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The Immigration Con: How the Duopoly Makes the Public Forget about Roots Causes of War and Economics

By Sam Husseini | June 26, 2018

Many are focusing on the travel ban, largely targeting Muslim countries, and the separation and detention of asylum seekers separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The the U.S. media and political establishment has put the issue of immigration front and center, causing all manner of political venting and pro and anti Trump venom to spew forth.

A silver lining seems to be that it has helped raise issues that — unlike the Russiagate story much of the establishment media has obsessed over — at least have some currency with the general public.

But the manner in which immigration issues have been focused on has obscured the root causes of those issues. Desperate migration is ultimately caused by economics, like so-called trade deals, corrupt Central American governments, often U.S.-backed, U.S.-backed coups and other policies.

And refugees desperately flee countries like Syria largely because of prolonged U.S.-backed wars.

In virtually all these instances, there is left-right opposition to the establishment policy that is often at the root of the problem. The establishment of the Republican and Democratic party have rammed through trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and global pro-corporate policies. The U.S. government — with both Obama and Trump administrations — has backed coups like Honduras in 2009 or rigged elections like in 2017.

Corporate deals and coups and such give rise to governments unresponsive to their citizens, enacting economic policies that have impoverished most of the people of these countries. It’s a testament to the long term effects of U.S. interventions that regions like Central America, which have been the focus of so much U.S. government attention over the decades, are in such dismal condition.

Such circumstances breed gangs, which means a lack of safety, causing desperate migration. Parts of grassroots economies, like small farmers growing corn, have been decimated because deals like NAFTA allow for dumping of U.S. agribusiness corn. Drug cartels rise as a way to make money for some — and to fulfill a demand for narcotics in the U.S., an escape for USians from their own economic plights and often nihilistic lives. Meanwhile, transpartisan efforts at drug legalization are pushed to the background.

Similarly, many leftists and some rightwingers, like Ron Paul, oppose constant U.S. interventions in the Mideast as well. The invasion of Iraq lead to the rise of ISIS, the destablization of Syria, Libya and other countries. The U.S. establishment and its allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel have effectively sought to prolong the war in Syria and to destabilize other counties in the region for their geostrategic designs.

The rank and file bases of the Democratic and Republican parties are largely against NAFTA, CAFTA, etc. — while the elites in both parties are for them, so they get done. Clinton and Obama were duplicitously for them (pretending that side deals on labor and environment will do much and thus to distract from their pushing the corporate agenda). Trump rants and raves about much, but hasn’t put forward a serious critique of them.

So, the bases of the two parties end up fuming at each other over the status of migrants from Central America and travelers from largely Muslim countries. They become further entrenched into either establishment party structure while the people running those structures continue to perpetuate policies that the bases agree with each other about.

Wars cause refugees. Then, the left and right scream at each other over the refugees, forgetting how the establishment continues the wars that the left and right are significantly opposed to.

All this has the effect of further entrenching people in their partisan boxes. Progressives with problems with the Democratic Party do their duty to fight against the Trumpsters and vice versa.

So, you get more war and more pro-corporate policies.

The manner of these debates tears people apart just enough to prevent dialogue. Sarah Sanders is told to leave a restaurant, but pundits on CNN urge the public not to be out in the streets arguing. Voting is the one and only path to making your voice heard. Shut up and get in line.

The debates rarely question national myths. Quite the contrary, they are an opportunity for “both sides” to appear to more loudly vocalize how they embody the goodness inherent in the U.S. “We need to reclaim our values… We’re a good nation, we’re a good people. And we should be setting a standard on this planet of what humanity should be about,” says Sen. Cory Booker after the Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s travel ban.

What “humanity should be about”. This from a member of a Democratic Party establishment that has fueled polarization with the other nation on the planet with thousands of nuclear warheads. From a party establishment that has dismissed apparent progress toward finally ending the bloody Korean War. Just this week, Senators from both sides of the aisle voted to allocate more and more money for wars. The recent increases in the Pentagon budget are more than the entire military budget of the great threat, Russia.

But pay no attention to that. National piety is upheld. The U.S. is so wonderful, the immigrants want in. That proves it. Never mind U.S. government policies helped impoverish them. Never mind U.S. government wars destroyed the countries of millions of refugees. Never mind what you think might be wrong with the country, just be grateful you’re here.

U.S. benevolence is to be proven by taking in a nominal number of refugees to some self-proclaimed liberals. So-called conservatives preserved the dignity of the nation not by insisting that the rule of law be applied to high officials, but that we should have zero tolerance for helping some desperate souls.

The diminishing economic state of USians emanating from economic inequality is largely off the agenda of both parties. They entrench the partisan divide, but in a way that obscures deeper issues. Party on.

Sam Husseini is founder of VotePact.org, which encourages intelligent left-right cooperation. 

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

James Angleton & Lee Oswald

Lisa Pease on James Angleton, counterintelligence chief. There’s no one more interesting and important in the JFK story–and indeed the history of the CIA–who is more important than the late James Angleton. Lisa Pease has studied the man and had a few things to say at the AARC’s conference on the Warren Commission last fall. This version of Ms. Pease lecture is somewhat edited and shortened.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

US to Create a Sixth Branch of Its Armed Forces

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.06.2018

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order directing the Defense Department to create a Space Force that will constitute a sixth independent branch of the US armed forces. The goal is to ensure American supremacy in space, outstripping other world powers, such as Russia and China. According to him, a mere US presence is not enough. “We must have American dominance in space,” the president emphasized. “We don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us. We’ve always led,” he added. Once the president’s order has been carried out, the Air Force would likely turn over its space duties to the new branch.

The move meets the provisions of the National Security Strategy. The Joint Vision 2020 states that the US should dominate and control the military use of space.

The idea has substantial backing.  It is fairly popular in Congress. A fully-fledged force, complete with a new, four-star general position, new uniforms, and a budget requires congressional action. Congress approves funds and can mandate specific requirements. Rep. Mike Roger (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, rushed to back the president on the issue.

The Air Force is not pleased by the policy, and some military leaders do not support it. Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed it last year. Is he in the loop today? There will be a lot of problems with funds, allocating responsibilities, and reorganizing the other services, each of which has its own component that already deals with space missions. Will a position of space secretary be created? Will the top commander of the new force become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? There will be many questions to answer and problems to tackle.

But in any event, the executive order has been signed, launching the process of creating a new military branch, all of which is yet more evidence that the US is looking aggressively at its future in space and viewing it as a potential war-fighting domain.

The United States already has a very substantial presence there, including unclassified and classified satellites and space planes, such as the classified X-37B. In 2008, it demonstrated its capability to attack space objects by firing sea-based missiles. Back then, the US Navy successfully shot down a nonfunctional spy satellite traveling in space at more than 17,000 mph and 150 nautical miles above the earth over the Pacific Ocean. A cruiser based in Pearl Harbor hit it using a Standard Missile-3.

In 2010, the Air Force launched its first X-37B space plane. Since then, it has been sent up regularly on hush-hush missions lasting for many months. The Dream Chaser reusable space planes will add to this picture. The ballistic missile defense (BMD) system is shifting to air- and space-based systems. And there are other space-based capabilities we don’t know about as yet. Putting weapons into space to achieve global supremacy is high on the US agenda.

According to publicly accessible sources, the Air Force spends around $15 billion every year on space research and activities. The space-operations budget of the classified National Reconnaissance Office is an estimated $10 billion, bringing this total to at least $25 billion.

For many years now outer space has been used as an operational domain for military spacecraft, such as imaging and communications satellites. As yet, however, no weapons have been stationed in space. The US, Russia, China, and other space-faring nations are signatories to the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967, an arms-control deal reached at the height of the Cold War. Recognized by 107 nations (as of April 2018), the OST bars countries from stationing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction anywhere in outer space, including in orbit around Earth. No military bases, tests of any kind, including conventional weapons, or exercises are allowed, but the treaty doesn’t specifically ban the use of conventional weapons in open space or on space stations.

The first-ever draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) was prepared  by Russia and introduced to the UN in 2008 with China’s backing. The document was rejected with the US leading the opposition. The Americans claimed the paper did not address the security concerns over space assets. In December 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a Russian resolution, “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space”. America, along with Ukraine and Georgia, voted against it. Moscow has expressed its readiness to discuss the issues related to the prevention of space militarization in its role as a participant in the EU-initiated activities on a draft International Code of Conduct for Outer Space. Washington has never displayed any interest.

Through resolutions and discussions within the United Nations, a general agreement has evolved that an arms race in outer space should be prevented. However, due to the structure of the international legal system and the objection of a small number of states, like the US for example, a treaty has not yet been negotiated that would comprehensively prevent the deployment of space-based weapons. The United States argues that an arms race in outer space does not exist and it is therefore unnecessary to take action to prevent it. It is true that such a race may not exist as yet, but the US appears to be very much willing to start one.

Washington believes that space accords would be too difficult to verify. But it has never come up with any initiative of its own to curb a space arms race. The idea to put weapons in space has been floated by the current administration. In his March 1 address to parliament, Russian President Putin unveiled some details about Russia’s new weapons. The domination of space could change the balance of forces in the US favor.

Creating a Space Force would most certainly prompt other nations to respond, which would in turn trigger a destabilizing form of competition. The weaponization of space will undermine international security and disrupt whatever is left of the eroding arms-control regime.

Hopefully this issue will be on the agenda of the Trump-Putin summit slated for July 15 in Vienna, Austria. A dialog on curbing the militarization of space might be a more efficient way to safeguard US national security than by challenging Russia in space. The problems related to arms control and non-proliferation have received very little attention recently, having been eclipsed by other issues impacting the US-Russia relationship. This top-level meeting is a chance to turn the tide.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | 1 Comment

Washington’s Syrian Chess Game Leaves Iraqi Forces Battling ISIS Dead

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | June 26, 2018

Last Sunday, June 17, local Syrian media reported that the U.S. coalition had bombed Syrian Arab Army installments in the town of Al-Hariri. The bombing killed dozens of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers as well as 22 fighters from the Iraqi paramilitary group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Sha’abi, PMF), which has been collaborating with the Syrian government to wipe out Daesh (ISIS) fighters around the Syrian-Iraqi border city of Abu Kamal in the Deir Ez-Zor governorate.

Soon after the strike, however, the U.S. denied responsibility for the attack, with Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway asserting that the bombing was “not a U.S. or coalition strike,” while an anonymous U.S. official told Agence France-Presse, and later CNN, that Israel had been responsible for the strike. Israel declined to comment on the allegations.

While Israel was widely blamed for the strike following those media reports, new evidence gathered by Iraq’s PMF from the site of the strike has shown that the attack may, in fact, have been carried out by the U.S. coalition. After collecting fragments of missiles used in the strike, the group – which is sponsored by the government of Iraq – determined that the U.S. had carried out the strike by firing missiles at the SAA/PMF position from a location near the Iraqi border city of Al-Qa’im. U.S. culpability for the attack would mean that it is the second time in less than a month that the U.S.-led coalition has attacked pro-government fighters targeting Daesh within Syria.

The head of PMF’s military operations, Abu Munather Al-Husseini, asserted that the U.S.-led Joint Operations Command (JOC), also known as the U.S. coalition, had been informed by the Iraqi military of the PMF’s location prior to the strike. Thus, if the PMF’s analysis of the strike site is indeed correct, the U.S. coalition had intentionally and deliberately targeted the PMF as well as the SAA in conducting the strike.

As MintPress reported soon after the attack, the strike was launched from U.S.-occupied territory, meaning that either the U.S.-led coalition conducted the attack but publicly denied responsibility, or that Israel was responsible for the attack and “independently” launched the strike from Syrian territory occupied by the U.S.-led coalition. The PMF’s analysis of the strike site has now determined that the former was most likely the case, given that the group had waited to point the finger at Israel or the U.S. until concluding its analysis of the attack.

PMF’s leadership lambasted the U.S. for allegedly carrying out the strike and targeting its forces, while also urging retaliation against the U.S. for repeatedly interfering in its efforts to wipe out Daesh in Syria as well as Iraq. Indeed, just days before the strike, the PMF had successfully launched a major offensive against Daesh in the area of Syria where the strike later took place.

In a statement released on Sunday, PMF Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis warned of retaliation against the U.S., stating:

We tell the Americans that we as the Hashd [PMF], including all of its formations, follow the Iraqi government. We will not remain silent about this attack. […] Remaining silent on this incident, saying that ‘that position is outside the Iraqi territory, hence we have nothing to do with it’ is forfeiting the blood of our martyrs.

U.S. chess game with ISIS as pawn

U.S.’ actions near Abu Kamal betray the fact that it is seeking to expand the portion of Syria’s Northeast that it currently occupies, an area that accounts for 30 percent of Syria’s total land mass and includes the majority of the country’s oil, gas, fresh water, and agricultural resources. The U.S. has long had its eye on the strategic border town, as it is the main border crossing between Syria and Iraq. More importantly, it is the only border crossing that connects Syrian government-controlled territory with Iran, through Iraq.

A major U.S. goal in its occupation of Syria has been disrupting this land bridge, but continued Syrian government control of Abu Kamal makes this impossible. Were the U.S. to take control of Abu Kamal, it would control Syria’s most important border crossings, as it already controls the Syrian-Jordanian border crossing at al-Tanf.

The U.S.’ interest in Abu Kamal and its recent targeting of forces fighting Daesh in the area suggest that a Daesh takeover of the city is likely to be used by the U.S. as the pretext for the expansion of Syrian territory, a tactic the U.S. has used before in Syria. The possibilities of a Daesh takeover of Abu Kamal have been openly noted by influential U.S. think tanks, such as the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which recently mused that Daesh control over Abu Kamal would serve U.S. interests in the region, as it would allow the U.S.-occupied zone of Syria to “spread by osmosis.”

For that reason, the recent reappearance of Daesh (ISIS) in Abu Kamal is significant. Indeed, Daesh launched its largest military offensive in several months in Abu Kamal earlier this month, with 10 suicide bombers helping clear the way for Daesh militants to take over parts of the city. The offensive killed 25 Syrian soldiers and allied fighters, according to monitors. Daesh attacked from the U.S.-occupied zone of Syria, despite the fact that the U.S. has long justified its illegal presence in Syria by claiming that it is fighting the terror group. However, Russian and Syrian military sources have asserted that the U.S. is not fighting Daesh in the region, but protecting them.

The strikes on pro-Syrian government forces around Abu Kamal also come amid reports that indicate the U.S. is fortifying its military positions within occupied Syria by constructing military bases along the Euphrates river in proximity to Syrian military installments throughout the Deir Ez-Zor region and by transferring “a large volume of arms and equipment, including missiles, military vehicles and bridge equipment” to those same areas in recent weeks.

Given that the U.S. may soon lose its influence in Southern Syria and its control over the al-Tanf border crossing, thanks to the Syrian government’s offensive in the Dara’a governorate, it is likely the U.S. will continue to fortify its position in the country’s Northeast and expand its efforts to dislodge the SAA and its allies from Abu Kamal in a last-ditch attempt to prolong the conflict and succeed in its efforts to occupy and partition Syria.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Criticizes ‘Politicized’ UN Human Rights Report

teleSUR | June 22, 2018

The Venezuelan government has criticized a United Nations human rights report on the Latin American nation as “lacking technical rigour and objectivity.”

“Venezuela categorically rejects the report regarding the alleged human rights situation in the country, published by the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as a result of a highly questionable methodology that buries the credibility and technical rigor demanded of an office of this nature, and violates the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity,” a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Relations said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Jordanian prince, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said Friday that “rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela,” after a report was published citing “shocking” accounts of alleged extrajudicial killings by state forces.

The Venezuelan government responded that “Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein confirms his complicity with the multiform aggression that is underway against Venezuela, keeping silent in the face of the negative impact on the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights created by coercive, unilateral measures imposed by the United States of America and its servile allies in the region.”

The statement also pointed out that all official information provided by the Venezuelan government has been excluded from the report, “in order to build a grotesque media farce on this matter.”

The Foreign Ministry “reiterates its inescapable commitment to human rights” and its “willingness to continue cooperating with the organs of the United Nations system on issues of human rights, provided that the sovereignty of the country is respected and that it acts in accordance with rigour and truth.”

UN independent expert and Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, who himself was in Venezuela compiling data on human rights last year, described the report as lacking objectivity and neutrality.

“My worry is the credibility of the office when it shows no neutrality nor objectivity,” he stated following the release of the report.

Much of the report referred to the State’s reaction to the 2014 and 2017 right wing violent street protests, and the Operation of People’s Liberation (OLP) crime operatives which were temporarily held during 2017.

Venezuela’s Jose Vicente Rangel, who served as vice president under Hugo Chavez and now has a popular weekly TV show, warned of police abuses back in April, highlighting “operations that police groups are carrying out, operations that involve outrages against citizens and numerous cases of murder in the barrios.”

He alleged that the suspended OLP ops were being continued extra-officially by the FAES special police forces.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Candidate for local elections gunned down in Mexico

Emigdio Lopez Avendano, a Mexican politician killed in the latest act of violence in Mexico (file photo)
Press TV – June 26, 2018

A candidate in Mexico’s elections was gunned down along with four other people on Monday as they made their way to a campaign rally, the Oaxaca state government and police said.

The candidate was identified as 50-year-old Emigdio Lopez Avendano, a member of an indigenous community called Piedra Ceniza, the state justice department said.

He and the four other people killed in the attack on their truck supported the party of leftist presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, it added. Two other people were wounded.

Lopez Avendano was running for a local council seat in Oaxaca.

Sunday’s voting will see Mexico elect a new president, congress and state and local officials.

The campaign has set a record for violence, with more than a hundred politicians and candidates killed, most of them at the local level.

June 26, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment