Empire Files: Hillary Clinton’s Business of Corporate Shilling & War Making

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Digging deep into Hillary’s connections to Wall Street, Abby Martin reveals how the Clinton’s multi-million-dollar political machine operates.

This episode chronicles the Clinton’s rise to power in the 90s on a right-wing agenda, the Clinton Foundation’s revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world’s biggest financial institutions, and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive “Hillary Doctrine” while Secretary of State.

Learn the essential facts about the great danger she poses, and why she’s the US Empire’s choice for its next CEO.

Watch teleSUR’s The Empire Files every Friday.

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Does the US seek to undermine the Iran nuclear deal?

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…from SouthFront

Iran doesn’t recognize the US Supreme Court’s decision to almost $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to American families of people killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.

SouthFront remembers the plaintiffs accused Iran of providing support to Hezbollah, the Shiite political and military group allegedly responsible for the 1983 attack at the Marine compound in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. service members. They also sought compensation related to other attacks including the 1996 Khobar Towers truck bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. service members.

The Iranian money will go to the estates of service members who died in the attack, their families and to those who survived the attacks. Payouts will range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

“The US knows this well too that whatever action it takes with respect to Iran’s assets will make it accountable in the future and it should return these assets to Iran.” Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif commented the situation.

Earlier, U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York issued a default judgment against Iran for $7.5 billion to the estates and families of people who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The decision was made amid the allegations that Hezbollah, which the US designates as a terrorist organization supported by Iran, provided “advice and training” to Al-Qaeda members. Meanwhile, the US government avoids to release of a 28-page classified chapter from the 9/11 report that may point the finger of Saudi collusion into the attacks that struck New York and Washington.

Considering that Shia Iran has hardly ever assisted to Sunni extremists from Al Qaeda, the US actions look as political moves amid the ongoing implementation of the nuclear deal with the Islam republic. The harm of such decisions are clear for both the nuclear deal and the confidence to the US law. If these initiatives are implemented, an outflow of the investors from the US financial system could be easily forecasted. Furthermore, the US actions push the dedollarisation of the national economics by itself.

The implementation of the nuclear deal is also threatened. The Iranian elites can’t ignore the US actions building their foreign and internal strategies. It isn’t hard to forecast how these strategies will be changed. Thus, the US is undermining the gains of the P5+1 group and setting the ground for further cooling down with Iran.

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Obama dismisses Pyongyang’s bid to halt nuclear tests

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Zionist puppet Barack Obama has rejected an offer by North Korea to ditch its nuclear tests in exchange for Washington’s suspension of joint annual war games with South Korea.

Obama, who was speaking Sunday at a presser in Hanover with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said, “We don’t take seriously a promise to simply halt until the next time they decide to do a test these kinds of activities.”

“What we’ve said consistently… is that if North Korea shows seriousness in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, then we’ll be prepared to enter into some serious conversations with them about reducing tensions and our approach to protecting our allies in the region. But that’s not something that happens based on a press release in the wake of a series of provocative behaviors. They’re going to have to do better than that.”

The remarks come on the heels of a Saturday interview by The Associated Press with North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong who told the US news agency that his country was ready to stop its nuclear tests if Washington halted its annual military drills with Seoul.

“Stop the nuclear war exercises in the Korean Peninsula, then we should also cease our nuclear tests,” Ri told AP.

He also maintained that the US drove his country to develop nuclear devices as an act of self-defense.

“If we continue on this path of confrontation, this will lead to very catastrophic results, not only for the two countries but for the whole entire world as well,” he said.

“It is really crucial for the United States government to withdraw its hostile policy against the DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and as an expression of this stop the military exercises, war exercises, in the Korean Peninsula. Then we will respond likewise.”

On January 6, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, vowing to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.

Pyongyang accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government, saying it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.

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The U.S. has aided Nazi regime in denying human rights to Palestinians for decades

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By Robert Fantina

The establishment of the state of Israel is known throughout Palestine as the Nakba, or “Catastrophe.” As the British Mandate of Palestine ended throughout 1947 and 1948, at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homeland, and another 100,000 or more were massacred.

Although the United States wasn’t an active party to the circumstances that led to the Nakba, the country’s long history with Israel has only been supportive of that nation’s barbarity — and that support has grown exponentially over the years.

In the U.S., the press framed Palestinian resistance as opposition to the Jewish state rather than an assertion of their own human rights. Scholar Michael A. Dohse wrote in American Periodicals and the Palestine Triangle, April, 1936 to February, 1947”:

“Despite the fact that there was considerable evidence of the extreme nationalistic drive behind the Zionist movement, which was its motivating force, American journals gave a good press to the Zionists’ alleged goal of building a democratic commonwealth in Palestine. How this would be possible when the Arabs constituted two-thirds of the population and were opposed to Zionism, did not seem to be a relevant question to many of the magazines.”

This, of course, was in complete contravention of U.S. doctrine, even as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and “[t]hat to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The consent of the governed — in this case, the Palestinians — was not to be considered.

Pre-WWII, pre-state of Israel

Months before the Balfour Declaration was made in November of 1917, declaring British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson commented on the absolute need for self-determination. On May 27, 1916, he said: “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.”

Mr. Wilson continued his lofty rhetoric, telling Congress on Feb. 11, 1918: “National aspirations must be respected; peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” Further, in the same speech on German-Austrian “peace utterances,” he declared: “Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”

These and subsequent speeches by Mr. Wilson were troubling to his secretary of state, Robert Lansing. In his private journals, according to Frank Edward Manuel in his book “The Realities of American Palestine Relations,” Lansing wrote that such concepts were “‘… loaded with dynamite, might breed disorder, discontent and rebellion’. His neat, logical mind saw it leading the president into strange contradictions: ‘Will not the Mohammedans of Syria and Palestine and possibly of Morocco and Tripoli rely on it? How can it be harmonized with Zionism, to which the President is practically committed?’”

If the Palestinians ever relied on U.S. rhetoric to assist them in achieving the basic human rights that all people are entitled to, they were certainly to be disappointed.

Truman, Eisenhower

Following World War II, the world was anxious to make some kind of reparation to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, passed on Nov. 29, 1947, effectively partitioned Palestine into two states.

It is difficult to properly quantify the degree of injustice that this entailed. “Although Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about 33 percent of the population, Israel was established on 78 percent of Palestine,” according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes, with no voice in the decision that evicted them, no reparation for the loss of their homes and lands, and nowhere to go but refugee camps.

By this time, Harry S. Truman was president, and he offered full consent for this plan for reasons that will be familiar to readers today: He was subjected to intense lobbying by the Zionist lobby. He also felt that by supporting the establishment of Israel, he would be in a better position to be elected to a full term as president, having ascended to that office upon the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lobbying and political considerations then, as now, trump human rights every time.

Mr. Truman was elected president in his own right in 1948, and was succeeded four years later by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who named John Foster Dulles as his secretary of state.

Mr. Dulles was familiar with the Palestine-Israel situation, and his sympathies clearly rested with Israel. In 1944, he played an active role in seeing that the platform of the Republican Party included support for a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, and also that the platform called for the protection of Jewish political rights. Years later, he exerted a strong influence on the president under whom he served, setting the tone for the Eisenhower administration’s attitude toward Israel and Palestine.

Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter

Things appeared to take a turn with the administration of John F. Kennedy, who showed support for the right of return for refugees, as described in Paragraph 11 of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 of Dec. 11, 1948. That resolution affirms that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Government or authorities responsible.”

Israel, under David Ben-Gurion, used what has become a tried and true method to oppose this measure: The state’s founder and first prime minister called it a threat to Israel’s national security.

Ultimately, Resolution 194 passed, but has yet to have any effect.

Despite his apparent support for Palestinian refugees, Mr. Kennedy was the first president to elevate the U.S.-Israel relationship from that of simply two allies to a more enhanced bond. Speaking to the Zionist Organization of America three months before his election,he said, “Friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter, it is a national commitment.”

Following Mr. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, he was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson, who did not share his predecessor’s interest in resolving the refugee problem. The Democratic Party Platform of 1964, the year Mr. Johnson was elected president, included a provision to “encourage the resettlement of Arab refugees in lands where there is room and opportunity.” All talk of the right of return ceased.

The Johnson administration ended in January of 1968, when former Vice President Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president. Nixon had less obligation to Israel, having earned only about 15 percent of the Jewish vote. In his memoirs, he commented on Israeli arrogance after the Six-Day War of 1967, describing “an attitude of total intransigence on negotiating any peace agreement that would involve the return of any of the territories they had occupied.”

Unfortunately for Palestine, however, Mr. Nixon’s closest advisor was Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security advisor and, later, his secretary of state. Mr. Kissinger’s parents had fled Nazi Germany shortly before the start of the Holocaust, and he had visited Israel multiple times but had never set foot in an Arab country. With Mr. Nixon’s preoccupation with what he considered the “Communist threat,” Mr. Kissinger was perfectly content with the Israel-Palestine status quo. “Rather than make any effort toward the Arab states, much less the Palestinians, Kissinger felt the United States should let them stew until they came begging to Washington,” according to U.S. Policy on Palestine from Wilson to Clinton,” edited by Michael W. Suleiman. With this attitude, nothing was done to further the cause of justice under this president’s terms in office.

When Mr. Nixon resigned in a fog of controversy and scandal, his vice president, Gerald Ford, became president. He served as a caretaker president until the next election, when he was defeated by Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Although Mr. Carter has recently become a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, this was not the case during his single term as president. He presided over the Camp David Accords, a two-track agreement that was supposed to bring peace to the Middle East. The first of the two dealt with Palestine, and nothing in it was ever achieved. The second led to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Reagan, Bush

After one term, Mr. Carter was defeated by former actor and California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Like Mr. Nixon before him, Mr. Reagan saw Communist threats everywhere. Fearing a Soviet stronghold on the Middle East, he determined that strengthening ties with Israel would be an excellent deterrent. In 1982, he declared that the U.S. would not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, nor would it “support annexation or permanent control by Israel.”

Following First Intifada in 1987, Mr. Reagan sent his secretary of state, George Shultz, to solve the problem. Mr. Shultz proposed a three-pronged strategy: convening an international conference; a six-month negotiation period that would bring about an interim phase for Palestinian self-determination for the West Bank and Gaza Strip; talks between Israel and Palestine to start in December 1988 to achieve the final resolution of the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir immediately rejected this plan, claiming that it did nothing to forward the cause of peace. In response, the U.S. issued a new memorandum, emphasizing economic and security agreements with Israel and accelerating the delivery of 75 F-16 fighter jets. This was to encourage Israel to accept the peace plan proposals. Yet Israel did not yield. As Suleiman’s work noted: “Instead, as an Israeli journalist commented, the message received was: ‘One may say no to America and still get a bonus.’”

When Mr. Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, succeeded him for one term, the bonus to Israel continued unabated. Yet this was still not enough for Israel. Writing in The New York Times in 1991, Thomas Friedman commented on the state of relations between the U.S. and Israel during the Bush administration: “Although the Bush Administration’s whole approach to peacemaking is almost entirely based on terms dictated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Israelis nevertheless see the Bush Administration as hostile.”

Clinton, another Bush, Obama

Following one term, Mr. Bush was succeeded by Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who surrounded himself with Zionists, including CIA Director James Woolsey and Pentagon Chief Les Aspin.

In March of 1993, following clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in both Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin closed the borders between Israel and Palestine. This had a drastic detrimental effect on the lives and basic subsistence for at least tens of thousands of Palestinians. The Clinton administration chose to look the other way as Israel perpetrated this unspeakable act of collective punishment.

The administration of George W. Bush differed little in its treatment of matters related to Israel and Palestine from those who came before it. When Hamas was elected to govern the Gaza Strip in 2006, Mr. Bush ordered a near-total ban on aid to Palestine. Noam Chomsky commented on this situation:

“You are not allowed to vote the wrong way in a free election. That’s our concept of democracy. Democracy is fine as long as you do what we say, but not if you vote for someone we don’t like.”

Coming into office chanting the appealing mantra of “Change we can believe in,” current President Barack Obama proved to be another in a long line of disappointments. Like his predecessors, he’s vetoed any resolutions presented at the U.N. Security Council that were critical of Israel. Incredibly, after one such veto, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice made this statement:

”We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace.”

Meanwhile, military aid to Israel from the U.S. continued unabated. This aid has reached nearly $4 billion annually under the Obama administration, and is likely to get another boost before Mr. Obama leaves office.

This is not unusual. According to conservative estimates, the U.S. has given Israel a staggering $138 billion in military and other aid since 1949. In 2007, President George W. Bush signed the first 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, granting billions to Israel every year. Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu are currently negotiating the new deal, which the prime minister hopes will guarantee even more to the apartheid regime.

Change that can’t come soon enough

Even if it didn’t come with Mr. Obama, change does seem to be on the horizon. With the explosive growth of social media, the general public no longer relies solely on the corporate-owned media for information. The horrors that Israel inflicts daily on the Palestinians are becoming more common knowledge. This includes the periodic bombing of the Gaza Strip, a total blockade that prevents basic supplies from being imported, and the checkpoint stops and verbal and physical harassment that Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis in the West Bank.

It’s even entered the current U.S. presidential election. Sen. Bernie Sanders, seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, skipped the annual American Israel Political Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, convention in March. Additionally, he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t always right and that Israel uses disproportionate force against the Palestinians, and Mr. Sanders recognized that Palestinians have rights. Like skipping the AIPAC conference, these statements are all in violation of some unspoken U.S. code of conduct for politicians.

Yet the ugly history of the U.S., in its unspeakably unjust dealings with Palestine, created a stain that generations will be unable to cleanse. Total disdain for the human rights of an entire nation, and the complicity in the violation of international law and in the war crimes of Israel, are not easy to expunge. Mr. Sanders’ words and actions are only the manifestation of a larger change occurring in U.S. attitudes toward Israel and Palestine. Once that change is sufficiently great to impact the U.S. power brokers, real change will occur. For Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, it cannot come soon enough.

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If Obama Visits Hiroshima

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by Dr: Richard Falk

There are mounting hopes that Barack Obama will use the occasion of the Group of 7 meeting in Japan next month to visit Hiroshima, and become the first American president to do so. It is remarkable that it required a wait of over 60 years until John Kerry became the first high American official to make such a visit, which he termed ‘gut-wrenching,’ while at the same time purposely refraining from offering any kind of apology to the Japanese people for one of the worse acts of state terror against a defenseless population in all of human history.

Let’s hope that Obama goes, and displays more remorse than Kerry who at least deserves some credit for paving the way. The contrast between the many pilgrimages of homage by Western leaders, including those of Germany, to Auschwitz and other notorious death camps, and the absence of comparable pilgrimages to Hiroshima and Nagasaki underscores the difference between winning and losing a major war. This contrast cannot be properly accounted for by insisting on a hierarchy of evils that the Holocaust dominates.

The United States, in particular, has a more generalized aversion to revisiting its darker hours, although recent events have illuminated some of the shadows cast by the racist legacies of slavery. The decimation of native Americans has yet to be properly addressed at official levels, and recent reports of soaring suicide rates suggests that the native American narrative continues to unfold tragically.

The New York Times in an unsigned editorial on April 12 urged President Obama to make this symbolic visit to Hiroshima, and in their words “to make it count” by doing more than making a ritual appearance. Recalling accurately that Obama “won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 largely because of his nuclear agenda” the editorial persuasively criticized Obama for failing to follow through on his Prague vision of working toward a world free of nuclear weapons. A visit to Hiroshima is, in effect, a second chance, perhaps a last chance, to satisfy the expectation created early in his presidency.

When it came to specifics as to what Obama might do the Times offered a typical arms control set of recommendations of what it called “small but doable advances”: canceling the new air-launched, nuclear-armed cruise missile and ensuring greater compliance with the prohibition on nuclear testing by its endorsement coupled with a recommendation that future compliance be monitored by the UN Security Council.

The Times leaves readers with the widely shared false impression that such measures can be considered incremental steps that will lead the world over time to a nuclear-free world. Such a view is unconvincing, and diversionary. In opposition, I believe these moves serve to stabilize the nuclear status quo have a negative effect on disarmament prospects.

By making existing realities somewhat less prone to accidents and irresponsibly provocative weapons innovations, the posture of living with nuclear weapons gains credibility and the arguments for nuclear disarmament are weakened even to the extent of being irrelevant. I believe that it is a dangerous fallacy to suppose that arms control measures, even if beneficial in themselves, can be thought of as moving the world closer to nuclear disarmament.

Instead, what such measures do, and have been doing for decades, is to reinforce nuclear complacency by making nuclear disarmament either seem unnecessary or utopian, and to some extent even undesirably destabilizing. In other words, contrary to conventional wisdom, moving down the arms control path is a sure way to make certain that disarmament will never occur!

As mentioned, many arms control moves are inherently worthwhile. It is only natural to favor initiatives that cancel the development of provocative weapons systems, disallow weapons testing, and cut costs. Without such measures there would occur a dangerous erosion of the de facto taboo that has prevented (so far) any use of nuclear weaponry since 1945. At the same time it is vital to understand that the taboo and the arms control regime of managing the nuclear weapons environment does not lead to the realization of disarmament and the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

Let me put it this way, if arms control is affirmed for its own sake or as the best way to put the world on a path of incremental steps that will lead over time to disarmament, then such an approach is nurturing the false consciousness that has unfortunately prevailed in public discourse ever since the Nonproliferation Treaty came into force in 1970.

The point can be express in more folksy language: we have been acting for decades as if the horse of disarmament is being pulled by the cart of arms control. In fact, it is the horse of disarmament that should be pulling the cart of arms control, which would make arms control measures welcome as place holders while the primary quest for nuclear disarmament was being toward implementation. There is no reason to delay putting the horse in front of the cart, and Obama’s failure to do so at Prague was the central flaw of his otherwise justly applauded speech.

Where Obama went off the tracks in my view was when he consigned nuclear disarmament to the remote future, and proposed in the interim reliance on the deterrent capability of the nuclear weapons arsenal and this alleged forward momentum of incremental arms control steps.

What is worse, Obama uncritically endorsed the nonproliferation treaty regime, lamenting only that it is being weakened by breakout countries, especially North Korea, and this partly explains why he felt it necessary back in 2009 to consider nuclear disarmament as a practical alternative to a continued reliance on nonproliferation, although posited disarmament more as a goal beyond reach and not as a serious present political option. He expressed this futuristic outlook in these words: “I am not naïve. This goal will not be reached quickly—perhaps not in my lifetime.” He never clarifies why such a goal is not attainable within the term of his presidency, or at least its explicit pursuit.

In this regard, and with respect to Obama’s legacy, the visit to Hiroshima provides an overdue opportunity to disentangle nuclear disarmament from arms control. In Prague, Obama significantly noted that “..as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.” [emphasis added] In the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the judges unanimously concluded that there was a legal responsibility to seek nuclear disarmament with due diligence.

The language of the 14-0 ICJ finding is authoritative: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all aspects under strict and effective international control.” In other words, there is a legal as well as a moral responsibility to eliminate nuclear weapons, and this could have made the Prague call for a world without nuclear weapons more relevant to present governmental behavior. The Prague speech while lauding the NPT never affirmed the existence of a legal responsibility to pursue nuclear disarmament. In this respect an official visit to Hiroshima offers Obama a golden opportunity to reinvigorate his vision of a world without nuclear weapons by bringing it down to earth.

Why is this? By acknowledging the legal obligation, as embedded in Article VI of the Nonproliferation Treaty, as reinforcing the moral responsibility, there arises a clear

imperative to move toward implementation. There is no excuse for delay or need for preconditions. The United States Government could at this time convene a multinational commission to plan a global conference on nuclear disarmament, somewhat resembling the Paris conference that recently produced the much heralded climate change agreement.

The goal of the nuclear disarmament conference could be the vetting of proposals for a nuclear disarmament process with the view toward establishing a three year deadline for the development of an agreed treaty text whose preparation was entrusted to a high level working group operating under the auspices of the United Nations, with a mandate to report to the Secretary General. After that the states of the world could gather to negotiate an agreed treaty text that would set forth a disarming process and its monitoring and compliance procedures.

The United States, along with other nuclear weapons states, opposed in the 1990s recourse to the ICJ by the General Assembly to seek a legal interpretation on issues of legality, and then disregarded the results of its legal findings. It would a great contribution to a more sustainable and humane world order if President Obama were to take the occasion of his historic visit to Hiroshima to call respectful attention to this ICJ Advisory Opinion and go on to accept the attendant legal responsibility on behalf of the United States.

This could be declared to be a partial fulfillment of the moral responsibility that was accepted at Prague. It could even presented as the completion of the vision of Prague, and would be consistent with Obama’s frequent appeals to the governments of the world to show respect for international law, and his insistence that during his presidency U.S. foreign policy was so configured.

Above all, there is every reason for all governments to seek nuclear disarmament without further delay. There now exists no geopolitical climate of intense rivalry, and the common endeavor of freeing the world from the dangers posed by nuclear weapons would work against the current hawkish drift in the U.S. and parts of Europe toward a second cold war and overcome the despair that now has for so long paralyzed efforts to protect the human interest.

As the global approach to nuclear weapons, climate change, and neoliberal globalization should make clear, we are not likely to survive as a species very much longer if we continue to base world order on a blend of state-centric national interests and dominant actor geopolitics. Obama has this rare opportunity to choose the road not often traveled upon, and there is no better place to start such a voyage than at Hiroshima. We in civil society would then with conviction promote his nuclear legacy as ‘From Prague to Hiroshima,’ and feel comfortable that this president has finally earned the honor of the Nobel Peace Prize prematurely bestowed.

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The third biggest military spender in the world is not who you’d think

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The raw figures on global arms spending are quite illuminating and if we make the assumption that the intention of those buying the arms is to use them then they tell us something about who needs to be watched for aggressive intent.

The fact that the USA, despite it’s faltering domestic economy is spending as much on it’s military as the next eight largest powers combined should be noted as being particularly anachronistic – scarce funding for healthcare or a decent education system or good social welfare provisions but hundreds of billions for weapons.

Saudi Arabia being the third biggest spender should raise a few eyebrows – what do the intend to do with all these weapons? Maybe they will pass a proportion of them on to the various terrorist groups they have been financing? Maybe they are preparing to launch an offensive war? The latter might be fading as a possibility however, given the woeful performance of the Saudi military in it’s war on the Houthi tribesmen of Yemen.

As a Briton, living under ‘austerity’ for 8 years now, it really annoys me that my country is fifth on the list. We can’t afford to pay our doctors and nurses properly, we can’t find the cash to keep our vital steel industry going, but we can afford to spend 55.5 billion on our military. Clearly this situation is not right.

__________

23 April, 2015, Martin Matishak, The Fiscal Times

The third biggest military spender in the world is not who you’d think

Global military spending increased to $1.7 trillion in 2015, with the U.S. being the biggest spender by a wide margin.

A recent report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that military expenditures across the globe climbed by 1 percent from the previous year, the first such increase since 2011. The growth was driven by spending in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Oceania, and some states in the Middle East, according to the study.

Overall, military expenditures were equal to 2.3 percent of the global gross domestic product.

The data is culled from various sources, including a questionnaire that is sent out annually to national governments. Some countries, such as China, do not participate and estimates are used. A handful of countries, including Cuba and Uzbekistan, are excluded due to a lack of trustworthy data.

The report attributes the uptick in spending to a number of complex conflicts currently playing out around the globe, including: the battle against the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria; Chinese expansion in the South China Sea; the Saudi-led war in Yemen; heightened fears of Iran’s military; and Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continued support of separatists in Ukraine.

Of the 15 countries detailed in the report, the largest growth was by Australia at 7.8 percent, while the biggest decrease was by Italy at –9.9 percent.

Here are the world’s top military spenders:

The United States. With $596 billion for defense in 2015, the U.S. was the largest spender by far. However, the huge price tag was actually a drop of 2.4 percent from 2014, though that’s a slower rate of decline than past years. Still, the U.S. spent nearly as much on its military as the next eight biggest militaries combined.

China. Beijing came in second, as it did in 2014, with an estimated $215 billion in spending. That figure represents an increase of 7.4 percent from the previous year, although the rate of increase is beginning to slow in line with the country’s weakening economic growth.

Saudi Arabia. Coming in at third with spending of $87.2 billion, Saudi Arabia overtook Russia, mainly due to the fall in the value of the ruble. Additionally, Riyadh’s military campaign against Yemen’s Shiite rebels and their allies has led to billions of dollars more in purchases.

Russia. The fourth-largest spender at $66 billion, the fall in oil prices meant that the country’s increase of 7.5 percent in 2015 was considerably lower than projected in its budget, according to SPRI.

“The economic crisis related to falling oil and gas prices, coupled with economic sanctions, dramatically reduced Russian Government revenues,” the analysis states. “Actual military expenditure was 3 per cent lower in 2015 than originally planned.”

United Kingdom. The drop in the value of the euro was a major factor in France falling into seventh place and the United Kingdom climbing to fifth, with $55.5 billion in spending.

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Panama Leaks Gathering Storm

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by Asif Haroon Raja

11.5 million files leaked by a whistle blower from an offshore company in Panama and published by a German newspaper has created ripples in the world. These are just the first batch released and many more are likely to be made public. Leaks are not a new phenomenon when seen in context with WikiLeaks and Snowden’s revelations. Nothing came out of the two earthshaking exposures and those have been consigned to the dustbin of history, while the two whistle blowers Assange and Snowden are in hiding. Panama leaks have however exposed the racket of the rich and resulted in resignations of some top figures in Iceland, Ukraine and Spain and has put many others in trouble.

Offshore companies are in existence since long and it is a well-known fact that the world’s rich and famous stash their wealth in safe havens to either whiten their black money, or hide their wealth, or evade/ avoid tax.  About $105 trillion stashed in offshore companies around the world are considered legal. Possibility of conspiracy cannot be altogether ruled out since among the culprits, not a single American has been named, whereas the elite of USA are the biggest tax thieves. Main targets appear to be resurgent Russia, rising China and nuclear Pakistan.

Another view is that the US is under massive debt of $19 trillion and China is the biggest donor of debt to USA, while Eurozone debt has risen to $16 trillion. The US is extremely worried over the fast paced development of CPEC which when commissioned will free China of the Malacca dilemma and China may not lend more loan to the US. The US intends to loot the looters by passing laws and then first freezing and then seizing over $100 trillion stashed in offshore companies and making it their property and thus resolving their financial crisis for times to come. Europe will also partake its share of the loot.

Among the 260 Pakistani politicians and businessmen holding accounts in offshore companies, two sons and daughter of PM Nawaz Sharif (NS) have also been named. These news have come as a God sent opportunity for the NS haters and their aggressive posturing has given rise to the political temperature in Pakistan. Imran Khan (IK) is leading the assault brigade wanting his head. IK want him to resign before the inquest and rejected the judicial commission under retired judges suggested by the PM since he wants that who so ever holds the inquiry should give verdict of his choice.

He and other opposition parties demanded formation of high powered commission under Chief Justice (CJ) of Supreme Court to head the probe and also forensic audit. IK threatened that in case his demand is not met he will lead the long march and stage a sit-in at Jati Umra in Raiwind, which will continue till NS’s exit. He showed his strength on April 24 while celebrating his party’s 20th anniversary at F-9 Park Islamabad and availed the occasion to badger NS. Media gladly bought the bellicose stance taken by IK since it is ripe with sensationalism, and has gone bonkers over the issue of Panama Leaks.

While NS has asserted that no illegality has been committed by him or any of his family member, IK and his like-minded politicians are not prepared to buy the idea that NS is not directly involved in offshore company scandal, and that his son Hussain Nawaz purchased properties (two flats) in London legally. However, it is a fact that Nawaz’s two sons Hussain and Hasan are residing in London since 1992. Hussain has admitted owning offshore company and two flats in London. He stated that since he took residence in London in 1992, he is not obligated to file tax return or declare assets in Pakistan.

It is also true that Sharif family went through rigorous investigations thrice in the past but no case of corruption was proved against them. It also cannot be denied that Sharif family prospered because of the hard work of their father Mian Muhamad Sharif and that their business recovered despite deliberate attempts made by ZA Bhutto, Benazir and Musharraf to bludgeon Ittefaq Foundry.

What is required to be probed is whether the amount deposited by Hussain Nawaz in Mossac Fonseca Company was legally earned, or stolen from Pakistan national kitty, and whether it was transferred legally, and whether it was his earning from steel factories in Saudi Arabia, and whether he purchased London property lawfully or from unlawful sources; and whether Marium Nawaz is a trustee in the Mossac Fonseca offshore company or owner/shareholder; and whether NS had any connection.

Taking into account IK’s old habit of distrusting everyone and casting aspersions, the retired judges refused to head the investigation. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani declined to head a parliamentary committee as suggested by opposition leader Khurshid Shah to conduct the probe. He remarked that protests being staged could have interest of non-political forces who have their own axe to grind.

In the backdrop of heat generated by the politicians and media over Panama Papers and the demand for ruthless accountability, Gen Raheel Sharif’s statement that terrorism cannot be rooted out unless corruption is eliminated through across the board accountability upped the ante. NS haters took it for granted that the jibe was meant for none else but NS. The media and opponents of NS went crazy once the news of sacking of six senior Army officers on corruption charges were broken and gave them a chance to fire their salvos on NS with full intensity and shame him.

Whirling under pressure, NS addressed the nation for the second time in a month and agreed to form an inquiry commission under CJ as demanded by the opposition. The terms of reference (TORs) however sought probe of all the 260 persons mentioned in Panama Papers as well as other account holders in all offshore companies/banks/firms, owners of properties abroad, loan defaulters and those who had got their loans written off. The commission has been given wide powers to investigate and assured of full support of the government. Logically this step should have defused the hysteria but it didn’t. IK and other political parties are now objecting to the TORs and the scope of the investigation that has been widened. They want the inquiry to be confined to NS and his family only since in their view the wide ranged TORs are mala fide in intentions and meant to buy time. The Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami have decided to launch a campaign against corruption, while major political parties in opposition will be getting together on May 2 to decide the future course of action. The purpose of opposition is to build pressure and force NS to quit.

Involvement of CJ and serving judges will be at the cost of their judicial work which is already painfully slow due to heavy workload. More so, what is the guarantee that the verdict given by CJ would be accepted? It’s been sounded by the apex court that investigation falls in the domain of executive and not of judiciary and that the Judiciary adjucate and doesn’t investigate. It is to be seen how CJ responds when he returns from abroad on May 2. He will decide what is doable and what is not.

After the unproductive six months sit-in in 2014, which caused huge economic loss to Pakistan and immense inconvenience to the residents of twin cities, preparations are underway for another sit-in on account of Panama leaks. IK is kicking up dust to slur the image of NS as much as possible, create another political crisis and force Gen Raheel to step in as a referee, the way former chief Gen Waheed Kakar had acted in 1993, and facilitate mid-term elections. IK’s fans on social media as well as electronic and print media are frenetically heating up the temperature and subjecting NS and his family to media trial. In their exuberance they have lost sight of norms of decency and ethics. Oddly, they have no strategy to execute their wish but are merely firing slings of hate aimlessly and blindly. If they are doing so to fight the menace of corruption and to fortify the process of accountability, I am afraid that is not the case since their guns are aimed at NS and his family only and none else. They are least bothered about 257 people whose names have been mentioned in Panama Papers but want immediate accountability of NS, whose name has not been mentioned, and his three children.

IK also carries a baggage and he is still an untried horse. In case IK is spotless as claimed, what about the turncoats in his party from other parties with dubious background who call all the shots? One of their leading lights Aleem Khan has an offshore company and he has 9 flats in UK while he has declared only 4 flats in his tax returns the value of which is shown as Rupees 29 lacs only. Jahangir Tareen and Faisal Wadia of PTI own dozens of flats in UK. Tareen and Aleem meet the expenses of PTI public meetings and sit-ins. If Jati Umra is an empire, what about Bani Gala? If patients have benefited from Shaukat Khanum hospital, large numbers have benefited from the mills and factories owned by Sharif brothers.

Hypothetically, even if their wish come true, what next? If they think that IK will be crowned is nothing more than wishful thinking since he has no standing in Sindh and Baluchistan, his political power in KP has waned and he hasn’t dented PML-N strength in Punjab. He does not have the political strength to win and that too with a heavy mandate, or the political acumen to deal with complex socio-politico-economic and security matters, or the astuteness to deal with anti-Pakistan foreign agenda. His own party is rived in infighting, PTI’s performance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is far from satisfactory and ministers are involved in corruption.

PML-N in league with JUI-F could have easily dethroned PTI in KP if it wanted to but didn’t. PML-N bailed out PTI’s legislators who had resigned during dharna by restoring their membership. PML-N strength has further increased in Punjab as was evident in by-elections and local bodies’ elections and has also gained space in other provinces. Popularity graph of the Sharif brothers has not declined.

In case by stroke of luck, IK manages to topple the present regime and the country heads for mid-term elections, given the political polarization and presence of foreign network inside Pakistan, will it be peaceful? Will the Army be able to spare troops for national and provincial elections? Elections will be held without electoral reforms and the losers will again level the charge of rigging. There will be chaos and all development works and ongoing operations in northwest, Baluchistan, Karachi and Punjab will come to a standstill. It will certainly impact CPEC since China is already a bit upset because of the deleterious role of certain political forces in Pakistan finding faults in the project. Iran and India will step up their efforts to convince China to change the direction of economic corridor to Chahbahar.

For arguments sake, even if PTI wins with a narrow margin and IK sits in the coveted chair of PM, he will find himself besieged by his opponents and it will be a miracle if he survives for a year. With all around pulls and pushes one wonders how he will be able to cure all the chronic diseases of Pakistan and make it a malaise-free Pakistan and an Asian tiger. He can do so if he has a magic wand but not otherwise. Why does he overlook that Pakistan is the most difficult country of the world to govern? One of the key reasons why Pakistan lurches from one crisis to another is the Indian factor which does not want Pakistan to become stable and prosperous. India is strategic partner of the sole super power and darling of the west and Israel. The three conniving partners are anti-CPEC and against Pakistan’s nuclear program.

IK’s authoritarian behavior will impel all the political and religious forces to gang up and go for a big sit-in and force him to abdicate. He will be left with no option but to become a dictator and use force ruthlessly. His opponents will demand national government (collection of thieves from all parties) or military takeover. All this will result in instability and mayhem. None else but enemies of Pakistan will benefit from the chaos. It is one of the favored strategy of the CIA to foment chaos in the target country to affect a regime change.

Let us cast away our prejudices for a moment and see things with an open mind and compare the state of affairs that had existed during the previous regime and that of the present one. I reckon, even the blind and deaf will admit that there is a world of difference in all the fields. Had things gone from bad to worse, one was morally justified to raise hue and cry.  If we could put up with the black deeds of PPP-MQM-ANP coalition for 5 years when Pakistan was fast sinking, why can’t we put up with PML-N regime for another 2 years that has rescued the ship from collapsing and shown better results?  Why can’t IK wait for his turn in May 2018 and after all, what is the hurry and why so? Why the entire focus on Sharif family and not on the whole lot of 260 persons named in leaks as well as other notorious corrupt big shots? Will the cancer of corruption be cured by removing Nawaz? Why so much of uproar on investigation commission and distrust in all institutions? God forbid, if we again venture to seek foreign investigators, we must not fail to recall the zero outcome of UN team and Scotland Yard investigating Benazir murder case and foot dragging over Dr. Imran Farooq murder and money laundering cases pending since 2010.

Nervousness of India and the US and their great hurry to torpedo the progress of Pakistan is comprehensible because of the fast track development of CPEC and other mega development works, control over terrorism and accomplishment of Full Spectrum Deterrence. Having tried out all possible covert and overt methods to derail Pakistan, or to roll back CPEC and tactical nuclear capability, could the agitation planned by PTI and others including Tahirul Qadri (who has again got active) be another tool employed to dislocate Pakistan’s accomplishments?

We must not turn a blind eye to the recently concluded Indo-US defence agreements on logistics, maritime security, military communication networking and satellite communication/information sharing to further cement their strategic partnership. These agreements will allow both militaries to utilise the facilities of each other’s military bases, ensure deeper collaboration between the two navies in Indian and Pacific Oceans, allow the commanders of two armed forces to talk on hotline, and to use satellites for controlling ballistic missiles. Indian armed forces have been made part of the US plan to strategically encircle China but this will also enable India to encircle Pakistan by virtue of its foothold in Afghanistan and Iran and deepening ties with Gulf States. This is an alarming development when seen in context with US-Iran burgeoning relationship and the US coldness with Saudi Arabia. Above all, the existence of foreign agencies network stretching from one end of the country to another.

Possible reason behind IK’s impetuosity could be that he knows that given the pace of progress made by PML-N, his chance of winning in 2018 elections will become dim. His recklessness to de-seat PM by hook or crook is puzzling. Have we forgotten ZA Bhutto’s mindless sabre rattling against his mentor Field Marshal Ayub Khan which forced Ayub to resign and his departure ended Pakistan’s golden period? And later Bhutto-Mujibur Rahman’s pigheadedness which led to breakup of Pakistan? Bhutto was rated as the most charismatic and popular leader after Quaid-e-Azam, but what did he give to Pakistan? How can we forget the unstable democratic era from 1988 to 1999 which saw four changeovers and then takeover by the military? We also saw the disgraceful exit of Gen Musharraf when all and sundry yelled in unison that worst democracy is better than military dictatorship and that the military has impeded the growth of democracy. Everyone praised Zardari. So why the military is being sought and what is the guarantee that Gen Raheel will be treated with love and affection? Chronic Army bashers who stick to their falsehood that the armed forces eat up 80% of national budget and that Army is a white elephant which must be cut to size are keeping mum momentarily. In reality the Army’s budget is not more than 17%. They will get activated and so will the media and political forces in case the Army seize power.

What is urgently required is an unbiased and honest probe by the Commission under Supreme Court CJ as was vigorously demanded by the opposition to find answers to the allegations made in Panama leaks and if there is veracity in the charges, it should pin the blame and recommend punishment. Hue and cry and politics of agitation at a time when the country is passing through critical times will be counterproductive. If nothing is found in the probe and it is ascertained that a wicked agenda was behind the leaks, those subscribing to foreign inspired agenda should be taken to task. Restricting the scope of investigation to Panama Papers and that too to NS and his family will be similar to Hamoodur Rahman Commission whose mandate was limited to the role of military in East Pakistan only.

There is definitely a need to launch a vigorous campaign against corruption which is eating into the vitals of the country and is a major cause of immorality, crime and terrorism. Corruption cannot be possibly rooted out in few months or one year. Security forces are fighting the cancer of terrorism since 2003 and have yet not got rid of it. The suggested Commission should confine its investigation to the ones named in Panama Leaks as well as those possessing properties abroad and holding accounts in various offshore companies/banks/firms so as to recover $ 200 billion stashed by Pakistanis abroad. At the same time, another national action plan should be devised to fight corruption on war footing so as to rid the country of the cancer of corruption. For this, the system of accountability needs to be strengthened. Duly restructured NAB, FIA and anti-corruption department should carry out across the board accountability of all and sundry to recover every penny of looted money of the nation.

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Pro-Jewish Billionaire Haim Saban Drops $100,000 Against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate Race

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 Image result for haim saban cartoons
By Zaid Jilani 

IN THE FINAL DAYS leading up to Maryland’s Democratic voters going to the polls on Tuesday to choose their U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Donna Edwards has been barraged by ads and mailers from the Super PAC backing her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, called the Committee for Maryland’s Progress.

A television ad assails Edwards as “one of the least effective members of Congress,” contrasting her career with Van Hollen’s legislative record. It mentions no foreign policy issues, despite the dominant issue motivating one of the Super PAC’s largest funders.

Recently released disclosures reveal that $100,000 — a sixth of what the Super PAC has raised —comes from a single source: a donation by pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban.

A “One-Issue Guy”

Saban, who made his fortune in the media and entertainment industry, has spent millions of dollars influencing the foreign policy establishment, including by sponsoring the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy and funding the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is also one of the largest donors to Hillary Clinton’s Super PACs. In a 2010 interview with the New Yorker, he described himself as a “one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Last year, he briefly teamed up with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson to sponsor an effort to counter university boycotts and divestment from Israel’s occupation. “When it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page,” he said of Adelson. “When it comes to this, there is no light between us at all.”

Following the Paris terrorist attacks, Saban called for “more scrutiny” of Muslims. “You want to be free and dead? I’d rather be not free and alive. The reality is that certain things that are unacceptable in times of peace — such as profiling, listening in on anyone and everybody who looks suspicious, or interviewing Muslims in a more intense way than interviewing Christian refugees —  is all acceptable [during war],” he told The Wrap. “Why? Because we value life more than our civil liberties and it’s temporary until the problem goes away.”

Days later, he walked back his remarks, saying he “misspoke” and that all “refugees coming from Syria” should “require additional scrutiny,” regardless of religion.

A Maryland Divide Over Israel and the Palestinians

Last week, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times wrote that the Maryland Senate race involves “slight differences in policy.” But on Israel and the Palestinians, Edwards has significantly departed from the status quo in votes and statements in ways that her opponent has not.

During Operation Cast Lead,” the sustained bombing campaign of Gaza that began in late 2008 and lasted through the middle of January 2009, 390 members of Congress, including Van Hollen, voted in favor of a one-sided resolution affirming support for Israel’s conduct during the war; Edwards voted “present.”

In November of 2009, the House of Representatives voted 344 to 36 to call on the administration to oppose endorsement of the United Nations’ “Goldstone Report,” which described war crimes by both Israel and Hamas during the previous year’s war. Van Hollen voted with the majority, and Edwards was one of the few who voted no.

Following the 2010 deaths of activists aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the territory under Israeli blockade, Israeli officials and right-wing supporters of the government there denied that there was a growing humanitarian crisis in the territory.

“I think all international institutions have acknowledged a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Edwards told me at the time. “I have long said that I don’t think the blockade is really sustainable for the people of Gaza.” Van Hollen’s statement on the event — highlighted on AIPAC’s website — was more muted; it did not condemn the embargo but affirmed that the “U.S. must also continue to make sure humanitarian assistance is able to reach the people of Gaza.”

In November 2015, all but one member of the Maryland congressional delegation signed onto a House letter written to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemning the “recent wave of Palestinian violence in Israel and the West Bank.” By mid-October seven Israelis had been killed in stabbings and similar incidents, and dozens had been wounded. In the same time frame, almost 30 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli military attacks and nearly 2,000 had been injured.

Van Hollen signed the letter, Edwards did not. Asked by Washington Jewish Week why she did not sign the letter, she gave a brief statement condemning the violence as a whole, not just one side’s attacks:

I condemn the violence affecting the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, and urge both sides to return to the negotiating table to seek peace. It is critical that we ensure the State of Israel as a secure Jewish democratic state by making a two-state solution a reality, with the recognition of an independent Palestinian state that respects and recognizes the State of Israel.

“If you take their records side by side, she’s in the bottom 5 percent of the class and he’s up there, among the top,” Morris J. Amitay, a former AIPAC executive director, said in comments to the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve never seen such a disparity.”

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Comment with George Galloway: Saudi Arabia and its role in the 9/11 terror attack

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Image result for SAUDI 9/11 CARTOON

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Catching-Up with Cynthia McKinney… and Looking (Worriedly) Ahead

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I think it’s outrageous that Black voters would be the deciding factor in support of Hillary Clinton’s limp campaign. — Cynthia McKinney

The level of support that Hillary Clinton received from black voters in the South Carolina primary on Saturday came as a surprise, even to her campaign officials. Photo by Randall Hill/Reuters

The level of support that Hillary Clinton received from black voters in the South Carolina primary on Saturday came as a surprise, even to her campaign officials. Photo by Randall Hill/Reuters

Submitted by Gary Corseri

[Intro: I had the good fortune to hear Cynthia McKinney speak at an anti-war conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 2009. There were 5 or 6 notable speakers. All were good, even inspiring. Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was, for me, the most inspiring, informative, exciting. I told her then that I would like to interview her. Our paths did not cross again until 3 years later when we sat down and spoke about Libya and Qaddaffi, the 9/11 Truth Movement, the “Israelization of US policy,” the “criminality of war,” the Occupy Movement, “areas of commonality” (between Libertarians and Greens, for example), Foucault’s ideas about “breaking out of powerlessness” and old paradigms, a “moral center,” bravery, and “love for humanity” (See:http://www.activistpost.com/2012/02/cynthia-mckinney-tells-it-like-it-is.html, etc.). Oddly, I felt I had barely “scratched the surface” of this complex and amazing person—the first African-American woman elected to the US Congress from the state of Georgia! 

A couple of years later, I hoped for another interview with Cynthia. I was emailed an enthusiastic “yes” from her, but informed that she was in a Ph.D. program and a second interview would have to wait until after she submitted her dissertation. Well, “way leads on to way,” as Robert Frost tells us and our paths diverged again.

Recenly, I found myself back in Atlanta and queried about an interview once more, wanting to “catch up” on so much now: What of her recent return to academia?  What could she say about the Theater-of-the-Absurd (and Vulgar) US “presidential” campaigns? Again, an enthusiastic response; but this time I learned that peripatetic world-citizen Cynthia was then in Asia!

Well, hell, we’ve got emails, don’t we? Let’s just have an exchange of views for a couple of weeks; kind of like writing in a journal—when you fully intend to share your journal with others! Cynthia sent me a couple of handsful of her recent posts (https://www.rt.com/search/?q=McKinney). (A rich banquet which I am still digesting.)  And in March, 2016, we wove the following together.]

GC: Hello, Cynthia…. Will this format work for you? Could we begin with a little fill-in about your recent academic experiences? And then let things evolve?

CM: Well, Gary, it’s certainly good to catch up with you! Much has changed since the last time we met!  One, I’m done with my Ph.D., writing my dissertation on Hugo Chavez, race, Parrhesia, and Transformational Leadership….

GC: “Parrhesia”?

CM: Writing that paper helped me familiarize myself with the politics of the Americas in a more profound way.  My professors at Antioch U. encouraged me to explore uncharted territory.  I learned new navigational tools.  I feel more empowered to join with those who struggle–in the various languages of Latin America–to protect their sovereignty.  I am grateful to Drs. Peter Dale Scott, Al Guskin, Joseph Jordan, and others….

My personal struggle to get this done exposes everything wrong with education in the U.S., where we bomb countries of color that offer free education!  I don’t understand Americans’ loyalty to political parties that have sold them out!

I have begun to ask myself the extent to which US voters actually want the wars and dispossessory policies that put people like me and students in search of knowledge into such blood-sucking debt!  The note for my student loan is more than my house note!

U.S. policy is to deny education to its own people and then go around the world vacuuming up the brains that ought to be helping other countries to advance.  The U.S. hires brains like it hires mercenaries to destroy whole countries!

I’m no longer comfortable making excuses for US “citizens.” If they don’t know what’s going on with their tax dollars… well, they should know!

All of the destabilizations, the war crimes, the torture, the crimes against humanity; the lies, the deceit–the misery brought upon others because of U.S. policy!  I’m embarrassed…, and I’m embarrassed by…whatever the attribute is of the people that allows this to continue!

GC: Let it never be said that you mince your words!

“Embarrassment.” Yeah, I’ve been thinking recently, as I watch our surreal political campaigns, the vulgarities, egocentrism, misinformation, appeals to the lowest common denominator—that I’m truly “embarrassed” about this American Empire!

I’m very glad we’ve begun our dialogue with a discussion of “education.” I’ve often thought that is at the heart of our problems.

When I taught in a high school, decades ago, I’d open my first classes by writing the word, “education,” and then the Latin root, “educare,” on the blackboard (hard to believe there were blackboards and chalk and chalky erasers way back then!).  “Educare“–to lead.  From “ex” & “ducare“—“to lead out.”

But… to lead where? To lead out of what?  How to lead?

You ask those very questions.

Also, I’ve thought recently, that it has become commonplace for Progressives/the Left to complain about the US media—how biased it is, how distorted. Really, I believe we need to think about education and our media as the same thing. (The “Arts,” too, are an essential part of this system of control!) Instead of expanding our world, connecting us to all kinds of ideas and people, we are constantly restricted, shrunken.

Orwell is famous for his formulation: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” My own favorite Orwellianism is this: “Whoever controls the information, controls the imagination.”

In so many ways, we’ve lost control of “information”! It comes at us through “education” or “IT—Information Technology” or the Arts. And thereby, we’ve lost control of our ability to imagine a different world, a humane and balanced one….

Well, you got me going now!  We’ll intertwine ideas as we progress—having a real dialogue. I want to hear more about your dissertation on Chavez, “Transformational Leadership,” etc.

Also…, would you kindly save me and our readers a trip to Google? What do you mean by “Parrhesia”?

CM:

“War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.”

“Whoever controls the information, controls the imagination.”

George Orwell

Wow!  You know, I need to re-read Orwell and Huxley!  They both were so spot-on!  I have three most favorite films of all time:  “Fahrenheit 451,” “Soylent Green,” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”  I can look at those movies over and over and never tire of them!

GC: Yes, “Soylent Green” (Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson–and we all turn into green food-mush!).  “Body Snatchers”–first saw it when I was about 13.  Could never look at a coconut quite the same way!  “Fahrenheit 451”—based on the Ray Bradbury masterpiece: Oskar Werner & Julie Christie in the movie. And the common theme in all of them—the way humans prey on each other; use one another; deceive and devour….

CM: Well, to get to your question: “Parrhesia” is a type of leadership that involves a special type of speech–it is a leadership that has the authority to speak and that uses that authority to speak what we would call “truth to power” and that does so despite the imminent and immanet risk posed to the speaker. Foucault explains Parrhesia in a lecture that he gave at the University of California at Berkeley and it is in that sense that I use the word.

Now, the interesting thing is that the protagonists of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Fahrenheit 451” are willing to risk danger in order to speak truth to power… and so… are an example, kind of, of Parrhesia.  In my dissertation, I wrote about Hugo Chavez as someone who was a master of Parrhesia.  Chavez’s leadership will be synonymous with the speech that he gave at the United Nations when he called President George W. Bush a devil. “I can still smell the sulfur,” he said at the podium, right after Bush had spoken there! Parrhesiastes usually don’t live very long.  But we hear their words and see their actions forever.

GC: Martin Luther King…. Malcolm X…. John F. Kennedy—when he spoke about ripping the C.I.A. to shreds—after their “Bay of Pigs” fiasco!

CM: Yeah… too many!

President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013 of cancer at age 58, marked forever the history of Venezuela and Latin America.

President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013 of cancer at age 58, marked forever the history of Venezuela and Latin America.

In my dissertation, I place Chavez in the context of a national leader in the Americas who dares to express his differences with neoliberalism and the so-called “Washington Consensus.”  The evidence that his speech was “to power” and at the same time very risky comes from information I found in WikiLeaks, as well as the US history of intolerance toward such leaders–as exposed in the COINTELPRO Papers, Senator Frank Church’s Intelligence Investigations Reports, declassified information available in State Department historical volumes, declassified reports of U.S. activity in “Operation Condor,” “Operation Gladio,” “Operation Northwoods”; as well as whistleblower interviews that I conducted specifically about US governmental attitudes toward Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution.  I wanted my dissertation to be a one-stop shop for all of the current information about this type of covert US activity.

GC: And, “Transformational Leadership”?

CM: That’s the kind of leadership that professes values that James MacGregor Burns calls “end values”: liberty, dignity, justice, peace!  In my dissertation, I conclude that Chavez is not only a Parrhesiastes, but also a Transformational Leader!  And the evidence that I provide comes from the very real policy achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as from interviews with Venezuelans, Africans in the Diaspora–mainly the Caribbean–and scholars and journalists.

Interestingly, what I uncovered from WikiLeaks is that the U.S. was particularly worried about the relationship between Qaddafi and Chavez.  Through the Africa-South America Summit process, those leaders sought to integrate their respective continents (and the Caribbean countries) in the spirit of South-South economic cooperation and racial and cultural harmony.

We now know from Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and the former Chairman of the Presidential Election Commission in Haiti that Jude Celestin, in 2010, was fraudulently denied the opportunity to become President of Haiti by Secretary of State Clinton, who claimed that Celestin was “too close to Chavez.”

Now, because of the work of Secretary Clinton on behalf of President Obama, those who objected to Chavez’s and Qaddafi’s assertion of sovereignty for Venezuela and Libya—because of their “Parrhesia”—those who objected will no longer have to worry because both of those leaders are now dead!

The people of the U.S. have a lot to atone for.  On my FaceBook page, when the State Department admitted in December 2014–that yes, President Eisenhower had approved the murder of Patrice Lumumba and the CIA had set aside $100,000 to accomplish the dirty deed, I asked the people on my page how we could make up for that and also repair the damage that the U.S. did to the Lumumba family.

I was shocked when most respondents claimed that they bore no responsibility for what the US government had done then–or does now!  I was stunned that people could so easily slip out of responsibility!

GC: I remember, when I was a child, seeing a movie newsreel of Lumumba’s murder. I was shocked! On the 50thanniversary of his murder—5 years ago–the UK’s Guardian newspaper—called the CIA assassination of Lumumba “the most important assassination of the 20th Century.” It is certainly a tragic event that changed the course of modern history; something about which our Empire’s “citizens” should know much more!   

CM: In fact, according to a recent study, Whites are now dying prematurely and a lot of the angst being felt in the 2016 election is a result of the fact that the genocide and human trafficking that White males’ ancestors engaged in—with which they never came to terms, even to this day with the descendants of the victims–, well, now, the country that they built is no longer theirs and their supremacy has been displaced and now they are treated just like they treated us!

Yes, I know it’s harsh, but it’s the truth!  So, until we can deal with these truths, the U.S. will continue its decline, even as the snake-pit thrives.  And that’s because we will all be easily pitted against each other rather than turning to each other for help, solace, and liberation.  The U.S. is kind of like a husband and wife who are now at each others’ throats.  Either we will divorce and go our separate ways or we will work together to salvage our relationship.  I would like for the people of the U.S. to acknowledge the past–as painful as it is–and then move forward together in an even stronger relationship!  My parents were married for over 50 years….

Now, why are we at each  others’ throats?  Because as long as we’re fighting each other over really unnecessary things, the big criminals paraded before us on television as our “leaders” never get justice!  Nor the ones lurking in the shadows, directing the so-called leaders, depositing their ill-gotten gains in burgeoning bank accounts.  The U.S. is being stripped to the bone.  Everything the U.S. used to be is being erased.  We can’t even educate our citizens any more because the relationship between teacher and student–between professor and students–is mediated by the Chamber of Commerce and bankers.  We’re sicker because the relationship between the doctor and the patient is mediated by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and profit-seeking corporations.

Our infrastructure is falling apart because the relationship between the elected official and the voter is mediated by corporations looking for an easy buck from the government while paying no taxes.  And, just as bad, homeless families have their tents bulldozed to make way for stadiums that billionaires are given tax breaks to build!  When will it stop?  It won’t stop!  That’s why Whites have joined everyone else in the U.S. with premature deaths.  This situation is stressful!  And while we’re stressed to the max here, US bombs are destroying whole countries in Africa and Asia.  And that carnage will not stop, will only expand–to more and more countries.  That’s what President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” is all about!

GC: Oh, Jeez, we need you back in the US Congress! We need you making a speech, or giving a talk–an analysis–like the one above! Yes, all the interlopers, all the “mediators,” as you say, standing between the people and their “elected” officials! Not only in politics! But the “mediators” or “administrators” standing between students and their professors! Or, the “mediators”—the pundits—between the people and true journalists! How can we call ourselves a “democracy” when the people have so little, or no, control?

I even heard Mike Huckabee recently talking about the “donor class”—the wealthy donors now encouraging the anti-Trump movement in the Republican party, and how the Republican politicians have become so comfortable with their relationships with their “donors” (“mediators”!) that they fear Trump will upset their cozy relationships… and so they promote the “Anyone but Trump!” movement. (Even Hillary would be preferable for them!)

Well, I don’t support Trump, and I don’t support Hillary! If Bernie Sanders were ten years younger, he might have a chance. Of course, to a lesser extent, he must play the game, too. Every American politician must give obeisance to Israel—Israeli policies—if he or she wants to have a ghost of a chance of being heard! If he or she were to embrace “Parrhesia”—well, he or she might very well meet with Chavez’s or Qaddafi’s fate!

It’s obvious from what you’ve written above that you’re not very fond of Hillary Clinton! I’d be remiss, in this political silly-season, not to expand on that. To tell you the truth, I’ve been amazed to see the support she has garnered in the Black communities! I don’t think she’d be so far ahead of Sanders, I don’t think she’d have a real chance at the nomination, were it not for Black support!

There are, of course, the talking Black heads on Fox, MSNBC, etc., but Jeez!, do we even need Morgan Freeman articulating his praises in that rich, resonant voice of his? Except for Cornell West and Glen Ford, I have not heard, or heard of, any Black leader speaking against Hillary—or, for that matter, Obama! You’ve been eloquent about Whites’ failures to address their past and continuing racism—even “genocide.” Could you share your views on “leadership” conundrums in the Black community?

Obviously, we all need to be better informed–but HOW?  I often think that the “average” person–White, Black, Brown, Asian, et. al., is overwhelmed living his/her “normal” life, and distracted in a thousand ways: with “entertainment,” or “religion,” or “sports,” etc.  How to break through?  How to organize?  Do you feel the “message” that we are already in a global crisis–in terms of the environment, the wars, population growth, domestic violence, racism and xenophobia, pandemics, etc.–is that message getting through?

LOOking forward–GC

CM: My latest on the Hillary Clinton campaign is one for RT [Russia Today] entitled, “Loose Lugs Lose Elections, in which I describe all of the outstanding scandals/policy failures, etc. that lay in Secretary Clinton’s wake.  I describe the situation as one in which the Clinton campaign car already has five loose lugs and one more loose lug will have the car careening off the street.  Let’s see what happens between my writing this and its publication!

But, yes, I do want to address your questions….

Hawkish Hillary Clinton and Her Israel-First Political Sugar Daddy Haim Saban

Hawkish Hillary Clinton and Her Israel-First Political Sugar Daddy Haim Saban

Frankly, I don’t know what kind of women want for their President someone who doesn’t hesitate to set the stage for the wholesale murder of men, women, and children!  My feeling is that Hillary is a hired gun, a mercenary, who needs the approbation of significant others, and who will do anything to get it–including destroying whole countries.  But, you know, people like that, who portray themselves as leaders, but who are really only the worst kind of sycophant, command no respect from the people they lure to become their followers.

Everything is a transaction.  And so, they too, become dispensable when the next better deal comes along.  That’s Barack Obama in 2008; could be Bernie Sanders in 2016.  We shall see.

I think it’s outrageous that Black voters would be the deciding factor in support of Hillary Clinton’s limp campaign.  It just shows how bought-out and sold-out the Black political class has become.  After Haiti, Libya, Benghazi, Syria, and Cote D’Ivoire before that.  Honduras even before that.  And, that’s just on U.S. foreign policy alone.  A continuation of the Obama policies at home will devastate Black America even further.

I watched a CNN interview of Black voters that took place just before the South Carolina primary.  I was saddened to see such lack of information.  Such parroting of mainstream media memes.  If all you know is what you’ve been told by CNN, MSNBC, and the lot of them, I’m very sad to say, you “know” nothing.  We really have reached the point of 1984:“Ignorance is strength.”

I have one question for the voters of the U.S.:  Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?

I daresay I know the answer!

Western European capitalism brought the world colonialism, its attendant genocide, and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  Yes, Thomas Piketty explains the corrosive nature of capitalism on society and neoliberalism is capitalism on steroids.  James Wolfensohn, in an extremely important speech at the Stanford Graduate Business School, stated that the organizations of the world (IMF, World Bank, UN) were created with the extant corrosion of global apartheid in mind.  Certain countries enjoyed unearned privilege and the great struggle today is for some to displace that privilege while others fight to hold onto it.  Venezuela, Brazil, Libya–all must be seen in this light.

The U.S. military is being used to protect and extend somebody’s privilege.  But does that privilege extend to average U.S. citizens? The answer is no. 

Now, more and more U.S. citizens get it, but there are still so many who are walking around in a daze.  The matrix is real and you and I, we’ve taken the red pill, but so many are still high on the blue pill.  Otherwise, there should have been a rebellion by now.  In fact, it was George Herbert Walker Bush who reportedly said to Texas journalist Sarah McLendon, in response to a question about Iran-Contra,

“Sarah, if the American people ever find out what we have done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us.”

Whether this anecdote is a fable or really happened, it most certainly is true.  And I’ve done my part to help the American people know what they have done.

I’ve had the book thrown at me; either you learn from such experiences or you rot.  So, thank goodness, I chose to learn.  Therefore, I look at what is happening at Trump rallies, and I can honestly say that I’ve been there, too.  The forces allied against me orchestrated a riot on election day at my headquarters!!!!!  It was so painful to watch!  It was then that the degree of PhD in political chicanery was conferred upon me!  Therefore, with reference to Trump, I know it when I see it.  That was a pure case of campaign dirty tricks.  The orchestrators can congratulate themselves on a job well done, but they won’t be able to put a dent in Trump’s appeal using those methods that at least one person can see through.

I studied Security Studies for my Master’s Degree.  I know about “Asymmetric Warfare.”  That’s what COINTELPRO was: destroying people’s marriages and such.  That’s what “Arab Spring” was; and the people who did it, will not hesitate to create an “American Spring.”

GC: Hi Cynthia,

Very glad to find your latest response in my Inbox today!  And, even happier after reading thru this once.

I think it’s perfect as is.  You raise questions, answer what you can, provoke, and, like my favorite journalists/writers, contextualize brilliantly.

My aim was to create a format allowing for something perdurable. A continuing reference point. You have done that.

Thank you for all that you’ve done, are doing, and will do.

 

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