Archive | September 20th, 2015

OUTLOOK INDIA Interview on ‘Digital India’ & PM Narendra Modi


by Dr: Richard Falk

[Prefatory Note: I am posting here an interview with the magazine OUTLOOK INDIA associated with an open letter that was signed by more than 100 Indian scholars and intellectuals, as well as those such as myself with a long research and human interest in India, expressing concern about the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley to promote his vision of ‘Digital India.’ I feel strongly about these issues, especially in light of the Snowden disclosures and the general use of digital capabilities to encroach upon personal freedom and a climate of liberty in post-9/11 America. The link to the original text is <;  The quoted remark at the beginning of several questions are taken from the text of the letter, which is referred to in the interview as ‘a petition.’ FYI, the full text of the letter and a partial list of signatories is appended after the interview.]



[Editorial Preface of OUTLOOK]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Silicon Valley later this month. But over 137 US-based academics and intellectuals have already filed a petition to the Silicon Valley Enterprises expressing concern about Modi and his ‘Digital India’ campaign. It is not surprising that Richard A. Falk is one of the petitioners. The professor emeritus of law at Princeton University, a highly respected academic, has always been an outspoken critic of governments and policies that violate human rights and civil liberties. At 84, he has authored and co-edited more than 40 books and is a well-known commentator on his own. As former UN rapporteur on Palestine, Falk is also one of the few Jews who was denied a visa by Israel for his outspoken views about Israeli atrocities and occupation of Palestinian territory. He tells Pranay Sharma why he’s a signatory to the petition against Modi.] 

Q: What is the prime concern you have against Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign?

I and others on the list have questions about Narendra Modi’s record on religious tolerance, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression. Some of those who signed the letter have also been subject to a campaign of harassment from Hindu nationalist followers, which raises particular worries about academic freedom. “Digital India” as an initiative has enormous potential to affect positive social change, but it simultaneously poses dangers for abuse under the Modi administration that can make use of digitalization to target members of minority communities or those who are critical of its policies. It is my impression that the Modi government has been particularly sensitive to criticism and unfriendly to critics, making our concern more credible.

Q: Does this fear stem from the individual-Narendra Modi in this case -or the proposed campaign itself?

It’s not too clear at this stage exactly what “Digital India” will become programmatically, and this is precisely why we wrote to register our concerns-to influence the course the debate will take. Most of the media treatment that I and my colleagues have seen is so far more concerned with branding the campaign rather than focusing on its substance, The plan as outlined on the Government of India website, appropriately ambitious, and commendably has the “empowerment of citizens” at its core. But the potential for disempowerment is also present as the gap widens between those who have access to internet technology and those in India who still lack water and electricity. I believe that some of my colleagues have reasonable grounds to worry that the planned heavy investment in digital infrastructure will widen this gap, and along with it, socio-economic disparities.. There is no present indications that the Indian government is implementing policies designed to reduce, if not eliminate, the gap. And with respect to your underlying question it is impossible to disentangle the Modi Government or Modi as a political personality from the Digital India Campaign.

Q: Are there real reasons for such apprehensions given the fact that much of the proposed programme was actually undertaken by Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh? “Digital India has great potential, but under the Modi government it poses dangers for abuse.”

Some of the same concerns would have surfaced in all likelihood under any Indian government.These concerns are magnified given Modi’s record on freedom of expression leading me and my colleagues to have apprehensions about a process of digital consolidation that can lead to further breaches not only of privacy but of individual security. A realization that the previous government in India has been working toward e-governance, and that these issues are ones faced by other governments in the world does not in any way make it irrelevant to raise issues associated with Modi’s specific record. As an American, with a deep commitment to the wellbeing and positive development of India, I have joined with Indian colleagues because I have seen what digital age abuses have occurred in my own country. The Snowden disclosures should serve as a reminder that citizens of all countries need to exert unprecedented vigilance in the defense of freedom and in support of societal equity given the contemporary interface between totalizing governmental security and technological capabilities.
Modi was a three-time elected chief minister of Gujarat and in 2014 successfully won an impressive mandate to become India’s Prime Minister. How do you see the obvious support he has among a sizeable section of Indians?

The fact that a policy or programme is popular or even that the majority of people at any moment in time is in favor does not make it right or suggest the inappropriateness of constructive criticism. We have witnessed this tension between what is popular and what is right numerous times in recent history, and speaking personally, perhaps most vividly with respect to the implementation of U.S. foreign policy on a global scale. We can recall with remorse a lone American Congress woman, Barbara Lee, who held out as the sole dissenting voice against authorizing the US president to go to war against Afghanistan-a policy that the entire US Congress and the rest of the country favored at the time, but produced disastrous consequences. Modi’s support appears to rest on several factors, but he and his administration have at times disturbingly invoked Hindu nationalist rhetoric to gain the enthusiastic backing of the Hindu majority in the country raising insecurities among minorities.

Q: Do you think democratic institutions in India have been weakened or seriously threatened since Modi became the Prime Minister?

My response to this question is shaped by the opinion of Indian colleagues and trusted friends, so I will not comment too much on internal dynamics. At the same time, we are living in a borderless world, not least because of the impact of the digital dimensions of modern life, and so as concerned citizens of the world we cannot shut our eyes to threatening developments even in distant countries, while at the same time being respectful of norms of non-intervention and of rights of self-determination. From this perspective, I have come to believe that democratic institutions have been weakened under Modi’s administration. It’s true that some of these anti-democratic tendencies were already evident in the behavior of prior Indian governments, but it is also the case that the last administration brought out the “Right to Information” package of reforms that has greatly increased government transparency and empowered people to hold the Indian government accountable. It’s not clear at this point whether “Digital India” in Modi’s hands will lead to increased transparency. The background of his record as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and the experience of his first year as Prime Minister gives rise to a legitimate concern that the future of India as a democratic country is at sufficient risk to justify a petition raising questions that need to be discussed.

Q: The petition mentions Modi’s alleged role in the Gujarat riots. But given the fact that large number of world leaders including President, Barack Obama, now engage with him, do you think these charges are still relevant? “Modi’s background as CM and his first year as PM raises concern that India’s democracy is at risk.”

Yes, they are still relevant even legally: there is currently an undecided appeal in the Gujarat judicial system that raises serious questions about whether Modi took adequate steps to control the Gujurat violence in 2002, and whether he was actively implicated in its unfolding. Whether or not this unfinished legal process produces an adverse assessment of his conduct, Modi’s speeches at the time were themselves sufficient by themselves to validate continuing worries. They were inflammatory, and made no effort to restore calm and avoid violence. Such behavior signals the reasonableness of seeking clarifications and reassuring procedures. The fact that Obama and other world leaders engage Modi diplomatically is to be expected, especially when it is considered that he is the head of the world’s largest democracy and important actor in the world economy. We have seen many examples in history in which leaders lead people in a terrible direction, and yet are treated as normal and legitimate for purposes of international relations. The legacy of George W. Bush is a painful instance of a leader who did the US and the world a great deal of harm without undermining his legitimacy. Ariel Sharon when acting on behalf of Israel committed what many regarded as crimes against humanity, but when he was democratically elected in 2000 the world dealt with him without looking back. It is up to people of conscience to look back. When wrongs are done to people whether internationally or at home they do not fade from view with the passage of time. If there is to be democracy based on the rule of law then citizens and persons of conscience must treat equals equally, whether it be the poorest citizen or the most powerful politician. We are aware that there are many in India who are critical of Modi’s policies and whose right of dissent is being challenged, and their voices silenced or intimidated. Modi may be speaking on behalf of some kind of majority in India, but that does not invalidate opposition, even strenuous opposition. One crucial test of a true democracy is whether it protects the rights of minorities, especially when in tension with governing authorities. This is so whether the tension be with political minorities, religious minorities, ethnic minorities, or sexual minorities. A democracy only flourishes when divergent voices can be freely heard without fear of an official or populist backlash.

Q: You also mention the Silicon Valley Enterprises have a code of responsibility that they should be mindful of not being violated by Modi. Could you specify what this code of responsibility is?

I do not claim any special knowledge about this code of responsibility. Silicon Valley Enterprises have a great deal of influence and wealth, perhaps now in some respects greater than that possessed by any government. The New York Times Magazine did stories recently about Chinese factories making Apple products that were run as a sweat shops. Does Apple have the right or strength to insist on at least monitoring working conditions for those who make its products? The Saipan Sweat Shop case resulted in a settlement that required several clothing manufacturers to end the most egregious forms of labor abuse. Outsourcing labor is very convenient for many corporations, and not just for Silicon Valley Enterprises, but it is a prominent feature of Silicon Valley operations. So some of the questions we have about the “Digital India” initiative involve anticipated impacts on basic labor conditions in India that are presently poor and often abusive, but that do make labor costs of doing any kind of business in India more profitable. It is important that “Digital India” evolves in tandem with the protection and advancement of fundamental rights of all workers.

Q: How successful have these Silicon Valley Enterprises been so far in safeguarding their code of conduct while dealing with various governments?

So far, voluntary codes of conduct with respect to business practices, as has been promoted within the United Nations, have elicited pledges from corporations eager to uphold their reputations but the record of compliance ranges from mixed to poor.

Q: The US in general and the Obama administration in particular, have been accused of spying and abusing personal information of individuals by leaders and people of different countries. What has been your reaction to that? 

The pursuit of reasonable levels of state security has become indistinguishable with the Orwellian state.

This is a confusing area of governmental operations, not only for the United States, but for all countries. On the one side, especially given the current agenda of security threats, all governments engage in spying and espionage. On the other side, all states criminalize these activities that target its state’s secrets. This creates a situation of ethical and political confusion, making it difficult to distinguish heroes from villains. The United States as the world’s first global state with interests and involvements throughout the planet has the most extensive, sophisticated, and intrusive system of surveillance and espionage in all of history. As mentioned, the Snowden and Wikileaks disclosures, while viewed as criminal acts in the United States, divulged such excessive abuses that the U.S. Congress took some steps to curtail some of these intelligence operations. One of the reasons to be concerned about “Digital India” or “Digital America” is that the borderline between the pursuit of reasonable levels of state security has become almost indistinguishable from the Orwellian nightmare state of permanent war and total control over people. It is up to citizens within their own country and those with concern for the future of their region and the world to insist on scrutiny of intelligence operations to avoid their encroachment on individual and group rights.My colleagues who co-signed this petition are extremely concerned about this, and some of the signatories to the letter have expertise in this area. In criticizing India, we are not saying, nor do we believe, that the US record must not be scrutinized, protested, and reformed. Modi’s visit to the US provides an occasion for some of these shared issues to be discussed in a more global forum. But a focus on the severe dangers of US practices in the collection and use of digital information should never be interpreted to mean that scrutiny should be lessened in relation to what is, or may happen under Modi’s governmental authority.

Q: Most governments in the world today are committed to fight the “menace of terrorism.” In such a scenario do you think individual privacy and their fundamental rights are bound to be curtailed?

I think the evidence to date the answer worldwide is a resounding ‘yes.’ Partly this is the nature of threats posed by non-state actors that have no territorial address making everyone everywhere a potential suspect, which seems to serve as a rationalization for the expanded intelligence activities undertaken in the name of fighting against terrorism. This challenge of identifying and removing the threat before it materializes, also creates pressure for racial and ethnic profiling that gets translated in practice into arbitrary and discriminatory treatment of minorities, especially if perceived as anti-regime minorities.

A second level of explanation is associated with technological innovations that make the collection of meta-date feasible and economical. These capabilities are also enhanced by the development of drones and various forms of robotic activity, with even greater capabilities and intrusiveness on the technological horizon.

Because this transformed security and technological atmosphere endows the state with dangerous totalizing powers, it is more important than ever that the peoples of the world uphold freedom for themselves and others. It is only through the challenges of a petition such as ours that some hope exists for establishing a dynamic balance between state and society in the digital age. It is in this spirit that I joined with my Indian and other colleagues and friends as a signatory.


Here is the full statement issued by the academicians, and a partial list of signatories:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley highlights the role of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, and builds on this legacy in extending American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However Indian entrepreneurial success also brings with it key responsibilities and obligations with regard to the forms of e-governance envisioned by ‘Digital India’.

We are concerned that the project’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse. As it stands, ‘Digital India’ seems to ignore key questions raised in India by critics concerned about the collection of personal information and the near certainty that such digital systems will be used to enhance surveillance and repress the constitutionally-protected rights of citizens. These issues are being discussed energetically in public in India and abroad. Those who live and work in Silicon Valley have a particular responsibility to demand that the government of India factor these critical concerns into its planning for digital futures.

We acknowledge that Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, has the right to visit the United States, and to seek American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However, as educators who pay particular attention to history, we remind Mr. Modi’s audiences of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the US from 2005-2014, for there is still an active case in Indian courts that questions his role in the Gujarat violence of 2002 when 1,000 died. Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister of India includes well-publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary.

Under Mr Modi’s tenure as prime minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences, there has been interference with the governance of top Indian universities and academic institutions such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and Nalanda University; as well as underqualified or incompetent key appointments made to the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Film and Television Institute of India, and the National Book Trust. A proposed bill to bring the Indian Institutes of Management under direct control of government is also worrisome. These alarming trends require that we, as educators, remain vigilant not only about modes of e-governance in India but about the political future of the country.

We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.


Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor of English, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

Arjun Appadurai, Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Fredrick Asher, Professor of Art History and South Asian Studies, University of Minnesota

Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies University of California, Berkeley

Sarada Balagopalan, Associate Professor of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, Camden

Radhika Balakrishnan, Prof of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Shahzad Bashir, Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University

Manu Bhagavan, Professor of History and Human Rights, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Mona Bhan Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology DePauw University

Srimati Basu, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky

Prashant Bharadwaj, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego

Nilanjana Bhattacharjya, Faculty Fellow, Barrett Honors College, Arizona State University

Nandini Bhattacharya, Professor of English, Texas A &M University, College- Station

Tithi Bhattacharya, Associate Professor of South Asian History, Purdue University

Amit R Baishya, Assistant Professor of English, University of Oklahoma

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia University

Purnima Bose, Associate Professor, English and International Studies, Indiana University-Bloomington

Christopher Candland, Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College

Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, & Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University

Shefali Chandra, Associate Professor of South Asian History Washington University, St. Louis

S Charusheela, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell

Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Columbia University

Indrani Chatterjee Professor of History and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Swati Chattopadhyay Professor History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara

Marty Chen, School of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Affiliated Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Rohit Chopra, Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University

Elora Chowdhury Associate Professor & Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston

E Valentine Daniel, Professor of Anthropology, Colombia University

Monisha Das Gupta, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Jigna Desai, Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

Pawan Dhingra, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English University of California, Santa Barbara

Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University

Durba Ghosh, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University

Sumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, School of Music, University of Minnesota

Nitin Govil, Associate Professor of Cinema & Media Studies, University of Southern California

Paul Greenough, Professor of History and Community and Behavioral Health and Director, South Asian Studies Program, University of Iowa

Inderpal Grewal, Professor of South Asian Studies, Yale University

Sumit Guha, Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor of History, University of Texas, Austin

Thomas Blom Hansen, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for South Asia, Stanford University

Syed Akbar Hyder, Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Nalini Iyer, Professor of English, Seattle University

Priya Jaikumar, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Southern California

Pranav Jani, Associate Professor of English, Ohio State University

Sheila Jasanoff, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University, John F Kennedy School of Government

Arun W Jones, Associate Professor, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

May Joseph, Professor of Social Science, Pratt Institute

Priya Joshi, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Temple University

Sampath Kannan, Henry Salvatore Professor of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania

Suvir Kaul, A M Rosenthal Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania Waqas Khwaja, Professor of English, Agnes Scott College

Naveeda Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

Nyla Ali Khan, Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman

Satish Kolluri, Associate Professor of Communications, Pace University

Ruby Lal, Professor of Middle East and South Asian Studies, Emory University

Sarah Lamb, Professor of Anthropology and Head of the Division of Social Sciences, Brandeis University; Co-Chair of South Asian Studies

Karen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of California, Irvine

David Lelyveld, Professor of History, Emeritus, William Paterson University

Jinee Lokaneeta, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Drew University

Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

David Ludden, Professor of History, New York University

Ritty Lukose, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and South Asian Studies, the Gallatin School, New York University

Sudhir Mahadevan Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, University of Washington, Seattle

Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Global Justice Seattle University School of Law

Sunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis

Bakirathi Mani, Associate Professor of English Literature, Swarthmore College

Rebecca J. Manring, Associate Professor of India Studies and Religious Studies Indiana University-Bloomington

Monika Mehta, Associate Professor, Department of English, Binghamton University

Jisha Menon, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, Stanford University

Kalyani Devaki Menon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul University

Sally Engle Merry, Silver Professor of Anthropology, New York University

Raza Mir, Professor of Management, Cotsakos College of Business, William Paterson University

Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies University of Colorado, Boulder

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies, and Dean’s Professor of Humanities, Syracuse University

Satya P Mohanty, Professor of English, Cornell University

Megan Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Projit B Mukharji, Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, History & Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania

Madhavi Murty, Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Vijaya Nagarajan, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, Program in Environmental Studies, University of San Francisco

Gyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History, Emory University

Carla Petievich, Visiting Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Sheldon Pollock, Professor of South Asian Studies, Columbia University Kavita Philip, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Irvine

Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Trinity College

Jasbir K Puar, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

R Radhakrishnan, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine

Gloria Raheja, Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota

Junaid Rana, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Anupama Rao, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College

Velcheru Narayana Rao, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University

Kasturi Ray, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies/Co-Director, South Asian Studies, San Francisco State University

M V Ramana, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History, Duke University

Chandan Reddy, Associate Professor of English, University of Washington, Seattle

Gayatri Reddy, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago

Parama Roy, Professor of English, University of California, Davis

Sharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

G S Sahota, Assistant Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz

Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies & Professor of History, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University

Arun Saldanha, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment and Society University of Minnesota

Juned Shaikh, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies, Northwestern University

Elora Shehabuddin, Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science, Rice University

Bhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Priya Satia, Associate Professor of History, Stanford University

Aradhana Sharma, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wesleyan University

Snehal Shinghavi, Associate Professor of English and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Ajay Skaria, Professor of History, University of Minnesota

Shalini Shankar, Chair and Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, Northwestern University

S Shankar, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio University

Mytheli Sreenivas, Associate Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State University

Rajini Srikanth, Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston Nidhi Srinivas, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School

Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Harvard University

Banu Subramaniam, Professor, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago

Raja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee Tariq Thachil, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Ashwini Tambe, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland, College-Park

Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Jyotnsa Vaid, Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M University

Sylvia Vatuk, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago

Kamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

Kalindi Vora, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

Bonnie Zare, Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Wyoming

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New Approach in Southern Syria


Image result for syria flag

REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

The Executive Summary is also available in: Arabic


The Syrian war rages on, its devastating civilian toll rising with no viable political solution in sight. Diplomacy is stymied by the warring parties’ uncompromising positions, reinforced by political deadlock between their external backers. The U.S. is best placed to transform the status quo. A significant but realistic policy shift focused on dissuading, deterring or otherwise preventing the regime from conducting aerial attacks within opposition-held areas could improve the odds of a political settlement. This would be important, because today they are virtually nil. Such a policy shift could begin in southern Syria, where conditions are currently most favourable.

While the White House has declared its desire for an end of President Bashar Assad’s rule, it has shied from concrete steps toward this goal, pursuing instead a strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State (IS), which it deems a more serious threat to its interests. Yet, a year into that strategy, the overall power of Salafi-jihadi groups in Syria (as in Iraq) has risen. This is no surprise: the Assad regime’s sectarian strategy, collective punishment tactics and reliance on Iran-backed militias, among other factors, help perpetuate ideal recruitment conditions for these groups. By attacking IS while ignoring the regime’s ongoing bombardment of civilians, the U.S. inadvertently strengthens important aspects of the Salafi-jihadi narrative depicting the West as colluding with Tehran and Damascus to subjugate Sunnis.

Salafi-jihadi groups, including IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate which fights both IS and the regime, are strongest in the north and east, where they have exploited disarray and conflicting priorities among the opposition’s external sponsors. While the U.S. has attached greatest importance to the battle against IS, for example, Turkey has pressed for a more concerted effort to topple the Assad regime, while pushing back against Kurdish groups allied with Iran. Continuing disagreement has prevented establishment of a northern no-fly zone, a key Turkish demand.

Southern Syria currently provides the best environment for a new approach. Beginning in early 2014, increased assistance from Western and Arab states and improved coordination among the southern armed opposition factions they support sparked a string of victories against regime forces, enabling these factions to gain strength relative to Salafi-jihadi groups. With these factions in the lead, by late January 2015 opposition forces had gained control over contiguous territory encompassing most of Quneitra province and the western third of Deraa province. A major regime counter-offensive the next month south of Damascus, with unprecedented Iranian and Hizbollah support, recaptured only a small share of territory and failed to halt the momentum of opposition forces that extended their territory through much of eastern Deraa between March and June. An opposition offensive is ongoing in late summer to capture the portion of Deraa’s provincial capital still under regime control.

Some of this success can be attributed to the steady erosion of regime military capacity, which manpower constraints suggest will continue. This may force Assad to deepen reliance on Iran-backed militias in areas he fears losing, or concede these to the opposition and resort to aerial attacks (including barrel bombs) to keep them ungovernable. In either scenario, Salafi-jihadi groups would gain further traction, lowering prospects for resolving the conflict politically. Avoiding this requires a joint strategy among the opposition’s backers to empower credible opposition elements to fill the military and civil voids on the ground by establishing effective civil administrations. The south, where Salafi-jihadi groups are weakest, is the most favourable starting ground.

As has become clear throughout Syria, however, opposition elements cannot build effective governance amid the death and destruction caused by aerial bombardment, particularly given the regime’s tendency to target precisely those facilities necessary for capacity to emerge. Diplomatic admonitions which are not backed by concrete action carry little weight with the regime’s backers, and are unlikely to halt Assad’s use of air attacks as part of a scorched-earth strategy and a way to mete out collective punishment. The U.S. needs to be ready to pursue other means at its disposal, and to signal that readiness.

The Obama administration has sought to avoid that deeper involvement in the conflict, due to scepticism about what a more robust policy could achieve and concern that the regime’s allies might retaliate against U.S. personnel and interests elsewhere. But this conflict will not end without a shift in U.S. policy. In addition to improving living conditions in the south, it could also significantly help in degrading Salafi-jihadi power and otherwise improve prospects for an eventual negotiated end of the war.

It would do so, first, by enabling opposition groups to consolidate military control and establish governance capacity in the south. This would improve their strength and credibility vis-à-vis Salafi-jihadi groups and could incentivise their development as political actors capable of governing their areas.

Secondly, achieving a zone free of aerial attacks in the south could provide a model for a different approach by the rebels’ state backers in the north, where poor coordination and divergent priorities with Ankara, Doha and Riyadh have contributed to a situation not conducive to an escalated U.S. role. A move by Washington to halt regime aerial attacks in the south could signal it would consider doing so in the north as well, if those allies would assist in bringing about a similar shift in the northern balance of power away from Salafi-jihadi groups.

Thirdly, a U.S. push to halt regime air attacks in the south would signal resolve to the regime’s most important backers, Iran and Hizbollah, and demonstrate that the returns on their investments in the status quo will further diminish. Iranian and Hiz­bollah officials play down the long-term costs of their involvement, believing they can outlast their opponents in a proxy war of attrition, and viewing the price of doing so as preferable to negotiating a resolution that includes an end to Assad’s rule. Their view appears based, in part, on the assumption that Washington’s narrow focus on IS and reluctance to confront the regime are pushing its policy toward accepting Assad’s political survival and thus, ultimately, a resolution of the conflict more favourable to them.

The U.S. initiative described here could help refute that assumption and put weight behind the White House’s assertions that the nuclear deal will not pave the way for Iranian hegemony in the region. This message of resolve should be paired with a parallel one indicating U.S. willingness to take the core interests of the regime’s backers into account in any political deal to end the war.

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Why we’re bombing Iraq and Syria

Obama and Cameron clear up any confusion

Audrey Bailey

Obama and Cameron remove any misunderstanding about why the United States and Britain are bombing in the Middle East again.

Cameron and Obama

You may be confused about why we are bombing Iraq and Syria. So we will make ourselves very clear.

We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS.

We don’t like ISIS, but ISIS has been supported by Saudi Arabia, whom we do like, and Saudi Arabia is now supporting us in bombing ISIS.

We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not ISIS, which is also fighting against him.

We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against ISIS.

So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less.

And all this was started by us invading Iraq to drive out terrorists who weren’t there until we went to drive them out.

We hope you now understand.

Whose side are we on


Posted in USA, Syria1 Comment

Russian Marines Begin Large Scale Military Exercises Inside Syria


Last weekend, a number of Russian Marines – along with a large stockpile of heavy weaponry – arrived at the Syrian port-city of Tartous after a joint military agreement was adopted by the Russian Federation and the Syrian Government.

The Russian Marines were given the task to train and advise the new recruits from the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) in order to bolster the aforementioned militia’s fighting prowess and flexibility on the battlefield.

According to a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Russian Marines were deployed to three provinces (Latakia, Tartous, and Homs) and introduced to the commanding officers of the NDF contingents they are training and advising.

As the Russian Marines dispersed to their designated locations along the Syrian coast, they would await the arrival of their heavy armory and advanced assault rifles in order to begin the much anticipated military exercises with the National Defense Forces.

Their equipment arrived on Wednesday and their large scale military exercises with the National Defense Forces  were set to begin on Thursday; this date was originally tentative due to the expected delays at the Turkish border.

The military exercises began inside the cities of Slunfeh (east Latakia) and Rif Safeeta (Tartous’ eastern countryside), where Russian Marines demonstrated how to use the Russian weapons, while amalgamating their fighting formations for the new recruits.

While, it may appear that the Russians are preparing to conduct military operations in Syria, the senior officer from the SAA quickly dismissed this allegation, stating that there are not enough Russian Marines to even consider the option.

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“As a father without his children, I want nothing further of this entire life”

“As a father without his children, I want nothing further of this entire life”
Mourning father of three-year-old toddler Aylan Kurdi, sparking an outcry after a photo showing his lifeless body washing ashore over a deadly migrant boat disaster off Turkey’s Muğla, told he had no demands for himself for this entire life, after his son

Mourning father of three-year-old toddler Aylan Kurdi, sparking an outcry after a photo showing his lifeless body washing ashore over a deadly migrant boat disaster off Turkey’s Muğla, told he had no demands for himself for this entire life, after his son’s loss.

Abdullah Kurdi has lost his two children, Aylan and his five-year-old brother Galip Kurdi, along with his 27-year-old wife Zahim Kurdi, after the disaster. While the corpses were brought to Istanbul city, father Kurdi told reporters, “As a father without his children, I want nothing in further; I have nothing to demand of this entire life for myself. I only want peace in Syria” urging the tragedy in Syria should end.

Father Abdullah Kurdi and his relatives have been brought to a hotel in Istanbul. The corpses are expected to be brought to southeastern province of Şanlıurfa in the morning.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on “As a father without his children, I want nothing further of this entire life”

A Refugee Crisis Made in America


Will the U.S. accept responsibility for the humanitarian consequences of Washington-manufactured wars?

Procyk Radek /

On April 29th, 2008 I had a Saul on the Road to Damascus moment. I had flipped open the Washington Post and there, on the front page, was a color photo of a two year old Iraqi boy named Ali Hussein being pulled from the rubble of a house that had been destroyed by American missiles. The little boy was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and had on his feet flip-flops. His head was hanging back at an angle that told the viewer immediately that he was dead.

Four days later on May 3rd a letter by a Dunn Loring Virginia woman named Valerie Murphy was printed by the Post. Murphy complained that the Iraqi child victim photo should not have been run in the paper because it would “stir up opposition to the war and feed anti-US sentiment.” I suppose the newspaper thought it was being impartial in printing the woman’s letter, though I couldn’t help but remember that the neocon-dominated Post had generally been unwilling to cover anything antiwar, even ignoring a gathering of 300,000 protesters in Washington in 2005. Rereading the woman’s complaint and also a comment on a website suggesting that the photo of the dead little boy had been staged, I thought to myself, “What kind of monsters have we become.” And in truth we had become monsters. Bipartisan monsters wrapped in the American flag. Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions was “worth it.” She is now a respected elder statesman close to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

I had another epiphany last week when I saw the photo of the little Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach like a bit of flotsam. He was wearing a red t-shirt and black sneakers. I thought to myself that many Americans will shake their heads when looking at the photo before moving on, more concerned about Stephen Colbert’s debut on the Late Show and the start of the NFL season.

The little boy is one of hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to get to Europe. The world media is following the crisis by focusing primarily on the inability of unprepared local governments to deal with the numbers of migrants, asking why someone somewhere can’t just “do something.” This means that somehow, as a result, the vast human tragedy has been reduced to a statistic and, inevitably, a political football.

Overwhelmed by thousands of would-be travelers, Hungary suspended train serviceh eading towards Western Europe while countries like Serbia and Macedonia deployed their military and police along their borders in a failed attempt to completely block refugees. Italy and Greece have been overwhelmed by migrants arriving by sea. Germany, to its credit, is intending to process up to 800,000 refugee and asylum applications, mostly from Syria, while Austria and Sweden have also indicated their willingness to accept many more. Immediate neighbors of the zone of conflict, notably Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are hosting more than three million of those who are displaced, but the wealthy Arab Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia have done little or nothing to help.

Demands for a European unified strategy to deal with the problem are growing, to include sealing borders and declaring the seas off of preferred departure points in North Africa and Asia to be military zones where undocumented ships and travelers will be intercepted and turned back. One also has to suspect that the refugee crisis might be exploited by some European politicians to justify NATO “humanitarian” intervention of some sort in Syria, a move that would have to be supported by Washington. But while the bickering and maneuvering goes on, the death toll mounts. The recent discovery of 71 dead would-be migrants who suffocated in the back of a locked truck found in Austria, to include five children and a toddler, horrified the world. And that was before the dead three year old on the Turkish beach.

Many of the would-be migrants are young men looking for work in Europe, a traditional enterprise, but most of the new arrivals are families escaping the horrors of war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Their plight has been described in the media in graphic terms, families arriving with nothing and expecting nothing, fleeing even worse conditions back at home.

The United States has taken in only a small number of the refugees and a usually voluble White House has been uncharacteristically quiet about the problem, possibly realizing that allowing in a lot of displaced foreigners at a time when there is an increasingly heated debate over immigration policy in general just might not be a good move, politically speaking. But it should perhaps be paying some attention to what caused the problem in the first place, a bit of introspection that is largely lacking both from the mainstream media and from politicians.

Indeed, I would assign to Washington most of the blame for what is happening right now. Since folks inside the beltway are particularly given to making judgements based on numerical data they might be interested in the toll exacted through America’s global war on terror. By one not unreasonable estimate, as many as four million Muslims have died or been killed as a result of the ongoing conflicts that Washington has either initiated or been party to since 2001.

There are, in addition, millions of displaced persons who have lost their homes and livelihoods, many of whom are among the human wave currently engulfing Europe. There are currently an estimated 2,590,000 refugees who have fled their homes from Afghanistan, 370,000 from Iraq, 3,880,000 million from Syria, and 1,100,000 from Somalia. The United Nations Refugee Agency is expecting at least 130,000 refugees from Yemen as fighting in that country accelerates. Between 600,000 and one million Libyans are living precariously in neighboring Tunisia.

The number of internally displaced within each country is roughly double the number of those who have actually fled and are seeking to resettle outside their homelands. Many of the latter have wound up in temporary camps run by the United Nations while others are paying criminals to transport them into Europe.

Significantly, the countries that have generated most of the refugees are all places where the United States has invaded, overthrown governments, supported insurgencies, or intervened in a civil war. The invasion of Iraq created a power vacuum that has empowered terrorism in the Arab heartland. Supporting rebels in Syria has piled Pelion on Ossa. Afghanistan continues to bleed 14 years after the United States arrived and decided to create a democracy. Libya, which was relatively stable when the U.S. and its allies intervened, is now in chaos, with its disorder spilling over into sub-Saharan Africa.

Everywhere people are fleeing the violence, which, among other benefits, has virtually obliterated the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East. Though I recognize that the refugee problem cannot be completely blamed on only one party, many of those millions would be alive and the refugees would for the most part be in their homes if it had not been for the catastrophic interventionist policies pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States.

It is perhaps past time for Washington to begin to become accountable for what it does. The millions of people living rough or in tents, if they are lucky, need help and it is not satisfactory for the White House to continue with its silence, a posture that suggests that the refugees are somehow somebody else’s problem. They are, in fact, our problem. A modicum of honesty from President Barack Obama would be appreciated, perhaps an admission that things have not exactly worked out as planned by his administration and that of his predecessor. And money is needed. Washington throws billions of dollars to fight wars it doesn’t have to fight and to prop up feckless allies worldwide. For a change it might be refreshing to see tax money doing some good, working with the most affected states in the Middle East and Europe to resettle the homeless and making an honest effort to come to negotiated settlements to end the fighting in Syria and Yemen, both of which can only have unspeakably bad outcomes if they continue on their current trajectories.

Ironically, American hawks are exploiting the photo of the dead Syrian boy to blame the Europeans for the humanitarian crisis while also demanding an all-out effort to depose Bashar al-Assad. Last Friday’s Washington Post had a lead editorial headlined “Europe’s Abdication,” and also featured a Michael Gerson op-ed urging immediate regime change in Syria, blaming the crisis solely on Damascus. The editorial railed against European “racists” regarding the refugee plight. And it is not clear how Gerson, an evangelical neoconservative former speech writer for George W. Bush, can possibly believe that permitting Syria to fall to ISIS would benefit anyone.

We Americans are in something approaching complete denial about how truly horrible our nation’s recent impact on the rest of the world has been. We are universally hated, even by those who have their hands out to receive their Danegeld, and the world is undoubtedly shaking its head as it listens to the bile coming out of the mouths of our presidential candidates. Shakespeare observed that the “evil that men do lives after them,” but he had no experience of the United States. We choose to dissimulate regarding the bad choices we make followed up with lies to justify and mitigate our crimes. And still later the evil we do disappears down the memory hole. Literally.

In writing this piece I looked up Ali Hussein, the little Iraqi boy who was killed by the American bomb. He has been “disappeared” from Google, as well has the photo, presumably because his death did not meet community standards. He has likewise been eliminated from the Washington Post archive. The experience of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984 immediately came to mind.

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“Collateral Damage” From America’s De-Stabilizing Endless

Drowned Syrian Toddlers
Global Research
Les coûts de la « War on terror »


Post-911 “Wars on Terror”. The Rebirth of Fascism

“Show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.” – Popular conservative Sun (a British daily newspaper) commenting on the homeless war refugees from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. who are fleeing their militarily de-stabilized and devastated countries after their homes and homelands had been reduced to bloody rubble by soldiers obeying orders from their commanders (including NATO and American “interventionism” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc, etc).

Hopkins appears to be in good company. But she was probably just paraphrasing what she had been hearing from a multitude of ultra-nationalist xenophobic racists around the world have been saying. Many of them are revealing their true colors these days. There certainly seems to be an abundance of them among the 16 remaining Republican presidential candidates here in the US. It is instructive to note that the candidacy of Donald Trump has elicited the endorsement of fascist groups like Storm Front, the neo-Nazi group that appreciates his vehement, albeit delusional, anti-immigration agenda.

Fascism Keeps Rearing its Ugly Head (both in England, America and Around the World)

The spirit of the infamous British fascist leader, Oswald Mosely, seems to periodically raise its ugly head in England. Mosely, back in the 1920s, had been the youngest member of Britain’s Conservative Party to be elected to Parliament. An admirer of Adolph Hitler, he started the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in the 1930s. That group gloried in their Black Shirt uniforms until the BUF was abolished when Great Britain declared war on Germany. However, celebrities like Hopkins, even though they will deny that they are fascists, are decidedly right-wing extremists that meet many of the characteristics of fascism. The latest incarnation of the BUF is the New British Union Party, and they are proud of it. Here is one of their recent posters:

Many nations around the world have had and are continuing to have within their borders fascist movements. Remember Vidkun Quisling who led the Nazi puppet government in Norway? And then recall Quisling’s modern day incarnation, the mass murderer of innocent progressive-minded kids, Anders Behring Breivik and his fascist manifesto?

Look at the list of the hundreds of defunct, hibernating and/or active fascist movements around the world by googling “list of fascist movements by country”. For much more on the 14 characteristics of fascism, which should be tested against the beliefs and actions of every political and economic leader, google “George W. Bush and the 14 characteristics of fascism”.

American Fascism Through the Years

Of course, America has had its share of active and hibernating fascist movements, but our high school history textbooks have typically ignored that unpleasant part of our history. According to Wikipedia, there have been at least 31 very public fascist political parties in the US since 1920. The Southern Poverty Law Center has investigated hundreds and hundreds of fascist and racist sects that are currently active.

One of the largest was the Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts (Brown and Black Shirt uniforms had been spoken for in Germany.). The Silver Shirts’ political party was called the Christian Party, and founder William Dudley Pelley, son of a protestant minister, ran for president in 1936 against Roosevelt. Pelley, an avowed racist, anti-Semite and. ultranationalist hated FDR, as have most conservative groups ever since the 1930s. They hated him because of the New Deal, which saved middle and lower class Americans at the expense of the wealthy elite 1 %. The New Deal set back corrupt crony capitalism’s agendas a couple of generations or so, and their spiritual progeny in the Republican Party are still fuming about it.

Pelley’s Silver Shirts had initially been a secret group of right-wing extremists, but its existence was finally made public on April 30, 1933, the very day that German President Paul von Hindenberg finally yielded to the right-wing German political parties and Germany’s ruling elites and appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany.

Interestingly, the headquarters of the Silver Shirts was located in Asheville, North Carolina, which has evolved into a very politically progressive community. Pelley later moved his organization to Indiana, a historical hotbed of American right-wing extremism, including the Ku Klux Klan.

A few days after the Silver Shirts came up from the underground (early in May 1933), Nazi Deputy FührerRudolf Hess gave German Nazi Party member (and legal immigrant) Heinz Spanknöbel authority to form a Nazi Party organization in America. Its national headquarters was in New York City, with a large contingent of Bund members active in Chicago. It was called the German American Bund, aka Friends of New Germany (FONG).

Interestingly – for those of us who live in the so-called progressive heartland of America – one of the Bund’s American Nazi training camps was located in Grafton, Wisconsin. Grafton had previously been called Hamburg, reflecting the German heritage of many eastern Wisconsin communities such as Milwaukee, the beer capital of America. The infamous 1950s-era Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s hometown was nearby Appleton, Wisconsin, which still is, not surprisingly, the headquarters of the John Birch Society. JBS members dearly loved Tail-gunner Joe and his poisonous neo-fascist McCarthyism.

What Does PNAC Have to do With the Drowned Syrian Toddler?

There has been a massive amount of confusing and self-contradicting propaganda concerning the Middle East crises ever since the Cheney/Bush administration chose to invade the oil-rich, opium-rich and lithium-rich region shortly after 9/11/01. One of the important points that needs emphasis is that there is a tight connection (albeit not a straight line connection) between what guilty perps made happen on 9/11/01 and what happened to the drowned Syrian toddler pictured above.

9/11/01 is now well understood by scholars (and real investigative journalists) to have been a false flag operation, orchestrated by nefarious, as-yet unindicted persons and right-wing think tanks, groups that have been funded by billionaires and American-based trans-national corporations. Those entities have long-term business plans for domination of extractable resources, finances and territory anywhere on the globe.

Those plans had been clearly out-lined by arguably the right-wing’s most important think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). PNAC’s manifesto had already been proposed to (and rejected by) the Clinton administration in the 1990s, but it was accepted by the Cheney and Bush after many of its members (17 to be precise) officially joined the Cheney/Bush administration. America’s military de-stabilization of the Middle East closely followed the propaganda-inspired false assumption that Middle Eastern foreigners, and not US government insiders, expertly planted the explosive charges in WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 over weeks and months prior to their explosive pulverization into fine dust.

It is now established that the two jet planes caused only brief, self-extinguishing, low-temperature fires in towers 1 & 2, temperatures that were incapable of melting, much less suddenly transecting, all of the core steel columns in sequence. The only rational explanation for what happened that day is that computer-controlled demolitions dropped all three skyscrapers into their footprints on 9/11/01.

PNAC, the Real Conspiratorial Group that Needs to be Subpoenaed to Testify, Under Oath, About 9/11/01

PNAC was an outgrowth of the nefarious NeoConservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, which continues to promote the economic agendas of any number of anti-democratic, obscenely wealthy, multinational corporations that continue to pay the generous salaries of its high profile stable of “fellows”.

Among other things, the purpose of PNAC was and still is to increase military spending, subvert the United Nations, ensure planetary domination by US corporate (and military) interests and spread (anti-democratic) capitalism around the world (through the barrel of a gun if necessary), thus enriching PNAC’s corporate sponsors. Hidden from the public view was the precise identity of PNAC’s paymasters, which surely must include this list of One Percenters: the multi-millionaire politicians, multimillionaire corporate lobbyists, multi-billionaire war-profiteers, multi-billionaire Wall Street executives, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media.

The original members of PNAC (a few of whom are pictured below) admitted that their goals of American military and economic domination would be difficult to implement “without a catastrophic catalyzing event such as ‘a new Pearl Harbor’”. Viola! After Bush was elected, PNAC member and Vice President Dick Cheney acquired immense power in the White House, as did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. Within a year the desired “New Pearl Harbor” was successfully orchestrated.

The False Flag 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened

The false flag events of 9/11/01 were the perfect Pearl Harbor, the perfect Reichstag Fire (google “The 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened”), the perfect Krystallnacht. the perfect Operation Northwoods, the perfect Gulf of Tonkin Incident, etc, etc.

Operation Northwoods False Flag

Each of those “catalyzing events” have been proven to be false flag operations (or events that were allowed to happen). (NOTE: A false flag operation is a governmental conspiracy to “stage” a secret operation that pretends that their nation is being attacked by a targeted enemy in order to elicit public outrage and then claim that that enemy drew first blood and therefore deserves to be attacked “in retaliation”. Considerable propaganda (especially in the “fog of war”) needs to accompany the event for the Big Lie Bamboozle to work on naïve, ignorant, partisan or uber-patriotic citizens. )

A scary list of some of the nefarious, hard right-wing ruling class elites who signed on to the PNAC’s statement of principles can be found by googling “Old American Century – PNAC”. Following is a sobering photo of ten of them (including GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush). Those pictured were protected from testifying under oath by the 911 Commission, despite the fact that it was on their watch that America was led, by Big Lie propaganda, into the disastrous, perpetual “Wars on Terrorism”.

Those wars of aggression and the subsequent – and inevitable – atrocities met the definition of international war crimes and crimes against humanity, but no prosecution has yet come to pass, even though the US lost both the Gulf Wars. And, of course the perpetual wars led directly or indirectly to the current war refugee crises in Europe and the Middle East, including the drowning of the innocent Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi and most of his family The PNAC perps need to take some responsibility for the loss of innocent lives.

Even this partial list of PNAC members should make American anti-fascists, anti-imperialists, and Occupy member’s skin crawl. (Google “PNAC Archives – 911 Truth” for more about PNAC). Those lists include Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Gary Bauer, John Bolton, Richard Perle, William Kristol (founder and chairman), James Wolsey, Elliot Abrams, Eliot Cohen, Dan Quayle, Donald Kagan, William J. Bennett, Scooter Libby, Vin Weber, Norman Podhoretz, Steve Forbes and others after the fraudulent election of 2000.

Despite their roles in leading America into the illegal and unconstitutional wars for oil (which have resulted in millions of innocent Muslim men, women and children dead, wounded, starving and homeless), none but Scooter Libby has spent any time in jail. Go figure.

The politicians, billionaire war-profiteers, Wall Street financiers, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media (that also must take some responsibility for the war refugee crisis) are composed of groups of conscienceless operatives from the infamous, chronically conspiratorial military/industrial/congressional/media complex, subgroups of which were certainly among the planners and/or orchestrators of the controlled demolitions of the three World Trade Center buildings.

There are a lot of traitorous elites who have been knowingly and secretly usurping American democracy by, post-911, helping to prevent truly independent investigations from happening. Those cunning manipulations have kept Americans from hearing the testimony about the multiple bomb explosions from eye-witnesses who were ready to reveal the obvious truth: that the official White House conspiracy theories about 9/11 were fraudulent. If real investigations would have been allowed to occur right away, the horrific slaughter of the innocents in the Middle East would have been averted – and the drowned Syrian toddler would be alive today.

The 9/11 Truth Movement’s Assertions are not ”Theories” Anymore

All the existing evidence that has been accrued over the past 14 years proves that there were any number of guilty people and groups, and most of them are hiding in plain sight, hopefully shaking in their boots for fear that a powerful grassroots movement will arise and effectively demand justice for their treasonous crimes. All the evidence of their treason has been accumulated, and it is court-of-law-worthy.

The prime suspects that need to be brought to justice as co-conspirators are surely some or all of the folks in the PNAC. So far, they have been protected from being subpoenaed to giving public testimony under oath. They have a lot to lose and therefore have been working hard to avoid indictment, trying to remain in positions of economic or (un-elected) political power. Many of many of them are still deeply involved in US foreign policy and domestic politics.


For any truthful, open-minded person with an IQ above 90 (and who also isn’t an obedient, political hack with ulterior motivations to lie for their political party), understanding why 9/11 was a false flag operation is a no-brainer: All one has to do is study a couple of the powerful, unassailably truthful documentaries on YouTube (see below).

If real investigative journalists – who already knew something was fishy on 9/11/01 – had been allowed to do their jobs and question the unbelievable official theories, justice would have been done before the dogs of war were relesed. Even our co-opted and conflicted politicians might have been able to comprehend that the three WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 could only have been brought down by pre-planted demolition charges.

And if a real search for the real culprits had been done – as promised by President.Bush – that investigation would have revealed that it is impossible for jet planes to bring down modern, non-flammable steel-reinforced skyscrapers. So, in conclusion, it was the demolitions – and not the “attacks” – that were responsible for the deaths of most of the 3000 civilians that would otherwise have been rescued shortly after the office fires self-extinguished. Planes hitting skyscrapers that were designed to withstand direct hits from Boeing 707s would not incite a nation to go to war – because the buildings would have been left standing. It was therefore necessary to destroy the incriminating evidence: perhaps of a drone plane or two, or the still missing black boxes, or the lack of passengers, etc. That all had to be rubbed out by the demolitions and the total destruction from 3 months-long red-hot smoldering fires from the heat producing incendiaries that were capable of melting steel, like thermite, thermate, military-grade nano-thermite or other high explosives.

So if justice had been done immediately after 9/11, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq would have been illegally invaded and immorally de-stabilized, and all those targeted Middle Eastern nations in the region, including Syria, would not have experienced the chaos of experiencing millions of Iraqi war refugees crossing over the border in the mass movements of internally and externally displaced civilian war refugees like the Syrian toddler.

Important Research Opportunities

Among the many fine documentaries on the subject that are capable of totally disproving the White House Big Lie, the one that has the best historical context is “Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup”. In my opinion, the documentary with the best science behind it is “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Real patriots, if they want to be on the right side of history, need to watch them both and then adjust their politics.

To do so will place in proper perspective the sufferings and deaths of the millions of war refugees like Alyan Kurdi, his sibling and his mother, all of whom drowned on the same day.

Posted in USAComments Off on “Collateral Damage” From America’s De-Stabilizing Endless

The Evolving War on Terrorism: Examining the Post 9/11 Military Doctrine


Global Research News Hour Episode 112: Conversations with Sibel Edmonds and Michel Chossudovsky

Image result for 9/11 CARTOON

A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies…Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century – A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000 (emphasis added) [1]

September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State…The September 11, 2001 attacks also played a crucial role in the formulation of U.S. military doctrine, namely in sustaining the legend that Al-Qaeda is an enemy of the Western world when in fact it is a construct of U.S. Intelligence, which is used not only as a pretext to wage war on humanitarian grounds but also as an instrument of non-conventional warfare.’  – Professor Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity [2]


Length (59:00)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

On the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, the Global Research News Hour examines some of the problems with the official story, as well as how 9/11 opened the door to more robust, and dangerous military advances in key regions of the world.

Has the power of the 9/11 lie run its course, or could exposing that lie somehow undermine the long War?

Has infiltration and other sophisticated mechanisms succeeded in derailing 9/11 Truth?

Does the US/NATO War machine even need 9/11 anymore with the arrival of ISIS/ISIL?

These are some of the questions we will be exploring with our guests.

Sibel Edmonds is the editor of the Boiling Frogs Post and Founder-Director of the US-based National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, and the author of two books including her memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir and a work of fiction: The Lone Gladio.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He has authored 11 books including ‘America’s “War on Terrorism” ‘ (2005), ‘Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War‘ (2011), and ‘The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity’ (2015).

A complete digest of 9/11 related articles is available on the Global Research site.

THE 9/11 READER. The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks


Length (59:00)

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:

CFUV 101. 9 FM in Victoria. Airing Sundays from 7-8am PT.

CHLY 101.7 FM 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.


1) Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century – A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000 ; published at

2) Michel Chossudovsky (2015) p.32; The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity; Global Research. 2014

Posted in USAComments Off on The Evolving War on Terrorism: Examining the Post 9/11 Military Doctrine

“The Greek Tragedy Is A Textbook Debt Deflation”


The Matterhorn Interview with Michael Bernegger

Global Research
The Corrupt Practices of Financial Manipulation: The Meaning of the Greek Economic Crisis

Podcast interview: (32 mins)

Prior to yesterday’s Fed anti-deflation policy stance Lars Schall talked with Swiss financial analyst Michael Bernegger in an exclusive interview for Matterhorn Asset Management, about his paper “The Greek Tragedy and its solution“ that offers a counter-consensus analysis of Greece’s economic crisis.

Another topic in their discussion is the growing economic challenges for China.


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BBC Strings Lies Together to Propagandize for Assad’s Overthrow

Global Research
VIDEO: BBC Defends Decision to Censor the Word "Palestine"

To introduce this string of BBC lies, one thing that’s worth noting is that overwhelmingly the people of Syria view that nation’s current President, Bashar al-Assad, favorably. He won his election on 27 May 2007 by acclamation in a referendum when the Associated Press at the time reported that, “the country’s tiny opposition boycotted the voting.” (Note that it indeed was “a tiny opposition.”)

The AP reported: “Still, the president is assured of another seven-year term in a referendum that gave voters just one choice: a green circle to approve Assad or a gray one to oppose his second term. In his first referendum, he received 97.29 percent approval.” The West supports not only that “tiny opposition,” but the much bigger opposition that comes from the Saudi and Qatari royal families, and which has recruited Sunni jihadists from around the world to fight in Syria against the secular Shiite Assad. Furthermore, repeated polling even by Western polling firms, shows that the Syrian people overwhelmingly reject Islamic jihadists and blame the U.S. for ISIS. They hate America because America backs the jihadists. (And see here U.S. Senator John McCain congratulating the ISIS “heart-eater” who was helping to lead in the fight to remove Assad. And here is the back-story regarding that “heart-eater.” And here is confirmation from McCain that he “accidentally” met with him.) Furthermore, the U.S. has not been inactive in the Syrian war; long before America’s active bombing campaign inside Syria, the U.S. was feeding sarin gas into al-Qaeda’s affiliate there al-Nusra, and fabricated blame for the sarin gas attack which even British intelligence could not endorse but instead found to be a ludicrous fraud, but kept secret (in order not to embarrass their ally).

With that, then, as the firmly documented historical background:

BBC Newshour, on the morning of Friday September 18th, interviewed Oxford Professor Eugene Rogan and also the Century Foundation’s Thanassis Cambanis, on the question, “Is it time for the west to bury the hatchet with President Assad and ally with him against IS?”

Cambanis said,

“To expect Bashar al-Assad to be a reliable partner … ignores the last decade during which he single-handedly has driven Syria to the brink of destruction, and, by the way, has been the key culprit in the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq first, and later in the rise of ISIS.”

Rogan did not challenge that assertion.

Cambanis then referred to

“Bashar al-Assad’s strategy, which was to set up a false choice, apres moi, le deluge, if you don’t support me, you’re going to get ISIS, and we got to that point because he really systematically focused all his firepower on killing moderate, reasonable people and leaving those as the two choices.”

Rogan did not challenge that assertion, either.

Cambanis then said,

“The U.S. position has been to just stay out of this complex mess, and there is some merit and some moral reason for this. Now we see not intervening has also led to a disaster. So logically what follows is either the U.S. remains remains on the sidelines and just lets it play out as it may, or, …,”

and Rogan did not challenge those allegations either.

Rogan then said,

“What Russia has done by prepositioning the facilities for Russian troop presence is to escalate its position in Syria, and by providing the Syrians with air defense systems, they are actually creating the kind of protections that will make any talk of a no-fly zone a nonstarter, so I think the Russians are trying to clearly set what the limits of the terms of discussion will be, and it’s very clear that preserving Bashar al-Assad in power is the Russian condition.”

The interviewer then said,

“But if the West were to come onside with President Assad, I mean that would represent the most appalling concession, would it not, given the number of Syrians who died as a result of actions by President Assad and his military?”

Rogan answered: “I agree with that.” But he advised negotiations instead of “the West” sending in more military assets for “continuing a struggle that no side is capable of winning.”

Cambanis interjected,

“What we’re seeing right now is the result of America and the West not intervening. It’s not really American weapons, or American anything that has fueled this conflict. It’s important to remember also that Assad has been a huge strategic threat to the West long before ISIS even existed.”

To that, Rogan replied, “I could not agree with you more, that the injustice that Assad has inflicted on his people has been an injustice of the first magnitude.”

So: the BBC simply assumes that Assad is hated instead of passionately supported by the Syrian people, and that the U.S. and “the West” have been “not intervening” but have been well-intentioned there. And the BBC’s producers invited on Western ‘experts’ to ‘debate’ the matter, but all within this lying framework.

Clearly, then, the BBC’s answer to its headline question, “Is it time for the west to bury the hatchet with President Assad and ally with him against IS?” is: No!

Here, again, is my article about the recent WIN/Gallup polling results of the Syrian people regarding their attitudes towards ISIS, the U.S., and Assad.

What remains of honest news-media in the West? They’re few, and small.

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