Aletho News


Stop Police Officers from Killing Our Children

Bring the Murderers to Justice

By JERALYNN BLUFORD | CounterPunch | December 3, 2014

After the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson, I couldn’t watch the news. I couldn’t bear to see Lesley McSpadden’s—Michael Brown’s mother’s—face. Her eyes were my eyes. I remember when I looked like that; when I felt like that.

My son, Alan Blueford, was shot by an Oakland police officer on May 6, 2012. He had just turned 18. Officer Miguel Masso and his partner had stopped Alan and two friends as they were walking down 90th St. The boys were racially profiled; the officers never arrested them, but they tossed one of Alan’s friends against a fence, twisting his arm behind his back; they threw the other friend onto the curb. Alan saw this abuse and knew he was not under arrest, so he ran. Officer Masso had on a lapel camera, but he turned it off and chased my Alan for about five city blocks, then took out his gun. Accounts diverge here: either Alan was shot once, stumbled into a driveway, and was shot twice more while lying on his back, or he stumbled into a gate, fell into the driveway and was then shot three times. Either way, the officer stood over him and shot him, center mass. According to multiple witnesses, Alan screamed “I didn’t do anything!” One of the bullets went through his armpit, proving his hands were up at the time. His last words were “Why did you shoot me?”

After Alan died, people said I was strong; they didn’t see how broken I really was. They didn’t see how I couldn’t eat, how I could barely stand. People had to hold me up because my knees would buckle. The only time I could even speak was when I spoke about my son. And I realized how important it was to speak, and to keep speaking.

Members of the community formed the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition to help us obtain the truth. We shut down the Oakland City Council to demand answers; we filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Oakland to seek justice for my boy. We later founded the Alan Blueford Center for Justice in Oakland, a place where people can come together to raise awareness about police brutality and heal as a community. It’s a lively, healthy environment where we share music, art, food and stories, and talk about how to take action. OnDecember 20th, Alan’s birthday, we have a canned food and toy drive to serve our community. We have also started the Alan Blueford Foundation where we will eventually offer scholarships, healthcare outreach, and support groups. Oakland is suffering, and we want to make a difference. We want to give our children hope. Everyone deserves hope.

That’s why we must use this moment, when the nation’s attention is focused on police violence, to make real changes. That’s why I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC December 9 and 10 with a group of mothers to share our stories—our sons’ stories—with legislators and the Department of Justice. Together, we will be loud and forceful. Together, we will tell our lawmakers that the system has to change, that we have to stop protecting these officers who are killing our children without cause.

I’ll never get my son back, but if I raise my voice along with the voices of other mothers who have experienced unbearable loss, perhaps we’ll be able to help save the lives of other mothers’ children, and bring our children’s murderers to justice.

JERALYNN BLUFORD from Oakland, California started the Justice4AlanBlueford Coalition on May 6,2012 after her 18 year-old son Alan Blueford was shot and killed by a police officer in East Oakland. From there The Alan Blueford Center 4 Justice was established in Oakland, California, as a place to help heal the community. They offer our resources to help restore the community as they struggle against police brutality. She also organized Helping Heart 2 Heal, a conference to inspire, empower, and restore healing for mothers that are suffering with the pain of losing their children and loved ones.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

No Indictment for NYPD Cop Killing Man in Chokehold in Viral Video

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | December 3, 2014

Just over a week after a Missouri grand jury found no probable cause against a Ferguson cop who shot a teen to death, a New York grand jury found no probable cause against the NYPD cop who choked a man to death in a video that went viral in August.

Eric Garner, 43, died after being confronted by undercover cops who accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes.

A protest is scheduled tonight at Rockefeller Center at a time when the nation is already experiencing protests throughout the country after a grand jury failed to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old teenager.

The one difference is that the Garner case was captured on video, leaving little room for speculation as to what took place. In fact, chokeholds have been banned by the NYPD since 1993 because too many suspects died in custody.

But evidently, it was not enough to convince the grand jury there was enough probable cause to charge NYPD officer Danny Pantaleo, who was seen smiling and waving at a camera in the minutes after he killed Garner as you can see in the video below that also shows paramedics ordering Garner’s lifeless body to stand up without making any attempts to revive him.

Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office two weeks after the incident. The decision comes two days after President Obama announced he would seek funding to supply 50,000 body cams to police officers throughout the United States to hold them accountable.

But as we can see here, even with video evidence, it is nearly impossible to charge a cop for killing unarmed citizens.

The man who recorded the incident, Ramsey Orta, was arrested on weapons charges shortly after the video went viral in what many believe was in retaliation. […]

A few weeks after the incident, the New York police union held a press conference explaining that if you don’t comply, you will die. That video is below.

UPDATE: Justice Department to open civil rights investigation in Eric Garner case

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , | 4 Comments

Bankers Who Commit Fraud, Like Murderers, Are Supposed to Go to Jail

By Dean Baker | Beat the Press | December 3, 2014

Wow, some things are really hard for elite media types to understand. In his column in the Washington Post, Richard Cohen struggles with how we should punish bankers who commit crimes like manipulating foreign exchange rates (or Libor rates, or pass on fraudulent mortgages in mortgage backed securities, or don’t follow the law in foreclosing on homes etc.).

Cohen calmly tells readers that criminal prosecutions of public companies are not the answer, pointing out that the prosecution of Arthur Andersen over its role in perpetuating Enron left 30,000 people on the street, most of whom had nothing to do with Enron. Cohen’s understanding of economics is a bit weak (most of these people quickly found other jobs), but more importantly he is utterly clueless about the issue at hand.

Individuals are profiting by breaking the law. The point is make sure that these individuals pay a steep personal price. This is especially important for this sort of white collar crime because it is so difficult to detect and prosecute. For every case of price manipulation that gets exposed, there are almost certainly dozens that go undetected.

This means that when you get the goods on a perp, you go for the gold — or the jail cell. We want bankers to know that if they break the law to make themselves even richer than they would otherwise be, they will spend lots of time behind bars if they get caught. This would be a real deterrent, unlike the risk that their employer might face some sort of penalty.

Why is it so hard for elite types to understand putting bankers in jail?

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Obama to Continue Arming Nation’s Police with Military Gear, But with Some Tweaks

By Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman | AllGov | December 3, 2014

He expressed serious concerns over the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent public outcry over the heavily militarized response by the police to the protests.  He went so far as to say the nation needed to keep its police forces from turning too much into military units. But in the end President Barack Obama is unwilling to slow down or stop the transfer of military weapons and equipment to law enforcement agencies.

Instead, he just wants to tweak the federal programs responsible for helping militarize police departments across the United States.

“We found that in many cases these programs actually serve a very useful purpose,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Supporters claim that providing surplus military gear to local law enforcement help police departments that are strapped for funds. A review by the Obama administration found that nearly half a million pieces of military-type gear—including mine-resistant vehicles and night-vision equipment—have landed in the hands of local police departments across the U.S.

An announcement out of the White House this week said the administration would establish new standards and guidelines for programs, such as the much discussed 1033 program operated by the Pentagon. But officials won’t end them or scale them back.

This from a president who said in August “there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred.”

Now, he just wants to improve “transparency and consistency” when it comes to federal efforts that have transformed police officers into looking like soldiers with body armor and assault rifles that ride around in tanks.

One change Obama wants is for more officers to be equipped with body cameras to record their actions while on duty. This plan would cost $75 million and buy upwards of 50,000 cameras for local departments to employ.

He also is seeking better coordination between the five federal agencies that provide military hardware and other items to police and sheriffs.

“Agencies do little to coordinate efforts and often lack mechanisms to hold police accountable for misusing equipment,” according to The Wall Street Journal, so Obama has “directed his staff to draft an executive order to develop common standards for the programs. He said the new standards would ensure that law enforcement agencies aren’t building a militarized culture.”

Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, was critical of the Obama administration’s unwillingness to curb the outflow of military gear to the nation’s police. “It is possible to constrain these programs with oversight, but it doesn’t seem like many people are really wanting to do it,” he told the Journal. “The gear that they have needs to be reassessed…some of it has no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

To Learn More:

Obama Calls for Policing Standards, Funding in Wake of Ferguson (by Colleen McCain Nelson and Byron Tau, Wall Street Journal )

7 Ways the Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization (by Radley Balko, Huffington Post )

Obama Offers New Standards on Police Gear (by Mark Landler, New York Times )

Obama: Wants to Avoid ‘Militarized’ Police Culture (by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press )

Unions Successfully Beat Back Movement to De-Militarize Police (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

Militarization of the Police…Ferguson Edition (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

$4.2 Billion in Military Hardware Donations Fuels Militarization of U.S. Police Forces (by Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff)

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

1.7 million Syrian refugees facing ‘devastating’ food aid cuts

A Syrian refugee child peers out from his tent in Baiseriyeh in southern Lebanon, July 23, 2013. Al-Akhbar Marwan Bou Haidar
By Eva Shoufi | Al-Akhbar | December 3, 2014

This month Syrian refugees in four host countries, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan will not receive food assistance. The World Food Program (WFP) ran out of funding to help those affected by the Syrian crisis, meaning it can no longer help feed Syrian refugees. Given that donor countries are not providing more funding, refugees are left alone to face deadly cold weather and starvation with catastrophic humanitarian, social and health repercussions.

Suspending food aid to Syrian refugees adds to the tragedy they are already facing. Refugees worry about the rain leaking through their tents and they cannot imagine their conditions getting any worse. What is worse than displacement, homelessness, living in a tent and dying of cold weather?

On Monday, the World Food Program (WFP) announced that it does not have funding for the month of December. As a result, 1.7 million Syrian refugees in four countries – 1.1 million of them in Lebanon – will not receive food aid. Syrian refugees are now afraid they will die of the cold weather and of starvation.

By deciding to suspend funding to the WFP, is the international ‘donor’ community intent on multiplying the misery of Syrians, as if telling the refugees to “die of hunger?” Refugees could die of hunger because donor nations have donor fatigue. They have given a lot in the past three and a half years, and they gave generously. But it seems the message is that the crisis has lasted for too long and that it is not the fault of these generous donors.

According to the WFP’s statement, “Without WFP vouchers, many families will go hungry. For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter, the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating.”Tensions within refugee communities will rise. Striving to secure food is the fiercest, most primal struggle in life. Psychological and financial pressures will increase which will lead to dangerous behavior. The rate of crime, prostitution, begging, child labor, child marriages and diseases might increase. Faced with these dangerous phenomena, feelings of racism within host communities could grow and lead to a destructive path.

The WFP’s statement warned that refugees are “ill-prepared for yet another harsh winter, especially in Lebanon and Jordan, where many children are barefoot and without proper clothing. Many tents are drenched in mud and hygiene conditions are growing extremely precarious.”

Don’t they know that a few days ago, a newborn baby died of cold in Ersal? We learned of her death but we did not learn about the deaths that followed and we do not know if she is truly the first baby to die from the elements. Everyone, including international organizations, knew that babies will die from the cold because tents do not protect against the freezing cold of the hills and mountains. Despite these facts, they did nothing. News of the baby’s death passed without incident. They were too busy trying to find an excuse to justify her death. A problem at birth, lack of oxygen… It really doesn’t matter, the three-day old baby could not bear the freezing wind in the hills of Ersal. International organizations, fearing for the lives of their employees, deserted the town leaving behind children, women and men who cannot withstand the deadly cold or hunger.

Refugees received the unfortunate message on their cell phones. Those who do not have cell phones were informed by partner organizations that this month the accounts on their electronic vouchers will be zero dollars but they did not tell them what to do. The organizations themselves do not know what refugees should now do. WFP spokesperson, Sandy Maroun, said” “The program’s regional office distributes the funding. As we know, there is a big crisis in funding. We’ve been warning against it since October when funding for the program in Lebanon decreased by 33 percent. But we were surprised that there is no funding for this month.”

Children will go to sleep hungry in their cold tents, fathers will return with disappointment stamped on their brows while mothers will cry silently. Shop owners who have signed contracts with the WFP will be negatively impacted as well because their profits will decline. Refugees will not rush on the fifth of the month at 12:00 pm to buy bread, rice and grains. Many Lebanese will realize that the presence of refugees has had a positive economic impact and did not bring economic ruin, as is the common misperception. The Lebanese will experience this reality first-hand but they will not go hungry. The WFP said that $216 million were injected into the Lebanese economy in the past 10 months and $341 million since the beginning of the crisis through the Syrian refugees’ electronic vouchers.

No one knows if halting the funding will go on till next month. Maroun explains, “Funding is provided monthly that’s why we can’t say for sure if there is going to be money for next month except at the end of this month.”

“No organization can secure comprehensive and continuous food assistance to refugees like the WFP, which is considered the largest humanitarian organization in the world fighting hunger,” she added.

The program needs $64 million immediately to be able to provide food assistance to Syrian refugees residing in neighboring countries for the month of December. If funding is provided, the program will immediately resume its aid to refugees who use electronic vouchers. What will happen, however, if funding never materializes? Concerned parties cannot provide a definitive answer: “We hope they will be able to manage.” But hopes and wishes do not mean much. The international community is tired of paying to feed refugees. Donor countries prefer to spend the money on “civil society” and “democracy, transparency and citizenry” projects. Maroun explains: “Funding the program is voluntary and it involves countries, individuals and organizations. It is not based on mandatory and periodic funding even though it falls under the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) to respond to the Syrian humanitarian crisis but it is independent of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) funding.”What about UNHCR, the organization charged with “protecting” refugees”? “We don’t have an alternative plan to provide food assistance,” says UNHCR spokesperson, Dana Suleiman, adding that “the crisis is the same for all organizations. They are all worried about the decline in funding. Besides, we play a coordinating role. For this month, there is no decrease or change in UNHCR programs but there are no guarantees for next month.” UNHCR’s last report talked about “food security” as nearly 900,000 refugees have benefited from the electronic voucher system in November. Today, all of these people are without food assistance. The only thing they have is blankets, a fuel voucher and a tent simply because the world does not have enough money to help them.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

UN: Israeli trade control causes $310m loss for PA

Al-Akhbar | December 3, 2014

The Palestinian Authority lost at least $310 million in customs and sales tax in 2011 as a result of importing from or through Israeli-occupied territories, the UN said Wednesday, urging a radical change to the system.

The lost revenue, worth 250 million euros, was equivalent to 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 18 percent of the tax revenue of the authority, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.

The figures point to “the pressing need to change the modus operandi of the Palestinian import regime to ensure Palestinian rights in all economic, trade, financial and taxation areas,” it said in a new study.

UNCTAD said the 1994 Paris Protocol which governs economic ties between Israeli-occupied and Palestinian territories causes “instability and uncertainty for the Palestinian territory” and should be reformed.

It said barriers should be removed to trade with other countries, and criticized Israel’s “disproportionate influence” on collecting Palestinian revenues.

Israel often freezes the transfer of funds under the pretext of a punitive measure in response to diplomatic or political developments it deems harmful.

About 40 percent of the so-called “fiscal leakage” is related to direct and indirect imports from Israel, and 60 percent from evasion of customs duties, the UN said.

The report cited data from the Israeli Central Bank indicating that 39 percent of Palestinian imports from Israel-occupied territories originate in third countries, but are cleared in Israel and sold on as if produced by Israel.

Customs revenues from these “indirect imports” is collected by the Israeli authorities but not transferred to the Palestinian authority, it said.

Another problem comes from goods smuggled over the border from Israeli-occupied territories, the report said, highlighting the Palestinians’ lack of control over their borders.

Smuggling results in lost sales and purchase taxes for the Palestinian authorities and, where the goods are produced in a third country, lost tariff revenues.

UNCTAD added that its figures are likely to underestimate the problem and urged further research.

The Palestinian economy is bound closely to Israel’s through infrastructure and trade and has few foreign trading partners.

It said that Israel’s system of checkpoints and restrictions in the area inflict long-term damage on Palestinians’ ability to compete in the global market.

The policies are causing a contraction in manufacturing and agricultural sectors, “alarmingly” high unemployment and social problems that would outlive any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, the organization said.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

In November 1988, Palestinian leaders led by Arafat declared the existence of a State of Palestine inside the 1967 borders and the State’s belief “in the settlement of international and regional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the charter and resolutions of the United Nations.”

Heralded as a “historic compromise,” the move implied that Palestinians would agree to accept only 22 percent, almost 17 percent now after the expansion of Israeli settlements, of historic Palestine in exchange for peace with Israel.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Palestinian leaders sought to create the institutions of statehood despite the lack of an actual state, leading to the development of a security apparatus under US tutelage and a Palestinian bureaucracy.

While major Palestinian cities have boomed in the 26 years since “independence,” Israeli confiscation of land in border regions has continued unabated.

Last year, the World Bank estimated that Israeli control over Area C — the 61 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control — costs the Palestinian economy around $3.4 billion annually, or more than one-third of the Palestinian Authority’s GDP.

According to the PLO, between 1989 and 2014, the number of Israeli settlers on Palestinian land soared from 189,900 to nearly 600,000. These settlements, meanwhile, are located between and around Palestinians towns and villages, making a contiguous state next to impossible.

In its Independence Day statement last month, the PLO sought international solidarity to achieve the dream of a Palestinian state free of occupation denied since 1948.

“One effective step that the international community can take is to recognize the State of Palestine over the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital and support Palestine’s diplomatic initiatives such as the UNSC resolution to put an end to the Israeli occupation as well as our access to international treaties and organizations. This will provide additional support to the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine while nullifying any Israeli attempt to change the status quo of the occupied State of Palestine,” the PLO said.

“The international community must ban all Israeli settlement products, divest from all companies involved directly or indirectly in the Israeli occupation and take all possible measures in order to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for its daily violations to Palestinian rights and international law.”

The Palestinian Authority this year set November 2016 as the deadline for ending the Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 and establishing a two-state solution.

It is worth noting that numerous pro-Palestine activists argue in favor of a one-state solution, arguing that the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel would not be sustainable. They add that the two-state solution, which is the only option considered by international actors, won’t solve existing discrimination, nor erase economic and military tensions.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces demolish building, 20 stores in Shufat camp

Ma’an – 03/12/2014

306251JERUSALEM – Bulldozers heavily escorted by Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished 20 stores and an ancient structure in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, sources told Ma’an.

Locals said large numbers of Israeli police officers and troops from various divisions raided the camp and deployed in the streets and on rooftops.

Troops then surrounded an ancient building known as the Cola building and all adjacent stores, denying local residents access to the area before blowing up the main doors of all the stores.

The building and the stores belong to the Dajani family from Jerusalem. One of the owners, Abu al-Walid Dajani, told Ma’an Israeli authorities carried out the demolition without notifying the owners. He said excavators demolished the building and 20 adjacent stores.

The area where the demolitions took place measures about 800 square meters, Dajani said.

The building and the stores were built in 1963, he added. It had been populated and the stores were used as shops until the mid-1980s when the First Intifada broke out. Israeli authorities then prevented the family from using the structures.

Dajani denied Israeli claims that the building and the stores were built without permits. He said the Dajani family originally owned 11,500 square meters in Shufat camp before Israel confiscated 2,000 square meters for the construction of the separation wall. In 2008, Israel confiscated 6,000 square meters more, on which they set up a military checkpoint.

In 2012, Israeli forces confiscated the rest of the land along with the structures built on it. Dajani attempted to reclaim his land and properties through Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, to no avail. Courts always cited security pretexts, he told Ma’an.

Israeli authorities ordered him to pay a property tax of 485,000 shekels to the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, he added.

A spokesman of the Fatah movement in Shufat camp, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma’an that four large excavators demolished the Cola building and 20 stores. He added that 10 of the demolished stores were open and running until the day they were demolished.

Among the functioning stores was a coffee shop, a car repair workshop, a taxi office, a grocery, a chicken butchery, a frozen meat shop, and a shop which sold tree saplings, in addition to two stores used as warehouses for the al-Khatib Supermarket.

During the demolitions, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to prevent local residents from assembling, Fasfous said. A nearby school was also evacuated.

Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits.

Israeli bulldozers have demolished at least 359 Palestinian structures in the West Bank so far in 2014, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

During the 1967 war, Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan, occupied it, and later annexed it in a move never recognized abroad.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces close Nablus-area school, say vehicles were stoned

Ma’an – 03/12/2014

NABLUS – Israeli troops on Wednesday morning shut down a secondary school which serves two Palestinian villages south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian official and locals said Wednesday.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers denied hundreds of schoolchildren from al-Lubban and al-Sawiya villages entry to their secondary school located near the main road between Nablus and Ramallah.

The Israelis notified the school administration that it would be closed because Israeli vehicles driving on the nearby street have been attacked with stones.

Palestinian government sources told Ma’an that the Israeli liaison department notified its Palestinian counterpart of the decision to shut down the school for one day.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel refuses Turkish offer to supply Gaza with electricity


MEMO | December 3, 2014

Israel has refused a Turkish offer to send a floating power-generating ship to the Gaza coast to supply the coastal enclave with electricity, Arabs48 reported yesterday.

In the wake of the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, Israel targeted the sole electricity plant in the Strip and massively damaged electricity infrastructure, Turkey offered to cover the electricity shortage.

According to Israeli reports, Turkey has officially asked Israel to issue a permit for a Turkish ship carrying huge electricity generators to be stationed off the Gaza coast.

Arabs48 reported Israeli security sources saying that specialists had found that the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is not suitable for such a connection and that is why the Turkish offer was refused.

The same sources said that other ideas to solve the electricity crisis in Gaza were proposed, including mobile generators.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Ankara Buckles Against Western Pressure, Turns to Russia

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | December 2, 2014

Russia has abandoned the troubled South Stream project and will now be building its replacement with Turkey. This monumental decision signals that Ankara has made its choice to reject Euro-Atlanticsm and embrace Eurasian integration.

In what may possibly be the biggest move towards multipolarity thus far, the ultimate Eurasian pivot, Turkey, has done away with its former Euro-Atlantic ambitions. A year ago, none of this would have been foreseeable, but the absolute failure of the US’ Mideast policy and the EU’s energy one made this stunning reversal possible in under a year. Turkey is still anticipated to have some privileged relations with the West, but the entire nature of the relationship has forever changed as the country officially engages in pragmatic multipolarity.

Turkey’s leadership made a major move by sealing such a colossal deal with Russia in such a sensitive political environment, and the old friendship can never be restored (nor do the Turks want it to be). The reverberations are truly global.

Missing The Signs

It’s amazing how much the West lost in such a short period of time and due to such major and totally unnecessary political miscalculations, and they owe their roots to the disastrous regime change operations in Syria and Ukraine.

The US In The Mideast:

Nearly four years ago, the US co-opted Turkey to ‘Lead From Behind’ in overthrowing the democratically elected Syrian government. However, things didn’t go as quite as planned and the Syrian people engaged in a fierce Patriotic War to defend the existence of their secular state. Turkey purposely sat out on the anti-ISIL coalition because it wanted solid guarantees of its reward in a regime-changed Syria, but none were forthcoming. Its leadership held firm, so the US started playing the ‘Kurdish Card’ of ethnic nationalism to bully them into submitting – which eventually backfired. The US crossed the line by arming and training the Kurds (some of whom are registered as terrorists by Turkey), and faced with such an existential threat to their state (that would either be unleashed wittingly or unwittingly with time), they knew they had to pivot, and fast.

The EU And Its Energy Policy:

Meanwhile, the EU totally fudged its energy policy with Russia. As a result of the Ukraine Crisis, it began exerting tremendous pressure (which was already building up) on the South Stream project, calling upon EU energy legislation clauses to state that its member states’ cooperation with Russia was illegal. Poorer countries like Bulgaria pleaded for the EU to allow the project, emphasizing how important it was for their national economies (which haven’t received much of Brussels’ largesse since joining), but to no avail, as the EU stonewalled the project. Russia had no choice but to find a replacement route and saw that the only viable stand-in was Turkey, which just so happened to be undergoing its most serious crisis ever with the US.

Ducks In A Row

Let’s look at how this geostrategic masterpiece was set into motion, as the past two months contain the main moves of this political waltz — and they’re all centered on Russian President Putin.

(1) Serbia:

Putin’s October visit to Serbia served to inform his counterpart about the plans to scrap South Stream, while still giving him strong assurances that the Russian-Serbian relationship will remain intact going forward, with or without the gas project.

(2) Syria and Sochi:

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem visited Sochi last week and personally met with Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. The meeting, held behind closed doors, was highlighted for the attention that the Russian leader gave to his guest. Putin could have told him to tell President Assad about his upcoming visit to Turkey in order to reassure his loyal and respected partner of his positive intentions and the bigger picture surrounding his motives.

(3) Turkey:

The final step was for Putin to go to Turkey and make the announcement after his meeting with Erdogan. Turkey understands that it has made a definitive move by joining the project and that there is no going back from this decision. It had been rejected by the EU for decades and it now realizes that its closest military ally, the US, had played it for a fool during the entire Syrian War.

Worse still, the Kurdish Card has gotten out of control, and it seems inevitable that sooner or later the insurrection will be rekindled, and with bloody and destabilizing consequences. On a pragmatic note, global events are shifting from the West to the non-West (read: BRICS and G20), so in the national self-interests of the Turkish state, it’s seen as wise to join the new winner’s circle (after being rejected by Europe and betrayed by the US) and try to turn over a new leaf with new friends.

The Aftershocks

The announcement of the New South Stream has global implications, but here’s just a few of them as arranged by region:


The EU will now have to pay for expensive LNG (on average 30% higher) that will likely be sold from the terminal at the Greek-Turkish border as well as remain energy dependent on risky Ukrainian routes. But there’s a catch – the poor Balkan countries are able to get in on the deal by building relatively cheaper overland connecting lines and resurrect the project… but only if they leave the EU and its authoritative energy legislation. All that it takes is for Greece or Bulgaria to abandon Brussels (which doesn’t seem improbable), and the project can either go through Macedonia en route to Serbia or via Bulgaria as initially planned, then up to the Hungarian border. At this point, it’s certainly a tantalizing thought for the countries that have paid the most for their ‘integration’ and received scarcely anything in return. Expect the New South Stream to politically divide the EU like never before.


There is no way that Russia would have sold Syria out after so many years of friendship, especially after Putin’s high-profile meeting with Muallem. Thus, Turkey is not forecast to directly invade Syria (although it could continue training some anti-government fighters). It may, however, allow the US to use its airbases and airspace to carry out airstrikes on ISIL.

Since it’s now behaving in a multipolar fashion, Turkey is playing all sides to its advantage, so it will still retain a defense relationship with NATO and the US, but it will no longer behave as an absolute lackey. Taking things further, Turkey’s shift to the East might allow Iran to one day build pipelines through it to access the Western market, and it could also allow Turkmen gas to transit both countries en route to Europe.


Most significantly, Turkey has shown that it has the political grit to make historical decisions independent of NATO, showing that it is embracing its pivotal geography and combining it with a multipolar policy. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (importantly encompassing Russia and China) just outlined the specific procedures for admitting new members a few months ago, although at the time analysts thought this was directed towards India and Pakistan.

Now, however, with Turkey already being a dialogue partner, it might make the rapid step to observer status and full-fledged membership just as quickly as it made its decisive pivot. There’s also been talk of the country entering into a free-trade agreement with the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union, so it might incidentally find its EU replacement with Brussels’ eastern adversary, Moscow.

As Western decision makers are scratching their heads and wondering how it ever got to this point, they’d do well to remember that none of this would have happened had they just allowed the Syrian and Ukrainian people to live in peace with their democratically elected governments.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran disputes veracity of US claims it launched air raids against ISIS in Iraq

Al-Akhbar | December 3, 2014

Iran has not launched any airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in neighboring Iraq, a senior Iranian official told Reuters on Wednesday, contradicting an earlier statement by the US.

“Iran has never been involved in any airstrikes against the Daesh (ISIS) targets in Iraq. Any cooperation in such strikes with America is also out of question for Iran,” the senior official said on condition of anonymity.

The US Pentagon had previously affirmed on Tuesday that Iranian fighter jets had bombed ISIS fighters in eastern Iraq in recent days, but that the strikes were not coordinated with US forces.

“We have indications that they did indeed fly airstrikes with F-4 Phantoms in the past several days,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told AFP.

His comments came after Al-Jazeera recently ran footage of what appeared to be an F-4 fighter, similar to those used by the Iranian air force, attacking targets in the eastern province of Diyala.

At a press conference earlier, Kirby said it was up to the Iraqi government to oversee and coordinate military flights by different countries and not US commanders.

“We are flying missions over Iraq. We coordinate with the Iraqi government as we conduct those. It’s up to the Iraqi government to deconflict that air space,” Kirby told reporters.

“Nothing has changed about our policy of not coordinating military activity with the Iranians.”

Iranian forces have reportedly been active on the ground in Iraq assisting militias and Baghdad government units. Iran also has provided Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft to Iraq amid speculation that the planes are flown by Iranian pilots.

Iran has close ties to the government in Baghdad, which has struggled to counter ISIS.

US fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft fly daily missions over Iraq along with other coalition warplanes from European governments as well as Australia and Canada.

The US-led air war against ISIS began on August 8 in Iraq and was extended into Syria in September. However, it has so far failed to stave off ISIS advances.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

December 3, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment