Archive | July 11th, 2016

US Racist Repression Exposed, Nationwide Protests against Police Brutality and Killings

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Police killings of African Americans fuel urban unrest

Five law-enforcement officers were killed and 7 others were wounded when they were ambushed in downtown Dallas on July 6. The shooting took place during the course of nationwide demonstrations against a rash of police killings in various regions of the United States.

Marches have been held in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Memphis, and across the U.S. In Dallas thousands have taken to the streets in solidarity with the struggle to end police brutality against African Americans.

During the evening of July 6 shots rang out in the downtown area of Dallas resulting in the multiple deaths of both transit police and patrolmen. The corporate media attempted to take this incident and use it against the burgeoning movement against racist violence. These demonstrations and other protest actions are representative of the rising intolerance and commitment to eradicate the use of racial profiling leading to lethal force against African Americans.TT

The following morning in Dallas there were hundreds of people who marched through the streets maintaining their position against police brutality chanting slogans in support of the victims of these forms of state violence. It was announced that as of early July 11 some 312 people had been arrested in demonstrations around the U.S. (CNN)

Over the weekend of July 8-11 thousands of people demonstrated around Baton Rouge demanding justice in the death of Alton Sterling who posthumously has been charged by corporate media with engaging in some form of “illegal commerce” as an alleged street vendor of CDs. Even if this was to be substantiated, and it has not, does this warrant extrajudicial execution by the police?

Protests continue as well in Minnesota where a local newspaper emphasized that “What began as a peaceful protest in St. Paul Saturday over the police killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights turned into a riot, officials said Sunday (July 10). Demonstrators shut down Interstate 94 for about six hours. People threw rocks, fireworks and other objects at officers, leaving 21 injured, according to the St. Paul police chief. Between the highway protest and a march that followed on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue early Sunday, police arrested 102 people. The protests were spurred by the killing on Wednesday of Castile, of St. Paul, but also encompassed other officer-involved shootings of African-American men. In the Castile case his girlfriend livestreamed on Facebook the aftermath of his shooting by a St. Anthony police officer.”

The Jackson Sun in southwest Tennessee said of demonstrations and civil disobedience activities in Memphis that “A crowd of more than 1,000 shut down the Interstate 40 Bridge for several hours Sunday (July 10) night as part of a protest over recent killings of black men by police officers. Traffic finally began moving again about 10:30 p.m. Traffic was backed up for miles in both Tennessee and Arkansas as drivers sat idling on the bridge, wondering what was going on. This has become a common tactic with some Black Lives Matter movements around the country. In response to two fatal police shootings of black men this past week in Louisiana and Minnesota, groups in both those states have attempted similar shutdowns.” (July 11)

Police in response to some of the demonstrations carried out repressive tactics to clear activists from the streets and expressways. The British Daily Mail noted “Black Lives Matter protesters have been sprayed with tear gas in Phoenix after a march against police brutality spiraled out of control. Police also fired bean bag rounds and pepper spray at the protesters, who were seen running away and shielding their eyes. One image showed a white man holding a Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ placard interrupting the protest on Friday night. Less than three hours after the demonstration began at 8pm, police declared the protest an ‘unlawful assembly’ and ordered people to leave after objects were thrown at officers, the Arizona Republic reported. In Rochester, New York, the SWAT team arrived and police arrested 74 protesters who were blocking the streets. One organizer, Ashley Gantt, said they sat down because they did not want any movement to be misinterpreted as violence after the shootings in Dallas. Other protests were calmer, with an estimated 5,000 people marching peacefully along a highway in Atlanta as they demanded justice for black men killed by police officers in recent days. There was a heavy police presence at the Atlanta rally as protesters halted traffic, with officers on high alert following Thursday’s massacre in Dallas.” (July 9)

These manifestations forced U.S. President Barack Obama to make a statement while attending a NATO conference in Warsaw, Poland where discussions were held aimed at expanding the European and North American military presence in Eastern Europe. In addition, the Pentagon occupation of the Central Asian state of Afghanistan will continue to be a focus of Washington’s foreign policy. The successive administrations inside the U.S. have all supported this militarism despite its repeated failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Palestine and other geo-political regions.

The resources both human and material which have been wasted during the course of the last quarter-century of invasions, bombings, occupations and blatant interference in the internal affairs of other nation-states could very well have been utilized to maintain quality housing, the stabilization of communities, educational reform, universal healthcare for all residents of the U.S. along with a concerted campaign to halt and dismantle the repressive law-enforcement apparatus which systematically targets African Americans, Latinos and other oppressed peoples as well as the elimination of the racist prison industrial complex that houses millions of inmates along with those who are under judicial and law-enforcement supervision.

Over the last three years anti-racist demonstrations have accelerated. The vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012 gained attention exposing the fact that the lives of African Americans mean very little in a country that professes to be a paragon of human rights globally.

Killings That Drew National Attention

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old African American, was shot numerous times even after he was tackled to the street by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers. Police claim they were there in response to a report that a man dressed in red and selling CDs used a gun to threaten someone outside a convenience store.

This police shooting was captured on video by multiple people at the scene. These videos illustrate the police attack and shooting done at very close range. The killing immediately sparked demonstrations in Baton Rouge. Consciousness around this killing prompted other demonstrations in the region and nationally.

After a second shooting in Minnesota the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would conduct a federal investigation. Nonetheless, several probes conducted by the DOJ in recent years have not resulted in civil rights or criminal charges being filed against the police and racist gunmen.

Later on July 7, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot to death sitting in his automobile by an as yet unidentified police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. His companion Diamond Reynolds live streamed the entire incident over Facebook. This was a major contribution to the struggle against police brutality. Reynolds and her daughter remained calm despite the traumatic and outrageous attack.

Even though it was reported that the video was soon taken down from Facebook it had already been downloaded and then shared on scores of other sites. In a matter of minutes and hours, Reynolds figuratively became the Ida B. Wells-Barnett of her day. Wells-Barnett, a school teacher and journalist, in the 1880s and 1890s, through her newspaper publications exposed the hypocrisy of the white racist rationales for the mass lynching of African American men.

In the 21st century these assumptions about the African American people remain intact. Police agencies obviously train their personnel to view the oppressed African nation in the U.S. as a threat to the supremacy of American capitalism and imperialism. These killings are by no means isolated incidents but occur on a frequent basis.

Varying reports related to police use of lethal force in 2015, indicates that anywhere between 975 and 1100 or more people died at the hands of law-enforcement in the U.S. Many others were injured and wounded as well as cited and taken into custody without probable cause.

Earlier in the month of June, the New York Times reported that “The blue lights flashed in the rearview mirror of the Ford Focus. The man behind the wheel, a 37-year-old African-American, pulled over, opened the door and sprinted into the Mississippi night. Soon, a white police officer was giving chase on foot, accompanied by his police dog. The officer would eventually find and fatally shoot the man, Antwun Shumpert, here on the evening of June 18, plunging this small city — famous globally as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, but known regionally as a beacon of relatively progressive racial attitudes — into what has become a tragically common American morass of anger, racial division and hard questions about the treatment of black men at the hands of the police. “(July 4)

The police killing of Antwun Shumpert initially did not attract as much national attention as the violent acts committed against Sterling and Castile in Louisiana and Minnesota respectively. Nonetheless, in light of the protests sweeping hundreds of cities, more people have become aware of this development.

African American advocates for Shumpert, particularly his family and attorney, linked the police killing to the history of racist violence in Mississippi. This southern state was considered one of the most notorious in regard to the highly exploitative system of slavery and the extra-judicial executions of Black men during the 19th and 20th centuries.

This same New York Times article says that the attorney for the Shumpert family, Carolos Moore, “last week displayed photos of Mr. Shumpert’s corpse in a news conference, including one that appeared to show a yawning tear where his scrotum met his inner thigh. Mr. Moore invoked the lynching of Emmett Till and the legacy of the Ku Klux Klan, and criticized the city for not taking down the Mississippi state flag, which incorporates the Confederate battle flag.”

“They have declared open season on us, and they are killing us with impunity,” Moore declared. Moore is African American and also asked “the question is: Are you going to sit there and allow them to do it?”

This is War Being Waged on the African American People by the Capitalist-racist State

Of course this statement by Atty. Moore echoes the mass sentiment of African Americans and others who are militantly opposing police brutality. The rapid wave of significant protests merely reflects the “tip of the iceberg” in regard to the groundswell of frustration and anger so prevalent among broad sections of people.

There are trends within the political sentiment and demonstrations which suggest a renewal of the struggle for national liberation and self-determination. The re-emerge of hundreds of people waving the flag of the African American liberation movement (the red, black and green), suggests a rise in national consciousness which has revolutionary potential.

No genuine transformation of U.S. society can effectively take hold without the acquisition of full equality and self-determination for the oppressed nations. Attempts to obscure this question by the ruling class through the presidency of Obama have not been successful.

The lack of enthusiasm among African Americans during the Democratic primary and caucus process is a reflection of a mounting disenchantment among many with the two-party capitalist political system. Both the Democrats and the Republicans perpetuate the exploitative systems of national oppression and economic exploitation.

In order for a broader and deeper movement against racist violence to solidify in the U.S. independent political organizations must emerge which challenge the ruling class right to rule over the working class and the oppressed throughout the country. Political change must not be merely cosmetic but real and the material force of this revolutionary movement must manifest a level of force and ideological orientation that has the capacity attract millions committed fundamental change.

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“Regime Reboot” and the Macedonia Protest Movement

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Balkan Megaprojects Pave Way for Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area

 
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Below is the June 2016 interview in English published by Oriental Review of Hybrid Warfare expert Andrew Korybko with the Macedonian media “Vecer”  (Evening). Korybko addresses the US R-TOR (Regime Tweaking – Regime Change – Regime Reboot) strategy  in the Balkans, and efforts by Russia and China to stabilize Eurasia.

You’re in Skopje at the moment, where the so-called “Colorful Revolution” has been ongoing for two months already. What are the real reasons and the goals behind this in the context of the geopolitical constellations in the region?

The “Colorful Revolution” that’s presently ongoing in the Republic of Macedonia is nothing more than a Color Revolution masquerading as a “legitimate” civil society movement. It’s really a foreign-supported regime change attempt that employs state-of-art political technologies inspired by the teachings of Gene Sharp, the godfather of this stratagem. Some participants and international observers genuinely believe that what’s happening in Skopje is an organic initiative, but others are aware of its artificial nature and pursuit of ulterior motives. It doesn’t take much effort for any neutral observer to find out which forces are pulling the protesters’ strings, since much information has already been publicly released by the patriotic elements of the Macedonian media about the involvement of the Soros OSI Foundation and the close coordination between the protesters and the US Embassy. Soros and his multitude of affiliated organizations provided the “seed funding” for organizing the wide assortment of “NGOs” that are leading the anti-government movement, and the billionaire philanthropist controls the finances that allow SDSM to pay protesters and bus them into Skopje from all across the country. These protesters, of course, are either “useful idiots” or willing conspirators like was already mentioned. They participate in these events for a few reasons, all of which could potentially overlap depending on the particular individual involved:

* the “Liberal-Democratic” ideology that Zaev and his handlers have been trying to brainwash people with through their control of various media apparatuses has succeeded in misleading a minority of the masses, a few of whom are attracted to the “romantic” idea of taking part in a “revolution” and egotistically relish the potential mainstream and social media attention that they could receive;

* some people have an immediate financial incentive to get paid a day’s wages for only doing a few hours of active or passive work, such as “protesting” or attending “workshops”, “training seminars”, etc., respectively, and see their paid participation in the Color Revolution as an easy job that could go on indefinitely;

* and others are simply career opportunists that want to capitalize on what they believe will be a successful regime change operation and use this chance to ingratiate themselves with the forthcoming powers-to-be, angling to ascend to the halls of power on the backs of the misguided fools and paid “protesters” that they hope will help them get there.

It’s important to point out at this moment that the US is pursuing three interlinked strategic objectives through its support of the Color Revolution. From the relatively mildest to the most extreme, these are:

*Regime Tweaking, or the enactment of governmental concessions without immediately changing the head of state and/or the ruling party;

* Regime Change, or the overthrow of the democratically elected and legitimate authorities through either “constitutional” (Brazil) or unconstitutional (Ukraine) means;

* and a Regime Reboot, or changing the constitution (such as through “Identity Federalism”, functioning in many current cases as an internal partition) in order to completely rewrite the ‘rules of the game’.

A Budapest-Belgrade-Skopje-Athens line would complement the EU's TEN-T plan.

A Budapest-Belgrade-Skopje-Athens line would complement the EU’s TEN-T plan.

Beside Macedonia, we can see protests in Serbia, Montenegro, R.Srpska, Croatia… There are turmoils in the Balkan states precisely in the period when Moscow and Bejing promoted the two major economic projects the Turkish stream and the Chinese Railway from Budapest to Athens. What is the connection between the destabilizations and this projects?

Of course, the US’ ultimate fallback plan is to devastate the Balkans with another regional war if it can’t seize control of the geostrategic territory through which Russia’s Balkan Stream and China’s Balkan Silk Road are expected to pass, but if it could be led to believe that it could further its objective through the relatively inexpensive investment in long-term Regime Tweaking and “constitutional” Regime Change, then it will usually opt for this scenario. Repeating the earlier order from the relatively mildest to the most extreme goals, and understanding that in this particular context of prospectively unfolding violence that one step would simply phase into the other according to a predetermined timeframe, it can be expected that the US will try to promote:

* Regime Tweaking by ordering SDSM back into the government on Washington’s terms so that it can dismantle VMRO’s domestic and international achievements and gain control of key state institutions (judicial, intelligence, military, etc.), which in turn would help SDSM steal a future election as a means of “legitimizing” its ‘soft coup’;

* Regime Change by getting rid of VMRO completely and consequently instigating a civil conflict between the patriots and the SDSM coup supporters, predictably expanding into a multisided war that evokes strong shades of an externally manufactured “clash of civilizations’ by involving the terrorist supporters of “Greater Albania”;

* and a total Regime Reboot by forcing a “federal solution” onto the Republic of Macedonia that divides the country between Orthodox Macedonians and Muslim Albanians and leads to the eventual erosion of Macedonian identity, foreseeably culminating in the constitutional name being changed and the “federal” halves being internationally partitioned between Greater Albania and Greater Bulgaria.

This three-step approach is being pushed by the US out of the strong determination that its strategists have in disrupting, influencing, or controlling Russia’s (currently suspended) Balkan Stream gas pipeline and China’s Balkan Silk Road high-speed rail project from Budapest to the Greek port of Piraeus (and potentially one day as far afield as Warsaw, Riga, and Saint Petersburg).

A subservient VMRO government, which has now proven itself totally impossible for the US to achieve, was envisioned to act as an influencing proxy on giving the US an indirect presence along the vital chokepoint through which these two projects are expected to pass, potentially even allowing it to one day cancel or outright control these initiatives. Since this option is no longer feasible for the US, it instead wants to carry out direct Regime Change via a Color Revolution or phased Regime Change via pressured Regime Tinkering (brought about by the Color Revolution or potential Hybrid War) which would result in its SDSM agents taking control of the state on behalf of Washington. If this fallback plan can’t succeed, then the US might likely resort to instigating a “clash of civilizations” between Orthodox Macedonians and Muslim Albanians (whether as a coordinated part of the Regime Change operation or conducted separately thereof) in order to radically push through its Regime Reboot agenda in totally reconfiguring the Macedonian state and preparing for its eventual dismantlement by Albania and Bulgaria.

As for what’s presently being seen in the other Balkan states, that’s also very closely connected with the formula I spoke about earlier as regards to Regime Tweaking, Regime Change, and a Regime Reboot. In connection to Republika Srpska, the aim is to overthrow Milorad Dodik and install a compliant pro-Western surrogate who would go along with the dismantlement of the autonomous republic’s sovereignty and its neo-imperial absorption into a Brussels-dominated Bosnia. The confusing situation in Serbia is similar – what started off as patriotic anti-NATO protests designed to constructively pressure the government into reversing its pro-Western course were quickly diverted into suspicious manifestations that nowadays could be weaponized to do more in pressuring Serbia away from Russia and China than from the EU and the US. It’s beginning to look like the US’ hijacked the positive “Regime Tweaking” purposes of the anti-NATO protests and replaced them with its own pro-Western “Liberal-Democratic” proxies designed to be a “bottom-up” complement to the top-down coercion that Washington is now imposing upon Belgrade.

Serbia is a very desirable target for the US because of its position alongside Russia and China’s Balkan Megaprojects. Although further inland that the Republic of Macedonia, it still occupies a very important space, and in the event that Macedonia once more succeeds in repelling the Hybrid War threat against it, then it’s forecast that the US will redirect its destabilization efforts further down the line, in this case, towards Serbia. Therefore, what’s happening there nowadays is a sort of strategic ‘insurance policy’ that the US is preparing for just in case it needs to move forward with this scenario. Moreover, Serbia’s interest in joining the Russian-led Eurasian Union trading bloc scares the US and the EU, both of which understand that the most practical way for the non-contiguous states to interact with one another is via China’s forthcoming Balkan Silk Road, which in this case would take goods from Belgrade to Piraeus via rail and then ship them to Russia by sea. This further emphasizes the paramount importance that the multipolar world is placing on employing this high-speed rail route as its preferred access point into the continental hinterlands, beginning with Serbia and then extending throughout the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, though such a vision also conversely ‘justifies’ why the US could be interested in destabilizing Serbia once more in order to offset this project’s viability.

Additionally, there’s talk that Russia might build the so-called Poseidon Pipeline across the Black Sea and then through Bulgaria, Greece, and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. Should this project ever see the light of day, then it’s likely that a branch would follow the South Stream blueprint and extend into Serbia, the envisioned hub of the original project. Assuming that there’s at least a potential that this could happen, then even if the Balkan Stream project remains indefinitely frozen, then Serbia would still be able to bring together the Chinese and Russian Megaprojects, thereby making it an irresistible target for the US. To complement the prospective internal destabilization of Serbia, the US looks ready to lure it into an international crisis in Bosnia, which is why it’s so adamant about creating turmoil in Republika Srpska. Washington knows that Belgrade’s security is directly connected to the stability of Banja Luka, and if its brotherly entity in Bosnia comes under threat, then all of Serbia indirectly affected by extent. Strategizing in advance of the fact that the internal disruptions in Serbia might fizzle out, the US is already preparing for the “Plan B” of focusing on Republika Srpska as a means of attracting Serbian attention and possible involvement, with the American-anticipated outcome being that this could disastrously entangle Belgrade in yet another regional conflict that ends up leading to large-scale strategic reversals.

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Russian President Putin visited Serbia in 2015 and recently sat on the Byzantine throne in Athos, while Chinese President Xi Jinping also visited Belgrade one week ago. What’s your view on these events and what are the future political implications for the Balkan states?

It’s highly symbolic that both the Russian and Chinese leaders would find the Balkans worthy of their personal attention, and this just goes to reinforce the region’s strategic importance that I’ve emphasized in multiple interviews across the past year. The two nodes of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership are actively cooperating in courting the Balkan states, with each side recognizing that they need the other in order to fulfill their joint vision of promoting multipolarity in the region and then further afield throughout the rest of Europe. Russia has the civilizational heritage and energy supplies necessary for gaining the goodwill of most of the region’s people and powering their industries, while China has the investment capital needed for large-scale development projects. Russia is also seeking to invest in the region and certainly has the capability to do so, but it’s just that China has the recent experience in constructing the type of trade corridors that would greatly benefit both Moscow and Beijing.

Russian and Chinese cooperative involvement in the Balkans shouldn’t be seen as a competition (though that’s precisely how unipolar-affiliated media outlets and NGOs will try to mischievously portray it), but rather as one hand washing the other. Other than Central Asia, there is no other region in the world that has as much of a potential for bringing these two Great Powers together than the Balkans, and there’s no doubt that the region will see a lot more Russian and Chinese involvement in the coming years.

In this sense, how important are the Balkans for the multipolar world and how does Macedonia fit into all of this?

The Balkans are the geostrategic ‘backdoor’ to Europe, or in other words, the access point that the leading multipolar powers of Russia and China want to use in avoiding the “cordon sanitaire” that the US and NATO are setting up in Eastern Europe and gaining direct access to the heart of the continent. The Balkan Megaprojects – Russia’s Balkan Stream and China’s Balkan Silk Road – are compatible plans that will power the region and make it the focal point of an entirely unprecedented north-south economic corridor linking together Central and Eastern Europe. With the passing of time and the proper planning, this could foreseeably liberate the region from unipolar institutional influence and steadily replace it with its multipolar counterpart, ideally a supercontinental free trade area between Lisbon and Vladivostok.

President Putin’s announcement during the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum that Russia is still interested in reaching a trade deal with the EU should be linked with Prime Minister Medvedev’s late-2015 proposal for multilateral integration between the Eurasian Union, the SCO, and ASEAN. Taken together, this hemispheric strategy amounts to what I at the time called the Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area, or GEFTA, but key to ensuring Europe’s participation in this revolutionary structure is to actualize the Balkan Megaprojects as a means of demonstrating the connective infrastructural viability of this plan.

empires_mapIt’s here where the Republic of Macedonia has an irreplaceable role in linking the East (Russia, China) and West (EU) just like Alexander did millennia ago, although in a completely different way of course. While Russia’s Balkan Stream project is indefinitely suspended for the time being and the recently discussed Poseidon Pipeline might bypass the country in favor of directly connecting to South Stream’s envisioned Serbian hub instead, Macedonia is still the bottleneck chokepoint through which China’s Balkan Silk Road high-speed rail project must pass, and it’s this component of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership’s Balkan policy that’s the most substantially transformative in bringing multipolarity into Europe. After all, for as important as energy corridors are, they’re always trumped by developmental ones when it comes to the real-sector economy, which is what China’s project is aspiring to accomplish. In order for the Balkan Silk Road to evolve into a transregional north-south corridor connecting the broad space between Piraeus and St. Petersburg and facilitating Europe’s eventual accession into GEFTA, it must first go through Macedonia, thus making the tiny country disproportionately important in global strategic affairs and explaining why the US has dedicated so much time to destabilizing it.

If Macedonia can beat back this asymmetrical aggression and remain stable, then it would serve as the geographic foundation for the Balkan Silk Road and become the strategic cornerstone for bringing together the rest of Eurasia via the positive effect that it would have in attracting the EU to GEFTA. While this is a long-term strategy, it shouldn’t be forgotten that every far-reaching plan starts off humbly enough. Even though some observers may not yet recognize the global strategic significance of the Republic of Macedonia in the framework of the New Cold War and GEFTA, that doesn’t make it any less important in actuality, and the lack of awareness merely serves as a cover for distracting the public’s attention from the true intention behind the latest destabilizations.

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Syrian War Report: Heavy Clashes in Aleppo City ”Video”

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Syrian War Report: Heavy Clashes in Aleppo City. Al Nusra Orders Massive Shellings of Residential Areas
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The ISIS terrorist group has downed a military helicopter in the province of Homs, killing 2 Russian pilots onboard. The initial reports that Mi-25 crashed east of Palmyra late on July 8 were denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD).

However, on July 9, the Russian MoD reported that Russian military pilot-instructors Evgeny Dolgin and Ryafagat Khabibulin were conducting a calibration flight on a Syrian Mi-25 when they received a request from the Syrian command group to help defeat the advancing terrorists and fire for effect. The MoD said that due to the skillful actions of the crew the terrorist attack had been thwarted. However, their helicopter was shot down by terrorists as it was turning to head back to the base. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, citing a source in the MoD, that the helicopter had been downed with the aid of an American TOW antitank missile system. The both pilots will posthumously receive state awards.

The joint militant forces, led by Al Nusra, have been conducting mass shelling of the Aleppo city neighborhoods since late June 8. According to reports, only in al-Furqan and al-Sukan up to 100 civilians were killed and 300 others injured. In turn, pro-militant source blame the Syrian government and the Russian air force for civilians casualties in militant-controlled areas of the city. No numbers have been provided yet.

Separately, on July 11, the joint militant forces launched a fresh offensive, targeting the Police Headquarters and Souq Al-Hal area in Old Aleppo. Militants detonated a tunnel bomb near Aqabeh. Clashes are ongoing.

Controversial reports are appearing about the situation at the strategic Castello Road, heading to the militant-held areas of Aleppo city. On July 7, the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces set a fire control of the road after taking control of the Mallah Farms and during next few days pro-government forces seized Tell Jabenia and Al Jurf Al Sagheer, deploying in only 400 meters from the road. Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG launched an offensive on Youth Housing Complex, assisting the Syrian army. In turn, the united militant forces launched a series of counter-attacks in the area, repelling the Kurdish advance and trying to push the Syrian army back from the areas near the Castello Road. Pro-militant sources claim that Tell Jabenia has been re-sized and clashes are ongoing in the Mallah Farms. However, the recent video evidences show that the army still in control of the Mallah Farms and the Castello Road is hit by the government artillery.

The situation for militant groups is critical. If they are unable to draw the Syrian army attention to other frontlines and re-open the supply line to Aleppo, the Syrian government will continue steady gains in Aleppo, purging a major part of the militant chances to play any crucial role in the post war Syria.

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“Washington, the War Criminal Capital of the World

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“Washington, the War Criminal Capital of the World is Driving the World to Nuclear War”: Paul Craig Roberts

 
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A Reuters news report by Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials.

First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.

Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by Washington acting under the cover of NATO.

These destroyed countries posed no threat whatsoever to the countries of the NATO alliance and undertook no aggressive actions against NATO members. How is it possible that Reuters’ reporters and editors are not aware of this?

Why do they call an instrument of Washington’s aggression a “defense alliance”?

Emmott and Siebold report that “Russian aggression” is the reason NATO is deploying 3,000 to 4,000 troops in the Baltic states and Poland. In other words, something that does not exist–Russian aggression toward the Baltics and Poland–is assumed to be a fact that must be countered with military deployments.

The reporters do not question whether this insignificant number of NATO troops constitutes a defense or a provocation. The number of troops would have to be 100 times greater before the force even begins to approach a defensive force. What then is the purpose of the 3,000 or 4,000 NATO troops?

Every informed person knows that there is no need of a defense force against Russia in the Baltics and Poland. Aside from this fact, only an absolute idiot could think that three or four thousand troops constitutes a defense against the Russian Army.

In June 1941 Operation Barbarossa (image right) hit Russia with an invasion of four million troops, the majority German component of which were probably the most highly trained and disciplined troops in military history, excepting only the Spartans. By the time that the Americans and British got around to the Normandy invasion, the Russian Army had chewed up the Wehrmacht. There were only a few divisions at 40% strength to resist the Normandy invasion. By the time the Russian Army got to Berlin, the German resistance consisted of armed children.

The Reuters reporters raise no question about President Obama’s statement that 1,000 of this insignificant force will be Americans in order “to enhance our forward presence in central and eastern Europe.” Why does the United States need a “forward presence” in central and eastern Europe? What does a US “forward presence” in central and eastern Europe represent except an insane recklessness? One thousand US troops are good for nothing except a provocation.

Emmott and Siebold report with a straight face without laughter or question unverifiable accusations of Russian aggression by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, President Obama, and head of NATO’s military committee, Czech General Petr Pavel.

Gen. Pavel “said Russia was attempting to restore its status as a world power, an effort that included using its military.”

Obama said it is necessary to “keep sanctions on Moscow in place until it fully complies with the ceasefire agreement in Ukraine.”

Waszczykowski said:

“We have to reject any type of wishful thinking with regard to pragmatic cooperation with Russia as long as Russia keeps on invading its neighbors.”

Rhodes threatened Russia with a NATO response to Russia’s “continued aggression.”

These statements are propagandistic. If those who made the statements actually believe them, they are too imbecilic to be trusted with public offices.

Is it possible that the Czech general does not know that Russia has used its military only to repel a Washington-inspired Georgian invasion of South Ossetia and against ISIS in Syria, which the US, UK, and France also claim to be doing? After repelling the Georgian invasion, Russia withdrew its forces. After dealing ISIS a setback in Syria, Russia withdrew and was forced to return by Washington’s resupply of ISIS.

Can the Polish Foreign Minister identify the countries that “Russia keeps on invading”?

Does the President of the United States really not know that Russia is not a party to the ceasefire agreement in Ukraine? This is an agreement between the breakaway republics and the government in Kiev. Washington has done everything possible to discourage Kiev from keeping the agreement Kiev signed.

Can National Security Adviser Rhodes tell us where “continued aggression by Russia” is occurring? What countries are being invaded and overrun?

How can there be so much Russian aggression and no evidence of it?

Recently, President Putin dressed down to their faces the Western media whores who are fanning the flames of World War III by repeating without question Washington’s propagandistic lies. These lies are reckless. They endanger all life on planet Earth.

During my lifetime, American presidents worked to reduce tensions between the two major nuclear powers. JFK worked with Khrushchev to defuse the dangerous situation arising from the placement of US missiles in Turkey and, in response, the placement of Russian missiles in Cuba.

President Nixon brought forth SALT I, the strategic arms limitation treaty, and the ABM Treaty.

President Carter crafted SALT II.

President Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev the end of the Cold War, the most promising achievement of the 20th century.

The Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have done everything possible to raise the tensions between nuclear powers to heights beyond those of the most dangerous days of the Cold War.

The evil Clinton regime broke the word of the government of the United States, thereby destroying the honor of the US government, by taking NATO to Russia’s borders.

The evil George W. Bush regime pulled the US out of the ABM Treaty and rewrote US war doctrine in order to elevate nuclear weapons from a retaliatory weapon to a first strike weapon. This insane act put the Russians on notice.

The evil Obama regime intends to place nuclear missiles on Russia’s borders in Poland and Romania and engineered a coup in Ukraine with the intent of depriving Russia of its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, Russia’s only warm water port.

Faced with a Russophobic Washington-installed government in Ukraine, the Russian population in Crimea, a Russian province since the 1700s, voted practically unanimously to rejoin Russia, where Crimea had resided until Khrushchev reassigned the Russian province to Ukraine in the mid 20th century. The Russian government’s acceptance of the wishes of its own people were propagandistically misrepresented by Washington and the presstitutes as “Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea.” This lie is where the myth of “Russian invasion” came from. Russian military forces were already present in Crimea, because when Russia granted independence to Ukraine, Russia retained a long-term lease on the Russian naval base in Crimea. As all international observers testified, the vote was independent of the Russian military presence.

The White House Fool said that the vote in Crimea was meaningless because all of Ukraine did not get to vote. The Fool was too ignorant to know that by this laughable charge he discredited the American Revolution because the British people didn’t get to vote. For the precise same reason that The Fool wants Crimea returned to Kiev, the US must be returned to Britain. I doubt that the British would have us. Who wants a war criminal nation drowning in its own hubris?

The world is now faced with the prospect that insouciant Americans will elect a crazed and incompetent criminal or semi-criminal as their president, a person who has declared the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” The stupid bitch’s statement is a declaration of nuclear war, and this dangerous, reckless, incompetent, careless person has been selected by the Democratic Party as the next POTUS !!!

The ignorance and stupidity of the American people will destroy the world.

Little wonder that Vladimir Putin, the only responsible world leader other than the president of China, is desperate that the Western media understand that their irresponsible negligence to the truth is helping Washington drive the world to nuclear war.

Putin does not want war. He is doing everything in his power to avoid it. But Putin is not going to surrender Russia to Washington. The trip-point of World War III will be the installation of Washington’s missiles in Poland and Romania. As Putin recently made clear to the imbecilic Western journalists, these missiles can easily and secretly be changed from anti-ballistic missiles to nuclear attack missiles that can strike their Russian targets within 5 or fewer minutes of launch, thus depriving Russia of its retaliatory deterrent. Once these missiles are in place, Washington can issue orders to Russia.

Whatever the evil men and women in Washington who are gambling with the life of the planet think, Russia is not going to accept these missiles.

Where does world leadership reside? In Washington, the war criminal capital of the world that is driving the world to nuclear war, or in Russia whose leadership accepts countless affronts and provocations in an effort to avoid war?

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“Genocide by Prescription”: Drug Induced Death in America

NOVANEWS

The ‘Natural History’ of the Declining White Working Class in America

misty mort 3

The white working class in the US has been decimated through an epidemic of ‘premature deaths’ – a bland term to cover-up the drop in life expectancy in this historically important demographic.  There have been quiet studies and reports peripherally describing this trend – but their conclusions have not yet entered the national consciousness for reasons we will try to explore in this essay.  Indeed this is the first time in the country’s ‘peacetime’ history that its traditional core productive sector has experienced such a dramatic demographic decline – and the epicenter is in the small towns and rural communities of the United States.  

The causes for ‘premature death’ (dying before normal life expectancy – usually of preventable conditions) include the sharply increasing incidence of suicide, untreated complications of diabetes and obesity and above all ’accidental poisoning’ – a euphemism used to describe what are mostly prescription and illegal drug overdoses and toxic drug interactions.

No one knows the total number of deaths of American citizens due to drug overdose and fatal drug interactions over the past 20 years, just as no central body has kept track of the numbers of poor people killed by police nationwide, but let’s start with a conservative round number – 500,000 mostly white working class victims, and challenge the authorities to come up with some real statistics with real definitions.  Indeed such a number could be much higher – if they included fatal poly-pharmacy deaths and ‘medication errors’ occurring in the hospital and nursing home setting.

In the last few years, scores of thousands of Americas have died prematurely because of drug overdoses or toxic drug interactions, mostly related to narcotic pain medications prescribed by doctors and other providers.  Among those who have increasingly died of illegal opioid, mostly heroin, fentanyl and methadone, overdose, the vast majority first became addicted to the powerful synthetic opioids prescribed by the medical community, supplied by big chain pharmacies and manufactured at incredible profit margins by the leading pharmaceutical companies.  In essence, this epidemic has been promoted, subsidized and protected by the government at all levels and reflects the protection of a profit-maximizing private medical-pharmaceutical market gone wild.

This is not seen elsewhere in the world at such a level.  For example, despite their proclivity for alcohol, obesity and tobacco – the British patient population has been essentially spared this epidemic because their National Health System is regulated and functions with a different ethic: patient well being is valued over naked profit.  This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented.

Faced with the increasing incidence of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans dying from suicide and overdose from prescription opioids and mixed drug reactions, the Armed Forces Surgeon General and medical corps convened ‘emergency’ US Senate Hearings in March 2010 where testimony showed military doctors had written 4 million prescriptions of powerful narcotics in 2009, a 4 fold increase from 2001.  Senate members of the hearings, led by Virginia’s Jim Webb, cautioned not casting a negative light on ‘Big Pharma’ among the largest donors to political campaigns.

The 1960’s public image of the heroin-addicted returning Vietnam War soldier that shocked the nation had morphed into the Oxycontin/Xanax dependent veteran of the new millennium, thanks to ‘Big Pharma’s’ enormous contracts with the US Armed Forces and the mass media looked away.  Suicides, overdoses and ‘sudden deaths’ killed many more soldiers than combat.

No other peaceful population, probably since the 1839 Opium Wars, has been so devastated by a drug epidemic encouraged by a government.  In the case of the Opium Wars, the British Empire and its commercial arm, The East India Company, sought a market for their huge South Asian opium crops and used its military and allied Chinese warlord mercenaries to force a massive opium distribution on the Chinese people, seizing Hong Kong in the process as a hub for its imperial opium trade.   Alarmed at the destructive effects of addiction on its productive population, the Chinese government tried to ban or regulate narcotic use.  Its defeat at British hands marked China’s decline into semi-colonial status for the next century – such are the wider consequences of having an addicted population.

This paper will identify the (1) the nature of the long-term, large-scale drug induced deaths, (2) the dynamics of ‘demographic transition by overdose’, and (3) the political economy of opioid addiction.  This paper will not cite numbers or reports – these are widely available.   However they are scattered, incomplete and generally lack any theoretical framework to understand, let alone confront, the phenomenon.

We will conclude by discussing whether each ‘death by prescription’ is to be viewed as an individual tragedy, mourned in private, or as a corporate crime fueled by greed or even a pattern of ‘Social-Darwinism-writ-large’  by an elite-run decision making apparatus.

Since the advent of major political-economic changes induced by neoliberalism, America’s oligarchic class confronts the problem of a large and potentially restive population of millions of marginalized workers and downwardly mobile members of the middle class made redundant by ‘globalization’ and an armed rural poor sinking ever deeper into squalor.  In other words, when finance capital and elite ruling bodies view an increasing ‘useless’ population of white workers, employees and the poor in this geographic context, what ‘peaceful’ measures can be taken to ease and encourage their ‘natural decline’?

A similar pattern emerged in the early ‘AIDS’ crisis where the Reagan Administration deliberately ignored the soaring deaths among young Americans, especially minorities, adopting a moralistic  ‘blame the victim’ approach until the influential gay community organized and demanded government action.

The Scale and Scope of Drug Deaths

In the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of working age Americans have died from drugs.  The lack of hard data is a scandal.  The scarcity is due to a fragmented, incompetent and deliberately incomplete system of medical records and death certificates – especially from the poorer rural areas and small towns where there is virtually no support for producing and maintaining quality records.  This great data void is multi-faceted and hampered by the problems of regionalism and a lack of clear governmental public health direction.

Early in the crisis, medical professionals and coroners were largely in ‘denial’ and under pressure to certify ‘unexpected’deaths as ‘natural due to pre-existing conditions’ – despite overwhelming evidence that there had been reckless overprescribing by the local medical community.  Fifteen to twenty years ago, the victims’ families, isolated in their little towns, may have derived some short-term comfort from seeing the term ‘natural’ attached to their loved-one’s untimely death.  Understandably, a diagnosis of ‘death by drug overdose’ would evoke tremendous social and personal shame among the rural and small-town white working class families who had traditionally associated narcotics with the urban minority and criminal populations.  They thought themselves immune to such ‘big city’ problem.   They trusted ‘their’ doctors who, in turn, trusted ‘Big Pharma’s’ assurances that the new synthetic opioids were not addicting and could be prescribed in large quantities.

Despite the local medical community’s slowly growing awareness of this problem, there was little public attempt to educate the at-risk population and still fewer attempts to rein in the over-prescribing brethren physicians and private ‘pain-clinics’.  They, or their nurse practitioners and PA’s, did not counsel patients on the immense dangers of combining opioids and alcohol or tranquilizers.  Many, in fact, were not even aware of what their patients were prescribed by other providers.  It is common to see healthy younger adults with multiple prescriptions from multiple providers.

Through the last few decades under neo-liberalism, rural county heath department budgets were stripped because of business-promoted austerity programs.  Instead, the federal government mandated that they implement expensive and absurd plans to confront ‘bio-terrorism’.  Often, health departments lacked the necessary budget to pay for the costly forensic toxicology testing required for documenting drug levels in suspect overdose cases among their own population.

Further compounding this lack of quality data, there was no guidance or coordination from the federal and state government or regional DEA regarding systematic documentation and the development of a usable database for analyzing the widespread consequences of overprescribing legal narcotics.  The early crisis received minimal attention from these bodies.

All official eyes were focused on the ‘war on drugs’ as it was being waged against the poor, urban minority population.  The small towns, where over-prescribing doctors formed the pillars of the local churches or country clubs, suffered in silence.  The greater public was lulled by media mis-education into thinking that addiction and related deaths were an ‘inner city’ problem, one that required the usual racist response of filling up the prisons with young blacks and Hispanics for petty crimes or drug possession.

But within this vacuum, white working class children were starting to dial ‘911’…because, ‘Mommy won’t wake up…’.  Mommy with her ‘prescribed Fentanyl patches’ took just one Xanax too many and devastated an entire family unit.  This was the prototype of a raging epidemic.  All throughout the country these alarming cases were growing.  Some rural counties saw the proportion of addicted infants born to addicted mothers overwhelm their unprepared hospital systems.  And the local obituary pages published increasing numbers of young names and faces besides the very elderly –never printing any ‘cause’ for the untimely demise of a young adult while devoting paragraphs for a departed octogenarian.

Recent trends demonstrate that drug deaths (both opiate overdose and fatal mixed interactions with other drugs and alcohol) have had a major impact on the composition of the local labor force, families, communities and neighborhoods.  This is reflected in the lives of workers, whose personal life and employment has been severely impaired by corporate plant relocations, downsizing, cuts in wages and health benefits.  The traditional support systems, which provided aid to workers damaged by these trends, such as trade unions, public social workers and mental health professionals, were either unable or unwilling to intervene before or after the scourge of drug addiction had come into play.

The Dynamic Demography of Drug-Induced Death

Almost all publicized reports ignore the demography and differential class impacts of prescription-related drug deaths.   The majority of those killed by illegal drugs were first addicted to legal narcotics prescribed by their providers.  Only the overdose deaths of celebrities manage to hit the headlines.

Most of the victims have been low wage, unemployed or under-employed members of the white working class.  Their prospects for the future are dismal.  Any dream of establishing a healthy family life on one salary in ‘Heartland America’ would be met with laughter.  This is a huge national population, which has experienced a steep decline in its living standards because of deindustrialization.  The majority of fatal overdose victims are white working age males, but with a large proportion of working class women, often mothers with children.  There has been little discussion about the impact of an overdose death of a working age woman on the extended family.  They include grandmothers in their 50’s living with three generations under one roof.  In this demographic, women often provide critical cohesion and stability for several generations at risk – even if they had been taking ‘Oxy’ for their chronic pain.

Apparently the US minority population has so far escaped this epidemic.  Black and Hispanic Americans had already been depressed and economically marginalized for a much longer period – and the lower rate of prescription drug deaths among their populations may reflect greater resilience.   It certainly reflects their reduced access to the over-prescribing private-sector medical community – a grim paradox where medical ‘neglect’ might indeed have been ‘benign’.

While there may be few class-based studies looking at comparative trends in ‘overdose deaths’ among urban minorities and rural/small town whites from sociology, public health or minority-studies university departments, anecdotal evidence and personal observation suggest that minority urban populations are more likely to provide assistance to an overdosing neighbor or friend than in the white community where addicts are more likely to be isolated and abandoned by family members ashamed of their ‘weakness’.  Even the practice of ‘dumping’ an overdosed friend at the entrance of an emergency department and walking away has saved many lives.  Urban minorities have greater access and familiarity with the chaotic big-city emergency rooms where medical personnel are skilled at recognizing and treating overdose.  After decades of civil rights struggles, minorities are possibly more sophisticated in asserting their rights regarding use of such public resources.  There may even be a relatively stronger culture of solidarity among the marginalized minorities in rendering assistance or an awareness of the consequences of not taking someone’s neighbor to the ER.  These urban survival mechanisms have been largely absent in the white rural areas.

Nationwide, US doctors had long been dissuaded from prescribing powerful synthetic opioids to minority patients, even those in significant pain.  There are various factors here, but the medical community has not been immune to the stereotype of the Hispanic or black urban addict or dealer.  Perhaps, this widespread medical ‘racism’ in the context of the prescription opioid epidemic has had some paradoxical benefit.

Whatever the reason, urban minority addicts, while experiencing overdose in large numbers are more likely to survive an opiate overdose than small town or rural whites, unfamiliar with narcotics and their effects.

In the rural and small-town (deindustrialized) US heartland there has been an enormous breakdown in community and family solidarity.  This has followed the destruction of a century-old stable employment base, especially in the manufacturing, mining and productive agricultural sectors.  Only post-Soviet Russia experienced a similar pattern of declining life expectancy from ‘poisoning’ (alcohol and drugs) following the nationwide destruction of its socialized full employment system and the breakdown of all social services.  Furthermore the loss of the tough Soviet police apparatus and the growth of an oligarch-mafia class saw the tremendous in-flooding of heroin from Afghanistan.

The growth of opioid addiction is not based on ‘personal choice’, nor is it the result of shifts in cultural life styles.  While all class and educational levels are included among the victims, the overwhelming majority are younger white working class and the poor. They cover all age groups, including adolescents recovering from sports injuries, as well as the elderly with joint and back pain.  The surge of addiction is a result of major shifts in the economy and the social structure.  The regions most affected by overdose deaths are those in deep, prolonged and permanent decline, including the former ‘rust belt’ regions, small manufacturing towns of New England, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and the rural South and agricultural, mining and forestry regions of the west.

This is the product of private executive decisions to (1) relocate productive US companies overseas or to distant, non-union regions of the country, (2) force once well-paid employees into lower paid jobs, (3) replace American workers with skilled and unskilled foreign immigrants or poorly paid ‘temps’, (4) eliminate pension and health benefits and (5) introduce new technology – including robots- which cuts the labor force by rendering human workers redundant.  These changes in the relationship of capital to labor have created enormous profits for senior executives and investors, while producing a surplus labor force, which puts even greater pressure on young first-time workers and workers with seniority.  There have been no effective job protection/ sustainable job creation programs to address the decades of declining well-paid employment.  Good jobs have been replaced by minimum wage, service sector ‘MacJobs’ or temporary poorly paid manufacturing jobs with no benefits or protections.  All across this devastated heartland, expensively touted programs, such as ‘Start-Up New York’, have failed to bring decent jobs while spending hundreds of millions of public money in free PR for state politicians.

The drug addiction epidemic has been most deadly precisely in those regions of industrial job loss and working wage decline, as well as in the depressed, once protected, agricultural and food processing sectors where union jobs have been replaced by minimum wage immigrants.  The loss of stable employment has been accompanied by a slashing of social services and tremendous cuts in benefits – just when such services should have been bolstered.

Precisely because the so-called ‘drug problem’ is linked to major demographic changes resulting from dynamic capitalist shifts, it has never been the focus of elite-run government and corporate foundation grant research – unlike their fixation on the ‘radicalization of Muslims’ or ‘trends in urban crime’.  Research tended to focus on ‘minorities’ or merely nibbled at the periphery of the current phenomenon.  Good studies and data would have provided the rationale and basis for major public programs aimed at protecting the lives of marginalized white workers and reversing the deadly trends.  The decade-long, nation-wide absence of research and data into this phenomenon has justified the glaring absence of an effective governmental response.  Here the ‘neglect’ has not been ‘benign’.

In parallel with the increase in opioid addiction, there has been an astronomical increase in the prescription of psychotropic drugs and anti-depressants to the same population – also highly profitable to ‘Big Pharma’.  The pattern of prescribing such powerful, and potentially dangerous, mood altering medications to downwardly mobile Americans to ‘treat’ or numb normal anxieties and reactions to the deterioration in their material condition has had profound consequences.  Such individuals, often on unemployment assistance or MEDICAID, may be expected to follow a complex daily regimen of up to nine medications – besides their narcotic pain medications, while trying to cope with their crumbling world.

Where a dignified job with a decent wage would effectively treat a marginalized worker’s despair without unpleasant or dangerous ‘side effects’, the medical and mental health community has consistently sent their patients to ‘Big Pharma’.  As a result, post-mortem toxicological analyses often show multiple prescribed psychotropic medications and anti-depressants in addition to narcotics in cases of opioid overdose deaths. While this may constitute an abdication of the medical provider’s responsibility to patients, it is also a reflection of the medical community’s utter helplessness in the face of systemic social breakdown – as has occurred in the marginalized communities where drug overdose deaths concentrate.

Demographic studies, at best, identify the victims of drug addiction.  But their choice to treat their despair as an ‘individual problem’ occurring in a ‘specific, immediate context’ overlooks the greater political and economic structures, which set the stage for premature death.

The Political Economy of Overdose Deaths

When the remains of a young working class overdose victim is wheeled into a morgue, his or her untimely demise is labelled a ‘self-inflicted’ or ‘accidental’ opioid overdose and a great cover-up machine is turned on:  The sequence leading up to the death is shrouded in mystery, no deeper understanding of the socio-cultural and economic factors are sought.  Instead, the victim or his/her culture is blamed for the end-result of a complex chain of elite capitalist economic decisions and political maneuverings in which a worker’s premature death is a mere collateral event.  The medical community has merely functioned as the transmission belt in this process, rather than as an agent for serving the public.

The vast majority of overdose fatalities are, in reality, victims of decisions and losses far beyond their control.  Their addictions have shortened their lives as well as clouded their understanding of events and undermined their capacity to engage in class struggle to reverse this trend.  It has been a perfect solution to the predictable demographic problems of brutal neoliberalism in America.

Wall Street and Washington designed the macro-economy that has eliminated decent jobs, cut wages and slashed benefits. As a result millions of marginalized workers and the unemployed are under tremendous tension and resort to pharmacologic solutions to endure their pain because they are not organized.  The historical leading role of trade union and community organizations has been eliminated.  Instead, redundant workers are ‘charged by Big Pharma’ to dig their own graves and class leaders are nowhere to be found.

Secondly, the workplace has become much more dangerous under the ‘new economic order’.  Bosses no longer fear unions and safety regulations: many workers are injured by the accelerating pace of work, longer hours, faulty job training and lack of federal supervision of working conditions.  Injured workers, lacking any judicial, trade union, or public agency protection rightly fear retaliation for reporting their work injury and increasingly resort to prescription narcotics to cope with acute and chronic pain while continuing to work.

When employers allow workers to report their injuries, the low coverage and limited treatments available, encourage providers to over-prescribe narcotics on top of other medications with potentially dangerous interactions.  Many pain clinics, contracted by employers, are eager to profit from injured clients while pharmaceutical companies actively promote powerful synthetic narcotics.

A vicious chain is formed:  The pharmaceutical industry’s mass production of narcotics has been among its most profitable products.  Corporate pharmacy chains fill the prescriptions written by tens of thousands of ‘providers’ (doctors, dentists, nurses and physician assistants) who have only a limited amount of time to actually examine an injured worker.  The deteriorating work conditions create the injury and the workers become consumers of Big Pharma’s miracle relief – Oxycontin or its cousins – which a decade of drug salesmen had touted as ‘non-addicting’.  A long line of highly educated professionals, including doctors and other providers, pathologists, medical examiners and coroners carefully paper over the real cause, the corporate decision makers, in order to protect themselves from corporate reprisals should they ‘blow the whistle’.  Behind the scientific façade there is a Social Darwinism that few are willing to confront.

Only recently, in the face of incredible numbers of hospitalizations and deaths from narcotic overdose, the federal government has started to release funds for research.   Academic-medical researchers have started to collect and publicize data on the growing epidemic of opiate deaths; they provide shocking maps of the most affected counties and regions.  They join the chorus in urging the federal and state agencies to become more actively involved in usual panacea: ‘education and prevention’.  This beehive of activity has come two decades too late into the epidemic and reeks of cynicism.

Funding for research into this phenomenon will not result in any effective long-term programs for confronting these small community-based ‘crises of capitalism’.  There is no institution willing to confront the basic cause:  the devastation of capitalist– labor relations in post-millennial America, the corrupt nature of state-corporate-pharmaceutical linkages and the chaotic, profit-driven character of our private medical system.  Very few writers ever explore how a national, public, single-payer, health system would have clearly prevented with epidemic from the beginning.

Conclusion

Why does the capitalist-state and pharmaceutical elite sustain a socio-economic process, which has led to the large-scale, long-term death of workers and their family members in rural and small town America?

One ready and convincing hypothesis is that the modern dynamic corporate elite profits from the results of ‘demographic change by overdose.’

Corporations gain billions of dollars in profits from the ‘natural decline’ of redundant workers:  slashing social services and job benefits, such as health plans, pension, vacation, job training programs, allowing employers to increase their profits, capital gains, executive bonuses and raises.  Public services are eliminated, taxes are reduced and workers, when needed, can be imported – fully formed – from abroad for temporary employment in a ‘free labor market’.

Capitalists profit even more from the technology gains – robots, computerization, etc. – by ensuring that workers do notenjoy reduced hours or increased vacations resulting from their increased productivity.  Why share the results of productivity gains with the workers, when the workers can just be eliminated?  Dissatisfied workers can turn inward or ‘pop a pill’, but never organize to retake control of their lives and future.

Election experts and political pundits can claim that white American workers reject the major establishment parties because they are ‘angry’ and ‘racist’.  These are the workers who now turn to a ‘Donald Trump’.  But a deeper analysis would reveal their rational rejection of political leaders who have refused to condemn capitalist exploitation and confront the epidemic of death by overdose.

There is a class basis for this veritable genocide by narcotics raging among white workers and the unemployed in the small towns and rural areas of American:  it is the ‘perfect’ corporate solution to a surplus labor force.  It is time for American workers and their leaders to wake up to this cruel fact and resist this one-sided class war or continue to mourn more untimely deaths in their own drug-numbed silence.

And it is time for the medical community to demand a ‘patient-first’ publicly accountable national health system that rewards service over profit, and responsibility over silent complicity.

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Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Fingerprints

Clinton

Some Hillary Clinton backers now downplay the then-Secretary of State’s role in what has become a disastrous “regime change” war in Libya, but that was not what her sycophants were saying four years ago, recalls Larry C. Johnson.

I am going to share with you four devastating emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton on the subject of Libya. You can find these posted at Wikileaks. It is clear in reading these exchanges that, in the glow of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Hillary embraced the call to spike the football and clearly was planning to use Libya as evidence of her leadership and skill that qualified her to become President.

The attack on our diplomats and CIA officers in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 however, destroyed that dream. The dream became a nightmare and Hillary has scrambled to pretend that she was not the mover-and-shaker that destabilized Libya and made it a safe haven for ISIS, aka radical Islamists.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Let me take you through these chronologically. First up is an email from James “Jamie” Rubin, the husband of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (You might want to have an air sickness bag handy.) Jaime wrote on 18 July 2011:

Again, congratulations are in order for Friday’s recognition of the Transitional National Council in Istanbul. It is a pleasure to see the State Department again leading the administration on this. Syria, too, but that is a subject for another. day.

I suspect that you have been pushing very hard within the administration on Libya. From the outside, the White House doesn’t seem like it cares very much. In general, the NSC seems uncomfortable with creative applications of American power and influence. And we all know the military and the Pentagon resist limited military operations, especially airpower-only engagements. So, it must be you and your colleagues at State. Well done. . . .

First and foremost, this is winnable. The killing of Bin Ladin aside, the administration really needs a solid, substantial success. . . .

Second, unlike in the Balkans or Afghanistan, Paris and London are fully committed, as are most Europeans, with the exception of Germany, which is a disgrace but not really relevant in the end. . . .

Third, beyond the moral component of preventing a slaughter, defeating Qaddafi is one of the few concrete and unique ways the West can contribute to the Arab Spring. . . .

Fourth, even a small success like the one that is coming in Libya will turn around the steady decline in American influence in the region and around the world. I suspect that you know this, but European elites, Gulf elites, East Europeans and many others regard the Administration as weak.

What you need is a rationale for a new strategy and an internal argument for the Pentagon to change its position. If the Pentagon moves and a new rationale alters the politics on Capitol Hill, the White House will have to go along. . . . But I would suggest the following strategy:

First, without acknowledging that it was a mistake to let the British and French lead the operation to begin with, you can simply argue that circumstances have changed to the extent that leaving Qaddafi in power is now a national security risk. . . .

Second, for civilians in the Pentagon and the military, you can simply state that the U.S. and NATO’s deterrent power is now at risk. . .

Third, the threat of Qaddafi organizing terrorist threats against Europe and possibly the United States is an argument that most Republicans will be forced to accept. (At a private meeting with Tim Pawlenty, he put forward the idea that framed as a threat from a former terrorist leader, most Republicans would change their view.) McCain and Lindsey Graham are already there and with this new rationale it should be possible to win political support from Republicans that would not support the moral case alone.”

I am sure you picked up the themes here – Obama is weak ass, U.S. policy needs to shift to get on board with the Europeans and Hillary is the one to do it. Hillary loved this note from Jamie. She directed her staff to print it.

A little more than one month later (in fact, the day after rebels entered Tripoli), Hillary’s old friend and confidant, Sid Blumenthal, weighed in (barf bag suggestion still recommended):

First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it. When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’

Just a few points: *The US has pursued a successful strategy in Libya. We did not know how long it would take, but we knew it would not be easy, and that it would require steadiness and persistence. This was the right course, based on our interests and principles. And it has worked.

Do not skimp on the reasons in the US interest behind the successful strategy: We prevented a humanitarian tragedy on a vast scale. Qaddafi, who had already killed 2,000 people in April, threatened to massacre the residents of Benghazi, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. We worked closely with our NATO allies, proving that cooperation within the Western alliance can achieve our mutual goals.

The US has demonstrated its principled belief in the rule of law and acted on the basis of the United Nations resolution. We have supported the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and freedom. We have ousted a murderous dictator who has been a source of terrorism, civil war throughout Africa and a prop for dictators elsewhere. By acting in Libya we have helped advance the cause of democracy and freedom throughout the Arab world. We have provided an important support for neighboring Egypt. We have put Assad on notice that the sands of time have run out for him as well. Our successful strategy in Libya stands as a warning that our strategy will work again. Etc.

 

Be aware that some may attempt to justify the flamingly stupid ‘leading from behind’ phrase, junior types on the NSC imagining their cleverness. To refute this passive construction on US policy and help remove it as an albatross from the administration as it enters the election year, do not be defensive but rather simply explain that the US had a clear strategy from the start, stuck with it and has succeeded.

Then you can say whatever on future policy — but only after asserting the historic success and explaining the reasons why. *This is a very big moment historically and for you. History will tell your part in it. You are vindicated. But don’t wait, help Clio now.” (Blumenthal’s reference to “Clio” is to the Greek muse of history.)

Yes sir. “Big moment” indeed. Hillary helped thousands die but, as Sid emphasized, the glory, at least part of it, belonged to her. This was not because of anything that the weak-ass President Obama did. Nope. It was Hillary’s baby.

On 3 September 2011, Hillary directed her staff – Jake Sullivan in particular–to document the case of Hillary’s “brilliance.” Remember. This is how Hillary and her staff were taking credit for what transpired in Libya:

Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.

February 25 — HRC announces the suspension of operations of the Libyan embassy in Washington.

February 26 — HRC directs efforts to evacuate all U.S. embassy personnel from Tripoli and orders the closing of the embassy.

February 26 HRC made a series of calls to her counterparts to help secure passage of UNSC 1970, which imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family and refers Qadhafi and his cronies to the ICC

February 28 — HRC travels to Geneva, Switzerland for consultations with European partners on Libya. She gives a major address in which she says: ‘Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go — now, without further violence or delay.’ She also works to secure the suspension of Libya from membership in the Human Rights Council.

Early March — HRC appoints Special Envoy Chris Stevens to be the U.S. representative to Benghazi

March 14 — HRC travels to Paris for the G8 foreign minister’s meeting. She meets with TNC representative Jibril and consults with her colleagues on further UN Security Council action. She notes that a no-fly zone will not be adequate.

March 14-16 — HRC participates in a series of high-level video- and teleconferences B5 She is a leading voice for strong UNSC action and a NA TO civilian protection mission.

March 17— HRC secures Russian abstention and Portuguese and African support for UNSC 1973, ensuring that it passes. 1973 authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya and ‘all necessary measures’ – code for military action – to protect civilians against Gaddafts army.

March 24 — HRC engages with allies and secures the transition of command and control of the civilian protection mission to NATO. She announces the transition in a statement.

March 18-30— HRC engages with UAE, Qatar, and Jordan to seek their participation in coalition operations. Over the course of several days, all three devote aircraft to the mission.

March 19— HRC travels to Paris to meet with European and Arab leaders to prepare for military action to protect civilians. That night, the first U.S. air strikes halt the advance of Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi and target Libya’s air defenses.

March 29—HRC travels to London for a conference on Libya, where she is a driving force behind the creation of a Contact Group comprising 20-plus countries to coordinate efforts to protect civilians and plan for a post-Qadhafi Libya. She is instrumental in setting up a rotating chair system to ensure regional buy-in.

April 14—HRC travels to Berlin for NATO meetings. She is the driving force behind NATO adopting a communique that calls for Qadhafi’s departure as a political objective, and lays out three clear military objectives: end of attacks and threat of attacks on civilians; the removal of Qadhafi forces from cities they forcibly entered; and the unfettered provision of humanitarian access.

May 5 — HRC travels to Rome for a Contact Group meeting. The Contact Group establishes a coordination system and a temporary financial mechanism to funnel money to the TNC.

June 8 — HRC travels to Abu Dhabi for another Contact Group meeting and holds a series of intense discussions with rebel leaders.

June 12 — HRC travels to Addis for consultations and a speech before the African Union, pressing the case for a democratic transition in Libya.

July 15 — HRC travels to Istanbul and announces that the U.S. recognizes the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. She also secures recognition from the other members of the Contact Group. Late June — HRC meets with House Democrats and Senate Republicans to persuade them not to de-fund the Libya operation.

July 16 — HRC sends Feltman, Cretz, and Chollet to Tunis to meet with Qadhafi envoys ‘to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward, is for Qadhafi to step down’.

Early August — HRC works to construct a $1.5 billion assets package to be approved by the Security Council and sent to the TNC. That package is working through its last hurdles.

Early August — After military chief Abdel Fattah Younes is killed, S sends a personal message to TNC head Jalil to press for a responsible investigation and a careful and inclusive approach to creating a new executive council

Early August — HRC secures written pledges from the TNC to an inclusive, pluralistic democratic transition. She continues to consult with European and Arab colleagues on the evolving situation.”

Hillary and her posse were not content to sit back and hope that others would recognize here “brilliant leadership.” Nope. They embarked on a full propaganda campaign to ensure that the media and the public got that message. Sid Blumenthal helped coordinate this effort and turned to fellow Hillary sycophant, Jamie Rubin, to help push the meme. His email to Hillary is dated 10 September 2011.

Jamie, using his position as an editor at Bloomberg News, published the following op-ed. Please note the shrewd and deceptive use of the media. Nowhere in this piece does Jamie disclose that he is a friend of Hillary’s and had provided previous encouragement to pursue this policy. I am sure that Jamie was feeling very smug about his insider role. The average reader, however, had no clue. They simply assumed that this was an objective journalist taking note of the magnificence of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In an email, Blumenthal passed on word to Clinton: ” Subject: H: Per our conversation. Jamie writes editorial… Sid

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-09-o8/hillary-clinton-deseryes-credit-for-the- positive-u-s-role-in-libya-yiew.html

Hillary Clinton Deserves Credit for U.S. Role in Libya:

View By the Editors –

Sep 7,2011

The unsung hero of the Libya drama in the U.S. is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s actions were critical for several reasons. Most important, she overcame Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s caution about using military force in Libya and his reluctance to support an operation led by France and Britain. Clinton also personally managed the unorthodox partnership with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that proved so crucial to joint action to defeat the Qaddafi regime.

Despite the unusual arrangement in which the U.S. was a supporter rather than a leader of NATO’s military operation, she defended intervention before a skeptical Congress and performed the hard slog of daily diplomacy around the world, helping Arab countries, the Europeans and the U.S. work together with a minimum of friction and a maximum of determination.

Aside from the killing of Osama bin Laden, the decision to support NATO military action in Libya is probably the Obama administration’s most important achievement in international affairs. Although Muammar Qaddafi is still at large and the country is a long way from having a stable, representative government, there is little doubt that the Qaddafi regime has been defeated as a result of an internal revolt led by the Transitional National Council.

History will surely judge that, by intervening on the side of the rebellion, the West — primarily the governments of France, the U.K. and the U.S. — made a unique and invaluable contribution to the democratic aspirations of the people of the Middle East. That said, the Obama administration’s decision-making process remains opaque. The veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s next book, due out in the fall 2012, may shed some light on the question of whose voices were decisive this past March, when President Barack Obama decided to support a United Nations resolution and a NATO military operation for Libya.

Based on our discussions with administration officials, as well as the public record, some preliminary conclusions about the decision are possible. First, while we argued for a more active U.S. military role in NATO’s operation, it is now clear that Obama’s unprecedented approach — in which Washington supported, rather than led, a NATO operation — was successful in the end.

Second, by breaking with Gates, Clinton tipped the balance within the administration in favor of action. Without her strong argument to support the Europeans’ call for American help, Washington probably would not have acted. The president’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, was declaring freedom in Libya to be outside the U.S. national interest, and both military and civilian officials in the Pentagon were reluctant to endorse or even opposed U.S. intervention. But Clinton’s push for the U.S. to act in support of Britain and France appears to have been decisive.

In retrospect, the fears of Gates and other military officials that action in Libya would be a slippery slope, perhaps leading to U.S. involvement on the ground in a third war in the Middle East, seem wildly overblown. Obama said the U.S. would play a limited role by offering unique military assets, such as aerial refueling and air-defense suppression capabilities. Congress not only opposed sending in ground troops but mostly opposed any U.S. involvement. Obama wisely resisted.

For better or worse, the Libya model is not likely to be repeated anytime soon. This is not, as some say, because NATO will never again intervene in a situation like Libya’s. After the Kosovo war, many also said NATO would never again act against a dictator to save lives.

The Libya model is no guide for the future because such a unique set of circumstances in favor of military action is not likely to happen again. Think about the conditions: A despised dictator threatened mass murder; an open desert provided a decisive advantage for air power; a rebel army on the ground sought democratic change and espoused Western values; the UN at least loosely endorsed NATO air operations; the Arab League called for the West to intervene militarily in an Arab country; and U.S. allies prepared to do all the heavy lifting. Given those circumstances, it is still hard to explain why there were determined opponents, primarily in the Republican Party, to this mission in the first place.

Throughout most of Obama’s term in office, only a few administration officials have commanded respect and political power on national security matters: Clinton, Gates and General David Petraeus, the most decorated and admired officer of recent times. With Gates now gone and Petraeus in a non-policy role as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton’s power will only increase as the president’s re-election campaign heats up. We hope she recognizes her opportunity and uses it well.”

Hillary told Sid the following in her email response to this op-ed: “It was very welcome and gave me reason to sit down and talk w Jamie who is such a good friend. Hope to talk soon–H”

This is how propaganda, press manipulation and lying to the public is manufactured in Washington, DC. Hillary and her crew, with the help of Jamie Rubin, pushed the meme that Hillary, not Obama, deserved the credit for the “success” in Libya.

Absolutely. Let her have it. Hang this festering turd of a policy around Hillary’s neck. To do so is only just. She is a power hungry thug who helped cause the deaths of thousands just to advance her own vile political ambitions.

Posted in USA, LibyaComments Off on Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Fingerprints

The Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) Received Secret Funding from Gulf states

isis

A British parliamentary report released on Tuesday has concluded there is “historical evidence” the Islamic State (IS) group received funding from within Arab Gulf states.

In evidence submitted to the foreign affairs select committee, the Ministry of Defence said: “[There] is historical evidence of financial donations to Daesh [IS] from within Gulf states. Furthermore, it is understood that family donations are being made to Daesh, through the unregulated Alternative Value Transfer Systems (AVTS).”

AVTS include ways of globally transferring money that includes little information about the individuals involved in the transaction – examples include the open source online currency Bitcoin.

The MoD cited as evidence an incident in September 2014 when an IS official was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department after receiving a $2m donation “emanating from the Gulf”.

The MoD also said in its evidence that private donations to IS are “minimal” compared to its other revenue streams, which include oil and taxation.

The committee said in an assessment of IS finances that Britain should be able to “ask hard questions of close friends” when discussing how donations have reached the Syria-Iraq based militant group.

The report concluded that IS has been put under severe financial pressure after a sustained international campaign that has forced the group to turn to “gangsterism and protection rackets” for money.

The report argued that plunging oil prices and air strikes on IS in Syria and Iraq have reduced the group’s ability to operate, however, the most controversial part is undoubtedly the section on donations to IS.

While the government told the committee that it had no evidence any country had provided funding to IS as a “matter of policy,” concerns were raised in the report about how Gulf states responded to the group’s initial rise to prominence, before and around the time of its seizing of the Iraqi city Mosul in June 2014.

The MoD said Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have played an “important role” in the anti-IS coalition, but officials from the Foreign Office said “some governments in the region may have failed to prevent donations reaching ISIL (IS) from their citizens”.

Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood told the committee that after IS “first caught international attention,” the group “may have been perceived as a defender of Sunni Muslims in the wars in Iraq and Syria”.

Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – who was in office between 2006 and 2014 – was repeatedly accused of favouring his Shia Muslim sect and oppressing Iraqi Sunni Muslims.

In Syria, where a brutal civil war has raged since early 2011, President Bashar al-Assad has also been repeatedly accused of specifically targeting Sunni Muslims who desire his overthrow.

Ellwood said that the period of IS being viewed as a defender of Sunnis was “before 2014”. Dan Chugg, head of the Foreign Office’s ISIL Task Force, told the committee that “around two years ago” IS “may have been able to attract donations from sympathetic Sunnis, with the wealthiest states in the region – the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf – being the subject of particular concern”.

“[It] was certainly a problem in the early days of the Daesh organisation that there was funding coming in from Gulf countries and other places,” Chugg said, using an alternative acronym for IS.

The committee asked Ellwood for his opinion on reports speculating that donations may have been sent to IS by individuals close to royal families in the Gulf.

Ellwood said: “It is very opaque, it has to be said. When somebody who is close to the top of a royal family is a very rich individual donor and chooses to do so, that is very likely to happen.”

On the same issue of the royal families being somehow involved – either directly or indirectly – in the funding of IS, Chugg told the committee: “It is difficult with some of these countries to know exactly what is government funding and what is not when you are dealing with royal families, wealthy princes and those kind of things.

“Our strategy was not to try to ascertain whose problem and whose fault it was, but to stop the funding going to Daesh. That was what was important. And that is what our efforts have been focused on.”

Turkey, Gulf deny funding IS

The Gulf states and Turkey have repeatedly denied allegations of funding IS and defended their actions by pointing to their role in the international coalition which is attempting to defeat the group.

However, Chugg said that while he is “not aware of hard evidence that those countries were funding Daesh” two years ago, there “was a lot of speculation that those countries were not playing a terribly helpful role” in taking on the group.

The report did say that regional states have since established legal and institutional infrastructure to stop the ability of IS to raise funds. But it added that some regional states have been “slow” to implement these measures.

The report cited the fact Saudi Arabia only made it illegal for its citizens to fund IS in March 2015, while Britain had designated the group terrorist by June 2014.

The report concluded its section on donations to IS by calling for Britain to work with its regional allies “to ensure that they have the capacity and resolve to rigorously enforce local laws to prevent the funding of ISIL, so that the group cannot benefit from donations in the future”.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on The Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) Received Secret Funding from Gulf states

How U.S. And UK “Liberals” Disfranchise Their Party Members

How Liberals Strengthen the Right Wing

The “liberal” party establishments in the U.S. and UK, within the Democrats and Labour, are united in their distaste for party member opinions. They alone want to decide which positions the party has to take. They want to make sure that there is no alternative to their rule. It is elitism at its worst which no longer bothers with the pretense of democracy. Does it count as “shared values”?

Bernie Sanders folded. This without gaining any significant concession from Hillary Clinton on programmatic or personal grounds. (At least as far as we know.) He endorsed Clinton as presidential candidate even as she gave no ground for his voters’ opinions. This disenfranchises the people who supported him.

Trump’s attack lines on this are spot on:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump – 7:01pm · 12 Jul 2016
Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.

and

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump – 7:03pm · 12 Jul 2016
Bernie sanders has abandoned his supporters by endorsing pro-war pro-TPP pro-Wall Street Crooked Hillary Clinton.

Those are valid statements. I find it hard to to argue with these.

Abstaining from any endorsement or running as independent or Green party candidate would have been more honorable ways for Sanders to admit defeat. It would have pressed the Democratic party to stop its movement to the right of the Republican party.

I expect the “Not Hillary” protest vote to be very strong in the November election. There is still more significant dirt to be dug up about her and her family foundation. Trumps current lows in the polls will recover when the media return to the “close race” mantra that makes them money. He still has a decent chance to win.

Then again – its the first time now that I have to concede that Clinton may well win. But that would be with a record low turnout, and record low legitimacy. There would be no wins for the Democrats in the Senate and House. She would be another Republican President who would represent only a record small slice of the electorate.

The election shambles on the other side of the Atlantic are no less depressing. “Corbyn can not win votes,” is the claim of the anti-Corbyn Blairites. That is why they have to resort to dirty tricks to disenfranchise Corbyn voters. His supporters are not allowed to count in a Labour leadership election because they support him. How can such “logic” and this step be legal?

Jeremy Corbyn was jubilant after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) decided his name should automatically appear on the ballot paper in the leadership contest triggered by Angela Eagle.

However, in a separate decision taken after Corbyn had left the room, the NEC ruled that only those who have been members for more than six months will be allowed to vote – while new supporters will be given two days to sign up as registered supporters to vote in the race, but only if they are willing to pay £25 – far higher than the £3 fee many Corbyn backers paid in the contest last year.

If that ruling stands nearly 100,000 new party members who have joined in support of Corbyn will either have to immediately pay a poll-tax of £25, or will not be allowed to vote. Here is what the Labour website promised them when they joined:

Corbyn may need some lawyers to set the NEC straight.

One can only hope that he wins the new Labour leadership election. The Labour establishment stinks like an Augias stable and the party needs a thorough house cleaning.

Posted in USA, UKComments Off on How U.S. And UK “Liberals” Disfranchise Their Party Members

Gestapo America: “Warrantless Access to All Your Internet Activity”

NOVANEWS
 
FBI-HQ-Sign

FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it.  He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American.

In other words, Comey wants to render null and void the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and completely destroy your privacy rights.

The reason Washington wants to know everything about everyone is so that Washington can embarrass, blackmail, and frame on felony charges patriots who stand up in defense of the US Constitution and the rule of law, and dissidents who criticize Washington’s illegal wars, reckless foreign policies, and oppression of American citizens.

Washington’s demand for power has nothing to do with our security. It has to do with destroying the security that the US Constitution gives us.

The security that Comey wants to protect is not our security or the national security of the United States.  Comey’s intent is to make Washington secure despite its violations of statutory law and the US Constitution.  The way Comey intends to do this is by intimidating, harassing, and arresting Washington’s critics.

Comey wants the unconstitutional power to demand from the providers of telephone and Internet services all records and information about you. These demands are not to be subject to oversight by courts, and the communication companies that serve you are prohibited from telling you that all of your information has been given to the FBI.

US Senators rushed to stick their swords into the Fourth Amendment. John Cornyn slapped an FBI-written amendment on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2015. This caused the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International to withdraw their support for the act, which caused the act to be withdrawn.

Senator John McCain rushed to the aid of the FBI.  This Constitution-hating senator proposed an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill that would use a provision in the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act to grant the unlimited unaccountable power to the FBI to totally destroy your privacy.

McCain’s amendment failed, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R,KY) changed his vote so that he could negate the Senate’s vote with a vote to reconsider.

The FBI’s senators will continue with amendments to legislation, related or not, until they deliver to the FBI the power it wants.

Unfortunately, most Americans today, unlike their forebears, are too ignorant and uneducated to know the value of the privacy rights that our Founding Fathers put in the US Constitution. The imbeciles say nonsense such as: “I haven’t done anything wrong. I have nothing to fear.”  God help the imbeciles.

If the American people were sufficiently sophisticated, they perhaps would wonder why such a large chunk of the US Senate had rather represent the FBI than the American people, their constituents who elected them to represent the people in the state, not a police power in Washington.

Why are so many US senators more responsive to the FBI’s desire for Gestapo police power than they are to the civil liberties embodied in the US Constitution?

As the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation show, the Orlando shootings, the Dallas shootings and whatever shootings, real or staged, next occur have nothing to do with the FBI’s demand to completely destroy all privacy rights of the American people.

http://bordc.org/news/senate-rejects-amendment-expanding-fbi-surveillance-powers-by-narrow-margin/

What’s that I hear?  You say you knew nothing about this?  Little wonder. Your media consist of people well paid to deceive you and to deliver you into a Police State. To strip you of all constitutional protection and deliver you unprotected to a police state is the function of the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox “News,” CNN, the rest of the presstitute print and TV media and many Internet sites.

Adolf Hitler is alive and well in the United States, and he is fast rising to power.

Posted in USAComments Off on Gestapo America: “Warrantless Access to All Your Internet Activity”

From Winston Churchill to Tony Blair: How British Leaders Destroyed Iraq for over a Century

NOVANEWS

After seven years, the Chilcot report has delivered a damning verdict on Tony Blair’s role in the war on Iraq, but British Prime Ministers playing a destructive role in Iraq is a centuries old practice.

Britain has used its military might and commercial prowess to subjugate Iraq and control its oil resources for over one hundred years.

Churchill invented Iraq. The end of World War I left Britain and France in command of the Middle East and the allies carved up the region as the defeated Ottoman Empire fell apart. Winston Churchill convened the 1912 Conference in Cairo to determine the boundaries of the British Middle Eastern mandate. After giving Jordan to Prince Abdullah, Churchill, gave Prince Abdullah’s brother Faisal an arbitrary patch of desert that became Iraq.

Historian Michael R. Burch recalls how the huge zigzag in Jordan’s eastern border with Saudi Arabia has been called “Winston’s Hiccup” or “Churchill’s Sneeze” because Churchill carelessly drew the expansive boundary after a generous lunch.

Churchill’s imperial foreign policy has caused a century of instability in Iraq by arbitrarily locking together three warring ethnic groups that have been bleeding heavily ever since. In Iraq, Churchill bundled together the three Ottoman vilayets of Basra that was predominantly Shiite, Baghdad that was Sunni, and Mosul that was mainly Kurd.

Britain set up a colonial regime in Iraq. British oppression in Iraq intensified and an uprising in May 1920 united Sunni and Shia against the British. Winston Churchill, the responsible cabinet minister, took almost a decade to brutally quash the uprising leaving 9,000 Iraqis dead.

Churchill ordered punitive village burning expeditions and air attacks to shock and awe the population. The British air force bombed not only military targets but civilian areas as well. British government policy was to kill and wound women and children so as to intimidate the population into submission.

Churchill also authorized the use of chemical weapons on innocent Iraqis.

In 1919 Churchill remarked, “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes… It will cause great inconvenience and spread a lively terror”.

Churchill, saw Iraq as an experiment in aerial technological colonial control as a cheaper way to patrol the over-extended empire. Almost one hundred years since Churchill sought the use of aerial technology to cling onto influence over a restive Iraq, Blair’s government began flying deadly drones over Baghdad and Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

To Britain’s imperial Prime Ministers, aviation has always promised to be the trump card, the guaranteed way of keeping native peoples and their resources under control. Arthur “Bomber” Harris, who was to lead the aerial bombardment of Germany 20 years after bombing Iraq, boasted that he had taught Iraqis “that within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or wounded”.

The British Royal Air Force maintained its military control over Iraq until World War II, even after Iraqi independence in 1932. Despite formal independence, British political and economic influence in Iraq barely receded.

Britain’s relationship with Iraq has always revolved around the issue of oil. Churchill viewed Iraq as an important gateway to Britain’s Indian colony and oil as the lifeblood for Britain’s Imperial Navy.

Britain established the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) as the vehicle through which Iraqi oil would be exploited. British Petroleum (BP), or the Anglo-Persian Oil Company as it was known back then, was also heavily involved in plundering Iraqi oil.

British oilmen benefited incalculably from Iraq’s puppet regime until the Iraqi masses rose up against British influence. This led to the Iraq revolution of 1958 and the rise and eventual Presidency of Saddam Hussein.

British and US intelligence helped Saddam’s Ba`ath Party seize power for the first time in 1963. Ample new evidence shows that Saddam was on the CIA payroll as early as 1959, when he was part of a failed assassination attempt against Iraqi leader Abd al-Karim Qassem. During the 1980s, the United States and Britain backed Saddam in the war against Iran, providing Iraq with weapons, funding, intelligence, and even biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

In 2003 the Guardian reported that a chemical plant, which the United States said was a key component in Iraq’s chemical warfare arsenal, was secretly built by Britain in 1985 behind the backs of the Americans. Documents show British ministers knew at the time that the $14 million dollar British taxpayer funded plant, called Falluja 2, was likely to be used for mustard and nerve gas production.

British relations with Saddam Hussein only began to sour when Hussein nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company in 1972. As a result of Iraq’s oil revenues finally flowing directly into the Iraqi Treasury, the nation experienced a massive windfall when oil prices quadrupled in 1973.

The Iraqi nation grew increasingly wealthy, as oil revenues rose from $500 million in 1972 to over $26 billion in 1980, an increase of almost 50 times in nominal terms.

During the 1990’s, Britain supported severe economic sanctions against Iraq because of Saddam’s increasing resource nationalism. The United Nations estimated that 1.7 million Iraqis died as a result of the sanctions. Five hundred thousand of these victims were children.

The British and American sanctions on Iraq killed more civilians than the entirety of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons used in human history.

Glaring similarities between Britain’s 1917 occupation of Iraq and the modern military debacle in Iraq are too salient to dismiss or to ignore.

They told us that Iraq was a nuclear threat; Iraq was a terrorist state; Iraq was tied to Al Qaeda. It all amounted to nothing. Since the 2003 invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and over a million have been displaced because of this lie.

Prior to 2003, Iraq had zero recorded suicide bombings. Since 2003, over a thousand suicide bombs have killed 12,000 innocent Iraqis.

Tony Blair recently admitted to CNN that the 2003 invasion of Iraq played a part in the rise of the Islamic State militant group, and apologized for some mistakes in planning the war.

It is important to note that Al Qaeda in Iraq did not exist prior to the British-American invasion and that terror organization eventually became ISIS.

Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally an American computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.

Blair’s legacy in Iraq is ISIS. Blair has recently called ISIS the “greatest threat” faced by Britain.

Shortly after British general Stanley Maude’s troops captured Baghdad in 1917, he announced, “our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.”

Almost a century later in 2003 Tony Blair said, “Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors. They will not stay a day longer than is necessary”.

History has a habit of repeating itself, albeit with slightly different characters and different nuances. Iraq may well go down in history as Britain’s greatest longstanding foreign policy failure.

Posted in UKComments Off on From Winston Churchill to Tony Blair: How British Leaders Destroyed Iraq for over a Century

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