Trump discloses the decline of America’s status and its inability ترامب يفضح تراجع مكانة أميركا وعجزها

Trump discloses the decline of America’s status and its inability

سبتمبر 24, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The speech of the US President Donald Trump before the United Nations General Assembly revealed the degree of the decline in the US status in the international politics. The speech which is based on boasting of the glories and the greatness of America was disclosed by the speech of Trump himself in his electoral campaign that included great signs of the position of America on the brink of a disaster regarding culture, education, civilization, unemployment, and services. His focus on the danger of what he described as the Islamic terrorism and made it an international priority was disclosed by his electoral campaign through accusing the former administrations in the White House of their responsibility of making this terrorism and promoting it as a political commodity. There are two left accusations in his speech; one is full of clamor against the Northern Korea threatening of destroying it totally. This speech does not suit a president of a country that boasts of talking about human rights and threatens of eliminating a total nation from a map, while it claims that it seeks to liberate its people from what it describes as the regime’s dominance. Furthermore, it is a preconditioned threat with the initiative of the Northern of Korea to threaten America, so it loses its value as a threat politically. On the other hand, his words about Iran and accusing it along with Hezbollah of destabilizing the region, and the pretension to be weeping on the “sin” of singing the understanding on its nuclear program without daring to say any word of being prepared to regress from it. Above all of that his threats to Cuba and Venezuela of boycotting without a roadmap that prevents the same consequence resulted from the boycott adopted by the former administrations throughout many decades. Thus the rhetoric was for spreading hatred from the helpless, who is unable to behave, just uttering malevolent cries, does not have neither the ability nor the vision of how to turn them into practical steps.

This speech of hatred is as the speech of boasting, it is devoid of any valuable initiative to stop in front of the real problems facing by the humanity, he ignored the issues of the climate crisis which his administration has withdrawn from the only agreement which the industrial countries signed it successfully, knowing that the aggravation of this issue will threaten the future of humanity and the life on this planet. He ignored the issue of reducing the nuclear weapons which was pledged by the former presidents of the major countries, where America was at their forefront, and which consumed the financial and the scientific resources of those countries, and caused a crazy race of arming that will threaten of raising the level of tension and the dangers of the futile destructive wars, on the contrary he boasted of increasing the expenditure on arming, moreover, he ignored issues of no less importance as the rising waves of racism which sweep the world from America to Europe and the Far East , and which wait for effective initiatives for the culture of the common living among the nations, by the United Nations culturally, politically, socially, and economically, in order to encourage the exchange, the partnership, and the interaction among the different components religiously, culturally, socially, and ethnically.

Trump represented the inability of his government of playing a leading role worldwide in resolving the major crises and the initiative to lead the projects of combating; he showed a decline in the leading status of America in the world. On a more serious level, Trump has escaped from referring to all the regional explosive conflicts which the world is awaiting Washington’s initiatives. Neither the issue of the explosive Kurdish secession got a part of his rhetoric, nor the destructive inhuman war of Yemen, nor the war on Libya, the spread of terrorism in it, and the standstill of the internal reconciliation between its parties, nor the future of the endeavors of the political solution in Syria and the approach of the issue of changing the regimes by force under the slogans of democracy and the human rights, and what they led as growing the terrorism and increase of the waves of the displaced people, the threat of stability by making the chaos the only available alternative in the sensitive dangerous countries. America emerged as a major marginal country with an arrogant rhetoric but which is devoid of any initiatives.

What is dangerous in Trump’s rhetoric regarding our region is that he is the first President whose his speech is devoid of any reference to the Palestinian cause and the endeavors of spreading peace in the region. The countries and the leaderships which present Washington as a friend to the Arabs must read through the wide smile of the Head of the Occupation government Benjamin Netanyahu and his warm applause for trump’s words upon mentioning Hezbollah as a threat to stability in the region the suggestion which Netanyahu wanted to send to us that this speech was under his control.

Although the verbal American interest of the Palestinian cause would not provide any effort towards giving the Palestinians some of their rights or protection, but it was a sign of the degree of sticking of some of the Arab governments to the Palestinian cause, or to embarrass them for ignoring it, but this is no longer exist. Trump’s speech has revealed clearly this fact, as the escape from any responsibility in resolving the issues which the International Community was unable to implement its resolutions to solve them has revealed that America has lost the feature of the active country in making solutions for crises, after it was proven the inability of America to wage wars, no matter how long its president shouted and how much he spent militarily.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

ترامب يفضح تراجع مكانة أميركا وعجزها

سبتمبر 20, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– كشف الخطاب الذي ألقاه الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب أمام الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة حجم التراجع في المكانة الأميركية في السياسة الدولية، فالخطاب الذي تركّز على التغني الفارغ بأمجاد وعظمة أميركا، يفضحه خطاب ترامب نفسه في حملته الانتخابية وما تضمّنه من إشارات بالغة لوقوف أميركا على شفا كارثة في الثقافة والتعليم والحضارة والبطالة والخدمات، كما تركيز ترامب على خطر ما وصفه بالإرهاب الإسلامي وجعله أولوية دولية، يفضحه كلامه في حملته الانتخابية عن اتهامه الإدارات التي سبقته في البيت الأبيض بالمسؤولية عن صناعة هذا الإرهاب وتوريده للعالم كسلعة سياسية، وبقي من الخطاب تهديدان فارغان، واحد مليء بالصخب ضد كوريا الشمالية بتدميرها كلياً. وهو كلام لا يليق برئيس دولة تتشدّق بالحديث عن حقوق الإنسان وتهدّد بمحو شعب كامل عن الخريطة، بينما تدّعي السعي لتخليص هذا الشعب مما تصفه بتسلط نظامه عليه. ومن جهة مقابلة هو تهديد مشروط بمبادرة كوريا الشمالية بتهديد أميركا، فيفقد قيمته كتهديد بالمعنى السياسي، وبالمقابل كلامه عن إيران واتهامها مع حزب الله بزعزعة استقرار المنطقة، والتباكي على «خطيئة» توقيع التفاهم على ملفها النووي، من دون التجرؤ على لفظ مفردة الاستعداد للانسحاب منه، وفوقهما تهديدات لكوبا وفنزويلا، بالمقاطعة من دون خريطة طريق لتجنب النتائج نفسها التي ترتبت على المقاطعة طوال عقود اعتمدتها الإدارات السابقة، ليصير الخطاب بثاً للكراهية من فاقد للحيلة وعاجز عن التحرك، يطلق الصرخات الحاقدة ولا يملك القدرة ولا الرؤيا لكيفية تحويلها خطوات عملية.

– خطاب الكراهية الذي أطلقه ترامب، كما هو خطاب التفاخر، خلا من أي مبادرة ذات قيمة للتوقف أمام المشكلات الحقيقية التي تواجهها البشرية. فهو تجاهل قضايا أزمة المناخ التي انسحبت إدارته من الاتفاقية الوحيدة التي نجحت الدول الصناعية بتوقيعها، والتهديد الذي يمثله تفاقم هذه القضية على مستقبل البشرية والحياة فوق الكوكب، كما تجاهل قضية خفض السلاح النووي التي تعهّدها رؤساء سابقون للدول الكبرى وأميركا في مقدّمتها، والتي تستهلك الموارد المالية والعلمية لتلك الدول، وتتسبّب بسباق جنون تسلّح يهدد برفع منسوب التوتر ومخاطر الحروب المدمّرة بلا طائل، ليسلك طريق التباهي بزيادة الإنفاق على التسلّح، وتجاهل قضايا لا تقلّ أهمية مثل تصاعد موجات العنصرية التي تجتاح العالم من أميركا إلى أوروبا والشرق الأقصى والتي تنتظر مبادرات فعالة لثقافة العيش الواحد بين الشعوب تقودها الأمم المتحدة، ثقافياً وسياسياً واجتماعياً، واقتصادياً، لتشجيع التبادل والتشارك والتفاعل بين المكوّنات المختلفة دينياً وثقافياً واجتماعياً وعرقياً.

– جسّد ترامب عجز حكومته عن لعب دور قيادي على مستوى العالم في حلّ الأزمات الكبرى والمبادرة لقيادة مشاريع التصدّي لتفاقمها، وأظهر تراجع مكانة أميركا القيادية في العالم، وعلى صعيد أشدّ خطورة وراهنية تنصل ترامب من التطرق لكل النزاعات الإقليمية المتفجّرة التي ينتظر العالم فيها، مبادرات من واشنطن، فلا قضية الانفصال الكردي المتفجّرة نالت كلمة من خطابه، ولا حرب اليمن المدمرة واللاإنسانية، ولا حرب ليبيا وتفشي الإرهاب فيها ومراوحة المصالحة الداخلية بين أطرافها مكانها، ولا مستقبل مساعي الحل السياسي في سورية ومقاربة قضايا تغيير الأنظمة بالقوة تحت شارات الديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان وما أنتجته من نمو في الإرهاب وزيادة في موجات النازحين، وتهديد الاستقرار بجعل الفوضى بديلاً وحيداً متاحاً

في مناطق شديدة الحساسية والخطورة، وظهرت أميركا دولة هامشية كبرى، تملك خطاباً متعجرفاً ولغة صاخبة لكنها فارغة اليدين من المبادرات.

– الجديد الخطير في خطاب ترامب، الذي يعني شعوب منطقتنا، أنه أول رئيس أميركي يخلو خطابه أمام الأمم المتحدة من أي إشارة للقضية الفلسطينية ومساعي إحلال السلام في المنطقة. وهذا برسم الدول والقيادات التي تقدّم واشنطن صديقاً للعرب، أن تقرأ عبر الابتسامة العريضة لرئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو وتصفيقه الحار لكلمة ترامب، عند ذكر ترامب لحزب الله كخطر على الاستقرار في المنطقة، الإيحاء الذي أراد نتنياهو إيصاله لنا عن يده الطولى في هذا الخطاب.

– لم يكن الاهتمام الأميركي اللفظي بالقضية الفلسطينية يقدّم خطوة نحو نيل الفلسطينيين بعضاً من الحقوق، أو نيل البعض من الحماية، لكنّه كان علامة على حجم تمسّك بعض الحكومات العربية بالقضية الفلسطينية، أو إحراجهم من تجاهلها، وهو ما لم يعُد قائماً. وقد كشف خطاب ترامب هذه الحقيقة عارية بمثل ما كشف التنصّل من أي مسؤولية في حلّ القضايا التي عجز المجتمع الدولي عن تنفيذ قراراته لحلّها، أن أميركا قد فقدت صفة الدولة الفاعلة في صناعة الحلول للأزمات، بعدما حسم عجز أميركا عن خوض الحروب، مهما علا صراخ رئيسها وإنفاقه العسكري.

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Trumps UN Speech, Hypocrisy and Lies



Lies, historical amnesia, bombast and double standards – Trump speaks at the UN

Jim Miles | Axis of Logic
Trump’s speech at the UN this morning is one of the best speeches I have heard aimed at an ignorant uninformed audience, essentially his Make America Great Again (MAGA) followers, and his political state handlers.  Staying on script from the teleprompters, it was obvious that while many of these ideas were his, most of the writing, indeed probably all of it, was done by someone else. 

The platitudes and homilies about peace, security, and sovereignty were many, supporting his idea that MAGA includes the whole world supporting and abiding by U.S. dictation. The information provided went far beyond homilies to being outright lies, large areas of historical amnesia – especially for Iran and North Korea – replete with double standards, and not so subtle bombast and hubris.

The speech began with comments about how well the U.S. was doing. Trump noted that the stock market was at record highs. He did not mention that this was because of the Fed’s zero interest policy, the essentially free money corporations could borrow to buy back their own stock and artificially boost the market; nor did he mention all the interventions the Fed and corporations use to control stock and commodities prices.

He followed by bragging about the great growth in employment, without noting that most of the new jobs are part-time, on call, and generally low paid service jobs (really, how many bartenders can one country have?). The employment statistics are manipulated through the artful use of a ‘birth-death’ model (with its assumption of more businesses being created, and thus more employment, than are going out of business) and the use of ‘seasonal adjustments’ (from which very small tweaks can produce large shifts in numbers). Ironically in his closing statements of trade, he argued that the U.S. has lost large numbers of factories and workers to other countries due to the unfair trade arrangements (how many bartenders again?).

The introduction continued with wonderful platitudinous lies about the beneficence of the U.S. way of life, such that “we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone”, and letting us “shine as an example for everyone to watch.” He repeated it very shortly afterwards, saying the U.S. “did not attempt to impose our way of life on others,” as if repetition makes it true – although it does become reality within the big lie technique of propaganda. In short, Trump has denied centuries of U.S. military/economic adventurism that imposed – well, perhaps not exactly their way of life – their will, greed, avarice, and power on other people.

“Small group of rogue regimes…”
Trump then transitioned into his main topics, the “small group of rogue regimes” who did not abide by the ‘rule of law’ and sovereign independence. It could be asked whose rule of law – U.S. military law or international humanitarian law, or the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions on occupied territories and prisoners of war? And of course it would never occur to him that these rogue states are the ones that generally have suffered highly due to U.S. adventurism into their internal sovereign affairs. 

North Korea
North Korea was up first, the “depraved nation” that “imperils the world with nuclear destruction.” So why not the depraved nations such as the U.S. that has actually used nuclear weapons; or Israel that continually reminds friends and neighbours that it has its ‘doomsday option’; or Pakistan and India who remain outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which requires nations to find means to reduce their arsenals. No, the real nuclear threat grows from the dimly lit insides of Trump’s mind, accompanied by the still existing neocon desire for a nuclear first strike – perhaps trying to use North Korea as an example of what it can do.

Unfortunately, this is a case of enormous historical amnesia.  North and South Korea had regular skirmishes against each other before the actual war. South Korea was a U.S. puppet dictatorship that killed many of its own citizens and has been reported quite authoritatively to have actually attacked and captured a North Korean town before the North retaliated en masse. Eventually, with the war stalemated, the threats of nuclear bomb use eliminated, the U.S. air force destroyed all infrastructure in the North, including all components of civilian support, killing an estimated one third of the population. And you wonder why they want nuclear weapons?  And you forget what happened to Hussein and Gaddafi after they gave up their nuclear ambitions?

Next came “another reckless regime”, Iran, “an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.” My, my, Trump cannot seem to remember either U.S. history or the history of Iran. It was the U.S. (along with Britain) that overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh government of Iran in 1953 over – you guessed it – control of oil. It was the U.S. that imposed the Shah and his secret service torturers, the Savak, on the people, who unsurprisingly rebelled and began their religious revolution.

Essentially Trump blamed Iran for all the wars, terrorists, and political chaos in the Middle East. More irony, as he then goes on to talk about his speech to Saudi Arabia in which he says the group agreed to “confront terrorism and confront the Islamic extremism that inspires them….to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups….” One can hear the Saudis quaking in their slippers at this line, as they silently go about their financing and arming of terror both for and against the will of the U.S., while maintaining the petrodollar as the world’s reserve currency in support of the truly greatest terror country in the world.

Trump also denounces the recent Iranian nuclear deal, saying he “cannot abide by an agreement” that could lead to a nuclear weapon and that it is “an embarrassment to the United States.” Well, no, Trump is the true embarrassment – or should be – as the other co-signatories to the agreement have so far stood by it.

Syria and segues
Of course Syria could not be left off the table, after a brief sojourn through Afghanistan (“new rules of engagement”). Trump brags that the U.S. accomplished more in eight months than in the previous three years, and thanked the UN for their assistance in liberated areas. Really? Has Trump taken out Russian citizenship? The UN is not in Syria, and it is Russian leadership that has liberated most of Syria from U.S./Saudi/Qatari supported terrorists. 

This segment seques into the problem of refugees and thus, through implication, with Mexico. Arguing that the U.S. is a “compassionate nation” he indicates that the country that loses people as immigrés is worse off because those are the people who could change the defects of the country they are leaving….? But what if – what if those defects are caused by unfair trade agreements (Mexico was overwhelmed with U.S. subsidized corn that pushed many farmers off their lands into the hands of corporate landlords in the Maquiladora) and the predatory practices of businesses within the U.S.?

This segues again into another topic – the UN itself – with part of the argument being that “some governments with egregious [pretty big word there, Donald] human rights records sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council.” Were you perhaps referring to Saudi Arabia, the titular head of the UNHRC, you know, the country that won’t let women drive or vote or dress how they want – and supports al-Qaeda and ISIS and attacked the sovereignty of Yemen and Qatar and suppresses dissent domestically and with its neighbour Bahrain? Yeah, those egregious guys.

Socialism is evil
Following this came his attacks on Cuba and Venezuela with his own egregious statement [yeah, pretty big word eh, Donald?] that the worst countries in the world are those where “Socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Wow, this statement involves ignorance of current affairs, of global and U.S. history – anything in short that has to do with any and all economic/military practices of the past two centuries.

So the Scandinavian countries are failures? Well, perhaps they didn’t implement socialism fully, that’s their problem. And Cuba a failure? I would argue that in spite of U.S. sanctions and embargo that Cuba has done quite well considering, with Cuban life expectancy rising, and the U.S.’s falling, Cuba has a higher literacy rate than the U.S., and their health services are free – not only domestically, but provided throughout – imagine this – hurricane battered islands of the Caribbean!

Further, more globally, yes there have been failures within socialism. The Soviet Union is perhaps the biggest example, but they self-corrected. How’s China doing? Are they not competing with you for global economic supremacy? And what about Iran – oh yeah, you guys overthrew their social democratic government. And then Chile – oh yeah – you provided Pinochet with the power to overthrow the democratically elected Allende social government there. And Vietnam – well millions of tons of bombs later, along with chemical weapons – without forgetting the bombings in Laos and Cambodia and you almost defeated communism there.   The list goes on, the reader’s best reference on this should be the writings of William Blum.

But I forgot Venezuela. Another oil country. Another country that has seen U.S. fomented attempts at government overthrow. Another country that has had large corporate oil interests that were taken over by the state. Another country that has had sanctions placed on it. And by gosh, socialism is the reason they are failing….?

Trump claims all of Latin America as good economic partners – perhaps that is because all countries of South and Central America have at one time or another – Honduras under Hillary Clinton’s watch most recently, 2009 – undergone covert or overt U.S. intervention to bring their governments into line with U.S. corporate interests – thus good economic partners, with a distinct lack of sovereign integrity.

What was truly significant during this anti-socialist tirade was the reaction of the audience when he announced that the implementation of socialism was the problem in all these failed countries. There was an immediate and distinct shuffle and commotion with only a few scattered bits of applause (probably from Macron, Trudeau, Merkel, always by the U.S. in spirit). Throughout the speech, the cameras also focussed in on the leaders being taken to task, and all had the same disgusted, steadfast, steely look of someone who has to listen to an idiot ramble on with the usual imperial rhetoric and hubris. Well, except for Netanyahu, who was seen nodding in agreement to Trump’s rhetoric. 

The speech ended with more of that hubris and rhetoric, repetition of the platitudes and bombast from the introduction – another good sign Trump did not actually write the speech, who would probably not know this paradigm of good speech/essay writing. Claiming that the U.S. is “among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world,” he eventually signed off, much to the relief of all but his ardent followers and the U.S. deep state.

The Lucy Stein Gang Rides Into Moscow

September 18, 2017

by Israel Shamir for the Unz Review

The Lucy Stein Gang Rides Into Moscow

Can the Putin Fans League win municipal elections in New York City? Not bloody likely, you’ll murmur, and probably justifiably so. However, in the municipal elections last week, pro-American forces captured one third of the seats in Moscow. A great shock, slightly mitigated by the media silence that accompanied both the election and its results.

As a rule, I do not dwell much on internal Russian politics (as opposed to foreign relations). They are parochial, obscure and not democratic. That is true for internal politics in every country I am aware of, but in Russia, they aren’t even competitive. Kremlin wiseguys try and fix the results with all the subtleness of Democratic primaries under Ms Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This time they had a seemingly brilliant idea: wouldn’t it be nice if few people would turn up at the election booths? Only those requested to vote? So they had zero publicity, zero announcements, zero TV coverage. People were vaguely aware of the municipal elections but the affair was so low profile that very few cared to attend: slightly over ten per cent of the electorate. The cynical subterfuge flopped badly.

In Moscow (which is the only place in Russia that counts) the three main opposition parties, the Communists and the Nationalists, as well as Kremlin-friendly Socialists, were been decimated. Their votes had been snatched by pro-Western liberals, self-described as “those of good genes”, “the fair-faced ones”, “handshake-worthy”; all these epithets vaguely connected in Russian mind with prosperous Jewishness, of sorts, or with Jewified Soviet nomenclature. The best-known names include Ms Lucy Stein, a young Jewish journalist of some notoriety – she installed plaster copies of her breasts and filmed a staged act of a little boy being roughly treated by Putin’s police. Another one is Mr Maxim Katz, a young Jewish activist – he organized the delivery of flowers to the place of the opposition leader Mr Nemtsov’s assassination, allegedly with some profit for himself.

These youngsters (in their early twenties) have been led by Mr Dmitry Gudkov, a Russian Parliament Member and a son of a Russian Parliament Member. This sounds like the House of Lords, but Gudkov the Senior is an ex-KGB colonel, an oligarch and the owner of a bailiff business, rather than a hereditary peer. Gudkov’s people made a loose coalition with Yabloko (Apple, in Russian), a liberal party of some prominence in the Yeltsin years. They are against Putin’s policies, for the restoration of the Crimea to the Ukraine and for an alliance with the liberal West.

While other parties didn’t give a hoot, the liberals cared to come to the neglected elections, and they delivered their voters to the booths. For that purpose, they imported American technology, and one of Sanders’ operatives, a Russian-born Mr Vitali Shklyarov, who had come to set up what they called “a political Uber”, a web app for fielding candidates and getting voters. In addition, they vastly overspent their competitors.

Democracy in action? Forsooth! This was a clear-cut example of real (as opposed to imaginary) interference in foreign elections. While endless FBI probes have never produced any tangible proof of Russian interference in the US elections, and the Facebook investigation “revealed that it had sold as much as $150,000 in political ads to pro-Kremlin entities between 2015 and 2017”, the US interference in recent Moscow elections had been vast, powerful and effective. The pro-American forces spent over sixty million dollar in Moscow alone by very conservative estimates, and probably much more. And the funds came from abroad.

The very idea of Russian interference in the US elections had been flattering but silly. The Russians are not in the same league, in speaking of political technologies. The Americans are much more masterful, being trained in a competitive environment. The Russians’ only chance to have fair elections is adopting another American technology, namely the active fight against foreign interference. The Kremlin could and should investigate the path of every US buck to the Stein-Katz Gang, and deal with it as harshly as Americans are dealing with imaginary Russian interference. But would they? I doubt it. The wiseguys who mismanaged elections for Kremlin will do all they can to kill the story. No important Russian media carried it, by direct orders from Kremlin.

We have proof to back up our claims of the US interference in the Russian elections: a confession made by the coordinator for Open Russia, a political body created by Mr Michael Khodorkovsky. This oligarch, once the richest man in Russia, did nine years in a Russian jail for massive tax evasion, white-collar crimes, organized crime and conspiracy for murder, as brutal and ruthless a shark as ever swam murky waters of Russian business and politics.

Mr Khodorkovsky had been an American agent of influence for many years. Since being pardoned by President Putin, he moved abroad and became the focal point for the US-led clandestine campaign for regime change in Russia. Together with other exiled (and wanted) oligarchs, Tel Aviv-based Mr Nevzlinand London-based Mr Chichvarkin, Mr Khodorkovsky funnels money to Russia’s pro-Western opposition.

His coordinator Ms Maria Baronova had been quite close to Mr Khodorkovsky but parted with him some time ago. In her Facebook blog she admits that “Gudkov and Katz are a secret project of M. B. Khodorkovsky” while other elements of the opposition are a public project of Mr Khodorkovsky. In other words, the whole campaign has been organized from Washington, or perhaps from Langley.

As we learned from Wikileaks-published State Department cables, this is the current trend of CIA for orchestrating regime change: instead of sending money directly to the opposition with a courier, they employ oligarchs as go-between. This mode has been used in Syria since 2006, as well as in Lebanon, and now is being applied in Moscow.

The winners of the recent municipal elections in Moscow weren’t just the “fair-faced” children of nomenclature, but appointees of the US deep state. They did it using American know-how and American money. This is the real and very successful interference, and the organisers got away with it.

The Russian post-Soviet political system as organized by Putin’s wiseguys should share the blame. The Communists, Nationalists of Mr Zhirinovsky and Socialists of Mr Mironov have been tamed and house-broken so efficiently that they lost their balls, their will power, their desire for victory – and their voters, as well. People stopped to care about them. The ruling party United Russia isn’t better; it is a toothless clone of the toothless CPSU, the late Soviet Union Communist Party that was dismantled by Gorbachev and Yeltsin without a single objection from millions of card-carrying members. It is a party of people who want to have power and its privileges.

The Ukraine had been ruled by a similar Party of the Regions. Led by Mr Victor Yanukovych, the party fell to pieces after the coup, its members deserting the sinking ship as fast as they could. United Russia will also run away in a case of trouble; they will helplessly watch Mr Khodorkovsky enter the gates of the Kremlin and probably applaud him. The United Russia’s 70% of vote is no guarantee of support for Mr Putin’s independent course. It would be better for Putin to rely upon smaller but more reliable and devoted cadres. Lenin used to say, ‘a small anchovy is better than a big cockroach’.

(This is true for other countries, too, as Mr Trump and Mr Corbyn discovered: their big parties just aren’t reliable. A small and reliable party of their dedicated supporters would be a better bet.)

The Kremlin spokesmen comfort themselves and others by stressing very limited powers of the elected deputies. By law, they may deal with municipal questions only. However, it is not unusual for such bodies to reach for more power in a revolutionary situation. In France, in 1789, the elected parliament was intended to be an advisory to the monarch, but very soon it assumed all the powers and chopped off the king’s head. In the USSR, in 1991, the Russian Federation parliament had very few rights being subservient to the Soviet parliament, but it assumed rights and broke up the USSR.

Forget about Mr Navalny. Perhaps we should get used to the idea that the next president of Russia will be called Maxim Katz, and Lucy Stern his Foreign Minister. That is, unless Mr Putin will do a better job at the forthcoming Presidential elections.

Israel Shamir can be reached at

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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Updated Saudi – Israeli cooperation in the Kurdish secession التعاون السعودي «الإسرائيلي» على الانفصال الكردي

“Mustafa Barzani, İsrailli General Sagi'yle (1965) Sagi, Irak'a karşı savaşan Kürtlerden ordu kurmakla görevliydi.”

“Mustafa Barzani, İsrailli General Sagi’yle (1965) Sagi, Irak’a karşı savaşan Kürtlerden ordu kurmakla görevliydi.”


There will be no tolerance with the formation of the secession even if it leads to war; it is the decision of Syria, Iraq, the region, and according to Russia. Let the Israelis and the Saudis pay attention well that they will not cover their defeat with an alternative war, since the unity of Syria and Iraq is not negotiable.

» Saudi – Israeli cooperation in the Kurdish secession

سبتمبر 17, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Away from the philosophical and the religious analysis which he used to write, the Israeli professor Yaron Friedman wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper an article that is full of important information, he depended on the high ratio of the readers of his articles in order to promote ideas and information, which cannot be published by any other newspaper but  Yedioth Ahronoth, because it has a degree of credibility and  required and well considered function due to the seriousness of its relation with the concept of the Israeli security.

The article is devoted to the project of forming unified Kurdish entity for the Kurds of Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey based on the coincidence of two events, namely the approaching of the end of the war on ISIS in each of Iraq and Syria, and the enjoyment of the Kurds in the two countries of a special status and privacy that allow the presence of rare historic opportunity for the formation of Kurdish state according to his opinion. He called the Kurdish leader Massoud Barazani to do what Ben –Gurion did in 1948, to exploit the available opportunities and to be aware that the United States despite its official objection would eventually support the Kurdish state, hoping to gain an additional ally in the Middle East, So Barazani has to know that despite the political dangers, the military and the economic circumstances would be good for taking a decisive decision.

Freidman has explained the appropriate circumstances and the strategic convergence between Israel and Barzani’s aspirations for secession, by providing encouraging elements depended on important information, he said that Israel is the only party till now which announced publicly its support of the independence of the Kurds , but according to the information, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan have agreed on supporting the independence of Kurdistan region in Iraq, provided that to establish military bases in the region to confront the future Iranian threat. According to Israel, it is of its interest to resume the relations which were with the Kurds in the seventies, where it trained the “Peshmerga” against the Iraqi regime; moreover, it wants to import oil from the Kurdish state. Politically, the support of Israel of the forming of a Kurdish state will have an active importance in facing Turkey’s support of Hamas Movement.

Freidman said that despite the aspirations of “the Kurdish people” which its number ranges between 30 and 40 million people, and which is distributed between four countries “ Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey” that object its independence to establish an independent Kurdish state for many reasons; most importantly because the United States shows its anxiety to support this idea, because it affects the interests of its allies Iraq and Turkey, this is applied on Russia which wants to preserve the interests of its two allies Syria and Iran. Freidman added that the factor of time as it puts pressure on the Kurds, it opens for them the horizons to change the equations, he considered that the Kurds of Syria have to benefit from their military victories in Syria especially the occupation of Raqqa in order to win a political achievement, just for that they have to accelerate their political steps towards the independence, and to make use of the preoccupation of the Syrian army in its war on several fronts, because its success in resolving the battle with the opposition and “ISIS” will enable it to devote itself for fighting the Kurds in the northern of Syria. So the Kurds in Iraq and Syria have to make use of their important victories against ISIS in order to achieve a political gain.

The conclusion of Freidman’s speech is a great strategic bet that is supported by Israel and Saudi Arabia as Freidman’s article reveals. It is based on neglecting the unity of Turkey as an ally to Israel, since it is one of the priorities of Israel in the region, at the same time it reveals Saudi-Israeli understanding on getting used to the Russian-American understandings temporarily in preparation for strategic surprise that is represented by the Kurdish insistence in Iraq on a referendum that will lead to new dynamisms that will start to affect Iraqi factions that complain from the rule, and which like the talk about deepening the independence of the remaining regions either between the Shiites or the Sunnis, which Saudi Arabia was trying in an indirect way to apply their goals. It became clear that it wants to meet the confusion resulted from the referendum on the secession of Kurdistan in order to propose wider independence of the regions that have majorities of opposition  especially towards the choice represented by Iran in the region. Despite that the referendum will be devoted to the secession of the Kurds of Iraq, but it will create enthusiasm among the Syrian Kurdish leaderships to take the adventure depending on embroiling the Americans by imposing a fait accompli, but as Freidman said it is a choice that is welcomed and wished by Washington, but it is afraid to bear the consequences of the fight to impose it or to pay the bill of its failure, so it will leave it under experience. Freidman said that it is as the birth of the occupied entity in Palestine. So if the Kurds succeeded in imposing a fait accompli the Americans would enter into a settlement formula that depends of federalism for Syria, and wide confederation for Iraq that would preserve the form of a single state, but it will grant the new Kurdistan security, military, and diplomacy powers, thus this will lead to incoherent Iraqi state. While in Syria, it will agitate along with the Kurdish movement groups from the calm areas to impose a military fait accompli to defend it without getting involved in fighting. The new project as suggested by De Mistura before solving the situation in Aleppo is local self-management governments, so according to the Americans and their points of view it will be logical to propose a barter of ending the rebellion with a settlement entitled the federalism which will cover their staying in their military bases in Syria, and thus this will lead to Syria the desired weak country or the country which is lack of sovereignty by keeping the part which is dominated by the Kurds outside its control.

In the resistance axis Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Iraqi allies, the question which is proposed is about the reason of the insistence of the Kurdish leadership in Iraq on the referendum, and the reason of the remaining of the Kurds of Syria outside the two paths of Geneva and Astana. The Kurdish option as an Israeli –Saudi bet is taken seriously. The Turkish heading towards Iran in order to have understanding on confronting the fragmented threat is an expression of awareness of risks. It is not excludable that after the referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan, the lines of the commercial and economic communication with Kurdistan  as an area of rebellion will be blocked by the Iraqi government, and the closure of the Iranian-Turkish borders in front of oil and other forms of trade. Because Freidman forgot to tell the Kurds that there are not any land or air borders of Kurdistan, but only with those whom the secession aims to harm. Today’s time is different than yesterday in its forces, balances, equations, and the size of the will and the determination to win. Maybe this is a lesson for the Kurdish leaders in Syria which experienced in Afrin a simple experiment called the exchange of car numbers, and which did not last even twenty-four hours.

There will be no tolerance with the formation of the secession even if it leads to war; it is the decision of Syria, Iraq, the region, and according to Russia. Let the Israelis and the Saudis pay attention well that they will not cover their defeat with an alternative war, since the unity of Syria and Iraq is not negotiable.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,


– لا تسامح مع قيام الانفصال ولو أدّى لحرب، هذا هو القرار في سورية، كما في العراق، كما في الإقليم، كما في الحساب الروسي، فلينتبه «الإسرائيليون» والسعوديون جيداً بأنهم لن يغطوا هزيمتهم بحرب بديلة، ووحدة سورية والعراق غير قابلة للتفاوض.


التعاون السعودي «الإسرائيلي» على الانفصال الكردي

ناصر قنديل

سبتمبر 13, 2017

– كتب البروفسور «الإسرائيلي» يارون فريدمان في صحيفة «يديعوت أحرونوت» مقالاً بعيداً عن التحليل الفلسفي والديني الذي يكتبه عادة، ومليئاً بالمعلومات المهمة، ما يعني مع نشره أنه اعتماد مدروس على نسبة القراء العالية التي تحوزها مقالاته لتسويق الأفكار والمعلومات التي تضمّنها، والتي لا يمكن لصحيفة كـ»يديعوت أحرونوت» أن تنشرها من دون أن تكون لها درجة من المصداقية والوظيفة المطلوبة والمدروسة لخطورة اتصالها بمفهوم الأمن «الإسرائيلي».

– المقال مخصّص لمشروع قيام كيان كردي موحّد لأكراد العراق وسورية وإيران وتركيا انطلاقاً من تزامن حدثين هما نهاية الحرب على داعش قريباً، في كلّ من العراق وسورية، وتمتّع الأكراد في البلدين بمكانة وخصوصية تتيحان، وفق رأيه، فرصة تاريخية لن تتكرّر لقيام دولة كردية، وقد دعا فريدمان، الزعيم الكردي مسعود البرزاني، الى القيام بما قام به بن غوريون عام 1948، واستغلال نافذة الفرص المتاحة أمامه، وإدراك أنّ الولايات المتحدة، ورغم معارضتها الرسمية، إلا أنّها ستؤيد في النهاية الدولة الكردية على أمل أن تكون حليفة إضافية لها في الشرق الأوسط. كما يجب على البرزاني معرفة أنه رغم الأخطار السياسية، فإنّ الظروف العسكرية والاقتصادية، ناضجة لاتخاذ قرار مصيري.

– يضيف فيردمان في شرح الظروف المناسبة والتلاقي الاستراتيجي بين «إسرائيل» وتطلعات البرزاني للانفصال وتقديم عناصر مشجّعة مشفوعة بمعلومات مهمة، فيقول، إنّ «إسرائيل» هي الوحيدة حتى الآن التي أعلنت علناً عن تأييدها لاستقلال الأكراد. لكن. وبحسب المعلومات، فإنّ السعودية والإمارات والأردن وافقت على تأييد استقلال إقليم كردستان في العراق، شرط إقامة قواعد عسكرية في الإقليم، لمواجهة التهديد الإيراني في المستقبل. وبالنسبة لـ «إسرائيل»، فإنّ من مصلحتها استئناف العلاقات التي كانت قائمة مع الأكراد في السبعينيات، حين قامت بتدريب «البيشمركة» ضدّ النظام العراقي، وترغب باستيراد النفط من الدولة الكردية. ومن الناحية السياسية، فإنّ تأييد «إسرائيل» لقيام دولة كردية، سيكون له وزن فاعل في مواجهة تأييد تركيا لحركة حماس.

– يقول فريدمان إنه بالرغم مما تبدو عليه آمال «الشعب الكردي»، الذي يتراوح عدده بين 30 – الى 40 مليون نسمة، ويتوزع بين أربع دول تعارض استقلاله – إيران وسورية والعراق وتركيا – لإقامة دولة كردية مستقلة، ضعيفة، لأسباب كثيرة، منها أنّ الولايات المتحدة تبدي حذرها لتأييد هذه الفكرة، لكونها تضرّ بمصالح حلفائها، العراق وتركيا، والأمر ذاته ينطبق على روسيا التي تريد الحفاظ على مصالح حليفيها، سورية وإيران. إلا أنّ فريدمان يضيف أنّ عامل الوقت يضغط على الأكراد، بمثل ما يفتح لهم الآفاق لتغيير المعادلات، معتبراً أنه يجب على أكراد سورية، الاستفادة من انتصاراتهم العسكرية في سورية، وخاصة احتلال الرقة، من أجل تحقيق إنجاز سياسي. لذلك، عليهم تسريع خطواتهم السياسية نحو الاستقلال، واستغلال انشغال الجيش السوري في حرب على جبهات عدة، لأنّ نجاحه في حسم المعركة، مع المعارضة و»داعش» سيمكنه من التفرّغ لمحاربة الأكراد شمال سورية. كما على الأكراد في العراق وسورية ضرب الحديد وهو حامٍ، واستغلال انتصاراتهم المهمة ضدّ «داعش» من أجل تحقيق ربح سياسي.

– الخلاصة التي يفتح بابها كلام فريدمان هي رهان استراتيجي كبير تلتقي على دعمه، خصوصاً «إسرائيل» مع السعودية، كما يكشف مقال فريدمان، ويقوم على إسقاط الاهتمام بوحدة تركيا كحليف لـ»إسرائيل» بصفتها إحدى الأولويات لحركة «إسرائيل» في المنطقة، وفي المقابل يكشف تفاهماً «إسرائيلياً» سعودياً على التأقلم مع التفاهمات الروسية الأميركية بصورة مؤقتة تمهيداً لمفاجأة استراتيجية يمثلها الإصرار الكردي في العراق على الاستفتاء وما سيخلقه من ديناميات جديدة، تبدأ بالتأثير على حركة شرائح عراقية متذمّرة من الحكم ويناسبها الحديث عن تعميق استقلال الأقاليم المتبقية سواء بين الشيعة أو السنة الذين تقوم السعودية بحركة لم تكن واضحة من قبل بأهدافها، وأبعادها، وصار مفهوماً أنها تريد ملاقاة الارتباك الناجم عن الاستفتاء على انفصال كردستان، لطرح استقلال أوسع لأقاليم ذات غالبيات معارضة، خصوصاً للخيار الذي تمثله إيران في المنطقة، والاستفتاء رغم كونه خاصاً بانفصال أكراد العراق إلا أنه سيخلق حماسة لدى القيادات الكردية السورية للمجازفة بخطوات تستند إلى ظاهر هو توريط الأميركيين، بفرض أمر واقع، لكنه كما يقول فريدمان، خيار ترحب به واشنطن وتتمنّاه وتنتظره، لكنها تخشى تحمّل تبعات القتال لفرضه، أو دفع فاتورة فشله، فستتركه يخوض غمار التجربة. وهذا ما يقول فريدمان إنه كان الحال يوم ولادة الكيان المحتلّ لفلسطين، عندها إذا نجح الأكراد بفرض أمر واقع، سيدخل الأميركيون بصيغة تسوية قوامها الفدرالية لسورية، وتقنين الفدرالية بكونفدرالية موسّعة للعراق تحفظ شكل الدولة الواحدة، لكنها تمنح كردستان الجديدة صلاحيات أمنية وعسكرية ودبلوماسية، وما يستنهضه ذلك من حالة لا تبقى فيها دولة عراقية متماسكة، أما في سورية فتستنهض مع حركة الأكراد لفرض أمر واقع عسكري والاستعداد للقتال دفاعاً عنه جماعات مناطق التهدئة لطلبات مماثلة دون تورّط بالقتال، والعنوان الجديد للمشروع، كما طرحه دي ميستورا قبيل حسم حلب هو حكومات محلية لإدارة ذاتية، وسيكون وفقاً للأميركيين ونظرتهم منطقياً طرح مقايضة إنهاء التمرّد بتسوية عنوانها الفدرالية التي ستغطي بقاءهم في قواعدهم العسكرية في سورية، وسيجعل سورية الدولة الرخوة المنشودة، أو الدولة المنقوصة السيادة ببقاء القسم الذي يسيطر عليه الأكراد خارج سلطتها.

– في محور المقاومة، إيران وسورية وحزب الله والحلفاء العراقيون، يطرح السؤال عن سبب إصرار القيادة الكردية في العراق على الاستفتاء، وسبب بقاء أكراد سورية خارج مسارَيْ أستانة وجنيف، ويؤخذ الخيار الكردي كرهان «إسرائيلي» سعودي على محمل الجدّ، والتحرك التركي نحو إيران للتفاهم على تعاون في مواجهة الخطر التفتيتي، تعبير عن إدراك المخاطر، ولا يستبعد أن يكون التعامل ما بعد الاستفتاء في كردستان العراق على مستوى قطع خطوط التواصل التجاري والاقتصادي مع كردستان كمنطقة تمرّد من جانب الحكومة العراقية، وإقفال الحدود الإيرانية والتركية أمام النفط وسائر أشكال التبادل التجاري، لأنّ ما نسي فريدمان قوله للأكراد أن لا حدود برية ولا بحرية لكردستان إلا مع الذين يهدف الانفصال لإلحاق الأذى بهم، وأنّ زمن اليوم غير زمن الأمس، بقواه وتوازناته ومعادلاته وحجم الإرادة والعزيمة على الخروج بنصر نظيف، عسى يكون ذلك درساً للقيادات الكردية في سورية التي اختبرت في عفرين تجربة بسيطة عنوانها استبدال أرقام السيارات ولم تصمد أربعاً وعشرين ساعة.

– لا تسامح مع قيام الانفصال ولو أدّى لحرب، هذا هو القرار في سورية، كما في العراق، كما في الإقليم، كما في الحساب الروسي، فلينتبه «الإسرائيليون» والسعوديون جيداً بأنهم لن يغطوا هزيمتهم بحرب بديلة، ووحدة سورية والعراق غير قابلة للتفاوض.

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Nine Targets Of US Regime Change Now Top The List Of Least Peaceful Nations

Nine Targets Of US Regime Change Now Top The List Of Least Peaceful Nations

Posted by Whitney Webb

The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world. Incidentally, all four have been targets of U.S.-led destabilization efforts that were used to pursue economic interests that suit the U.S.

The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade.

Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change in recent years.

However, nine of those ten countries share one commonality in the violence that they’ve experienced: U.S.-led destabilization efforts and regime change operations.

Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan: Targets for regime change and manufactured sectarianism

Syria, which ranked last in the June 2017 index, has been in the throes of a U.S.-led regime change effort for the better part of six years – a conflict that has ravaged one of the most prosperous nations in the Middle East and turned it into the latest battleground for a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia.

The U.S. has been planning the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at least as far back as 2006. Since the 2011 “uprising,” the U.S. has continuously funded and armed opposition groups in Syria along with several extremist groups, many of which have since joined terrorist organizations like Daesh (ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front.


This Friday, April 28, 2017 still taken from video, shows U.S. forces patrolling on a rural road in the village of Darbasiyah, in northern Syria. (AP via APTV)

The nations that rank just above Syria – Iraq and Afghanistan – were both targets of major U.S. invasions in the early 2000s and the U.S.’ continued presence in both of these countries has greatly contributed to the still-deteriorating situations in both nations.

With the U.S. troop presence growing in Iraq and set to surge dramatically in Afghanistan with the deployment of over 50,000 troops, more conflict is inevitable.

South Sudan: “Nation-building” gone awry

South Sudan, which ranked fourth, has also been victimized by U.S. intervention and “nation-building.”

The U.S. pushed South Sudan to secede from Sudan in 2011, as South Sudan held 75 percent of Sudan’s oil reserves — the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. Analysts argued that the U.S. sought to create an independent South Sudan in order to dislodge Chinese claims to Sudanese oil, as the Chinese had previously signed oil contracts with the (now Northern) Sudanese government. The U.S.’ significant aid contributions to South Sudan, totaling $1.6 billion between 2013 and 2016, suggest that Washington has sought to influence the government there for that very purpose.


South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, left, walks with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Sept. 4, 2016.

Just two years later, however, South Sudan dissolved into a deadly civil war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 1.5 million. Some analysts have suggested that the civil war broke out between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former deputy Riek Machar only when Mayardit started to cozy up to China.

The chaos from U.S. meddling in South Sudan has reached beyond its borders and brought trouble to Sudan, with that nation ranking as the eighth least peaceful nation.

Yemen: U.S.-backed Saudi aggressors responsible for famine, war crimes

Yemen, which ranked fifth, has also been involved in a U.S.-linked conflict, though the United States’ role has been less direct. While the U.S. is not leading the fight in Yemen, it has ardently backed the war’s aggressor – Saudi Arabia – from the beginning and has supplied the Saudis with billions of dollars in weapons, as well as occasionally bombed locations in Yemen to aid their Gulf allies.


A Houthi rebel man holds a US-made cluster bomb fragment after a Saudi-led airstrike in Yemen’s capital, Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

In addition, the U.S. has turned a blind eye to the Saudis’ numerous war crimes in Yemen, despite the enormity of the tragedy unfolding there, including blocking aid shipments and consequently triggering widespread famine. The U.S. has been eager to see Saudi influence continue in Yemen – as it was prior to the conflict – due to Yemen’s location, which grants it control over the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab, a chokepoint for the Saudi oil trade.

Yemen is followed by Somalia in the rankings.

Somalia: State of anarchy persists thanks to U.S. involvement

U.S. involvement in Somalia has a long history and reached a climax in the early 1990s, when the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Siad Barre was overthrown, plunging the nation into civil war.

Thanks to Somalia’s strategic location for global oil markets at the mouth of the Red Sea, the U.S. became involved and, according to a staffer for the chief of the UN Somalia operation, “dragged the UN into Somalia kicking and screaming.” Somalia remained in a state of anarchy for 16 years until a coalition of Islamic courts took over the capital in 2006. However, this government was soon overthrown by Ethiopia with U.S. support.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a small U.S.-made drone that the Ugandan military uses in Somalia to fight al-Qaida linked militants during a 2012 visit at Kasenyi Military Base in Kampala, Uganda.

Current U.S. anti-terrorism policy in Somalia, which includes the use of airstrikes, has been blamed for worsening the nation’s conflict and its burgeoning humanitarian crisis, having driven the nation into famine.

Libya: Plunged into chaos after challenging U.S. petrodollar

Another recent victim of U.S. regime change efforts, Libya now ranks as the seventh least peaceful nation in the world. Once one of the most prosperous nations in Africa, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi made the “mistake” of challenging the U.S. petrodollar system by creating a gold-backed pan-African currency known as the dinar. Following his ouster, Libya was essentially transformed into a failed state where there is still no clear government, terrorism runs rampant and slaves are now openly traded in public.

Ukraine: Targeted by U.S.-led coup over gas industry

Ukraine, which was the target of a U.S.-led coup in 2014 to weaken the influence of Russia’s lucrative gas industry on European gas markets, now ranks tenth among the least peaceful nations in the world. The only nation ranking near the bottom that has not experienced clear U.S. involvement is the Central African Republic, which ranks ninth.

The United States’ not-so-peaceful ranking

The United States itself also plummeted dramatically in this year’s Global Peace Index, now ranking 114 out of the 163 nations surveyed. This decrease was the greatest decline measured in any country this year.


Jeremy Christian at a “March for Free Speech” rally in Portland on April 29. Christian was chraged with a double murder and hate crimes, after he cut the throats of two men and stabbed another on a commuter train late on Friday afternoon.
(Photo: Doug Brown/The Portland Mercury)

Statisticians have blamed divisiveness that has made itself plain following the 2016 presidential election, as well as a continued rise in homicide rates.

The United States’ involvement in military conflicts abroad is not factored into its ranking, meaning that this placement is conservative at best. As indicated by the ten lowest-ranking nations, if this factor were taken into consideration, the U.S. could likely find itself at the bottom of the list for its role in spurring disastrous and deadly conflicts around the world under the guise of foreign policy.



US Interference in Foreign Elections

US Interference in Foreign Elections

“Secret” documents, recently declassified by the Reagan presidential library, reveal senior White House officials reengaging a former CIA “proprietary,” The Asia Foundation, in “political action,” an intelligence term of art for influencing the actions of foreign governments.

The documents from 1982 came at a turning-point moment when the Reagan administration was revamping how the U.S. government endeavored to manipulate the internal affairs of governments around the world in the wake of scandals in the 1960s and 1970s involving the Central Intelligence Agency’s global covert operations.

Instead of continuing to rely heavily on the CIA, President Reagan and his national security team began offloading many of those “political action” responsibilities to “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) that operated in a more overt fashion and received funding from other U.S. government agencies.

But secrecy was still required for the involvement of these NGOs in the U.S. government’s strategies to bend the political will of targeted countries. If the “political action” of these NGOs were known, many countries would object to their presence; thus, the “secret” classification of the 1982 White House memos that I recently obtained via a “mandatory declassification review” from the archivists at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

In intelligence circles, “political action” refers to a wide range of activities to influence the policies and behaviors of foreign nations, from slanting their media coverage, to organizing and training opposition activists, even to setting the stage for “regime change.”

The newly declassified memos from the latter half of 1982 marked an ad hoc period of transition between the CIA scandals, which peaked in the 1970s, and the creation of more permanent institutions to carry out these semi-secretive functions, particularly the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was created in 1983.

Much of this effort was overseen by a senior CIA official, Walter Raymond Jr., who was moved to Reagan’s National Security Council’s staff where he managed a number of interagency task forces focused on “public diplomacy,” “psychological operations,” and “political action.”

Raymond, who had held top jobs in the CIA’s covert operations shop specializing in propaganda and disinformation, worked from the shadows inside Reagan’s White House, too. Raymond was rarely photographed although his portfolio of responsibilities was expansive. He brought into his orbit emerging “stars,” including Lt. Col. Oliver North (a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal), State Department propagandist (and now a leading neocon) Robert Kagan, and NED President Carl Gershman (who still heads NED with its $100 million budget).

Despite his camera avoidance, Raymond appears to have grasped his true importance. In his NSC files, I found a doodle of an organizational chart that had Raymond at the top holding what looks like the crossed handles used by puppeteers to control the puppets below them. The drawing fit the reality of Raymond as the behind-the-curtains operative who controlled various high-powered inter-agency task forces.

Earlier declassified documents revealed that Raymond also was the conduit between CIA Director William J. Casey and these so-called “pro-democracy” programs that used sophisticated propaganda strategies to influence not only the thinking of foreign populations but the American people, too.

This history is relevant again now amid the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in last year’s U.S. presidential elections. If those allegations are true – and the U.S. government has still not presented any real proof  – the Russian motive would have been, in part, payback for Washington’s long history of playing games with the internal politics of Russia and other countries all across the planet.

A Fight for Money

The newly released memos describe bureaucratic discussions about funding levels for The Asia Foundation (TAF), with the only sensitive topic, to justify the “secret” stamp, being the reference to the U.S. government’s intent to exploit TAF’s programs for “political action” operations inside Asian countries.

Indeed, the opportunity for “political action” under TAF’s cover appeared to be the reason why Reagan’s budget cutters relented and agreed to restore funding to the foundation.

William Schneider Jr. of the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a Sept. 2, 1982 memo that the Budget Review Board (BRB) had axed TAF funding earlier in the year.

“When the BRB last considered this issue on March 29, 1982, it decided not to include funding in the budget for a U.S. Government grant to TAF. The Board’s decision was based on the judgement that given the limited resources available for international affairs programs, funding for the Foundation could not be justified. During that March 29 meeting, the State Department was given the opportunity to fund TAF within its existing budget, but would not agree to do so.”

However, as Schneider noted in the memo to Deputy National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, “I now understand that a proposal to continue U.S. funding for the Asia Foundation is included in the ‘political action’ initiatives being developed by the State Department and several other agencies.

“We will, of course, work with you to reconsider the relative priority of support for the Foundation as part of these initiatives keeping in mind, however, the need for identifying budget offsets.”

A prime mover behind this change of heart appeared to be Walter Raymond, who surely knew TAF’s earlier status as a CIA “proprietary.” In 1966, Ramparts magazine exposed that relationship and led the Johnson administration to terminate the CIA’s money.

According to an April 12, 1967 memo from the State Department’s historical archives, CIA Director Richard Helms, responding to a White House recommendation, “ordered that covert funding of The Asia Foundation (TAF) shall be terminated at the earliest practicable opportunity.”

In coordination with the CIA’s “disassociation,” TAF’s board released what the memo described as “a carefully limited statement of admission of past CIA support. In so doing the Trustees sought to delimit the effects of an anticipated exposure of Agency support by the American press and, if their statement or some future expose does not seriously impair TAF’s acceptability in Asia, to continue operating in Asia with overt private and official support.”

The CIA memo envisioned future funding from “overt U.S. Government grants” and requested guidance from the White House’s covert action oversight panel, the 303 Committee, for designation of someone “to whom TAF management should look for future guidance and direction with respect to United States Government interests.”

In 1982, with TAF’s funding again in jeopardy, the CIA’s Walter Raymond rallied to its defense from his NSC post. In an undated memo to McFarlane, Raymond recalled that “the Department of State underscored that TAF had made significant contributions to U.S. foreign policies through fostering democratic institutions and, as a private organization, had accomplished things which a government organization cannot do.” [Emphasis in original]

Raymond’s bureaucratic intervention worked. By late 1982, the Reagan administration had arranged for TAF’s fiscal 1984 funding to go through the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) budget, which was being used to finance a range of President Reagan’s “democracy initiatives.” Raymond spelled out the arrangements in a Dec. 15, 1982 memo to National Security Advisor William Clark.

“The issue has been somewhat beclouded in the working levels at State since we have opted to fund all FY 84 democracy initiatives via the USIA budgetary submission,” Raymond wrote. “At the same time, it is essential State maintain its operational and management role with TAF.”

Over the ensuing three and half decades, TAF has continued to be  subsidized by U.S. and allied governments. According to its annual report for the year ending Sept. 30, 2016, TAF said it “is funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress, competitively bid awards from governmental and multilateral development agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and by private foundations and corporations,” a sum totaling $94.5 million.

TAF, which operates in 18 Asian countries, describes its purpose as “improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia.” TAF’s press office had no immediate comment regarding the newly released Reagan-era documents.

Far From Alone

But TAF was far from alone as a private organization that functioned with U.S. government money and collaborated with U.S. officials in achieving Washington’s foreign policy goals.

For instance, other documents from the Reagan library revealed that Freedom House, a prominent human rights organization, sought advice and direction from Casey and Raymond while advertising the group’s need for financial help.

In an Aug. 9, 1982 letter to Raymond, Freedom House executive director Leonard R. Sussman wrote that “Leo Cherne [another senior Freedom House official] has asked me to send these copies of Freedom Appeals. He has probably told you we have had to cut back this project to meet financial realities. We would, of course, want to expand the project once again when, as and if the funds become available.”

According to the documents, Freedom House remained near the top of Casey’s and Raymond’s thinking when it came to the most effective ways to deliver the CIA’s hardline foreign policy message to the American people and to the international community.

On Nov. 4, 1982, Raymond wrote to NSC Advisor Clark about the “Democracy Initiative and Information Programs,” stating that “Bill Casey asked me to pass on the following thought concerning your meeting with [right-wing billionaire] Dick Scaife, Dave Abshire [then a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board], and Co.

“Casey had lunch with them today and discussed the need to get moving in the general area of supporting our friends around the world. By this definition he is including both ‘building democracy’ and helping invigorate international media programs. The DCI [Casey] is also concerned about strengthening public information organizations in the United States such as Freedom House.

“A critical piece of the puzzle is a serious effort to raise private funds to generate momentum. Casey’s talk with Scaife and Co. suggests they would be very willing to cooperate. Suggest that you note White House interest in private support for the Democracy initiative.”

In a Jan. 25, 1983 memo, Raymond wrote, “We will move out immediately in our parallel effort to generate private support” for “public diplomacy” operations. Then, on May 20, 1983, Raymond recounted in another memo that $400,000 had been raised from private donors brought to the White House Situation Room by USIA Director Charles Wick. According to that memo, the money was divided among several organizations, including Freedom House and Accuracy in Media, a right-wing media attack group.

In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo, Raymond outlined plans to arrange private backing for that effort. He said USIA Director Wick “via [Australian publishing magnate Rupert] Murdock [sic], may be able to draw down added funds” to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond recommended “funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center.”

[For more on the Murdoch connection, see’s “Rupert Murdoch: Propaganda Recruit.”]

Questions of Legality

Raymond remained a CIA officer until April 1983 when he resigned so in his words “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this” propaganda operation to woo the American people into supporting Reagan’s policies.

Raymond fretted, too, about the legality of Casey’s role in the effort to influence U.S. public opinion because of the legal prohibition against the CIA influencing U.S. policies and politics. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important “to get [Casey] out of the loop,” but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986.

It was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond said during his Iran-Contra deposition in 1987. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic affairs “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

In 1983, Casey and Raymond focused on creating a permanent funding mechanism to support private organizations that would engage in propaganda and political action that the CIA had historically organized and paid for covertly. The idea emerged for a congressionally funded entity that would be a conduit for this money.

But Casey recognized the need to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. In one undated letter to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese III, Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment,” but added: “Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate.”

document in Raymond’s files offered examples of what would be funded, including “Grenada — 50 K — To the only organized opposition to the Marxist government of Maurice Bishop (The Seaman and Waterfront Workers Union). A supplemental 50 K to support free TV activity outside Grenada” and “Nicaragua — $750 K to support an array of independent trade union activity, agricultural cooperatives.”

The National Endowment for Democracy took shape in late 1983 as Congress decided to also set aside pots of money — within NED — for the Republican and Democratic parties and for organized labor, creating enough bipartisan largesse that passage was assured.

But some in Congress thought it was important to wall the NED off from any association with the CIA, so a provision was included to bar the participation of any current or former CIA official, according to one congressional aide who helped write the legislation.

This aide told me that one night late in the 1983 session, as the bill was about to go to the House floor, the CIA’s congressional liaison came pounding at the door to the office of Rep. Dante Fascell, a senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a chief sponsor of the bill.

The frantic CIA official conveyed a single message from CIA Director Casey: the language barring the participation of CIA personnel must be struck from the bill, the aide recalled, noting that Fascell consented to the demand, not fully recognizing its significance.

The aide said Fascell also consented to the Reagan administration’s choice of Carl Gershman to head the National Endowment for Democracy, again not recognizing how this decision would affect the future of the new entity and American foreign policy.

Gershman, who had followed the classic neoconservative path from youthful socialism to fierce anticommunism, became NED’s first (and, to this day, only) president. Though NED is technically independent of U.S. foreign policy, Gershman in the early years coordinated decisions on grants with Raymond at the NSC.

For instance, on Jan. 2, 1985, Raymond wrote to two NSC Asian experts that “Carl Gershman has called concerning a possible grant to the Chinese Alliance for Democracy (CAD). I am concerned about the political dimension to this request. We should not find ourselves in a position where we have to respond to pressure, but this request poses a real problem to Carl.”

Besides clearing aside political obstacles for Gershman, Raymond also urged NED to give money to Freedom House in a June 21, 1985 letter obtained by Professor John Nichols of Pennsylvania State University.

What the documents at the Reagan library make clear is that Raymond and Casey stayed active shaping the decisions of the new funding mechanism throughout its early years. (Casey died in 1987; Raymond died in 2003.)

Lots of Money

Since its founding, NED has ladled out hundreds of millions of dollars to NGOs all over the world, focusing on training activists, building media outlets, and supporting civic organizations. In some geopolitical hotspots, NED may have scores of projects running at once, such as in Ukraine before the 2014 coup that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych and touched off the New Cold War with Russia. Via such methods, NED helped achieve the “political action” envisioned by Casey and Raymond.

From the start, NED also became a major benefactor for Freedom House, beginning with a $200,000 grant in 1984 to build “a network of democratic opinion-makers.” In NED’s first four years, from 1984 and 1988, it lavished $2.6 million on Freedom House, accounting for more than one-third of its total income, according to a study by the liberal Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which was entitled “Freedom House: Portrait of a Pass-Through.”

Over the ensuing decades, Freedom House has become almost an NED subsidiary, often joining NED in holding policy conferences and issuing position papers, both organizations pushing primarily a neoconservative agenda, challenging countries deemed insufficiently “free,” including Syria, Ukraine (before the 2014 coup) and Russia.

NED and Freedom House often work as a kind of tag-team with NED financing NGOs inside targeted countries and Freedom House berating those governments if they try to crack down on U.S.-funded NGOs.

For instance, on Nov. 16, 2012, NED and Freedom House joined together to denounce a law passed by the Russian parliament requiring Russian recipients of foreign political money to register with the government. Or, as NED and Freedom House framed the issue: the Russian Duma sought to “restrict human rights and the activities of civil society organizations and their ability to receive support from abroad. Changes to Russia’s NGO legislation will soon require civil society organizations receiving foreign funds to choose between registering as ‘foreign agents’ or facing significant financial penalties and potential criminal charges.”

Of course, the United States has a nearly identical Foreign Agent Registration Act that likewise requires entities that receive foreign funding and seek to influence U.S. government policy to register with the Justice Department or face possible fines or imprisonment.

But the Russian law would impede NED’s efforts to destabilize the Russian government through funding of political activists, journalists and civic organizations, so it was denounced as an infringement of human rights and helped justify Freedom House’s rating of Russia as “not free.”

The Russian government’s concerns were not entirely paranoid. On Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman, in effect, charted the course for the crisis in Ukraine and the greater neocon goal of regime change in Russia. In a Washington Post op-ed, Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and explained how pulling it into the Western camp could contribute to the ultimate defeat of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents,” Gershman wrote. “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

The long history of the U.S. government interfering covertly or semi-covertly in the politics of countries all over the world is the ironic backdrop to the current frenzy over Russia-gate and Russia’s alleged dissemination of emails that undermined Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The allegations are denied by both Putin and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange who published the Democratic emails – and the U.S. government has presented no solid evidence to support the accusations of “Russian meddling” – but if the charges are true, they could be seen as a case of turnabout as fair play.

Except in this case, U.S. officials, who have meddled ceaselessly with their “political action” operations in countries all over the world, don’t like even the chance that they could get a taste of their own medicine.

Reprinted with permission from

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