America’s Sicilian Expedition

Source

July 10, 2020

America’s Sicilian Expedition

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; and from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies, and debts, are taxes of the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … no nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’’ (My emphasis – FL) (1)

Thus was the initial warning by James Madison to the possible development (and dangers) which lie ahead of the great social and political experiment in what was to become the American Republic. In fact these militaristic/ imperial proclivities were also noted by the more astute members and chroniclers of American history and repeated by Alexis De Tocqueville in 1835. He wrote that:

Among democratic nations the wealthiest, best educated, and ablest men seldom adopt a military profession, the army taken collectively, eventually forms a new nation by itself where the mind is less enlarged, and habits are made rude than in the nation at large. Now this small and uncivilized nation has arms in its possession and also knows how to use them; (My emphasis – FL) for indeed the pacific temper of the community increases the danger to which a democratic people is exposed from the military and the turbulent spirit of the Army. Nothing is so dangerous as an army in the midst of an unwarlike nation; the excessive love of the whole community for quiet puts the Constitution at the mercy of the soldiery. (2)

‘Unwarlike’? Well the Republic was to become very warlike for most of its history. Things got started in earnest in 1846-48 with the US/Mexican conflict. This marked the first U.S. armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil. It pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist-minded administration of U.S. President James K. Polk, who believed the United States had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande started off the fighting and was followed by a series of U.S. victories. When the dust cleared, Mexico had lost about one-third of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So the US got the taste of imperial hubris and easy victories early on. This was the beginning of a will to global expansion which has seen the US develop a penchant for global hegemony.

What could be more apposite and sombre of these measured warnings to the present time and the leadership thereof. The United States has transmuted from being an experimental national democracy into a rampaging imperial juggernaut with all the attendant features of empire. In general and in more recent times these imperial conflicts have been wars of choice. No-body had attacked the US since the half-hearted British attempt in 1812 and the Japanese in 1941. The only war of any significance since independence was the internal conflict between the industrial north and the agrarian south.

The Rise of Empire

This awakening of US imperialism was later extended to the Spanish/American war of the late 19th century. New territories in Latin America and East Asia were added through their annexation. The US had thus become the latest newcomer to the imperialist club although it always insisted (rather unconvincingly) that it was different to the more established British, French, Spanish and Portuguese exploitative models. There was a belief, presumably mandated by the deity, in America’s manifest destiny to rule the world. This is the same patter, which is now trotted out by the neo-cons, the Deep State, NSA, MIC, MSM, and political parties. Whether they actually believe in this is something of a moot point.

Yet now the United States finds itself everywhere in a situation of endless simultaneous wars, occupations, blockades (whoops, I mean sanctions), economic warfare, surveillance warfare and one-sided alliances whereby its ‘allies’ are in many ways worse treated than its chosen enemies and are becoming increasingly disenchanted with their subaltern role. This is particularly instanced in the American German falling out over the question of Russian Gas and Nordstream2. Germany has its own national interests which conflict with those of the US. How exactly is this going to play out? It should be understood in this respect that the US does not have ‘allies’ in the generally accepted understanding of the term, but subaltern hierarchies of the ‘Me Tarzan – You Jane’ variety. The ‘Jane’ in the situation are the assembled and invertebrate species of EU vassal regimes who up to this point in their history have always been willing to prostrate themselves at the command of their transatlantic masters.

One of the stranger anomalies of this US global military-economic posture is the influence of Israel – Israel this tiny country, with its tiny population, in the middle east must be obeyed at all costs. And making sure that it is obeyed are the various interest groups in the US which inter alia includes the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) the Anti-Deformation League (ADL) the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Most, if not all, of the senior members of these organizations are Jewish, Zionists and/or neo-conservatives. To give an example of their influence and reach take the case of uber-hawk and Zionist lackey Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

Amidst the general routine and prevalent corruption in American political and corporate life the Las Vegas gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson – staunch supporter of his particular interests and the Israeli cause – began throwing around tens of millions of dollars to push legislation to ban internet gambling in order to protect his billion dollar oligopoly casino interests against competition. It wasn’t long before Graham introduced a bill to ban internet gambling. When asked about the curious coincidence of timing Graham said that his Southern Baptist constituents in South Carolina (SC) shared Adelson’s aversion to internet gambling so there was no quid pro quo involved.

It should be borne in mind, however, that Graham had held Federal Office in SC since 1995, and yet he had felt no driving urge to introduce such legislation until 2014. This took place when Graham had apparently undergone a Damascene Conversion precisely at the time that Mr Adelson began to shower him with monies. Graham’s transaction with his benefactor apparently did not meet the Supreme Court’s chief Justice, John Roberts’s, narrow definition of an illegal quid pro quo as expressed in the Court’s 2010 Citizens United Decision.

In another unrelated instance involving Graham, which might be considered as being questionable, there were his political liaisons with a foreign state and its leader – Benjamin Netanyahu – whose policies Graham would be disposed to imbibe and support whatever the policies the Israeli Prime Minster might propose, an arresting statement in light of the Senator’s oath to the American Constitution and the voters he represents. (3)

Yet another instance of a corrupt American official in the pocket of Israeli interests. Moreover, it is not merely lower rank officials who willingly take the knee to Israel, the process reaches up to the highest levels of the US political establishment; so much so that It seems difficult to exactly work out who is whose client state in the US/Israel relationship.

Various right-wing think-tanks (see above) most importantly the American Enterprise Institution, or to give it its full name, The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a Washington, D.C. based think-tank which researches government, politics, economics, and social welfare. AEI is an independent non-profit organization supported primarily by grants and contributions from foundationscorporations, and individuals. This of course is a rather misleading description of what it actually does, and what its alleged goals are, in what is a vehemently pro-Zionist neo-con outfit. Leading figures include Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Mr and Mrs Wurmser as well as the rest of the Zionist neo-con gang whose entire raison d’etre seems to be unconditional support for Israel. This was instanced in the policy statement, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (commonly known as the “Clean Break” report) was a policy document that was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith  for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel. The report explained a new approach to solving Israel‘s security problems in the Middle East with an emphasis on “Western values” (i.e., naked imperialism). It has widely been criticized for advocating an aggressive new policy including the removal and murder of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the ongoing war and annexation of parts of Syria by engaging in proxy and actual warfare and highlighting Iraq’s alleged possession of mythical “weapons of mass destruction”.

It would not be an exaggeration to surmise that US foreign policy is now, and has been for some time, subsumed under Israel’s strategic interests and policies in the middle-east. Exactly what the United States gets out of this relationship is not clear other than the mollycoddling and financing of the Zionist apartheid state for no apparent returns.

The US foreign policy enigma:

I think it was Winston Churchill who once described the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as being ‘’ … a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.’’ It seems that much the same is true of the United States and its foreign policy. The cornerstone of the policy was put in place in the 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s western frontier and the first and second Iraq wars, as well as the destruction of Libya, ably assisted by the British and French. This period of triumphalism for the Anglo-Zionist empire is ending with the imperial overstretch eventuating from 9/11. This episode has been subject to a myriad of various theories and has never been definitively demonstrated as to who were the brains behind this event. That being said the consequences of the event had deep-going ramifications. As one commentator has noted.

‘’The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the botched response to it delivered a twofold lesson: first, perpetual intervention in conflicts abroad is likely to spawn what the CIA calls ’’blowback’’ an unintended negative consequences of an intervention suffered by the party that intervenes. It is irrefutable that America’s funding and arming of religious based (i.e., Jihadis- FL) resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan created a Frankenstein’s monster that little more than a decade later brought the war back to the United States. But we have been largely unwilling to join the dots beyond that. Invading Iraq in 2003 spawned further instability in the middle-east and the emergence of more terrorist groups. Why is it that so few of our pundits have noticed the obvious fact that the civil war in Syria and the rise of ISIS are the direct results of our actions in Iraq? Beyond that the United State’s government’s ham-fisted meddling in internal Ukrainian politics helped to set in motion a predictable chain of events that has sparked a new cold war. Actions such as this have drained our Treasury and destabilized large areas of the World. (4)

It also seems pertinent to enquire as to what extent is the United States carrying out policies which could be defined as being the pursuit of its national interests; this as opposed to the interests of internal and itinerant cosmopolitan groups in the US whose sympathies and interests lie elsewhere in overseas climes and not in the US heartlands. But this should be expected from the aims and objectives of these footloose globalist oligarchies in the key positions at the apex of American institutions and exerting what amounts to a stranglehold on policy-making.

Overstretch, Hubris and Messianism

Generally speaking all empires have recognisable contours of development, maturity, and decline; and there is no reason to suppose that America and its empire will be an exception to this general rule. For all that the American ruling class has taken it upon itself to deny these fundamental conditions and processes of empire. A case study was the fate of the British Empire. At the end of WW2 Britain could no longer bear the costs of holding down 25% of the worlds surface. Moreover the populations of empire – particularly in India – did not wish to be held down. Post 1945 the jig was up: the UK was effectively bankrupt, and the US took full advantage of this.

‘’The US concept of multilateralism was expressed in the Lend-Lease programme in its dealings with the UK. The British loan of 1946 and the Bretton Woods Agreements called for the dollar to supplant sterling as the world’s reserve currency. In effect the Sterling Area was to be absorbed into what would be the dollar area which would be extended throughout the world. Britain was to remain in a weakened position in which it found itself at the end of the war … with barely any free monetary reserves and dependent on dollar borrowings to meet its current obligations. The United States would gain access to Britain’s pre-war markets in Latin America, Africa, the middle-east and the far east … the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelt the end of Britain as a Great Power.’’ (5)

This is the way empires die, new empires arise, decline, and they in their turn also die, and this process admits of no exceptions.

The Big Push

From a geopolitical viewpoint the most important developments in recent years have been the relative decline of America in economic, political, and cultural terms, the rise of China, and the recovery of Russia from the disastrous years of the Yeltsin ascendancy. That being said it should be acknowledged that America is the most powerful global economic and military alliance – but there has been the undermining of this pre-eminence which is symptomatic of its present state. I remember the scene in the film Apocalypse Now with Martin Sheen playing Captain Willard who sums up his (and America’s) dilemma: ‘’Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.’’ That pretty much sums up the situation facing America then and now. As for the $ dominance well that worked provided advantage was not taken of its privileged position, but of course, human nature being what it is, advantage was taken. Moreover, the reserve status of the dollar isn’t, as many suppose, a one-way gravy train. Given that the dollar is the world’s global currency demand will fluctuate. Increased demand will push up the value of the greenback meaning that goods and services exported to the US will become cheaper. However a strong dollar will push up the costs of America’s export producers and lead to a hollowing out of US industry. Hence the Rust Belt. The absurdity of having a domestic currency serve as the global reserve currency means that the US monetary authorities need to engineer a situation whereby an equilibrium match of dollar inflows to dollar outflows is attained. A difficult if not impossible trick to perform. Please see the Triffin Paradox.

This is a situation which the US cannot endure. It must act now to reverse its own decline and prevent the rise of other great powers. The ‘Big Push’ mentality whereby the final victorious outcome against an entrenched enemy became a feature of military ‘thinking’ (sic) during WW1. The British and French offensives on the western front, the battles of the Somme 1916, Ypres III 1917 (Wipers 3 as the British soldiers’ called it) and the Nivelle offensives 1917, did not succeed in bringing about a victory over embedded German opposition and cost hundreds of thousands of casualties for a few blood-soaked hundred meters of gain. The situation was reversed in 1918 when the Germans went on the offensive, but the result was a successful counter-offensive by the British, French, and newly arrived American divisions and finally the Armistice of 1918.

Be that as it may this ‘Big Push’ mentality has seemingly insinuated itself into current US’s strategic thinking. This in spite of the fact that the rather inconsistent results of such past policies does not offer a particularly feasible option – but they may just do it anyway. Who knows?

Thumbing through the history books is always a good guide to how the decision makers behave at the inflexion points of history.

The Sicilian Expedition

In the History of the Peloponnesian War the Greek Historian, Thucydides, gives an account of the key moment in the ongoing wars between Sparta and Athens. This was the invasion of Sicily by Athens or more commonly known as the Sicilian Expedition. The view of Pericles in 430 BC was the status quo option: neither expand the Athenian empire nor diminish it. No withdrawal from Afghanistan.

… do not imagine that what we are fighting for is simply the question of freedom or slavery; there is also involved the loss of empire and dangers arising from the hatred we have incurred in the administration of it. Nor is it any longer possible to give up this empire – though there maybe some people in a mood of panic and in the spirit of political apathy actually think that this would be a fine and noble thing to do. Your empire is now like a tyranny; it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go. (6)

Sound familiar? After the acquisition of empire, the costs of this enterprise start to roll in; the process then begins to move and then stagnate under the weight of its own slowing momentum and popular resistance. But like today’s neo-cons the Athenian war party nonetheless prevailed: the empire must at all costs be preserved. In terms of a modern cost-benefit analysis this would in purely rational business terms conclude that the maintenance of empire was not sustainable; it was a loss-making operation.

Sceptics about the wisdom of the Sicilian adventure including Nicias warned about the irrational exuberance of the war party as follows:

It is true that this assembly was called to deal with the preparations to be made for sailing to Sicily. Yet I still think that this is a question that requires further thought … is it really a good thing to send the ships at all? I think that we ought not to give just hasty consideration to so important a matter which does not concern us … I shall therefore confine myself to showing you that this is the wrong time for such adventures and that the objects of your ambitions are not to be gained easily. What I say is this: In going to Sicily you are leaving many enemies behind you, and you apparently want to make new ones there and have them also on your hands. It is with real alarm that I see this young man’s party (i.e., the war party FL) sitting at his (Alcibiades) side in this assembly all called in to support him and I and my side call for the support of the older men among you. If any one of you sits next to one of his supporters do not allow yourself to be browbeaten or frightened of being called a coward if you do not vote for war. (7)

But such reasoned arguments did not move the war party who gave Nicias’ arguments noticeably short shrift. The war party was on heat and there was no stopping the momentum of war pumped up by an adrenalin of mass psychosis. But this was not the end of the matter.

The war 415-413 BC itself turned out to be an absolute disaster for Athens. After achieving early successes the Athenians were checked by the arrival Spartan general, Gylippus, who galvanized the local inhabitants into action. From that point forward, however, as the Athenians ceded the initiative to their newly energized opponents, the tide of the conflict shifted. A massive reinforcing armada from Athens briefly gave the Athenians the upper hand once more, but a disastrous failed assault on a strategic high point and several crippling naval defeats damaged the Athenian soldiers’ ability to continue fighting and also their morale. The Athenians attempted a last-ditch evacuation from Syracuse. The evacuation failed, and nearly the entire expedition were captured or were destroyed in Sicily. Athens never really recovered after this strategic rout.

The whole sorry episode seems remarkably familiar: deadly examples of overestimating your own strength and underestimating the strength of the opposition. This policy (or lack of) has turned out to be a leitmotif in the US wars of choice against small but determined adversaries. The results of deploying the same playbook operationalised by the same incorrigible Neanderthals in the deep state with the same utterly predictable results. This present ongoing American attempt to construct a world empire through political, economic, and military means seems to be gearing up and preparing to launch its own Sicilian Expedition and this process has already been started. A classic example of imperial overreach. Nevertheless, the policy must go on; and it must be soon or never. One is reminded of Einstein’s famous dictum applicable to the PTB who are in charge of US policy. (8) But do the Americans really believe that they can carry this off? Are they actually crazy? Or is the whole thing nothing more than a brilliant bluff. Time will tell.

NOTES

(1) James Madison – ‘Political Observations’ – 1795. Letters and Writings of James Madison – 1865 – Volume IV

(2) Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America – Volume 2 – pp.282/283

(3) ‘Senator Lindsey Graham – Meeting in Israel with PM Netanyahu – Fox News – 27 December 2014.

(4) Mike Lofgren – The Deep State – p.43

(5) Michael Hudson – Super Imperialism – pp.268/269

(6)Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War – The Policy of Pericles – Book 2 – 63

(7) Thucydides – Ibid – Launching of the Sicilian Expedition Book 6 – 8, 9, 10

(8)  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2)

Thursday, 23 April 2020 8:01 AM 

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranians shop at the Grand Bazaar market in the capital Tehran on April 20, 2020, as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri 

So it took a pandemic-plus-lockdown for some in the West to realize that classic economic liberalism on a global scale – i.e. the narrow hyper-specialization of Adam Smith’s division of labor and David Ricardo’s caste-forging theory of competitive advantage – makes a nation economically vulnerable? This epiphany is not novel for those countries which imperialists forced to precariously rely on a single cash crop/cow. 

It is interesting to watch American television these days: almost never openly discussed is the financial impact of the Great Lockdown on the lower classes. What the average American is bludgeoned with instead is a constant stream of doctor-worship, technocrats, electioneering politicians who cannot stop sniping despite such a crisis, and high-class analysts telling them to stay home at all costs – the financial condition of those who don’t even have $500 to cover in an emergency are ignored, even though they compose 63% of the US.

Even pre-corona, US TV is a realm where lower-class Whites who speak with a twang, poor-but-not-hustlin’ Blacks, and Latinos who don’t sing/dance/clean simply cannot be found. American Indians are so entirely absent they may as well not even exist.

If we had to define Iran’s economy in one brief sentence it would be: All are considered, but the needs of the lower classes must come first.

No Iranian would deny this has been the case since 1979, and it really became eye-openingly apparent after the end of the War of Sacred Defense (Iran-Iraq War): there has been a constant decrease of slums and absolute poverty, and a constant increase of infrastructure, education and production and diversification. Not only does this explain the country’s huge jump in seemingly all economic metrics since 1989, it also explains why Iran could rally 300,000 volunteers (propaganda alert: The Wall Street Journal’s “water cannons” were actually “disinfection cannons”) to go door-to-door to inform, help and prevent the spread of coronavirus – there is support, trust, unity and two-way dialogue.

When corona first hit many Iran-ignorant commentators assumed it would devastate a backwards nation governed by an unfeeling totalitarian state: while over 5,000 have died, Iran’s proportional death rate is better than almost every Western nation.

Of course, I know you’ll say “Iran is lying” – you have been indoctrinated to say that in response to any claim made by any Iranian. Ever since the 2011 triple sanctions (US, EU, UN) were deployed the Western Mainstream Media has added doubt indicators such as, “Iran says….” to every headline stemming from Iran. I used to get annoyed by it, but it’s old news now – if the government said the sun came up today the headline would be, “Iran says sun rises in East”.

So the skeptics/Iranophobes will remain eternally unconvinced, and I respond with habeas corpus – produce the body. Indeed, this is a demand for proof which Western epidemiologists – and their technocrat-worshipping promoters – are scrambling to come up with: It turns out their direst forecasts were far less accurate than modern weather reports (usually because they underestimated the influence of personal responsibility initiatives), and perhaps shouldn’t have been hysterically and uncritically relayed by Western corporate media.

As the Iranophobes scour satellite photos for secret mass graves (How many people do you think Iran is hiding – 50,000, 100,000 dead people? How many more would have to be silenced, and in a nation full of personal media devices? The idea that such a thing is possible is absurd….), and while the West employs more draconian measures than Iran ever did (due to worse health care, lack of volunteers due to fears of expensive health care, a stressed/unhealthy/obese population, the lack of existing lines of national coordination, an acclimation to “states of emergency” and other factors), Iran is ending curbs and going back to work. And they are also back to work being honest political truth-tellers: US imperialism is indeed a worse virus than the coronavirus, per President Rouhani. No body count comparison required on that one because it’s not even close – Western epidemiologists can relax.

Iran is returning to work slowly: many are working from home, women with young children are given priority to decide who works remotely, the government is asking everyone to use common sense, but the resumption of normal activity comes after many in the government openly displayed common sense by saying that an economic crisis simply should not be added to a heath crisis.

Undoubtedly, if Iran had not been so harshly attacked with such an inhuman blockade they would have had more oil-money savings to pay people to stay at home like in some nations, but they were cruelly denied this chance by the West, along with medicine, justice, peace, etc. The West’s governments are demanding that their lower classes commit economic suicide over corona fears, but Iran’s lower classes know that the biggest, most reliable patrons they have are the Iranian government – that’s why after taking sensible measures they are encouraging a sensible, safe return to work.

Everybody must use common sense, and a recent fatwa from the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei only reminds us how revolutionary Iran has decisively chosen to be inspired by Islam and is NOT a fundamentalist/Salafist/Wahhabi Islamic nation: it is OK to abstain from fasting during Ramadan (which starts April 23) if you rationally believe it may cause a sickness. As wonderful as Ramadan is, and while the science is not 100% clear, long-term fasting appears to lower one’s immune system – that does seem rational, to me.

Ramadan will simply not be typical this year, sadly. I hope many Iranians (and Muslims everywhere) use common sense this year to protect the vulnerable and reduce the number of second-wave infections. Anyone living with vulnerable and elderly people should remember that Muslims have a full year to make up missed Ramadan days.

Part 2 will explain why the necessary reversal of globalization is impossible in a West which is dominated by their 1%, and why Iran’s “Resistance Economy” is the perfect vaccine to corona & lockdown-related economic chaos.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Merchants of Death: Multibillion-dollar Bailout for Arms Industry Amid Rising COVID-19 Toll

By Bill Van Auken

Global Research, April 23, 2020

World Socialist Web Site

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” US President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday in a startling threat that could trigger a catastrophic war throughout the Middle East and beyond.

The threat to launch a war 7,000 miles from US shores in the midst of coronavirus pandemic, whose death toll in the US is rapidly approaching 50,000, comes on the heels of Trump’s Monday night tweet announcing a suspension of all immigration into the United States, a transparent attempt to scapegoat immigrants for the ravages of the pandemic and the layoffs of tens of millions of workers.

There is in both of these actions an expression of desperation and a flailing about in the face of a national and global crisis for which the US ruling class has no viable solution. It is a crude attempt to change the subject and divert public attention from the catastrophic consequences of the criminal indifference of the government and the ruling oligarchy it represents to the lives and well-being of the vast majority of the population.

Pentagon officials reported Wednesday that they had received no prior notification of Trump’s tweet, much less any orders for a change in the rules of engagement in the Persian Gulf.

Nonetheless, the brutal and fascistic rhetoric of Trump reflects a drive to war by US imperialism that has not been tempered, but rather intensified, by the global pandemic.

Even as Trump issued his tweet, US warships were sailing toward a confrontation with China in the South China Sea. At the same time, the Pentagon was announcing a shift in its deployment of long-range, nuclear capable B-52 bombers to make their presence less predictable to Beijing and Moscow and thereby ratchet up tensions.

In recent days, the US has sharply escalated its air strikes against the impoverished African nation of Somalia, even as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to ravage its population. Escalating war threats continue against Venezuela, and the Pentagon continues to provide support for the near-genocidal Saudi-led war against the people of Yemen.

Nowhere does this war drive find more naked expression than in the massive government bailout that is being organized for the US arms industry. With tens of millions of workers unemployed, many facing hunger, and a drive by both the Trump administration and state governors to force a premature return to work, billions upon billions of dollars are being lavished upon military contractors to sustain their guaranteed profits and the obscene fortunes generated for their major shareholders.

The Pentagon’s top weapons procurer, Undersecretary of Defense Ellen Lord, told a press conference Monday that some $3 billion has already been funneled to the arms makers in the form of early payments for existing contracts, in addition to billions more approved by Congress in the first CARES Act, which pumped trillions of dollars into the financial markets. She indicated that much more will be doled out once Congress passes another stimulus package.

Asked by a reporter how much would be need to insure Washington’s Merchants of Death from any losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, she replied, “We’re talking billions and billions on that one.” Lord added that the first priority for this aid program was the “modernization process of the nuclear triad.”

These industries are hardly the picture of the deserving poor. The fact that massive financial resources that are desperately needed to save lives and rescue millions of workers from poverty are instead being poured into their pockets is a crime.

In a conference call this week to inform Lockheed Martin shareholders of first-quarter earnings, the company’s CEO, Marilyn Hewson, boasted that the corporation’s “portfolio is broad and expanding” and its “cash generation” strong. She said the company looked forward to “supporting our warfighters’ needs.”

Indeed, Lockheed Martin pulled in $2.3 billion in cash during the single quarter and expects to top $7.6 billion—coronavirus effects notwithstanding—over the year. It has a $144 billion backlog in orders, an all-time high.

Asked whether she had any qualms about political fallout over completing a $1 billion stock buyback in the midst of the crisis, she replied, “We’re very different, I think, than those who have experienced a very significant impact to their demands.” Hewson announced that the company had set aside a grand total of $10 million for COVID-19-related relief and assistance.

The “very different” character of these companies was also noted in a financial column published in the New York Times for the benefit of its well-heeled readers, titled “Opportunity in the Military-Industrial Complex.”

Pointing to the projected $741 billion Pentagon budget for the coming year, the Times counsels: “That combination of federal dollars and corporate heft may represent an opportunity for investors who don’t mind profiting from warfare. A modest bet on a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that buys military contractors and aerospace companies may help buffer the deep recession brought on by the coronavirus.”

In short, one can reap substantial wealth from—and amid—mass death.

One of the principal concerns expressed by Undersecretary of Defense Lord as she spelled out plans for the multibillion-dollar bailout of the arms industry was the disruption of supply chains, particularly those originating in the maquiladora sweatshops just across the US border in Mexico. She also mentioned problems in India.

Thousands of Mexican workers have struck and protested against the deadly conditions inside these plants, conditions that are being prepared for workers throughout the planet as back-to-work orders are shoved through. At a plant in Ciudad Juárez owned by Michigan-based Lear Corporation, 16 workers have died from COIVD-19, while area hospitals are overflowing with victims of the virus.

The Pentagon and US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau have intervened with the Mexican government, demanding that the maquiladoraworkers be forced back into the plants as “essential” to US imperialism’s war machine, just like their counterparts in the US. Lockheed relies on low-paid Mexican workers in Chihuahua, Mexico to produce electrical wiring for the US military’s Black Hawk and S-92 helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, while Boeing gets parts from a plant run by PCC Aerostructures in Monterrey. General Electric, Honeywell and other military contractors also profit off the labor of Mexican workers across the border.

Transmitting the dictates of the Pentagon in the language of contempt for human life that characterizes all of the policies of the Trump administration and the US ruling class, Ambassador Landau launched a Twitter campaign demanding that Mexican workers go back into the maquiladoras for the greater good of US imperialism. He enjoys the full collaboration of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, promoted by the pseudo-left as a “progressive” and even “socialist,” who has prepared the country’s National Guard for deployment against strikers.

Warning that workers’ jobs are tied to supply chains linking them to US arms manufacturers, Ambassador Landau said, “if we do not coordinate our response, these chains can evaporate.”

He added, “There are risks everywhere, but we don’t all stay at home for fear we are going to get in a car accident. The destruction of the economy is also a health threat.”

These are the same reactionary, antiscientific and misanthropic arguments being made in the US and internationally in an attempt to force workers back into the factories and workplaces with the certainty that many will fall sick and die.

Workers in the arms industry in the US, like their counterparts in Mexico, have also struck and protested over being forced to work as part of the “critical infrastructure” of US imperialism. Workers at the Bath Iron Works in Maine and the BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, both run by General Dynamics, have struck over the failure of the employers to provide them with protection against infection and death. Similarly, workers at the GE Aviation plant in Lynn, Massachusetts, which produces engines for US Marine helicopters, picketed the plant over the lack of protective measures or any guarantee for workers who fall victim to COVID-19.

This resistance of the working class across national boundaries is directly opposed to the rabid nationalism and reaction that characterizes the response of the ruling classes, not only in the US, but in Europe and internationally, to the intensification of the capitalist crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. To defend their profit interests, they will condemn millions to sickness and death, even as they prepare for world war and fascist dictatorship. The only alternative is for the international working class to put an end to the profit system and rebuild society on socialist foundations.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image: B-52s lined up at Andersen Air Force Base (Source: WSWS)The original source of this article is World Socialist Web SiteCopyright © Bill Van AukenWorld Socialist Web Site, 2020

«لعنة النفط» تصيب الولايات المتحدة

وليد شرارة

 الأربعاء 22 نيسان 2020

بين الأسباب الوجيهة التي تقدم عادة لتفسير «الشقاء العربي»، أي التدخلات الاستعمارية المستمرة لضرب محاولات الاستقلال والسيطرة على الموارد الوطنية الهادفة إلى إطلاق عملية تنمية حقيقية في بلدان المنطقة العربية والإسلامية، وفي الجنوب عامة، ما اصطلح على تسميته «لعنة النفط». لا يمكن الفصل بين سياسات الحرب والسيطرة الغربية، خاصة الأميركية، على المنطقة وشعوبها وتطلعاتها القومية، وبين امتلاكها مخزوناً هائلاً من هذه السلعة الاستراتيجية، بالنسبة إلى الرأسمالية الامبريالية المعاصرة، وتحولها من «نعمة» إلى «لعنة». رأت الأدبيات السياسية الأميركية السائدة والخطاب الرسمي منذ الخمسينيات الجزء النفطي من العالم العربي، أي دول الخليج والعراق، «منطقة مصالح قومية حيوية»! وبدأت تدخلاتها في الإقليم عبر مشاركة مخابراتها الحاسمة في إسقاط حكومة محمد مصدق الوطنية في إيران سنة 1953 بعد تأميم الأخيرة شركة النفط «الأنجلو-فارسية» التي أضحت اليوم شركة «بريتيش بتروليوم» المعروفة. العودة إلى هذه الوقائع ضرورية للتذكير بالطبيعة الاستعمارية لهذه السلعة «الاستراتيجية».

استندت الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم إلى ركيزتين أساسيتين: التفوق العسكري النوعي على جميع بلدانه الأخرى، وانتشار شبكة قواعد في أرجاء المعمورة، خاصة في الدول المنتجة للنفط أو في جوارها، للتحكم في الطرق والمضائق التي يتدفق من خلالها، بـ«أسعار مناسبة»، نحو المراكز الرأسمالية. بهذا المعنى، كانت الولايات المتحدة «شرطي الرأسمالية العالمية» خلال حقبة تشارف على الأفول. فالتغيرات الكبرى التي شهدتها موازين القوى الدولية، وأهمها تراجع قدرات واشنطن على السيطرة والريادة، وتخبطها خلال الجائحة الحالية آخرُ تجلياته، والصعود السريع والمستمر لـ«المنافسين غير الغربيين»، دفعت النخب الحاكمة الأميركية ودولتهم العميقة إلى اتخاذ قرار تطوير صناعة النفط الأميركية عبر الاستخراج الباهظ الكلفة للنفط الصخري. بحجة ضرورة تأمين الاكتفاء الذاتي الكامل في ميدان الطاقة، وتجنّب الاعتماد على النفط المستورد من بقاع مضطربة وخطيرة كالشرق الأوسط، وكذلك انطلاقاً من إمكانية تحول الولايات المتحدة إلى أحد أبرز المنتجين للنفط، وهي صارت أولهم سنة 2018، بررت هذه النخب قرارها الذي دخل حيز التنفيذ منذ أواسط العقد الأول من الألفية الثانية، خلال إدارة جورج بوش الابن، والتزمت به إدارتا باراك أوباما ودونالد ترامب. هذا القرار وسياقاته الجيوسياسية هما اللذان يسمحان بإدراك فعلي للخلفيات البنوية للانهيار التاريخي لأسعار النفط الأميركي، لا القراءات الاقتصادوية التي تكون غالباً ظرفية ومختزلة.
القراءة الاقتصادية الرائجة عن أسباب انهيار أسعار النفط الأميركي تربط بينه وبين تبعات جائحة كورونا على الاقتصاد العالمي، وكذلك نتائج «حرب الأسعار» بين روسيا والسعودية، والتي توقفت بعد التوصل إلى اتفاق جديد بينهما آخر الشهر الماضي. فمع تفشّي الفيروس، تراجع النشاط الاقتصادي ومعدلات الإنتاج على صعيد الكوكب بصورة كبيرة، ومعهما حركة انتقال الأشخاص داخل أو بين بلدانه، ما قاد إلى انخفاض الطلب على النفط بنسبة 30% في بضعة أسابيع، ومن ثم أسعاره. تبع هذا حرب الأسعار السعودية ــ الروسية، التي بدأت مع رفع الطرفين مستويات إنتاجهما من النفط والتنافس على تخفيض سعره إلى درجة تضخم فيها العرض في السوق العالمي على نحو غير مسبوق. تلازم هذين التطورين كان له آثار كارثية في صناعة النفط الصخري الأميركية الباهظة، التي لا تستطيع احتمال انحدار مماثل لأسعار النفط. ما زاد الأمر سوءاً لها وللصناعة النفطية الأميركية عامة هو امتلاء المخزون النفطي الاستراتيجي للبلاد بنسبة 70 إلى 80%، مع ما يترتب على ذلك من انخفاض في الطلب الداخلي.

إن تحول النفط إلى «منتج مالي» يخضع للمضاربة في البورصات، يعني في الظروف الحالية أن مضاربين اشتروا عقوداً نفطية، ولا يمتلكون قدرة على بيعها بأسعار مناسبة أو على تخزين النفط، يوافقون على بيعها بأسعار بخسة. وتقدر إدارة المعلومات عن النفط، وهي وكالة مستقلة للإحصاءات في وزارة الطاقة الأميركية، أن الولايات المتحدة ستعود مستورداً صافياً للنفط خلال هذه السنة. يعني هذا الكلام أن مشروع الاعتماد على الذات في الحقل النفطي فشل فشلاً مدوياً.

ما لا تتطرق إليه القراءة الاقتصادوية هو الدور الحاسم للعوامل السياسية والجيوسياسية في إيصال الأمور إلى ما هي عليه. يجري الحديث عن الاقتصاد العالمي كأنه فضاء منفصل عن موازين القوى والصراعات بين اللاعبين الدوليين، تحكمه اليد الخفية للسوق وقانون العرض والطلب بمعزل عن العوامل الأخرى. تقر القراءة المشار إليها بأن بين دوافع موسكو والرياض في زيادة إنتاج النفط وتخفيض أسعاره، على رغم تنازعهما، رغبة مشتركة واضحة في توجيه ضربة قوية إلى صناعة النفط الصخري الأميركية المنافسة. هل كانت روسيا مستعدة منذ عشرين سنة مثلاً لاتخاذ مثل هذا القرار في ظل اختلال موازين القوى بينها وبين الولايات المتحدة؟ لم تتوقف الأخيرة عن مساعيها لمحاصرة روسيا عبر توسيع «الناتو» شرقاً ونشر البطاريات المضادة للصواريخ في جوارها وتنظيم الثورات الملونة في هذا الجوار، من دون أن نشهد رداً روسياً مباشراً. القرار بتخفيض أسعار النفط سياسي بامتياز، وهو رد على العقوبات الأميركية المفروضة على الشركات العاملة في مشروع «أنبوب السيل الشمالي 2» بين روسيا وألمانيا. التغير المستمر في موازين القوى الدولية والفرصة التي وفرتها الجائحة وتبعاتها على أميركا جعلا ما كان مستحيلاً في الماضي ممكناً حالياً. الأمر نفسه ينطبق على السعودية، على رغم العلاقة الحميمة التي تجمع وليّ عهدها، محمد بن سلمان، بترامب وفريقه، والتي لم تكن لتتجرأ على الإقدام على خطوة تمثّل مساساً بالمصالح الأميركية منذ بضع سنوات، ها هي تقوم بذلك اليوم نتيجة إدراكها لتراجع قوة الحليف وسطوته.

صحيح أن حرب أسعار النفط توقفت بعد الاتفاق بين أطراف «أوبك+» آخر الشهر الماضي، وبعد طلب أميركي عاجل، لكن مفاعيلها المهولة على صناعة النفط الصخري قد تؤدي إلى ألا تتعافى مستقبلاً، وهذا غاية بذاته للطرفين الروسي والسعودي كما أسلفنا. حتى قرار النخب الأميركية الاستثمار المكثف في قطاع النفط الصخري الباهظ، الذي اتُّخذ قبل عقد ونيف، هو قرار جيواستراتيجي وليس اقتصادياً، ووثيق الصلة باستشعارها العجز عن إمكانية المضي في تحمل أعباء وأكلاف قيام بلادهم بدور «شرطي الرأسمالية العالمية» إلى ما لا نهاية، وتأمين إمكانية الاعتماد على الذات في حقل الطاقة، في مواجهة احتمالات لتطورات غير منتظرة في الشرق الأوسط، وانقلاب في تحالفات بلدانه باتجاه منافسيها الدوليين. التوقعات بالنسبة إلى تبعات انهيار أسعار النفط على الاقتصاد والاجتماع الأميركيين شديدة التشاؤم، وإن تفاوتت مستوياته. المؤكد أن «لعنة النفط»، بعد «لعنة كورونا»، ستسرّع وتيرة الانتقال إلى حقبة «ما بعد الغرب» 

مقالات متعلقة

The United States of America’s Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions

By Edward Curtin

Source

 

Trump Security Meeting b889d

 

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”  Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 2005

While truth-tellers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning sit inside jail cells and Edward Snowden lives in exile in Russia, the American people hole up in an illusionary dwelling constructed to reduce them to children afraid of the truth.  Or is it the dark?  This is not new; it has been so for a very long time, but it has become a more sophisticated haunted doll’s house, an electronic one with many bells and whistles and images that move faster than the eye can see. We now inhabit a digital technological nightmare controlled by government and corporate forces intent on dominating every aspect of people’s lives. This is true despite the valiant efforts of dissidents to use the technology for human liberation. The old wooden doll houses, where you needed small fingers to rearrange the furniture, now only need thumbs that can click you into your cell’s fantasy world.  So many dwell there in the fabricated reality otherwise known as propaganda.  The result is mass hallucination.

In a 1969 interview, Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans and the only person to ever bring to trial a case involving the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, said that as a result of the CIA’s murderous coup d’état on behalf of the military-industrial-financial-media-intelligence complex that rules the country to this day, the American people have been subjected to a fabricated reality that has rendered them a nation of passive Eichmanns, who sit in their living rooms, popping pills and watching television as their country’s military machine mows down people by the millions and the announcers tell them all the things they should be afraid of, such as bacteria on cutting boards and Russian spies infiltrating their hair salons.  Garrison said:

The creation of such inanities as acceptable reality and unacceptable reality is necessary for the self-preservation of the super-state against its greatest danger: understanding on the part of the people as to what is really happening.  All factors which contribute to its burgeoning power are exaggerated.  All factors which might reveal its corrosive effect on the nation are concealed.  The result is to place the populace in the position of persons living in a house whose windows no longer reveal the outside but on which murals have been painted.  Some of the murals are frightening and have the effect of reminding the occupants of the outside menaces against which the paternal war machine is protecting them.  Other murals are pleasant to remind them how nice things are inside the house.

But to live like this is to live in a doll’s house.  If life has one lesson to teach us, it is that to live in illusion is ultimately disastrous.

In the doll’s house into which America gradually has been converted, a great many of our basic assumptions are totally illusory. [i]

Fifty years have disappeared behind us since the eloquent and courageous Garrison (read On the Trail of the Assassins) metaphorically voiced the truth, despite the CIA’s persistent efforts to paint him as an unhinged lunatic through its media mouthpieces.  These days they would probably just lock him up or send him fleeing across borders, as with Assange, Manning, and Snowden.

It is stunning to take a cue from his comment regarding the JFK assassination, when he suggested that one reverse the lone assassin scenario and place it in the U.S.S.R.  No American could possibly believe a tale that a former Russian soldier, trained in English and having served at a top Soviet secret military base, who had defected to the U.S. and then returned home with the help of the K.G.B., could kill the Russian Premier with a defective and shoddy rifle and then be shot to death in police headquarters in Moscow by a K.G.B. connected hit man so there would be no trial and the K.G.B. would go scot free.  That would be a howler!  So too, of course, are the Warren Commission’s fictions about Oswald.

Snowden, Assange, and Manning

If we then update this mental exercise and imagine that Snowden, Assange, and Manning were all Russian, and that they released information about Russian war crimes, political corruption,  and a system of total electronic surveillance of the Russian population, and were then jailed or sent fleeing into exile as a result, who in the U.S., liberal, libertarian or conservative, would possibly believe the Russian government’s accusations that these three were criminals.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama, the transparency president, made sure to treat them as such, all the while parading as a “liberal” concerned for freedom of speech and the First Amendment.  He made sure that Snowden and Manning were charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, and that Assange was corralled via false Swedish sex charges so he had to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (a form of jail).  He brought Espionage Act prosecutions against eight people, more than all former presidents combined.   He hypocritically pardoned Manning on his way out the door as if this would polish his deluded liberal legacy after making her suffer terribly through seven years of imprisonment.  He set the stage for Trump to re-jail Manning to try to get this most courageous woman to testify against Assange, which she will not do, and for the collaborationist British government to jail Assange in preparation for his extradition to the United States and a show trial.  As for Snowden, he has been relegated to invisibility, good for news headlines once and for a movie, but now gone and forgotten.

Obama and Trump, arch political “enemies,” have made sure that those who reveal the sordid acts of the American murderous state are cruelly punished and silenced.  This is how the system works, and for most Americans, it is not happening.  It doesn’t matter.  They don’t care, just as they don’t care that Obama backed the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras that has resulted in so many deaths at the hands of U.S trained killers, and then Trump ranted about all these “non-white” people fleeing to the U.S. to escape a hell created by the U.S., as it has been doing throughout Latin America for so long.  Who does care about the truth?  Has anyone even noticed how the corporate media has disappeared the “news” of all those desperate people clamoring to enter the U.S.A. from Mexico?  One day they were there and in the headlines; the next day, gone.  It’s called news.

The Sleepwalkers

But even though a majority of Americans have never believed the government’s explanation for JFK’s murder, they nevertheless have insouciantly gone to sleep for half a century in the doll’s house of illusions as the killing and the lies of their own government have increased over the years and any semblance of a democratic and peaceful America has gone extinct. The fates of courageous whistle-blowers Assange, Manning, and Snowden don’t concern them. The fates of Hondurans don’t concern them.  The fates of Syrians don’t concern them. The fates of Iraqis, Afghans, Yemenis, Palestinians don’t concern them. The fates of America’s victims all around the world don’t concern them.  Indifference reigns.

Obviously, if you are reading this, you are not one of the sleepwalkers and are awake to the parade of endless lies and illusions and do care. But you are in a minority.

That is not the case for most Americans.  When approximately 129 million people cast their votes for Donald Trump and HilIary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, you know idiocy reigns and nothing has been learned. Ditto for the votes for Obama, Bush, Clinton, et al.  You can keep counting back.  It is an ugly fact and sad to say.  Such a repetition compulsion is a sign of a deep sickness, and it will no doubt be repeated in the 2020 election.  The systemic illusion must be preserved at all costs and the warfare state supported in its killing.  It is the American way.

It is true that average Americans have not built the doll’s house; that is the handiwork of the vast interconnected and far-reaching propaganda arms of the U.S. government and their media accomplices.  But that does not render them innocent for accepting decades of fabricated reality for so-called peace of mind by believing that a totally corrupt system works.  The will to believe is very powerful, as is the propaganda.   The lesson that Garrison spoke of has been lost on far too many people, even on those who occasionally leave the doll house for a walk, but who only go slightly down the path for fear of seeing too much reality and connecting too many dots.  There is plain ignorance, then there is culpable ignorance, to which I shall return.

Denying Existential Freedom

One of the first things an authoritarian governing elite must do is to convince people that they are not free.  This has been going on for at least forty years, ever since the Church Committee’s revelations about the CIA in the mid-seventies, including its mind-control program, MKULTRA.  Everyone was appalled at the epiphany, so a different tactic was added.  Say those programs have been ended when in fact they were continued under other even deeper secret programs, and just have “experts” – social, psychological, and biological “scientists” – repeat ad infinitum that there is no longer any mind control since we now know there is no mind; it is an illusion, and it all comes down to the brain.  Biology is destiny, except in culturally diversionary ways in which freedom to choose is extolled – e.g. the latest fashions, gender identity, the best hair style, etc.  Create and lavishly fund programs for the study of the brain, while supporting and promoting a vast expansion of pharmaceutical drugs to control people.  Do this in the name of helping people with their emotional and behavioral problems that are rooted in their biology and are beyond their control.  And create criteria to convince people that they are sick and that their distress has nothing to do with the coup d’état that has rendered them “citizens” of a police state.

We have been interminably told that our lives revolve around our brains (our bodies) and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It is not coincidental that the U. S. government declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). How convenient! George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump — what a difference! But this is science and the welfare of the world.  Science for idiots.

Drip by drip, here and there, in the pattern of the best propaganda, as the French sociologist Jacques Ellul says – “for propaganda is not the touch of the magic wand. It is based on slow, constant impregnation. It creates conviction and compliance through imperceptible influences that are effective only by continuous repetition”[ii] – articles, books, media reports have reiterated that people are “determined” by biological, genetic, social, and psychological forces over which they have no control. To assert that people are free in the Sartrean sense (en soir, condemned to freedom, or free will) has come to be seen as the belief of a delusional fool living in the past , a bad philosopher, an anti-scientist, a poorly informed religionist, one nostalgic for existential cafes, Gauloises, and black berets.  One who doesn’t grasp the truth since he doesn’t read the New York Times or watch CBS television. One who believes in nutty conspiracy theories.

The conventional propaganda – I almost said wisdom – created through decades-long media and academic repetition, is that we are not free.

Let me repeat: we are not free.  We are not free.

Investigator reporter John Rappoport has consistently exposed the propaganda involved in the creation and expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) with its pseudo-scientific falsehoods and collusion between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry.  As he correctly notes, the CIA’s MKULTRA mind-control program has morphed into modern psychiatry, both with the same objectives of disabling and controlling people by convincing them that they are not free and are in need of a chemical brain bath.[iii]

Can anyone with an awareness of this history doubt there is a hidden hand behind this development?  Once you have convinced people that they are not free in the most profound sense, the rest is child’s play.  Convinced that they are puppets, they become puppets to be willingly jerked around.

“He played with me just as I used to play with dolls,” says Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Now who would want to get people to believe they were not free?  The answer is obvious given a minute of thought.  It is not just Nora’s husband Torvald.

Perfect examples of the persistence of the long-term, repetitive, impregnating propaganda appear in news headlines constantly.  Here is an egregious example concerning the little understood case of the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.  On Friday, August 30, 2019, Sirhan, who has been in prison for fifty-two years for the murder of RFK that he did not commit, was stabbed by another prisoner.  A quick click through the MSM headlines reporting this showed the same words repeated by all the corporate media as they fulfilled their function as CIA stenographers. One example, from CBS News, will suffice: “Robert Kennedy assassin hospitalized after prison stabbing.”[iv]  RFK assassin, RFK assassin, RFK assassin … all the media said the same thing, which they have been doing for fifty-two years. Their persistency endures despite all the facts that refute their disinformation and show that Senator Kennedy, who was on his way to becoming president, was murdered, like his brother John, by forces of the national security state.

Sartre and Bad Faith

Lying and dissembling are ubiquitous.  Being deceived by the media liars is mirrored in people’s personal lives.  People lie and want to be deceived.  They choose to play dumb, to avoid a confrontation with truth.  They want to be nice (Latin, nescire, not to know, to be ignorant) and to be liked.  They want to tuck themselves into a safe social and cultural framework where they imagine they will be safe. They like the doll’s house. They choose to live in what Jean Paul Sartre called bad faith (mauvaise foi):  In Existential Psychoanalysis he put it thus:

In bad faith it is from myself that I am hiding the truth. But with this ‘lie’ to myself, the one to whom the lie is told and the one who lies are one and the same person, which means that I must know in my capacity as deceiver the truth which is hidden from me in my capacity as the one deceived.

Such bad faith allows people to fabricate a second act of bad faith: that they are not responsible for their ignorance of the truths behind the government’s and corporate media’s lies and propaganda, even as the shades of the prison house ominously close around us and the world edges toward global death that could arrive in an instant with nuclear war or limp along for years of increasing suffering.

Those of us who write about the U.S. led demented wars and provocations around the world and the complementary death of democracy at home are constantly flabbergasted and discouraged by the willed ignorance of so many Americans.  For while the mainstream media does the bidding of the power elite, there is ample alternative news and analyses available on the internet from fine journalists and writers committed to truth, not propaganda. There is actually far too much truth available, which poses another problem. But it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to research important issues and to learn how to distinguish between bogus and genuine information.  It takes a bit of effort, and, more importantly, the desire to compare multiple, opposing viewpoints and untangle the webs the Web weaves.  We are awash in information (and disinformation) and both good and bad reporting, but it is still available to the caring inquirer.

The problem is the will to know.  But why?  Why the refusal to investigate and question; why the indifference?  Stupidity?  Okay, there is that.  Ignorance?  That too.  Willful ignorance, ditto.  Laziness, indeed. Careerism and ideology?  For certain.  Upton Sinclair put it mildly when he said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it.”  Difficult?  No, it’s almost impossible.

But then there are many very intelligent people who have nothing to lose and yet adamantly refuse to entertain alternative possibilities to the reigning orthodoxies that have them in their grip.  As do many others, I know many such people who will yes me to death and then never fully research issues.  They will remain in limbo or else wink to themselves that what may be true couldn’t be true.  They close down.  This is a great dilemma and frustration faced by those who seek to convince people to take an active part in understanding what is really going on in the world today, especially as the United States wages war across the globe, threatens Russia, China, and Iran, among many others, and expands and modernizes its nuclear weapons capabilities.

As for Assange, Manning, and Snowden, their plight matters not a whit.  In fact, they have been rendered invisible inside the doll’s house, except as the murals on the windows flash back their images as threats to the occupants, Russian monsters out to eat them up.  As the great poet Constantine Cavafy wrote long ago in his poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and they never come: “Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?  Those people were a kind of solution.”  Then again, for people like U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, who knows the Russian barbarians have and will come again, life must be terrifying as he tries so manfully to bar the gates.  The Russians have been the American solution in this fairy tale for so long that it’s hard for many Americans to believe another story.

The Two-Headed Monster

On the one hand, there is the massive propaganda apparatus operated by American intelligence agencies in conjunction with their media partners.

On the other, there is the human predilection for untruth and illusions, the sad need to be comforted and to submit to greater “authority,” gratefully to accept the myths proffered by one’s masters.  This tendency applies not just to the common people, but even more so to the intellectual classes, who act as though they are immune.  Erich Fromm, writing about Germans and Hitler, but by extension people everywhere, termed this the need to “escape from freedom,” since freedom conjures up fears of vertiginous aloneness and the need to decide, which in turn evokes the fear of death.[v]  There are also many kinds of little deaths that precede the final one: social, career, money, familiar, etc., that are used to keep people in the doll’s house.

Fifty years ago, the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to be used to dismiss the truths expressed by critics of its murder of President Kennedy, and those of Malcom X, MLK, and RFK.  All the media echoed the CIA line.  While they still use the term to dismiss and denounce, their control of the mainstream media is so complete today that every evil government action is immediately seconded, whether it be the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, etc., the coups disguised as color revolutions in Ukraine, Venezuela, Bolivia, Hong Kong, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner there, drone murders, the Iranian “threat,” the looting of the American people by the elites, alleged sarin gas attacks in Syria, the anti-Russia bashing and the Russia-gate farce, the “criminals” Assange, Manning, Snowden – everything.  The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Fox News, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc. – all are stenographers for the deep state.

So much of the ongoing propaganda travels under the banner of “the war on terror,” which is, of course, an outgrowth of the attacks of September 11, 2001, appropriately named and constantly reinforced as 9/11 in a wonderful example of linguistic mind-control: a constant emergency reminder to engender anxiety, depression, panic, and confusion, four of the symptoms that lead the DSM “experts” and their followers to diagnose and drug individuals.  The term 9/11 was first used in the New York Times on September 12, 2001 by Bill Keller, the future Times’ editor and Iraq war cheerleader.  Just a fortuitous coincidence, of course.Jacques Ellul on Propaganda

Jacques Ellul has argued convincingly that modern propaganda in a technological mass society is more complicated than the state and media lying and deceiving the population.  He argues that propaganda meets certain needs of modern people and therefore the process of deceit is reciprocal.  The modern person feels lost, powerless, and empty. Ellul says, “He realizes that he depends on decisions over which he has no control, and that realization drives him to despair.”  But he can’t live in despair; desires that life be meaningful; and wants to feel he lives in a world that makes sense.  He wants to participate and have opinions that suggest he grasps the flow of events.  He doesn’t so much want information, but value judgments and preconceived positions that provide him with a framework for living.  Ellul wrote the following in 1965 in his classic book Propaganda:

The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing any opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation.  For they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a ‘key’ that will permit them to take a position, and even ready-made opinions….The man who keeps himself informed needs a framework….the more complicated the problems are, the more simple the explanations must be; the more fragmented the canvas, the simpler the pattern; the more difficult the question, the more all-embracing the solution; the more menacing the reduction of his own worth, the greater the need for boosting his ego.  All this propaganda – and only propaganda – can give him.[vi]

Another way of saying this is that people want to be provided with myths to direct them to the “truth.”  But such so-called truth has been preconceived within the overarching myth provided by propaganda, and while it satisfies people’s emotional need for coherence, it also allows them to think of themselves as free individuals arriving at their own conclusions, which is a basic function of good propaganda.  In today’s mass technological society, it is essential that people be convinced that they are free-thinking individuals acting in good faith.  Then they can feel good about themselves as they lie and act in bad faith.

Culpable Ignorance

It is widely accepted that political leaders and the mass media lie and dissemble regularly, which, of course, they do. That is their job in an oligarchy.  Today we are subjected to almost total, unrelenting media and government propaganda. Depending on their political leanings, people direct their anger toward politicians of parties they oppose and media they believe slant their coverage to favor the opposition.  Trump is a liar.  No, Obama is a liar.  And Hillary Clinton.  No, Fox News.  Ridiculous! – it’s CNN or NBC.  And so on and so forth in this theater of the absurd that plays out within a megaplex of mainstream media propaganda, where there are many shows but one producer, whose overall aim is to engineer the consent of all who enter, while setting the different audiences against each other.  It is a very successful charade that evokes name-calling from all quarters.

In other words, for many people their opponents lie, as do other people, but not them. This is as true in personal as well as public life.  Here the personal and the political converge, despite protestations to the contrary.  Dedication to truth is very rare.

But there is another issue with propaganda that complicates the picture further.  People of varying political persuasions can agree that propaganda is widespread.  Many people on the left, and some on the right, would agree with Lisa Pease’s statement in her book on the RFK assassination, A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, that “the way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time.” [vii]  That is also what Garrison thought when he spoke of the doll’s house.

If that is so, then today’s propaganda is anchored in the events of the 1960s, specifically the infamous government assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, and RFK, the truth of which the CIA has worked so hard to conceal. In the fifty or so years since, a vast amount of new information has made it explicitly clear that these murders were carried out by elements within the U.S. government, and were done so to silence the voices of four charismatic leaders who were opposed to the American war machine and the continuation of the Cold War. To turn away from this truth and to ignore its implications can only be described as an act of bad faith and culpable ignorance, or worse.  But that is exactly what many prominent leftists have done.  Then to compound the problem, they have done the same with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

One cannot help thinking of what the CIA official Cord Meyer called these people in the 1950s: “the compatible left.”  He felt that effective CIA propaganda, beside the need for fascist-minded types such as Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, depended on “courting” leftists and liberal into its orbit. For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but often taking the money of the super-rich, the JFK assassination and the truth of September 11, 2001 are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did. By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell’s crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda.  They truncate the full story to present a narrative that distorts the truth.

Without drawing a bold line connecting the dots from November 22, 1963 up to the present, a critique of the murderous forces ruling the United States is impossible.

Among the most notable of such failures are Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Howard Zinn, and Chris Hedges, men idolized by many liberals and leftists.  And there are many others who have been deeply influenced by Chomsky, Cockburn, and Zinn and follow in their footsteps.  Their motivations remain a mystery, but there is no doubt their refusals have contributed to the increased power of those who control the doll’s house.  To know better and do as they have is surely culpable ignorance.

From Bad to Worse

Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks, increased or decreased in the past half century?  Who is winning the battle, the people or the ruling elites?  The answer is obvious. It matters not at all whether the president has been Trump or Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, Barack Obama or George H. W. Bush, Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter.  The power of the national security state has grown under them all and everyone is left to moan and groan and wonder why.  All the while the doll’s house has become more and more sophisticated and powerful with the growth of electronic media and cell phone usage.

The new Cold War now being waged against Russia and China is a bi-partisan affair, as is the confidence game played by the secret government intended to create a fractured consciousness in the population.  This fragmentation of consciousness prevents people from grasping the present from within because so many suffer from digital dementia as their attention hops from input to output in a never-ending flow of mediated, disembodied data. Trump and his followers on one side of the coin; liberal Democrats on the other. The latter, whose bibles are the New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Democracy NowThe Guardian, etc. – can only see propaganda when they can attribute it to Trump or the Russians. The former see everything as a liberal conspiracy to take down Trump.  The liberals have embraced a new McCarthyism and allied themselves with the deep-state forces that they were once allegedly appalled by, including Republicans.  Their embrace of the formerly despised war-monger John Bolton in the impeachment trial of Trump is a laughable case in point, if it weren’t so depraved and slimy.  It surely isn’t the bloodthirsty policies of the Trump administration or his bloviating personality, for these liberals allied themselves with Obama’s anti-Russian rhetoric, his support for the U.S. orchestrated neo-fascist Ukrainian coup, his destruction of Libya, his wars of aggression across the Middle East, his war on terror, his trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization, his enjoyment of drone killing, his support for the coup in Honduras, his embrace of the CIA and his CIA Director John Brennan, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, etc.  The same media that served the CIA so admirably over the decades became the liberals’ paragons of truth.  It’s enough to make your head spin, which is the point.  Spin left, spin right, spin all around, because we have possessed your mind in this spectacular image game where seeming antinomies are the constancy of the same through difference, all the presidents coined by the same manufacturer who knows that coin flipping serves to entertain the audience eager for hope and change.

This is how the political system works to prevent change.  It is why little has changed for the better over half a century and the American empire has expanded.  While it may be true that there are signs that this American hegemony is coming to an end (I am not convinced), I would not underestimate the power of the U.S. propaganda apparatus to keep people docile and deluded in the doll’s house, despite the valiant efforts of independent truth-tellers.

How, for example, is it possible for so many people to see such a stark difference between the despicable Trump and the pleasant Obama?  They are both puppets dancing to their masters’ tunes – the same masters.  They both front for the empire.

In his excellent book, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State, Jeremy Kuzmarov assiduously documents Obama’s crimes, including his CIA background.[viii] As Glen Ford, of Black Agenda Report, says in the first sentence of his forward, “Barack Obama may go down in presidential history as the most effective-and deceptive-imperialist of them all.” Read the book if you want all the details.  They form an overwhelming indictment of the con artist and war criminal that is irrefutable.  But will those who worship at the altar of Barack Obama read it?  Of course not.  Just as those deluded ones who voted for the reality television flim-flam man Trump will ignore all the accumulating evidence that they’ve been had and are living under a president who is Obama’s disguised doppelganger, carrying out the orders of his national security state bosses. This, too, is well documented, and no doubt another writer will arise in the years to come to put it between a book’s covers.

Yet even Jeremy Kuzmarov fails to see the link between the JFK assassination and Obama’s shilling for the warfare state.  His few references to Kennedy are all negative, suggesting he either is unaware of what Kennedy was doing in the last year of his life and why he was murdered by the CIA, or something else.  He seems to follow Noam Chomsky, a Kennedy hater, in this regard.  I point out this slight flaw in an excellent book because it is symptomatic of certain people on the left who refuse to complete the circle.  If, as Kuzmarov, argues, Obama was CIA from the start and that explains his extraordinarily close relationship with the CIA’s John Brennan, an architect, among many things, of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, and that Obama told CIA Director Panetta that the CIA would “get everything it wanted,” and the CIA killed JFK, well, something’s amiss, an enormous gap in the analysis of our current condition.

The doll’s house is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites that run the show and ably abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.  It is a spectacle of open secrecy, in which the CIA has effectively suckered everyone into a game of to-and-fro in which only they win.

Our only hope for change is to try and educate as many people as possible about the linkages between  events that started with the CIA coup d’état in Dallas on November 22, 1963, continued through the killings of Malcolm X, MLK, RFK and on through so much else up to September 11, 2001, and have brought us to the deeply depressing situation we now find ourselves in where truthtellers like Julian Assange, Chelsey Manning, and Edward Snowden are criminalized, while the real perpetrators of terrible evils roam free.

Yes, we must educate but also agitate for the release of this courageous trio.  Their freedom is ours; their imprisonment is ours, whether we know it or not.  The walls are closing in.

Lisa Pease is so right: “The way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time, and too few recognize this.  We can’t fix a problem we can’t even acknowledge exists.”

If we don’t follow her advice, we will be toyed with like dolls for a long time to come.  There will be no one else to blame.

Endnotes:

  1. Interview with Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, May 27, 1969, kennedysandking.com
  2. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Jacques Ellul, Vintage Books, 1973, pp. 17-18
  3. CIA mind control morphed into psychiatry?” Jon Rappoport, com, July 11, 2017
  4. Robert Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan hospitalized after prison stabbing,” Caroline Linton, CBS, August 31, 2019
  5. Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm, Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1941
  6. Ellul, op cit., p. 140
  7. A Lie Too Big To Fail, Lisa Pease, Feral House, 2018, pp.500-501
  8. Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Clarity Press, 2019

Drone Strikes Leave Innocent Widows and Orphans — Astute News

The killing of Iranian General Soleimani was big news. There were a few points made in the Western mainstream media about its legality being dubious, but nobody seems to be concerned that it contravened international law, in addition to be totally amoral. One wonders if any of the drone operators, the little key-tapping techno-dweebs thousands […]

via Drone Strikes Leave Innocent Widows and Orphans — Astute News

Soleimani: The ‘Muslim Che Guevara’ dies, but revolutionary culture continues

January 05, 2020

A demonstrator holds the picture of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani during a protest against the assassination in Baghdad of the Iranian commander by the United States, in Tehran, Iran, on January 3, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

By Ramin Mazaheri – PressTV

“ A people without hate cannot triumph over a brutal enemy.” – Che Guevara

The assassination on Iraqi soil of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani will produce many things, and global resentment and hatred for Washington is undoubtedly already one of them.

Around the world the assessment is the same: Washington has committed an act of war. In their bloodlust to reverse Iran’s popular and democratic revolution – in order to keep feeding their bottomless neo-imperial greed –  Washington has electroshocked the world into remembering its brutal immorality: one remembers the pain of doctor’s needle with more clarity than the pain of a week-long illness, after all.

There will be so many ramifications to this cowardly, illegal, inhuman act – which so nakedly aims to be of profit solely to the US elite and not the average American – that we should take time to historically assess the true legacy of Soleimani: 

he is the Muslim Che Guevara.

He is not merely the “Iranian Che Guevara” because that makes no sense given Che’s ideals: Just like the Argentinian, Soleimani spent many years of his life fighting US imperialism in many countries and ultimately died in a foreign land out of his certainty in the reality of international brotherhood.

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeral

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeralThe remains of anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his companions have arrived in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz from Iraq where they were assassinated by the US early Friday.

Limiting Soleimani’s legacy to the “Iranian Che Guevara” also makes no sense given the ideals of the Iranian revolution: Soleimani’s death reminds the world that Iran – seemingly alone in the anti-imperialist struggle in 2019 – repeatedly gives their time, money, blood, love and lives to non-Iranians out of a sense of progressive political internationalism.

Che Guevara died in October 1967 in Bolivia. The group Che died with was international, including Peruvians, Argentinians, Cubans, Bolivians and even two Europeans. Without Soleimani’s presence in Iraq and Syria both of those countries would be under total imperialist domination today, and probably Lebanon as well.

The Iranian revolution is just as international in scope and reach as the Cuban revolution Che was a part of creating and defending. Iran’s critics say they want to turn every Muslim into a Shia and make the laws of Iran the laws of the entire world…. but that is obviously the hubris of the imperialist West – Iran’s progressive goal is not control but liberation of the masses and then their empowerment.

Few Westerners seem to realize that the primary motivation of Che – perhaps the very picture of internationalism –  was undoubtedly Latin American nationalism: his dream was the same as Bolivar’s (and Cuba’s Marti and others in Chile, Nicaragua, etc.). For those who see the anti-imperialist struggle with historical accuracy, there is in an obvious parallel here with the “Muslim World nationalism” of Iran’s Soleimani.

Only the religion-phobes, the uselessly pedantic and the outright Iranophobes and Islamophobes will fail to see that.

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: PaperGeneral Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

It’s no matter to billions of people if such persons remain blind: Just like Soleimani, Che was disavowed by the leading leftists and revolutionaries of his day – the USSR detested Che and his bold resistance to Washington, which few recall. (Like Iran today, Che was appreciative of the Chinese view.) Moscow insisted – in their quite European fashion – that only they should lead and strategise the fight against Western imperialism. In short: now that the USSR had been liberated from foreign imperialism, nobody else needed to take up arms anymore. Of course, at the time of Che’s death the USSR was no longer led by the anti-fascist hero Che affectedly called “Daddy Stalin” – Khrushchev, Brezhnev and finally Gorbachev would grow decadent, corrupt, even renounce Soviet support for international anti-imperialist struggles, and finally wilfully implode the USSR from the very top and against the overwhelming democratic will of the Soviet people.

To the Western leftists – or anywhere else in the world – who can’t see clearly: Why did they kill Soleimani, too? Do they still think he was, to use a term popular in the US around 2003, an “Islamo-fascist”? Washington is certainly fascist, but they are not so very Islamophobic to kill Soleimani over being a Muslim. I hope this group keeps trying – one day they’ll finally understand. 

Che was assassinated because his explicit goal was to create “multiple Vietnams”. Surely many streets will be named after Soleimani in Syria, and Iraq, and even Palestine (if Iran could get some help from Arab nations). Soleimani was undoubtedly a success.

But the invasion, sanctions, re-invasion and occupation of Iraq never motivated the West like Vietnam. Why? Islamophobia, perhaps. The injustice towards Iraqis did, however, motivate Iranians like Soleimani.

Was Che a success? He failed in Bolivia and the Congo, but Cuba remains the “first free country in the Americas”, and many would rightly say the only. Less appreciated is how Cuba fought alongside non-Latin Angola – who had the misfortune of being colonised by the most backwards Western imperialist (Portugal) – and how this directly led to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Che was undoubtedly a success.

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah official

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah officialA top Hezbollah official says the response of the axis of resistance to the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani will be decisive.

In the West Che is only a successful way to make money – his face sells all types of merchandise – but the notion that his ideas are remembered, understood or (LOL) taught is laughable. For the West Che merely symbolises romance, not revolution, politics or morality.

And that’s where this article moves on from placing Soleimani in his proper historical context.

If Iranians think that continuing their revolution is just romance and posing – instead of a necessary self-sacrifice, which is undertaken with no expectation of earthly reward (and in fact more likely to produce quite the contrary), in order to prevent brutality and hate ruining the lives of tens of millions of Iranians – then their revolution will fail. Revolutions often fail: ask the French. They still celebrate it every Bastille Day, but that is more romance and posing.

For those non-Iranians who think the Iranian revolution is not needed globally, and especially regionally, urgently – just go ask an Iraqi, Syrian or Palestinian if they agree. Other countries will be included one day, and I am first thinking of those areas which are so deeply vital to Islamic culture, such as Egypt, Morocco and Arabia. One day the sons and daughters of Che and Soleimani will unite in countries which are neither Muslim nor Latin, Inshallah.

For those who think Soleimani will be the last atrocious slaying it is necessary to recall that the death of Che was only the first – Sukarno, Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy soon followed.

However, we should not forget they were preceded domestically by Malcolm X and John Kennedy – assassination is not at all a new policy for the US, and we should not imagine that suddenly is now. The goal of such assassinations is clear: to discourage future revolutionaries, and also to retard ongoing anti-imperialist movements.

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization Units

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization UnitsThe Iraqi parliament votes to transform Popular Mobilization Units into a legal and separate military corps.

However, I am not worried that the Iranian Revolution will fall with Soleimani, and I mean that with reverence for his sacrifice and achievements: the idea that a popular revolution can (or should) rest on the work of one man alone… this is not revolution, nor popular, but the “great man-ism” of Western capitalism-imperialism. This is Macron, Rhodesia, Louis XIV, Churchill, and, of course, Trump. A successful revolutionary culture produces a system which is able to produce moral and capable leaders over and over and over until the revolution is truly secure – Iranians have more than 40 years of successful revolution upon which to justifiably base their faith in the future, despite these sad days.

Trump has committed an act of war, but a quick, hasty revenge will almost certainly be detrimental to the many just causes Soleimani and others have sacrificed so much for. Soleimani did not become the Muslim Che Guevara and repeatedly triumph over a brutal enemy by placing the good of one person over the good of the nation and the good of the struggle.

Angola provides the best example of how Che’s death should have been dealt with: they launched an anti-imperialist offensive called “Che is not dead”, which proved to be the beginning of the end of Portuguese control over Guinea-Bissau and then of the entire Portuguese empire by 1974.

Thanks in large part to Soleimani’s efforts, after so many decades of Western-led corruption, hate and brutality Iraq appears strong enough that they may even be able to expel the US immediately and even peacefully. I don’t think Soleimani would ask for any greater legacy than that – this is what he died for.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

سليماني: وفاة “مسلم تشي جيفارا” ، لكن الثقافة الثورية مستمرة

بقلم رامين مظاهري

رامين ماظاهري هو المراسل الرئيسي في باريس لتلفزيون برس ، ويقيم في فرنسا منذ عام 2009. عمل مراسلاً لصحيفة يومية في الولايات المتحدة ، وقد نشر تقارير من إيران وكوبا ومصر وتونس وكوريا الجنوبية وأماكن أخرى. وهو مؤلف كتب “سأحطم كل شيء أنت: إنهاء الدعاية الغربية بشأن الصين الحمراء” و “الاشتراكية المتجاهلة النجاح: الاشتراكية الإسلامية الإيرانية” المقبلة.

“لا يمكن لشعب بلا كراهية الانتصار على عدو وحشي” – تشي جيفارا

إن اغتيال قاسم سليماني على أرض العراق سينتج عنه أشياء كثيرة ، ولا شك أن الاستياء والكراهية العالميين لواشنطن هو أحدهما بالفعل.

التقييم في جميع أنحاء العالم هو نفسه: لقد ارتكبت واشنطن عمل حرب. في غمرة دمائهم لعكس ثورة إيران الشعبية والديمقراطية – من أجل الاستمرار في إطعام جشعهم الإمبريالي الجديد الذي لا نهاية له – صدمت واشنطن العالم بأسره لتتذكر مخالفته الوحشية: يتذكر المرء ألم إبرة الطبيب بمزيد من الوضوح أكثر من ألم الأسبوع. مرض طويل ، بعد كل شيء.

سيكون هناك الكثير من التداعيات على هذا العمل الجبان وغير القانوني واللاإنساني – الذي يهدف بشكل مكشوف إلى تحقيق ربح فقط للنخبة الأمريكية وليس المواطن الأمريكي العادي – لدرجة أننا يجب أن نأخذ الوقت لتقييم تاريخياً للتراث الحقيقي لسليماني: المسلم تشي جيفارا.

إنه ليس مجرد “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” لأن هذا لا معنى له في ضوء مُثُل تشي: تمامًا مثل الأرجنتيني ، قضى سليماني سنوات عديدة من حياته يقاتل الإمبريالية الأمريكية في العديد من البلدان وتوفي في النهاية في أرض أجنبية بدافع اليقين في حقيقة الإخاء الدولي.

إن قصر تراث سليماني على “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” ليس له أي معنى أيضًا في ضوء مُثُل الثورة الإيرانية: إن وفاة سليماني تذكر العالم بأن إيران – التي تبدو وحدها في الكفاح ضد الإمبريالية في عام 2019 – تعطي مرارًا وتكرارًا وقتهم وأموالهم ودمائهم ، الحب والعيش لغير الإيرانيين بدافع الإحساس بالأممية السياسية التقدمية.

توفي تشي جيفارا في أكتوبر 1967 في بوليفيا. كانت المجموعة التي مات بها تشي دولية ، بما في ذلك البيروفيين والأرجنتين والكوبيين والبوليفيين وحتى الأوروبيين. وبدون وجود سليماني في العراق وسوريا ، سيكون كلا هذين البلدين تحت السيطرة الإمبريالية الكاملة اليوم ، وربما لبنان أيضًا.

إن الثورة الإيرانية ذات نطاق عالمي ومدى انتشارها كما كانت الثورة الكوبية تشي جزءًا من الإبداع والدفاع. يقول منتقدو إيران إنهم يريدون تحويل كل مسلم إلى شيعة وجعل قوانين إيران قوانين العالم بأسره …. لكن من الواضح أن هذا هو غطرسة الغرب الإمبريالي – فهدف إيران التدريجي ليس السيطرة بل تحرير الجماهير ثم تمكينها.

يبدو أن القليل من الغربيين يدركون أن الدافع الأساسي لتشي – ربما صورة الأممية – كان بلا شك القومية الأمريكية اللاتينية: كان حلمه هو نفسه حلم بوليفار (ومارتي كوبا وغيرها من تشيلي ونيكاراغوا ، إلخ). بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يرون النضال ضد الإمبريالية بدقة تاريخية ، هناك في موازاة واضحة هنا مع “القومية العالم الإسلامي” من سليماني إيران.

فقط رهاب الدين ، الإيرانيين الفاشلين غير المجاهدين والصواب والخوف من الإسلاموفوبس سيفشلون في رؤية ذلك.

لا يهم المليارات من الناس إذا ظل هؤلاء الأشخاص عمياء: تمامًا مثل سليماني ، تم التخلي عن تشي من قبل كبار اليساريين والثوريين في عصره – الاتحاد السوفيتي كره تشي ومقاومته الجريئة لواشنطن ، وهو ما يذكره القليلون. (مثل إيران اليوم ، كان تشي يقدر وجهة النظر الصينية). أصرت موسكو – بأسلوبها الأوروبي تمامًا – على أنها فقط يجب أن تقود وتضع استراتيجية للحرب ضد الإمبريالية الغربية. باختصار: الآن بعد أن تم تحرير الاتحاد السوفيتي من الإمبريالية الأجنبية ، لم يعد هناك من يحتاج إلى حمل السلاح بعد الآن. بالطبع ، في وقت وفاة تشي ، لم يكن الاتحاد السوفييتي يقوده البطل المعادي للفاشية تشي المتأثر “دادي ستالين” – خروشوف ، بريجنيف وأخيراً غورباتشوف سوف يزداد الدعم السوفييتي للانحطاط الدولي المناهض للإمبريالية النضال ، وأخيرا تنفجر عن عمد الاتحاد السوفياتي من القمة وضد الإرادة الديمقراطية الساحقة للشعب السوفياتي.

إلى اليساريين الغربيين – أو في أي مكان آخر في العالم – الذين لا يستطيعون رؤية بوضوح: لماذا قتلوا سليماني أيضًا؟ هل ما زالوا يعتقدون أنه ، لاستخدام مصطلح شائع في الولايات المتحدة حوالي عام 2003 ، “فاشي إسلامي”؟ من المؤكد أن واشنطن فاشية ، لكنهم ليسوا من الإسلاميين الذين يقتلون سليماني بسبب كونهم مسلمين. آمل أن تستمر هذه المجموعة في المحاولة – في يوم ما سيفهمون في النهاية.

تم اغتيال تشي لأن هدفه الواضح كان إنشاء “فيتنام متعددة”. بالتأكيد سيتم تسمية العديد من الشوارع باسم سليماني في سوريا والعراق وحتى فلسطين (إذا كانت إيران قد تحصل على بعض المساعدة من الدول العربية). كان سليماني بلا شك نجاحًا.

لكن الغزو والعقوبات وإعادة الغزو والاحتلال للعراق لم يحفز الغرب مثل فيتنام. لماذا ا؟ رهاب الإسلام ، ربما. ومع ذلك ، فإن الظلم تجاه العراقيين قد حفز الإيرانيين مثل سليماني.

كان تشي النجاح؟ لقد فشل في بوليفيا والكونغو ، لكن كوبا لا تزال “أول بلد حر في الأمريكتين” ، وكثيرون سيقولون بحق فقط. أما الأمر الأقل تقديراً فهو كيف قاتلت كوبا إلى جانب أنغولا غير اللاتينية – التي عانت من سوء حظ الاستعمار من قبل الإمبرياليين الغربيين الأكثر تخلفاً (البرتغال) – وكيف أدى ذلك مباشرة إلى نهاية نظام الفصل العنصري في جنوب إفريقيا. كان تشي بلا شك نجاحًا.

في الغرب ، ليست تشي سوى وسيلة ناجحة لكسب المال – وجهه يبيع جميع أنواع البضائع – لكن فكرة أن أفكاره يتم تذكرها أو فهمها أو تعليمها (LOL) أمر مضحك. بالنسبة للغرب ، تشي فقط ترمز إلى الرومانسية وليس إلى الثورة أو السياسة أو الأخلاق.

وهنا ينتقل هذا المقال من وضع سليماني في سياقه التاريخي المناسب.

إذا كان الإيرانيون يعتقدون أن استمرار ثورتهم هو مجرد حب وتظاهر – بدلاً من التضحية بالنفس الضرورية ، والتي يتم القيام بها دون توقع لمكافأة دنيوية (وفي الواقع من المرجح أن تنتج عكس ذلك تمامًا) ، من أجل منع الوحشية والكراهية تدمير حياة عشرات الملايين من الإيرانيين – ثم ثورتهم ستفشل. الثورات غالبا ما تفشل: اسأل الفرنسيين. ما زالوا يحتفلون به في كل يوم من أيام الباستيل ، لكن هذا هو المزيد من الرومانسية والتظاهر.

بالنسبة لأولئك غير الإيرانيين الذين يعتقدون أن الثورة الإيرانية ليست ضرورية على المستوى العالمي ، وخاصة على المستوى الإقليمي ، على وجه السرعة – ما عليك سوى أن تسأل عراقيًا أو سوريًا أو فلسطينيًا إذا وافقوا على ذلك. سيتم إدراج بلدان أخرى في يوم من الأيام ، وأنا أفكر أولاً في تلك المجالات التي تعتبر حيوية للغاية للثقافة الإسلامية ، مثل مصر والمغرب والجزيرة العربية. في يوم من الأيام ، سيتحد أبناء وبنات تشي وسليماني في بلدان ليست مسلمة ولا لاتينية ، إن شاء الله.

بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يعتقدون أن سليماني سيكون آخر جريمة قتل فظيعة ، من الضروري أن نتذكر أن وفاة تشي كانت الأولى فقط – سوكارنو ونكروما وبن بيلا ومارتن لوثر كينغ وروبرت كينيدي سرعان ما تبع ذلك.

ومع ذلك ، لا ينبغي لنا أن ننسى أن مالكوم إكس وجون كينيدي سبقهما على الصعيد المحلي – الاغتيال ليس على الإطلاق سياسة جديدة للولايات المتحدة ، ويجب ألا نتصور أن الأمر أصبح مفاجئًا الآن. هدف مثل هذه الاغتيالات واضح: لتثبيط الثوار في المستقبل ، وكذلك تأخير الحركات المستمرة المناهضة للإمبريالية.

ومع ذلك ، لست قلقًا من سقوط الثورة الإيرانية مع سليماني ، وأعني بذلك تقديسًا لتضحياته وإنجازاته: فكرة أن الثورة الشعبية يمكن (أو ينبغي) أن تعتمد على عمل رجل واحد بمفرده … هذه ليست ثورة ، ولا شعبية ، ولكن “العظم العظيم” للإمبريالية الغربية. هذا هو ماكرون ، روديسيا ، لويس الرابع عشر ، تشرشل ، وبطبيعة الحال ، ترامب. تنتج الثقافة الثورية الناجحة نظامًا قادرًا على إنتاج قادة أخلاقيين وقادرين مرارًا وتكرارًا حتى تصبح الثورة آمنة حقًا – يتمتع الإيرانيون بأكثر من 40 عامًا من الثورة الناجحة التي يمكن أن يبني عليها إيمانهم في المستقبل ، على الرغم من هؤلاء أيام حزينة.

لقد ارتكب ترامب عملا حربيا ، ولكن من المؤكد أن الانتقام السريع المتسرع سيضر بالكثير من الأسباب العادلة التي ضحى بها سليماني وآخرون ضحوا بالكثير من أجلها. لم يصبح سليماني المسلم تشي غيفارا وانتصر مرارًا وتكرارًا على عدو وحشي من خلال وضع مصلحة شخص واحد على خير الأمة وخير النضال.

تقدم أنغولا أفضل مثال على كيفية التعامل مع وفاة تشي: لقد شنوا هجومًا معاديًا للإمبريالية أطلق عليه “تشي لم يمت” ، والذي أثبت أنه بداية نهاية السيطرة البرتغالية على غينيا بيساو ثم الإمبراطورية البرتغالية بأكملها بحلول عام 1974.

ويرجع الفضل في ذلك إلى حد كبير إلى جهود سليماني ، بعد عقود طويلة من الفساد بقيادة الغرب ، والكراهية والوحشية ، يبدو أن العراق قوي بما يكفي حتى يتمكن من طرد الولايات المتحدة على الفور وحتى بسلام. لا أعتقد أن سليماني سيطلب أي إرث أكبر من ذلك – هذا ما مات من أجله.

(الآراء المعبر عنها في هذا المقال لا تعكس بالضرورة آراء Press TV).

Related Videos

Crimes against Humanity: US Sanctions Harm One Third of World’s People

Global Research, December 05, 2019
Workers World 3 December 2019

The most insidious and pervasive form of modern warfare by Wall Street and the Pentagon, acting in coordination, is passing largely unnoticed and unchallenged. This calculated attack is rolling back decades of progress in health care, sanitation, housing, essential infrastructure and industrial development all around the world.

Almost every developing country attempting any level of social programs for its population is being targeted.

U.S. imperialism and its junior partners have refined economic strangulation into a devastating weapon. Sanctions in the hands of the dominant military and economic powers now cause more deaths than bombs or guns. This weapon is stunting the growth of millions of youth and driving desperate migrations, dislocating tens of millions.

‘A crime against humanity’

Sanctions and economic blockades against Venezuela, Cuba and Iran are well known. But the devastating impacts of U.S. sanctions on occupied Palestine — or on already impoverished countries such as Mali, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Fiji, Nicaragua and Laos — are not even on the radar screen of human rights groups.

Most sanctions are intentionally hidden; they don’t generate even a line of news. Some sanctions are quickly passed after a sudden news article about an alleged atrocity. The civilians who will suffer have nothing to do with whatever crime the corporate media use as an excuse. What are never mentioned are the economic or political concessions the U.S. government or corporations are seeking.

Sanctions cannot be posed as an alternative to war. They are in fact the most brutal form of warfare, deliberately targeting the most defenseless civilians — youth, the elderly, sick and disabled people. In a period of human history when hunger and disease are scientifically solvable, depriving hundreds of millions from getting basic necessities is a crime against humanity.

International law and conventions, including the Geneva and Nuremberg Conventions, United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly prohibit the targeting of defenseless civilians, especially in times of war.

Sanctions draw condemnation

Modern industrial society is built on a fragile web of essential technology. If pumps and sewage lines, elevators and generators can’t function due to lack of simple spare parts, entire cities can be overwhelmed by swamps. If farmers are denied seed, fertilizer, field equipment and storage facilities, and if food, medicine and essential equipment are deliberately denied, an entire country is at risk.

The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, spoke to the XVIII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 26. Addressing the 120 countries represented, he denounced the imposition of arbitrary measures, called “sanctions” by the U.S., as “economic terrorism which affects a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures in 39 countries.”

This terrorism, he said, constitutes a “threat to the entire system of international relations and is the greatest violation of human rights in the world.” (tinyurl.com/uwlm99r)

The Group of 77 and China, an international body based at the U.N. and representing 134 developing countries, called upon “the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries.”

The Group explained:

“The criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority of their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in.”

The power of banks

The mechanism and the ability of one country or one vote to destroy a country on the other side of the world are not well understood.

International capital uses the dollar system. All international transactions go through U.S. banks. These banks are in a position to block money transfers for the smallest transaction and to confiscate billions of dollars held by targeted governments and individuals. They are also in a position to demand that every other bank accept sudden restrictions imposed from Washington or face sanctions themselves.

This is similar to how the U.S. Navy can claim the authority to intercept ships and interrupt trade anywhere, or the U.S. Army can target people with drones and invade countries without even asking for a declaration of war.

Sometimes a corporate media outlet, a U.S.-funded “human rights” group or a financial institution issues charges, often unsubstantiated, of human rights violations, or political repression, drug trafficking, terrorist funding, money laundering, cyber-security infractions, corruption or non-compliance with an international financial institution. These charges become the opening wedge for a demand for sanctions as punishment.

Sanctions can be imposed through a U.S. Congressional resolution or Presidential declaration or be authorized by a U.S. government agency, such as the departments of the Treasury, Commerce, State or Defense. The U.S. might apply pressure to get support from the European Union, the U.N. Security Council or one of countless U.S.-established regional security organizations, such as the Organization of American States.

A U.S. corporate body that wants a more favorable trade deal is able to influence numerous agencies or politicians to act on its behalf. Deep-state secret agencies, military contractors, nongovernmental organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, and numerous corporate-funded foundations maneuver to create economic dislocation and pressure resource-rich countries.

Even sanctions that appear mild and limited can have a devastating impact. U.S. officials will claim that some sanctions are only military sanctions, needed to block weapons sales. But under the category of possible “dual use,” the bans include chlorine needed to purify water, pesticides, fertilizers, medical equipment, simple batteries and spare parts of any kind.

Another subterfuge is sanctions that supposedly apply only to government officials or specific agencies. But in fact any and every transaction they carry out can be blocked while endless inquiries are held. Anonymous bank officials can freeze all transactions in progress and scrutinize all accounts a country holds. Any form of sanctions, even against individuals, raises the cost and risk level for credit and loans.

There are more than 6,300 names on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List of individuals sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The OFAC describes its role this way:

“OFAC administers a number of different sanctions programs. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.”

There is also a Financial Action Task Force list and an International Traffic in Arms Regulations list.

The sanctions weapon has become so extensive that there is now a whole body of law to guide U.S. corporations and banks in navigating sales, credit and loans. It is intended to be opaque, murky and open to interpretation, payoffs and subterfuge. There seems to be no single online site that lists all the different countries and individuals under U.S. sanctions.

Once a country is sanctioned, it must then “negotiate” with various U.S. agencies that demand austerity measures, elections that meet Western approval, cuts in social programs, and other political and economic concessions to get sanctions lifted.

Sanctions are an essential part of U.S. regime change operations, designed in the most cynical way to exact maximum human cost. Sudden hyperinflation, economic disruption and unexpected shortages are then hypocritically blamed on the government in office in the sanctioned country. Officials are labeled inept or corrupt.

Agencies carefully monitor the internal crisis they are creating to determine the optimum time to impose regime change or manufacture a color revolution. The State Department and U.S. covert agencies fund numerous NGOs and social organizations that instigate dissent. These tactics have been used in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan and many other countries.

A weapon of imperialism in decline

Gone are the days of Marshall Plan-type promises of rebuilding, trade, loans and infrastructure development. They are not even offered in this period of capitalist decay. The sanctions weapon is now such a pervasive instrument that hardly a week goes by without new sanctions, even on past allies.

In October the U.S. threatened harsh sanctions on Turkey, a 70-year member of the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance.

On Nov. 27, Trump suddenly announced, by presidential decree, harsher sanctions on Nicaragua, calling it a “National Security Threat.” He also declared Mexico a “terrorist” threat and refused to rule out military intervention. Both countries have democratically elected governments.

Other sanctions sail through the U.S. Congress without a roll call vote — just a cheer and a unanimous voice vote, such as the sanctions on Hong Kong in support of U.S.-funded protests.

Why Wall Street can’t be sanctioned 

Is there any possibility that the U.S. could be sanctioned for its endless wars under the same provisions by which it has asserted the right to wreak havoc on other countries?

The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, in November 2017 asked the Hague-based ICC to open formal investigations of war crimes committed by the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Afghan forces, and the U.S. military and the CIA.

The very idea of the U.S. being charged with war crimes led then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton to threaten judges and other ICC officials with arrest and sanction if they even considered any charge against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said. He noted that the U.S. “is prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any U.S. personnel. … We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. … We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.” (The Guardian, Sept. 10, 2018)

Bolton also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations. The ICC judges got the message. They ruled that despite “a reasonable basis” to consider war crimes committed in Afghanistan, there was little chance of a successful prosecution. An investigation “would not serve the interests of justice.”

Chief Prosecutor Bensouda, for proposing an even-handed inquiry, had her U.S. visa revoked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sanctions are a weapon in the capitalist world order used by the most powerful countries against those that are weaker and developing. One hundred years ago, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson advocated sanctions as a quiet but lethal weapon that exerts pressure no nation in the modernworld can withstand.

Sanctions demonstrate how capitalist laws protect the right of eight multibillionaires to own more than the population of half the world.

U.N. sanctions demanded by Washington

The U.S., with the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet and 800 military bases, claims — while engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya — that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the greatest threats to world peace.

In the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. succeeded in winning harsh new sanctions against Iran and the DPRK by threatening, on the eve of “war games,” that the U.S. would escalate hostilities to an open military attack.

This threat proved sufficient to get other Security Council members to fall in line and either vote for sanctions or abstain.

These strong-arm tactics have succeeded again and again. During the Korean War, when the U.S. military was saturation-bombing Korea, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Warren Austin held up a submachine gun in the Security Council to demand expanded authority in the war from that body.

Throughout the 1990s the U.S. government used sanctions on Iraq as a horrendous social experiment to calculate how to drastically lower caloric intake, destroy crop output and ruin water purification. The impact of these sanctions were widely publicized — as a threat to other countries.

Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children who died as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iraq, replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Iran are book-length, spanning 40 years since the Iranian Revolution. The blockade and sanctions on Cuba have continued for 60 years.

Sanctions Kill campaign

It is an enormous political challenge to break the media silence and expose this crime. We need to put a human face on the suffering.

Targeted countries cannot be left to struggle by themselves in isolation  — there must be full solidarity with their efforts. The sheer number of countries being starved into compliance via U.S.-imposed sanctions must be dragged into the light of day. And one step in challenging the injustice of capitalist property relations is to attack the criminal role of the banks.

The effort to rally world opinion against sanctions as a war crime is beginning with a call for International Days of Action Against Sanctions & Economic War on March 13-15, 2020. Its slogans are “Sanctions Kill! Sanctions Are War! End Sanctions Now!”

These coordinated international demonstrations are a crucial first step. Research and testimony; resolutions by unions, student groups, cultural workers and community organizations; social media campaigns; and bringing medical supplies and international relief to sanctioned countries can all play a role. Every kind of political campaign to expose the international crime of sanctions is a crucial contribution.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from WW

What Keeps the Rich Up at Night Should Provide Inspiration to the Poor

By Danny Haiphong

Source

Halloween House 83e6d

Halloween in America is a time to be frightened of horror films, costumes, and the health consequences of consuming too much candy. Horror films and costumes represent a fictionalized terror, one that deeply satisfies and reminds us of our own vulnerability. U.S. imperialism is a centuries-long nightmare that goes bump in the night. The terror of U.S. imperialism is very real and much scarier than anything Halloween has to offer. At the foundation of U.S. imperialism is a broad array of contradictions between the rulers of imperialism and those who suffer from imperial rule. It is only logical, then, that what keeps the rich up at night should provide inspiration and fuel to the cause of the poor and oppressed.

The ruling class in the United States, that .001 percent of the population which owns the means of production, takes on a “god”-like stature in American life. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the rest are largely hidden from public life. Instead, a host of hirelings in the corporate media and in the halls of Washington articulate their ideological and policy interests. Celebrities glorify the lifestyle of billionaires through corporate-controlled distributors of culture also known as the television, film, and music industries. Politicians further normalize the “godliness” of the ruling class by ignoring their influence or defending their rule as a matter of democracy and “national security.” Of course, the deification of class rule would not be possible without the repressive and white supremacist state apparatus which imposes a regime of terror on the most dispossessed and darker hued peoples of the planet.

The United States, as the commander in chief of imperialist plunder, makes it as difficult as possible for poor workers and oppressed peoples to find inspiration from the maladies plaguing the rich. Corporate media and official Washington ignore or demonize those activists and journalists who fight to turn the nightmares of the rich into opportunities for social transformation. In Latin America, for example, millions are standing up to neoliberal rule. Bolivia and Argentina have elected leftist governments in recent weeks. The people of Chile have taken to the streets for over three weeks in opposition to neoliberal austerity. These developments have received little attention and zero positive coverage in the United States.

The surge of leftism in Latin America is not the only nightmare keeping the U.S. ruling class up at night. Imperialism, the system of monopoly and finance capital that the ruling class presides over, is in a state of crisis on several fronts. On the military front, Syria’s resilience in the face of eight years of proxy war has left the U.S. with few options to achieve its ultimate objective of full spectrum dominance in the region. The U.S.’s regime change war in Syria has failed and the head-chopping jihadists that the CIA and the Pentagon empowered are fighting alongside Turkey in a final standoff with the Syrian Arab Army. Trump’s mere signaling toward pulling U.S. troops from occupied Northern Syria has inspired great fear in the Pentagon and the military industrial complex generally. The Pentagon has since convinced Trump to double down on its occupation of Syria to ensure that the vast oil reserves in its northern territory cannot be used for reconstruction and development.

Military expansionism is often thought of a show of strength. However, in the case of the rich, reliance upon military force both at home and abroad help mask the broad decline of imperial rule. U.S. capitalism has become a short-term boon for the few and a long-term burden for the many. The U.S.’ share in the world economy is a fraction of what it was when it became the imperial superpower following World War II. Overall growth is virtually frozen. Workers haven’t seen a pay raise in forty years. Poverty, debt, and precarity are the only guarantees for nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population living under dead-end capitalism. Destroying the lives of whistleblowers like Julian Assange through massive investments in military and surveillance technology helps maintain the rule of the rich in the face of mass misery.

Economic decline and military expansionism are nightmares not because profits aren’t being made, but because the prospect of rebellion and unrest is the most frightening nightmare scenario for the rich. The U.S. capitalist economy is due for a periodic economic crisis on top of the 2007-2008 crash that workers have yet to recover from. Bernie Sanders and the revival of the word “socialism” among young workers are outgrowths of dead-end capitalism. The 2020 election has placed a spotlight on the fissures within the Democratic Party, once known for its iron-clad ability to keep social movements and left politics within the safe and corporate-controlled confines of the electoral arena. Democratic Party and Republican Party lieutenants are no longer seen as legitimate representatives of working-class Americans, which is why Sanders has become the most popular politician in the country and why Donald Trump, a billionaire with no political credentials, will likely win another presidential term should the Democratic Party choose to decapitate the Sanders campaign for a second time in four years.

While the many nightmarish aspects of system decline keep the rich up at night, they should inspire poor and working-class people to rise up against the system. Yet mass uprisings in the United States are not a common occurrence. Bernie Sanders is waging an electorally based movement inside of a corporate-controlled party. Labor unions such as the Chicago Teachers Union have used the weapon of the strike to unite oppressed communities to fight privatization and cutbacks to education. But this model is not the norm across the country. Despite an upsurge in labor unrest, many unions opt for a business model of organization that privileges compromises with the boss over the development of grassroots movements that threaten the entrenched power of capitalist bosses at the point of production. The UAW’s recent agreement that maintains a tiered workforce among other concessions to the bosses show the struggling occurring inside the American labor movement.

This is not to say that the strikes that occurred in Chicago schools and GM plants across the U.S. were not sources of inspiration. It is important, however, to analyze why the crisis of U.S. imperialism has not led to a massive rebellion inside of the United States. The fact remains that the working class in the United States is the most alienated class in human history. White supremacy and corporate power have never been more entrenched anywhere else in the world. Workers not only contend with their bosses, but also the largest military and police-state ever known. Workers not only search for a way to live under a low-wage capitalist system, but also do so in the presence of six corporations which own ninety percent of all media in the United States. There is thus no shortage of despair and distraction to keep workers in the United States from standing up to the powerful and uniting with the powerless.

Just like everything on this planet, systems are subjected to laws of scientific development. Systems rise and then fall due to their own inherent contradictions. The crises described in this article only scratch the surface of the contradictions facing U.S. imperialism at this juncture of history. Many of these contradictions are developing in a manner that should inspire workers and poor people in the U.S. to become agents of history. The people of Chile the people of Bolivia, and the people of Syria are revolting against the same system that is incarcerating, surveilling, and impoverishing workers in the United States. Their example should provide as much inspiration to U.S.-based social justice efforts as they inspire fear and dread in the rich.

Kill Your Inner John Bolton

By  Caitlin Johnstone

Source

John Bolton 2 495f3

We each have a miniature John Bolton living rent-free inside our heads, ruining our peace and promoting world domination at every opportunity.

Hear me out.

The most common objection I hear when I advocate non-interventionist foreign policy can essentially be boiled down to something like, “But- but- but if we’re not controlling the world all the time, then the world will be out of our control!” The argument, as I understand it, is that if the US-centralized empire stopped waging endless wars, staging coups, inflicting siege warfare upon civilian populations, patrolling the skies with flying death robots, arming terrorist militias, and torturing journalists who expose US war crimes, the bad guys might win.

The thing I find funny about this argument, apart from the obvious, is that this is also the basic objection that the mind makes when the body is seated in meditation.

“This is all fine,” the mind interrupts constantly while the meditator struggles to find peace. “But there are tasks we must attend to, and there are wrong people on the internet who simply must be put in their place. Life is cold and hostile and we must protect and secure ourselves against it if we’re to be safe. You can keep sitting there doing that breathing nonsense if you must, but I’ve got plans, schemes and witty comebacks to formulate. The world simply cannot get by without my being there to control it.”

The best kind of meditation happens to be the same as best kind of foreign policy: you simply allow everything to be as it is. You sit without trying to manipulate or control any aspect of your experience. Since all mental suffering is ultimately born of the mind’s habit of trying to control life to protect and secure the interests of the illusory ego, the path to inner peace is therefore the same as the path to world peace: just allow things to be as they are.

In this form of meditation, you don’t try to force your mind to concentrate on anything in particular, or engage in any kind of manipulation at all. Thoughts come up about things that need to get done, and you just allow those thoughts to be as they are. Feelings come up about people who have wronged us in the past or stressful situations in the future, and you let them be, without getting involved. Everything which arises in your field of consciousness is given full permission to be as it is, without any mental interventionism.

When you sit in this way, the mind doesn’t really know what to do. It’s only ever existed in the context of conflict and control, so eventually it just lays down and relaxes, like a child throwing a tizzy who the mother just ignores.

It turns out that there is a deep and pervasive peace underlying everyone’s field of consciousness, and the only thing which keeps us from noticing it is our mental habit of continually fighting to control life in various ways. When we can relax and just allow our field of consciousness to be as it is, we notice ourselves beholding it with benevolent detachment, because the deep and pervasive peace underlying the appearance of all forms is in fact our true nature.

But it takes a leap of faith. It takes a decision to trust the world to handle its own affairs. It takes a conscious decision to honor the sovereignty of everyone and everything. Exactly as non-interventionist foreign policy would.

In exactly the same way that Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton argues that the “anarchic international environment” is so dangerous that any means necessary must be employed to bring it under control, we too have a shrill, mustachioed voice in our heads continually arguing that life must be brought to heel at any cost. But in both cases it is the agenda to control the world, and the inability to simply trust it, which is our real enemy. Our enemy is not a cold, hostile world which resists our attempts to control it, no: our enemy is the John Boltons, both within and without.

The natural, default position of both human consciousness and human civilization is peace. It is only by the most rigorous efforts to control and manipulate our world that we drag ourselves kicking and screaming out of that natural state. We will come to peace, both within and without, when we choose to trust the world and take that leap of faith into our true nature. The path to all peace necessarily follows this one unifying trajectory.

And until then of course the objections will continue. “What about the Russians?” “What about the Chinese?” “What about the wrong people on the internet?” But the thing about those objections is they’re quickly becoming irrelevant: humanity simply cannot keep doing things the way it is doing them. We are fast approaching a point where we will either sharply diverge from our current trajectory and make drastic, sweeping changes, or we will all perish due to nuclear war or ecological collapse.

One way or the other the sun will rise one day upon a world without any John Boltons, either in our heads or in Washington, DC. The only say we have in the matter is in whether this will happen because we chose to rid ourselves of the evil mutant death walruses who are driving us toward death and destruction, or because they succeeded in doing so.

US Empire: The Reality of the “Greater United States”

Global Research, August 09, 2019

The US Empire is not a term you will commonly hear when people refer to the United States of America. Nor is the Greater United States, American Empire or even just Empire. There is something of a taboo quality to using the word empire to refer to the US. Yet, that is precisely what it is. With numerous territories and land acquisitions, around 1000+ military bases worldwide and the ability to project its power to influence and coerce foreign territories and nations, the USA is the biggest empire the world has ever known. Countless foreign nations, victims of US aggression and invasion, have denounced the US for its imperialism, a word with the same etymological root as empire. So why is it so strange to describe it as the US Empire?

USA: From Republic to Empire

It is a telling example that the American experiment in self-governance has turned out like this. What began as an attempt to set up one of the most limited, constrained and decentralized governments ever has transmogrified into a sprawling empire whose breadth, power and influence is unprecedented in world history. Those who believe humanity should run society without government (anarchists) based only on voluntary cooperation (voluntaryists) point to the results of the American experiment as proof that government by its very nature grows out of control. The results, they say, show that no matter what limits you attempt to put on government, they can always be undone, because politicians can simply change laws and find way to bypass constitutions once they are in power. For one example of many, look at how the US bypassed many privacy and surveillance laws in the Bill of Rights by dreaming up a new idea (terrorism), defining it in law (first international terrorists, then domestic terrorists), changing the definition to describe their political enemies (gun carriers, conspiracy theorists), then applying that by name-calling its citizens. Suddenly, the usual rules don’t apply when terrorism and the fake war on terror are invoked. All of this is gives credence to the idea that no government is better than small government in the anarchy vs minarchy debate.

US Empire Greater United States

The actual Greater United States. Image credit: Daniel Immerwahr

US Empire Land Acquisition

Right from the start, the US has always looked west. The original 13 colonies soon expanded. Just to name a few highlights, the US Republic bought Louisiana from the French in 1803, annexed Texas in 1845 and took California away from Mexico in 1848 (at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War). The US then expanded further, such that it then had a mainland of 48 contiguous states and territory beyond that. It bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 and it conquered Hawaii in 1893 after a coup by a small group of rich landowners put a gun to the head of Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani. A watershed moment in the history of the US Empire, and its land and territory acquisition, came in 1898. At that time, the Spanish colonial Empire was falling, and Spain was having problems quelling dissent in its colonies such as Cuba. Through a false flag operation revolving around the USS Maine, the USA entered the conflict (named the Spanish-American War), defeated Spain and established itself as a new colonial and imperial power. While it was at it, it either purchased or annexed the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and Wake Island. Thus, by end of the 19th century, the US had already transformed itself into the US Empire. In this video and in his book, Daniel Immerwahr makes the point that around this time, Americans began to redraw their maps and take pride in their new status; however later on, they sought more to play down and hide their power, figuring it would serve them better to keep it concealed. At one point in the video clip, Immerwahr tells the story of an American GI soldier in the Philippines during WW2, who was told by a Filipino that the US had colonized the Philippines, but didn’t realize it. “What?” he said, thinking he was fighting in a foreign country not on US territory, “We colonized you?”

Hiding the Empire: 1000+ Military Bases

Fast forward around 120 years, and just look at the state of affairs. The US emerged as the sole world superpower after WW2, but unlike the British Empire, it decided not to outright conquer or annex territory, but rather to build military installations on virtually every continent. The US hides the official number of its military bases so as to conceal the true extent of its imperial reach, however based on the research of people like Chalmers Johnson and Nick Turse, we know that it is at least 1000 bases, and quite probably more. Johnson died in 2010, but in a talk now removed from YouTube claims that in 2004, the Pentagon’s official number was 725 (as published in the Base Structure Report). However, he acknowledged that the Pentagon disguised many of its bases and had 300+ unacknowledged ones. Turse has written many articles and books on the topic of US military bases including this 2019 one Bases, Bases, Everwhere … Except in the Pentagon’s Report:

“Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.”

To put this number in perspective, the emerging rivals to the US Empire have barely any foreign military bases: Russia has 21 (according to this source) and China has 2.

Hallmark of the US Empire: The Projection of Power without Annexation of Territory

The rulers of the United States Inc. have done a very good job of concealing the power and reach of the US Empire. Through domestic propaganda, they have obscured the reality of the empire such that not many Americans make the connection. They have also avoided colonizing too many weaker nations, instead preferring to project power without actually annexing land. This is achieved through economic warfare such as forcing smaller nations to buy US products, or the infamous use of sanctions as accelerated by Trump against nations like Venezuela and Iran. Then there is also the method described by former economic hitman John Perkins.

But, but … the US is a Republic, Right?

Some people at this point may say, “Well, the US may be an Empire, but its form of government is still a Constitutional Republic. Therefore, the US is a Republic.” Yes, the US is a republic in the sense that it has (highly controlled) elections where (s)elected individuals ascend to power, however, despite this form of governance, the US still behaves as an imperial bully, aggressor and invader to nations outside of it. That behavior is what defines it as an empire. In this context, the word “republic” means nothing. Have you noticed the irony with which nations around the world use the word republic in their official country titles? Both of the communist totalitarian nations of China and North Korea are “republics” since they are called People’s Republic of China and Democratic People’s Republic of Korearespectively. Never mind the censorship and control via social credit. In the so-called “free” West, in the Federal Republic of Germany, if you investigate the truth about the Holocaust you can be fined or imprisoned. In the French Republic, people are so taxed to the hilt they donned yellow vests to spark a worldwide protest movement. Republic means “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.” Do you really think the people hold the supreme power in the US, China, North Korea, Germany or France?

Conclusion

Words have power. Propagandists and magicians alike know this, since they know words help to mold perception and create reality. This is why you “spell” words, since uttered words are like a (magic) spell. The power of the US Empire lies in its narrative control and perception control. Whoever controls words, controls narrative; whoever controls narrative, controls perception. It’s a simple formula. Orwell’s great work 1984 showed what can come from word control. The question we must ask ourselves here is this: why is it so strange, uncomfortable and unfamiliar to call a spade a spade, and to admit internally to ourselves and externally to others that the USA is an empire? Surely this uncomfortability itself is evidence of the magic of word control and propaganda. Are we so programmed and conditioned with ideas of “USA = freedom and democracy” that we can’t fathom the idea of a US Empire? If so, then it is more crucial than ever that people begin to use terms like US Empire and Greater United States to take a small yet bold step of breaking the conditioning that holds them in chains.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on The Freedom Articles.

Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com. Makia is on Steemit and FB.

Sources

*https://thefreedomarticles.com/anarchy-vs-minarchy-pros-cons/

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-mz7x2RAmI

*https://www.salon.com/2019/01/11/bases-bases-everywhere-except-in-the-pentagons-report_partner/

*https://theintercept.com/2018/12/01/u-s-military-says-it-has-a-light-footprint-in-africa-these-documents-show-a-vast-network-of-bases/

*https://www.newsweek.com/russias-military-compared-us-which-country-has-more-military-bases-across-954328

*https://thefreedomarticles.com/google-project-dragonfly-helps-china-censorship/

*https://thefreedomarticles.com/sesame-credit-gamification-control/

Featured image is from The Freedom Articles

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

August 02, 2019

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plusJustice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

For a brief moment in human history, or what feels like only a fraction of a second now, the United States of America experienced a mirage of a position, dubbed a “superpower,” self-appointed1. Those who lacked ethical and moral imagination went along with that coronation2. Or, perhaps they were just humoring it until a better replacement came along3.

Internally and externally, the United States maintained its illusion of superpower status through the application of diverse tools, some hard and harsh, some soft, and some gray in nature. On the economic front, it mass produced an industrial-scale fiat currency4 as a trading tool and adopted games of chance, fundamentals of speculation5 and gambling as its “genius” economic principles. It manufactured large bubbles of debt6, mimicking a toddler’s birthday party, then divided and sold the airs within as investment bonds. The illusion of trust in an untrustworthy entity was the collateral. No worries though. Whenever the time got ripe and the bubbles burst, sophisticated air-capturing devices and adjustment tools were customized, nicely packaged, and were readied for retail. The hamster on the wheel of finance kept on running but never arriving; alas, the chicanery of economic progress was kept alive.

On the military front, the United States dropped two atomic bombs killing and genetically maiming hundreds of thousands of people for generations to come. In the Eyewitness Account of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945, Father John A. Siemes, then a professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo’s Catholic University, concluded his remarks by saying:

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

While the “moralists” on whom Father Siemes pinned his hopes seventy four years ago were too busy theorizing about their own slumber, the United States of America stockpiled thousands of ready-to-be-deployed nuclear bombs, as fear-inducing threat tools. It deviated enormous amounts of world’s precious resources into the development of military hardware and software gadgets, using “defense” and “American interest” as its rationale8. It then created chaos and mayhem all over the planet9 as its pressure lever to sell death toys to teeny-weeny boys10—expensive batteries not included and costly -900- numbers for instructions on operations and maintenance11.

On the public relations and propaganda front, it used industrial-scale colorful media forms12 as its tool to lie, to cheat, and to fool. It is useful to remember that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, freely burnt alive and made melted charcoals13 of tens of its own defenseless and unarmed mothers, fathers, and children in Mt. Carmel, Waco, Texas14. It bravely broadcasted, live, the entire event on several television networks for days to nip it in the bud for its own agitated population exactly how low it is capable of sinking to maintain its clutch and subdue dissent. For sure, that trick alone silenced many for a few years, Timothy McVeigh15 and his disloyal company excluded, while it worked on another script for another terror-inducing spectacular performance. Too many tricks to remember and too many tools to recount in this short essay; but at last, the jig is up.

Internally, the house has fallen on moral, ethical, justice, and economic grounds, but has forgotten to collapse. Those who cannot see this need corrective lenses or the right standards to evaluate and measure things. Externally, and more relevant to our topic here, the structure of the world’s power relations and alignments are changing rapidly in a tangible and measureable way away from the United States’16 autocratic clutch. While the self-absorbed and the infatuated speak of dangers of a power vacuum, others are quite busy realigning themselves. Let us remind ourselves of Saxon White Kissinger’s poem about delusions of indispensability,

“Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.”17

Coalitions, partnerships, and algebraically aligned groups of countries around the globe, some with hybrid letter-number titles of “this plus that minus the other,” are emerging left, right, and center. Even multi-billioners, themselves cheerleaders and enablers of the Empire of Illusions, are busy, like rats, circling the globe door to door to release their poisonous capital in the hope of infesting another Titanic, another morality-free sinking ship into making. There is a buzz that George Soros is trying to establish his own anti-war ‘Code Pink’ group (should name it Code Navy Blue, perhaps). No doubt, the irony would not have been lost to George Orwell had he lived to see it.

Enough eulogizing. What do all these mean, or should mean, to ordinary people and local community groups around the world? That is, for what, where, when, why, and how should the very people who often shoulder the brunt of all the dregs that roll downhill prepare themselves? For the rest of us, too, no matter what positions we hold and what relationships we have with the rest of the world, the same questions apply. I and the local community groups with and within which I work are grappling with these questions on a daily basis. We are doing what we can to ensure that our short and borrowed lives on this earth is worth the breaths we take. Many of us find ourselves feeling increasingly fortunate to live in Iran where doing so many things in so many ways is possible. More fortunately for us, the general frameworks within which we ask questions, analyze situations, design solutions, and implement them are all intertwined and enmeshed in our culture and belief system: Quran, Our Prophet’s and Imams’ teachings, and an important element called “Al-Hekmah” or the Wisdom. So, how do we evaluate the current transformations in the world around us and how do we try to choose the correct position and make a difference? Here, I present a brief and simple snapshot of our local-universal eye-view.

Firstly, Quran’s ethical teachings, as exemplified through the words and deeds of our Prophet, Imams, and pious scholars, tell us that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam. As Allammeh Seyyed Hassan Modarres (1249 – 1316 HS, parallel in date with 1870-1937 AD), a religious sage and one of the champions of Iranian Constitutional movement, said in one of his most famous speeches, and Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Revolution, quoted, “Siasat-e ma eyn_e dianat_e ma, va Dianat_e ma eyn_e Sia’sat_e mast.” (“Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”) The paragraph from which the line is borrowed reads,

“The source of our politics is our religion. We are on friendly terms with the entire world so long as they have not aggressed against us. But, if anyone aggresses against us, we will respond. Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”18

Notwithstanding a particular religious belief and appealing simply to human logic, how would it even be possible for someone to have an authentic personal and private ethical and religious belief about, for instance, “thou shall not kill the innocent,” and live, work, and play within the rules and regulations of countries and political systems that kill innocent people to generate revenues and to maintain their national economic lifestyles of choice? Or, appealing to a more rudimentary level of human thought, how could we possibly afford not to be political, when the concentration of the very oxygen in the air we breathe, the amount of poisons with which our waters and foods are laced, the diseases we suffer, the so-called cures we are allowed to access, our fertility, our sexuality, our freedom to move from point A to point B are all determined by politics? Are we living with our heads buried in the sand?

Given these realities, for our people and local community groups here, being political is not a matter of choice but a religious obligation, a human necessity, and a critical survival instinct. Since we cannot avoid this, we do our utmost and take great deal of care to be well informed in order to be able to choose the right (as in correct) politics. People here take the trouble of going that extra kilometer so that, God forbids, they do not end up assuming they are on the right side and the followers of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi’a belief) and Imam Hussein (the third Imam of Shi’a belief) but, in fact, do things that are tantamount to carrying water for the turbines of Mo’avieh and Yazeed (Father and Son corrupt tyrants in Ummayyad dynasty against whose policies the Shi’a imams stood, resisted, and eventually got martyred).

Secondly, our religion and our pious religious scholars teach us that we should neither oppress others nor submit to oppression by others. So, our resistance has at least three dimensions: one, we must resist our own urges to oppress others, while at the same time, resist being sucked into siding with oppressors. Two, we must resist oppression against ourselves by anyone. Three, whenever and wherever we hear the cry for help of the oppressed people (Muslim and/or non-Muslim), we are obligated to respond and help, within our means and capacity to do so, and in a sound and appropriate way. Standing silently on the sideline and keeping quiet out of fear or greed is not an option for us. People here commemorate Imam Ali as the epitome of excellence in justice and in “qist” (particular form of justice). They commemorate Imam Hussein as the epitome of resistance against oppression and injustice. When you hear the chants of “Kullu Yau’men Ashura, Kullu Arzen Karbala” -Every day is Ashura, Every place is Karbala, it is useful to remember that today’s Karbala extends from Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria to Palestine to Nigeria to Sudan to Caracas and to any other place on the globe that people are fighting injustice, resisting oppression, and asking for help.

This stance is not just an isolated religious belief of some uninformed local community groups. It is written clearly into our constitution, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran19. In Article 2, Section 6.c, and in Article 3, Section 5,6,15, and 16, it reads:

2:6.c – the negation of all kinds of oppression, authoritarianism, or the acceptance of domination, which secures justice, political and economic, social, and cultural independence and national unity.

3:5 – the complete rejection of colonialism and the prevention of foreign influence.

3:6 – the eradication of all kinds of tyranny, autocracy, and monopolization of power.

3:15 – the cultivation and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and general cooperation among the people.

3:16 – the organization of the nation’s foreign policy based on Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unrestrained support for the impoverished people of the world.

Any of our elected and/or appointed officials who would tell you otherwise, is either ignorant of the very law he must uphold (in which case, shame on him) or he has gotten to his position by lying, cheating, and swearing to uphold the very laws he is deliberately breaking (in which case, he is a hypocrite and double shame on him). On a bright note though, the ordinary people in the trenches feel extremely blessed that the most senior person in their land, the Leader, is also the most steadfast champion and the flag bearer of the constitution. To put him on a sanction list means to put the Iranian constitution and millions of ordinary people in local communities on a sanction list. Of course, had the US done differently, we would have questioned our own authenticity.

More generally though, as the current situation in the world unfolds, it is useful to remember some basic facts. No imperialist, no arrogant power, no superpower wannabe operates in a vacuum. There are always cheerleaders, enablers, junior and senior accomplices, profiteers, and conspirators. Regardless of what their mouth says, their action speaks louder. Let’s consider a simple example. The Unites States was able to spend trillions in military adventures killing millions of innocent people around the world and expropriating their resources in two fundamental ways: 1) It shortchanged its own tax-paying population, the young, the retired, and even the unborn in all sorts of social and public rights and amenities. 2) It kept on issuing treasury bonds on its accumulated debt, currently about 22.5 trillion dollars20, with People’s Bank of China, Central Bank of Japan, and naïve citizens21 as its most devoted purchasers.

To speak inside a parenthesis and to be totally candid, the ordinary people here find Japan’s “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up!” attitude which has lasted nearly 74 years quite puzzling. Once upon a time, they lost a war. Who doesn’t at one point or another? Now that it happened, shouldn’t they stand up, dust off, and shake off this subdued and subservient house servant role and assume an independent position with dignity and self-respect? I am told. As Imam Hussein said, “If you do not have any religion and are not fearful of the Day of Judgment, at least be protective of your liberty and autonomy in your life in this world.22 People hope and pray to God that hardworking and noble people of Japan will rise up and will one day free themselves of the US occupation. Again, regular, ordinary people here are genuinely willing to provide support, if the Japanese themselves are willing to fight for their independence.

We will assume being under occupation by the US is Japan’s excuse. But, what has been China’s excuse? China has been buying the US debt as an export-led strategy to ensure its economic growth23. Therefore, to the extent that China, out of self-interest, has acted as an enabler of the United States aggressions and wars, it, too, is responsible. Its development, too, is contaminated with the crime and injustice against, and the blood of innocent people proportionate to the amount of advantage it had gained through its indirect support of those acts. We will not even address its voting record, until just a couple of years ago, as the UN’s Security Council permanent member. Now that it, too, is a target, its change in behavior is not trustworthy enough because it does not appear to be based on ethical and moral principles. It would not be illogical to assume that the moment the direction of winds changes, it is likely that China’s current stance would change, too.

Therefore, for ordinary people in local communities here, that is, the very same people who are active, and who willingly volunteer their own lives and their children and spouses to go and fight alongside those who resist oppressions and hegemony by the US and the West, these and other critical points and lessons will not go unchallenged and unlearned. Only those who have a proven record of being honest and trustworthy, of acting on principles, and steadfast in their resolve fighting against oppression are worthy of trust and long-term partnership, regardless of their race, nationality, and religious affiliation. Others must work much harder, regardless of what they profess to be.

As the entire world is moving on, and as partnerships and coalitions are constantly dissolving and forming, and as the nuclear strike buzzes & hypes are being heard again, I would like link back to the beginning of the essay and re-insert, again, the quoted parts of Father Siemes’ remark, but this time, I complement the segment with a new twist in interpretation and prediction. He recounted,

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

I can guarantee anyone who reads these lines that ordinary people in local communities here in Iran are fully aware that what is currently going on is, in fact, a total war against their very existence. They also know there is no difference between civilians, soldiers, and [they add] our Commander in Chief (Seyyed Ali Khamenei). Should one, two, or more nuclear bombs be added to the United States’ repertoire of its pressure levers in its ongoing total war against Iran, unlike the Japanese, the ordinary devout Shi’as in Iran (who are quite significant in number), from all levels of the society, are not going to be sitting around philosophizing, musing, and theorizing about whether or not the total war against them was justified, where all the moralists have gone, or play the role of an obedient house servant. Furthermore, they are not going to enter into a shock & awe state, not knowing what to do. Bihawl’lallah wa Quwwatah (By God’s Power and Might), they will, however, make sure that will not end the bloodshed; rather, it will begin a very effective and exact bloodshed. From my reading of the population here, I can bet my life on that. Can the US, holding tight and fast to its nuclear Trump card, be equally sure of its own bet? If yes, Bismillah.

Mansoureh Tajik lives in Alborz Province in Iran. She has a background in teaching and research in the areas of community and environmental health, environmental justice, and media literacy. She collaborates with various local community members, groups, and organizations to provide support in addressing health and environmental problems, sustainable agriculture, and in design, implementation, and evaluation of relevant improvement projects.

References

1. Thomas Donnelly, Donald Kagan, and Gary Schmitt (2000). “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New American Century,” A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available online at: https://archive.org/details/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.

2. Fotios Moustakis & Rudra Chaudhuri (2006). “Counting the Cost of an American Unilateralist Policy: a Superpower at Risk?” Published By: Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Special Series, 06/43. ISBN 1-905058-88-8, August 2006, UK.

3. Jan Nijman (1992). “The Limits of Superpower: The United States and the Soviet Union since World War II.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), Pages 681-695. Published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers.

4. Steven Russell (1991). “The US Currency System: A Historical Perspective.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September/October 1991. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available Online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c909/a844511a78720c5d2800170c06109d797fde.pdf

5. Ricardo J. Caballero, Emmanuel Farhi, and Mohamad L. Hammour (2006). “Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy.” The American Economic Review,” Vol. 96, No. 4, Pages 1159-1192.

6. Nathan Perry (2014). Debt and Deficits: Economic and Political Issues. A GDAE Teaching Module on Social and Environmental Issues in Economics. Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, MA.

7. The Manhattan Engineer District Report (1946). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves on June 29, 1946. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf

8. Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer (Feb. 2018). Defense Budget Overview, Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. Generated on 2018Feb02. Ref. ID: A-6E677F4. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FY2019-Budget-Request-Overview-Book.pdf

9. Sarah N Pedigo (2016). “United States Interventions: Power Vacuums and the Rise of Extremist Groups.” Master of Arts (MA) Thesis, Sociology/Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/86pc-ex82 Available Online at: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/sociology_criminaljustice_etds/6

10. Zahra Aghamohammadi1 and Ali Omidi (2018). The Prospect of the United States and Saudi Arabia’s Relations In Light of the Khashoggi Murder. Journal of World Sociopolitical Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2018, Pages 605-632.

11. Congressional Research Service (2019). “The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative,” Updated April 5, 2019. R41916· VERSION 49.

12. Sebastian Kaempf (2019). “A relationship of mutual exploitation’: the evolving ties between the Pentagon, Hollywood, and the commercial gaming sector.” Journal of Social Identities, Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 25:4, 542-558, DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2018.1514151.

13. Official Death Reports, Autopsies and Other Reports of the Davidian Dead. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: http://www.holocausts.org/waco/death/reports/county-list.html

14. Timoty Lynch (2001). “No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident”. Policy Analysis, No. 395, April 9, 2001, Pages 1-18.

15. Linder, Douglas (2007). The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Trial of Timothy McVeigh, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law, Posted on Nov. 17, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1030565.

16. Robbert Kappel (2015). “Global Power Shifts and Challenges for the Global Order.” German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Policy Paper 2/2015.

17. Saxon White Kessinger (1959). “Indispensable Man.” Available Online at: http://www.appleseeds.org/indispen-man_saxon.htm.

18. Hossein Razmjoo (1366 H.S.). “Modarres and His Principle Non-Equilibrium in Politics.” Meshkaat, The Center for Computerized Research in Islamic Sciences, Dr. Shariati College of Literature and Humanities. Original in Farsi, Translated by the author.

19. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (English Version). Available Online at: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ir/ir001en.pdf

20. US Debt Clock. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

21. Kimberly Amadeo (2019). “Who Owns the US National Debt? The Biggest Owner is You!” The Balance. Accessed 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-the-u-s-national-debt-3306124

22. Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (1403 HQ). Translation, by the author, of a portion of Narration (Hadith):

ان لَم یَکُن لَکُم دینٌ و کُنتُم لاتَخافونَ المَعادَ فَکونوا اَحراراً فِی دُنیاکُم

from Bihar ul-Anwar, 2nd Edition, Vol. 45, Page 51.

23. Ingvild Borgen Gjerde, DNB Markets (2019). “Why China will not sell its US Treasuries.” The Note, Market Matters, 15.05.2019. DNB Markets, a division of DNB Bank ASA. DNB Bank ASA is a part of the DNB Group.

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

Source

July 13, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

It appears that the information revolution is redefining cultural aspirations at a time when mass production has become a concave-convex supernova offering everybody (in theory) the right to ‘have everything’, regardless of the cost to fellow beings or to nature itself.

In the West, free enterprise had become an object lesson in short-sightedness and purblind avarice, suggesting that it’s time to revisit an age-old conundrum; the conflict between capitalist expediency and enlightened social wellbeing. Having successfully focused consumers on the many ways in which self-gratification can be experienced, the consumer-economy, committed to seducing the somnambulant among us, while turning a blind eye to the damage that comes with gauche and expedient ways of can-do-ness, suggest that collectively, we in the West have become befuddled pilgrims in a vainglorious journey to nowhere.

In the West we live in a world where militarism and the production of arms has come to represent the pulse of capitalism. The journey that began at the tribal level has moved through a succession of capitalist incarnations to become the singular purpose of investment-capital and a business model in every respect. As it was never intended to be an exercise in creating homogeneous wellbeing…socialism… this model remains as the one best suited to the elites who manage money. Not surprisingly, the rest is history as they say. The story of capitalism’s right-of-passage towards its colonial adventures and onwards into its imperial hegemonic phase is one of bloody-mindedness.

Until recently in the West, it was the growth of personal wealth and middle-classness that underpinned the reality of ‘collective-individualism’…an oxymoronic capitalist state of mind that encourages wealth accumulation. Skills effecting upward mobility were highly sought after. The desire to embrace cultural norms that defined progress as freedom to enjoy lifestyles enhanced by copious amounts of disposal income, soon became everyone’s dream.

So, when the economy lost it’s bearing in the heat of the bizarre excesses leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, ‘collective-individualism’ was left to pick up the pieces. Struggling with the legacy of a febrile narrative that served the interests of Wall Street, middle-classness lost some of its shine. The market had spoken, the individual was merely a unit in a bourse that had little time for niceties or human fallibility. Banking had become a low feeder-operation where the devil would take the hindmost.

It was the banking crisis of 2008 that revealed how ‘collective-individualism’ had become merely an adjunct of Wall Street’s insidiously covert private-banking system. Having cocooned itself in the system, the banking establishment managed to present itself as the face of liberal democracy…albeit pseudo… for the purpose of gratifying its own insatiable appetite. As a result of the 2008 debacle, fake-expertise-babble was required to disguise the signs of senescence now appearing in a banking system sliding toward obsolescence.

With the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in China, the monumental task of moving countless tens of millions of people out of poverty was commenced and the results have been spectacular. Along with this operation came the realization that proportionality should be the linchpin for securing the principles of collective enterprise. The words Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong spoke in 1927 at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” were replaced by notions of incremental change occurring for the betterment of the entire community.

Using the resources of the state to improve the wellbeing of the many would mechanically elevate the population to a level of heightened social order. By any measure, a great awakening had occurred…an age-old trading culture had reassembled its resources in order to find common cause. Through the medium of central planning, the path toward achieving internal hegemony reappeared in a distinctly Confucian way.

With an agenda designed to eliminate poverty by utilising the collective potential of the state to solve problems, statistics suggest that a modicum of proportionality has already been achieved within China’s sovereign territories and that plans are on track to achieve what the revolution sent out to do. Namely, a way of floating all its boats…one billion and a quarter of them…on the rising tide of a renascent imagination collectively focused on technological ascendancy.

Alert to the potential within the Chinese tech garden to achieve yet another Spring and Autumn period, the core interchangeable elements of Confucianism, collectivism and hegemony militate to emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

History shows us that the Chinese city of Guangzhou (Early Modern Guangzhou) represented the reference point that enable one to understand the changing context of Sino-foreign economic and cultural relations in the nineteenth century. A great trading city that would ultimately reconstitute itself as a commercial centre for maritime exports and debut as post-modern Guangzhou. It was always the city that identified China as a maritime trader surfing the waves of silk road opportunities. Unlike most European nations, its expansionism was benign. It never went into the business of exporting armaments or colonizing the natives along its trade routes.

From the traditional trading posts in Quanzhou and Guangzhou, to the modern treaty ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shanghai, to the contemporary metropolis Hong Kong and Taiwan and special economic zones in Shenzhen and Pudong, southern coastal cities in the last five hundred years and beyond have connected China to the outside world and the global economy. Throughout this time, China never sought to colonise its neighbours or occupy continents or countries across the globe…trading remained its modus operandi…and besides, Confucius the thinker, never confused occupation or dominance with the Chinese notion of hegemony!

Conversely, the colonial West’s predilection for gunboat diplomacy and stand-over tactics produced an entirely different trading model. With the advent of the industrial revolution in Europe, sorties of the ‘dalek’ kind…robotic incursions into exotic lands for the purpose of procuring the resources and territories belonging to people of colour became the norm.

It was as though the industrial revolution had spawned a concept of superiority that ultimately resulted in the white race distilling a notion of its own exceptionality that would justify its own work-ethic as proof of its right to exploit people whose appearance did not please their albino imagination. In the succeeding centuries, the march of the ‘daleks’ would in effect enslave, slaughter and exploit non-white peoples with impunity, all the while deluding themselves that their actions were progressive…a code word for exploitation…and justifiably, the ‘white-man’s-burden’…a program adopted in support of their assumption that the non-white peoples were inferior.

In time, institutional racism would achieve the kind of value an asset might have in a bourse. The concept of democracy would be privatised in accordance with the wishes of those who were there to do the thinking for all those of a lesser stripe. Patriotism would become a mantra of majestic proportions in the West to assure white people that they were on the winning side of history. Proof of same would be diligently manufactured. Strangely, Western powers who imagined they owned ‘democracy’ felt the need to garrison the globe with 800 military bases, fearing that those ‘others’ may have sovereign economic models of their own they might wish to develop.

In fact, disproportionality had reached such levels of lethality that the doyens of liberal democracy became citizens of cloud-cuckoo-land in possession of a foreign policy committed to kneecapping…sanctioning… other nation’s economies if they didn’t do what they were told to do. China in moving to re-embrace the “maritime silk road” once again, soon became the fly in the competitive ointment. Westerners, as heirs to the traditional colonial trading-throne decided that carrying a big ballistic stick was the only way to do business. Alarmed at seeing how China could engage in trade without threatening its clients, it chose the American way of doing business. In true American style, the military budget was given a massive blow job.

In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defence production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged. Eisenhower had no need of a crystal ball to see where the emerging disproportionality would lead his country to. His fear, rightly, was that disproportionality of this kind would ultimately obfuscate the principles of the Democratic Republic of America.

Had he lived to see the colossal damage his country wrought on the Middle East he would have understood that a permanent armaments industry must do what a permanent armaments industry must do…use and sell what they produced in order to justify their budget.

What Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as a permanent armaments industry could equally be applied to the permanent propaganda industry that has overtaken America. Together, these two industries have created a narrative for Americans to reassure them that a system based on might, is right for them. By every measure, the fourth estate and the fourth-of-July have synthetized into a narrative that is big on self-adulation.

On the occasion of the most recent fourth-of-July parade, the presence of Apache attack helicopters, ballistic missiles, M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and F-22 Raptors were assembled to reinforce the notion that corporate-capitalist-democracy existed to deliver a patriotic narrative capable of turning the key that could unlock the potential of the American psyche and find greatness by shoving its hardware and unique ideas of identity into the face of all and sundry.

As the fourth of this and that got under way, it became ever more evident that America’s unique identity possesses an internal form of hegemony seeking greatness through strictly military means. After military might was chosen as the path to dominance and greatness, America developed external hegemonic programs to curtail un-American activities such as Iranian Mullahs imagining that they can export oil to whomever they choose to, or China and Russia talking multilateralism, or Venezuela resisting imperial vassalage…or just about anything that moved, squeaked, farted or failed to avow the American way of doing business. Non-compliance would be met with sanctions or military invasion.

On the occasion of the recent fourth-of-July celebrations, Donald Trump (dealer extraordinary) stood before the statue of Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate his ability to wind up the patriotic narrative; he spoke thusly; “As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” said he, “ Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told…The Story of America.”

But strangest of all were the ‘daleks’ flying overhead and the steel-clad ‘daleks’ rumbling past on terra firma for the purpose of bonding the vast gathering of patriotic stalwarts in hegemonic unity. The crowd, agog with admiration for the men and women flying overhead in their wonderful flying machines were proud to witness the “The American Story” in all its first-hand glory. Most noticeably, they were indifferent to the fact that the things they found admirable in this show of strength were designed to annihilate people. They were no less enamoured of the wet pointy cone bits of the ballistic missiles…glistening like killer-candy… as they were rained upon.

All in all, “The Story of America” reverberates across the globe as the story of meaty stealth. Its true colours were made available for all to see, or for anyone with the nous to join the dots… message delivered; American style hegemony is great for boys with schizoaffective disorders and the lethal toys that find them.

As America-the-circus moves into election mode its military arrive here in Australia to set up a military base in Darwin. As few…if any…of their political clowns will broach the subject of their lethal foreign policy, why should anyone in their right mind welcome one of their bases here? As for now, better we wait until Uncle Sam creates a peace bureau and sends an emissary of a different stripe to us.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

The West’s Trumped-Up Hatred of Iran Serves The Zionist Dream of a Greater Israel Dominating the Middle East

By Stuart Littlewood
Source

Iran Quds 7447c

There’s no doubt about it. We’re at the height of the Silly Season.

First we have Boris ‘I-am-a-passionate-Zionist’ Johnson, the hot favourite to become the UK’s prime minister. His biographer Sonia Purnell, who worked alongside  Johnson as a journalist, writes in the Sunday Times that he’s “temperamentally unsuitable to be trusted with any position of power, let alone the highest office of all, in charge of the UK and its nuclear codes”. She talks of his terrible mood swings “triggered by the slightest challenge to his entitlement or self-worth” and says he has “the fiercest and most uncontrollable anger” she has ever seen. This confirms what many of us feared. And we wonder how those who mix with him in the parliamentary party could possibly back him for top leadership.

Ian Birrell in the ‘i‘ discusses his lack of discipline – turning up to Cabinet dishevelled, unprepared and cluching the wrong papers, and his notoriously poor grasp of detail. “It is strange that anyone might see this bumbling and toxic buffoon as the person to lead a divided Britain amid delicate negotiations.”

Then we have the unhinged “cocked and loaded” Trump, bristling with aggression. Nobody is taken in by his claim that, having ordered military strikes against Iran’s radar and missile batteries in retaliation for their shootdown of a US spy drone, he changed his mind with only minutes to spare on account of a reminder that this lunacy might actually cost human lives.

It makes no difference if the US drone was 20 miles outside Iran or 4 miles inside. Iran presented GPS coordinates showing it was eight miles from the coast, which is inside the 12 nautical miles considered to be Iran’s territorial waters under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The drone obviously represented a military threat and a provocation, and the US has no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack.  Iran has the right to ask identification from any aircraft flying this near its territory and Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations is reported to have written to the Security Council that the drone failed to respond to several radio warnings before it was downed.

Any US attack on Iran in these circumstances could be a violation of the United Nations Charter, which only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval.

Let’s remind ourselves of earlier US aggression and dishonesty during the Iran-Iraq war, as recorded in Wikipedia:

In the course of escorts by the US Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board. The American government claimed that Vincennes was in international waters at the time (which was later proven to be untrue), that the Airbus A300 had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and that Vincennes feared that she was under attack. The Iranians maintain that Vincennes was in their own waters, and that the passenger jet was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off. US Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted on Nightline that Vincennes was in Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles. At the time of the attack, Admiral Crowe claimed that the Iranian plane did not identify itself and sent no response to warning signals he had sent. In 1996, the United States expressed their regret for the event and the civilian deaths it caused.

Trump now wants to impose further crippling sanctions on Iran and her people while the UK’s Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison has just been to Tehran calling for “urgent de-escalation” and cheekily criticising Iran’s “regional conduct” and its threat to stop complying with the nuclear deal, which the US recklessly abandoned but the UK remains committed to.

Good news about Murrison, though. A medical man, he voted against the Iraq war but as a Navy reservist was called up to do a 6 month tour of duty there. Perhaps Murrison should go see Trump and ask:

  • Why is he not more concerned about Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the mental state of the Israeli regime, which are the real threat to the region and beyond?
  • Why isn’t he slapping sanctions on Israel for its refusal to sign up to the NPT or engage constructively on the issue of its nuclear and other WMD programmes, not to mention its repeated defiance of international and humanitarian laws in the Holy Land?

Trump meanwhile has signed an executive order targeting Iran’s leadership with hard-hitting new sanctions supposedly needed to deny their development of nuclear weapons. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump has decreed. He added: “We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fuelling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts….” Achingly funny. Who else could all that apply to, I wonder? Exactly. The Bully-Boy-in-chief himself and his best buddies in Tel Aviv.

Sowing the seeds of hatred

We have conveniently short memories when it comes to our abominable conduct towards the Iranians in 1951-53 when a previous Conservative government, in cahoots with the USA, snuffed out Iran’s fledgling democracy and reinstated a cruel dictator, the Shah. This eventually brought about the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and created the deep distrust between Iran and the West. Is it not shameful that the present Conservative government is spoiling for another fight? Shouldn’t the Foreign Office now focus on exerting influence through trade and co-operation?

The Iranian regime, like many others, may not be entirely to our liking but nor was Dr Mossadeq’s democracy 65 years ago. Besides, what threat is Iran to Britain? And why are we allowing ourselves to be driven by America’s mindless hatred?

When new recruits join British Petroleum (BP) they are fed romantic tales about how the company came into being. William Knox D’Arcy, a Devon man, studied law and made a fortune from the Mount Morgan gold-mining operations in 1880s Australia. Returning to England he agreed to fund a search for oil and minerals in Persia and began negotiations with the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar in 1901. A sixty year concession gave D’Arcy the oil rights to the entire country except for five provinces in the north. The Persian government would receive 16% of the oil company’s annual profits.

Mozzafar ad-Din was naive in business matters and unprepared for kingship when the time came. He borrowed heavily from the Russians and in order to pay off the debt he signed away control of many Persian industries and markets to foreigners. The deal D’Arcy cut was too sharp by far and would eventually lead to trouble.

He sent an exploration team headed by geologist George B Reynolds. In 1903 a company was formed and D’Arcy had to spend much of his fortune to cover the costs. Further financial support came from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil in return for a large share of the stock.

Drilling in southern Persia at Shardin continued until 1907 when the search was switched to Masjid-i-Souleiman. By 1908 D’Arcy was almost bankrupt. Reynolds received a last-chance instruction: “Drill to 1,600 feet and give up”. On 26 May at 1,180 feet he struck oil.

It was indeed a triumph of guts and determination. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was soon up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan. But the company was in trouble again by 1914.  The golden age of motoring hadn’t yet arrived and the industrial oil markets were sewn up by American and European interests. The sulphurous stench of the Persian oil, even after refining, ruled it out for domestic use, so D’Arcy had a marketing problem.

Luckily Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was an enthusiast for oil and wanted to convert the British fleet from coal especially now that a reliable oil source was secured. He famously told Parliament: “Look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world!” Only the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, he said, could protect British interests. His resolution passed and the British Government took a major shareholding in the company just in time, for World War One began a few weeks later.

During the war the British government seized the assets of a German company calling itself British Petroleum for the purpose of marketing its products in Britain. Anglo-Persian acquired the assets from the Public Trustee complete with a ready-made distribution network and an abundance of depots, railway tank wagons, road vehicles, barges and so forth. This enabled Anglo-Persian to rapidly expand sales in petroleum-hungry Britain and Europe after the war.

In the inter-war years Anglo-Persian profited handsomely from paying the Iranians a miserly 16%, and an increasingly angry Persia tried to renegotiate terms. Getting nowhere, they cancelled the D’Arcy agreement and the matter ended up at the Court of International Justice at The Hague. A new agreement in 1933 provided Anglo-Persian with a fresh 60-year concession but on a smaller area. The terms were an improvement for the Persians but still didn’t amount to a square deal.

In 1935 Iran formally replaced Persia as the country’s official name internationally and Anglo-Persian changed to Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. By 1950 Abadan was the biggest oil refinery in the world and Britain, with its 51% holding, had affectively colonised part of southern Iran.

Iran’s small share of the profits became a big issue and so did the treatment of its oil workers. 6,000 withdrew their labour in 1946 and the strike was violently put down with 200 dead or injured. In 1951 Anglo-Iranian declared £40 million profit after tax but handed Iran only £7 million. Meanwhile Arabian American Oil was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis. Calls for nationalisation were mounting.

As a result of the Persian Constitutional Revolution the first Majlis (parliament) was established in 1906 and the country became a constitutional monarchy with high hopes. By mid-century Iran not unreasonably wanted economic and political independence and an end to poverty. In March 1951 its Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian, which had controlled Iran’s oil industry since 1913 under terms disadvantageous to Iran. Respected social reformer Dr Mohammad Mossadeq was named prime minister the following month by a 79 to 12 majority. On 1 May Mossadeq carried out his government’s wishes, cancelling Anglo-Iranian’s oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets.

His explanation, given in a speech in June 1951 (M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran, p. 525), ran as follows…

“Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.

“The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provides that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation…It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention…”

For this he would eventually be removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.

Britain, with regime change in mind, orchestrated a world-wide boycott of Iranian oil, froze Iran’s sterling assets and threatened legal action against anyone purchasing oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries. It even considered invading. The Iranian economy was soon in ruins…. sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Attempts by the Shah to replace Mossadeq failed and he returned with more power, but his coalition was slowly crumbling under the hardships imposed by the British blockade.

At first America was reluctant to join Britain’s destructive game but Churchill let it be known that Mossadeq was turning communist and pushing Iran into Russia’s arms at a time when Cold War anxiety was high. It was enough to bring America’s new president, Eisenhower, on board and plotting with Britain to bring Mossadeq down.

Chief of the CIA’s Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt Jr, arrived to play the leading role in an ugly game of provocation, mayhem and deception. An elaborate campaign of disinformation began, and the Shah signed two decrees, one dismissing Mossadeq and the other nominating the CIA’s choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees were written as dictated by Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan

The Shah fled to Rome. When it was judged safe to do so he returned on 22 August 1953. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, and convicted of treason by the Shah’s military court. He remarked

“My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire… With God’s blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism.

“I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”

His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Zahedi’s new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, awarding the US and Great Britain the lion’s share – 40% going to Anglo-Iranian. The consortium agreed to split profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but, tricky as ever, refused to open its books to Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board.

A grateful US massively funded the Shah’s government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954. Mossadeq died on 5 March 1967.

Apologise? Hell no… Let’s demonise Iran!

But the West’s fun came to an abrupt halt with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and a great British enterprise that started heroically and turned nasty ended in tears.

The US is still hated today for reimposing the Shah and his thugs and demolishing the Iranians’ democratic system of government, which the Revolution unfortunately didn’t restore. The US is widely known by Iranians as Big Satan and its regional handmaiden Israel rejoices in the name Little Satan. Britain, as the instigator and junior partner in the sordid affair, is similarly despised.

Moreover, Iran harbours great resentment at the way the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its armed forces and chemical weapons arsenal, and how the international community failed to punish Iraq for its use of those weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. The US, and eventually Britain, leaned strongly towards Saddam in that conflict and the alliance enabled Saddam to more easily acquire or develop forbidden chemical and biological weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim to them.

This is how John King writing in 2003 summed it up…

“The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam’s army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology.”

While Iranian casualties were at their highest as a result of US chemical and biological war crimes Trump was busy acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump Castle, his Taj-Mahal casino, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and was refitting his super-yacht Trump Princess. What does he know, understand or care about Iran?

On the British side Foreign Secretary Jaremy Hunt was messing about at Oxford University; and the front-runner to fill our Prime Minister vacancy, Boris Johnson, former Foreign Secretary, was similarly at Oxford carousing with fellow Old Etonians at the Bullingdon Club. What do they know or care?

Which brings us to today… Why are we hearing nonstop sabre-rattling against Iran when we should be extending the hand of reconciliation and friendship? And why are these clueless leaders demonising Iran instead of righting the wrongs? Because the political establishment is still smarting. And they are the new-generation imperialists, the political spawn of those Dr Mossadeq and many others struggled against. They haven’t learned from the past, and they won’t lift their eyes to a better future.

It’s so depressing.

Economic sanctions: are they moral, or even legal?

The US and UK have led the charge on oil sanctions and other measures to make life hell for Iranians. But are they on safe legal ground?

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in a statement on 26 November 2011, said they were deeply concerned about the threats against Iran by Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Referring to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IADL stated that those threats were unacceptable and dangerous not only for all the region but for the whole of humanity, and that Article 2.4 of the UN Charter forbids not only use of force but also the threat of force in international relations. The right of defence does not include pre-emptive strikes.

The IADL also pointed out that while Israel was quick to denounce the possible possession of nuclear weapons by others, it had illegally possessed nuclear weapons for many years. The danger to world peace was so great as to require the global eradication of all nuclear weapons, and to immediately declare the Middle East a nuclear free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, as required by UN Security Council resolution 687.

Furthermore, Article 33 states that “the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means…” Economic ‘terror’ tactics such as the vicious sanctions deployed by the US, UK and their allies – and the similar measures used by Britain and America in the 1950s to bring down the government of Dr Mossadeq and reinstate the Shah – are simply not part of the approved toolkit.

Remember the context

UN Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 called on Israel “urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards”. Israel has been allowed to ignore it for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Israel still refuses to join or allow inspections.

The Zionist regime is reckoned by some to have up to 400 nuclear warheads at its disposal. It is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran is). It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. As regards biological and chemical weapons, Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In early 2012 the US intelligence community was saying that Iran hadn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme, and Israeli intelligence agreed. The Director of the National Intelligence Agency, James Clapper, reported: “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons… We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons…”

So the continual focus on Iran has been a deliberate distraction. We repaid Iranian co-operation in D’Arcy’s oil venture with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. America and Britain are still smarting from the time when Iran democratically elected Dr. Mossadeq, who sensibly nationalized her vast oil resources. Up till then the grasping British were raking in far more profit from Iranian oil than the Iranians themselves.

Back in the 1920s the US State Department had described the oil deposits in the Middle East as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history”. Ever since, its designs on Iraq and Iran have been plain to see and it is still ready to pounce on every opportunity.

When the CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission. What should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers became a festering sore.

The quest for the energy prize is not over. But it is no longer just about oil. Zionist stooges in controlling positions in the West’s corridors of power are pledged to ensure Israel remains the only nuclear power in the Middle East and continues to dominate the region militarily. And they are willing to spill Christian blood and spend Christian treasure in that cause.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton, recipient of the Defender of Israel Award last year and the Guardian of Zion Award the year before, is one such super-stooge. His stupefying remark: “No-one has granted Iran a hunting licence in the Middle East” typifies the arrogance of his ilk.

No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Whatever hopes of returning to normal life regular Afghans have had until recently, these days those are all but dissolving like a morning mist. The so-called Afghan reconciliation summit that was to be held in Qatar has been put on the back burner indefinitely. It was envisioned as a separate event, unrelated to the direct talks between the Taliban […]

via No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Iranians Mark 30th Anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s Passing Away

By Staff, Agencies

Iranians and devotees in other countries are marking 30 years since the departure of Imam Rouhollah Khomeini, the admired founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mourners from all walks of life are expected to converge on Imam Khomeini’s Mausoleum in southern Tehran on Tuesday to pay homage to the architect of the Islamic Revolution and renew allegiance to the ideals of the 1979 Revolution.

Also on the occasion, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei is due to deliver a speech at the event at a time between 17:30 and 20:00 Beirut time.

Some 50 foreign correspondents and 300 Iranian reporters will be covering the event.

Grand Ayatollah Imam Rouhollah Mousavi Khomeini passed away on June 3, 1989 at the age of 87.

He contributed many years of his life to standing up to the US-backed Pahlavi dynasty, and eventually paved the way for its downfall in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

During the pre-Revolution era, Imam Khomeini spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the last monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, mostly for his association with Western imperialists.

He was not allowed to return to Iran during Pahlavi’s reign, and only came back home on February 1, 1979 after the monarch finally gave into angry popular demonstrations and fled the country. The tyrannical Pahlavi regime fully collapsed 10 days later on February 11.

The mourning ceremonies precede the anniversary of demonstrations of June 5, 1963, which is remembered in Iran as a prelude to the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Prior to the Revolution, Imam Khomeni was arrested in 1963 after he made a historic speech in the holy city of Qom, where he lambasted the “capitulation law” granting immunity to Americans on Iranian soil.

Later that year, people took to the streets to protest the political leader’s arrest. Taken by surprise by the massive public demonstrations of support, the Pahlavi regime’s forces launched a bloody crackdown on people to quell the protests.

Related News

Washington’s Mighty Warriors: Draft Dodgers and Scoundrels

By Philip Giraldi
Source

draft dodgers and scoundrels 2b994

Remember Shakespeare’s line “he jests at scars that never felt a wound?” That epithet could have been written with National Security Advisor John Bolton in mind. Bolton was notoriously a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, like his current boss, not due to any scruples regarding what was occurring, but out of concern for his own sorry ass. He is now credibly believed to be the driving force behind the punishment being meted out to Venezuela and, far more dangerously, of the creeping escalation that is taking place in the Middle East that is seeking to draw Iran into a misstep that would lead to war. Bolton, who has received the “Defender of Israel” award, has long been an outspoken advocate for attacking Iran and now he has the power to do just that.

The psychopaths in the White House have been pretending that the United States “and its allies” are being threatened by Iran, a ridiculous conceit in and of itself as the Persians are hugely outgunned by the local U.S. presence as well as by the weapons in place in the region in the hands of the Saudis and Israelis. Israel is, one might recall, armed to the teeth through the beneficence of the United States and is also the region’s only nuclear armed power by virtue of the theft of U.S. technology and enriched uranium. The Saudis, meanwhile, are about to receive another $8 billion American made weapons due to the “Iranian threat.” That Trump has arranged the arms sale on his own questionable authority as an “emergency response” seems to bother some in Washington and the media, but no one will ultimately do anything about it as everyone inside the Beltway hates Iran due to the assiduous work of the Israel Lobby.

Trump has already sent bombers to the Persian Gulf region as well as an aircraft carrier and he is now adding 1500 more troops because the Iranian threat is reportedly increasing. The alleged threat itself is based on generic Israeli intelligence about what the Iranians might do if they choose to react to U.S. pressure. The intelligence reportedly suggests that there might be attacks on American diplomatic missions in Iraq, which has led to the evacuation of dependents and unnecessary staff from the posts in Baghdad and Irbil. It is also claimed that the Iranians were mounting anti-ship missiles on small coastal vessels to deploy against American warships.

The Pentagon claims that it has photographic evidence of the anti-ship missile threat, but Gareth Porter has demolished the analysis that has been produced by the White House, noting that the truly dangerous missiles are largely shore based and hidden.

The reality is that the Executive Branch of the federal government is essentially contriving a phony war supportive of no conceivable national interest that is based on lies and might even include a “false flag” operation that will condemn Iran for something it did not do. Some have compared it to the lead-up to Iraq, which is a fair judgment, but one has to suspect that the current situation is much worse as a war with Iran is potentially far more damaging to actual American interests than Saddam Hussein ever was. Iran will fight back and has capable defenses, which means Americans, not Israelis or Saudis, will die. So too will many thousands of innocent Iranian civilians. And there will be new trillions of dollars to add to the already crippling war debt being amassed Washington with absolutely nothing to show in return.

If there is any hope on the horizon it might be coming from a number of media reports that President Donald Trump has expressed considerable irritation with the advice he is getting from Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He reportedly began to see the light when the attempted coup in Venezuela did not develop as planned, resulting in some comments by the president that he had been misled into thinking that the regime change would be “easy.” He has since that time stated that he does not want war with Iran, though his actions would suggest otherwise, and some news reports suggesting that he is unhappy and at odds with Bolton in particular.

Unfortunately the desktop warriors who are currently calling the shots in Washington have no idea what they might be getting into. The only former soldier among them is Pompeo, who is a West Point graduate. He missed Vietnam and has never been involved in actual combat. He is also is a Christian Zionist who welcomes a major war in the Middle East in hopes that it will bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton has any real understanding that war means death. If Bolton has his way, many thousands will die and the United States will be reviled by nearly the entire world. President Donald Trump for all his self-proclaimed “genius” status does not appear to understand that reality either. For him, megadeaths and national humiliation might mean little more than the numbers on a balance sheet when one is reckoning up the costs of constructing a building.

This impending tragedy must be stopped. Back in 2003, a hundred thousand Americans gathered at the Washington Mall to protest against the drive to invade Iraq. Nothing like that has developed yet, but the people must rise up to demand that the government cease and desist from doing things in their name that do not help a single American but instead only bring death and destruction. Trump promised to do that when he ran for president. It is past time that he fulfill that promise.

Israel Terror-Bombs Syria With Impunity

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Israel partners with all US wars of aggression, notably against Syria, ruling regimes of both countries waging war on the country without declaring it.

What’s been ongoing since March 2011 is all about seeking regime change, wanting Syria colonized and exploited, Iran isolated, the same objective in play against its government — part of the US/NATO/Israeli aim for regional hegemony, the rule of law ignored, the human toll of no consequence.

Russian good faith efforts since 2012 for peace through Geneva, Astana, and Sochi talks failed because the US, Israel, and their imperial partners reject diplomatic conflict resolution. 

It’s why US-led forever wars rage in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, no end of them in prospect.

Israel has been terror-bombing Syrian targets on the phony pretext of countering nonexistent Iranian and Hezbollah threats throughout much of the war.

The only threats the US, NATO, and Israel face are invented ones. Real ones don’t exist so they’re invented to unjustifiably justify naked aggression on nations and groups threatening no one.

Israel admitted launching hundreds of preemptive strikes on Syrian targets. Former IDF chief General Gadi Eisenhkot earlier said “(w)e struck thousands of targets (in Syria) without claiming responsibility or asking for credit.”

In response to two reported rockets from Syria striking illegally occupied Golan, falling harmlessly, Israeli warplanes terror-bombed Syrian targets pre-dawn Sunday.

Throughout the war, no evidence suggests Syrian forces ever targeted Israeli territory. Clearly they’d be nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Attacking Israel would escalate war Damascus is winning and wants ended. Clearly its forces had nothing to do with striking occupied Golan on June 1.

Most likely, US/Israeli supported terrorists were to blame for the incident, giving the Netanyahu regime a pretext for a terror-bombing attack even though it needs none to do whatever it pleases — with full US support and encouragement, with the UN and world community failing to hold it accountable.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), on Sunday, “Syrian air defenses have confronted an Israeli attack targeted (on) sites in southwestern Damascus and Quneitra, a military source said,” adding:

“The aggression resulted in the martyrdom of three soldiers and the injury of seven others.” Reportedly most Israeli missiles were downed, some striking intended targets.

An IDF statement said Israeli warplanes and attack helicopters struck Syrian air defense, artillery positions, and “a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights front.”

According to Israeli military-connected DEBKAfile, Israeli warplanes “struck Iranian-Hizballah concentrations (sic) near Damascus.

DF admitted that no combat operations were ongoing in the area from which rockets were launched at Golan, suggesting it was false flag attack, perhaps jointly US/Israeli planned to wrongfully blame Syrian forces.

The IDF claim about Syria attacking Israeli military targets is belied by no injuries or damage reported, two reported rockets falling harmlessly, likely in open areas.

If Syrian forces wanted to strike Israeli positions, why were only two rockets involved, why not multiple missiles able to hit targeted sites accurately.

The claim about a Syrian attack is clearly phony. The same goes for falsely blaming Damascus for CW incidents. No evidence throughout the war suggests its forces ever used these banned weapons.

Indisputable evidence proved US supported terrorists used them numerous times, nearly always falsely blamed on Damascus for what it had nothing to do with.

War launched by Obama, escalated by Trump, rages in its ninth year with no near-term prospect for resolution because Washington rejects it.

On May 20, nearly 400 bipartisan House and Senate members called on Trump to “(i)ncrease pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria…to counter Iran’s support for Hezbollah as well as Russia’s support for…Assad…”

They urged tougher (illegal) sanctions and other (hostile) actions on these countries and Hezbollah, claiming nonexistent threats.

They want endless war continued, not ended. So do Trump regime hardliners.

US aggression in Syria follows the same pattern as Afghanistan and Yemen, both wars ongoing since October 2001 — raging endlessly with no prospect for resolution any time soon.

Regime Change in Iran: Been There, Done That

By Philip Giraldi
Source

21 22 Regime Change Iran c4cf1

The failed coup attempt in Caracas in early May brings to mind the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British intelligence in Iran in 1953 to overthrow the Mohammad Mossadeq government. It is quite astonishing how that regime-change long-ago operation parallels what is currently taking place in Venezuela and also with regards to Iran yet again.

Mossadeq was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran beginning in 1951, serving in a government in which the Shah with limited authority was the head of state presiding over a parliamentary system. Iran was nominally independent at the time, but it was heavily influenced by the neighboring Soviet Union, which retained control over several Iranian provinces after the Second World War ended, and Great Britain, which exploited the country’s oil resources through the mechanism of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which was owned by the British government. When Mossadeq, frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations with the British over sharing of oil revenues, eventually declared that he would nationalize the AIOC, London and Washington conspired to remove him.

The new National Iranian Oil Company was immediately attacked by the British, who used the Royal Navy to block export of oil from Iran’s Abadan refinery. Ships carrying Iranian oil were stopped and boarded with their shipments confiscated as “stolen property” in light of the British government’s former ownership claim on the AIOC.

By mid-1952, Britain’s blockade of Iranian oil exports had badly hurt the Iranian economy, which eventually led to government bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the American CIA, which was initially ambivalent about what the proper role in the Anglo-Iranian conflict might be, joined British agents in supporting groups inside Iran that were hostile to Mossadeq. In the Majlis parliamentary election in the spring of 1952, Mossadeq faced serious opposition funded by the Anglo-Americans, and the election eventually was suspended. By early 1953, pro-communist and pro-Shah mobs supported and coordinated by the U.S. and Britain roamed the streets, sometimes fighting each other. Fearing a communist takeover and also under pressure from London, which was threatening to withdraw from the Korean War as a quid pro quo, President Dwight D. Eisenhower agreed to carry out a joint coup d’état.

Losing popular support due to a sinking economy, as early as August 1952 a struggling Mossadeq began ruling by emergency powers and started to jail opponents, which only aggravated the crisis. A rigged referendum to dissolve parliament and grant Mossadeq authority to govern by decree passed with 99.9% approval but led to accusations that the prime minister was seeking “total and dictatorial power.” The New York Times reported, “A plebiscite more fantastic and farcical than any ever held under Hitler or Stalin is now being staged in Iran by Premier Mossadeq in an effort to make himself unchallenged dictator of the country.” The move by Mossadeq also led to the first coup attempt, which was organized by the CIA.

On Aug. 15, 1953, Col. Nemathollah Nassiri, the commander of the Shah’s Imperial Guard, delivered to Mossadeq a decree from the Shah dismissing him. Mossadeq, who had been warned of the plot, had Nassiri arrested, and the Shah and his family fled into exile in Italy. The first coup thus ended with a whimper, but it was lessons learned for the second, better organized successful attempt which followed a few days later, Operation Ajax, coordinated by Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA.

Exploiting pro-Shah sentiment in the military, the CIA and the British turned to their stables of recruited army officers while also exploiting agents infiltrated into the communist party Tudeh, which rose to the occasion by launching mass demonstrations, to include looting and arson, which quickly alienated the public and also provided a pretext for Western support of the coup as it could be promoted as “anti-communist.” Efforts were also made to turn influential clerics against Mossadeq. The Iranian people blamed the government for all their woes and rioting soon led to the calling out of the army to restore order. The army did so and then had Mossadeq arrested. He was condemned to death, but his sentence was later commuted to three years in solitary confinement followed by house arrest. He died in 1967.

End of story, but not quite. All the elements currently being used against Venezuela and Iran were there back in 1953 to bring down Mossadeq and also appear in a detailed 2018 Pentagon plandescribing how to bring about a coup in Caracas. Wrecking the countries’ economies through sanctions and exclusion from the global banking network creates a crisis where one need not have existed. Meanwhile, a sustained campaign of vilification by Western political leaders and the media establishes the narrative that the benevolent intention is to block extremism and restore democracy while also eliminating a threat to the United States. And, as a last resort, the threat or actual use of force to stop the export of commodities to further wreck the economy becomes a clearly stated policy option, currently also employing secondary sanctions for anyone who dares to trade with the designated victim. Recently, America’s unilaterally imposed global ban on the export and sale of Iranian oil began. Venezuela’s oil sales are also being blocked and even its electricity grid is being attacked in an attempt to starve the Venezuelan people into rebelling against their government.

But you also have to have spies, secret agents, to get the ball rolling, just as was true in 1953. One assumes that the CIA has been active in recruiting the agents of influence inside Venezuelan political opposition as well as military circles who will bring out increasingly larger mobs as the situation continues to deteriorate. How successful they have been is difficult to determine, but Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido failed the first time around, reportedly because the Venezuelan government was aware of what was happening and the contacts that CIA was relying on to bring out the army were in fact double agents.

The suffering Iranian and Venezuelan people have yet to rise up in revolt. No matter. It took more than one try to bring down Mossadeq, and National Security Advisor John Bolton has recently warned Iran that its government won’t have any more anniversaries to celebrate if it continues with its “threats.” The Trump administration is also reported to be preparing military options for dealing with Venezuela.

Bolton has even warned the Russians, who are assisting Venezuela’s government: “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part.”  He is seemingly unaware of the irony, that the Russians might make the same claim about Eurasia and the Iranians regarding the Persian Gulf, where Bolton and his neocon friends in Washington have been the source of nearly continuous conflict.

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over — In Gaza

May 25, 2019, RT.com -Eva Bartlett Western media and politicians are crying for Al-Qaeda in Syria again. It doesn’t get much more absurd than this! After years of brutal occupation by terrorists from various groups and now overwhelmingly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (aka Al-Nusra, aka Al-Qaeda in Syria), Idlib governorate will eventually, by political or military means, be liberated. […]

via Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over — In Gaza

%d bloggers like this: