of every human could be harnessed and channeled by the corporate elite for economic benefit. The mass production of goods would fulfill the constant craving of the inherently irrational drives of the masses. This cultural dynamic would ensure ongoing mass production as well as sating the dangerous animal instincts that threatened to tear society apart.

In other words, Bernays believed that to form an orderly and prosperous society — the “American way of life” that he so valued — the masses would need to be scientifically manipulated by an elite class of citizens — by an “invisible government” who understood these dangerous forces.

According to Bernays, this manipulation would be based upon findings made in such fields as sociology, social psychology, and anthropology, and would be accomplished through covert techniques of opinion-molding, which he called the “engineering of consent.” In this strategy, advertising is employed to show the masses the self-images to which they should aspire and the products they would need to purchase in order to satisfy these self-images. Thus the science of public relations, more properly known as “propaganda,” was born, birthed in large part by Bernays and nourished and developed by corporations to sell their products, and by public relations companies to sell presidential candidates and foreign policy.5

As Bernays wrote,

[Researchers of mass psychology] established that the group has mental characteristics distinct from those of the individual, and is motivated by impulses and emotions which cannot be explained on the basis of what we know of individual psychology. So the question naturally arose: If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? . . . . If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway.6

This strategy of first influencing the opinion leaders of a society was also discovered by anthropologists as a way to introduce and establish new ideas into a society (see Part 2: Diffusion of Innovations). Bernays made liberal use of these “third party authorities” to sell his clients’ cases.  Among his successful propaganda campaigns: Trusted physicians pronounced bacon and eggs the best breakfast, dentists promoted fluoridation of water as safe and beneficial, and fetching young models lighting up “torches of freedom” broke the taboo against women smoking.7

Americans, who at one time saw themselves as citizens with civic duties, were manipulated by Bernays’ propaganda techniques into thinking of themselves as consumers whose self-esteem was validated by the products they bought. Politicians who employed public relations experts skilled at “spin” found that, as candidates in an election, they merely had to make whatever promises would appeal to their constituency — whether they intended to follow through with those promises or not. This is obviously the culture we inherit today.

In addition to working with corporations and high-profile individuals, Bernays worked with the U.S. government and the CIA to implement foreign policy decisions. For example, he joined with other social scientists to influence public opinion toward supporting American participation in World War I. He also worked in concert with the U.S. government and the United Fruit Company to facilitate the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, by branding him a communist — a claim that was dutifully published without critique by major U.S. media.8

In the 1960s, protestors throughout the U.S. launched a backlash against this manipulation of the public, which they viewed as a way to keep the public sated by purchasing products, while the government did what it wanted — which, at the time, included implementing the destructive foreign policy in Vietnam.9

Many citizens now understand that the strategy of unlimited growth of mass-produced goods is not sustainable for our planet. They also realize that a so-called democracy run by an elite whose members successfully manipulate the public is no longer a democracy — a fact that did not seem to dawn on the brilliant Edward Bernays.

His business as a public relations counselor in New York City thrived from 1919 until 1963, and he was even named as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine. During his highly successful career, the horrors of World War II, including the concentration camps, strengthened his belief in the innate, monstrous drives just under the surface of the human façade, as well as his belief in the necessity of having an elite class that would control the urges of the masses. Nevertheless, in a classic case of bitter irony — and what should have been a wake-up call to rethink his arrogant certainty about manipulating others — his brilliant insights on engineering public opinion were turned against his Jewish brethren in Nazi Germany. Bernays recounted in his autobiography, Biography of an Idea, a dinner conversation at his home in 1933:

Karl von Weigand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Weigand his propaganda library, the best Weigand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my [Bernay’s] book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. . . . Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.10

How far will today’s spinmeisters take us into Bernays’ “engineering of consent” — into a matrix of lies — as they prey on our natural human fears? If the false-flag event of September 11, 2001, is any indication, and if the official propaganda about what happened on that fateful day is any indication, the official propagandists will take us as far as we let them. According to whistleblower Barbara Honegger, former CIA Director William Casey candidly remarked in early February 1981: “We’ll know our disinformation program is a success when everything the American public believes is false.”11

CIA mockingbird hour v2

Ultimately, spin, lies, and abuse lead us down a road toward mutual destruction, not to the prosperity and freedom that Edward Bernays envisioned. Ethical psychology professionals, including this writer, strongly believe that our profession should not be used to control, manipulate, exploit, abuse, or torture human beings. Unfortunately, others in my profession disagree, as is evidenced by certain members of the American Psychological Association who aided and abetted torture of detainees after 9/11.12

Psychologists with scruples maintain that the ultimate goals of our profession are to help people understand themselves, to heal and reclaim the natural goodness with which we were born, and to become free, compassionate, and wise individuals.


Douglas Rushkoff, professor of virtual culture at New York University, gives us another example of societal abuse in the marketplace. Rushkoff reveals that influence techniques promoted by Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) and refined by the CIA for its noncoercive interrogations, were adapted and upgraded by a variety of industries for their marketing and sales practices. In his detailed and fascinating exposé, Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say, Rushkoff demonstrates that whether through interrogation in a windowless room by a CIA agent or through seemingly benign manipulations by a bed salesman, the process is essentially the same.

First, establish good rapport and trust (for example, employ the “good cop vs. bad cop” strategy). Then, using the tricks of the trade, disorient the subject by disrupting his familiar emotional associations. Confusion naturally follows. The CIA manual explains:

When this aim is achieved, resistance is seriously impaired. There is an interval — which may be extremely brief — of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis . . . that explodes the world that is familiar to the subject as well as his image of himself within that world. Experienced interrogators recognize this effect when it appears and know that at this moment the source is far more open to suggestion.13

At this moment of disorientation, Rushkoff notes, the subject is ripe for manipulation. He enters a regressed state, which immediately leads to transferring authority to the interrogator or to the sales person, who the subject now regards as a parental figure. Compliance with that “parental” authority naturally follows, whether this involves divulging information or buying an unneeded $3,000 bed.


Dr. Kevin Barrett, a scholar of Islam and literature, and co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth, postulates that this process applies directly to the attacks of September 11, 2001 — an event he believes was designed to infantilize the public through psychological shock or paralysis. “We experienced a moment of dissociation,” he says, “which is why we can still recall where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the attack  . . . . We desperately needed a parent figure to tell us how to make sense of the madness.”14


When we fail to confront oppression and abuse, whether individual or societal, whether overt or subtle, we suppress the unwelcome fact that our trust has been abused and betrayed. We feel miserable because, in essence, we are compromising our true self by denying what we know to be true and what we know to be right. When we do not reclaim our inherent power to stand up to oppression and abuse, we become depressed and ashamed, emotions we seek to escape by watching too much mind-numbing TV, overeating, or misusing substances — these excesses sending us into deeper depression and shame.

cycle of violence shure

After he had studied the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11, a friend of mine declared, “My solution to this 9/11 issue is to do more drugs.” Sadly, he was not joking.

Those who are inclined to abuse others usually pick on people who appear weak. As the victim succumbs to the abuse, the dynamic escalates, with more abuse hurled at the victim, who then sinks deeper into passivity and shame. Violent abuse normally happens at this point.

After this explosion of violence, the repentant abuser may, in what is termed the “honeymoon phase,” offer apologies and gifts to the victim. The victim then feels hope, erroneously believing that the abuser is actually amending his ways. But tension once again builds, leading to another round of abuse.


Why do some people fall victim to this vicious cycle of violence, while others, at the mere suggestion or faintest whiff of abuse, decisively stand up for themselves and challenge the would-be abuser?

The pattern of reacting to abuse with passivity and shame most likely began with the early treatment we received from our parents or other authority figures — or this pattern may even have begun from conception through our birth experience. For example, beginning with conception, did our parents want us?15 Was our birth violent or non-violent?16 As infants and young children, did our parents look at us with disgust or with adoration? Or were they so distracted that they hardly looked at us at all? Did they hold and touch us consistently with love? Was their touch invasive or punishing?17 Or did they hardly touch us except when necessary? Did they respond to our natural needs in a timely way? Were our expressions of emotion received with anger, with controlling and shaming messages, or with loving recognition, acceptance, and support, along with appropriate structure? Were we lovingly and securely attached to our parents?18 Did teachers, priests, ministers, uncles, aunts, older siblings and cousins, or other authority figures abuse us emotionally or physically?

The answers to these questions usually determine our level of self-esteem and self-confidence as well as how inner-directed or outer-directed we become as adults. The answers can also strongly indicate whether we become violent or peaceful as adults, and on a collective level, whether we live in — and contribute to — a violent or a peaceful society.19

Both passiveness in the face of abuse (as experienced by the victim) and violence in the face of passiveness (as committed by the abuser — and this includes the perpetrators of 9/11) are behaviors that stem from abuse received in infancy and childhood. If we truly want a nonviolent society, therefore, a prerequisite will be a vast improvement in how we treat our children, from conception through birth, and from natural childrearing through compassionate and enlightened education.20


According to Bruce Levine, the psychology profession, rather than acknowledging the abuse syndrome and helping clients heal and exit toxic relationships, has moved increasingly in the direction of pathologizing and medicating those who question authorities as well as those who feel oppressed and thus become depressed. In other words, some practitioners of this profession add insult to injury.

Today, increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and manageable.21

In addition, writes Levine:

By the mid-1980s, psychiatry was beginning to become annexed by pharmaceutical companies and forming what we now have—a “psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex.” Increasingly marginalized was the idea that treatment that consisted of manipulating and medicating alienated people to adjust to this crazy rat race and thus maintain the status quo was a political act — a problematic one for people who cared about democracy.22 (Emphasis added)

Bruce Levine 2

For example, in my own experience, a young psychology student called me from Denmark just to “talk.” His university’s psychologist had decided he was paranoid since, after much research, he had decided that 9/11 was a false-flag operation. He had found my name through the film 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out, and was so heartened and relieved by the “Seeking Understanding” segment that he decided to take this DVD to his psychologist to demonstrate to her that he was not mentally unstable. What a challenge for this young man that this psychologist was so quick to label him with a diagnosis, rather than open-mindedly researching the issue herself!

Levine suggests that the psychology profession needs to move in the direction of “liberation psychology,” a concept popularized by Ignacio Martin-Baró, a social psychologist and priest in El Salvador who recognized a “psychology of oppression” in which the downtrodden of a society fatalistically believe they are powerless to alter their circumstances. Consequently, they become resigned and apathetic to their situation. Sadly, Martin-Baró was assassinated in 1989 — by a U.S.-trained Salvadoran death squad — for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed.23

Rather than pathologize and medicate “anti-authoritarians [who] question the legitimacy of an authority before taking it seriously,” psychology professionals should support clients with a “shot of morale” that encourages them to do their own critical thinking and to become active and creative in their own unique ways.24Psychotherapists also need to be capable of providing opportunities for healing earlier traumas of omission and commission in order to interrupt old behavioral patterns.25


As activists, or simply as concerned citizens, we must not succumb to the pessimistic belief that “we’ll never know the truth of 9/11, so let’s just move forward as best we can and forget about this terrible subject.” With an issue as taboo and disturbing as 9/11, it is tempting to want to avoid the whole matter — to avoid acknowledging the 9/11 elephant in our national living room — and to work on other concerns for which we think there is a better chance of success.

Even though one could argue that a full, fair, and objective investigation with subpoena power in the U.S. is unlikely to occur in the near future, I propose that we take a longer view of this challenging issue with which we 9/11 activists have become entangled.

First, a little history is in order, so we can understand where our movement stands. To date, the corporate-owned media have conspicuously ignored the evidence that refutes the official storyline of 9/11. There are, however, a few notable exceptions: David Ray Griffin, a political writer and professor emeritus of philosophy of religion and theology, appeared on C-SPAN in 2005 and 2006.26 And on August 1, 2014, C-SPAN finally interviewed Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’s Richard Gage, AIA, on Washington Journal.27 For the most part, though, the glances that the compromised mainstream media have given 9/11 skeptics are contemptuous and slanderous [see herehere, and here 28].

Likewise, to date, with rare exception, members of Congress treat the 9/11 controversy like a hot potato, apparently more fearful of losing their jobs than interested in the integrity of our country. The aforementionedWashington Journal program is filled with federal legislators [herehere, and here] who dodge citizens’ queries about Building 7 as if the questioners were carriers of a dangerous infectious disease.29

Yet despite these serious handicaps, the 9/11 Truth Movement has been stunningly successful in (1) documenting mountains of evidence that could inform a possible future national or international investigation and (2) raising awareness around the world regarding the realities of 9/11 as well as of other false-flag operations and deceptions by governments.30

Even if there is not a real investigation anytime soon, why is it still important that as many people as possible know the truth of 9/11?

Well, for one thing, how in the world can we make sound, rational decisions when we don’t have accurate information upon which to base these decisions? When we grasp the reality of the attacks of 9/11, as well as the reality of other State Crimes Against Democracy (see Part 13), it’s highly unlikely that, for example, we will be as easily manipulated to support unnecessary wars — or to encourage our sons and daughters to fight in them. Having access to accurate information in such cases can be a life-or-death concern.

Additionally, becoming more aware of such hidden realities can be empowering individually and collectively, as it helps to shift the balance of power from deceitful authorities to wiser citizens who are capable of seeing through the machinations of the deep state.

Author and political activist Arundhati Roy has eloquently expressed that empowerment: “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”31

Accordingly, once we see 9/11 as a false-flag operation, understand the existence of the deep state, and learn of other State Crimes Against Democracy, our vision shifts. We can’t unsee it. It is as though blinders have been removed, giving us a much, much wider perspective on political realities.

This eye-opening process is frightening at first to many of us. As one friend said, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to trust anyone anymore!” This fear is not easily overcome by those who have been sheltered from world events, blinded by false propaganda, or so abused that they can’t handle one more betrayal. But at some point, many of us do get beyond our fear, and we discover that we are actually empowered. We are then led to others who are equally awake.

As we gradually become more aware of accurate information about many different areas of concern — such as the need for real financial reform — and learn how to use rational discernment in each of these areas, we become able to make more conscious decisions, and to live more consciously. We increasingly find that we can trust ourselves, we feel freer, and we lose our fear “of not being able to trust anyone anymore.”

elephant board room 400

If, on the other hand, we continue  “looking forward”32 while remaining silent about the 9/11 elephant in our American living room, we will take her with us into our future,inviting future false-flag operations and other forms of abuse inflicted by government authorities and the powerful, behind-the-scenes deep state. It would appear that many of these figures are likely true sociopaths, lacking a conscience or any sense of connection to the rest of life — a topic we will discuss in Part 20: Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy.
So, even though the “looking forward” slogan prevented prosecution of state crimes, we must move forward in uncovering the truth about the 9/11 issue, no matter what others may say. If we can persevere confidently and compassionately, for the most part, rather than with fear and excessive urgency, we may inspire others to follow suit. Indeed, when we heed our intuition — what might be variously called our “our deep, inner sense of rightness,” “our inner truth” or “the still, small voice within” — the resulting peace we feel and intelligent actions we take could motivate others to free themselves from the abuse syndrome and the resulting passivity and shame.


debbie downer 250

Some might say I am over-analyzing. After all, when we know the power of the corporate and elite forces we face, isn’t it normal to feel helpless and apathetic? Isn’t it being realistic not to do anything to expose these forces, not to try to take them to justice? Wouldn’t such actions be, at the very least, a waste of time, causing us to neglect those “real” issues so in need of attention? And, besides, aren’t people who focus on ferreting out the truth about 9/11 really just “Debbie Downers?”33 Aren’t they simply cynical and obsessed with negative information, and unable to see the good in our world?

I have heard all of these defensive and pathologizing remarks from those who do not want to acknowledge and deal with this elephant; and even if they have seen the elephant, they neglect to acknowledge the activists whose courageous and tireless work makes the unspeakable speakable. But that is the nature of this difficult activist path, the nature of a path that requires breaking through both the internal and external taboo barriers surrounding 9/11 — or any paradigm-changing issue.

I propose that we look at these defensive rationalizations from another angle: If 9/11 is a false-flag operation, as proposed by skeptics of the official account — that is, if certain persons in powerful positions conspired to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks, as evidence strongly indicates — would it be rational not to do anything? Do we think that the perpetrators would altruistically reform themselves if all of us kept silent? Wouldn’t we be hoping against hope that similar treacheries would never occur again — or, if they did, that our family and close friends would somehow be spared?

We each must decide for ourselves.

From my standpoint, living my life based on such rationalization and false hope would be living from fear and resignation, and deep within, I would carry the anxiety and self-disrespect of knowing that I was living a lie.

In this segment, we have explored the abuse syndrome, which may cause its victims to react to challenging situations — such as hearing the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11 — with powerlessness, shame, or apathy. There is another kind of response to such information that can lead to the victims biologically shutting down their awareness. This automatic process is known as dissociation, which we will explore in the next segment in this series.

AE 9/11 Truth Editor’s note: To be continued in the next issue with Part 16: Dissociation. Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure for a copy here.

Continued with Part 16: Dissasociation


1 Bruce E. Levine, Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite(Chelsea Green Publishing Company, White River Junction, VT, 2011).

2 Ibid.

The term “Stockholm syndrome” derives from a 1973 Swedish bank robbery in which hostages became emotionally attached to their bank-robber captors. See

Bruce E. Levine “Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression,” AlterNet, December 11, 2009. See

3 Patrick J. Carnes, The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1997).

4 James F. Tracy, “Human Consciousness and the “Battered Citizen Syndrome”: The Psychological Impacts of War Propaganda and State-sponsored Terrorism.” See

For the four psychological stages of the battered woman syndrome, see—264.asp.

5 See

Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President: The Classical Account of the Packaging of the President (Penguin Books, 1969).

6  Edward Bernays, Propaganda (Ig Publishing, 1928) 71 – 73.

7 See

8 Ibid.

9  For more of this fascinating history, see the four-part DVD The Century of the Self by filmmaker Adam Curtis, first broadcast on BBC TV in 2002.

10 Quote found at

11 In a personal e-mail communication to me, Barbara Honegger confirmed that she was the source of this quote, having been in attendance as the then-White House Policy Analyst at the February 1981 meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room with President Reagan and his new cabinet secretaries and agency heads. New CIA Director William Casey spoke these words in response to a question the President put to all of the cabinet secretaries and agency heads: “What are your main goals for your department or agency?” Having worked with radio show host Mae Brussell upon returning to California from the White House, Honegger was also the source for Brussell’s second-hand report about Casey’s words. Honegger also said she recalls Casey saying “. . . program is a success . . .,” rather than “. . . program is complete.” For further detail on Honegger’s account of this quote, see

12 Roy Eidelson, “Cast Into the Depths: Perilous Waters for the American Psychological Association” (Truthout, January 12, 2015). See

13 Douglas Rushkoff, Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say (Riverhead Books, New York, NY 1999) p. 41.

Original source cited in footnote of Rushkoff, Coercion: Central Intelligence Agency, “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation” manual, CIA classified publication, July 1963, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act in 1997, and distributed on the Internet. See

14 Kevin Barrett, Apocalypse of Coercion: Why We Listen to What ‘They’ Say About 9/11.” See

15 Henry David Philip (Contributor), Born Unwanted: Developmental Effects of Denied Abortion (Avicenum: Prague, 1988; later published by Springer: New York and EDAMEX in Mexico City). See a review at

Thomas R. Verny, M.D., with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (Dell Publishing, 1981). This remarkable classic reports on research showing that what happens to us from conception through birth shapes our personalities, ambitions, and our emotional and physical health.

Thomas R. Verny, M.D. with Pamela Weinraub, Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception (New York: Simon & Schuster).

16 Thomas R. Verny, M.D., “Birth and Violence.” See

Verny, Pre-parenting, chapter 5. Especially note the much greater risk for committing violent crime by 18 years of age when there is a combination of birth complication with maternal rejection, pp. 81 – 82.

17 Ashley Montagu, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (New York: Harper and Row, Third ed., 1986). This is the classic for understanding the importance of loving touch to mental and physical health.

18 Marshall H. Klaus, M.D., John H. Kennell, M.D., and Phyllis H. Klaus, C.S.W., M.F.C.C., Bonding: Building the Foundations of Secure Attachment and Independence (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1995).

19 James W. Prescott, Ph.D., “Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1975, 10–20. See

James W. Prescott, “Prevention or Therapy and the Politics of Trust: Inspiring a New Human Agenda,”Psychotherapy and Politics International 3, no. 3 (2005) 194–211. See

See further research of James W. Prescott, at, and purchase the DVD Rock-A-Bye Baby (a Time Life Video production), which documents the research of Prescott and others, at There is also a three-part YouTube series:
Part 1 of 3:
Part 2 or 3:
Part 3 of 3:

Note from this writer: Watching these brain-damaged baby monkeys is difficult for anyone with a modicum of sensitivity toward the suffering of other beings. It is lamentable that our culture believes sacrificing the well-being of non-human innocents is necessary for scientific progress. I hope and believe that when we find the will to discover truths without such sacrifice, we will do so.

I also know James Prescott personally, and am aware that he passionately wants to stop human suffering at its origins. His groundbreaking research demonstrates that the deprivation of infant and adolescent needs results in violent societies, whereas the satisfaction of these needs results in nonviolent societies — an astounding discovery that should be made public.

Robin Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World (Longueville Media, New South Wales, Australia, 2015) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”> North American distributor: The Natural Child project, or 877-593-1547. This important work documents the history of how child-rearing practices have forged the destiny of nations and cultures.

Marcy Axness, Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers (First Sentient Publications ed. 2012).

20 Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World.

21 Levine, “Are Americans a Broken People?”

22 Bruce E. Levine, “How Psychologists Subvert Democratic Movements,” Z Magazine, October 2012. See

23 Levine, Get Up, Stand Up, 146.

24 Ibid.

25 Traumas of omission come from our unmet anaclitic needs, such as loving touch and unconditional love — needs that necessarily must be met from another person outside of ourselves. Traumas of commission are events that were done to us that were harmful, such as birth trauma, sexual abuse, or corporal punishment.

26  “Book Discussion on 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out” (2005) and “Book Discussion onThe 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions” (2006). See

27 “C-SPAN Interviews Determined AE911Truth Founder: Richard Gage, AIA, Drives Home Explosive Evidence.” See

28 Craig McKee, “CNN’s ‘Yellow Journalism’ Rating Hits All-Time High: As Jake Tapper’s ‘The Lead’ Dips to a New Low with ‘Coverage’ of AE911Truth’s 9/11 Museum Brochure.” See

“3 Towers, 2 Brochures, 1 Truth: Controversy Brims at Grand Opening of 9/11 Museum — AE911Truth On-Site to Set the Record Straight.” See

Craig McKee, “Draw Your Line in the Sand with a Letter to CNN: AE911Truth Slandered over 9/11 Museum Outreach — Legal Action Considered.” See

29 See the three most recent “Legislators” videos by Andy Steele of www.9/
Part 5: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions:
Part 6: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions:
Part 7: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions:

30 International Poll: No Consensus on Who Was Behind 9/11. See

31 Arundhati Roy, Power Politics (South End Press, 2001). See

32 This excerpt from President Obama’s first prime-time news conference refers to his refusal to prosecute the Bush Administration for the crimes of torture. The full quote by Obama reads: “My view is also that nobody is above the law, and if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but that, generally speaking, I’m more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards.”

To understand why “looking forward” without prosecution leads to more of the same kind of crime:
— See this interview with Professor of History Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
— Read this article by Roy Eidelson, “Rejecting the Obama-Cheney Alliance Against Torture Prosecutions”:

33 See

Posted in USAComments Off on 9/11 Truth: Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?

Islamophobia and the “Negative Media Portrayal of Muslims”


An Exposition of Sufism, A Critique of the Alleged “Clash of Civilizations”

Global Research

There is a current obsession in mainstream media and academic discourse pertaining to Islam and the West. This current obsession is tinged with negative signifiers with the global media’s predominantly negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims, depicting Muslims generally as violent, fanatical, bigoted, or as extremists and terrorists.

Islamophobia, fear of Islam and Muslims, has intensified with the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the Taliban’s fundamentalist proscriptions and restrictions in Afghanistan, the Charlie Hebdo attack in France, and the emergence of the self proclaimed “Islamic State group (ISIS) which allegedly shows videos of the beheadings of their prisoners who are more often journalists.

There are factual analyses which show that ISIS is supported covertly by US-NATO forces, just as the Taliban was supported by the US to fight against the Soviet Union,  and that the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing was used as a pretext to wage war against Afghanistan (October 2001) and oil-rich Iraq (March 2003). These were often labeled as conspiracy theories, but more in-depth investigations and analysis can bring out the truth behind each of these geopolitical events.

The point is that Islam has been consistently portrayed by global media as a violent-prone religion that is diametrically opposed to the West. The question of “Islam and the West” has been the theme of various academic conferences in US, Europe, and other countries including Malaysia; it has also been the theme of analytical writings, discourses, and publications. These trends illustrate the significance of the topic, which has significance for other countries in Asia and Africa where Muslims can be found.

F. A. Noor (2007) argued that “Muslim identity and the concerns of Muslims are increasingly being defined in terms of an oppositional dialectic that pits Islam and Muslims against the rest of the world” (p. 261), as Islamophobia has become the mainstream media discourse “where images of Muslims as murderous fanatics abound in movies, videos and computer games” (p. 267).

He proposed that the solution to the present predicament faced by Muslims the world over can be found in the corpus of Islamic theology and praxis itself, particularly in the concept of tawhid, which refers to the unity of all creation and the fundamental equality of the singular human race. The idea of tawhid reminds Muslims that all human beings are equal and are thus entitled to their own share of respect and dignity.

As hostility and misperceptions between Muslims and Christians persist in an alleged  “clash of civilizations”, Noor (2007) asserted that there is the urgent need for Muslims to get out of this rut by shifting their focus to other issues and concerns that are more universal in nature such as the debate over globalization, specifically,

“the environmental movement, the pacifist movement against war and the trade of arms, the campaign for equal labor, the campaign against exploitation of children and most recently the wave of anti-globalization….” (p. 274).

When Muslim concerns for justice, equity, rights and freedom are articulated in the context of a borderless world where the audience is not only Muslims but the world as a whole, that will be the time when “the image of Islam and Muslims will stand above the crude and poisonous images we see today” (p. 276).

In relation to Noor’s ideas propounded above, it is essential to counteract the predominantly negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslims with a condensed exposition of the phenomenon of Sufism, which is barely portrayed or understood by Western media, through the writings of two Turkish Sufi spiritual masters, namely: Osman Nuri Topbas on Sufi spirituality, and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on the need for Christians and Muslims to unite in a critique of modern civilization. It is the nature of media to report on the novel, the sensational, the bizarre, the dramatic, the extraordinary but not the ordinary occurrences in life.

Hence, with regard to Islam, it does not report about peace-loving Muslims, or Muslims’ striving for holiness and daily jihad against their egos and natural temptations, or peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in different parts of the world. Through an exposition of Sufism, it will be shown that Muslims who genuinely seek the path to holiness and union with God will never be murderous in their hearts but will be filled with profound gentleness and compassion for all.

Sufism: The pursuit of holiness, purification, and the way of love

The riches of Islamic spirituality are best seen in the phenomenon of Sufism, which Osman Nuri Topbas (2011) defined as “the effort to pursue a lifestyle that is harmonious with the essence of religion, by virtue of purifying oneself from material and moral defects, and embodying, in their place, a beauty of moral conduct” (p. 31).

Sufism existed from the earliest centuries when some Muslims stressed the potential of the Qur’anic message to effect an inner transformation of the believer by adopting many of the harsh ascetical practices of the Christian monks of the desert (Michel, 1997). By the 13th century, Order or Brotherhoods of Sufis existed, each with its own form of prayer and patterns of spiritual exercises, often with its own distinctive dress, lodges, and methods of initiation.

They commonly stressed the transforming power of God’s love in human hearts and understood Islam as a path to attain union of love and will with God (Michel, 1997). Sufism is still very much alive and active in many parts of the Islamic world such as in West Africa, the Maghrib, Egypt, Sudan, South Asia, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Modern Muslim publications in the last four countries mentioned attest to the resurgence of interest in Sufism, but it is in Turkey where Rumi came from that Sufism is thriving at its best.

Sufism has its branches depending on the method or tariqah used. The first is the path for the good which focuses on the deeds of worship and piety; the second is the path for the virtuous which concentrates on purifying the human soul through spiritual exercises and services; and the third is the path for lovers which aims at attaining the same goal through love. Osman Nuri Topbas (2011, pp. 32-49) expounded on a few definitions of Sufism offered by saints in accordance with the spiritual manifestations they were privileged with:

The Sufi way personifies exemplary character traits and propriety. The Sufi way is about purifying the heart and the soul.

The Sufi way is a ceaseless spiritual combat against the ego and all kinds of natural temptations that place Muslims away from the path of the Almighty.

Sufism means sincerity (ikhlas) which means offering all acts of worship solely for the sake of the Almighty, without any other consideration intruding on the heart.

Sufism means standing upright on the straight path which means acting in accordance with the morals and regulations according to the Quran and Sunnah.

The Sufi way is obedience and submission to God which entails establishing sentiments of contentment and submission to God deep in the heart as to come closer to Him and feel his Divine Gaze watching over him all the time.

Osman Nuri Topbas quoted Ibrahim Effendi, the renowned Sheikh of the Sufi Lodge of Aksaray, who eloquently defined the Sufi path in verses such as follows:

Being a Sufi, is to kindle the candle of the heart with a flame Divine,

And hence throwing it in the fire of love, to burn forever more….

Being a Sufi is acquaintance with the ways of the Lord;

And hence to reach out a helping hand and cure to the needy.

Being a Sufi is to become joyous and bewildered in Divine presence,

To be in amazement before the secrets of the Divine.

Being a Sufi is to reach East and West in the blink of an eye;

To hence care for all people and offer them shelter.

Being a Sufi is to surrender the soul to the beloved and become free;

To remain with the beloved forever more.

The verses above are only a few of the eloquent, sublime verses written by Ibrahim Effendi as quoted by Osman Nuri Topbas in his book on Sufism. With such sublime aspirations of a Sufi on the path to holiness and considering that Sufism is the spirit of Islam, Talibans, Abu Sayyaf, and ISIS cannot be properly called Muslims but are rather deviants and aberrations of Islam and humanity.

A critique of neo-imperialism and modern civilization: Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on Christian-Muslim cooperation

There are reasons why Muslims feel anger and antipathy towards the West, particularly towards America. In earlier times, the anger was due to the imperialist expansions of the British Empire in Muslim lands. In contemporary times, Noor and Moten (2007) explained that Muslims are angry to see their co-religionists killed in Afghanistan by the U.S. forces and a thriving Iraq illegally invaded and occupied with untold death and destruction.

They are also against the Americans’ unbalanced, pro-Israeli policy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with its backing of Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands characterized by brutal and bloody incursions into Palestinian camps. These neo-imperialist actions by the US and NATO forces are part of a larger scheme to put nations under political, cultural, and economic hegemony of the global elites, including those who govern the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank, IMF)  and the WTO. Both the Christians and Muslims need to critique, expose, and denounce the neo-imperialist actions of U.S. and its allied forces.

Muslims stand antithetical to the West in their theocentric way of life whereas the West is marked by the separation of church and state, causing widespread secularism and humanism. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (as cited in Michel, 2005, pp. 87-88) was able to identify clearly the five negative principles on which modern civilization was founded:

Might makes right,

Self-interest and competition,

The law of the jungle, everyone for himself,

My race and nation are superior,

I have a right on whatever I want.

Nursi rightly saw that if people build civilization on the principles of conflict, competition, and enmity, the result will inevitably be war and mutual destruction. This was proven by the onslaught of the two World Wars which ravaged many nations in the world, and the continuing war or threat of wars among nations at present. Said Nursi also saw that the enemy of human happiness and ethical uprightness is unbelief, irreligion, which implies that people decide to find their own path through life without seeking divine guidance. Facing the common enemy of unbelief, Nursi called on Muslims to unite not only with their own fellow believers but also with the truly pious Christians to offer to the modern world a vision of human life and society in which God is central and God’s will is the norm of moral values.

Western civilization has brought much good and progress to many people but various currents of thought in Western history have enabled negative qualities of modern civilization to emerge and sometimes predominate over the good. Nursi identified two negative developments in Western civilization which has spread its influence throughout the world (as cited in Michel, 2005, pp. 29-30). The first is that Western civilization became distant and estranged from true Christianity and based its personal and societal views on the principles of an anthropocentric Greco-Roman philosophy which exalted the human person to the center of the universe and pushed God to its margins.

The second is the appalling inequality in the means of livelihood of people due to its unchecked market policies. These negative currents, according to Nursi, seek to destroy both Muslims and Christians by alienating them from the source of spiritual and moral values and by creating enmity between Christians and Muslims. Nursi rejects capitalist culture and decadent civilization which he calls the Second Europe, that which is founded not on Christian ethics but on philosophy rather than religion. The backbone of this global decadent civilization with the primary goal of sensual pleasure is American “popular culture”; hence, for Said Nursi, the clash of civilizations is essentially the clash between decadent civilization and virtuous civilization, with Islamic civilization being the pillar of “virtuous civilization” (Aydin, 2005).

Nursi interpreted the Qur’an’s injunction to come to a ‘common term’ with the People of the Book to mean that Muslims and Christians should come to a mutual awareness of their common mission to bear witness to the Divine values in the midst of modern civilization. He expressed through his writings that far from being divided by a supposed ‘clash of civilizations’, Muslims and Christians “are called to work together to carry on a critical civilizational dialogue with the proponents of modernity” (Michel, 2005, p. 31).


The predominantly negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslims needs to be balanced by widespread knowledge of peace-loving Muslims who pursue the path towards union of love and will with God. Such is the phenomenon of Sufism which has existed since the earliest centuries and is still active and thriving in many parts of the Islamic world particularly in Turkey. True Muslims, like true Christians, sincerely pursue the path of holiness to attain union of love and will with God; hence, murderous and cruel groups like the ISIS, the Talibans, and the Abu Sayyafs are not true Muslims but are rather deviants and aberrations of Islam.

Muslims’ anger towards the West, particularly towards America, is due to the latter’s neo-imperialist actions such as its unjust invasion of Iraq, its war in Afghanistan, its backing of Israeli intrusions in Palestinian camps, and its spread of global capitalist values throughout the world. Said Nursi rightly saw that Christians and Muslims need to unite in a common mission to bear witness to the divine values in the midst of modern civilization. The author agrees with Nursi because there are really deep commonalities in Islamic spirituality and Christian spirituality, and it is on the level of spirituality that these two major religions can find their unity and convergence.


Works Cited

Aydin, N. (2005). Virtue vs. decadence: The struggle of civilizations within the global village, in Ian Markham and Ibrahim Ozdemir, Eds. Globalization, ethics and Islam: The case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Cornwall: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Michel, T., S.J. (1997). A Christian looks at Islamic spirituality. Zamboanga City: Silsilah Publications.

Michel, T., S.J. (2005). Said Nursi’s views on Muslim-Christian understanding. Istanbul: Nesil Printing.

Noor, F. A. (2007). Mediating the mediated image of Islam: Multiple audiences, differentiated constituencies in the global age, in Abdul Rashid Moten and Noraini M.

Noor, Eds. Terrorism, democracy, the west & the Muslim world. Malaysia: Thomson Learning.

Topbas, O. N. (2011). Sufism: A path towards the internalization of faith (Ihsan). Istanbul: Erkam Publications.

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