Archive | November 26th, 2015

Iraq: Nazi Colonel Caught with IS Pants Down

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This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Nazi military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence he apparently said a lot regarding the role of Naziyahu’s in supporting IS.

In late October an Iranian news agency, quoting a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, reported the capture of an Nazi army colonel, named Yusi Oulen Shahak, reportedly related to the ISIS Golani Battalion operating in Iraq in the Salahuddin front. In a statement to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency a Commander of the Iraqi Army stated, “The security and popular forces have held captive an Nazi colonel.” He added that the Nazi colonel “had participated in the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations.” He said the colonel was arrested together with a number of ISIL or IS terrorists, giving the details: “The Israeli colonel’s name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked colonel in Golani Brigade… with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434.”

Why I$raHell?

Ever since the beginning of Russia’s very effective IS bombing of select targets in Syria on September 30, details of the very dirty role of not only Washington, but also NATO member Turkey under President Erdogan, Qatar and other states has come into the sunlight for the first time.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that at least a faction in the Obama Administration has played a very dirty behind-the-scenes role in supporting IS in order to advance the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and pave the way for what inevitably would be a Libya-style chaos and destruction which would make the present Syrian refugee crisis in Europe a mere warmup by comparison.

The “pro-IS faction” in Washington includes the so-called neo-conservatives centered around disgraced former CIA head and executioner of the Iraqi “surge” General David Petraeus. It also includes US General John R. Allen, who since September 2014 had served as President Obama’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and, until she resigned in February 2013, it included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Significantly, General John Allen, an unceasing advocate of a US-led “No Fly Zone” inside Syria along the border to Turkey, something President Obama refused, was relieved of his post on 23 October, 2015. That was shortly after launch of the highly-effective Russian strikes on Syrian IS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorist sites changed the entire situation in the geopolitical picture of Syria and the entire Middle East.

UN Reports cites I$raHell

That Netanyahu’s Likud and the Nazi military work closely with Washington’s neo-conservative war-hawks is well-established, as is the vehement opposition of Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Israel regards the Iranian-backed Shi’a Islamist militant group, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, as arch foe. Hezbollah has been actively fighting alongside the Syrian Army against ISIS in Syria. General Allen’s strategy of “bombings of ISIS” since he was placed in charge of the operation in September 2014, as Russia’s Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly pointed out, far from destroying ISIS in Syria, had vastly expanded their territorial control of the country. Now it becomes clear that that was precisely the intent of Allen and the Washington war faction.

Since at least 2013 Nazi military have also openly bombed what they claim were Hezbollah targets inside Syria. Investigation revealed that in fact Nazi regime was hitting Syrian military and Hezbollah targets who are valiantly fighting against ISIS and other terrorists. De facto thereby Nazi regime was actually helping ISIS, like General John Allen’s year-long “anti-ISIS” bombings.

That a faction in the Pentagon has secretly worked behind-the-scenes to train, arm and finance what today is called ISIS or IS in Syria is now a matter of open record. In August 2012, a Pentagon document classified “Secret,” later declassified under pressure of the US NGO Judicial Watch, detailed precisely the emergence of what became the Islamic State or ISIS emerging from the Islamic State in Iraq, then an Al Qaeda affiliate.

The Pentagon document stated, “…there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition [to Assad-w.e.] want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” The supporting powers to the opposition in 2012 then included Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA and behind-the-scenes, Naziyahu’s I$raHell.

Precisely this creation of a “Salafist Principality in eastern Syria,” today’s territory of ISIL or IS, was the agenda of Petraeus, General Allen and others in Washington to destroy Assad. It’s what put the Obama Administration at loggerhead with Russia, China and Iran over the bizarre US demand Assad must first go before ISIS can be destroyed. Now the game is in the open for the world to see Washington’s duplicity in backing what the Russian’s accurately call “moderate terrorists” against a duly-elected Assad. That Nazi regime is also in the midst of this rats’ nest of opposition terrorist forces in Syria was confirmed in a recent UN report.

What the report did not mention was why Nazi military would have such a passionate interest in Syria, especially Syria’s Golan Heights.

Why Nazi regime wants Assad Out

In December, 2014 the Jerusalem Post in Israel reported the findings of a largely ignored, and politically explosive report detailing UN sightings of Israeli military together with ISIS terrorist combatants. The UN peacekeeping force, UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), stationed since 1974 along the Golan Heights border between Syria and Israel, revealed that Israel had been working closely with Syrian opposition terrorists, including Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front and IS in the Golan Heights, and “kept close contact over the past 18 months.” The report was submitted to the UN Security Council. Mainstream media in the US and West buried the explosive findings.

The UN documents showed that the Nazi Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. The Nazi army stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but the deception was broken when the UNDOF observers identified direct contact between Nazi army forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the Nazi army to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a “crossing point of forces between Nazi regime and ISIS,” a point of concern UNDOF brought before the UN Security Council.

The UNDOF was created by a May, 1974 UN Security Council Resolution No. 350 in the wake of tensions from the October 1973 Yom Kippur War between Syria and Nazi regime. It established a buffer zone between Nazi regime and Syria’s Golan Heights according to the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, to be governed and policed by the Syrian authorities. No military forces other than UNDOF are permitted within it. Today it has 1,200 observers.

Since 2013 and the escalation of Nazi attacks on Syria along the Golan Heights, claiming pursuit of “Hezbollah terrorists,” the UNDOF itself has been subject to massive attacks by ISIS or Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorists in the Golan Heights for the first time since 1974, of kidnappings, of killings, of theft of UN weapons and ammunition, vehicles and other assets, and the looting and destruction of facilities. Someone obviously does not want UNDOF to remain policing the Golan Heights.

Nazi regime and Golan Heights Oil

In his November 9 White House meeting with US President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Washington to reconsider the fact that since the 1967 Six-Days’ War between Nazi regime and the Arab countries, Nazi Gestapo has illegally occupied a significant part of the Golan Heights. In their meeting, Naziyahu, apparently without success, called on Obama to back formal Nazi annexation of the illegally-occupied Golan Heights, claiming that the absence of a functioning Syrian government “allows for different thinking” concerning the future status of the strategically important area.

Of course Naziyahu did not address in any honest way how Nazi regime and other forces had been responsible for the absence of a functioning Syrian government by their support for ISIS and Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda.

In 2013, when UNDOF began to document increasing contact between Nazi military and IS and Al Qaeda along the Golan Heights, a little-known Newark, New Jersey oil company, Genie Energy, with an Nazi daughter company, Afek Oil & Gas, began also moving into Golan Heights with permission of the Naziyahu government to explore for oil. That same year Nazi military engineers overhauled the forty-five mile border fence with Syria, replacing it with a steel barricade that included barbed wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras, and ground radar, putting it on par with the Wall Israel has constructed in the West Bank.

Interestingly enough, on October 8, Yuval Bartov, chief geologist from Genie Energy’s Nazi regime subsidiary, Afek Oil & Gas, told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that his company had found a major oil reservoir on the Golan Heights: “We’ve found an oil stratum 350 meters thick in the southern Golan Heights. On average worldwide, strata are 20 to 30 meters thick, and this is 10 times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.” As I noted in an earlier article, the International Advisory Board of Genie Energy includes such notorious names as Dick Cheney, former CIA head and infamous neo-con James Woolsey, Jacob Lord Rothschild and others.

Of course no reasonable person in their right mind would suggest there might be a link between Nazi military dealings with the ISIS and other anti-Assad terrorists in Syria, especially in the Golan Heights, and the oil find of Genie Energy in the same place, and with Naziyahu’s latest Golan Heights “rethink” appeal to Obama. That would smell too much like “conspiracy theory” and all reasonable people know conspiracies don’t exist, only coincidences. Or? In fact, to paraphrase the immortal words of Brad Pitt in the role of West Virginia First Lieutenant Aldo Raine in the final scene of Tarantino’s brilliant film, Inglorious Basterds, it seems that ‘Ol Naziyahu and his pecker-suckin pals in the Nazi army and Nazi Gestapo Mossad just got caught with their hands in a very dirty cookie jar in Syria.

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The Zionist-neoconservative midwives of Islamic State

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Zionist neoconservatives

By Jamal Kanj

On a Thursday night 12 November, terrorists blew themselves up on the streets of Beirut. The next day, coordinated terrorist attacks struck the heart of Paris. Perpetrators belonging to the same group targeted Muslims and Christians in the Lebanese and French capitals.

Just a month ago, there was the moving scene of European women and men holding signs welcoming refugees arriving at train stations.

Thus, the horrific attacks in Paris would be even more appalling if there is any truth to the news that some of the terrorists had disguised themselves as refugees in order to reach France, especially since the refugees had found better reception in Europe than anywhere else, including many of the Arab and Muslim countries. For these terrorists to exploit that hospitality is neither an Arab or Muslim value.

Lasting conflicts and fragmentations of the Arab world were envisioned more than 30 years ago by former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Oded Yinon.

There could be no justification for the terrorist attacks in Paris or the atrocious murders in Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus or Nigeria. Putting aside our virtuous indignation, however, we mustn’t forget that the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) was the illegitimate child of George Bush’s “birth pangs of democracy” in the Middle East. The misguided, US-led Western interventionist policies created the environment that gave birth to the refugees and the terrorists – a programme designed for Israel by Zionist neoconservative appointees in the dens of the US State Department and the Pentagon.

Lasting conflicts and fragmentations in the Arab world were envisioned more than 30 years ago by former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Oded Yinon. In a 1982 treatise, A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, published inKivunim (Directions), the official journal of the World Zionist Organisation, Yinon argued that the future priorities for the “Jewish state” (JS) are “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq… into ethnically or religiously unique areas.” Almost 30 years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett proposed the same for Lebanon.

Islamic State’s ideology flourishes on Western pandering to the Jewish State as an exceptionalist state beyond reproach, defying UN resolutions with complete impunity.

IS and JS have a shared strategy: perpetual conflict between Islam and the West is critical for their survival.

IS gets its oxygen from the US’s and other Western powers’ unconditional diplomatic and financial support for JS. IS’s ideology flourishes on Western pandering to JS as an exceptionalist state beyond reproach, defying UN resolutions with complete impunity. Following Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington, Israel is in line to be rewarded, again, for its intransigence and attempts to derail the nuclear deal between the West and Iran.

The Israeli-planned and Western-executed “dissolution of Syria and Iraq”, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya into ethnic or religious entities has created fertile grounds for dissent, offering Islamist demagogues the perfect recipe to manipulate feeble minded individuals to rally around IS, believing they were avenging their religion.

Alas, all of this was already predictable, a known consequence and anticipated outcome of actions by US intelligence agencies.

In August 2002, CIA analysts authored a study,The perfect storm: Planning for the negative consequences of invading Iraq. It predicted the breakup of Iraq, regional instability and a surge in global terrorism.

In a pre-war briefing, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was presented with two intelligence assessments warning that the Iraq invasion would lead to anarchy and an increase in terrorism. In January 2003 the National Intelligence Council think-tank issued an assessment forecasting that “many angry young recruits” would fuel the ranks of Islamic extremists.

Today it’s not enough to mourn Paris’s or Beirut’s victims. We must also remember the estimated 1.3 million people who were banished directly and indirectly by the deviated “war on terrorism”.

Despite the red flags, the Bush administration opted to heed the advice of Israeli advocates, ideologues who were trained at the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Israeli think-tanks in Washington. After Bush’s election, large donors of the Republican Party recommended them for key policy-making positions in the Pentagon and the State Department.

The Zionist neoconservatives redirected the war compass from Al Qaeda to fight Israel’s wars. According to a Bush administration insider’s book, during a policy discussion Israel firster Paul Wolfowitz argued: “We don’t have to deal with Al Qaeda… We have to talk about” Iraq.

Just one day before the Iraq invasion, US Vice-President Dick Cheney delivered a speech, which was likely prepared, or at least proofed, by Zionist neoconservative and White House Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, in which Cheney foolishly claimed: “We will… be greeted as liberators” in Iraq.

Today it’s not enough to mourn Paris’s or Beirut’s victims. We must also remember the estimated 1.3 million people who were banished directly and indirectly by the deviated “war on terrorism”. For the Zionist neoconservatives’ conceived war has offered more than 1.3m reasons to recruit terrorists.

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Why We’re Sliding Towards World War

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Why Now?
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Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world, PhD economist – wrote an article about the build up of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia titled, simply: “War Is Coming”.

Similarly, Ronald Reagan’s head of the Office of Management and Budget – David Stockman – is posting pieces warning of the dispute between the U.S. and Russia leading to World War 3.

Trend forecaster Gerald Celente – who has been making some accurate financial and geopolitical predictions for decades – says WW3 will start soon.

Investment fund manager and adviser Martin Armstrong has charted the “cycles of war” back to 600 BC … and says that we’ll have major wars between now and 2020. He has written pieces recently entitled, “Why We will Go to War with Russia“, and another one saying, “Prepare for World War III“.

Investment adviser Larry Edelson – who has long studied the “cycles of war” – recently wrote:

This year … we will also be hit by another ramping up of the related war cycles.

***

All part and parcel of the rising war cycles that I’ve been warning you about, conditions that will not abate until at least the year 2020.

Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – saysthere will be “a major war”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.

Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war as epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.

What’s causing the slide towards war? We discuss several causes below.

Debt, Economic Collapse and Distraction

Martin Armstrong – who studies cycles, and managed multi-billion dollar sovereign investment funds – argues that war plans against Syria are really about debt and spending:

The Syrian mess seems to have people lining up on Capital Hill when sources there say the phone calls coming in are overwhelmingly against any action. The politicians are ignoring the people entirely. This suggests there is indeed a secret agenda to achieve a goal outside the discussion box. That is most like the debt problem and a war is necessary to relief the pressure to curtail spending.

Armstrong says the same thing caused Turkey to shoot down a Russian fighter jet over Syria:

This mess lies squarely in the hands of the Obama Administration and then to have the audacity to pretend Turkey had a right to defend its airspace when not being attacked is just too much. These people NEED war to distract everyone from the Sovereign Debt Crisis that is causing the collapse of governments for a system of borrowing year after year withABSOLUTELY no intention of ever paying any debt off.

The same logic applies to Europe and other countries …

Armstrong writes:

Our greatest problem is the bureaucracy wants a war. This will distract everyone from the NSA and justify what they have been doing. They need a distraction for the economic decline that is coming.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Kyle Bass notes:

Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.

Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:

A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.

***

“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”

Economist and investment manager Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:

Voodoo Economics

Many influential economists and talking heads hold the discredited belief that war is good for the economy.

Therefore, many are overtly or more subtly pushing for war.

Challengers Give Declining Empires “Itchy Fingers”

Historians say that declining empires tend to attack their rising rivals … so the risk of world war is risingbecause the U.S. feels threatened by the rising empire of China.

The U.S. government considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war. Therefore, the U.S. is systematically using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence.

Competition for Resources Is Heating Up

In addition, it is well-established that competition for scarce resources often leads to war. For example, Oxford University’s Quarterly Journal of Economics notes:

In his classic, A Study of War, Wright (1942) devotes a chapter to the relationship between war and resources. Another classic reference, Statistics of Deadly Quarrels by Richardson (1960),extensively discusses economic causes of war, including the control of “sources of essential commodities.”A large literature pioneered by Homer-Dixon (1991, 1999) argues that scarcity of various environmental resources is a major cause of conflict and resource wars (see Toset, Gleditsch, and Hegre 2000, for empirical evidence).

***

In the War of the Pacific (1879–1884), Chile fought against a defensive alliance of Bolivia and Peru for the control of guano [i.e. bird poop] mineral deposits. The war was precipitated by the rise in the value of the deposits due to their extensive use in agriculture.

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Westing (1986) argues that many of the wars in the twentieth century had an important resource dimension. As examples he cites the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), the Six Day War (1967), and the Chaco War (1932–1935). More recently, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was a result of the dispute over the Rumaila oil field. In Resource Wars (2001), Klare argues that following the end of the Cold War, control of valuable natural resources has become increasingly important, and these resources will become a primary motivation for wars in the future.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan (and many world leadersadmitted that the Iraq war was really about oil, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And see this and this. Libya, Syria, Iran and Russia are all oil-producing countries as well …

Indeed, we’ve extensively documented that the wars in the Middle East and North Africa are largely about oil and gas. The wars in Syria and Iraq are about pipelines.  The war in Gaza may be no exception. Andsee this. And Ukraine may largely be about gas as well.

And James Quinn and Charles Hugh Smith say we’re running out of all sorts of resources … which will lead to war.

Central Banking and Currency Wars

We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. Brazilian president Rousseff said in 2010:

The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.

Jim Rickards agrees:

Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.

As does billionaire investor Jim Rogers:

Trade wars always lead to wars.

Given that China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa have joined together to create a $100 billion bankbased in China, and that more and more trades are being settled in Yuan or Rubles – instead of dollars – the currency war is quickly heating up.

Indeed, many of America’s closest allies are joining China’s effort … which is challenging America and the Dollar’s hegemony.

Multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:

What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a golddinar.

Senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:

Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal thinks the central banking initiative reveals that foreign powers may have a strong influence over the rebels.

This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.

Indeed, some say that recent wars have really been about bringing all countries into the fold of Western central banking.

Runaway Inequality

Paul Tudor Jones – founder of the Tudor Investment Corporation and the Tudor Group, which trade in the fixed-income, equity, currency and commodity markets – said recently:

This gap between the 1 percent and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist.

Historically, these kinds of gaps get closed in one of three ways: by revolution, higher taxes or wars.

And see this.

War Is Destroying Our National Security, Our Democracy and Our Economy

We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet we’re now less safe after 13 years of war.

Never-ending wars are also destroying our democratic republic. The Founding Fathers warned against standing armies, saying that they destroy freedom. (Update). Perversely, our government treats anti-war sentiment as terrorism.

The Founding Fathers – and the father of free market capitalism – also warned against financing wars with debt. But according to Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the U.S. debt for the Iraq war could be as high as $5 trillion dollars (or $6 trillion dollars according to a study by Brown University.)

Indeed, top economists say that war is destroying our economy.

But war is great for the bankers and the defense contractors. And – as discussed above – governments are desperate for war.

So it’s up to us – the people – to stop wider war.

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France Moves to Make “Conspiracy Theories” Illegal by Government Decree

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1-Hollande-Scandal

GR Editor’s Note

The following text was first published in March 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.

In the context of the tragic events of November 13 in Paris, this analysis brings to the forefront the issue of freedom of expression and critique of the established political order and media narrative in France as more broadly in the EU and North America.

In this regard, Francois Hollande’s decision to  establish a State of Emergency constitutes a threat against online independent media including those which are casually referred to as “conspiracy theorists”. 

With the repeal of civil liberties, the independent media will in all likelihood be the target of State repression.  

The broader question is the following: is the State of Emergency in France intended to eventually establish a de facto totalitarian regime in France (and more broadly in the EU) under the disguise of democracy, namely to abolish the political and social foundations of the French Republic. This totalitarian environment and its media propaganda apparatus are also required to grant legitimacy to the US-NATO led “global war on terrorism”.  

Michel Chossudovsky, November 25  2015

*      *      *

Political elites and super-bureaucrats are worried. It’s becoming harder to control consensus reality. 

A history stitched together by lies and cover-ups, political assassinations, slight-of-hand false flag deceptions, secret societies, dual loyalties and stolen fortunes – this has been the exclusive privilege of organized crime and the ruling elite for centuries.

Putting aside history’s ‘big ticket’ items though, the real reason for this authoritarian trend is much more fundamental. By knocking out their intellectual competition, political elites and their media moguls hope to minimalize, and thus eliminate any alternative analysis and opinion by applying the completely open-ended and arbitrary label of “extremist” to speech. They want to wind back the clock, where a pre-internet, monolithic corporate media cartel held a monopoly on ideas.

Although France has taken the lead in this inter-governmental effort (see below), the preliminary assault began this past fall with British Prime Minster David Cameron publicly announcing on two separate occasions, that all of these so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ (anything which challenges the official orthodoxy) should be deemed as “extremist” and equivalent to “terrorist” and should be purged from society on the grounds of ‘national security’. The first came with Cameron’s warped speech at the UN, and afterwards, a similar charge was made by the UK leader against anyone who dares press the issue of institutional paedophilia and child abuse.

Watch this UN speech by Cameron where he clearly claims that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are the ‘root cause’ and indeed, an equal threat to national security as ISIS terrorists currently running amok in Syria and Iraq (start 4:26)…

As yet, few are aware of how in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, French Prime Minster,Francois Hollande delivered an official declaration (see full report and text from his speech below). However, Hollande takes it beyond the usual hyperbole and focuses on giving the state an administrative and legal foothold for policing both speech and thought crimes in France. If this can be accomplished in France, then a European roll-out would soon follow.

Ironically, in order to achieve this fascist leap forward, Hollande has equated “conspiracy theories” to Nazism, and is calling for government regulations to prevent any sharing or publishing of any views deemed as ‘dangerous thought’ by the state. Specifically, Hollande is citing “Anti-Semitism” and also anything which could inspire ‘acts terrorism’ – as the chief vehicles for what the state will be designating as ‘dangerous thoughts’. With the thumb of Hebdo still pressing down, this may just sound like politics writ large by the French leader, but in reality it’s full-blown fascism.

Worse yet, with all of the world leaders gathered togther in Paris in January supposedly marching solidarity for ‘free speech’ and proudly chanting “Je Suis Charlie” (image above), that Hollande would use this as political cover to restrict free speech in Europe should shock even.

RINF reports how the new censorship regime has already been implemented this week:

“Earlier this week, the Interior Minister of France — with no court review or adversarial process — ordered five websites to not only be blocked in France, but that anyone who visits any of the sites get redirected to a scary looking government website, saying:

While it could be argued that the four websites initially listed by the government for ‘blocking’ were exclusively for ISIS/ISIL-related activity and thus, should be kept hidden, the government has made no caveat in its reams of policy literature, other than some vague language as to what it defines as ‘extremist’, as to where this growing list will stop, or indeed, if it has any limits at all. Because this process is extrajudicial, then there will be no warning to gov’t targets of this new regime. In fact, as RINF reports, this has already happened:

“In that first batch was a site called “islamic-news.info.” The owner of that site not only notes that he was never first contacted to “remove” whatever material was deemed terrorist supporting (as required by the law), but that nothing in what he had posted was supporting terrorism.”

Will French gov’t censors also block this website – because it is challenging the government’s new public filtering program? Are we entering a new intolerant, Chinese-style policing culture in Europe, and throughout the west? Certainly they have the ability and the legal clearance to do just that right now.

Fear of losing control over manipulative narratives has always been a primary obsession with those in power, and clearly, based on what we’ve seen here – governments are making an aggressive move on free speech now. Skeptics will no doubt argue that this 21WIRE article itself constitutes a conspiracy theory. If that was the case, then why have western governments, particularly those in the US and Britain, already spent millions, if not billions in state funds in order to infiltrate, disrupt, and occupy forum websites, and social networking groups of so-called ‘conspiracy theorist and even creating entirely new groups just to contradict them? Does that not already prove what the government modus operandi is?

As if that wasn’t enough already, now France wants to take it to a whole new authoritarian level. It may sound ridiculous, but this is exactly what is taking place in government as we speak.

History shows that once this new regime is in place, they will not relinquish any new powers of censorship, and so a long, intellectual dark age is certain to follow…

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Do We Really Want a “Pre-emptive” World War with Russia?

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Global Research
fighter plane

Washington continues making an international fool of herself by her inability to effectively counter the impression around the world that Russia, spending less than 10% of the Pentagon annually on defense, has managed to do more against ISIS in Syria in six weeks than the mighty US Air Force bombing campaign has done in almost a year and half. One aspect that bears attention is the demonstration by the Russian military of new technologies that belie the widely-held Western notion that Russia is little more than a backward oil and raw material commodity exporter.

Recent reorganization of the Russian state military industrial complex as well as reorganization of the Soviet-era armed forces under Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s term are visible in the success so far of Russia’s ISIS and other terror strikes across Syria. Clearly Russian military capabilities have undergone a sea-change since the Soviet Cold War era.

In war there are never winners. Yet Russia has been in an unwanted war with Washington de facto since the George W. Bush Administration announced its lunatic plan to place what they euphemistically term “Ballistic Missile Defense” missiles and advanced radar in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey after 2007. Without going into detail, BMD technologies are the opposite of defensive. They instead make a pre-emptive war highly likely. Of course the radioactive ash heap in such an exchange would be first and foremost the EU countries foolish enough to invite US BMD to their soil.

Then came the highly provocative US-instigated coup d’etat in Ukraine in February 2014, installing a cabal of gangsters, neo-nazis and criminals who launched a civil war against its own citizens in east Ukraine, an ill-conceived attempt to bring Russia into a ground war across her border. It followed two UN Security Council vetoes by Russia and China of US proposals for No Fly zones over Syria as was done to destroy Qaddafi’s Libya. Now Russia has surprised the West by accepting the request of Syrian President Bashar al Assad to help eliminate the terrorism that has ravaged the once-peaceful country for over four years.

What the Russian General Staff has managed, since the precision air campaign began September 30, has stunned western defense planners with Russian technological feats not expected. Two specific technologies are worth looking at more closely: The Russian Sukoi SU-34 fighter-bomber and what is called the Bumblebee hyperbaric mortar weapon.

Sukhoi SU-34 ‘Fullback’ fighter-bomber

The plane responsible for some of the most damaging strikes on ISIS and other terror enclaves in Syria is manufactured by the Russian state aircraft industry under the name Sukhoi SU-34. As the Russian news agency RIA Novosti described the aircraft,

“The Su-34 is meant to deliver a sufficiently large ordnance load to a predetermined area, hit the target accurately and take evasive action against pursuing enemy planes.”

The plane is also designed to deal with enemy fighters in aerial combat such as the US F-16. The SU-34 made a first test flight in 1990 as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the chaos of the Yeltsin years caused many delays. Finally in 2010 the plane was in full production.

According to a report in US Defense Industry Daily, among the SU-34 features are:

• 8 ton ordnance load which can accommodate precision-guided weapons, as well as R-73/AA-11 Archer and R-77/AA-12 ‘AMRAAMSKI’ missiles and an internal 30mm GSh-301 gun.

• Maximum speed of Mach 1.8 at altitude.

• 3,000 km range, extensible to “over 4,000 km” with the help of additional drop tanks. The SU-34 can also refuel in mid-air.

• It can fly in TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) mode for low-level flight, and has software to execute a number of difficult maneuvers.

• Leninets B004 phased array multimode X-band radar, which interleaves terrain-following radar and other modes.

Now new EW technologies

Clearly the aircraft is impressive as it has demonstrated against terrorist centers in Syria. Now, however, beginning this month it will add a “game-changer” in the form of a new component. Speaking at the Dubai Air Show on November 12, Igor Nasenkov, the First Deputy General Director of the Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (KRET) announced that this month, that is in the next few days, SUKHOI SU-34 fighter-bombers will become electronic warfare aircraft as well.

Nasenkov explained that the new Khibiny aircraft electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems, installed on the wingtips, will give the SU-34 jets electronic warfare capabilities to launch effective electronic countermeasures against radar systems, anti-aircraft missile systems and airborne early warning and control aircraft.

KRET is a holding or group of some 95 Russian state electronic companies formed in 2009 under the giant Russian state military industry holding, Rostec.

Russia’s advances in what is euphemistically termed in military jargon, Electronic Counter Measures or ECM, is causing some sleepless nights for the US Pentagon top brass to be sure. In the battles in eastern pro-Russian Ukraine earlier this year, as well as in the Black Sea, and now in Syria, according to ranking US military sources, Russia deployed highly-effective ECM technologies like the Krasukha-4, to successfully jam hostile radar and aircraft.

Lt. General Ben Hodges, Commander of US Army Europe (USAREUR) describes Russian ECM capabilities used in Ukraine as “eye-watering,” suggesting some US and NATO officers are more than slightly disturbed by what they see. Ronald Pontius, deputy to Army Cyber Command’s chief, Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, told a conference in October that, “You can’t but come to the conclusion that we’re not making progress at the pace the threat demands.” In short, Pentagon planners have been caught flat-footed for all the trillions of wasted US taxpayer dollars in recent years thrown at the military industry.

During the critical days of the March 2014 Crimean citizens’ referendum vote to appeal for status within Russia, New York Times reporters then in Crimea reported the presence of Russian electronic jamming systems, known as R-330Zh Zhitel, manufactured by Protek in Voronezh, Russia. That state-of-the-art technology was believed to have been used to prevent the Ukrainian Army from invading Crimea before the referendum. Russian forces in Crimea, where Russia had a legal basing agreement with Kiev, reportedly were able to block all communication of Kiev military forces, preventing a Crimean bloodbath. Washington was stunned.

USS Donald Cook…

Thereafter, in April, 2014, one month after the accession of Crimea into the Russian Federation, President Obama ordered the USS Donald Cook into the Black Sea waters just off Crimea, the home port of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, to “reassure” EU states of US resolve. Donald Cook was no ordinary guided missile destroyer. It had been refitted to be one of four ships as part of Washington’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System aimed at Russia’s nuclear arsenal. USS Donald Cook boldly entered the Black Sea on April 8 heading to Russian territorial waters.

On April 12, just four days later, the US ship inexplicably left the area of the Crimean waters of the Black Sea for a port in NATO-member Romania. From there it left the Black Sea entirely. A report on April 30, 2014 in Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta Online titled, “What Frightened the American Destroyer,” stated that while the USS Donald Cook was near Crimean (Russian by that time) waters, a Russian Su-24 Frontal Aviation bomber conducted a flyby of the destroyer.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta went on to write that the Russian SU-24 “did not have bombs or missiles onboard. One canister with the Khibin electronic warfare complex was suspended under the fuselage.” As it got close to the US destroyer, the Khibins turned off the USS Donald Cook’s “radar, combat control circuits, and data transmission system – in short, they turned off the entire Aegis just like we turn off a television by pressing the button on the control panel. After this, the Su-24 simulated a missile launch at the blind and deaf ship. Later, it happened once again, and again – a total of 12 times.”

While the US Army denied the incident as Russian propaganda, the fact is that USS Donald Cook never approached Russian Black Sea waters again. Nor did NATO ships that replaced it in the Black Sea. A report in 2015 by the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office assessed that Russia, “does indeed possess a growing EW capability, and the political and military leadership understand the importance…Their growing ability to blind or disrupt digital communications might help level the playing field when fighting against a superior conventional foe.” Now new Russian Khibini Electronic Counter Measure systems are being installed on the wingtips of Russia’s SUKHOI SU-34 fighter-bombers going after ISIS in Syria.

Killer Bumblebees

A second highly-advanced new Russian military technology that’s raising more than eyebrows in US Defense Secretary ‘Ash’ Carter’s Pentagon is Russia’s new Bumblebee which Russia’s military classifies as a flamethrower. In reality it is a highly advanced thermobaric weapon which launches a warhead that uses a combination of an explosive charge and highly combustible fuel. When the rocket reaches the target, the fuel is dispersed in a cloud that is then detonated by the explosive charge. US Military experts recently asked by the US scientific and engineering magazine Popular Mechanics to evaluate the Bumblebee stated that, “the resulting explosion is devastating, radiating a shockwave and fireball up to six or seven meters in diameter.” The US experts noted that the Bumblebee is “especially useful against troops in bunkers, trenches, and even armored vehicles, as the dispersing gas can enter small spaces and allow the fireball to expand inside. Thermobarics are particularly devastating to buildings — a thermobaric round entering a structure can literally blow up the building from within with overpressure.”

‘Status-6′

We don’t go into yet another new highly secret Russian military technology recently subject of a Russian TV report beyond a brief mention, as little is known. It is indicative of what is being developed as Russia prepares for the unthinkable from Washington. The “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” is a new Russian nuclear submarine weapons system designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems, while causing heavy damage to “important economic facilities” along the enemy’s coastal regions.

Reportedly the Status-6 will cause what the Russian military terms, “assured unacceptable damage” to an adversary force. They state that its detonation “in the area of the enemy coast” (say, New York or Boston or Washington?) would result in “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that the region would not be used for “military, economic, business or other activity for a long time.” Status-6 reportedly is a massive torpedo, designated as a “self-propelled underwater vehicle.” It has a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers and can operate at a depth of up to 1,000 meters. At a November 10 meeting with the Russian military chiefs, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would counter NATO’s US-led missile shield program through “new strike systems capable of penetrating any missile defenses.” Presumably he was referring to Status-6.

US Defense Secretary Carter declared on November 8 in a speech that Russia and China are challenging “American pre-eminence” and Washington’s so-called “stewardship of the world order.” Carter added that, “Most disturbing is Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling,” which in his view, “raises questions about Russian leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons…”

Not surprisingly, Carter did not mention Washington’s own very loud nuclear saber-rattling. In addition to advancing the US Ballistic Missile Defense array targeting Russia, Carter recently announced highly-advanced US nuclear weapons would be stationed at the Büchel Air Base in Germany as part of a joint NATO nuclear program, which involves non-nuclear NATO states in Europe hosting more than 200 US nuclear warheads. Those NATO states across Europe, including Germany, have just become a potential Ground Zero in any possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Perhaps it’s time for some more sober minds to take responsibility in Washington for restoring a world at peace, minds not obsessed with such ridiculous ideas of “pre-eminence.”

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Do We Really Want a “Pre-emptive” World War with Russia?

An Invisible US Hand Leading to War?

NOVANEWS

Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

by DAVE LINDORFF

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In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Putin’s options are actually quite broad, though some carry considerably more risk for everyone, not just for Russia and Turkey. He could have his own air

force in Syria, where Russia is legally acting at the request of the Syrian government to defend it against rebel forces of ISIS and Al Nusra, some of which are backed by both Turkey and the US, calmly wait for a Turkish military jet to cross into Syrian airspace. At that point it could be downed by Russian planes or missiles. No doubt Turkey will be extraordinarily careful going forward to have its pilots keep well away from Syrian air space too avoid that, but it could happen. My guess is that Russian fighter pilots and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria already have their marching orders to take that action, which probably would not activate NATO confrontation with Russia and lead to World War III, as long as there was reasonable evidence that Turkey’s plane was in Syrian airspace.

But should no such opportunity present itself, Russia has plenty of other opportunities to counter Turkey. Remember, Russia is also defending Syria’s coastline, and could sink or capture a Turkish ship that entered Syrian waters (or Russian waters in the Black Sea, which borders both countries).

Russia — knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region — could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

I’m sure there are plenty of other options available to Russia also to turn the screws against both Turkey and NATO, without openly pushing buttons that could lead to a direct confrontation with the US and its NATO fiction. Working in Russia’s favor is that the US aside, the European nations of NATO have no desire to be at war with Russia. There are clearly hotheads in the US Congress, the Pentagon, and perhaps even within the neo-con-infested Obama administration, who are pushing for just such a mad showdown. But in Europe, where the actual fighting would mostly occur, and where memories are still strong of the destructive power of war, there is no taste for such insanity. It could, in fact, have been a big error in the long run for the US to push Turkey into such a deadly provocation, if it leads to more anti-American sentiment among the citizens of such key NATO countries as France, Germany, Italy and Britain.

It should be added that Russia and China have become much closer in recent years, economically, politically and militarily. This means there is also the possibility that the two countries could, in concert, step up pressure on the US in the western Pacific, for example by forcing down one of the provocative US flights near China’s new island projects in the South China Sea. That would force an already stretched US military to shift more forces to Asia from Europe and the Middle East.

It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.

Posted in USA, Russia, TurkeyComments Off on An Invisible US Hand Leading to War?

Bombing ISIS Will Not Work

 NOVANEWS
by PATRICK GRAHAM

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Every time someone says we should bomb ISIS, I think of an Iraqi kebab joint called Haji Hussein. There wasn’t a lot of Iraqi cuisine to recommend when the Americans invaded in 2003. For the most part, you ate best in people’s homes. The exception was the legendary Haji Hussein, located in a drive-by town out in the desert called Fallujah. Come to think of it, there wasn’t much to recommend in Fallujah, either, except Haji Hussein. Long before the US Marines put the place on the map, it was known as the town with lots of mosques where you got great kebabs.

As you drove in from Jordan across the desert, your driver begged you to stop. Friends in Baghdad demanded take-out. Inside the restaurant, tribal leaders in spotless white dishdashas mingled with rougher types from the industrial side of town. Foreigners were usually taken to the quieter “family” section where someone inevitably decided to teach you the chobi, a local dance. It was a ritual that lasted well into the insurgency but at some point the Americans decided Haji Hussein was an insurgent meeting place and lit it up, as they liked to say, with a 2,000-pound bomb. It probably had been an insurgent meeting place, but only in the way that the local Tim Horton’s in Antigonish, NS, is a Conservative Party meeting place. Everyone went to Haji Hussein, insurgents included.

But bombing it was the kind of dumb idea that characterized the US occupation. In the end it’s not just hearts and minds but stomachs that are won and lost. Anyone who attacked Haji Hussein was not going to win in Iraq any more than a terrorist group that attacks a night club in Paris is going to intimidate the French. If anything, it does the opposite.

ISIS understands this, of course, much better than the Americans. But ISIS does on purpose what the US did by accident—piss everyone off, go for the gut. They don’t want to occupy France or even attack its symbols of military or Imperial glory. They want to make their war intimate. They want you to feel it in your gut. They want you to think—I could have been eating there, I could have been drinking there. And then they want you to bomb them in return. Because without an enemy, ISIS is just a bunch of bearded guys in tacky outfits that the locals really don’t like very much.

ISIS, as we know from the videos, are masters at making their war up close and familiar, of bringing it onto your screens and into your heads. I was reminded of this when my Parisian sister, who is a partner in a Parisian restaurant, sent me an interview that her fifteen-year-old son gave to a British television station about being in the Stade de France when the suicide bombers went off outside. Watching my teenage nephew, and wondering what would have happened had the terrorists gotten inside, it was hard not to think that bombing ISISwas the only possible response.

Because once you feel it your gut, you’re tempted to do what the French did when they attacked Raqqa almost immediately with large-scale bombing raids. But how many new recruits did ISIS get from this gut response? We’ll never know, but no doubt far more than the few they lost in Paris.

So far, we have pretty strong proof that the air war has been a failure—after more than 10,000 allied sorties, ISIS still controls much the same territory. It seems that you can no more get rid of ISIS with a bombing campaign than you could get rid of the American Tea Party with one. Like the Tea Party, ISIS is cultural reaction, a kind of political immune response by the Sunni Arabs to Iranian-backed sectarian governments in Damascus and Baghdad.

While ISIS has aspects of a global phenomenon, it is primarily a series of very localized political problems, surrounded by geopolitical disputes. We fixate on the foreign fighters and the Internet execution videos because they are easy to understand. But these are misleading, deliberately so. Our columnists like to write about DabiqtheISIS magazine, mainly because it is published in English. We hear about their takfiri extremist ideology because it makes us shiver like Whoopi Goldberg’s hyena in The Lion King. We pay attention to ISIStweets and social media because you can translate them from home in Toronto or Tofino. We listen to what our allies like the Kurds tell us because they seem like “good” Muslims and we are ignorant about their plans for territorial expansion.

But how many articles have you read about the tribes that stopped ISIS on its march to Fallujah or the sacrifice of the local police forces and their families in Ramadi? These are the groups that will, in the end, beat ISIS if anyone does. Wars like these are intimate affairs, won at the local level by people fighting for their families and the lands they grew up on. As an Iraqi insurgent fighting the Americans told me as he took me around the countryside in 2004, the date-palm groves were where he and his cousins played as children were now the “hunting places” where they fought the occupying army.

Of course, compared to terrorist attacks and jihadi porn, the history of ISIS’s rise is boring and we think we know it. Do we really have to hear again that ISIS was originally al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)? Or thatISIS depends for its existence on the alienation of the Sunni Arab population from the sectarian policies of the Shiite-led government of former Iraqi prime minister, now vice president, Nouri al-Maliki? Or that Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Kurdish forces will never be able to conquer a Sunni city like Fallujah or Ramadi, let alone Mosul? Or that AQI was nearly beaten in Iraq but resurfaced in Syria only to return triumphantly to Iraq because the government in Baghdad was bombing the Sunnis in Fallujah, just as we are today? Are we not still blaming the Americans? Can’t we say screw Sunni alienation, let’s just do something already!

But these latest terrorist attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, and France are the military equivalent of the cheerleading squad. They are designed to get attention, and hopefully recruits, while the real game is played in the capitals of the Middle East, particularly Baghdad. Had the French bombed the offices of al-Maliki, who still wields a lot of power, rather than Raqqa, they might have accomplished more to undermine support for ISIS. Not to mention the support that ISIS has had, directly or indirectly, from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which raises the question of who the real enemy is at this point. But, of course, our allies in this war are more often than not the root of the problem.

ISIS will remain strong because the underlining politics that created it—the boring old Iraqi Sunni Arab alienation, the familiar hegemonic disputes between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Syria and elsewhere—continue and will do so for a long time. Last fall in Baghdad, I interviewed deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of Iraq’s most powerful Sunni politicians, who listed the demands that needed to be met if the Sunni population was going to be convinced to rise up against ISIS. The Sunni Arabs, without whom ISIS cannot be defeated, are still waiting to join the fight. For many, ISIS is a better alternative than the present Iraqi government, let alone the government in Syria. Bombing will not change this political equation. And, not surprisingly, many Sunnis don’t want the bombing to continue. Air power absent an effective strategy is a terrifying, random death machine that hardly wins over the local population.

Meanwhile, attacks in Paris and elsewhere will continue, too. Indeed, they probably would even if the caliphate was crushed. But this is nothing new to the French. I spent the first two years of my life in Paris and every decade since the capital has been plagued by some kind of attentats and plastiqages from one group or another. Even my nephew, at only fifteen, has survived an ISIS bomb attack and lost an uncle to Corsican separatist assassins shortly before he was born.

At any rate, we can only hope that the French, with their many experiences of war and violence, will not pretend as the Americans and others often do that war has no price, that it happens somewhere else, that it is not an intimate affair. The French have known for generations that if you can bomb their restaurants then maybe they can bomb yours, too. And that if you have hunting places, so does your enemy. It’s not a solution to ISIS but then again thinking you have a solution can be worse than the problem—that’s how the Americans got us into this mess in the first place. The best that can be hoped for is twofold: first, containment of ISIS while the politics of the region grinds on; second, that ISIS, like other ugly reactions, will burn out from internal feuds at the top as the locals destroy it from the bottom. But for the moment, many Sunni Arab Iraqis would rather live under ISIS than die under their sectarian government and its militias. And bombing won’t make them change their minds, whatever our gut responses to the Paris attacks. Fresh kebabs at Haji Hussein will have to wait.

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Who Created This Monster?

 

NOVANEWS
by WALTER CLEMENS

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Amid calls for revanche, a  young French woman interviewed by the BBC asked, “Who created this monster?” Indeed, who or what gave life to a movement that revels  in beheadings and mass executions of persons not committed to the new Caliphate? Does the fervor of Muslim extremists stem from passages in the Koran? Is it the result of brainwashing by serpent-tongued mullahs? The product of training manuals  and social  media calling on good Muslims to wreak havoc among the non-believers? What would extremists do without the weapons smuggled to France from the Balkans?

Each question is valid and suggests part of the answer.  But few Westerners dwell on the roles played by their imperial past in fostering fanaticism and campaigns to destroy alien influences and recreate past glories.

French empire builders  in the 19th century claimed a mission civilatrice to subdue and civilize the natives abroad;  English leaders,  a “white man’s burden”;  Americans, a “manifest destiny.”  Late-comer imperialists in Belgium, Germany, and elsewhere devised their own rationales.

Following the “Great War” France and Britain partitioned the Ottoman Empire and imposed the very problematic borders of  today’s  Middle East. Indifferent to ethnic and religious complexity, Europeans nurtured the seeds of today’s civil wars. In some places they put Sunnis under Shia domination; in others they mixed Muslims, Christians, and Jews and hoped to rule them from Paris or London. Aggravating other conflicts, Great Britain pledged self-rule to Arabs even as it promised a national homeland for Jews. When Israel became a state in 1948, London gifted Washington an enduring dilemma. U.S. policymakers sought to be “even handed,” but when push came to shove, Washington sided with Israel regardless the harm to America’s  interests in the Arab world. The United States as well as Israel then became a target for Muslim activists.

Europeans gave to less developed countries a yearning for the bright toys of modern life— automobiles, refrigerators, air conditioning.  They also implanted the idea that every people should shape its own destiny.   Even though drained by World War II, European states sought to hold their colonies against drives for national self-determination. Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt in 1956 attempting to stop nationalization  of the Suez Canal. Algeria, though nominally part of France, waged war for more than a dozen years to win its independence,  at a cost of more than a million Algerian  lives.   Morocco gained independence from France and Spain with little bloodshed, but many Moroccans resent Western support for its authoritarian regime. Millions of North Africans and their offspring live in  France and Belgium,  where many seethe with anger at discrimination.

Despite their avowed civilizing mission, Europeans did little to cultivate a respect for law and individual human dignity abroad.  When   Algeria, Egypt, and other European colonies or protectorates finally became independent, many home-grown leaders proved despotic. Their tyrannies and self-aggrandizement often left their subjects destitute and ripe for religious messages to fill gaps in their own lives. Unhappy at  home, many scapegoat the West.

Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner? If we knew and understood everything, could—should–we then excuse and forgive everything? No. The mix of ostensible religious zeal and self-righteousness shown by many Islamic extremists fills a void.  Many became jihadists after a life on drugs and/or a career in crime. Their degrading treatment of women and disdain for girls’ education are crimes against humanity. Their intolerance toward other religions and ways of life has no place in a globalized and interdependent world.

The international community cannot—should not—pardon criminal acts and must strive to punish and prevent them. If we are to create a better world, however, Westerners need to drop their own self-righteousness. Let the French remember that their Marseillaise is itself a call to resist and destroy foreign invaders. “Marchons! Drench our fields with their tainted blood.”

Hubris and self-righteous conceit will not end hatred and despair. Nor will bombs and drone attacks on militants.  To acknowledge past and present failings and begin to rectify them could do more for peace than revanche.

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No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge

 

NOVANEWS
by JOSEPH G. RAMSEY

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It is a basic tenet of philosophy, known as Kant’s categorical imperative, that you can decide the morality or immorality of a particular course of action by applying the following test: Could the path you propose for yourself be accepted as a universal law for all?

That is, if everyone else did what you propose to do, what would the world look like?  Is the world that would come into being as a result one that we can accept? Or would such a world be an untenable disaster?

If we can accept our particular course of action being made into a universal law, then said course of action may be considered morally legitimate.  But if such a world does not meet this test, then one’s proposed course of action must be considered as wrong. Categorically, absolutely, morally wrong. No matter what it’s short term or material benefits may appear to be for us personally.  No excuses.

Applying this basic principle to emerging American governmental responses to the Syrian refugee crisis, a penetrating truth quickly comes into view.  One that we should take to heart.

The US congress has voted with a near super-majority–49 Democrats joining the Republican chorus–to halt American acceptance of refugees from Syria. To be clear, while not technically a “ban,” the bill passed in the House of Representatives places such cumbersome and stringent requirements on the application for resettlement as to amount one, extending to the vanishing point a process that already is reported to be much more protracted than security, or basic decency, demands.

At the local level, more than half of the US governors, including Gov. Charlie Baker here in my ‘liberal’ home-state of Massachusetts, have vowed in one form or another to discontinue existing plans to assist and resettle refugees from Syria.  (A note of hope: Just last night here in Boston over a thousand Massachusetts residents rallied at the Statehouse to protest Baker’s announcement and to declare our state a welcome destination for refugees in need.)

Technicalities to one side, this anti-refugee movement amounts to a flat refusal to admit people from Syria to this country, despite their desperate need.

Let us apply the test of Kant’s categorical imperative.  Let us ask:  What would result if all others responded to the present situation in a similar way?  If all other states across the world similarly closed their borders, or put in place such stringent and protracted processes of ‘vetting,’ deferring, and delaying as to make the practical achievement of refugee resettlement impossible?  What would it mean to make it impossible for the tens even hundreds of thousands of Syrian people fleeing a bloody civil war to achieve refuge within, say, the next five years or longer?  To bar these people not just from entering the United States, but from entering or from settling *anywhere.*

Such a stance would amount to saying, basically:  Let these people fend for themselves.   Let them suffer. Let them sink into the mud of ramshackle refugee camps.  Let them be crushed and flayed against iron fences and razor wire.  Let them be swallowed by the seas.   Let them starve where they squat.  These families, these children–let them perish. Let them cease to exist, non-persons, subject to slow suffocation by the state, not to mention, to the pogroms of xenophobic backlash mobs. Let them die.

Are we willing to accept this, America?  To accept a world where those in need, those driven by violence, destruction, and poverty to seek refuge hundreds or thousands miles from home are simply left to rot and to die? Where such people are excluded from the rest of humanity by states swinging steel doors shut?

Forget, for the moment, that the very existence of this flood-tide of refugees is in part a result of US policies that have racked the Middle East for decades, and especially since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Forget that American bombs, tanks, and aid to psychopathic ‘insurgents’  has helped to create and to exacerabte the crisis in Syria and beyond.  Forget all of that, for the moment–though we must never forget it.

Are we willing, America, to accept a world where those in desperate need are left to die, simply because they are from a country where a violent political movement (one of so many thriving now across this world on fire) has influence?  Because they are from the Middle East?  Because they are Arab and/or Muslim?  Are we willing to accept and to help perpetuate what–generalized–amounts to genocide?

Amidst the anti-refugee backlash, some Americans have suggested we might at least make an exception to this cruel new rule that they insist we impose: “proven Christians” should be given privileges, should be allowed to enter, even from Syria. Courting international opinion with a more liberal line, Barack Obama has called this suggestion “offensive,” and “un-American.” And he has a point.

But let’s take these “Christians” seriously, for a moment.  Let us, in closing, consider one more basic moral principle, this one attributed not to Kant–who no doubt, as a philosopher, may be suspected of un-american intellectualism–but to Jesus, whom I have heard is worshipped as a holy figure in the religion of Christians.

In the book of Matthew (25:45) Jesus accuses a group of people of having failed to take care of him when he was in need.  Flabbergasted, the people  then ask:  “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45” .  Jesus replies, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”  (Matthew 25: 45).

To the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

Here we see that the supposed lord god of Christians had his own universal moral imperative:  Treat the vulnerable among you as you would treat the son of god.  How you have treated (and failed to treat) the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, this is how you treated Him.

Jesus provides no exception.  He does not add, “unless you suspect them of terrorism” or “unless your xenophobia makes them look scary to you.”  He says rather:  How you treat the Syrian refugees (or other immigrants and refugees in need), that is how you have treated Me. You will be judged by how you treat the least amongst you.

If Kant asks us to reflect on our treatment of a particular situation or person in terms of the potential generalizing of our actions, Jesus demands that we see the particular people who stand before us as themselves representatives of the sacred.  If Kant would have us contemplate the hell on earth that would result from our own actions becoming the general law, Jesus here suggests that we treat each human being who comes before us in the light of our own judgment.  That we treat the least among us not just as we would have them treat us, but as we would treat god, the being that will judge us eternally.

Some who claim to be christian have suggested that we make refugees prove they are christian in order to gain access to resettlement in the USA.

I propose we turn this demand around:  Let these gate-keepers prove themselves to be christian.

Or else let them be judged as hypocrites and imposters.  Let their megaphone-tongues be stripped from them, and their profane gates torn back down to earth, which knows no borders.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge

Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War

 

NOVANEWS
by ERIC DRAITSER

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In the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris, world attention will once again be focused on the issue of refugees entering Europe. While much of the spotlight has been rightly pointed at Syrian refugees fleeing the western-sponsored war against the Syrian government, it must be remembered that the refugees come from a variety of countries, each of which has its own particular circumstances, with many of them having been victims of US-NATO aggression in one form or another. Syria, Afghanistan and Libya have of course been targeted by so-called ‘humanitarian wars’ and fake ‘revolutions’ which have left the countries fractured, divided, and unable to function; these countries have been transformed into failed states thanks to US-NATO policy.

What often gets lost in the discussion of refugees however is the fact that a significant proportion of those seeking sanctuary in Europe and the US are from the Horn of Africa: Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea primarily. While there is some discussion of this issue in western media, it is mostly ignored when it comes to the first three countries as news of fleeing Sudanese, Somalis, and Ethiopians does not bode well for Washington’s narrative as the US has, in one way or another, been directly involved in each of those countries.

However, in the case of Eritrea, a fiercely independent nation that refuses to bow to the diktats of the US, the country is presented as a seemingly bottomless wellspring of refugees fleeing the country. Were one to read solely the UN reports and news stories, one could be forgiven for thinking that Eritrea has been mostly depopulated as hordes of Eritrean youth flee the country in droves. But that narrative, one which is periodically reinforced by distorted coverage in the media, is quickly being eroded as increasingly the truth is coming out.

Countering the Eritrean Refugee Propaganda

The popular understanding of Eritrea in the West (to the extent that people know of the country at all) is of a nation, formerly ruled by Ethiopia, which has become the “North Korea of Africa,” a systematic violator of human rights ruled by a brutal dictatorship that uses slave labor and tortures its citizens. As such, Eritrea is immediately convicted in the court of public opinion and, therefore, becomes a convenient scapegoat when it comes to migration. In fact, it seems that the propaganda against Eritrea has been so effective, with the US and Europe so keen to take in anyone fleeing the country, that it has become the stated country of origin for thousands upon thousands of refugees from a number of countries. It seems that African refugees, regardless of their true country of origin, are all Eritreans now.

Take for instance the comments by the Austrian ambassador to Ethiopia who unabashedly explained that, “We believe that 30 to 40 percent of the Eritreans in Europe are Ethiopians.” Depending on who you ask, the numbers may actually be even higher than that. Indeed, being granted asylum in Europe is no easy feat for African refugees who, knowing the political agenda of Europe and its attempts to isolate and destabilize Eritrea through promoting the migration of its citizens, quickly lose their passports and claim to be Eritreans fleeing political persecution.

But who can blame these people when the US itself has established specific policies and programs aimed at luring Eritrean youths away from their country? As WikiLeaks revealed in a 2009 diplomatic cable from the US Embassy entitled “Promoting Educational Opportunity for Anti-Regime Eritrean Youth,” the former US ambassador to Eritrea Ronald K. McMullen noted that the US:

…intends to begin adjudicating student visa applications, regardless of whether the regime is willing to issue the applicant an Eritrean passport and exit visa …With an Eritrean passport and an F1 visa in a Form DS-232, the lucky young person is off to America. For those visa recipients who manage to leave the country and receive UNHCR refugee status, a UN-authorized travel document might allow the young person to travel to America with his or her F1 in the DS-232.…Due to the Isaias regime´s ongoing restrictions on Embassy Asmara, [the US] does not contemplate a resumption of full visa services in the near future. However, giving young Eritreans hope, the chance for an education, and the skills with which to rebuild their impoverished country in the post-Isaias period is one of the strongest signals we can send to the Eritrean people that the United States has not abandoned them…

Using the twin enticements of educational scholarships and escape from mandatory national service, the US and its European allies have attempted to lure thousands of Eritreans to the West in the hopes of destabilizing the Asmara government. As the Ambassador noted, the US intention is to usher in a “post Isaias [Afewerki, president of Eritrea] period.” In other words: regime change. And it seems that Washington and its European allies calculated that their policy of economically isolating Eritrea through sanctions has not effectively disrupted the country’s development.

And it is just such programs and guidelines which look favorably on Eritrean migrants which have motivated tens of thousands of Africans to claim that they all come from the relatively small Eritrea. The reality however is that a significant number of these refugees (perhaps even the majority) are actually from Ethiopia and other countries. As Eritrea-based journalist and East Africa expert Thomas Mountain noted in 2013:

Every year for a decade or more a million Ethiopians, 10 million and counting, have left, or fled, their homeland… Why, why would ten million Ethiopians, one in every 8 people in the country, risking their lives in many cases, seek refuge in foreign, mostly unwelcoming, lands? The answer lies in the policies of the Ethiopian regime which have been described by UN investigators in reports long suppressed with words such as “food and medical aid blockades”, “scorched earth counterinsurgency tactics”, “mass murder” and even “genocide”…Most of the Ethiopians refugees are from the Oromo nationality, at 40 million strong half of Ethiopia, or the ethnic Somalis of the Ogaden. Both of these regions in southern Ethiopia have long been victims of some of the most inhumane, brutal treatment any peoples of the world have ever known.

There is little mention of this Ethiopian exodus which, for a variety of reasons, is suppressed in the West. Many of the refugees simply claim to be Eritrean knowing that they stand a far greater chance of being admitted into Europe or the US if they claim origin from a blacklisted country like Eritrea, rather than an ally such as Ethiopia, a country long seen as Washington’s closest partner in the region.

In fact, Ethiopia is consistently praised as an economic success story, with the World Bank having recently announced that the African nation is the world’s fastest growing economy for 2015-2017. Despite this alleged ‘economic miracle,’ Ethiopia is still hemorrhaging population as citizens flee in their thousands, providing further evidence that outside the glittering capital of Addis Ababa the country remains one of the most destitute and violent in the world.

The same can be said of South Sudan, a country created by the US and Israel primarily, and which has now descended into civil war sending more than 600,000 refugees streaming out of the newly created country, with another 1.5 million internally displaced. Somalia remains a living nightmare for the poor souls unfortunate enough to have been born in a country that is a nation-state in name only. According to the UN, Somalia boasts more than 1.1 million internally displaced refugees with nearly 1 million refugees located outside the country. Taken in total, Ethiopian, South Sudanese, and Somali refugees comprise a population greater than the entire population of Eritrea.

However, Somalia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan are all strategic allies (read clients) of the United States and its western partners; Eritrea is considered persona non grata by Washington. This fundamental fact far more than anything else accounts for the completely distorted coverage of the refugee issue in Eritrea. Put another way, refugees and human trafficking are a convenient public relations and propaganda weapon employed by the US to demonize Eritrea, and to tarnish its project of economic and political self-reliance.

Refugees as Pretext, Independence Is the Real Sin

Eritrea has been demonized by the US and the West mainly because it has refused to be subservient to the imperial system. First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist leaders such as Thomas Sankara, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades: namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank, “Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies…You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.”

Of course, there are also other critical political and economic reasons for Eritrea’s pariah status in the eyes of the so called “developed world,” and especially the US. Perhaps the most obvious, and most unforgiveable from the perspective of Washington, is Eritrea’s stubborn refusal to have any cooperation, formal or informal, with AFRICOM or any other US military. While every other country in Africa with the exception of the equally demonized, and equally victimized, Zimbabwe has some military connections to US imperialism, Eritrea remains stubbornly defiant. I suppose Eritrea takes the notion of post-colonial independence seriously.

Is it any wonder that Afewerki and his government are demonized by the West? What is the history of US and European behavior towards independent African leaders who advocated self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology? The answer is self-evident. Such ideas as those embodied by Eritrea are seen by Washington, London, and Brussels as not only defiant, but dangerous; dangerous not only because of what they say, but dangerous because they’re actually working.

Naturally there are legitimate concerns to be raised about Eritrea and major strides still to be made in the political and economic spheres. Social progress is an arduous process, especially in a part of the world where nearly every other country is racked with violence, genocide, famine, and a host of other existential crises. But the progress necessary for Eritrea will be made by and for Eritreans; it cannot and must not be imposed from without by the same forces that, in their humanitarian magnanimity, rained bombs on Libya and systematically undermined, destabilized, and/or destroyed nations in seemingly every corner of the globe.

Refugees should be treated with dignity and respect. Their suffering should never be trivialized, nor should they be scapegoated as terrorists. But equally so, their tragedies should not be allowed to be cynically exploited for political gain by the West. The flow of refugees is an outgrowth of the policies of the Empire – the same Empire that continues to transform this crisis into a potent weapon of destabilization and war.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War

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