Afghan Election’s Outcome Doesn’t Matter

Why? Because US has thwarted, not supported, democracy there

by Murray Dobbin
Published: Aug. 29, 2009 – Global Research

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” — Karl Marx

The Afghan presidential election will prove to be simply irrelevant. The U.S., whose imperial hubris renders it ignorant of other cultures and societies, invaded Afghanistan with the stated purpose eliminating Al Qaeda (remember them, the few hundred armed followers of Osama bin what’s-his-name?). In doing so, they repeated the same blind arrogance of their imperial predecessors, the British and the Soviets.

Getting in was easy. Getting out on their own terms — with a credible pro-Western government in place — is proving almost impossible.

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New World Order I: World Communism, Club of Rome Tells G20

by Anders
Published: Aug. 16, 2009 – Euro-med.dk

Summary: This is a review of a speech made by Club of Rome´s secretary-general before UNESCO at a meeting  on 15 June. The Speech was presented to the G20  in London on 2 April – and to the G8 and the G5 as well. The secretary-general says that the Club of Rome has  moved on to influencing world politics directly. He wants a strong climate policy, communist distribution of wealth in the world, sustainability, reduction of our consumption, stop population to growth, radical restructuring of the world government now. Problems can only be solved together: global government for global problems. Otherwise  unimaginable disaster awaits us. UNESCO will be used to indoctrinates world population accordingly.

A few days ago I was confronted with this remark on a blog referring to one of my articles: “I cannot take an author seriously who writes about the New World Order”! My reply was that the New World order is just as real as the EU, as can be seen by the videos on the right margin of this blog, where Barroso, Gordon Brown, Henry Kissinger, Pres. Bush Sr. and others keep speaking about the New World order. The EU even professes to the New World Order´s “illuminist aim” (explanatory statement). I also wrote that due to the 3 tiny words “Pth! Conspiray theory” this New World Order has succeeded in brainwashing us to an extent that it can now openly in the Financial Times declare its aim: world government under the guidance of Rockefeller´s Clubs: The Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations which recently on its own website declared its aim to govern the world by means of David Rockefeller´s Studies Programme. This video (2 h. 20 min.)shows  the plan of this criminal syndicate. You will never forget, what you see and hear here.

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The Population Reduction Agenda For Dummies

The elite agenda for global population control is not a “conspiracy theory,” it is on the record and documented

by Paul Joseph Watson
First Published: Jun. 26, 2009 – Prison Planet

There are still large numbers of people amongst the general public, in academia, and especially those who work for the corporate media, who are still in denial about the on-the-record stated agenda for global population reduction, as well as the consequences of this program that we already see unfolding.

We have compiled a compendium of evidence to prove that the elite have been obsessed with eugenics and its modern day incarnation, population control, for well over 100 years and that goal of global population reduction is still in full force to this day.

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The Empire and the Robots

by Fidel Castro
Published: Aug. 24, 2009 – ZNet

A little while ago, I wrote about U.S. plans to impose the absolute superiority of its air force as an instrument of domination over the rest of the world. I mentioned the project of that country possessing more than 1,000 state-of-the-art F-22 and F-35 bombers and fighter planes in its fleet of 2,500 military aircraft. By 20 years later, the totality of its warplanes will be robot-operated.

Military budgets always have the majority support of U.S. legislators. There are very few states where employment is not at least partially dependent on the defense industry.

On a global level and constant value, military costs have doubled in the last 10 years, as if no danger of crisis existed at all. At this juncture it is the most prosperous industry on the planet.

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Aiding and Abetting War Crimes

The Israeli military tested new weapons in Gaza with U.S. support

by Frida Berrigan
Published: Aug. 19, 2009 – In These Times

“You feel like a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants.” That is how one Israeli soldier described Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) invasion of the Gaza Strip, which began in December 2008.

His is one of 54 testimonies collected by the Israeli organization Breaking the Silence in a 110-page report that paints a disturbing picture of urban warfare in one of the world’s most densely populated areas, where more than 1.5 million people occupy a narrow strip of land between Israel and the sea.

Another soldier, after recounting an incident in which his unit used civilians as human shields, described Gaza as a “moral twilight zone.”

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Swine Flu Vaccinations Could Prove More Deadly Than the Swine Flu

by Bill Linder
Published: July 18, 2009 – The American Chronicle

Austrian Investigative Journalist Jane Buergermeister (Bürgermeister) who recently filed criminal charges against the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN) and several high-ranking Goverment and corporate officials concerning bioterrorism involving Swine Flu vaccines that could prove to be more deadly than the disease was fired from her job — writing for Renewable Energy World — earlier this week, apparently because she filed those charges, and that is unacceptable. Readers wishing to help her can read more about that on her blog.

Evidence that many organizations as well as Pharmaceutical companies such as Baxter and Novartis who merged with Chiron are part of a system controlled by a crime syndicate responsible for funding the development, manufacturing and release of artificial viruses with the intention of justifying mass vaccinations with a bioweapon substance to eliminate the people of the U.S. and to gain control of North America’s assets and resources was produced by Burgermeister.

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The Crimes of The Fabian Socialist NWO

Published: Jun. 24, 2009 – Centurean2

There are an unimaginable number of “conspiracy theories” regarding the New World Order, some with merit, most are simply illogical and without merit. I will not delve into the initial beginning of this “New World Order”, but I begin at a pertinent point in its history that will, hopefully, explain just what they plans have been, how those plans have been implemented and how they will ultimately be defeated by their own plans.

It is vital to understand that the New World Order is inextricably tied to the Fabian Socialists which formed in England during the later part of the 1800s and their intricate plans for a global fascist-socialistic society. In fact, there is no New World Order outside of the Fabian Socialist agenda. It should be remembered that the Fabian Socialists were equally accepted in both the Nazi/Fascist and the Communist/Marxist/Leninist/Maoist/Trotskite ideologies. The Fabians have been, throughout their history, political and social chameleons who have, through stealth and deception, changed their outer skin to infiltrate every political, social and educational institution around the world, particularly in Great Britain and the United States. Speaking of chameleons, the primary symbol of the Fabians is a “wolf wrapped in a sheep’s skin”.

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How Pharma Giants Are Getting Rich By Calling Our Life Problems ‘Medical Disorders’

Pharma companies have waded into helping us with life problems far beyond the biological — they claim to cure our social maladies.


by Eugenia Tsao
Published: Aug. 21, 2009;
AlterNet.org

Some years ago, a friend told me that he had been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and that his psychiatrist had given him a prescription for Forest Laboratories’ popular SSRI antidepressant Celexa (chemical name, citalopram hydrobromide; $1.5 billion in sales in 2003). Knowing him to be a vociferous critic of the pharmaceutical companies, I asked whether he agreed that the origins of his unhappiness were biological in nature. He replied that he unequivocally did not. “But,” he confided, “now I might be able to get my grades back up.”

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Quiet slicing of the West Bank makes abstract prayers for peace obscene…

by Slavoj Zizek

Condemnation of ‘illegal’ settlements and violence only blurs the reality of what the Israeli state is sanctioning, day by day…

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Anti-Zionists: The New Heretics…

by Jeff Gates
Source: Foreign Policy Journal

How quickly we forget. With the Inquisition still fresh in memory, America’s Founders embraced democracy as a means to protect liberty from the manipulations of faith. That’s why facts were enshrined at the core of self-governance grounded in the rule of law. The duplicity at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli relationship puts that founding principle at risk.

For seven terrifying centuries, heretics were punished under canon law. In 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was condemned for “grave suspicion of heresy” when he showed that the Sun—not the crown—was the center of the universe despite what the King’s subjects—with help from the Church—had been induced to believe.

With the merger of church and state in the 4th Century Roman Empire, anyone daring to dispute papal authority—by challenging with facts the One True Faith—was condemned as both a heretic and an enemy of the state. That practice continues in modern times.

The New Heretics are those few who challenge America’s faith in its “special relationship” with an extremist enclave granted nation state recognition in 1948 by a Christian-Zionist president, Harry Truman. Critics of this enclave invite condemnation as “anti-Semites,” a modern form of social excommunication.

Defenders of the Zionist Faithful were forced to become more vigilant in monitoring this heresy after Israeli troops used U.S.-provided arms and munitions to kill more than 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza, one-third of them reportedly children.

That well-timed attack, planned for more than a year, was scheduled between Christmas and the January 20th presidential inaugural. Within 48 hours of ending its assault, Israel had dispatched an army of bloggers to counter anti-Zionist websites. By early February, the Anti-Defamation League was bemoaning a “pandemic of anti-Semitism.” The massacre fueled outrage worldwide even as the ADL portrayed that anger as “anti-Semitism.”

By early March, Israeli policy was being described as a threat to international peace and security, a violation of international human rights and a crime against humanity. By associating the U.S.—its ally—with this behavior, the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” fueled anti-American hatred, fanned the flames of extremism and set the stage for more terrorism. Meanwhile a wave of modern-day excommunications swept college campuses:

• At Hampshire College in Massachusetts, students urged the school to divest from firms whose operations support the Israeli occupation of Palestine. When Israeli policies were compared to apartheid-era South Africa, Zionist Law Professor Alan Dershowitz condemned the students as “rabidly anti-Israel” (enemies of the state).

• At Canada’s Ottawa College, Students Against Israeli Apartheid were prohibited from displaying a poster condemning Zionist policies that president Jimmy Carter had already condemned in his 2007 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

• At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor William Robinson (Jewish) was attacked as an anti-Semite in an ADL-coordinated silencing campaign. His heresy: sharing with students a photo-essay critical of Israeli policy that had circulated for weeks online. [See “Treason in Plain Sight?” and “The ADL Thought Police.”]

Media-Manipulated Mindsets

Meanwhile Pope Benedict XVI attacked an Argentine cleric whose excommunication he had lifted. As head of the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict claimed he was unaware that Bishop Richard Williamson had challenged key facts of the Holocaust. When condemned by the Pontiff, Williamson apologized. The Vatican insisted he recant, a concept lifted directly from the Inquisition.

Critics suspect this early February dispute was meant to distract attention from the carnage in Gaza and create sympathy for Israel by evoking memories of the Holocaust. No media outlet mentioned that this German Pope, the first since 1523, previously led the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a direct descendant of the Church’s 16th century tribunal, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition.

Media Magnate Haim Saban an “Israeli-American”

The fiercest condemnation of the bishop’s reluctance to recant came not from Rome but from Angela Merkel in Berlin who was elected German Chancellor in 2005. No media outlet mentioned that in 2003 Zionist media mogul Haim Saban acquired control of ProSiebenSat.1, Germany’s second largest broadcaster.

While wielding a major opinion-shaping media outlet during Merkel’s ascendancy as Germany’s first female chancellor, Saban described himself as an “Israeli-American” and “a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.” Steve Rattner, Saban’s financial adviser, explained the motive for his media acquisition: “He thinks Germany is critical to Israel.” Rattner re-emerged as president Barack Obama’s auto industry “car czar” before resigning in mid-July due to a pension fund scandal.

To put these media-dependent developments in historical perspective requires a grasp of how—in the Information Age—warfare is waged not on a traditional battlefield but in the shared field of consciousness. In the public’s shared mindset—where consensus opinions are created, shaped and sustained—facts are routinely displaced with what “the mark” can be induced to believe.

That’s why national security agencies must monitor media czars such as Saban who is candid about using his influence to advance Zionist goals. In June 2006, a Saban-led group acquired Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. With Latinos the fastest-growing voting bloc in the U.S., Univision is critical to Israel’s ability to sustain its control of U.S. foreign policy. Univision is the fifth largest television network in the U.S., reaching 98% of Spanish-speaking households through 62 television stations, 90 affiliate stations and more than 2,000 cable affiliates. [See “How the Israel lobby took control of U.S. foreign policy.”]

For a system of self-governance reliant on informed consent, it is difficult to overstate the threat to democracy when policy-making is filtered through the pro-Israeli bias of media-owning Zionists. In addition to emerging as a reliable EU advocate for Israeli policies, Merkel threatened to arrest Williamson for Holocaust denial on a EU-wide warrant. A search of her phone records would doubtless uncover a discussion with a key supporter, Haim Saban.

Zionists and the lawmakers they groom are well positioned to advance a modern-day Inquisition—as when Bishop Williamson simultaneously faced arrest in Europe and expulsion from Argentina, the site of a seminary he directed and home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America.

The People In Between

In October 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates coined a generic phrase to describe the most perilous combatants when waging what he called “unconventional warfare.” A former C.I.A. Director, he portrayed this enemy as “the people in between.” Between Galileo and the facts was Church doctrine deployed to displace science with beliefs or, in modern-day parlance, with consensus opinion. Between the German people and the ballot box was Haim Saban for whom the election of Angela Merkel was critical to Israel. Next is Univision.

To gain credence (believability) for the displacement of facts with beliefs requires that the public’s shared mental environment be fed a steady diet of supportive impressions. Thus the agenda-advancing assistance when “unrelated” events emerge in the same timeframe to reinforce the intended orthodoxy. For example, following the Israeli assault on Gaza, news reports in February included several high profile accounts, including:

• The suspension of U.K. diplomat Rowan Laxton for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks while riding an exercise bike in a London gymnasium.

• Reports of police protection provided in Dubai to Andy Ram, an Israeli tennis star, reinforcing the media-induced narrative that Israelis were at risk.

• A White House announcement that the Obama administration would attend a planning session for a 2009 World Conference Against Racism but may boycott it.

These narrative-advancing impressions were reinforced by the release in 2008 of eight Holocaust-themed films, including The Reader starring Kate Winslet who received a high profile Academy Award for best actress in a leading role. She even joked about the influence wielded by pro-Israelis in Hollywood and popular culture. In a 2005 filming of Extras, a comedy series in which she played herself, an actor congratulated her on her role in a Holocaust-related film, to which she responded:

“I don’t think we need another film about the Holocaust, do we? It’s like, how many have there been? We get it. It was grim. Move on. No, I’m doing it because I’ve noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust, [you’re] guaranteed an Oscar. I’ve been nominated four times—never won. The whole world is going, ‘Why hasn’t Winslet won one?’ That’s it. That’s why I’m doing it. Schindler’s bloody List. The Pianist. Oscars coming out of their ass!”

Duplicity – From Antiquity to Modernity

Framers of the U.S. Constitution viewed democracy as a form of governance that resides not in a royal court or the papacy but in a mindset shared by its participants. Where else could self-governance reside? Thus the key role envisioned for media as an “in-between” domain essential to convey the facts required for informed consent. Absent widespread access to unbiased information, liberty would succumb to the exploitation of those skilled at preying on ignorance and beliefs. On that key point, the Framers were proven correct.

Thus the perils when those who mean to live free rely on media with an undisclosed bias. It is precisely such “people in between” that routinely displace facts with what an unsuspecting public (“the mark”) can be deceived to believe. In an Information Age, such fraudulent behavior is not akin to treason, that agenda-advancing duplicity is treason. Haim Saban is unusual only in conceding the pro-Israeli bias he brings to his media operations.

This duplicitous modus operandi works the same in modernity as in antiquity. The impact on informed consent is identical regardless whether the media-enabled deceit is a false belief in Iraqi WMD, a consensus faith in the infallibility of unfettered financial markets, or a shared opinion that this Zionist enclave is a democracy and an ally rather than what the oft-recurring fact patterns confirm: an enemy within.

Such treachery is at least as old as the use of canon law to silence critics of Church doctrine. The only modern component of this deceitful craft is the global reach of contemporary media and its capacity to manipulate minds and emotions on an unprecedented scale.

A 1578 handbook for inquisitors explained that its harsh penalties were “for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.” The New Heretics chronicle the costs of the U.S.-Israel relationship in blood, treasure, insecurity and credibility. Those who yearn for freedom from such manipulation can no longer afford America’s entangled alliance with an extremist enclave notorious for waging war by way of deception.


Obama on Hypocrisy…

by Kim Petersen
Source: Dissident Voice

At a joint press conference with Mexican president Felipe Calderon and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, United States president Barack Obama had some testy words for people who criticized him for lack of action on the Honduran coup.

The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can’t have it both ways.

If these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations that certainly is not going to guide my administration’s policies.

I agree with Obama that hypocrisy stinks, and it should not be a part of his administration – or any administration.

In the case of Honduras, Obama rejects calls for tougher sanctions. However, he has not shirked from continuing tough sanctions on, for example, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar.

Hypocrisy, as most people know, is when you say one thing and contradict it. Dictionary.com defines it, primarily, as “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.”

Obama has presented himself as an opponent of hypocrisy. If, indeed, this is true, then one would expect that Obama does not reverse himself on stated policy, and, certainly, he should never break a promise … otherwise that would be hypocrisy about opposition to hypocrisy.

So when Obama stated, early on, that he opposed the war in Iraq it would be expected that he would not waver from such a belief, and, certainly, he would not engage in prolongation of a war or the aftermath occupation. But low-level warfare continues in Iraq as does the occupation.

In fact, as a Senator, Obama voted to approve every war appropriation the Bush administration put forward.

Nevertheless, to attract the antiwar vote, Obama said he would get US combat troops out of Iraq in 2009. Obama has since backtracked on this and is committed to keeping enough soldiers in Iraq for “counter-terrorism” measures.

Obama also courted the labor movement while campaigning. He promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. After the election, Obama reversed his stance on NAFTA. Further displeasing to Labor, Obama appears also to have stepped back from the card check provision in the Employee Free Choice Act.

The tragedy of opting for lesser evilism is that the people get evil.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim, or visit Kim’s website.


Campaign against medal winners stoked by UN-Israel Lobby liaison…

by Wayne Madsen
Source: Online Journal

(WMR) — WMR has learned from UN sources that the campaign by the Israel Lobby in the United States to discredit former Irish President and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson was aided and abetted by a long-time UN liaison “consultant” who has worked for both Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon.

The consultant attempted to put the imprimatur of the UN on a number of news stories that were placed in the major media. On May 10, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who is now a senior fellow with the neocon citadel, the American Enterprise Institute, penned a screed against Robinson in the Wall Street Journal that accused Robinson of tolerating an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American platform at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

Major Jewish organizations in the United States criticized President Obama for awarding Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony last week. Obama was also criticized by the minions of the Israel Lobby for awarding the same medal to retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The same Israeli Lobby interests were also at the forefront of criticism of former President Jimmy Carter for his defense of the Palestinians and his likening their situation to blacks in apartheid South Africa. Carter was likewise accused of “anti-Semitism,” a rather familiar refrain from apologists for Israel’s brand of apartheid practiced against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs alike.

The program to discredit Robinson and Tutu may have had the opposite effect of what Jewish organizations and the Israel Lobby intended. The venal barrage against Robinson and Tutu, both of whom are highly thought of among UN diplomats, has created a backlash against both the Israel Lobby in the United States and Israel, according to our UN sources.

The actions against Robinson and Tutu are not helped by the fact that the Israeli government is refusing to cooperate with a UN probe into Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Critics of the Durban conference cite the discussions held there about the nature of Zionism as a racist philosophy. If the case of former U.S. Representative and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney is any indication, Israel has institutionalized racism. After McKinney and her party of human rights campaigners were arrested in international waters in June for trying to deliver critical humanitarian supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza, McKinney was put into a prison in Ashdod, assigned prisoner number 88794, and segregated in a cell with female Ethiopian economic refugees. And if that bit of Jim Crow tactics with a Kosher flair was not enough, McKinney told WMR that she was subjected by her Israeli jailers to everything “but a full body search.”

WMR has also learned that Israel’s El Al Airlines is doing a booming business in transporting expelled critics of Israel back to their home countries. Last year, American Professor Norman Finkelstein, a critic of Israeli policies, was expelled from Israel after being detained for 24 hours. Last year, Israel also expelled American Professor Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, after being detained in a shabby Israeli prison cell. Finkelstein and Falk are both Jewish.

Other travelers to Israel, including Americans of Arab descent and those supporting the Palestinian cause, are routinely taken into custody by Israeli security forces, imprisoned, and expelled on the first available El Al flight.

 

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report


Afghanistan and the New Great Game…

Prized pipeline route could explain West’s stubborn interest in poor, remote land…

by John Foster
Source: The Toronto Star

Why is Afghanistan so important?

A glance at a map and a little knowledge of the region suggest that the real reasons for Western military involvement may be largely hidden.

Afghanistan is adjacent to Middle Eastern countries that are rich in oil and natural gas. And though Afghanistan may have little petroleum itself, it borders both Iran and Turkmenistan, countries with the second and third largest natural gas reserves in the world. (Russia is first.)

Turkmenistan is the country nobody talks about. Its huge reserves of natural gas can only get to market through pipelines. Until 1991, it was part of the Soviet Union and its gas flowed only north through Soviet pipelines. Now the Russians plan a new pipeline north. The Chinese are building a new pipeline east. The U.S. is pushing for “multiple oil and gas export routes.” High-level Russian, Chinese and American delegations visit Turkmenistan frequently to discuss energy. The U.S. even has a special envoy for Eurasian energy diplomacy.

Rivalry for pipeline routes and energy resources reflects competition for power and control in the region. Pipelines are important today in the same way that railway building was important in the 19th century. They connect trading partners and influence the regional balance of power. Afghanistan is a strategic piece of real estate in the geopolitical struggle for power and dominance in the region.

Since the 1990s, Washington has promoted a natural gas pipeline south through Afghanistan. The route would pass through Kandahar province. In 2007, Richard Boucher, U.S. assistant secretary of state, said: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan,” and to link South and Central Asia “so that energy can flow to the south.” Oil and gas have motivated U.S. involvement in the Middle East for decades. Unwittingly or willingly, Canadian forces are supporting American goals.

The proposed pipeline is called TAPI, after the initials of the four participating countries (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India). Eleven high-level planning meetings have been held during the past seven years, with Asian Development Bank sponsorship and multilateral support (including Canada’s). Construction is planned to start next year.

The pipeline project was documented at three donor conferences on Afghanistan in the past three years and is referenced in the 2008 Afghan Development Plan. Canada was represented at these conferences at the ministerial level. Thus, our leaders must know. Yet they avoid discussion of the planned pipeline through Afghanistan.

The 2008 Manley Report, a foundation for extending the Canadian mission to 2011, ignored energy issues. It talked about Afghanistan as if it were an island, albeit with a porous Pakistani border. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he “will withdraw the bulk of the military forces” in 2011. The remaining troops will focus mostly on “reconstruction and development.” Does that include the pipeline?

Pipeline rivalry is slightly more visible in Europe. Ukraine is the main gateway for gas from Russia to Europe. The United States has pushed for alternate pipelines and encouraged European countries to diversify their sources of supply. Recently built pipelines for oil and gas originate in Azerbaijan and extend through Georgia to Turkey. They are the jewels in the crown of U.S. strategy to bypass Russia and Iran.

The rivalry continues with plans for new gas pipelines to Europe from Russia and the Caspian region. The Russians plan South Stream – a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria. The European Union and U.S. are backing a pipeline called Nabucco that would supply gas to Europe via Turkey. Nabucco would get some gas from Azerbaijan, but that country doesn’t have enough. Additional supply could come from Turkmenistan, but Russia is blocking a link across the Caspian Sea. Iran offers another source, but the U.S. is blocking the use of Iranian gas.

Meanwhile, Iran is planning a pipeline to deliver gas east to Pakistan and India. Pakistan has agreed in principle, but India has yet to do so. It’s an alternative to the long-planned, U.S.-supported pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.

A very big game is underway, with geopolitics intruding everywhere. U.S. journalist Steven LeVine describes American policy in the region as “pipeline-driven.” Other countries are pushing for pipeline routes, too. The energy game remains largely hidden; the focus is on humanitarian, development and national security concerns. In Canada, Afghanistan has been avoided in the past two elections.

With the U.S. surge underway and the British ambassador to Washington predicting a decades-long commitment, it’s reasonable to ask: Why are the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan? Could the motivation be power, a permanent military bridgehead, access to energy resources?

Militarizing energy has a high price in dollars, lives and morality. There are long-term consequences for everyone. Canadian voters want to know: Why is Afghanistan so important?

John Foster is an energy economist and author of “A Pipeline Through A Troubled Land – Afghanistan, Canada, and the New Great Energy Game,” published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It is available online at www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2008/A_Pipeline_Through_a_Troubled_Land.pdf


Getting Away With Torture…

by Deepak Tripathi
Source: CounterPunch.org

Only about 20 years ago, the United States was the preferred destination for dissidents incarcerated and sometimes tortured in prisons in the Soviet Union and satellite states in Eastern Europe. Pictures of the brief journey on foot by the Soviet dissident, Anatoly Scharansky, across the Glienicke bridge to West Berlin in February 1986 have acquired a permanent place in the annals of Cold War history. Scharansky, a Soviet Jew, settled in Israel, but Alexander Solzhenitsyn and many others made the United States their home upon escaping persecution.

As the Iron Curtain was blown, who could have imagined that barely a decade after, the United States would commit large-scale acts of kidnapping, torture and murder beyond its territory and send people, based on mere suspicion or hearsay, to secret prisons in ex-Soviet bloc countries for interrogation under torture, euphemistically called ‘extraordinary rendition’?

This is what  happened during the presidency of the George W Bush. In the shadow of 9/11, innocent, vulnerable people, some as young as 13 and as old as 93 years of age, were kidnapped and handed over to American military and intelligence officers for bounties by local players in countries where the United States had no legal jurisdiction. Among them were Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco – allies of America.

To those in the halls and corridors of power in Washington, the fact that many of the detainees were condemned to extreme acts of torture and humiliation in friendly dictatorships was of no consequence. Laws had to be broken, justice denied, human dignity violated, individual liberties curtailed at home and abroad to ‘defend freedom’.

The campaign of abductions and unlawful detention, torture, harassment and surveillance against people around the world, including many in the United States, under the Bush administration dwarfs what was done during the McCarthy era to Americans accused of being communists or communist sympathizers, without proper regard for evidence, in the 1950s. America was haunted by the McCarthyite witch-hunts for years thereafter. Painful self-examination had to follow. Despite pressure for a similar self-examination into what has occurred in the name of the ‘global war on terror’, President Obama wants to ‘look ahead’ for whatever reason, but introspection will come eventually.

From this dark perspective, Christopher Pyle’s book, Getting Away with Torture, is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the subject. He joins the ranks of distinguished legal experts like Professor Philippe Sands, QC, and Clive Stafford Smith, who are known in the United States and Britain for their work on human rights. Pyle is certainly qualified to write this book. He is a professor of constitutional law and civil liberties at Mount Holyoke College. Once a captain in army intelligence, he disclosed, in 1970, the military’s surveillance of civilian politics and worked with Senator Sam Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights and Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence to end the practice.

As can be expected from an author of such distinction, Getting Away with Torture is an exceptionally well-sourced book. He follows the paper trail of torture memos leading to abuses at Guantanamo, in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in careful detail. He demonstrates that, despite attempts to blame a few ‘bad apples’, the chain of abuse of the US Constitution and international law started from the White House, President Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Seven years after Bush declared his ‘global war on terror’, many despicable acts have come to light in spite of attempts to suppress them. But, as Pyle says, much remains to be learned about the mistreatment of suspected terrorists. He concludes that torture was intended from the start. That is why the President authorized the secret prisons and military commissions that could admit evidence based on torture. And that is also why he suspended the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Pyle emphatically makes the point that the Bush administration did great harm at home and abroad. And, in the concluding chapter, he calls for the restoration for the rule of law, citing Martin Luther King, Jr, who said: “To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.” Pyle notes President Obama’s executive order soon after inauguration to close the Guantanamo detention center, but says this is easier said than done. US lawmakers, aware of strong opposition from sections of the electorate, are resistant to any idea of having Guantanamo detainees transferred to prisons in their own states.

And the book laments the insistence of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, in 2007 that there would be no effort to impeach Bush or Cheney for violating the American constitution.

Even if Guantanamo were to be closed as President Obama wants by January 2010, Pyle says in his book that US federal courts have yet to confront the question who should be detained and why. They have to address the issue of mistreatment of prisoners. “To restore the Geneva Conventions,” Pyle continues, “Congress should begin by repealing the Military Commissions Act of 2006.” In that law, Congress granted the president the exclusive authority to define what constitutes the war crime of ‘cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment’.

More than six months into the Obama presidency, we know that the military commissions will continue, albeit with some modifications. Curbing government secrecy will be a long, often frustrating, battle as suggested by the administration’s policy reversals on calls for greater openness about what happened under President Bush. And establishing a truth and reconciliation commission like in South Africa after the apartheid era, or congressional hearings, will require a degree of moral courage and foresight that is sadly lacking at least for now. These depressing trends make it imperative that Pyle’s book is read as widely as possible.

Deepak Tripathi is the author of two forthcoming books – Overcoming the Bush Legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan (Potomac Books, November 2009) and Afghanistan: The Real Story Behind Terrorism (also Potomac Books, April 2010). He can be reached at: DandATripathi@gmail.com.


Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites…

Geologist Ian Plimer takes a contrary view, arguing that man-made climate change is a con trick perpetuated by environmentalists…
by Jonathan Manthorpe
Source: The Vancouver Sun

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him.

Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia’s best-known and most notorious academic.

Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of “anthropogenic global warming” — man-made climate change to you and me — and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour — cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks — can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth — Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become.

But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth’s climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth’s evolution.

(Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth’s daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined.

So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.

jmanthorpe@vancouversun.com


Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks…

by Thom Hartmann
Source: CommonDreams.org

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US…  Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

It’s an interesting question. If there is a “free market” of labor for CEOs, then you’d think there would be a lot of competition for the jobs. And a lot of people competing for the positions would drive down the pay. All UnitedHealth’s stockholders would have to do to avoid paying more than $1 billion to McGuire is find somebody to do the same CEO job for half a billion. And all they’d have to do to save even more is find somebody to do the job for a mere $100 million. Or maybe even somebody who’d work the necessary sixty-hour weeks for only $1 million.

So why is executive pay so high?

I’ve examined this with both my psychotherapist hat on and my amateur economist hat on, and only one rational answer presents itself: CEOs in America make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it’s such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult-so impossible for mere mortals-that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it’s the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world’s largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don’t have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there’s probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there’s an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences.

Today’s modern transnational corporate CEOs-who live in a private-jet-and-limousine world entirely apart from the rest of us-are remnants from the times of kings, queens, and lords. They reflect the dysfunctional cultural (and Calvinist/Darwinian) belief that wealth is proof of goodness, and that that goodness then justifies taking more of the wealth.

Democracy in the workplace is known as a union. The most democratic workplaces are the least exploitative, because labor has a power to balance capital and management. And looking around the world, we can clearly see that those cultures that most embrace the largest number of their people in an egalitarian and democratic way (in and out of the workplace) are the ones that have the highest quality of life. Those that are the most despotic, from the workplace to the government, are those with the poorest quality of life.

Over time, balance and democratic oversight will always produce the best results.  An “unregulated” marketplace is like an “unregulated” football game – chaos.  And chaos is a state perfectly exploited by sociopaths, be they serial killers, warlords, or CEOs.

By changing the rules of the game of business so that sociopathic business behavior is no longer rewarded (and, indeed, is punished – as Teddy Roosevelt famously did as the “trustbuster” and FDR did when he threatened to send “war profiteers” to jail), we can create a less dysfunctional and more egalitarian society.  And that’s an important first step back from the thresholds to environmental and economic disaster we’re now facing.

 

This article is largely excerpted from Thom Hartmann’s new book “Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.” 

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,” “Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights,” “We The People: A Call To Take Back America,” “What Would Jefferson Do?,” “Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It,” and “Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion.” His newest book is Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.


The Rothschilds: A Continuing Saga…

by Assaf Uni
Source: GlobalResearch

BERLIN – The extensive banking dynasty founded in the late 18th century by Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a coin dealer and later a financial adviser to a German prince, contrasted drastically with the modest house on Frankfurt’s Judengasse (Jews’ Lane), in which he lived until his death. Four of his sons – who were sent to major European cities with some initial funding and instructions to remain loyal to the family at any cost (the fifth son remained behind to manage the family business in Prussia) – turned the Rothschild family into the most successful financial institution of 19th-century Europe. The Rothschilds bankrolled wars, national projects and international initiatives involving various kinds of infrastructure. To a large extent, they were family bankers, but the families with which they did business were the royal houses of Europe.

The name Rothschild eventually became a catch phrase that fired the public’s imagination. Reporting on a clandestine meeting between the five sons of the family “patriarch” and their offspring, The London Globe wrote in October 1837 that the romantic perceptions of Europe’s royalty were no match for the tales of the House of Rothschild. The newspaper noted that the members of the celebrated Rothschild family had met in Paris to discuss the reorganization of their prosperous business. However, the Globe also noted that, much like Europe’s aristocracy, the Rothschilds married within their own clan, and thus one could detect some physical degeneration among the descendants.

By the late 19th century, the adventures of this illustrious family were depicted in many plays in various languages. They inspired films, were the focus of anti-Semitic propaganda in the Third Reich, and are still prominently featured in contemporary anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda.

 
 

Two weeks ago, another chapter was added to the Rothschild saga. The Financial Times reported that Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who established the family’s English branch and was perhaps considered the most successful of the five sons of the dynasty’s founder, had been indirectly involved in the slave trade. The newspaper alleges that he received dozens of slaves (on paper only) as a guarantee for a 3,000-pound loan he granted to an English baron, who owned several plantations.

Based on documents in British archives, the report has been a source of great embarrassment to the family. Previously, Nathan Mayer Rothschild had been regarded as a prominent champion in the campaign to abolish slavery, and as having played a major, economic role in ultimately putting an end to it.

Various organizations in the United States, where the Rothschilds’ investment bank does business, have now threatened to sue the family.

As economist and historian Niall Ferguson has written in “The House of Rothschild,” his two-volume biography of the Rothschild family (including “Money’s Prophets: 1798-1848,” and “The World’s Banker: 1849-1990”), at the height of their power in the late 19th century, the Rothschilds controlled more assets than any other family in history. Their businesses had branches in Paris, Vienna and Naples, and they owned 45 palaces around the world.

The Rothschilds were pioneers when it came to trading government bonds (for a fee), and through this, they developed considerable political influence; among those they did business with were such figures as Count Klemens von Metternich and Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. The English branch of the family made a considerable fortune off of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo. Branches of the Rothschild bank financed the laying of railroad tracks in Spain as well as the French effort to build the Panama Canal; the bank was also the major financier behind Britain’s ownership of the Suez Canal. The family, particularly Nathan Mayer Rothschild, also became involved in bankrolling wars throughout Europe.

Last month, in an article entitled “Trading down,” The Economist (which is published by a group that is part-owned by the Rothschild family) wrote: “Like the Rothschilds of old, Marriott [the hotel chain] likes to buy to the sound of cannons and sell to the sound of violins.” Over the years, family members who showed no interest in joining the banking business entered such areas as art, science and wine-making.

However, when Europe became embroiled in the world wars, the Rothschilds’ financial empire began to decline. In a rare interview, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Nathan Mayer’s great-great-grandson and the former head of NM Rothschild & Sons in the United Kingdom, noted that, prior to World War I, the Rothschild bank had been Europe’s leading financial institution. According to Sir Evelyn, the family’s success in the 19th and early 20th centuries paralleled that of Europe.

In “Restoring the House of Rothschild” (The New York Times, October 27, 1996), Youssef M. Ibrahim writes: “The great question now is what is to become of the House of Rothschild itself. For while any family, business or industry can have a bad year, the Rothschilds, financiers of kings and princes when Europe was a royal family affair, have had a bad century.”

In the wake of the Great Depression and mounting anti-Semitism, the Rothschilds’ situation changed dramatically. The family never concealed its Jewish identity. In fact, Lionel Nathan de Rothschild became the first Jewish member of British Parliament, and many members of the family’s French and British branches – especially Baron Edmond James de Rothschild – supported the Zionist enterprise and consequently provided considerable assistance to Jewish settlements in pre-1948 Palestine.

Back to the roots

The Nazis’ rise to power ultimately forced the Rothschild brothers to flee Germany, Austria and France. The family emerged from World War II owning only three small banks: NM Rothschild & Sons in the U.K. (the bank is named after Nathan Mayer), Banque Rothschild in France, and a third bank in Switzerland. In the 1980s, when the socialists formed the government in France, the state nationalized the French branch and even forbid the family from using its last remaining and most precious asset: the name Rothschild. Later, when Jacques Chirac became president, the ban was lifted.

In the late 1990s, the Rothschilds ran the only privately owned investment bank in the world; however, the family ultimately bowed to powerful multinational banking corporations. According to Sir Evelyn, the Rothschilds were forced to return to their family roots and to merge the French and British branches; that merger was completed two years ago.

Meanwhile, the family has begun to concentrate on financial counseling, management of privatization processes, and mergers and acquisitions. In 2002, Forbes estimated the family’s worth at $1.5 billion. However, because of the heavy veil of secrecy surrounding such information and because of the family’s refusal to discuss the details of their business undertakings, some believe the figure is considerably higher. Thus, the immense sensitivity surrounding the Rothschild name and reputation still exists – which explains the family’s shock at the slavery allegations.

Carola Hoyos, writing in the Financial Times on June 26, reported: “[The] Rothschild [bank] said Nathan Mayer Rothschild had been a prominent civil liberties campaigner with many like-minded associates and ‘against this background, these allegations appear inconsistent and misrepresent the ethos of the man and his business.'”

In a letter to the Times, historian Ferguson, who was granted access to the Rothschild family archives, stated: “It would have been remarkable if they [the Rothschilds] had not been involved in some way with slavery, since it was the dominant form of labor organization in the production of sugar, tobacco and cotton at that time. But if this loan was the extent of their involvement, it was small indeed. For one thing, the sum was trivial by Rothschild standards: 3,000 pounds in a year when the combined capital of the five Rothschild houses exceeded 4 million pounds.”

Meanwhile, according to British media reports, members of the Rothschild family are among the victims of the huge swindle engineered by Bernard Madoff. He has been sentenced to 150 years in prison, but his scandalous actions have also sparked a revival of anti-Semitic attacks – of which the Rothschild family has also been a target, from time to time, over the years.

(portrait: Mayer Amschel Rothschild)


Threatening Iran…

by Paul Craig Roberts
Source: CounterPunch.org

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japan did not spend years preparing her public case and demonstrating her deployment of forces for the attack. Japan did not make a world issue out of her view that the US was denying Japan her role in the Pacific by hindering Japan’s access to raw materials and energy.

Similarly, when Hitler attacked Russia, he did not preface his invasion with endless threats and a public case that blamed the war on England.

These events happened before the PSYOPS era. Today, America and Israel’s wars of aggression are preceded by years of propaganda and international meetings, so that by the time the attack comes it is an expected event, not a monstrous surprise attack with its connotation of naked aggression.

The US, which has been threatening Iran with attack for years, has passed the job to Israel. During the third week of July, the American vice president and secretary of state gave Israel the go-ahead. Israel has made great public disclosure of its warships passing through the Suez Canal on their way to Iran. “Muslim” Egypt is complicit, offering no objection to Israel’s naval forces on their way to a war crime under the Nuremberg standard that the US imposed on the world.

By the time the attack occurs, it will be old hat, an expected event, and, moreover, an event justified by years of propaganda asserting Iran’s perfidy.

Israel intends to dominate the Middle East. Israel’s goal is to incorporate all of Palestine and southern Lebanon into “Greater Israel.” The US intends to dominate the entire world, deciding who rules which countries and controlling resource flows.

The US and Israel are likely to succeed, because they have effective PSYOPS. For the most part, the world media follows the US media, which follows the US and Israeli governments’ lines. Indeed, the American media is part of the PSYOPS of both countries.

According to Thierry Meyssan in the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, the CIA used SMS or text messaging and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Iranian election, including the false report that the Guardian Council had informed Mousavi that he had won the election. When the real results were announced, Ahmadinejad’s reelection appeared to be fraudulent.

Iran’s fate awaits it. A reasonable hypothesis to be entertained and examined is whether Iran’s Rafsanjani and Mousavi are in league with Washington to gain power in Iran. Both have lost out in the competition for government power in Iran. Yet, both are egotistical and ambitious. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 probably means nothing to them except an opportunity for personal power. The way the West has always controlled the Middle East is by purchasing the politicians who are out of power and backing them in overthrowing the independent government. We see this today in Sudan as well.

In the case of Iran, there is an additional factor that might align Rafsanjani with Washington. President Ahmadienijad attacked former President Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most wealthy persons, as corrupt. If Rafsanjani feels threatened by this attack, he has little choice but to try to overthrow the existing government. This makes him the perfect person for Washington.

Perhaps there is a better explanation why Rafsanjani and Mousavi, two highly placed members of the Iranian elite, chose to persist in allegations of election fraud that have played into Washington’s hands by calling into question the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It cannot be that the office of president is worth such costs as the Iranian presidency is not endowed with decisive powers.

Without Rafsanjani and Mousavi, the US media could not have orchestrated the Iranian elections as “stolen,” an orchestration that the US government used to further isolate and discredit the Iranian government, making it easier for Iran to be attacked. Normally, well placed members of an elite do not help foreign enemies set their country up for attack.

An Israeli attack on Iran is likely to produce retaliation, which Washington will use to enter the conflict. Have the personal ambitions of Rafsanjani and Mousavi, and the naive youthful upper class Iranian protesters, set Iran up for destruction?

Consult a map and you will see that Iran is surrounded by a dozen countries that host US military bases. Why does anyone in Iran doubt that Iran is on her way to becoming another Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in the end to be ruled by oil companies and an American puppet?

The Russians and Chinese are off balance because of successful American interventions in their spheres of influence, uncertain of the threat and the response. Russia could have prevented the coming attack on Iran, but, pressured by Washington, Russia has not delivered the missile systems that Iran purchased. China suffers from her own hubris as a rising economic power, and is about to lose her energy investments in Iran to US/Israeli aggression. China is funding America’s wars of aggression with loans, and Russia is even helping the US to set up a puppet state in Afghanistan, thus opening up former Soviet central Asia to US hegemony.

The world is so impotent that even the bankrupt US can launch a new war of aggression and have it accepted as a glorious act of liberation in behalf of women’s rights, peace, and democracy.

 

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com


The Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach…

by Linn Cohen-Cole
Source: Surviving the Middle Class Crash

People say if farmers don’t want problems from Monsanto, just don’t buy their GMO seeds. 

Not so simple. Where are farmers supposed to get normal seed these days? How are they supposed to avoid contamination of their fields from GM-crops? How are they supposed to stop Monsanto detectives from trespassing or Monsanto from using helicopters to fly over spying on them?  

Monsanto contaminates the fields, trespasses onto the land taking samples and if they find any GMO plants growing there (or say they have), they then sue, saying they own the crop. It’s a way to make money since farmers can’t fight back and court and they settle because they have no choice. 

And they have done and are doing a bucket load of things to keep farmers and everyone else from having any access at all to buying, collecting, and saving of NORMAL seeds. 

1.  They’ve bought up the seed companies across the Midwest.

2.  They’ve written Monsanto seed laws and gotten legislators to put them through, that make cleaning, collecting and storing of seeds so onerous in terms of fees and paperwork and testing and tracking every variety and being subject to fines, that having normal seed becomes almost impossible (an NAIS approach to wiping out normal seeds). Does your state have such a seed law? Before they existed, farmers just collected the seeds and put them in sacks in the shed and used them the next year, sharing whatever they wished with friends and neighbors, selling some if they wanted. That’s been killed.

In Illinois, which has such a seed law, Madigan, the Speaker of the House, his staff is Monsanto lobbyists. 

3.  Monsanto is pushing anti-democracy laws (Vilsack’s brainchild, actually) that remove community’ control over their own counties so farmers and citizens can’t block the planting of GMO crops even if they can contaminate other crops. So if you don’t want a GM-crop that grows industrial chemicals or drugs or a rice growing with human DNA in it, in your area and mixing with your crops, tough luck.

Check the map of just where the Monsanto/Vilsack laws are and see if your state is still a democracy or is Monsanto’s. A farmer in Illinois told me he heard that Bush had pushed through some regulation that made this true in every state. People need to check on that.

4.  For sure there are Monsanto regulations buried in the FDA right now that make a farmer’s seed cleaning equipment illegal (another way to leave nothing but GM-seeds) because it’s now considered a “source of seed contamination.” Farmer can still seed clean but the equipment now has to be certified and a farmer said it would require a million to a million and half dollar building and equipment … for EACH line of seed. Seed storage facilities are also listed (another million?) and harvesting and transport equipment. And manure. Something that can contaminate seed. Notice that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not mentioned.  

You could eat manure and be okay (a little grossed out but okay). Try that with pesticides and fertilizers. Indian farmers have. Their top choice for how to commit suicide to escape the debt they have been left in is to drink Monsanto pesticides.

5.  Monsanto is picking off seed cleaners across the Midwest. In Pilot Grove, Missouri, in Indiana (Maurice Parr), and now in southern Illinois (Steve Hixon). And they are using US marshals and state troopers and county police to show up in three cars to serve the poor farmers who had used Hixon as their seed cleaner, telling them that he or their neighbors turned them in, so across that 6 county areas, no one talking to neighbors and people are living in fear and those farming communities are falling apart from the suspicion Monsanto sowed. Hixon’s office got broken into and he thinks someone put a GPS tracking device on his equipment and that’s how Monsanto found between 200-400 customers in very scattered and remote areas, and threatened them all and destroyed his business within 2 days. 

So, after demanding that seed cleaners somehow be able to tell one seed from another (or be sued to kingdom come) or corrupting legislatures to put in laws about labeling of seeds that are so onerous no one can cope with them, what is Monsanto’s attitude about labeling their own stuff? You guessed it – they’re out there pushing laws against ANY labeling of their own GM-food and animals and of any exports to other countries. Why?   

We know and they know why. 

As Norman Braksick, the president of Asgrow Seed Co. (now owned by Monsanto) predicted in the Kansas City Star (3/7/94) seven years ago, “If you put a label on a genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”  

And they’ve sued dairy farmers for telling the truth about their milk being rBGH-free, though rBGH is associated with an increased risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers. 

I just heard that some seed dealers urge farmers to buy the seed under the seed dealer’s name, telling the farmers it helps the dealer get a discount on seed to buy a lot under their own name. Then Monsanto sues the poor farmer for buying their seed without a contract and extorts huge sums from them. 

Here’s a youtube video that is worth your time. Vandana Shiva is one of the leading anti-Monsanto people in the world. In this video, she says (and this video is old), Monsanto had sued 1500 farmers whose fields had simply been contaminated by GM-crops. Listen to all the ways Monsanto goes after farmers. 

Do you know the story of Gandhi in India and how the British had salt laws that taxed salt? The British claimed it as theirs. Gandhi had what was called a Salt Satyagraha, in which people were asked to break the laws and march to the sea  and collect the salt without paying the British. A kind of Boston tea party, I guess.  

Thousands of people marched 240 miles to the ocean where the British were waiting. As people moved forward to collect the salt, the British soldiers clubbed them but the people kept coming. The non-violent protest exposed the British behavior, which was so revolting to the world that it helped end British control in India.   

Vandana Shiva has started a Seed Satyagraha – nonviolent non-cooperation around seed laws – has gotten millions of farmers to sign a pledge to break those laws.   

American farmers and cattlemen might appreciate what Gandhi fought for and what Shiva is bringing back and how much it is about what we are all so angry about – loss of basic freedoms. [The highlighting is mine.]

 

The Seed Satyagraha is the name for the nonviolent, noncooperative movement that Dr. Shiva has organized to stand against seed monopolies. According to Dr. Shiva, the name was inspired by Gandhi’s famous walk to the Dandi Beach, where he picked up salt and said, “You can’t monopolize this which we need for life.” But it’s not just the noncooperation aspect of the movement that is influenced by Gandhi. The creative side saving seeds, trading seeds, farming without corporate dependence–without their chemicals, without their seed.

” All this is talked about in the language that Gandhi left us as a legacy. We work with three key concepts.”

” (One) Swadeshi…which means the capacity to do your own thing–produce your own food, produce your own goods….”

“(Two) Swaraj–to govern yourself. And we fight on three fronts–waterfood, and seed. JalSwaraj is water independence–water freedom and water sovereignty. Anna Swaraj is food freedom, food sovereignty. And Bija Swaraj is seed freedom and seed sovereignty. Swa means self–that which rises from the self and is very, very much a deep notion of freedom. 

“I believe that these concepts, which are deep, deep, deep in Indian civilization, Gandhi resurrected them to fight for freedom. They are very important for today’s world because so far what we’ve had is centralized state rule, giving way now to centralized corporate control, and we need a third alternate. That third alternate is, in part, citizens being able to tell their state, ‘This is what your function is. This is what your obligations are,’ and being able to have their states act on corporations to say, ‘This is something you cannot do.’”

” (Three) Satyagraha, non-cooperation, basically saying, ‘We will do our thing and any law that tries to say that (our freedom) is illegal… we will have to not cooperate with it. We will defend our freedoms to have access to water, access to seed, access to food, access to medicine.’”


Mourn on the 4th of July…

Liberals say that the United States is once again a “nation of moral ideals”, but behind the façade little has changed. With his government of warmongers, Wall Street cronies and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, Barack Obama is merely upholding the myths of a divine America

by John Pilger
Source: New Statesment

The monsoon had woven thick skeins of mist over the central highlands of Vietnam. I was a young war correspondent, bivouacked in the village of Tuylon with a unit of US marines whose orders were to win hearts and minds. “We are here not to kill,” said the sergeant, “we are here to impart the American Way of Liberty as stated in the Pacification Handbook. This is designed to win the hearts and minds of folks, as stated on page 86.”

Page 86 was headed WHAM. The sergeant’s unit was called a combined action company, which meant, he explained, “we attack these folks on Mondays and we win their hearts and minds on Tuesdays”. He was joking, though not quite. Standing in a jeep on the edge of a paddy, he had announced through a loudhailer: “Come on out, everybody. We got rice and candy and toothbrushes to give you.”

Silence. Not a shadow moved.

“Now listen, either you gooks come on out from wherever you are, or we’re going to come right in there and get you!”

The people of Tuylon finally came out and stood in line to receive packets of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice, Hershey bars, party balloons and several thousand toothbrushes. Three portable, battery-operated, yellow flush lavatories were kept for the colonel’s arrival. And when the colonel arrived that evening, the district chief was summoned and the yellow flush lavatories were unveiled.

“Mr District Chief and all you folks out there,” said the colonel, “what these gifts represent is more than the sum of their parts. They carry the spirit of America. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no place on earth like America. It’s a guiding light for me, and for you. You see, back home, we count ourselves as real lucky having the greatest democracy the world has ever known, and we want you good folks to share in our good fortune.”

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Davy Crockett got a mention. “Beacon” was a favourite, and as he evoked John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill”, the marines clapped, and the children clapped, understanding not a word.

It was a lesson in what historians call “exceptionalism”, the notion that the United States has the divine right to bring what it describes as liberty and democracy to the rest of humanity. That this merely disguised a system of domination, which Martin Luther King described, shortly before his assassination, as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”, was unspeakable. As the great people’s historian Howard Zinn has pointed out, Winthrop’s much-quoted description of the 17th-century Massachusetts Bay Colony as a “city upon a hill”, a place of unlimited goodness and nobility, was rarely set against the violence of the first settlers, for whom burning alive some 400 Pequot Indians was a “triumphant joy”. The countless massacres that followed, wrote Zinn, were justified by “the idea that American expansion is divinely ordained”.

Not long ago, I visited the American Museum of History, part of the celebrated Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. One of the popular exhibitions was “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War”. It was holiday time and lines of people, including many children, shuffled reverentially through a Santa’s grotto of war and conquest where messages about their nation’s “great mission” were dispensed. These ­included tributes to the “exceptional Americans [who] saved a million lives” in Vietnam, where they were “determined to stop communist expansion”. In Iraq, other true hearts ­”employed air strikes of unprecedented precision”. What was shocking was not so much the revisionist description of two of the epic crimes of modern times as the sheer scale of omission.

“History without memory,” declared Time magazine at the end of the 20th century, “confines Americans to a sort of eternal present. They are especially weak in remembering what they did to other people, as opposed to what they did for them.” Ironically, it was Henry Luce, founder of Time, who in 1941 divined the “American century” as an American social, political and cultural “victory” over humanity and the right “to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit”.

None of this is to suggest that vainglory is exclusive to the United States. The British presented their often violent domination of much of the world as the natural progress of Christian gentlemen selflessly civilising the natives, and present-day TV historians perpetuate the myths. The French still celebrate their bloody “civilising mission”. Prior to the Second World War, “imperialist” was an honoured political badge in Europe, while in the US an “age of innocence” was preferred. America was different from the Old World, said its mythologists. America was the Land of Liberty, uninterested in conquest. But what of George Washington’s call for a “rising empire” and James Madison’s “laying the foundation of a great empire”? What of slavery, the theft of Texas from Mexico, the bloody subjugation of central America, Cuba and the Philippines?

An ordained national memory consigned these to the historical margins and “imperialism” was all but discredited in the United States, especially after Adolf Hitler and the fascists, with their ideas of racial and cultural superiority, had left a legacy of guilt by association. The Nazis, after all, had been proud imperialists, too, and Germany was also “exceptional”. The idea of imperialism, the word itself, was all but expunged from the American lexicon, “on the grounds that it falsely attributed immoral motives to western foreign policy”, argued one historian. Those who persisted in using it were “disreputable purveyors of agitprop” and were “inspired by the communist doctrine”, or they were “Negro intellectuals who had grievances of their own against white capitalism”.

Meanwhile, the “city on the hill” remained a beacon of rapaciousness as US capital set about realising Luce’s dream and recolonising the European empires in the postwar years. This was “the march of free enterprise”. In truth, it was driven by a subsidised production boom in a country unravaged by war: a sort of socialism for the great corporations, or state capitalism, which left half the world’s wealth in American hands. The cornerstone of this new imperialism was laid in 1944 at a conference of the western allies at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire. Described as “negotiations about economic stability”, the conference marked America’s conquest of most of the world.

What the American elite demanded, wrote Frederic F Clairmont in The Rise and Fall of Economic Liberalism, “was not allies but unctuous client states. What Bretton Woods bequeathed to the world was a lethal totalitarian blueprint for the carve-up of world markets.” The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank were established in effect as arms of the US Treasury and would design and police the new order. The US military and its clients would guard the doors of these “international” institutions, and an “invisible government” of media would secure the myths, said Edward Bernays.

Bernays, described as the father of the media age, was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. “Propaganda,” he wrote, “got to be a bad word because of the Germans . . . so what I did was to try and find other words [such as] Public Relations.” Bernays used Freud’s theories about control of the subconscious to promote a “mass culture” designed to promote fear of official enemies and servility to consumerism. It was Bernays who, on behalf of the tobacco industry, campaigned for American women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation, calling cigarettes “torches of freedom”; and it was his notion of disinformation that was deployed in overthrowing governments, such as Guatemala’s democracy in 1954.

Above all, the goal was to distract and deter the social democratic impulses of working people. Big business was elevated from its public reputation as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic force. “Free enterprise” became a divinity. “By the early 1950s,” wrote Noam Chomsky, “20 million people a week were watching business-sponsored films. The entertainment industry was enlisted to the cause, portraying unions as the enemy, the outsider disrupting the ‘harmony’ of the ‘American way of life’ . . . Every aspect of social life was targeted and permeated schools and universities, churches, even recreational programmes. By 1954, business propaganda in public schools reached half the amount spent on textbooks.”

The new “ism” was Americanism, an ideology whose distinction is its denial that it is an ideology. Recently, I saw the 1957 musical Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Between the scenes of wonderful dancing to a score by Cole Porter was a series of loyalty statements that the colonel in Vietnam might well have written. I had forgotten how crude and pervasive the propaganda was; the Soviets could never compete. An oath of loyalty to all things American became an ideological commitment to the leviathan of business: from the business of armaments and war (which consumes 42 cents in every tax dollar today) to the business of food, known as “agripower” (which receives $157bn a year in government subsidies).

Barack Obama is the embodiment of the “ism”. From his early political days, Obama’s unerring theme has been not “change”, the slogan of his presidential campaign, but America’s right to rule and order the world. Of the United States, he says, “we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good . . . We must lead by building a 21st-century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people.” And: “At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we stood and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond their borders.”

Since 1945, by deed and by example, the US has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum’s histories). Bombing is apple pie. Having stacked his government with warmongers, Wall Street cronies and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, the 45th president is merely upholding tradition. The hearts and minds farce I witnessed in Vietnam is today repeated in villages in Afghanistan and, by proxy, Pakistan, which are Obama’s wars.

In his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter noted that “everyone knew that terrible crimes had been committed by the Soviet Union in the postwar period, but “US crimes in the same period have been only superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all”. It is as if “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening . . . You have to hand it to America . . . masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

As Obama has sent drones to kill (since January) some 700 civilians, distinguished liberals have rejoiced that America is once again a “nation of moral ideals”, as Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times. In Britain, the elite has long seen in exceptional America an enduring place for British “influence”, albeit as servitor or puppet. The pop historian Tristram Hunt says America under Obama is a land “where miracles happen”. Justin Webb, until recently the BBC’s man in Washington, refers adoringly, rather like the colonel in Vietnam, to the “city on the hill”.

Behind this façade of “intensification of feeling and degradation of significance” (Walter Lippmann), ordinary Americans are stirring perhaps as never before, as if abandoning the deity of the “American Dream” that prosperity is a guarantee with hard work and thrift. Millions of angry emails from ordinary people have flooded Washington, expressing an outrage that the novelty of Obama has not calmed. On the contrary, those whose jobs have vanished and whose homes are repossessed see the new president rewarding crooked banks and an obese military, essentially protecting George W Bush’s turf.

My guess is that a populism will emerge in the next few years, igniting a powerful force that lies beneath America’s surface and which has a proud past. It cannot be predicted which way it will go. However, from such an authentic grass-roots Americanism came women’s suffrage, the eight-hour day, graduated income tax and public ownership. In the late 19th century, the populists were betrayed by leaders who urged them to compromise and merge with the Democratic Party. In the Obama era, the familiarity of this resonates.

What is most extraordinary about the United States today is the rejection and defiance, in so many attitudes, of the all-pervasive historical and contemporary propaganda of the “invisible government”. Credible polls have long confirmed that more than two-thirds of Americans hold progressive views. A majority want the government to care for those who cannot care for themselves. They would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for everyone. They want complete nuclear disarmament; 72 per cent want the US to end its colonial wars; and so on. They are informed, subversive, even “anti-American”.

I once asked a friend, the great American war correspondent and humanitarian Martha Gellhorn, to explain the term to me. “I’ll tell you what ‘anti-American’ is,” she said. “It’s what governments and their vested interests call those who honour America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity.

“There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States. They are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms, though they would call it common decency. They are not vain. They are the people with a wakeful conscience, the best of America’s citizens. They can be counted on. They were in the South with the civil rights movement, ending slavery. They were in the streets, demanding an end to the wars in Asia. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional.”

John Pilger, renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, is one of only two to have twice won British journalism’s top award; his documentaries have won academy awards in both the UK and the US. In a New Statesman survey of the 50 heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth behind Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. “John Pilger,” wrote Harold Pinter, “unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him.”