Archive | May 27th, 2017

Syria War: U.S. Dooms ISIS Fighters Leaving Raqqa to Death

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On May 26, the US-backed and formed of Kurdish and Arab units Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that they are ready to guarantee safety for ISIS terrorists if they leave Raqqa within the next few days, ARA News reported.

Besides, according to a source in the SDF command, who preferred to remain anonymous, the Kurds in cooperation with U.S forces are setting corridors to allow terrorists move towards Palmyra and other towns controlled by the Syrian government. Washington is attempting to lure terrorists and their families out of the city to get them eliminated with mass airstrikes either by the international coalition or Syrian troops with the assistance of the Russian AF, the source added.

Such incidents have already occurred. Today, an Iranian news agency MEHR reported that the Russian Air Force eliminated 32 pickup trucks mounted with high-caliber guns and more than 120 IS terrorists fleeing from Raqqa to Palmyra. Notably, a news website The Baghdad Post wrote on Thursday that terrorists had left a number of Raqqa neighborhoods for unknown reasons. Militants seem to have been trying to use the corridors set by the U.S. to leave for Palmyra when they were hit by Russian jets.

Possible ways of ISIS running away (Source: Inside Syria Media Center)

Regarding this, our experts believe that Washington has taken a perfect position concerning ISIS in Raqqa. On the one hand, by shaping ‘safety corridors’ for terrorists and their families, the Americans want to show the world their ‘humanitarian mission’ in Syria, while on the other they push the militants out of the IS stronghold to doom them to death under the air bombs.

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The Manchester Terror Attack. Is it A “False Flag”?

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Image: Salman Abedi, alleged perpetrator

Despite numerous inconsistencies in the official UK government narrative and police reports, the “False Flag” question mark has largely disappeared from the realm of public debate.

Consider this:

  • Since 9/11 – and increasingly so – any mass event in the West, notably in Europe and the US, like the pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester on 22 May, would be cordoned-off and super secured. How can the terrorist with his artisan bomb (under the arm or under his belt?) get through security? In any case, he is conveniently dead, another witness done away with.
  • It is a mystery, how the ‘perpetrator’ was identified in the US, by an unnamed source, when the murderous explosion happened in Manchester, some 8,000 km across the Atlantic – and, when – most important – the ‘suicide bomber’ left again his by now ‘legendary ID’ behind, his plastic bank card – at the crime scene – not in the US?
  • Alone the fact – or the supposed fact – that the young Muslim murderer left his notorious ID behind, has become a ridiculous pattern which not even the staunchest supporter of the mainstream reports can ignore. Or can he? How come hardly anybody of the public at large questions such nonsense?
  • Terror drills took place in several UK cities shortly before the 22 May Manchester concert explosion. This is a typical pattern seen just before other ‘terror’ scenes, i.e. the Boston Marathon bombing.

Are there still any blue-eyed doubters out there? Those who bask in their comfort zone, undisturbed by facts, rather believing a lie than the truth? – Confronting the truth means often confronting your own life, and that is for most people hard. Admitting that your life has been a farce, because you have always believed in a farce and never sought the truth, even though you knew, or felt it in the back of your mind, the truth was right there, but the comfortable lie and deceit is easier to swallow than the hard and inconvenient reality.

Critics and pundits who believe that these ‘terror’ attacks are blowbacks from our western wars – think again. ISIS / Daesh, Al-Qaeda and whatever else these Islamic terror groups are called, are the creation of the west, i.e. CIA, MI6, Mossad. They are basically funded by Washington, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf Kingdoms, and Turkey.

What is the role of  these secret services? Are these horrific killings under the guise of an Islamic ‘terror attack’, being  used as a pretext and a justification, so that the Western powers can engage in more wars, more atrocities, more killings in the Middle East, and wherever else it pleases them. That’s what’s called ‘False Flags’.

We, the People, must wake up to these facts. Only conscious awareness may eventually stop them. International law is coopted and corrupted by the swamp of the establishment. As long as we don’t have a Nuremberg-type justice system that pursues and puts away these war instigators, western societies will be subjugated to an ever increasing police state apparatus.

See previous article:

ISIS Terrorist Attack in Manchester? 17 Days Before Crucial UK Elections

By Peter Koenig

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The Educational Perils of “America First”

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During his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump propagated the reductive slogan America First, which has since translated into the lens his administration uses in framing policy. Perusing the Issues page of the White House website immediately gives way to showing how the Trump administration articulates governance—nationalistically. This is evidenced with the first two policy areas from which to select: “America First Energy Policy” and an “America First Foreign Policy”.

In his terse, yet erudite article A Short History of ‘America First’”, Krishnadev Calamur details why using the seemingly patriotic “America First” slogan matters. Calamur writes:

The phrase in itself might provide comfort for those of Trump’s supporters who have long railed against what they see as lawmakers in Washington catering to special interests, corporations, and other countries at the expense of, in their view, the American worker. But the phrase “America first” also has a darker recent history…

That history descends from the now dissolved “America First Party” that ran Gerald L.K. Smith as its presidential nominee in 1944. Smith’s campaign brimmed with implied notions of anti-Semitism, isolationism, socio-political imperialism, and, most ostensibly, the perpetuation of a dark species of narcissistic nationalism—all views with which he was proud to associate himself.

The party eventually reorganized as the Reform Party in 1992, advocating for traditionally conservative values, including: minimizing the role of government, establishing stronger borders, inculcating Judeo-Christian values, and legislating for English as the national language. In 1999, Trump, a Reform Party Member, was courted by the Party to be its Presidential nominee. However, he eventually removed himself from consideration. This gave way to Pat Buchannan becoming the party’s nominee, whom Trump called a “Hitler Lover” because of Buchanan’s view that Hitler presented no serious threat to the United States prior to the US entering World War II.

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Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan speaks at a rally at the Tennessee State House in Nashville, Tennessee. Buchanan is campaigning across Tennessee, trying to win the state’s primary 12 March. (Source: nationaljournal.com)

Given the checkered historical context of the “America First” socio-political ideology, and President Trump’s associated connections with the party’s 1944 derivative, how these points translate into educational policy is already taking form.

With the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary earlier this year, cultural changes within the department have already caused substantive shifts in educational policy.In February, Secretary DeVos acknowledged her plans for continuing enforcement of the Every Student Succeeds Act; thereby, ensuring states have ongoing autonomy in setting educational policies.

The extent of that autonomy was recently brought into question during Secretary DeVos’ testimony before the House subcommittee on labor, health and human services. Referencing an actual situation, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass) asked whether private schools receiving school vouchers in Indiana can deny admission to a student based on sexual orientation or that of the student’s parents. Her response was to simply acknowledge that schools have broad authority under Title IX to include such stipulations, circumventing the acknowledgement of situations where she would step in to prevent the enforcement of similar discriminatory measures.

She also said she would cut the “unnecessary” programs within the department to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent “efficiently and effectively”. How the administration defines unnecessary is now clear with their release of the 2018 Proposed Education Budget. As a messaging signal, President Trump’s agenda plainly expresses his vision for funding, administering, and nesting educational policies locally, nationally, and internationally. In sum, his vision requires education funding cuts by $345 billion over the next 10 years, primarily in the areas of secondary, post-secondary, training & employment, and educational research. However, it is the correlation of the proposed budget to the Reform Party platform and the long-term effects of the proposed cuts that is troublesome.

The philosophy behind the budgetary cuts is in congruent in observing the need for programs that foster multiculturalist experiences in both educational and the workplace settings. Below are three cases-in-point:

  • Elimination of the public-service loan forgiveness program: This is an economically regressive cut that de-incentivizes graduates to seek a career in public service. Instead of a mix of graduates from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, those with the financial means of repaying their loans and those without loans because of scholarship opportunities or personal means are favored.
  • Elimination of programs that foster foreign language study: This creates a natural barrier to students traveling abroad in learning the value of the cultural norms of other countries.
  • Substantial reductions in spending for international-education programs and exchanges (i.e. the Fulbright Fellowship program): Reducing funding for these programs will discourage some of America’s brightest students from applying to partake in opportunities that dually benefit students or researchers as well as the countries where they would otherwise study.

When reflecting on the origins of the “America First” platform, these policies echo a strategy of homogenic isolationism, succeeding only in sponsoring socio-cultural hegemony instead of multicultural diversity. This makes it difficult to foster democratized learning contexts both inside and outside of the classroom. Yet, democratization remains the essence for preserving dynamic and transformative learning environments if students are to succeed in today’s diverse professional spaces.

Working-class adults and college/trade school students are also negatively affected by the proposed budget’s elimination of more than 24 adult education and vocational training programs. Included among these programs are:

  • The Perkins Act: This law assists states in enhancing and improving trade-focused education and professional development opportunities through issuing quality assurance standards and ensuring the compliance of institutions accordingly.
  • Federal Work Study: This federal program allows students to work at their educational institution for a pre-determined number of hours each semester, while earning money to cover some of the costs of attendance.

During his campaign, and even as President, Trump has repeatedly emphasized his unwavering support for the working class in their individual and collective plights. However, the proposed budget cuts are seemingly nonsensical in aligning with the needs of President’s voter block. In fact, such cuts would mitigate improvements in labor-market preparation and remove 700,000 students from being eligible for working campus jobs. This would leave unemployed and displaced workers needing to re-train/re-educate themselves, and students willing to work towards paying for their education,without the proper financial support to be successful.

The combination of incoherent budgetary cuts and the elimination of multicultural learning opportunities frames an ominous portrait following in the tradition of the Reform Party. While it is clear the current posture of the nation’s educational priorities is seemingly introverted, there is also a lack of clarity in the vision of how education is to be administered, save the expectation of formidable cost reductions. That is why the steps that Congress takes with the President’s proposed budget will be the litmus test in determining if America is being placed first.

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One Hundred Years Ago, in the Spring of 1917: Why Did America Go to War in 1917?

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Excerpt from Jacques R. Pauwels, ‘The Great Class War 1914-1918,’ James Lorimer, Toronto, 2016
 

1917 was not a good year for any of the belligerent countries, but for the members of the Entente – France, Britain, and Russia – it was nothing less than catastrophic. The main reasons for that were the mutinies in the French army, which made the situation on the western front extremely precarious, as well as the revolution in Russia, which raised the spectre of Russia exiting the war, leaving Britain and France bereft of the ally that forced Germany to fight on two fronts. Add to this the fact that civilians as well as soldiers in France and Britain were desperate for peace, and one understands why the political and military authorities in London and Paris had plenty of reasons to be concerned.

They had wanted this war and wanted desperately to win it, and to achieve this they needed the support of the population and of all their allies. But in 1917, victory was nowhere in sight, and had never seemed so far away. And what would happen if the war was not won? The answer was provided by the events in Russia, and it was a grim warning: revolution!

The only ray of hope in 1917, from the viewpoint of the Entente, was that in April of that year the United States declared war on Germany, something Paris and London had fervently been hoping for. It would obviously still take some time before American troops would disembark in Europe to help turn the tide in favour of the Entente, but hope for a final victory was thus revived.

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For the overwhelming majority of the people of the United States, however, the entry of their country into the war was hardly a wonderful thing. They realized that the war raging in Europe had been a disaster, and that in all belligerent countries civilians as well as soldiers longed for a return to peace. The Europeans wanted to exit this war as soon as possible; why would Americans want to enter it? And why would they have to fight on the side of the British and the French against the Germans? Why not on the side of the Germans against the countries of the Entente? Let us examine the factors that caused many Americans to ask such questions.

For a long time already, the United States had enjoyed good relations with Germany. It was not Germany but Britain that was the traditional enemy and great rival of Uncle Sam. The British were former colonial masters against whom the country’s war of independence had been fought during the 1770s, and against whom another armed conflict took place between 1812 and 1815, the so-called War of 1812; and throughout the 19th century relations with Britain had remained tense on account of issues such as the border of the US with British North America (to become the Dominion of Canada in 1867), influence and commerce in the Pacific, South America, and the Caribbean, and British sympathy for the South during the American Civil War. (Until the 1930s, in fact, Washington would have plans ready for a possible war against Britain.)

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Marquis de Lafayette (Source: history.com)

The Americans did not regard the British as beloved “Anglo-Saxon” twins. Clearly, many Americans were of English origin and supported Albion and its allies. But the majority of Americans – unlike the elite of the country’s northeast, consisting to a large extent of WASPs – were not “Anglo-Saxons” at all but came from all over Europe, including many from Ireland and Germany. In 1914, when the war broke out in Europe, Americans of Irish or German origin had good reasons to hope for a German victory and a defeat of Britain. As for France, the Americans who disembarked there in 1917 held banners proclaiming “Lafayette, here we are!,” an allusion to the aid the Americans had received from France during their war of independence against Britain, aid that was personified by the Marquis de Lafayette. The slogan suggested that the Americans were now paying back a debt of gratitude to the French, but why had they not rushed to support their old Gallic friend in 1914? In reality, hypothetical gratitude towards the French had nothing to do with the US entry into the war, the more so since many Americans were very religious and had little or no sympathy for a republic that was anticlerical if not atheistic. The Protestant Americans sympathised with Germany, ruled by the Lutheran Hohenzollerns, and Catholic Americans had a soft spot for Austria-Hungary, whose rulers, the Habsburgs, had been the great white knights of Catholicism ever since the time of the Reformation. And Russia? That empire was viewed by many Americans as a bastion of autocratic, old-fashioned monarchism, as the antithesis of the democratic republic the United States was (at least in theory).

Numerous Americans such as Jews and Ukrainians were refugees from the Czarist empire who had about the same feelings for Russia as the Irish had for Britain. In the United States, Germany was not the object of such rivalry, dislike, or outright hostility. Moreover, many Americans, for example Theodore Roosevelt, considered themselves to belong to the superior “Nordic race” and therefore to be close relatives of the “Aryan” Germans, presumably an equally superior breed. The fact that Germany was hardly a democracy did not constitute a problem for elitist types such as Roosevelt, who looked down on the popular “masses.” As for the Americans who did not belong to the elite and did in fact favour democracy, even they had little or nothing against Germany. Indeed, with its social legislation and universal suffrage, the Reich loomed in some ways as more democratic than Britain, for example, and the United States itself. American democracy was indeed a kind of “Herrenvolk democracy,” that is, a democracy for an ethnic elite, namely the “white man,” a system from which Indians and blacks, a large part of the population, were ruthlessly excluded – de facto and/or de jure. This “democracy for the few,” as the political scientist and historian Michael Parenti has called it, featured a kind of apartheid avant la lettre, in which blacks were the victims of segregation and lynchings and Indians were cast aside in wretched reservations. In comparison to that, the Reich of William II was an egalitarian paradise. President Woodrow Wilson’s claim that the US went to war for the sake of democracy, a claim that even today many consider to be sincere, was not only totally false, but even ludicrous. If Wilson had really wanted to do something to promote the cause of democracy, he should have started in his own country, where there was still an awful lot of work to be done.

Lynching in Nebraska, 1919

Lynching in Nebraska, 1919 (Source: williambowles.info)

One can say that in early 1917 the American population was divided with respect to the war. Some Americans – and above all the WASPs and other citizens of English origin – rooted for the Entente, while others sympathized with the Central Powers; and countless Americans probably had no particular opinion about what was going on in distant Europe. But sympathy is one thing, and fighting is something else. Most of the citizens tended to be pacifist or “isolationist,” wanted nothing to do with the war raging in Europe, and were against their country becoming involved in it. It is in this context that the song I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier, which originated in 1915 and had already enjoyed a lot of success in Britain, become the musical icon of pacifism in the United States (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQwEqhtGcW0). The song was deeply offensive to those Americans who did favour intervention in the war, the bellicose type of Americans whose figurehead was “Teddy” Roosevelt. The presidential elections of 1916 were won by Wilson, the incumbent. He was perceived as the peace candidate, opposed to America’s entry into the war. As happens more often in the case of US presidents, he was to do exactly the opposite of what was expected of him: on April 2, 1917 he persuaded Congress to declare war on Germany, and this decision became official on April 6. Wilson claimed that Western civilization might collapse and mankind perhaps even become extinct if the United States did not intervene in the conflict; with the US involved, he suggested, the war would become a “war for democracy,” a “war to end all wars.”

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Woodrow Wilson (Source: The Common Constitutionalist)

It is understandable that many historians have failed to take these Wilsonian declarations seriously and have sought elsewhere for the real reasons that caused America to join the war against the will of the overwhelming majority of its people. Germany is usually blamed for this, namely because in 1917 the Reich responded to the British blockade – and the fiasco of the Battle of Jutland in the previous year – with an escalation of submarine warfare. By means of this strategy, Berlin hoped to be able to force the British to capitulate within six months. From January to April 1917, an enormous tonnage of ships was sent to the bottom of the sea, but from May on, when the British introduced the convoy system, their losses declined drastically. Submarine warfare also antagonized neutral powers, including the United States, and spoiled relations between Washington and Berlin, eventually leading to war. It is in these terms that numerous historians try to explain America’s entry into the conflict. In this context the name Lusitania is inevitably mentioned. This great British ocean liner left New York for Liverpool but was sunk by a German U-Boot, and American citizens were among the victims. Stateside, this fanned the flames of anti-German sentiments. The attack proved to be grist for the mill of the “interventionists,” the partisans of entry into the war, and this allegedly led to an American declaration of war on Germany.

The problem with this explanation is that the Lusitania had already been sunk on May 7, 1915, that is, no less than two years before Washington went to war. Also, the 1,198 victims included only 128 Americans, the others being British and Canadian. Moreover, the Lusitania transported munitions and war materiel, something that, according to prevailing norms of international law, made the ship “fair game” for the Germans to target. (The German consulate in New York had in fact warned potential passengers via newspaper advertisements that this might happen). Finally, it is likely that the British authorities, including Churchill, had intentionally arranged for the ship to take on ammunition in the hope that it would be attacked by the Germans, thus triggering an American entry into the war. It is understandable that under such questionable circumstances, the US government failed to take the bait. In early 1917, on account of the intensification of submarine warfare, relations between the United States and Germany were admittedly deteriorating. Even so, it was not for this reason that Wilson declared war in April.

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Newspaper headline from Columbia, Missouri on April, 6, 1917 (Source: Pinterest)

It was not the American people but the American elite – of which Wilson, a former president of Princeton University, was a typical representative – that wanted war; and the war that was wanted was a war against Germany. The reason for this is that in 1917 the US elite, like its European counterpart in 1914, expected war to bring considerable advantages, and also help to dodge a major threat. The US was a great imperialist power, different from Britain, France, Russia and Germany in one small but important aspect: the US had developed a new imperialist strategy, later to be known as neo-colonialism. This involved acquiring raw materials, markets, sources of cheap labour, and investment opportunities not via direct colonial control of a country, but via an indirect, mostly economic penetration, combined with the establishment, usually with the collaboration of local elites, of preponderant political influence. The US thus no longer used colonies and protectorates to achieve imperialist aims, as the European powers continued to do.

The Great War was a conflict between great imperialist powers. It was clear that the powers that would emerge triumphant from this war would also be the great winners with respect to imperialist interests. And it was equally clear that, as in a lottery, those who did not play could not win. It is highly probable that at the time of its declaration of war on Germany, the US government was aware of a statement made shortly before, on January 12, 1917, by the French Prime Minister, Aristide Briand, had thought about it, and had drawn conclusions from it. Clearly alluding to the United States, Briand had let it be known that

“it would be desirable, at the peace conference, to exclude the powers that had not been involved in the war.”

Was it not obvious that there would be much to gain for those who would in fact be present at this conference? The vast possessions of the losers would be divided: “German” real estate in Africa, the oil-rich regions of the Ottoman Empire, and influence in China were all at stake. (The imperialists had been ogling this gigantic but weak country, determined to be present when more concessions could be carved out of its territory, when rights to exploit its mineral wealth or construct railways there would come up for grabs, and when the green light would be given for other ways to penetrate it economically.) In this respect, Japan had already shown its hand by pocketing the German concession in China. A relatively small country inhabited by members of a presumably inferior race, Japan nonetheless revealed itself as an aggressive and pesky rival of the United States in the Far East. Thanks to their “splendid little war” against Spain, the Americans had been able to establish a foothold in this part of the world in the form of tutelage over the Philippines, a Spanish colony they had “liberated.” If the United States stayed out of the war, it would not be present when the Chinese prizes were distributed among the victors, and there loomed a very real danger that Japan might end up monopolizing China economically, so that American businessmen would not find the “open door” there that they were longing for. In any event, stateside it was feared that not only Japan, but also Britain and France – all of them rivals in the “rat race” of imperialism – would take advantage of victory in the war to keep the US out of China and elsewhere. Even a Wikipedia contributor acknowledges this on the topic “American entry into World War I”:

[I]f the Allies had won without [American] help, there was a danger they would carve up the world without regard to American commercial interests.They were already planning to use government subsidies, tariff walls, and controlled markets to counter the competition posed by American businessmen.

With his declaration of war on Germany in April 1917, Wilson neatly eliminated this danger. Much later, in the 1930s, an inquiry by the Nye Committee of the American Congress was to come to the conclusion that the country’s entry into the war had been motivated by the wish to be present when, after the war, the moment came “to redivide the spoils of empire.”

The US went to war in order to achieve imperialist objectives: more specifically, to be able to share in the rich booty that awaited the victors of the slugfest among imperialists that the Great War happened to be. Remaining neutral would not only have meant not profiting from victory but, conversely, running the risk of becoming the object of the imperialist appetite of the victors. In the case of the US, that risk was admittedly virtually non-existent, but for small neutral countries it was very real. On March 9, 1916, Portugal thus entered the war on the side of the Entente to prevent its colonial possessions from being redistributed by the victorious powers. Lisbon was particularly worried about the intentions of the British, who did in fact entertain such thoughts and were therefore allegedly keen to keep Portugal out of the conflict. Its participation in the war, opposed by the great majority of the population, would cost Portugal 8,000 dead, 13,000 wounded, and 12,000 men taken prisoner, and brought the country zero benefits. Other countries were also forced to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of neutrality. Like the US, the Netherlands could hope that abandoning neutrality might bring advantages. On the other hand, like Portugal, its government feared that maintaining neutrality would be risky. By rallying to the side of Germany, the Netherlands could perhaps acquire Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, and this possibility was in fact conjured up by Berlin through its ambivalent “Flemish policy” (Flamenpolitik) in occupied Belgium. Conversely, remaining neutral meant that after the war the victors might force the Netherlands to cough up some of its colonies or even part of its own territory. During the war and during the Paris Peace Conference, some Belgian politicians actually pursued such a goal – vainly, as it turned out – hoping to annex some Dutch territories.

There was a second reason why war was wanted by the US elite, which consisted almost exclusively of the big industrialists and bankers of the northeast of the country. In the years before 1914, the United States had been hit by a major economic recession. But the war that broke out in Europe generated orders for all sorts of materiel, and on account of this increase in demand, production and profits also increased. Between 1914 and 1917, the nation’s industrial production grew by at least 32 percent, the gross national product by about 20 percent, and American exports to the belligerent countries rose spectacularly. Agricultural products were also exported, naturally, but it was primarily the big industrialists – the capitalists, to use that terminology – who made fortunes thanks to the war that, to their great advantage and joy, seemed destined to go on indefinitely. It was hardly a source of concern that in that war an average of 6,000 men died daily and that countless others were mutilated. What mattered were the profits, and those were fabulous. As illustration, one can cite the profits made by a number of big American corporations thanks to the Great War:

 Corporation: Profits, in millions of dollars:
 Before the war:  At the end of the war:
 DuPont 6 58
Bethlehem Steel 6 49
US Steel 105 240
Anaconda 10 34
International Nickel 4 73

Most of the business generated by the war was done with the countries of the Entente. Between 1914 and 1916, US exports to Britain and France increased dramatically, from approximately 800 million dollars to 3 billion. Conversely, because of the British blockade, it became virtually impossible to supply the Central Powers; the volume of American exports to Germany and Austria-Hungary shrunk during the war to an insignificant 1 to 2 million dollars. But what counted was that the war revealed itself to be good for business, and in the end it mattered little if the customer was an old friend or an old enemy, a democratic or autocratic country, an “Anglo-Saxon” relative or not.

Still, not all was well. Business was done above all with the British and, to a lesser extent, with the French, and the lion’s share of these purchases was based on credits and loans extended to these countries by American banks. In 1917, the US banks had already made a total of 2.3 billion dollars available in this manner. The loans to France alone rose spectacularly during the war, namely from 50 million francs in 1914 to 1.9 billion in 1915, 1.6 in 1916, 7.5 in 1917, 5.3 in 1918, and 9.2 in 1919. Crucial in this context was the role of J. P. Morgan & Co, the bank that was also known as the “House of Morgan.” With offices in London and Paris, this Wall Street institution was in an ideal position to finance the transatlantic business, and already in 1915 Morgan was designated as the sole agent for stateside purchases made on behalf of Britain of ammunition, foodstuffs, etc. (The British also made purchases in the US on behalf of their French and Russian allies.) Thus there emerged in the US a kind of “circle of friends” of Morgan, consisting of firms such as DuPont and Remington, which obtained the contracts and were thus able to make fortunes. Morgan pocketed a two-percent commission on this business, which in 1917 alone amounted to a total value of 20 billion dollars. The US thus replaced Britain as the world’s financial superpower, New York’s Wall Street took over from London’s City as financial capital of the world, and the dollar replaced the British pound as the leading currency.

As far as Wall Street was concerned, the war in Europe was a kind of goose that laid golden eggs, and the longer it lasted, the better – as long as the Entente ended up being victorious. In other words,

“economic interests placed the United States clearly in the camp of the Allies.”

The financial collaboration with Britain possibly amounted to a de facto violation of American legislation with respect to neutrality, as some US politicians argued at the time and the aforementioned Nye Committee of Congress would acknowledge in the 1930s. In any event, it is understandable that Germany saw things that way and demonstrated a growing hostility to the United States. Morgan could not have cared less, but in 1916 Wall Street began to worry about the fact that the British debt was becoming extravagant. And in early 1917 the situation became truly worrisome when the revolution in Russia conjured up the spectre of a Russian exit from the war, likely to be followed by a German victory. In this case, Britain might not be able to pay off its debt, which would mean a financial catastrophe for Morgan. It became all too obvious that only an American entry into the war on the side of the British could forestall such a scenario. In March 1917, the US ambassador in London warned Wilson that “the imminent crisis” constituted a grave menace for Morgan and that

“a declaration of war on Germany was probably the only way to maintain an excellent commercial situation and to prevent a panic.”

Naturally, Morgan and the bank’s influential circle of friends likewise started to lobby in favour of entry into the war. A few weeks later, in early April 1917, the United States did declare war on the Reich, and so Wall Street had achieved its goal. “Money talks,” says an American proverb; in 1917, money talked and President Wilson listened.

Wilson’s radical critics were convinced, writes Adam Hochschild, that

“the real reason the U.S. was fighting for an Allied victory was to ensure that massive American war loans to Britain and France would be paid back.”

And by this decision, adds Niall Ferguson, Wilson saved not only Britain and the Entente in general, he also “bailed out” the House of Morgan. The nasty reality of German submarine warfare was invoked to camouflage this indecent truth. Henceforth, Morgan was to make even more money via the sale of war bonds, euphemistically referred to as “Liberty bonds,” whose aggregate value would rise to 21 billion dollars by June 1919, when the Versailles Treaty officially put an end to the war.

In contrast to the country’s industrial and financial elite, the American people never displayed the slightest enthusiasm for the war. American blacks, in particular,

“hesitated to give their support to a project they considered hypocritical.”

One of them, a resident of the New York district of Harlem, declared that the Germans had never done anything wrong to him, and if they had done so, he forgave them. Alluding to Wilson’s slogan to the effect that America went to war for the sake of democracy, some Afro-American leaders asked him publicly “to start by introducing democracy into America itself.” Precious few volunteers signed up to go serve as cannon fodder on the other side of the Atlantic. The authorities were hoping for one million volunteers, but only 73,000 men responded to the call. Already on May 18, a law was therefore passed, the Selective Service (or Selective Draft) Act, which introduced a selective system of compulsory military service, the “draft”, making it possible to recruit the required number of soldiers. But the draft faced much opposition, and more than 330,000 men were classified as draft evaders.

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Black Americans served in the First World War (Source: Pinterest)

It is not surprising that members of the upper classes as well as skilled workers, whose presence in the factories was indispensable, remained mostly exempt from the draft. It was primarily the poor who were targeted because they were considered redundant. As in the case of the armies of the other belligerent countries, ordinary American soldiers came overwhelmingly from the lower classes of the population; they were mostly blacks, recently arrived immigrants, illiterates, and other people with little or no education. Afro-Americans were called up in large numbers, but they were mostly drafted into separate work battalions so that white soldiers would not have to consider them as their equals. In their segregated units the blacks received clothing, food, and accommodation of inferior quality. Of the total of 370,000 Afro-Americans who served in the army, 200,000 went to Europe, but only 40,000 of them received weapons and were permitted to join one of the two black combat divisions. Thus was scraped together an army that presumably went to war to fight for democracy.

That America was going on a crusade for the benefit of democracy and/or to end all wars is what Wilson wanted the American people and the rest of the world to believe. In order to achieve this aim, an enormous propaganda machine was set up, which would make use of press articles, speakers, Hollywood productions, etc. to convey the Wilsonian message to American households. The headquarters of this machine was the euphemistically named Committee on Public Information (CPI, headed by the presumably “progressive” journalist George Creel). The objective was to make Americans accept and even applaud a war they did not want and from which they would not derive any benefits, but for which they would pay a high price with their blood, their sweat, and their money, in other words, to “fabricate the public’s approval or at least agreement.” A collaborator of Creel, the journalist Walter Lippmann, called this the “manufacture of consent” – a term that would later be echoed by Noam Chomsky. What needed to be manufactured from scratch, so to speak, was an anti-German sentiment in the American population. It was done by following the example set by the British, that is, by atrocity mongering, especially by a shameless exaggeration of the atrocities committed by the Germans in 1914 in Belgium.

Creel and his team did an excellent job and the country soon witnessed the blossoming of a veritable anti-German hysteria. Sauerkraut, which was a popular dish in the US at the time, was rebaptised “freedom cabbage,”and the disease known as German measles became “liberty measles.” Hollywood was persuaded to crank out a collection of propaganda films, for example a blockbuster with the unsubtle title The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. (Later, other enemies of the US, such as Saddam Hussein and Colonel Kaddafi, would be demonised in the same fashion.) More serious was the fact that Americans of German origin were obliged to wear a distinctive yellow sign and often had their property confiscated, a fate that would later befall the Jews in Nazi Germany. The churches also made propaganda for the war. The Protestant Churches, in particular, claimed that the conflict was a “crusade” against imperial Germany. The Catholic Church revealed itself to be slightly less enthusiastic, because the Vatican discreetly sympathised with the Central Powers, especially with the Empire of the Habsburgs, and it did not want to offend the numerous Catholic Americans of Irish and German origin, who supported the Berlin-Vienna axis.

There was yet another reason why the American elite longed for war in 1917. Like the European elites in 1914, the US elite in 1917 was convinced that a war would consolidate its power and prestige, halt and possibly even roll back the trend towards democracy, and finally, liquidate the danger of revolutionary change. Indeed, during the years preceding 1914 the nation’s elite had been traumatised by grave social tensions, numerous strikes, and the apparently irresistible rise of the Socialist Party and of the militant trade union IWW. This agitation culminated in April 1914 in the so-called “Ludlow Massacre.” A camp of strikers in one of the coal mines of the Rockefellers in Ludlow, Colorado was attacked by troops and more than twenty persons were killed, including wives and children of the strikers. The entire country was up in arms, and in Denver an army unit even refused to intervene against the strikers.

Fortunately, the public’s attention would soon be diverted by the fact that President Wilson suddenly found it necessary – on a ludicrous pretext – to shell the Mexican seaport of Vera Cruz and to wage a mini-war against this neighbouring country, where a revolution happened to be taking place. The American historian Howard Zinn feels that this was not a coincidence. He suggests that “patriotic fervor and the military spirit [served to] cover up class struggle,” that “guns [were supposed to] divert attention” and that focus on “an external enemy” might “create some national consensus” at home; he concludes that the aggression against Mexico was “an instinctual response of the system for its own survival, to create a unity of fighting purpose among a people torn by internal conflict.” The war against Mexico may also be considered to be a class struggle. It was in fact a conflict between two “classes” of countries. It was a conflict that reflected the oppression and exploitation of a poor and powerless country by a powerful and rich country.

Wilson’s declaration of war on Germany may similarly be viewed as a stratagem to preserve social peace at home by means of war abroad. Wilson certainly did not opt for war solely for this reason, but he eagerly took advantage of the opportunity offered by the war to repress all forms of radicalism in word and deed – to the advantage of the nation’s elite. Wilson, a “democrat” only in the sense that he belonged to the Democratic Party, accomplished this objective in a most undemocratic fashion, namely by awarding himself all sorts of exceptional powers that enabled him to “legally” violate the democratic rights of Americans, and to do so with impunity.

May 1917 witnessed the promulgation of the draconian Espionage Act, a law that officially purported to combat German espionage, and in 1918 Congress would provide the president with even greater special powers by means of the Sedition Act.These laws would remain on the statutes until the summer of 1921, that is, until the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany. Some historians have described these laws as “the country’s most repressive legislation” and as “quasi-totalitarian measures.” The government was henceforth free to censor, close down periodicals, and arrest and incarcerate people ad libitum, on the pretext that the country was at war against a particularly vicious enemy who disposed of all sorts of spies and agents within the US. Those who opposed the war were deemed to oppose America, in other words, to be “un-American”; pacifism and its twin, socialism, were viewed as enemies of  “Americanism.”

These laws obviously aimed to scare the American people, to motivate them in favour of the war, and to repress doubts about the righteousness of the war, anti-war protests, and obstruction of the draft. Under this legislation, it became a criminal offence to speak in “disloyal” or other negative or condescending terms of the nation’s government, flag, or army. It was now risky not to agree with the policies of the Wilson administration. Voicing a moderate criticism of his war, even in the privacy of one’s home, might lead to imprisonment. (The Espionage Actwas to be amended repeatedly after the war, but it was never totally abolished; whistleblower Chelsea – born Bradley – Manning was indicted on the basis of military codes that are themselves based at least in part on this law.)

During the First World War, more than 2,500 Americans were persecuted on the basis of these draconian laws, and about one hundred were convicted and condemned to sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison. This is not a large number in comparison to the country’s total population, but it is important to consider that the fear of persecution caused Americans to stop thinking and expressing critical thoughts and to adopt instead an unthinking conformism – and this in a country where rugged individualism had always been glorified. Countless journalists thus abandoned their earlier “muckraking” practices in favour of auto-censorship and a bland but safe regurgitation of government announcements. Too many of America’s citizens, previously known to be critically inclined, adopted the habit of swallowing with hook, line and sinker whatever their leaders told them and of unthinkingly following whatever orders arrived from above.

The repressive legislation was used selectively, first and foremost against radicals and dissidents of the lower classes, America’s own “classes dangereuses,” in particular Afro-Americans and Jews. But the radicals and dissidents par excellence were the American socialists, then still numerous and militant, who pursued more or less revolutionary democratic reforms and who were opposed to the war. Like their reformist comrades in Europe, some US socialists revealed themselves to be partisans of the war, but the majority of America’s socialists were convinced pacifists, and for this they would pay a heavy price. Their figurehead, Eugene Debs, openly spoke out against the war and encouraged the rank-and-file to follow his example. In June 1918, he would be thrown into prison on the basis of the Espionage Act, and the same fate befell hundreds of other socialists who were found guilty of treason, incitement to rebellion, espionage, use of violence, etc.

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American Federation of Labor (AFL) (Source: Wikipedia)

The big trade unions, for example the American Federation of Labor (AFL), were traditionally allies of Wilson’s Democratic Party, and Wilson defended their interests, at least to a certain point, in exchange for their support. Not surprisingly, in 1917 they supported his entry into the war, just as the European unions had supported their governments when they went to war in 1914. The famous union leader Samuel Gompers turned out to be a particularly useful ally to Wilson, and he collaborated closely with Creel and his Commission of Public Information. One trade union failed to warm up to Wilson and his war, however, namely the radical and even revolutionary IWW. Its leader, “Big Bill” Haywood, would be thrown in jail, just like Debs, for having dared to criticize the war. The IWW had been a thorn in the side of the US establishment for a long time, so the latter took advantage of the war to destroy that nest of revolutionaries via physical attacks on its headquarters, confiscation of documents, arbitrary arrest of many of its leaders and their conviction of the basis of fabricated evidence, etc.

In the US, as in Europe, socialism, or at least its radical, non-reformist version, was allied with pacifism. Most socialists were pacifists and a considerable percentage of the pacifists were socialists. But not all pacifists were socialists; there were also countless bourgeois pacifists with political convictions that may be described as progressive or, as they also say in the US, “liberal.” Among these bourgeois pacifists were courageous people who openly expressed their opposition to Wilson’s war, and in many cases they paid dearly for this, for example by losing their job or even their seat in the legislative assembly of a state. Paul Jones, an Episcopalian bishop from Utah, was divested of his high ecclesiastical function because he spoke out against the war. And in the universities, which revealed themselves to be “homes of intolerance,” the highly touted academic freedom was de facto suppressed for the duration of the war, and pacifist professors were systematically removed from their chairs.

The US is supposed to be the land of free enterprise, which means that the state believes, at least in theory, in the benefits of the traditional liberal laissez-faire approach and therefore intervenes as little as possible in economic and social life, allowing the private sector to “do its thing.” In the context of America’s entry into the war, this implied that the repression of pacifists, socialists, union leaders, etc. was at least “privatised,” that is, turned over to individuals and groups favouring the war, and in general these were people who happened to be simultaneously anti-democratic, anti-socialist, anti-Semitic, and “anti-Hamitic” (i.e. hostile to blacks) and presented themselves as champions of “Americanism.” Prominent among these groups were the American Patriotic League, the Patriotic Order of Sons of America, and the Knights of Liberty, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The methods used by these “vigilantes” included denunciations, beatings, tarring and feathering, painting houses of pacifists yellow, and lynchings. In particular, these vigilantes targeted Wobblies, members of the IWW; one of its leaders, Frank Little, was lynched in Montana in August 1917.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean too, a kind of twin war broke out in 1917, consisting of a “vertical” war in which the US as a country confronted another country, Germany, but also a “horizontal” war in which two classes of American society – the elite and the rest of the population – clashed with each other. In the latter conflict, the elite, directed by Wilson, immediately went on the offensive, namely via repressive laws as well as “vigilantism,” and thus it pushed back the plebeian forces much as the Germans had pushed back the French and the British in 1914. But, as in 1914, that early success did not bring the conflict to an end, and we will later see how it developed during the rest of the war. As for the “vertical” war against Germany, the US elite appeared to be in less of a hurry: it would take quite some time, namely until early 1918, before American troops showed up in significant numbers on the western front and started to make their presence felt.

Featured image: commons.wikimedia.org

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Manchester Bombing: The Uncomfortable Truth. Abedi is Not an “Unprotected Lone Wolf”

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More details have emerged about the prior familiarity of British intelligence agencies with the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, whose murderous assault Monday evening left 22 people dead.

Given Abedi’s connections and his travel movements leading up to the attack, the only explanation for him being able to remain at large for so long is that he was a protected asset—part of a broad network of operatives utilised by Britain and the US to conduct their nefarious operations in the Middle East.

It is the exposure of these operations which accounts for the fury of Prime Minister Theresa May over the US leaking of intelligence information about the UK’s investigation into the bombing. Whatever the specific reasons for these leaks, they have completely undermined the British authority’s original claims that Abedi was an unknown, “lone wolf”.

We know now that British intelligence had received warnings, on at least five separate occasions in the last five years, that Abedi presented a danger, including that he had discussed committing a suicide bombing.

According to new leaks Thursday, Abedi had traveled extensively in the run-up to the attack, including flying from Istanbul to the UK via Germany’s Dusseldorf airport. For years, Turkey has been used as a transit point into Syria by European jihadists, joining Western-led efforts to topple the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Aftermath of the blast in Manchester Arena (Image Source: True Publica)

Several sources, including French intelligence, have made public their conclusions that Abedi had been to Syria and received training there. The Financial Times also reported that a “Turkish official” said that Abedi had traveled through Istanbul on at least two other occasions over the past year. The newspaper reported,

“In mid-April he flew from Amsterdam to Libya, while in late May 2016 he flew from Manchester to Libya, transiting through Istanbul Ataturk airport both times.”

Abedi may have traveled through at least two European Union countries on his way from Turkey to Manchester. Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Abedi flew from Dusseldorf to Manchester on May 18—four days before the attack. The newspaper cited German intelligence sources who said that he arrived in Germany from Libya via Prague.

The Guardian reported,

“It is known that the 22-year-old travelled to Germany at least twice, including a visit to the financial city of Frankfurt.” It added, “Düsseldorf is in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker, spent time.”

Further leaks were reported by the German magazine, Focus. Citing German intelligence sources, it said Abedi flew to Frankfurt from Britain in 2015. Focus said that Germany’s intelligence agency BKA had been told by police in the UK that this visit took place before Abedi undertook paramilitary training in Syria. It reported that he had not been apprehended in Germany, as he was not on any watch list.

There is no innocent explanation for the fact that Abedi was able to travel to Libya, Syria, Turkey and the UK unhindered. It has nothing to do with the spurious claims about the UK having “leaky borders”, or too few border guards. Abedi’s ability to pass through customs without interference can only mean that he had been given the all clear.

For decades, successive British governments have worked with jihadi groups, prepared to use atrocities to achieve their objectives. This has meant that, behind the “war on terror” and the relentless assault on democratic rights that it has entailed, UK authorities have been harbouring Islamist extremist operatives and groups who can be set into motion at the required time, in line with British imperialist foreign policy objectives.

Groups such as Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda all had bases in London. Al-Qaeda considered London the nerve centre of its operations in Europe, with the security services collaborating with some of these organisations and their leaders, the most well known being Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.

Likewise, British imperialism worked closely with Libyan Islamists, supporting them in their opposition to then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. As former MI5 agent David Shayler revealed, MI6 collaborated with one such organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, in the attempted assassination of Gaddafi in 1996.

For years, a group of LIFG members were active in the Whalley Range district of Manchester, close to Salman Abedi’s home. Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan Abedi, an airport security officer, was an LIFG member. He and his wife, Samia Tabbal, a nuclear scientist, fled Tripoli in 1991 after he was arrested by the Gaddafi regime. He had been employed in the regime’s internal security service and was reportedly suspected of tipping off members of anti-Gaddafi Islamist groups about pending police raids. The Daily Mail reported,

“It appears that Ramadan’s life revolved at several points around toppling Gaddafi…”

Sympathies to the victims of the blast (Image Source: True Publica)

After fleeing Libya, Ramadan and his wife lived in Saudi Arabia for a period. They both then went to the UK and applied for and were granted political asylum. They lived first in London and then moved to the south Manchester area, which had become a centre for many anti-Gaddafi elements with which British intelligence maintained the closest links.

Ramadan returned to Libya some time in 2011 in order to fight in the imperialist proxy war that resulted in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in October of that year by US/UK-backed “rebels”. This took place after a NATO bombing campaign in which untold numbers were killed nationwide over the preceding eight months. Ramadan went on to become an administrative manager of the Central Security Force in Tripoli, one of the many militias vying for control of the country.

Samia, Abedi’s mother, is a close friend of Umm Abdul Rahman, the widow of a former Al Qaeda commander, Abu Anas al-Libi. Accused of involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings, the Daily Mail reported that al-Libi

“spent five years in Manchester—having won political asylum in Britain in 1995.” The Mail said that “Abdul Rahman went to college in the Libyan capital with Abedi’s mother, who was studying nuclear engineering. She [Rahman] said the two women also lived together in Manchester for a number of years.”

Al-Libi was seized by US forces in Tripoli in October 2013 and died in 2015 of liver cancer before coming to trial. Following the Manchester bombing, Ramadan Abedi and his youngest son, Hashem, were arrested in Tripoli Tuesday night.

Salman Abedi was also known to have been a close associate of one of the main Islamic State recruiters in the UK, Raphael Hostey, who was killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2016. Hostey grew up in Moss Side, just a mile away from Abedi’s home in the Fallowfield district of the city.

In a statement on the bombing, the government of Abdullah Thinni in Bayda, Libya said it had warned the British government it was harbouring terrorists. Thinni’s government was driven out of Tripoli in 2013 by Islamic extremists, including UK-based Libyan exiles.

It accused May’s predecessor David Cameron of backing terrorist groups who

“have been destroying our cities and towns in an attempt to shape Libya into an exporter of terror to the whole planet.”

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The Activities Around Trump’s Foreign Policy Are Scandalous – But the Media Won’t Tell You Why

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During the election campaign Donald Trump argued for better relations with Russia. He wanted to engage in a common fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists. Hillary Clinton argued for a confrontational policy against Russia and a new cold war. The foreign policy establishment, the media and the CIA were solidly on Clinton’s side. The people of the United States made their choice. It was Trump and his views of policies that were elected.

After Trump had won the election, he advised his staff to set up a confidential track-2 communication channel with the Russian government. He rightfully did not trust the established official channels through the State Department and the CIA. His incoming National Security Advisor Flynn and his foreign policy advisor Kushner worked on his behalf when they soughed contacts with Russian officials. Such diplomacy is by nature not acted out in public.

But now the U.S. people are told by their media that it is a scandal, A SCANDAL, that President Trump’s advisors pursue the policies the candidate Trump had argued for. Today’s headlines: NYT – Kushner Is Said to Have Discussed a Secret Channel to Talk to Russia; WaPo – Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin; The Hill – Kushner wanted secure line with Kremlin before inauguration: report; The New Yorker – Jared Kushner’s Russia Problems; Reuters – Exclusive: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy – sources.

The various formulations in those pieces are painting the discrete diplomatic contacts as something sinister and illegal:

NBC News reported on Thursday that Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign that the investigation, which began last July, has reached the president’s inner circle.

FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.

But paragraphs down from that:

While the FBI is investigating Kushner’s contacts with Russia, he is not currently a target of that investigation, the current law enforcement official said.

There may not have been anything improper about the contacts, the current law enforcement official stressed.

The WaPo author has at least the honesty to note:

It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and officials.

The scandal here are not various contacts by whatever means of Trump advisors with Russia and with other country’s diplomats. The scandal is the undermining of the constitutional prerogative of the elected President of the United State to set foreign policy:

Under the Constitution, the President serves as head of state and head of government. [..] As head of government, he formulates foreign policy, supervises its implementation and attempts to obtain the resources to support it. He also organizes and directs the departments and agencies that play a part in the foreign policy process. Along with the Vice President, he is the only government official elected nationally. This places him in a unique position to identify, express and pursue the “national interests” of the U.S.

The scandal here is not Trump and are not his adviors’ contacts with Russian officials. The scandal are the leaks by “officials” about confidential diplomacy, the sham FBI “investigations” and the general undemocratic hostility and resistance of the foreign policy establishment, the security services and the media towards the president’s chosen policies.

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The Manchester-Libya Connection and the Question That Needs to Be Asked

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There are reports that Salman Abedi, the Manchester suicide bomber, returned from “Daesh stronghold” Libya just days before he carried out his horrific attack.
 

The question we need to be asking is: who turned Libya — which as recently as July 2010 was being lauded in the British press as one of the top six cruise ship holiday destinations — into a “Daesh stronghold” — and a training ground for terrorists like Abedi? 

It’s not a question that the West’s political elites and their media stenographers want us to be asking. And that’s hardly surprising. Because it was they — and the military alliance they support, who transformed Libya from a modern progressive country which acted as a bulwark against Salafi-jihadism, into a haven for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Let’s cast our minds back to March 2011. NATO’s “liberation” of Libya during the so-called “Arab Spring” was cheered on by “liberal interventionists,” regime-change obsessed neocons and most of the mainstream media. The “evil” Gaddafi was going to carry out a “Srebrenica style” massacre of civilians in Benghazi, the likes of David Cameron and William Hague told us. We simply had to intervene to stop the dictator “killing his own people.”

Gaddafi’s warnings that many of the so-called “rebels” were actually fanatical extremists linked to al-Qaeda were haughtily dismissed by the West’s endless war lobby as the ravings of a madman. But — as I later wrote:

“It wasn’t the ‘mad’ Gaddafi who was telling lies in 2011, but the regime changers in suits.”

At home, those of us who warned that forcibly ousting the long-standing Libyan leader would greatly strengthen al-Qaeda — and give them and affiliated extremists a base on the Mediterranean — were shouted down as “apologists for dictators’” by the Euston Manifesto brigade.

When I wrote a comment piece for the Daily Express newspaper on July 27, 2011, calling for UK to end its involvement in the Libyan war, my obsessed neocon stalker Oliver Kamm of the London Times newspaper attacked me the same day for saying that Gaddafi had given Libya stability and higher living standards.

Absurd Milosevic supporter, Neil Clark in Express, cites Gaddafi’s giving Libya stability and higher living standards: http://tiny.cc/kotqu 

But I — and others who opposed the NATO action — were right and the serial “regime changers” were wrong — once again.

Libya is now a failed state. The country which had the highest Human Development Index in Africa in 2009, has seen the return of slave markets.

Stability? In place of Gaddafi there’s utter chaos. There is no unitary government authority — in fact, there’s competing governments. The main beneficiaries of the NATO “intervention” have been Daesh and al-Qaeda, who established a presence in the country that they never had before.

“Libya today is a bewildering chaos of competing militias and jihadi groups broadly following IS, al Qaeda and affiliates such as Ansar al-Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood in several guises and shadowy forms” writes Robert Fox in the Standard.

Yet just seven years ago, before NATO got going, it was a perfectly safe place for Western tourists to visit.

The instability in Libya has spilled over into neighboring Tunisia — with deadly consequences for western tourists. In June 2015, 38 people — including 30 Britons, were massacred on the beach at Port El Kantaoui. The gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, was reported to have trained at a Daesh base in Libya. A base that — it must be pointed out — did not exist when Muammar Gaddafi was running the country.

Will anyone ask Theresa May if her support for the 2011 Libya intervention has made us more or less safe? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/14/mps-deliver-damning-verdict-on-camerons-libya-intervention 

Photo published for MPs deliver damning verdict on David Cameron's Libya intervention
MPs deliver damning verdict on David Cameron’s Libya intervention

Foreign affairs committee says ex-PM was responsible for failures that helped create failed state on the verge of civil war

theguardian.com

While the consequences of NATO’s Libya intervention have been so catastrophic, and so far-reaching, those responsible have never been held to account. Quite the opposite — those who helped turned the country into a jihadists playground and in doing so greatly increased the terror threat to Europeans — are positively thriving.

The politicians who ordered the bombing of Libya are raking it in on the conference circuit. Earlier this year it was revealed that David Cameron, British Prime Minister in 2011, was paid a mind-boggling £100,000 (US$130,000) for one speech to Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

This is after a damning report of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons which declared:

“the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

Like Iraq, Libya was a war sold to us on a lie.

Yet even after the destruction of Libya, the deceit goes on.

Muammar Gaddafi

The same bunch of warmongers who voted for and cheer-led the military action to topple Gaddafi (image on the right, source: Sputnik) are hell-bent on toppling another secular Arab leader who’s fighting the very same people who have claimed responsibility for and celebrated the horrific bomb attack in Manchester.

The serial regime changers want Bashar al-Assad‘s head on a plate, so they can then move on to Iran. Again, the main beneficiaries of this policy will be Daesh and al-Qaeda. It’s worth nothing that British Prime Minister Theresa May not only voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but also for the bombing of Libya in 2011 — and for Syrian government forces to be bombed in 2013.

Had David Cameron got his way then, its quite probable that Salman Abedi’s co-ideologists would be in control of all of Syria today.

At the time of writing, there’s also reports that Abedi himself may have been in Syria too. Once again, he’d be on the same side of the neocons — ie. working for “regime change.”

The unpalatable truth is that very people who claim to be making us safe, have in fact greatly increased the terror risk to ordinary citizens on account of their criminally reckless regime change operations against governments that acted as a bulwark against the jihadists. And unless we have a proper grown up, no-holds barred debate on Western foreign policy double standards, and ask who it was who turned Libya from a top cruise ship destination which was getting praise in the Daily Telegraph, into a “Daesh stronghold,” the nightmare will only continue.

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Ramadan: Fasting for Palestinian Justice and Dignity

NOVANEWS
 

Today is the first day of Ramadan. Muslims in many parts of the world begin their month-long fast today. Most of them are not aware that 1500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on a hunger strike that began almost six weeks ago.

These prisoners have undertaken a hunger strike to protest the denial of their basic human rights in prison. When they began their strike, they were only drinking salt water to survive. It is reported that many have stopped drinking water altogether. Their health is deteriorating rapidly. They are in dire straits.

Their hunger strike is not just about prison conditions. In a larger sense it is against the occupation of Palestine and the oppression and injustice that have occurred through the decades. It is a strike for liberation from Israeli domination. It is a strike for human dignity. This is why the strike has been described as the Dignity Strike.

The world has to all intents and purposes ignored this mass strike partly because the media both mainstream and alternative have given so little coverage to it. It is a reflection of Zionist power over the global media.

Faced with this situation, civil society groups with a conscience should speak up. They should use the channels available to them to express their support for the Dignity Strike. As more and more groups and individuals take a stand, the Israeli authorities will be forced to respond.

By giving support to the Strike those of us who are fasting will be enhancing the meaning of our own fast. For our fast is also about dignity and justice. It is not just Ramadan that carries this meaning. In the Jewish tradition itself exemplified by the teachings of the Prophet Isaiah fasting is also about justice.

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Trump’s Visit to I$raHell: Prospects for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

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Trump’s Visit to Israel: Prospects for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

Global Research News Hour Episode 183
 

I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling we’re going to get there eventually. I hope.

-US President Donald Trump, on prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal [1] (May 22, 2017)

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Beleaguered by ongoing accusations of being a Kremlin agent, protests, and calls for his impeachment, President Trump has finally seen fit to embark on a multi-state visit abroad.

Trump’s first stop was in Saudi Arabia, where he signed a weapons deal worth $109.7 billion, the largest in history. This princely sum is expected to mushroom to $380 billion within 10 years. [2]

The second stop was Israel. Aside from the multiple photographs circulating through media of him and his entourage visiting the Western Wall, the trip was notable for public statements by both the US President and the Israeli Prime Minister indicating that the president’s “strong position on Iran” advances the prospects for peace in the region.

The subject that should have been front and centre however, was the nearly forty day hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners, spearheaded by Marwan Barghouti. The more than 1000 prisoners were attempting to raise concerns about the poor treatment of prisoners in Israeli jails. These included the practices of administrative detention allowing detentions on ‘secret evidence’, excessive use of solitary confinement, and the severe restriction of family visits. (source: Al Jazeera report) [3]

According to press reports, as of Saturday May 27th, the hunger strike has finally been suspended following talks involving the International Committee for the Red Cross and the Palestinian Authority concluding in a deal with Israel. [4]The Free Barghouti Campaign put out the following statement:

This is an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under international law. It is also an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation, which has left no option to Palestinian prisoners but to starve themselves to achieve basic rights they are entitled to under international law.[5]

On the occasion of both the Trump visit and the end of one of the widest and longest Palestinian hunger strikes in history of the prisoners’ movement the Global Research News Hour looks at the prospects for peace and justice in the Middle East.

Richard Silverstein is a political writer and commentator. Since 2003 he has authored the progressive Jewish blog Tikun Olam, which focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. He has contributed to the Independent Jewish Voices essay collection, A Time to Speak Out (Verso, 2009), and to Israel and Palestine: Alternate Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). He contributes regularly to Middle East Eye, and has contributed in the past to Truthout, Alternet, Haaretz, Mint Press News, Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, Comment Is Free and Al Jazeera English. In the first part of the show, Silverstein probes some of the dynamics of Trump’s visit to the region, what is on the table in terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and the major players involved. His site is www.richardsilverstein.com

Richard Falk is a professor emeritus of international law and practice at Princeton University. From March 2008 to March 2014 he served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967. He also co-authored with Virginia Tilley a recent report, released in March 2017 and since suppressed at the insistence of the UN Secretary General, that evaluated Israel’s practices toward the Palestinian population as essentially apartheid. In the second half of the program, Professor Falk discusses the findings of his report, and the repudiation it received at the UN level. He also discusses how the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike coming on top of an effective boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign holds promise for precipitating an optimistic outlook for justice movements in the region. His blog is featured at richardfalk.wordpress.com Many of his articles are posted at Global Research.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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

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

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

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca 

Notes:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrQuiMX7BZ8
  2. Rachael Revesz (May 21, 2017) “Donald Trump Signs $110 Billion Arms Deal with Nation He Accused of Masterminding 9/11” Independent; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-arms-deal-saudi-arabia-110-billion-911-terrorism-international-law-war-crimes-a7747076.html
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_04njk5vxps
  4. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/palestinian-prisoners-israel-suspend-hunger-strike-170527074751097.html
  5. ibid

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Trump’s Visit to I$raHell: Prospects for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

ISIS Defense Lines Destroyed by Syrian Army and Russian Air Force

NOVANEWS

On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn” in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.

ISIS deployed a force for a counter-attack but its formidable military convoy was fully destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force en route to the Zaza triangle area. Thus, the terrorist group defense lines just collapsed.

The government advance south of the Homs-Palmyra highway also allowed government forces to isolate Jaish al-Islam militants in eastern Qalamoun and to prevent their attempt to unite efforts with US-backed militant groups operating near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

A new photo appeared online showing a Russian-made self-propelled 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Syria. The modern howitzer was supplied to the Syrian government by the Russian military.

The photo shows the howitzer deployed is a desert area, most likely somewhere in the countryside of Palmyra or north of Suweida. The presence of these weapon systems is another argument contributing to a success of pro-government forces in the area.

In the province of Aleppo, the SAA Tiger Forces and their allies further outflanked the strategic ISIS-held town of Maskanah liberating the villages of Fariyah, Khirbat Ghudraf, Jubab Masudiyah, Shumriya, Batushiya, and Salemiyah.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued steadily isolating the city of Raqqah from the western direction.

Summing up the recent developments, the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance have taken the initiative in its hands and now is aiming to achieve own strategic goals in eastern Syria, while the US-led coalition attempts to make some gains along the Jordanian and Iraqi borders and prepares for a storm of Raqqah.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on ISIS Defense Lines Destroyed by Syrian Army and Russian Air Force

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