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The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room

By Katja Kipping | CounterPunch | February 12, 2016

TTIP, the EU-US free trade deal, has secrecy written all over it. Those responsible for it live in dread of any public scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would give everyone who’s interested the chance to make up their own minds on the text of the agreement in its current form. Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and a top cheerleader for TTIP, has now set up a reading room in his ministry where since the beginning of February German MPs can each spend two hours looking at those texts on which consensus has already been reached.

A political friend of mine asked me the day before whether she could come with me into the reading room. I had to say no. After a long, tough struggle with the government, at least MPs are able to read the text, but they are the only ones. We are not even allowed to take security-cleared specialists with us into the reading room. As for members of the public, who will ultimately have to bear the brunt of TTIP, they are to have no access whatsoever to the secret text. Not what transparency looks like in my book!

Access ‘granted’

Even the registration procedure for the reading room speaks volumes. Once I’d registered, I was sent the instructions on how to use the room. The first thing that I noticed was that the terms and conditions had already been the subject of negotiations between the European Commission and the USA. Get your head round that: TTIP isn’t even signed yet, and already individual countries have lost the right to decide who gets to read the texts, and on what terms.

The following extract from the rulebook for MPs who, like me, want to use the reading room reveals the attitude towards democracy that lurks behind TTIP: “You recognise and accept that in being granted access to the TTIP texts you are being extended an exceptional degree of trust.”

Now I’d always thought that elected MPs have a right to information. Yet the TTIP negotiators (and who gave them their legitimacy?) reckon they are GRANTING us access out of the goodness of their hearts. Access as a sign of exceptional trust. Whoever wrote that – did they really think that we MPs would feel flattered? To me it smacks more of totalitarianism. ‘Granting access’ and ‘extending trust’ is not the language you use if you really believe in democracy.

Tuesday 2 February was my day. I’d registered for the reading room. A guard took me in through security and asked me to lock away my jacket and my bag. He checked that I wasn’t taking any camera or mobile phone into the reading room, and then knocked on a door. The heightened level of secrecy made me all the more excited as to what I was going to find, but the room itself was nothing special. There were eight computer work stations, and I was only allowed to sit at the one designated for me. A friendly woman sat in the room. She got me to sign the visitor rules – if you don’t sign, you don’t get in, so I signed. There was a thermos of coffee and a plate of biscuits in the corner. Yet no amount of caffeine or blood sugar would have made it possible to get through the 300 or so pages of text in the two hours I had available to me.

Fodder for crafty lawyers

The criticism has often been made that the TTIP texts only exist in English. Not every MP has grown up using English as a second language, and you can just imagine what would happen if US senators were only granted access to the texts in French. So much for equality between negotiating partners. There were dictionaries in the room but no internet access, and thus no way of using any translation apps, which didn’t make the translation of the technical legal wording any easier.

Even those MPs who have no difficulty reading official English texts are faced with a problem: without a legal commentary you are still in the dark as to the potential impacts of many of the terms used. Let me give an example that I expressly did not see in the reading room, but in an insider report coming out of Brussels.

The US side has assured the EU that there will be no restriction on its ability to introduce ‘science-based regulations’ in future. Any unbiased person might conclude from this that it will still be possible to restrict the use of certain types of genetically modified organisms within the EU. But the USA considers large parts of the EU’s food safety regime not to be ‘science-based’, so a resourceful trade barrister could make use of the clause in question to launch a successful lawsuit against those food safety regulations. For us MPs to have a proper understanding of the potential significance of the terms used, we’d need not only to have the full text of TTIP but also to get all the wording checked by international trade lawyers, and these are precisely the people we are not allowed to have in the room with us. In some cases, however, you don’t need that much imagination to work out how a crafty lawyer could make use of the wording – in the interest of big business, of course.

What I DIDN’T read

Given that Sigmar Gabriel claims that TTIP is going to be of particular benefit for small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany, I was naturally curious to read what the documents had to say about them. Now, I am not allowed to tell you anything about the text that I read. But I never signed anything to say that I can’t reveal what I DIDN’T read. So, for the record: I read nothing that even vaguely supported Gabriel’s claim.

Of course, this is no great surprise. A recently leaked Council document made no secret of the main objective of the EU negotiators in the TTIP talks, namely: access to the massive procurement contracts of the USA. The complex tendering processes involved are not the usual stamping ground of small businesses, either here or there.

The two hours I had in the reading room were obviously not enough to read all the documents. Yet afterwards I realised that nothing I had read would make me rethink any of my previous criticisms of TTIP. I read nothing to alleviate my concern that the US side wishes to make life more difficult for public and community enterprises and to secure better terms for transnational corporations in the battle for public tenders. I also read nothing to calm my fears that EU negotiators are prepared to sacrifice our social and environmental standards for the prospect of winning lucrative contracts for big European firms.

I read nothing that would lead me to reconsider my previous criticism that consumer protection plays no part in TTIP other than to proclaim free market competition to be the highest form of consumer protection that exists.

Crawling with typos

I hope I’m not breaking any state secret if I register my amazement that the documents are simply crawling with typos. The word ‘and’ is regularly written ‘andd’ and ‘the’ often appears as ‘teh’. Either the negotiators are really shoddy workers or this is one of those famous security measures we’ve heard about. Just in case anyone manages to get round the camera ban and copies a screenshot of the secret documents, these specially introduced ‘errors’ will enable the authorities to work out who was the source of any leak.

It is revealing in itself that the Ministry for Economic Affairs is prepared to go to such lengths in order to keep the text of TTIP under wraps. And they have every reason for doing so. Anyone who was going into these negotiations to enhance environmental protection, consumer protection and labour standards would have nothing to fear from transparency. Anyone who’s engaged in selling out democracy, on the other hand, is obviously going to want to avoid public scrutiny. If Sigmar Gabriel and the negotiators are really so convinced of the benefits of TTIP, why don’t they just make the text available to everyone online?

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

The Politics of Multiculturalism

Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 8 of an 11 Part Series)

By Gearóid Ó Colmáin | Dissident Voice | February 14, 2016

It is particularly ironic that the Zionist-controlled media are pushing the agenda of multiculturalism in Europe while insisting on the right of Israel, the world’s only racist, apartheid state, to exist. At the same time, the conditions for this artificial, dystopian form of multiculturalism involve the destruction of some of the world’s most successful multi-racial states such as Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and, if they succeed, possibly Eritrea.

What we are witnessing here is a process of engineered acculturation where people are being uprooted, displaced and abandoned to the limitless tyranny of the market and commodity fetishism. The boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea are, to quote Freisleben again, ‘Rothshild’s slaughterships’, the slave-boats of Zionism’s New World Order.

Jacques Attali is one of France’s most respected Zionist penseur, and has been an advisor to successive French governments. He has referred to globalisation’s war against the nation-state as the ‘Somalisation of the world’. Attali has predicted that the Westphalian state will be destroyed during the epochal chaotic transition to a ‘gouvernement mondial’, a global state with Jerusalem as its capital. The idea might appear as utterly far-fetched to a reasonable person but Zionists are not reasonable people and it should be of deep concern that the world’s most powerful governments are being advised by such influential racist fanatics with overtly global ambitions.

At a meeting of World Jewish Congress in 2014, Attali referred to the Jews in France as a privileged class. Therefore, in order to prevent Muslim immigrants from developing resentment of this ethnocentric class rule, Attali suggested that rich Jews should help create a French Muslim petite-bourgeoisie. They should also, he argued, finance the Imams in order to prevent objections to Zionism. In other words, an elite of French Muslims should be groomed by Zionist Jews so that they can keep the proletarian Muslims driven from North Africa and the Middle East by Zionism from overthrowing their Jewish overlords, both at home and in their countries of exile.

As the mass media drum up Islamophobia while glorifying Al-Qaida terrorists in Syria in the service of Zion, the ancillary regimes of the Jewish state, namely Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are zealously implementing Attali’s suggestions. Giulio Meotti for the Israeli National News reports:

A few days ago, the president of the Sorbonne, Philippe Boutry, signed an agreement with the attorney general of the state of Qatar. Within the next three years, the Islamic monarchy will finance the studies of hundreds of Syrian immigrants at the Parisian academic jewel. The Sorbonne has accepted 600,000 euros per year for three years.

Jacques Attali is on record stating the he does not consider non-Jews as human beings. The view that non-Jews are subhuman comes from Talmudism and does not necessarily represent the views of secular or Orthodox Jews. There IS a difference.

In France, the rise of the Marine Le Pen’s Front National is increasing steadily. Le Pen’s party appears to have the backing of a considerable portion of Zionism, which may account for why Le Pen’s image and stature has dramatically improved in the French press. The Front National is now being courted by prominent public intellectuals as the party of the oppressed. Its reactionary agenda is being marketed as ‘left-wing’ and ‘anti-globalisation’. Although Marine Le Pen opposed the war against Libya-as opposed to the Trotskyite Jean Luc Melanchon, who supported it- Le Pen has supported all other French wars of aggression in Africa, such as the French bombing and invasion of Mali and the French invasion of the Central African Republic. Nor has Le Penn ever called into question the French financial control of many Francophone neo-colonies in Africa. Le Pen is a populist playing up to popular discontent, exploiting the despair of the masses with empty slogans and a hefty dose of xenophobia, adroitly eschewing any reference to the real problem in France: capitalism.

The Europe depicted by Michel Houellebecq in his nightmarish novel Soumission– submission- where a French Muslim community led by a Muslim Brotherhood political party faces Marine Le Pen, is inexorably becoming a reality.

The French and European political scene is being irrevocably set for a Huntingtonian ‘clash of civilisations’. The clichéd theory of the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ against all non-Jews appears so crude and essentialist, so simple and vulgar in its implications, as to pass for irrational, urban and ‘anti-Semitic’ folklore, which, of course, it is. But objective and rational analysis of the centrality of the “Jewish question” and Zionism in the context of the current, global power-configuration is more urgent than ever. For if we do not bring Zionism under control, Zionism will eventually control us. This also applies to Jews. As Professor Yoakov Rabkin in his book Comprendre L’Etat d’Israel: Ideologie, Religion et societe, argues:

Paradoxically, Jewish nationalism is conceptually compatible with anti-Semitics theories, for it also postulates the impossibility of the Jew becoming a full and equal member of European society. History shows that the attraction of Zionism augments with the intensity of anti-Semitism or of economic difficulties, which explains the fact that relatively few British, American or French Jews have accepted the Zionist project since its inception up to to today and rarely leave their countries to settle in Israel. (p. 49)

In 2013, the European Jewish Parliament was set up by Jewish Ukrainian billionaire and (ironically) neo-Nazi Ihor Kolomoyski. While the organisation claims to be an NGO, it functions according to the structures of a veritable parliament. Why does an ethnic minority in Europe have its own parliament? Will other ethnic minorities in Europe receive their own parliament too? Perhaps Jews deserve their own European parliament because they are officially recognised as ‘Europe’s chosen people’, as its ‘constitutive minority’.  That is what was said in the opening remarks of a conference held in Israel in 2013, sponsored by the Konrad Adenhauer Foundation.

Since the counter-revolutions in Eastern Europe of 1989, Jewish supremacy has accompanied the triumph of neo-liberalism and globalisation in Europe and the United States. This racial supremacy is being stealthily enshrined in US law. In 1991, the 102nd US Congress passed a resolution on the Noahide Laws. These are seven laws which Jewish rabbis believe should rule the lives of non-Jews, while Jews are to be ruled by a special set of laws.

The aforementioned racist Rabbi Manachem Mendel Schneerson, of the Lubavitch Movement, is praised in the resolution.

In 1995 Professor Ernest S. Easterly of the Southern University Law Centre presented a paper entitled “The Rule of Law and the New World Order” to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

An expert in Jewish law, Easterly is a zealous proponent of the Noahide Laws. He referred to the passing of the laws by the US congress in 1991 as “the first rays of dawn” which “evidence the rising of a yet unseen sun”. According to Micheal A. Hoffman: The Jewish Encyclopedia envisages a Noahide regime as a possible world order immediately preceding the universal reign of the Talmud.

While it is possible to simply ignore these policy documents as aberrant and marginal manifestations of ruling class ideology, they nonetheless constitute a sinister form of racism and religious bigotry, one which has, to a large extent, been unperceived.

Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont was ostracized and branded an ‘anti-Semite’ by the French media after he argued that it is high time Zionism was discussed and debated by non-Jews. Pro-Zionist and ostensibly ‘anti-Zionist’ literature and discourse tends to be dominated by Jews. And many Jewish ‘leftists’ tend to ignore the primacy of the Jewish Lobby in the formulation of US foreign policy. Instead, they advance the theory that Israel is simply a colony of the US empire, a tool with which to control the Middle East. This is patent nonsense to anyone who has studied what sociologist James Petras refers to as the ‘Zionist power-configuration’ in the United States, a power-configuration that extends to Europe and beyond.

During the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003 Jewish ‘leftists’ blamed the US ‘neo-cons’ and their desire to control Iraq’s oil for the drive towards war. Little or no mention was made of the fact that the real driving force behind the propaganda campaign for the war on Iraq came from the Jewish Lobby. This is amply documented in James Petras’ book The Power of Israel in the United States.

The strategic imperatives of the Zionist entity require the division and conquest of all Arab lands, so as to clear the Middle East in preparation for expanded Israeli colonisation, as stipulated in the Yinon Plan and the project of Eretz Israel-Greater Israel. Yet we were being told by many Jewish leftists that the Iraq invasion was a ‘war for oil,’ in spite of the fact that Western corporations had already acquired as much Iraq oil as they could manage.

Most anti-imperialist intellectuals in the Middle East will tell you that the war against Syria is a proxy-war waged by the Jewish state in order to create the conditions of a ‘New Middle East’ a euphemism for Greater Israel. Yet, many Jewish critics of US policy in Syria insist that it is the United States (plus Israel). An historical analogy might be helpful here. For centuries Ireland was colonised by the British Empire. Irish farmers paid rent to British aristocrats who had dispossessed them. Ireland was impoverished from debt. Although some Irishmen played an important role in the British army and served in high office throughout the empire, no one could claim that it was the ‘Irish Lobby’ in London who persuaded the British to conquer India, Hong Kong or Kenya or that the Irish nation somehow benefited from those conquests. Empires exploit colonies. Colonies do no exploit empires. If Israel were a colony of the United States, then we would surely see the emergence of an Israeli national liberation movement from US exploitation and colonisation! No such movement exists.

Zionist and crypto-Zionist Jews, through their control of both the corporate and much of the ‘alternative’ media, have managed to play down the centrality of the Jewish state’s role in America’s foreign wars and the importance of Jewish ‘hasbara’-propagandists and ‘sayonim’- helpers in that war effort. They ignore the fact that the only state which is really benefiting from America’s wars is Israel.

One might object to the thesis of Israel’s power over US foreign policy by citing the very clear differences expressed by Washington and Tel Aviv regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Here, surely, one might argue, the United States is not following Israel’s agenda. While Israel’s Likudniks oppose the deal with Iran, more ‘moderate’ Zionists agree with the compromise. For Israel and the United States, the deal with Iran is but a stepping stone towards an infiltration and destabilisation of the Islamic Republic. Diplomatic and business contacts with the West will inevitably facilitate greater ideological and intelligence penetration of Iran by the US and Israel, while the proxy- terrorist groups fighting against Iran in Yemen, and Syria will continue to receive support from the Mossad and the CIA. In fact, the Zionist destabilisation of Iran has already begun. The Kurdish social movement in Iran is supported by Israel.

The litmus-test for distinguishing the genuine anti-Zionist from the crypto-Zionist is the question of Israel’s relationship to the United States and Europe. As for the independent
media, one will often find that the bullying and derisive techniques of the corporate media to discredit dissidents are employed to discredit those who would dig too deeply into the Zionist machinations of US imperialism. The fallacy of reductio ad absurdum is a particularly common technique. This usually involves discrediting an anti-Zionist theory by falsely implying that the proponent of that theory believes in the supernatural, that he is a deranged simpleton who believes the world is run by goblins and such like. Another technique is the reductio ad Hitlerum, whereby those who discuss the problem of Jewish supremacy are compared to racists such as Adolf Hitler.

Jewish ‘anti-imperialist’ pundits regularly become ‘leaders’ and ‘gurus’ of ‘leftist’ movements and often use their credibility to police how issues of ethnicity, class and nationalism are conceptualized and discussed. Once people among their ‘ranks’ probe too deeply into Zionist intrigue, Zionist racial supremacy, warning signals are promptly sent out of a ‘far right’ and ‘fascist’ infiltration of the ‘movement’, this in spite of the fact that ‘fascism’ is precisely what genuine anti-Zionists are denouncing.

Such techniques sometimes work but more often than not, they only draw more attention to the suspicion among non Jewish critics of Zionism that an attempt is being made by ‘leftist’ Jews to deflect attention from the real sources of power in the capitalist world order, namely the Zionist power configuration.

It is therefore important for such individuals to occasionally re-emphasise their ‘opposition’ to Israel. In this sense, the Jewish ‘anti-imperialist’ bears a striking resemblance to the spokesmen of the Islamic State.

For what is the Islamic State or Da’esh other than the foreign legion of Israel. They have achieved in little time what no other Israeli proxy-force could have achieved. They have cleared vast territories of Iraq and Syria, have attacked Hamas in Gaza and have conveniently occupied the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. It is perhaps more apposite than ironic that security experts also refer to the Mossad as ISIS, Israel’s Secret Intelligence Service. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that official UN documents confirm Israel is covertly supporting Da’esh.

Like the Jewish pseudo anti-imperialists, the spokesmen of the Islamic State always refer to their hatred for “America” and the “freedoms of Americans” as the reason for their crusade. They do not seem to be too concerned about Israel, except, of course, when they miraculously manage to stage terrorist attacks on European soil, which often take place in formerly Jewish owned properties. Such attacks foment Islamophobia and the notion that Jews are hated and in danger, an agenda which serves Zionist regional and global hegemonic ambitions. In this sense one could argue that both the Islamic State and crypto-Zionists serve the same purpose: constantly deflecting attention from Zionism by blaming Israel’s giant, stultified Leviathan — the United States of America.

• Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven,

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Face It: Trump is Right About Iraq — and that Should Sink Clinton

By Sam Husseini | February 14, 2106

At first I thought it ironic that Saturday’s Republican debate happened in the “Peace Center” in Greenville, South Carolina. [video and transcript]

But perhaps that had a positive effect.

Actually, no. For the discerning listener, Donald Trump has been critical of U.S. militarism for some time. On Russia, on Syria, on Iraq, on North Korea.

People say that Trump is loud. But I don’t think he’s been loud enough.

Last night, he screamed an anti war stance to the boos of Bush’s and Rubio’s and Kasich’s one percent donors. It’s only half of what needed to be said, but it was a measure of reality that’s desperately needed.

Trump: “You fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. … You can’t fight two wars at one time.” But of course, to some of the U.S. establishment, two wars is slacking, they want more than two wars. Trump continued: “We shoulda never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. … The World Trade Center came down (BOOING) during the reign. He [G. W. Bush] kept us safe?”

And, if anyone noticed, even as the auditorium packed of monied interests booed Trump, the tracker at the bottom of the screen went up for him.

Trump’s truth telling was met with more ridiculousness and lies.

Jeb Bush described Trumps attacks as “blood sport” which, given the subject matter at hand — his brother’s appetite for illegal war and failure in his responsibility to protect the U.S. public was, to put it mildly, ironic. And then Bush appealed to the values of his family, which, evidence would show, includes hands quite drenched in blood.

John Kasich’s reaction on Iraq WMDs was to appeal to Colin Powell’s credibility, which has been a late night TV joke for over a decade. He also claimed the U.S. got into a civil war, which is wrong — the U.S. government helped foster the sectarian violence. And no, Kasich, the borders of the Mideast were not “drawn after World War I by Westerners that didn’t understand what was happening there” — they were drawn by Westerners who wanted to divide and rule — as is the actual goal of Western interventions to this day.

Marco Rubio was perhaps the most priceless — “Saddam Hussein was in violation of UN resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn’t do anything about it.” That’s a total lie. Iraq had disarmed and the U.S. did everything it could to not have the UN verify that disarmament so that the draconian sanctions would continue on Iraq indefinitely and they could have their regime change war, see my time line:

The worthies at the Weekly Standard now write: “Interviewers should press Trump on this: What evidence does Trump have that George W. Bush and his top advisers knowingly lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? How many other government officials does Trump believe were in on the deception? What does Trump believe would have been the point of such a lie, since the truth would soon come out?”

In fact, it’s quite provable that the Bush administration lied about Iraqi WMDs before the invasion. I know, I helped document such lies at the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work, before the 2003 invasion:

In October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War, noted: “Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases from before the invasion: “White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit” and “Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at” and “U.S. Credibility Problems” and “Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight.”

The problem in 2002 and early 2003 was that Bush didn’t get those tough questions. Just like there are no real tough questions about U.S. policy in Libya, Syria, etc now.

What we’re getting is Trump raising these issues years later when it seems some of the public is finally/still willing to hear them. And that’s splendid. The establishment has tried to just keep rolling along with their wars and deceits after the Iraq invasion. No accountability, no nothing. They make Wall Street look like self-critical introverts. To answer the Weekly Standard’s question — the truth still hasn’t come out in full force; Bush and the other pro-war deceivers have managed to get away with it all.

The only problem with what Trump is saying is that he’s not saying it loud and strong enough. He didn’t back up the case for impeachment against G. W. Bush for the Iraq invasion, which was the point of one of the questions to him, though several legal scholars have done so, including Francis BoyleJonathan Turley, and Bruce Fein and Elizabeth Holtzman. Reps. Dennis KucinichCynthia McKinney and John Conyers, in different ways and at different times, pursued the possibility.

Some are deriding Trump for apparently exaggerating his objections to the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. Maybe so, but the fact of the matter is that most who spoke out meaningfully against Iraq war early were defacto drummed out of establishment media and politics.

Trump is being Buchanan 2.0 — that there’s some real bad that comes with that and there’s some real good that comes with that. And quite arguably in a post 9/11 world, the good is more important than it was in 1992.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I have no idea what Trump would actually do in office and what his current motivations are. He’s been contradictory, but the thrust of his comments is quasi isolationist. His campaign should certainly be a huge opening to groups wanting to reach out to millions of working class whites on issues of foreign policy, trade, as well as some core economic issues.

And even on foreign policy, Trump can be extremely dangerous. For example, the apparent force behind his anti Muslim comments is Frank Gaffney, a rightwing pro-Israel militarist.

The point is that what Trump is appealing to is an electorate that is sick of deceit and perpetual wars and there’s a lot of good that comes with that. It should be an opportunity for anyone claiming to care about peace — and not a cause to mock the people supporting him as I’ve seen many “progressives” do.

But, for the Democrats, the import now is this: What’s it going to look like if Trump is the Republican nominee? If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Trump — with very good reason — will tie the stench of perpetual wars and the lies that accompany them around her neck. She will make the 2004 John “I-was-for-the-war-before-I-was-against-it” Kerry look like a stirring exemplar of gracefully articulated principles.

If any Democrat cares a bit about electability, Clinton — the candidate not only of Wall Street, but of endless war and of the war machine — should have been dumped yesterday.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Despite Anti-War Claims, Sanders Endorses President Obama’s Foreign Policy

ShadowProof | February 13, 2016

WASHINGTON — On Sunday, Bernie Sanders endorsed President Barack Obama’s violent, expansive foreign policy in an effort to distance himself from accusations of inexperience in matters of war.

At the beginning of an interview on CBS’ “Face The Nation” between John Dickerson and the Vermont senator, Dickerson noted:

Senator, while you were in New York, North Koreans launched a long range missile. As President, you’d face that kind of thing all the time, very often. And what Secretary Clinton is saying is that you don’t have the experience to be ready for those kinds of challenges on day one.

Sanders responded:

Well, that’s what she said about Barack Obama in 2008, and it turned out not to be true. I am impressed by the quality of his foreign policy.

Sanders also emphasized his vote against the Iraq War, which he said was “most important foreign policy issue in modern history.”

Under Obama, the U.S. military has expanded its presence throughout the globe, with bases or military advisors found in over 100 countries. Africa, in particular, has been transformed into what military scholar and journalist Nick Turse called a “laboratory for a new kind of war.”

Sanders has also been clear that he supports Obama’s use of drones, despite the weapons’ track record of killing mostly civilians.

While he claims to be against income inequality and wasteful spending, the U.S. spends $3.1 billion annually on aid to Israel, despite the occupation of Palestine, and Sen. Sanders has supported this deadly conflict with his votes.

In another echo of Obama’s foreign policy, Sanders made it clear during the interview that he won’t seek to end the wars in the Middle East, but rather would shift more of the burden of fighting them to foreign forces.

“We’ve got to learn the lessons of Iraq,” Sanders told Dickerson, “and that is that the United States of America cannot do it alone. We have to work in coalition with major countries and with Muslim countries whose troops will be on the ground.”

He added: “My main concern, in terms of the Middle East, is the United States does not get involved in perpetual warfare.”

However, Obama’s military aid to the Middle East has supported a number of deadly conflicts that show no signs of ending, and may even contribute to the rise of extremism. Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s closest Middle Eastern allies and a buyer of billions of dollars worth of U.S. arms annually, is embroiled in a deadly conflict in Yemen that’s killed over 6,000 people, including more than 2,800 civilians.

The Obama administration aided local forces in the destabilization Libya, leading to the rise of extremism in that country. Last month, the Pentagon began laying the groundwork for new military actions in Libya, in order to quell the rise of Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the group commonly known in the West as ISIS or ISIL), which has flooded into the power vacuum left after the overthrow of the Gadhafi government.

And in Syria, U.S. aid has gone to so-called “moderate” rebels that were often allies of Daesh or al-Qaida. These rebel allies helped destabilize the nation, leading to one of the worst refugee crises the world has ever seen.

Sanders’ remarks reflect his consistent and familiar approach to foreign wars. Shadowproof’s Dan Wright, in a recent analysis of Sanders’ proposed foreign policy, noted:

If it sounds like another term of Obama’s foreign policy, at least rhetorically, that’s because it is. Minus the inclusions of fair trade … it is nearly identical to the principles espoused by President Obama.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US, NATO ‘very nervous’ about Corbyn’s disarmament plans – reports

RT | February 14, 2016

US and NATO officials are “very anxious” about Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, specifically the Labour Party leader’s aim to scrap the UK’s four Trident-armed submarines, as well as his “support for Russia.”

According to a senior government source asked by The Independent on Sunday, foreign diplomats had voiced fears about Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda to pave way for nuclear disarmament, and also his settled approach towards NATO-Russia relations.

In August 2015, Corbyn, then the left-wing frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, used the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima to declare that if he were prime minster he would not replace the Trident nuclear weapons system and would get rid of nuclear weapons entirely.

“Britain should accept that such weapons are impossible to use with any guarantee of safety and we should scrap plans for renewing the Trident nuclear [defense] system, freeing up £100 billion to spend on our national wellbeing,” said his policy paper, entitled “Plan for Defense Diversification.”

Speaking to the Independent, former NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson confirmed that there was “a great deal of nervousness” among the alliance’s members, who see Britain’s nuclear capabilities as a security guarantee.

“It’s coming from the Americans, but other countries too. People forget that the British deterrent, as well as the American deterrent, is committed to NATO.”

In a clear intervention in domestic UK politics, Lord Robertson said that Corbyn’s policies would damage Labour’s chances of winning the next general election in 2020, because of the party’s “increasingly radical stance” on defense and security issues, The Telegraph reported.

His comments came after Labour MP Madeleine Moon, also a member of the House of Commons defense select committee, told a private party meeting she was approached by NATO diplomats in Washington.

“So many delegates wanted to speak to me about the Labour Party and the stance we are taking on NATO and Trident. They were very, very anxious,” she said.

Countries in Eastern Europe rely heavily on the nuclear deterrent the UK has, Moon said, and they are “nervous about what they are hearing,” citing “much more assertive, aggressive and belligerent Russia.”

Corbyn is a long-standing advocate of peace and nuclear disarmament, saying in one of his interviews that opposing violence and war has been “the whole purpose of his life.” As chair of the Stop the War Coalition, he campaigned vigorously against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2014, when the Ukrainian crisis unfolded, he wrote an article in the Morning Star, arguing that the main cause of the war was rooted in “the US drive to expand eastwards.”

A year later, when NATO-Russia dialogue deteriorated, he told parliament that “there would be a better chance of reaching some kind of agreement with Russia if there was a clearer statement that NATO does not intend to expand into Ukraine, and that in return Russia should withdraw from its border regions.”

The latest YouGov poll suggests that Corbyn’s policies on defense issues are strongly supported by a majority of voters. Sixty-seven percent said “Yes” to Britain leaving NATO, while 65 percent and 52 percent, respectively, support significant defense budget cuts and scrapping the Trident missile system.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NATO’s Provocative Anti-Russian Moves

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | February 13, 2016

Twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO is back flexing its muscles as if nothing had changed since the days of the Soviet Union. Defense ministers from the enlarged, 28-member organization agreed recently to strengthen the alliance’s “forward presence” in Eastern Europe. If their new policy is endorsed at a summit in Poland this summer, NATO will begin deploying thousands of troops in Poland and the Baltic states, right up against Russia’s borders.

In other words, the Western alliance will redouble its military commitment to a Polish government whose right-wing, anti-Russian, and autocratic policies are so egregious that even the stanchly neo-conservative editorial page of the Washington Post saw fit to condemn the new leaders’ encroachments on democracy and the rule of law.

Worse yet, NATO’s provocative commitment will include a potential threat to start World War III on behalf of that government. Most Americans are unaware that NATO’s policies — reaffirmed by the Obama administration — view nuclear weapons as a “core component” of the alliance’s capacity to repel even a conventional attack on one of its member states.

An accidental clash of forces, perhaps triggered by military exercises gone awry, could potentially lead NATO to use its nuclear weapons against Russian troops on Poland’s borders. Or, just as catastrophically, it could prompt Russian forces to attack NATO’s nuclear stockpiles preemptively.

Either scenario could trigger a much wider nuclear war. The British television channel BBC Two explored such a scenario, involving Latvia, in a chilling “war game” film that aired earlier this month.

Rather than let small, distant countries put U.S. national security at risk, the United States should, as an interim step short of disbanding NATO, demand the elimination of theater, or nonstrategic, nuclear weapons from NATO stockpiles. (Theater weapons are smaller and shorter in range than the large warheads carried by intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bombers.)

England and France would retain their independent, sovereign nuclear deterrents. But the United States would prevail on NATO to withdraw the 200 nuclear bombs it now stations at air bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and even Turkey. It would also forgo costly and destabilizing plans to deploy a new generation of highly accurate B61 bombs in Germany.

Eliminating NATO’s theater nuclear weapons would dramatically reduce security concerns about terrorist attacks — a threat highlighted by an Air Force security review in 2008. It would also eliminate them as tempting targets of a Russian preemptive attack in case a conflict begins to spin out of control.

A unilateral elimination of theater nuclear weapons would leave Western nations with thousands of nuclear warheads, enough to wipe out much of human civilization along with Russia. It would also leave the United States alone with an 8-to-1 advantage over Russia in military spending.

Political leaders from Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway called for the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from European soil in 2010, saying they had “lost all military importance” and had become a liability.

U.S. military leaders were inclined to agree. In 2008, the U.S. European Command, once a champion of theater nuclear weapons, acknowledged they were no longer important as a deterrent. When asked in 2010 if tactical nuclear weapons in Europe bought NATO any additional security, General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared simply, “No.”

In today’s political climate, however, demonizers of Russia insist that self-interested steps to eliminate our unneeded weapons would somehow reward Vladimir Putin.

Last year, two leading congressional Republicans, Alabama’s Mike Rogers, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, and Ohio’s Mike Turner, chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, demanded that the United States deploy more nuclear weapons to Europe to counter Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

In 2014, Bush-era right-wingers John Bolton and John Yoo advocated reintroducing theater nuclear missiles into Europe. Either move would simply result in tit-for-tat responses by Russia, leaving both sides mired in a counterproductive arms race.

Other strategic analysts concede that “tactical nuclear arms in Europe are literally outdated” — obsolete both technically and in terms of strategy — but say that withdrawing them “would look like capitulation to Russia and thus encourage Putin to continue pressing his luck.” In other words, the United States should allow its security to be held hostage not only to the whims of Poland and Latvia, but also to Russia’s alleged perceptions.

In an ideal world, NATO would negotiate away its theater nuclear weapons as part of a bilateral treaty to reduce Russia’s own arsenal of smaller weapons, which may number 1,000 or more. But insistence on a negotiated deal has long been an excuse for inaction. And giving any single NATO member a veto will ensure that the alliance’s nuclear policies never change.

Russia’s numerical superiority, moreover, buys it no military advantage. If it launched nuclear weapons in Europe, odds are that the conflict would escalate quickly to engage the strategic nuclear forces of the United States, the UK, and France — leaving Russia a radioactive slag heap. That’s why Russian military doctrine firmly envisions using nuclear weapons only as a last resort, either to respond to a nuclear attack or to resist foreign aggression that “would put in danger the very existence of the state.”

Russia today hangs onto its theater nuclear weapons because its conventional forces have been radically weakened by the collapse of the USSR, the loss of control over Eastern Europe, and a succession of economic crises, including of late the collapse of oil prices.

In a recent commentary, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, dismissed claims of Russia’s growing threat to U.S. security as “belligerent nonsense.”

“It remains the case that NATO countries hugely outspend Moscow when it comes to military procurement,” he observed. “There is no evidence whatsoever that Russia, as when it was the Soviet Union, is embarked on a wanton course of global expansion. This is a country that unilaterally pulled its occupying troops out of Eastern Europe, a door closing on the Cold War.”

Rohrbacher added, “Obviously, some highly influential people can’t accept that and leave the Cold War behind, their mindsets and careers linked to a lingering enmity between the Kremlin and the White House. In particular, they can be found as think tank strategists and arms merchants.”

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012).

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear accord means little to US

Press TV – February 14, 2016

The US administration is preventing the country’s banks from doing business with Iran despite the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Washington says it has eased “secondary” sanctions targeting companies outside the US and Americans seeking certain businesses in Iran but most “primary” sanctions related to terrorism and rights accusations remain in place.

“Broadly, the US primary embargo on Iran is still in place,” John Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), told a congressional panel on Thursday.

That means the opening with Iran following the implementation of the nuclear accord “does not have any impact on us,” the AFP news agency quoted an official with one large New York bank as saying.

“We’re still very prohibited from engaging in just about any business activity with Iran except on very limited exceptions,” the official added.

US banks interested

According to AFP, several leading US banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, are keen to enter the Iranian market.

They have reportedly turned to teams of lawyers and other specialists as they plumb the shifting legal terrain.

“We continue to monitor the developments in Iran,” Citigroup spokesman Kamran Mumtaz told the French news agency.
Several leading US banks are keen to enter the Iranian market, AFP says.

According to OFAC, all foreign banks operating in the US are forbidden from clearing US dollar-denominated transactions involving Iran through US banks.

Smith said non-US companies who provide support to Iranian entities “may face being cut off from the US financial system.”

Iranian officials say the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has decided to carry out all foreign trade in euros to avoid any complications.

Meanwhile, non-US banks that work in both Iran and the US are reportedly isolating Iranian business from their US assets to avoid possible American punishments.

The US government has also freed banks to make loans in some specific businesses and activities involving Iran such as sales of airplane parts.

Banks can further provide financing to US companies that import Iranian foods or carpets, pistachio nuts and caviar.

However, the nuclear accord still faces threats from US presidential candidates who have pledged to undo it after President Barack Obama is gone.

‘Business as normal’

Those threats have only harmed American entities which are blocked from joining a rush by non-US companies to cash in on trade opportunities in Iran.

On Monday, the world’s largest independent oil trader Vitol Group said it’s “business as normal” with Iran after the end of economic sanctions.

Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) also said it wanted to open a branch in Tehran “as quickly as possible,” becoming the first foreign lender to set up shop in Iran after the lifting of sanctions.

Major companies from Asia to Europe are rushing to resurrect trade with the global energy superpower which sits on the worlds’ biggest oil and gas reserves combined as well as massive mineral deposits.

Italy and France signed initial deals worth more than $40 billion in a variety of fields — from oil and gas to car manufacturing, construction, health and agriculture and clean energy development — last month during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Europe.

Seeking to reassure, Paris unveiled an accord offering state guarantees to back French investments in Iran through credit management firm Coface in order to cover onsite non-payment risks.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Damascus: Turkey’s Shelling of Syria ‘Direct Support of Terrorists’

Sputnik – February 14, 2016

Damascus said that Turkey’s shelling of Syrian territory is a “direct Turkish support of terrorist groups,” state TV reported, citing a letter to the United Nations.

On Saturday, Turkish forces began shelling the positions of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Aleppo region.Turkish forces bombed a village and an airbase that were recently captured by Kurds, Al Mayadeen TV reported Saturday. Prior to being captured by the YPG, the village and the airbase belonged to al-Nusra Front terrorist organization.

Later, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed that Turkish forces had shelled Kurds’ positions in northern Syria as a “retaliatory measure.”Ankara claims that Syrian Kurds have links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group fighting for Kurdish independence from Turkey.

On Sunday, NTV channel reported citing a military source that Turkish forces have continued to shell YPG positions in Syria killing two Kurdish fighters.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon slamming Ankara over the shelling.

“The shelling of Syrian territory by the Turkish heavy artillery is a direct support of terrorist groups and an attempt to boost their morale,” SANA news agency cited the statement.

Syrian authorities have called on the UN to take measures to ensure security and “put an end to the crimes of the Turkish regime.”

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Another Day, Another Billion for Color Revolutions Near Russia’s Borders

Sputnik – February 13, 2016

Last week, the Obama administration proposed its final, 2017 fiscal year budget proposal to Congress. Among the proposed outlays is a State Department request for nearly a billion dollars to counter “Russian aggression” and “promote democracy” in the former Soviet Union. In other words, Washington thinks the region needs more color revolutions.

On Tuesday, the State Department and USAID held a special joint briefing, laying out a $50.1 billion spending request for 2017, including $953 million in “critical support for Ukraine and surrounding countries in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia to counter Russian aggression through foreign assistance and public diplomacy.” The funds, officials specified, would go toward “enhancing access to independent, unbiased information; eliminating corruption and supporting rule of law; strengthening civil society; enhancing energy security, supporting financial reforms, trade, and economic diversification; and increasing some defense capabilities” in countries including “Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova [and] in Central Asia.”

The spending would be separate from the proposed $3.4 billion (up from $789 million in 2016), provided by the so-called “European Reassurance Initiative,” which aims for “a significant reinvestment in the US military presence in Europe after decades of gradual withdrawal” to counter “the growing threat Russia poses to long-term US national security interests in Europe and beyond.”

With most of the Western media basically ignoring the plans and focusing on other aspects of the budget’s whopping $4 trillion in proposed spending, Russian security analysts, naturally, couldn’t let this ‘minor detail’ simply slip by unnoticed, given that the spending proposal is openly oriented against Russia.

Analyzing the State Department’s proposed new spending spree, Svobodnaya Pressa columnist Andrei Ivanov says that the outlays raise as many questions as they answer.

“It’s not difficult to guess what is implied by [the proposed spending for] ‘democratization,'” the journalist noted. “However, several questions arise. Firstly, this year, the State Department has already allocated $117 million ‘to support democracy’ in Ukraine, and $51 million for Moldova and Georgia. But in these countries, so-called color revolutions have already taken place, and the Americans have already almost achieved what they set out to do.””Secondly, it’s unclear what kind of ‘countering of Russian aggression’ the State Department means in relation to Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have long been oriented toward Moscow, and even joined with Russia in the common customs area of the Eurasian Economic Union. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are also part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s unified security system. Russia has also signed a series of bilateral cooperation agreements with Uzbekistan.”

The proposed spending, Ivanov notes, “assumes a serious US commitment to pursuing its [geopolitical] goals, which threatens Russia with obvious negative consequences. The question thus arises about the countermeasures our country might take in response.”

“According to experts, on the eve of the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, over two thousand non-governmental organizations were created, from training camps for militants to various clubs of political scientists and media workers.”

Unfortunately, the journalist recalls, “Moscow relied more on the agreements reached with Ukrainian elites; the result was disastrous. Today, the question again arises about the need to work actively with the civil society of neighboring states.”

Asked to comment on the State Department’s new spending proposal, Andrei Manoilo, a professor of political science at Moscow State University, expressed a commonly held view among Russian security professionals.

Namely, the professor told the newspaper, “when Washington talks about spreading democracy, and allocates money for this purpose, it is referring to ‘color revolutions’ – the overthrow of undesirable regimes and the drive to bring puppets who mimic democracy to power.”

“Factually, these countries find themselves under American control. Ukraine is a vivid example. Until recently, Georgia too served as a good example, with each department and ministry in the country featuring an advisor and curator from the State Department. In Ukraine, supervision is carried out through the US Embassy, and through officials loyal to Washington, charged with implementing its instructions.”

As for the earmarking funds for countries which have already undergone color revolutions, Manoilo explained that the money “is allocated for the purpose of maintaining the stability of the dependent regime.” This is especially true in Ukraine’s case, he said. It is also meant “to ensure the loyalty of local elites.”

In Georgia’s case, “after Mikheil Saakashvili resigned from his post and was forced to flee the country, the American position weakened somewhat, mainly due to the perceived negativity which the color revolution had brought the country. So here, the US [spends] in order to maintain its influence. It is also possible that the US is considering ensuring the loyalty of Georgian elites by ‘nourishing’ cyclical color revolutions, thus carrying out a rotation of the elite.”

As for Central Asia, the State Department announcement seems to indicate, according to Manoilo, “that color revolutions are planned there as well. The Americans need to see regime change in the countries which, for the most part, are oriented toward Russia. In Central Asia, Moscow has several projects geared toward integration, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CSTO. Today, the countries in the region face a difficult situation, with disintegratory processes growing among them.”

In Tajikistan, the professor warned, the State Department may attempt to reignite the embers of the country’s civil war, which took place between 1992-1997, taking advantage of disagreements between the country’s north and south. “US NGOs, which operated freely in the country until recently, are taking advantage [of discontent] among both northern and southern elites. It was not until about a year ago that President Emomali Rahmon began to restrict their activities.”In Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, “the situation has changed little since the last color revolution. The protest mood remains strong. US NGOs and foundations have been working actively with the rural population, which is not very versed in politics, but is easy to agitate to participate in demonstrations against authorities, as the ‘melon’ revolution of 2010 demonstrated.”

In all the countries of Central Asia, Manoilo noted, “there is the strong factor of Islamist radicalism. By and large, only the presence of Russian military bases holds back an Islamist offensive in the region.”

Unfortunately, he says, “practice has shown that when it comes to overthrowing undesirable governments, the State Department easily finds a common language with even the most rabid fundamentalists. It’s sufficient to recall the color revolutions of the so-called Arab Spring. It would not be out of place to presume that the US is preparing their repetition, except this time in the post-Soviet space.”

“In addition to Central Asia, there is the southern Caucasus. Last summer, Armenia saw a rehearsal of a color revolution under non-political slogans – a new technology called the ‘Electro-Maidan’. Armenia is a Russian ally in the South Caucasus, and the US has plans for regime change, using their methods of the so-called ‘democratic transition’.”

Ultimately, Manoilo warns, “by dismantling the political order in Russia’s neighboring countries, the US wants to create a vacuum around our country. Simply put, this indicates a repeat of the Ukrainian scenario. After all, until very recently it was simply impossible to imagine Ukraine as a country which is hostile to Russia.” … Full article

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment