A Planet of Apes

February 21, 2023


by Tarik in the Vinyard

It’s like spending your nights at the casino and wondering why you’re always mostly broke. It must be the dealer, the deck of cards, the table, the slot machine, that black widow in red lingering in the corner, or the moonlight and stars, but never your own greed and hedonistic thrill in a game that is mathematically staked against you.


I once read, long time ago, a book called “Les Anatomies Fantastiques” by Gerome Paul. The fellow was writing about how individuals behave (act, think and feel) according to a built up mental psycho-emotive and moral representation of the world (a mix of cultural, educational, personal character and historic factors, etc…) that strives to be in harmony with their subjective experience of reality; and how groups, people, nations, and in our globalized environment, entire regions and possibly the world itself, also in turn develop such structures that will mutually affect each level of consciousness in a complex knot of feedback loops. Under normal circumstances, in reasonably “healthy” individuals and societies, these “anatomies” are fairly moral and rational reflections of the surrounding world and can adapt with minimal disturbances to gradual changes in the environment. But when the switch is more brutal or the lenses are too distorting (unhealthy individuals and societies), so is the discrepancy between behavior and reality. Anyways, I thought it made a very interesting read, and helped me connect many important dots in my own fantasmagorical construct of the world. And what a world that is! And yes, it is a hint to understanding what comes next.


And so it is that, to most, it must alternately be the Americans, the West or Anglo-Zionists, or else the bankers, speculators, the capitalists and Onepercenters, and if not, then surely the Socialists, the Neoliberals, the Dems, the Reps, the WEF and Davos oracles, even China and Russia if you went through truly extensive neural dry cleaning, or that all time favorite… the Jews of course. And no doubt, some of these formations, as much as they do exist outside our minds, have displayed much evil behavior and were certainly instrumental vectors to the present status quo. But it is also my contention that, as much as they do exist outside our minds, they’re granted way more credit and power than they actually deserve. Particularly, somehow, for some reason, I always found unsettling, like a lame excuse, the notion that one percent can impose its will over the remaining ninety nine. There must be fowl play, some prestidigitation trick of sort. I tried once imposing my evil will over my little brother; I cannot imagine attempting to do so on 99 little brothers. Even blackmail could only get me so far; for consistent results, I could only “charm” him.

Thus, I come to suspect an awful lot of us “Ninetininers” have let ourselves seduced by something(s); for otherwise how could possibly the “Few” indulge in so much excess and abuse for so long, with what must only be described as the sometimes tacit and implicit, and at other times the roaring and explicit approval of the “Many”?

2011, while France is leveling out Libya and orchestrating a bloody coup in Ivory-Coast, its good people are conducting massive demonstrations in the streets against a 1 year postponement of retirement age (bare in mind they already had the earliest retirement age on the planet), and in favor of Gay marriage. All four initiatives were successful. Gaddafi was properly done with, Gbagbo was ousted, retirement age was left unchanged, and homosexuals could happily marry. It all happened simultaneously. Now don’t get me wrong, I also have a lazy streak, and would frown at the news of an extra mandatory year of work before I get that lousy retirement check that once upon a long loooonnnng time looked quite appetizing, and I don’t give a loot about what gays do with their lives as long as they don’t mingle tongs under my nose (and I’m very inclusive in this regard, it bothers me as much with heteros). Neither am I singling out France, I’m sure I could find similar examples with virtually any other country; it’s just that this particular one is so juicy, in that it vividly illustrates what I consider our most socially disruptive idiosyncratic dichotomy.

Justice versus Equality… no, on closer inspection: Justice versus Greed is more truthful a description. But because 99% aspire to the 1%, greed can easily hide under the more respectable mantle of equality. Justice however is harder to fool with. After all, under its purview you get strictly what you deserve, no more, no less, irrespective of where you now stand on the socioeconomic ladder. Since an awful lot of us 99ners are lurking with big wide open round eyes at a chance to pounce a step or two closer to the “numero unos”, and since 100% of us all have no idea what we justly deserve (alright, some of us know all too well); it appears we have all somehow agreed to play it safe, and do with Justice what we did with Gaddafi: throw it overboard while looking the other way. Hence we turned our social contract into an unending and intractable negotiation on the “terms of Equality” in substitute to those of Justice, taking great care to never notice it is a physical and logical impossible proposition. And you don’t have to take my word for it; just spend a moment to ponder the issue rather than parrot an opinion, I’m sure it’ll quickly be apparent, axiomatic really. The only place where Equality makes sense is in the realm of Justice, but as said, that dude was long lost to the high seas.

Of course I’m not talking of the masses that live in a state of constant economic urgency and dine on Maggi soup on a lucky day. I’m describing the no less consequential middle class, those that can actually save a bank note or two, afford a mortgage, holidays in the tropics, have the time and means to learn and think instead of “socialitizing”. I’m looking at the activist, the do-gooder, the politician, intellectual and the legions of subsidized enablers and false prophets promoting always costly solutions to self made problems, or worse: problems they never bothered to understand, but instead blindly follow pamphlet instructions to bankrupt us all into saving the world or their own solvency. And the business owner whose sole concern is the extra cent in his quarterly income statement; the genius “buy and hold” investor in a CB induced perpetual bull market, while never asking what those digits piling in their accounts actually are, and many, many more alike… Yes, you and me, blissful in our comfortable, lazy ignorance of the true nature of that which we pursue.

I say “lazy” because lets face it, we all know if only intuitively, that money is at the center of it all. And yet, how much time have we ever devoted to understanding it, instead of acquiring, manipulating and controlling it, each according to his own reach, purpose and vanity? Which is a pity, because it’s really no rocket science (I can assure you right here and now, if you can successfully and profitably run a lemonade stand, then you have the necessary functional two neurons to understand all things money and the economy) and because the knowledge of which, other than spiritual enlightenment (and maybe a gun, depending on what neighbors share your space) is the master key to our individual and national sovereignty, prosperity; and incidentally, to our most pressing global issues. Well… pity it is, if we have any such concerns.

Indeed, few subjects are more poorly understood, disformed and tortured, other than God, and maybe the variance of genders, to fit our increasingly dysfunctional (and increasingly fanatical) fantastical mental anatomies. A dysfunction, might one add, in direct relation to the exponential growth in currency floods. The more we issue, the more the world and its understanding turn lalala. And no, this is not a coincidence.

I can now sense the confused uneasiness, the mental restlessness, the silent question mark. What has “understanding money” to do with Justice and an upside down world?

As with all stories we must start at the beginning. And at the beginning stands Barter.

There is this common deceitful misconception in the modern mind, that views money as a technological advancement akin to the mastery of fire, the wheel or the printing press (wink,wink); therefore subject to control and perpetual improvement; and thus best left to the specialists. Not so. The first use of money was more like a behavioral adjustment, a change in common habit. Presumably, a bit like switching from a “butsniff” greeting, to a handshake as we started covering our parts. It had simply become more convenient. One wouldn’t think of classifying the “handshake” as a technological achievement. Neither should money.

As it stands, money, the real thing (gold, silver and copper) was nothing more than bartering finding its common denominators in an increasingly complex environment. But it still remained fundamentally barter. One physical product in exchange for an equivalent good or service in terms of work cost (Energy X Time). An objectively and measurably “just” trade in its principle. Supply and demand may fluctuate the exchange rates, but over time they cancel out, and act as incentives to produce or not; thus regulating economic activity, induce price stability within a narrow band, and spread wide goods and money. Note that money production hence, is intimately linked to general economic activity and obeys strictly the law of supply and demand, as any other product would. In a moral world, under a just rule of law, that is exactly how things would go, with only the occasional natural catastrophe to disturb an otherwise idyllic measured economic progression.

But we live on a planet of apes, and when us primates interact, we quite naturally indulge in all sorts and manners of monkey business. Which is to say, in sapiens speak: we steal, lie, deceive, trick, blackmail, threat, and coerce, or any hereto combination; but above all we are a highly cronyistic, opportunistic, gluttonous creature that can hardly meet a shortcut we wouldn’t flirt with.

Quran: II-275.

« …they say, “Trade is no different than interest.” But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest… »

Quran: XI-85.

“O my people! Give full measure and weigh with justice. Do not defraud people of their wealth, nor go about spreading corruption in the land.”

And so it also came quite naturally that some of us started charging interest, taking undue advantage of one another setbacks or difficulties; and in turn, or simultaneously, cheating with scales and content, which both became a source of conflicts and wars even before we adopted money. But at this early stage of our economic evolution, disputes were largely confined to the parties directly involved. Then, as precious metals asserted themselves, we saw the appearance of mints to solve the standard weight and metallic content abuses through the creation of stamped coins. Obviously those coins became in great demand. As all the gold destined to monetary use now went through them, they accumulated huge reserves that gave them huge financial power. Still naturally they started lending these funds (directly or indirectly) at interest to accumulate even huger reserves for even huger financial power, hahahaha….

My apologies for the outburst.

The thing with interest rates is that, in the aggregate, it creates additional demand for money over and above existing supplies in circulation already tagged to current overall trades and investments. The only way for the economy at large to pay for this additional charge (interest) is either for someone else to lose revenue, or savers to willfully cover the expense (but then why would they charge Interests in the first place?), or else the amount must be defrauded or coerced from someone, somewhere, somehow. There’s really no other ways around it. Needless to say, the preferred resolution, by far is fraud in its infinite variety of forms, that target all: consumers, legitimate producers and, ironically, savers (loan originators) themselves, as we shall soon find out.

So the more interest bearing debt, the more fraud and disruptions in the economy. No matter what interest rates: 1%, 10%, 20%… the higher the starting rate, the quicker and more abrupt the disruption; the lower the starting rate, the more pervasive and long lasting. And no matter what the debt is used for; private, commercial, government, industrial, wars, you name it, the economic end game is immutable: widespread bankruptcies and loan defaults. But before we get there, the mint (no matter whether privately held, or the property of temples or the state) will have invariably postponed or covered the growing losses by gradually altering, you guessed it, the contents of its coins. The ultimate fraud.

Thus, we’re right back at pitiful cheats on weight and content. Except that now, instead of only the perpetrator and its victim being affected, the entire economy gets swindled. For sure Interest is not a requirement for currency debasement; for that you only need simian hubris and greed. But it certainly guaranties its outcome, and most often leads the way. Besides, even when debasement is first carried in an Interest free jurisdiction, as in historic Islamic societies, it always paves the way for opportunistic predatory interest bearing loans from outside actors, that now prolong and aggravate the economic disruption. The two, debasement and Interest, are intimately linked, in the manner of “egg and hen”. The one clucks (loudly) for the other.

This, I would refer to as the systemic or structural cause of severe economic disruptions and corruption in the social moral fabric. However this structural relationship is further reinforced by a more subtle and insidious psychological influence implied with interest rates.

Imagine an Interest free world. In that environment loans are only made to family and friends, for a common interest in helping or protecting an individual or entity, to increase one’s credit with Allah or pay out karma, or even out of pure compassion (yes, the rich can also be compassionate). Even if there is an element of predation when collateral is involved, the net result on the general economy in case of non payment is that of any regular trade, and the loss’ responsibility lies squarely with the debtors poor calculations and decision to contract a loan instead of outright selling the collateral. Because yes dear, sometimes life deals us an awful hand or we make regrettable choices, sometimes businesses go south or become unviable, sometimes assets must be sold and down scaling is the order of the day, with no fault to anyone. Still, overall an interest free economy encourages, strengthens and protects (or at the very least does not impede); good relations within the family and with friends, solidarity and trust among the various economic players, piousness and the general elevation of the human soul, as the early years of Islam have well illustrated. No, it would still not be a perfect world, but definitely a much kinder one. Now even if disagreeing with the latter assessment, an undeniable fact remains: loans would be a far less efficient direct predatory source of profit.

By introducing interest rates, the motivation to lend is dramatically altered from mainly an act of solidarity and common interest, to a pursuit of seemingly “guaranteed” profits if done “right”. It also mathematically reduces the probability of repayment in direct proportion to the interest rate. A disastrous combination.

From the lender’s perspective, the increased risk must be compensated with better collateral. This is achieved by valuing the latter at its absolute lowest range if not at an outright steal. In any case the discount on the collateral’s valuation will always be superior than the interest amount. So we witness the emergence of a structural conflict of interests between creditors and debtors, where it is now often in the former’s best interest to see the loan go sour and cash the higher profit on the collateral’s sales. But even when there’s no ill intent in granting the loan, it allows lenders a virtually risk free (therefore irresistible, therefore conductive to malinvesment) return at the expense of debtors, as long as the economy is functioning and not overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of frauds and malinvestments this lopsided incentive creates.

But therein lies the rub: precisely as fraud and malinvestment spread, distress demand for loans multiply, insuring a growing supply of new debtors to milk in a vicious self reinforcing cycle. Then, a second parallel cycle develops, just as destructive. As debt permeates ever more the ever more dysfunctional economy, the ratio of insolvency mounts till a breaking point. Mass bankruptcy abruptly deflates asset prices (collateral), which suddenly reminds the creditors there is never such things as risk free returns. But before we get there, the mint (no matter whether privately held, or the property of temples or the state) will have invariably postponed or covered the growing losses by gradually altering the contents of its coins. The ultimate fraud.

The point being: Interest rates transform loans from an instrument for social cohesion and economic resiliency, to that of social division, and economic mayhem.

Finally, what us laymen need to be made aware of, are the wealth distribution, government policies and geopolitical ramification that interest rates impose, and more specifically the link with the debasement of the currency.

Not all creditors are created equal. A few are more conservative, prudent, and understand the long game. Most are more or less reckless, opportunistic, impatient. As the debt crisis inevitably unfolds, aggressive lending institutions (what ever shape they may have taken through space and time) will be first to fall as their assets (loan books) and value of collateral gets decimated. The prudent lenders would have scaled down its exposure as the crisis approached and can now redeploy its capital to scoop anything of value for pennies. As those credit cycles repeat, wealth gets concentrated in the hands of a few wise monkeys, thereby creating a quasi financial monopoly. And we cannot really blame them orangutans for playing it right. The fault lies with the greedy, predatory behavior of their chimpanzee colleagues, a legislation that does not condemn the practice of interest charges and the irredeemable foolishness of the general public. Without all three ingredients in the soup, they could never have ended in a controlling position. Actually I’d go so far to say: in such a pot, by only virtue of their prudent behavior, as a group (orangutans), they are guaranteed the outcome whether they seek it or not. Us baboons and macaques may not have much sway over the actions of orangutans and chimpanzees, but we most definitely could stop acting like buffoons. Or is it really genetic?

Government – King Lewis – the Gorilla in the room – is, presumably, a natural monopoly. There’s a simple equation that governs its relationship to its macaques and baboons constituency. Widespread wealth in the population, equals disciplined programs, equitable legislation and careful policies. Concentrated wealth, equals sloppy programs, partisan legislation and reckless policies. To which one may add a few variables, here and there, to mitigate or delay the results, but that’s the basic logical frame. That is so because the state’s base income is its tax receipts. When wealth is widely distributed ( an unmistakable sign of a healthy economy), the base of the State’s income source is wide and at its highest output, and liability/loyalty to the majority is strong. After the deleterious effects that interest rates cause on the economy, government income craters. As tax rate increases make only matters worse and it is absolutely out of question that the state should shrink at a time when law and order is most needed, eventually bonds must be issued to cover the budget, which effectively hands over the state to the big lenders, the same way a poor peasant is brought to debt indenture by a bad crop; while the financially weakened crowd clamors for help, and crime, misery and depravity blossom.

There’s no way government debt can be serviced honorably under such circumstances. Which leaves only dubious means. Juvenile states would be tempted to outright renege on the debt or even start confiscating assets. But this is shortsighted. Money would then simply migrate to more welcoming shores or vanish underground, leaving the economy in even worse shape, leading to the collapse of the ruling regime.

More sophisticated ones would first surreptitiously alter the metal content of coins since they usually control the mint. Then as the lenders and economy catch up to the trick, increase interest rates and prices in reaction, still further aggravating the whole situation, our gorilla will attempt to lurk outside his jurisdiction. Instead of just repressing the desperate population, he would lump the deplorables into cheap makeshift armies do be sent on suicidal holly crusades, or spread the words of god to the uncivilized (or whatever convenient tale to the time and place) with free rein on looting in compensation. As these get decimated on their morbid way to some promised land, they never the less sow chaos and economic disruption in their wake, which weakens the regions they traverse. By then a debt financed elite army for conquest is raised to collect the loot and repay the loan with interest and then some. The feeling is exhilarating. Some have said it’s better than sex. So…do you see?

When successful (nothing is ever certain in this world), we may very well witness the birth pangs of a gestating empire. In which case the following template comes into play (if I dare quote myself):

“As an empire expands, the required military growth is self funded by the spoils. But all expansionary dynamics are subject to the law of diminishing return. With each new territory, a growing portion of the armed forces gets tagged to maintain “peace”, and less is available for conquest, while spoils get relatively smaller and increasingly inadequate. Once the expansion reaches its limits, the burden of military cost falls squarely on the economy through higher taxes. With tax induced economic strains, dissent and disorder spreads resulting in still higher expenses (military and otherwise), that then must be met through monetization, which begets inflation, which begets dissent and disorder; and the vicious circle is now locked.”

Lets dig deeper. To the Lenders, every war induced economic crisis, which ever party wins, is a golden opportunity to further their financial tentacles on the general economy through interest baring loans. The only difference is that they fatten much faster and greatly increase their geographic reach riding the back of a rising empire. Economically it appears as a jolly boom in production and trade around the center; and rape, pillaging, maiming, murdering, slavery towards the outer rim, with no end in sight as long as the empire expands. As Great Generals bring light and civilization to the barbarians, Exceptional Statesmen preside over exceptional economies through their exceptional policies. Fat children giggle in the courtyards, mothers are plump, fathers stand erect proudly wearing their protruding bellies, life is beautiful, almost heavenly if only we mustn’t die. Then, spoiled little brats grow into entitled psychopaths of gargantuan appetite just as the empire reaches its limits. Yes dear reader, that is most of you and me. Ok, maybe not you, but definitely the other guy sitting beside you.

On the way up, government debt is made whole by the spoils of war, which provides the lenders with fresh ammunition to financially grab the riches of the newly conquered and ravaged territories. Effectively these spoils carry the same function as debasement of the currency in the economy. Importantly, crucially, I cannot stress it enough, it does not correspond to a natural supply and demand driven increase in money supply, and thus will display the same characteristics as any fraudulent forced fed currency injection, which is devaluation of the latter and contagious malinvestments. Meanwhile, the severe pent up demand triggers a broad economic boom which brings out money, that previously went hiding during the invasion phase and from the four corners of the realm and beyond, further exacerbating the good times. The state’s coffers are now flush with exploding tax receipts. Bigger and better equipped armies are raised, palaces, pyramids, colosseums and pantheons are erected, while roads and ports spread across the lands to funnel resources and gold towards the center. While History will attribute these golden ages to the prowess of some Great Leader, Great scholar, Great technology, Great ideology or whatever other coincidental greatness in store, the more humbling truth is that it is fueled by a constant stream of freshly stolen wealth to pay for the ever expanding interest load on the economy. Now what do you think must happen when there’s nothing left to loot?

Yes, the usual: loans default, bankruptcies rise, fiscal deficit craters, debasement (inflation/hyperinflation) returns with a vengeance, repression, crime, misery, depravity. The blame game intensifies; it’s “anyone’s” or “no one’s” fault, but never is it “everyone’s”. And then, eventually, general rebellion; and in the total chaos, somewhere in a dim lit corner of the scenery, like the manager of some macabre casino, an orangutan watches in glee at the utter stupidity, richer and more powerful than ever, ready to scoop for pennies, not businesses, but entire industries and nations. A few more of these empire cycles and pretty soon he’s sitting on top of the world.

And how could you blame that otherwise harmless, placid, flaccid creature nested in the upper shades of the canopy? It never put a gun to your head; that’s gorilla and baboon behavior. Slip under its skin for a moment: you got this load of money in your right pockets. Then, on the one side there’s this endless procession of avid, solicitors, day in, day out, ready to pawn their mothers and kids, offering the moon plus interests because they’re so bright and it’s such a sure thing and they’re so deserving, and they crave so much to shine if only once. They will even assure you of the precise day and time they will repay you, yet wouldn’t know if they’ll still breath by next sunrise. On the other side, an equally endless and avid procession eagerly willing to fill your left pocket with their savings, responsibilities and guilt for the promise of an easy, risk free extra penny tomorrow. With such display of venal and cowardly covetousness, how can our otherwise harmless placid flaccid orangutan not grow increasingly cynic and, I guess, a bit nauseated. Now filled with contempt and disgust, how could he not be tempted by the devil’s offer? And as his clout grows and grows and grows, turn a little nuts himself? Pity the rich indeed, for you know not how lucky with your petty struggles. More than most any of us, he is relentlessly confronted with the basest and worst in human instincts, up to and including among his own, his family and closest friends, with no respite. Maybe now we can better appreciate the parable of the camel and needle. In the Quran man does not get rich because of his actions and skills, nor because he deserves it, but because God has decided. The battle is ours, but victory is His. There is no other reason. It is among the hardest tests He may bestow upon man. But few would know, since few were chosen. And interest rates makes it all the harder to pass the exam. Indeed it is the devil’s most enticing offer. It speaks to both deferred and immediate greed, dependent on which side of the deal; and virtually every monkey of every specie will fall for it willingly given the right circumstances. And there’s a right circumstance at every corner to satisfy all tastes and moods. Once widespread, it always leads to a paroxysm of social and political abominations and economic cataclysm.

Is this some sort of apology or eulogy to the rich and powerful? Certainly not. It is only to point out they are the faithful reflection of our collective unspeakable aspirations. Specifically, the size of their wealth and power is in direct proportion to our lust for… well, about most any and everything. They are a testament to the filth in our souls, they are the stench that reminds us we’re long past due some serious cleansing. A Hindu Yogi/Sage/Philosopher once wrote something to the effect of: “human monsters such as Hitler and others, were souls that self-sacrificed so the Divine may implement its plan”. Yeah, I also found the statement a bit fishy at first. I’m not sure what he really meant, but then again, in some counter intuitive way, he might have been onto something. Could it be that the rich and powerful are the in fine recipients, the alchemical precipitation of the spiritual miasma we exude. Then maybe we should thank them for absolving us from what would otherwise have been our own guilt, had God granted us our wishes. Could their depravity be, them succumbing to our unrelenting shameless supplicant assaults? Then maybe we should, after all, apologize for making it so much harder for them to stand upright to the Lord. It does take two to tango, you know?

Perhaps now we may better grasp the driving force behind the past two, three thousand years of human history, that locks us in a perpetual repetition of identical patterns and a persistent trend in wealth concentration. It is not that we are incapable of learning; it is just our collective incapacity to resist our inner compulsions. It is basic human psychology display in an interest rate environment, whose size is a pervasive expression of our frustrated insatiable appetite, that then leads to desperate real needs. It’s not some mysterious phenomenon that plagues humanity and only a PHD in economics can explain, nor some inherent inadequacy of gold money that can only be resolved through fiat currencies; which are the ultimate act of delusional rebellion against the natural limits that gold imposes on our unhinged desires.

And it is certainly not the result of some dark cabal conspiring for world dominion since the dawn of time. These are merely the usual scoundrels and parasites scattered along history, that thrive on the general interest rate status quo; meaningless and with no real power except the money we diligently deposit in our savings accounts, pension funds, social security and health insurance programs that feed the beast. Their latest version’s avowed goal, other than world domination, is population reduction and control, Yet even at the height of their power, with atomic bombs and COVID viruses, contraception, junk food and Coca Cola, and the entire pharmaceutical industry in their hands, the world still grew from 2-3 billion lucky souls to 8 billion sorry ones. It is as farcical as the wars on drugs, poverty, terror, climate change and viruses combined. And these are Titans we fear, demi gods that hold our destinies? Seriously?

This current breed will vanish with the currencies that brought them.

In truth our power is immense. We are the ones holding their faith in our hands at every moment, or rather in our senseless bank, brokerage, insurance accounts. The only useful account is a current account to get rid of those currencies as fast as they come. We don’t, because we want in on the Ponzi game. We made that choice the day we agreed to their pension and insurance schemes. And we perpetuate that choice every time we add to our saving accounts. Guaranteed income, zero responsibilities, how to resist?

As usual, there’s so much more to say and I may be totally wrong. Unfortunately the Saker is shutting down the site and I’m running out of time. Please read all that I’ve wrote as the excited exclamations of a child discovering in aw and fondly sharing his findings in the surrounding world. So in parting I’d like to leave you with one last tale:

One day, a long time now, God brought up the issue with the Hebrews, and told them to renounce interest rates. Because He whispered only to their ears and they were the Chosen Ones, they naturally assumed it only concerned their own dealings, but, they thought, there could be no harm in perpetuating the practice with the goyim, since surely God wanted them rich and to inherit the earth… or something like that.

Of course it was silly, God didn’t whisper and He meant it for all loans. Otherwise He’d have added: “but it’s okay to screw the rest of the planet”. But he didn’t.

Still, the net result, intended or not, was that they could rip all the benefits (interest income) with none of the cons (bankruptcies) because their businesses were spared the extra financing cost, which granted greater resiliency and much competitive advantage, especially in trade financing. Thus, as a group, by virtue of the reduced cost of business and the interest rate’s wealth concentrating function in the economy, they siphoned immense wealth from their foreign business relationship. It all proceeded sort of mathematically from a choice that did not necessarily require elaborate conspiracies for world dominion, but only the all to common, human greed, moral hypocrisy and tribal instinct.

As their trade financing activities required them to open offices in all corners of every empire to facilitate settlements between buyers and sellers of different regions, they acquired a unique bird’s eye view which they quickly learned to put to profit. Their coreligionists followed suit, taking advantage of the available preferential loans to open shop in faraway lands, lower margins, and gain market share. Soon the competition must lower quality to make up for the reduced margins and lose more market, then close shop, or take on debt at interest and then close shop. Then as the economic distress induced debt cycle falls flat on its face, people cannot help but notice that some have been spared more than others. They can smell something fishy has been going on, but couldn’t quite put their finger on it. Still they want to rip flesh.

Anyways, little wonder some of them are now among the top orangutans in the world and turned a little paranoiac and crazed. So stop whining. We’d have done the exact same, had we been the chosen ones to first receive God’s tip. Besides all we needed do, was take the queue and denounce, ourselves, those filthy interest rates to instantly restore the balance. The good news: it’s not that they’re so incredibly bright and wicked, nope, their intelligence and malice are perfectly average, it’s just that we’re so hopelessly stupid. I mean… 3000 years that game has been going on, for God’s sake!

UK planned over 40 coup bids, including bid to overthrow Abdel Nasser

14 Jan 2023

Source: Declassified UK

By Al Mayadeen English 

These ‘third-world’ nationalist forces were identified by the UK as an extension of the ‘Soviet threat’, as well as an occurrence of Cold War dynamics that needed to be reverted. 

In this June 18, 1956 file photo, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser waves as he moves through Port Said, Egypt, during a ceremony in which Egypt formally took over control of the Suez Canal from Britain (AP Photo, File)

    A recent report published by Declassified UK details a somewhat exhaustive timeline of the UK’s involvement in plotting coups across the world, both overt and covert, and in most cases conducted with the collaboration of the CIA to depose or assassinate democratically elected leaders.

    The report counts a total of 47 coups put into action in 27 different countries since 1945, but the numbers could her higher. 

    The point in doing so is obvious: as a former colonial empire, the UK is structurally and historically pre-disposed to impede all signs of democratic and socioeconomic developments across the Global South. 

    After WWII, the Soviet Union supported the massive wave of anti-colonial wars to gain national independance. 

    These ‘third-world’ nationalist forces were identified by the UK as an extension of the Soviet threat, as well as an occurrence of Cold War dynamics that needed to be reverted. 

    Some of the most prominent coups orchestrated against leaders include the overthrow of democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953.

    They also include the assassination of the former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba who was killed in the most tragic way one could possibly think of.

    But the UK did not always succeed in effecting a regime change, as it did in Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, and so many African countries. 

    For instance, in the 1950s, the British regime tried to draw two consecutive uprisings against the government in Syria – the first in 1956 and the second in 1957 – which were both unsuccessful. 

    Read more: Kanaani: West failed to effect regime change in Iran

    Another covert operation that foiled was one conducted in 1957 against Indonesia’s Sukarno, the leader of the Indonesian struggle for independence from the Dutch colonialists who propelled Indonesia out of morbid poverty.

    Sukarno was ousted a decade later in what appeared to “one of the 20th century’s worst bloodbaths” with the purge of communists and socialists by the Indonesian military under Suharto – an event which was later revealed to have been backed by the UK in 1965-1966.

    Other countries which have been targeted during the 1950s and 1960s include Brazil, British Guiana, Egypt, and several countries in the Gulf region. 

    One leader took about four decades for the UK to take down, namely Muammar Gaddafi, who nationalized British oil operators as soon as he seized power in 1969. 

    After several failed attempts to kill the strongman leader, the UK finally managed to rid of him in 2011 with the assistance of NATO.

    Other leaders that were targeted for assassination include Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic in 1992, Ugandan President Milton Obote in 1969, and his successor Idi Amin in the late 1970s.

    The list also includes countries of the former Soviet Union, namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

    It further includes Italy because the Communist Party “looked as if it might win or influence the next government,” the report states. 

    Read more: Brazil Supreme Court Jan. 8 riots investigations to include Bolsonaro

    The most recent coup attempts include failed attempts to depose Syrian President Bashar el-Assad during the Arab Spring, as well as several attempts to depose leaders in Latin American countries, namely lithium-rich Bolivia and oil-rich Venezuela.

    Venezuela recently joined the ranks of failed coups after Juan Guaido was ousted and his government dissolved.

    The report is relevant to the modern context because the West has recently tried to push for regime change in Iran and Peru. 

    In the case of Peru, former President Pedro Castillo had charges fabricated against him to justify his impeachment and imprisonment. 

    All-in-all, the UK’s habitus of conducting coups across the Global South is always motivated by strategic interests. These include a wide range of interests but almost always concern the privatization of oil resources. 

    In the case where no oil is involved, the UK intervenes to simply ward off the presence of progressive ideologies that strengthen the people against the will of the West. 

    Read more: Peru’s Boluarte won’t step down despite calls for resignation

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      11 years on… UK gets what it was always after; Libya’s oil

      29 Nov 2022

      Source: Agencies

      By Al Mayadeen English 

      British oil giants BP and Shell are returning to the oil-rich north African country just over a decade after the UK took part in destabilizing the nation with the 2011 military intervention.

      An oil and gas platform off the coast of Libya (Getty Images)

      Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) agreed last month for BP to begin drilling for and producing natural gas in a major project off the north African country’s coast.

      The UK corporation, whose board of directors includes former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers, controls exploration areas in Libya nearly three times the size of Wales.

      For a long time, British officials have sought to profit from oil in Libya, which contains 48 billion barrels of reserves – the largest oil resources in Africa, accounting for 3% of the world total.

      BP is one of the few international oil and gas companies with exploration and production permits in Libya. Muammar Gaddafi nationalized its assets in Libya shortly after seizing power in a 1969 coup that called into question the entire British position in the country and region.

      Following years of tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Tony Blair met Gaddafi in 2004 and struck the so-called “Deal in the Desert,” which included a $900 million exploration and production agreement between BP and Libya’s NOC.

      Read next: UN calls for Libya ceasefire after deadly clashes

      BP re-entered the country in 2007, but its operations were halted by the 2011 NATO-backed aggression on the country, resulting in ousting Gaddafi and later killing him.

      BP operations resumed after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2018 between the NOC and Eni, the Italian oil major, to resume exploration, with Eni as the oil field operator. BP CEO Bob Dudley hailed the agreement as an important step “toward returning to our work in Libya.”

      The $8 billion BP-ENI project includes two exploration areas, one onshore in the Ghadames basin and one offshore in the Sirte basin, totaling approximately 54,000 km2. The Sirte basin concession alone encompasses an area larger than Belgium.

      The UK’s other oil major, Shell, is also “preparing to return as a major player” in Libya, according to its statement in a confidential document. After putting its Libyan operations on hold in 2012, the corporation is now planning to explore new oil and gas fields in several blocks.

      Oil bribery

      In September of last year, a third British company, Petrofac, which provides engineering services to oil operations, was awarded a $100 million contract to help develop the Erawin oil field in Libya’s deep southwest.

      Petrofac was at the time under investigation for bribery by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). One of its executives, global head of sales David Lufkin, had already pleaded guilty in 2019 to 11 counts of bribery. 

      The SFO convicted and fined Petrofac on seven counts of bribery between 2011 and 2017 in the month following the award of the Libya contract.

      The company pleaded guilty to using agents to bribe officials to the tune of £32 million in order to win oil contracts in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

      “A key feature of the case,” the SFO noted, “was the complex and deliberately opaque methods used by these senior executives to pay agents across borders, disguising payments through sub-contractors, creating fake contracts for fictitious services and, in some cases, passing bribes through more than one agent and one country, to disguise their actions.”

      It works with BP in several countries around the world, including Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Oman, and in the North Sea.

      Backed by UK government

      All three British firms re-entering Libya have close ties to the British government. During some of the years when Petrofac paid bribes, the company was led by Ayman Asfari, who donated nearly £800,000 to the Conservative Party between 2009 and 2017.

      David Cameron appointed Asfari, who is now a non-executive director of Petrofac, as one of his business ambassadors in 2014.

      In May 2019, when Petrofac was under investigation by the SFO, UKEF provided £700m in project insurance for the design and operation of an oil refinery at Duqm in Oman, a project in which Petrofac was named as the sole UK exporter.

      Read next: Libya’s largest oilfield resumes operations after 2 months of shutdown

      Petrofac was one of five companies that sponsored the official reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli in June of this year.

      Ambassador Caroline Hurndall told the audience, “I am especially proud that British businesses are collaborating with Libyan companies and having a meaningful impact upon Libya’s economic development. Many of those businesses are represented here tonight.”

      BP and Shell are close to Whitehall, with a long history of personnel revolving between the corporation and former senior civil servants.

      Control of oil

      Despite all that has befallen the north African nation, Libya was the UK’s third largest source of oil last year, after Norway and the US, supplying 7.8% of all British oil imports. Oil provides over 90% of Libya’s revenue, which makes it the country’s lifeline. 

      However, the country’s NATO-backed aggression has provoked a battle for control over the oil industry which has been described as being in “disarray”, with “little clarity on who really is in control of the nation’s most valuable resource.”

      UK ministers have long sought access to Libya’s oil in the international rivalry over access to the key resource. Documents obtained by the oil-focused NGO Platform in 2009 revealed that Labour ministers and senior civil servants met with Shell at least 11 times and possibly as many as 26 times in less than four years to discuss the company’s oil interests in Libya.

      Read next: Libya Announces the End of Division in Oil Sector

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      Old Way, New Way

      July 14, 2022

      By Dmitry Orlov and posted with permission

      The hardest part of living through a time of wrenching change is that nobody particularly bothers to inform you that the times have changed and that nothing will be the same again. Certainly not the talking heads on TV, who are often the last to know. You have to figure it out for yourself if you can. But I am here to help.

      It all has to do with energy. Not with technology—that’s incidental; not with military superiority—that’s fleeting and largely imaginary; certainly not with any sort of political or cultural self-righteousness—that’s delusional. There is no substitute for energy. If you run low, you can’t switch to running your industrial economy on fiddlesticks. It just shuts down. What’s worse, energy sources are not even particularly substitutable for each other. If you run low on gas, you can’t just switch to coal or to dried dung, even if you are up to your neck in it. Modern industry runs on oil, natural gas, and coal, in that order, and they can be substituted for each other in very limited ways.

      Furthermore, energy has to be very cheap. Oil has to be about the cheapest liquid you can buy—cheaper than milk; cheaper even than bottled water. If energy isn’t cheap enough, then all the energy-hungry industry that runs on it becomes unprofitable and shuts down. That’s the stage at which we are now in much of the world. So, what happened?

      Once upon a time the US produced most of the oil in the world. But then the prolific wells in West Texas ran out and Saudi Arabia took over as the biggest oil producer. But the US wasn’t about to take that sitting down and hatched an ingenuous plan: Saudi Arabia will sell its oil for printed US dollars, then take most of those dollars and give them back to the US by “investing” it in US “debt”. Everybody else who needed oil had to figure out a way to earn US dollars to buy it, and any US dollars they had left over after buying oil also had to be used to buy up US debt just because: “Nice economy you have there! Now we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to it, would we?”

      Indeed, a few people didn’t get the message (Saddam of Iraq, Qaddafi of Libya) and got their countries bombed. And a whole lot of other defenseless countries got bombed just to keep the others scared. But then Syria, which refused to get the message too, asked the Russians for help. The Russians helped Syria, and now nobody is afraid of the US any more. Meanwhile, the US became spoiled by all this free money, grew fat, lazy, degenerate and weak and amassed the hugest pile of “debt” (in quotes because there is no question of ever repaying it) in all of human history.

      In the meantime Russia, being the largest energy-producing country in the world, decided that it has had enough. Under the old scheme, Russia exported its resources cheaply, spend 1/3 of the revenue on imports and allowed 2/3 to leak out of the country, quite a lot of it also used to buy US “debt”. It couldn’t do anything about this right away, and so it spent the last decade developing its military to a point where now the US/NATO are afraid to go near it and its economy to a point where it doesn’t need much of the imports, at least not for a few years. And then a silly thing happened: the US confiscated Russia’s holdings of US “debt,” making everyone in the world take notice and start dumping it—even the Japanese!—sending the entire financial scheme into a tailspin.

      Meanwhile, Russia has started to switch from selling its energy exports for dollars and euros, which then leave the country, where they can be confiscated, to selling them for rubles, which stay inside the country. Do you want to buy some Russian energy? Well, figure out how to earn some rubles! And if your own anti-Russian sanctions prevent you from doing so—well, la-di-da, whose fault is that? Also, given that there is now a worldwide energy shortage, the Russians asked themselves: Why sell lots of oil and gas for a little money when you can sell less of them for more money?

      These are not projected developments; they are happening now and in real-time. “Hostile nations” (which is all of the West) now need rubles to buy Russian natural gas and there is a plan to extend this scheme to oil exports. And just a couple of days ago Russia’s finance minister, Anton Siluanov, announced that there isn’t much point for Russia to export anything for dollars or euros since Russia doesn’t need them for anything and advised exporters to start using barter arrangements instead. Barter is rather inconvenient, but if offering dollars (or euros) just gets you punched in the teeth, then that’s all there is left.

      What sorts of barter arrangements? Well, for instance, there is a very nice gigantic chemical plant in Germany, the Ludwigshafen Chemical Complex in Germany, owned by BASF, that is about to shut down due to a shortage of its main feedstock, which is Russian natural gas. That equipment could be crated up and shipped off to Russia in exchange for some energy products, fertilizer and other key supplies that the Germans will need to keep body and soul together over this coming winter. Are anti-Russian sanctions in the way? Well, la-de-da again! They are not Russia’s problem; somebody else has to find a way around them.

      Meanwhile, lots of dead ideas, systems and institutions are piling up in the West. Dead is the Green New Deal (a scheme concocted by people who know neither physics nor even arithmetic) and the Great Reset, and Build Back Better (whatever that was), and the rules-based international order, and Mutual Assured Destruction (if you ask for it, Russia will destroy it, but how mutual is that?). And we are all standing by, waiting for a shout of “Timber!” when the dollar/euro/yen debt pyramid begins to topple.

      The world is also waiting with bated breath for a whole lot of pompous but useless busybodies to disappear from public view. Dumping that pompous blowhard Boris Johnson was a good start, but what about Scholz, Macron, Duda, von der Lyin’, Zelensky and a whole host others? Biden is in a category of his own, since it clearly doesn’t matter who is the US president or even if there is one.

      The world has changed, but social reality hasn’t yet caught up with political and physical reality. This is the summer of anticipation. The winter of discontent is next. Come next spring, we will all be living on a strange and different planet.

      To read my other articles, please subscribe at https://boosty.to/cluborlov.

      Sitrep UNGA: Russia suspended from 47 member Human Rights Council in Geneva

      April 07, 2022

      The US-proposed resolution received 93 votes, with 24 countries opposed and 58 abstaining.

      The only other country ever to be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council was Libya, in 2011, as NATO bombed the North African country to help militants overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

      Assad, Syria and China’s new Silk Road

      Count on Syria becoming an important West Asian hub in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

      December 07 2021

      By Matthew Ehret

      Photo Credit: The Cradle

      Ever since Russia and China began challenging the Anglo-American scorched Earth doctrine in 2011 with their first vetoes against US intervention into Syria, the Gordian knots that have tied up the Arab world in chaos, division and ignorance for decades have finally begun to unravel.

      Where just one decade ago the unipolar vision of the ‘new American century’ reigned unchallenged, by 2013 the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had sprung into life, and the largest purges of China’s deep state on record were launched under Xi Jinping’s watch. This latter crackdown even earned the ire of the American intelligence community, with war hawk John Bolton complaining that Xi’s authoritarianism has made the CIA job of maintaining its spies inside China nearly impossible.

      This new operating system, tied closely to Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, a new multipolar future has emerged; one which plans to actually deliver long-term development for all those who choose to play by its rules.

      One of these adherents will be Syria, which is re-emerging onto the world’s stage after having miraculously defended itself from a ten-year military onslaught launched by the old unipolar players.

      Of course, the pain and destruction of the war is still deeply felt; illegal US sanctions continue to plague the hungry masses, prevent the reconstruction of basic infrastructure and access to potable water, and cripple schools, hospitals, businesses, and livelihoods.

      The BRI and Syria’s new future

      On 5 November, China’s President Xi Jinping spoke with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, saying “we welcome the Syrian side’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Development Initiative” and calling for reconstruction, development, and the defense of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

      The discussion came in the wake of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s whirlwind tour across West Asia and North Africa in July 2021, during which he met the Arab League’s chief to discuss Syria return to the fold.

      By the end of this tour – which coincided with Assad’s re-election – China had signed a four-point proposal for solving Syria’s multifaceted crisis with a focus on large scale reconstruction, ending illegal sanctions and respecting Syria’s sovereignty.

      Syria, in turn, re-affirmed its support for China’s territorial integrity in the face of western-sponsored separatist movements in Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

      China’s interest in West Asian development was first made known in 2017 when Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated:

      “Too many people in the Middle East are suffering at the brutal hands of terrorists. We support regional countries in forming synergy, consolidating the momentum of anti-terrorism and striving to restore regional stability and order. We support countries in the region in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions and are ready to share governance experience and jointly build the Belt and Road and promote peace and stability through common development.”

      In 2018, China offered $28 billion in development aid to Syria while simultaneously coordinating the integration of Iraq into the BRI, made official in September 2019 when then-Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi unveiled the China-Iraq oil for reconstruction program and Iraq’s broader integration into the BRI framework.

      Events coordinated by foreign interests did not permit this momentum for long. Mass protests soon toppled Abdul Mahdi’s government and, with it, the oil-for-reconstruction initiative. While recent months have seen a revival of this initiative from Iraq in piecemeal form, progress has been slow.

      Instead, the 25 year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement struck between China and Iran in March 2021 has become the main gateway for extending Beijing’s infrastructure and connectivity projects into West Asia.

      The construction of the Iran–Iraq Shalamcheh-Basra rail line is now underway, bringing the two neighboring states into an equal cooperative footing and opening prospects for greater rail and energy corridors extending from Iran through Iraq and into Syria, as a southern branch of the BRI.

      In April 2019, Syria was invited to attend the first official BRI summit in Beijing, where President Assad stated:

      “We have proposed around six projects to the Chinese government in line with the Belt and Road methodology and we are waiting to hear which project, or projects, will be in line with their thinking … I think when this infrastructure is developed, with time, the Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative) passing through Syria becomes a foregone conclusion, because it is not a road you only draw on a map.”

      So what, specifically, are those projects?

      China and Syria are keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to details for the moment. But it is not impossible to make some educated guesses about Assad’s wish-list by revisiting his earlier strategic vision for Syria.

      Specifically, that would be the Five Seas Strategy that Assad had championed from 2004 to 2011, which disappeared from view once Syria was targeted for destruction.

      The Five Seas strategy, in brief

      The Five Seas strategy involves the construction of rail, roads and energy grids connecting the water systems of the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black Sea, Red Sea and Caspian Sea with Syria. The project serves as a logical node uniting the diverse nations of Mackinder’s world island behind a program of harmonization, integration and win-win industrial cooperation.

      In a 2009 interview, President Assad described this project passionately:

      “Once the economic space between Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran becomes integrated, we would link the Mediterranean, Caspian, Black Sea, and the [Persian] Gulf . . . we aren’t just important in the Middle East . . . Once we link these four seas, we become the unavoidable intersection of the whole world in investment, transport, and more.”

      These weren’t empty words. By 2011, Assad had led delegations and signed agreements with Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to begin the Five Seas projects. This was done at a time when Libya’s President Qaddafi was well underway in building the Great Man-Made River, the largest water project in history alongside a coalition of nations that included Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.

      The true reasons for Qaddafi’s killing, the carving up of Sudan in 2009, and the current efforts at US-sponsored regime change in Ethiopia cannot be comprehended without an understanding of this potent, game-changing strategic paradigm that he and others were spearheading.

      The need for secrecy

      The secrecy of Chinese-West Asian diplomacy in the emerging post-regime change world now emerging should therefore be understood as an obvious necessity.

      For the past decade, every time a West Asian or African nation makes a public announcement of a BRI-compatible program, that same nation has been promptly dragged through different degrees of foreign sabotage. Neither Assad nor the Chinese have any intention to replay that trend at this pivotal moment.

      Soon after the heads of Syrian and Turkish intelligence agencies met in Baghdad in early September, Assad reportedly told a Lebanese delegation that “many Arab and non-Arab states are communicating with us, but asking us to keep this a secret.”

      The nature of this secret diplomacy soon became clear, when the Arab League made its 23 November announcement of Syria’s re-admission into the fold.

      Former sworn enemies of Bashar Assad, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have demonstrated their willingness to accept their humiliation, recognize Assad’s legitimacy and adapt to the new powers China and Russia. Unlike decades of Anglo-American promises which treat Arab participants like disposable temporary interests, the China-Russia alliance contains tangible, measurable benefits, like security and development for all participants.

      Multipolarity vs the ‘rules-based international order’

      While the US wasted the past decade imposing sanctions and punishments on nations, institutions and individuals unaccepting of its global hegemony, China was patiently recruiting West Asian and African states to the BRI: a whopping 17 Arab nations and 46 African nations are taking part today.

      NATO member Turkey has also been on the receiving end of Washington’s punishments, and has begun to view China as a potential means to a more independent future – one that comes with the financial resources to mitigate the country’s current economic woes and currency fluctuations.

      Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had once provided vast support for ISIS and Al Qaeda operations across Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, primarily through the purchase of ISIS-controlled oil and the supply of extremist fighters, clandestine funding and arms transfers. Such support has increasingly dried up, leaving ISIS with very little to work outside of what the CIA provides.

      Despite US President Joe Biden re-affirming military support in October for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) occupying north-east Syria, the Kurdish hand has also been overplayed. Many are finally recognizing that the Kurds have been duped into serving as a counter-gang to ISIS, and that promises for a Kurdish state have proved to be as illusory as the dream of Assad’s overthrow.

      Erdogan may have tried to walk both worlds for some time, but it has increasingly become clear that Turkey’s only chance for survival rests with Russian military cooperation and China’s BRI (which crosses Turkey in the form of the Middle Corridor), both which demand a defense of Syria’s sovereignty.

      As this new reality dawns on West Asia, and as the old unipolar order continues to veer towards a systemic collapse of historic proportions, there is good reason to believe that the region, or an important chunk of it, is already locked in and counting on the development and connectivity boom coming its way.

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

      What Wall Street fears

      January 30, 2021

      What Wall Street fears

      By The Ister for the Saker Blog

      The origin of modern banking can be found in the early days of the gold trade. In the Middle Ages, goldsmiths accepted deposits of gold in return for paper notes, which could be exchanged for the deposits at a later date. Because these paper notes were more convenient for commercial use than physical metal, they were usually not redeemed for gold right away. The goldsmiths noticed their customers’ deposits could be used in the meantime to generate interest and began surreptitiously lending out the savings of their depositors. Over time fractional reserve banking developed from this tendency of lending out money in excess of the actual reserves being held.

      Goldsmith became banker, and from this early monetary system, banking families emerged. Prior to the existence of modern financial institutions, these houses were the entities which could be relied upon for large amounts of credit. A reputable surname gave confidence to depositors that their gold was in good hands, and from the intergenerational accumulation of wealth grew large pools of loanable capital. As nobles required weapons and pay for their armies, the conflicts of medieval Europe were fueled by families such as the Medici, Fuggers, and Welsers. Today, it is the Federal Reserve which finances America’s enormous military and conquests abroad.

      To truly understand banking, the concept of free markets must be cast aside. Just as oil is a strategic resource for the real economy capitalist, gold and silver are strategic resources for the financial capitalist. Physical bullion is the basis from which all other lines of credit extend; we know this because the same central banks which publicly proclaim gold to be a barbarous relic still feel the need to maintain enormous hordes in their vaults.

      As in oil markets, pricing is not influenced primarily by a large number of producers and buyers but by concentrated cartel dynamics. So while we witness yet another energy battle between OPEC and Russia unfold, it should be understood that similar dynamics are at play in the upper echelons of the monetary world as bankers seek to fix prices and control physical bullion flows in a manner which is beneficial to their interests.

      A key difference from oil is that while the pump leads to the refinery and the refinery to the end-user, bankers do not generally like to part with their gold. Accordingly, markets have been designed so that prices are determined not by physical delivery but by the trading of unbacked or fractionally backed “claims” on the underlying metal: certificates, ETFs, and futures. We can be certain that there is not enough physical bullion to cover all these paper metal claims, just like the medieval goldsmith did not hold his deposits in full.

      These paper markets set the price, although bars rarely leave the vault

      Where is the vault? While Fort Knox claims the largest holdings, the price is set by the London Bullion Market Association and CME Group which together account for around 70% and 20% of global trading volume respectively. The London Bullion Market began in 1850, when N. M. Rothschild and Sons and several other banking families created a cartel to oversee the operations of the global gold market, including the establishment of the “London good delivery” list which created trading standards for size, dimensions, shape and fineness of bullion; today trading on London markets requires a high purity and being between 350-450 ounces.

      This domination of the world’s gold market was not achieved through peaceful means: look into the forces behind the conquest of Transvaal’s gold mines, for it bears a direct parallel to America’s invasions of oil-rich nations today. Another similarity with oil markets is that military interventions have a habit of “liberating” the target nation of their gold: just ask Muammar Gaddafi.

      The price of such a strategic resource could not be determined by an open market, thus alongside good delivery standards the “gold fix” was established in 1919 and was held in the offices of New Court until 2004, when its operations were passed on to a cartel of bullion banks such JP Morgan and HSBC. Ever since, these banks have been investigated and convicted countless times of manipulating and spoofing the prices.

      How do we know that there isn’t enough gold to cover physical deliveries? Back in the 1970s the dollar was under a lot of pressure and Western banks maintained secret gentlemen’s agreements not to request delivery of bullion. In 1971 Dutch central bank chief Jelle Zjilstra ignored these formalities and planned to convert $600 million of the Dutch dollar reserves to gold, prompting Federal Reserve chair Paul Volcker to fly out to the Netherlands and warn him: “you’re rocking the boat.” Shortly after Zijlstra refused Volcker’s pressure and continued with the purchase, the US decoupled from the gold standard.

      Abandonment of the gold standard risked a reduction in dollar demand, so Nixon enlisted Wall Street scion Gerry Parsky to negotiate with oil exporting Arab nations. After discussion, the Saudi state agreed to sell oil priced exclusively in dollars and to invest the proceeds of oil sales in America.

      To those who say dismissively that the dollar is now backed by “nothing,” I say it is backed by oil and the threat of the US military.

      Look at the somber fates of those that tried to ditch the dollar for gold or the Euro: Libya in a state of permanent civil war; starving Syrians picking through landfills in search of food only miles from occupied wheat fields.

      So maintaining confidence in our reserve currency requires the undermining of confidence in gold, as its reemergence would unnecessarily democratize the international monetary order. Confidence is undermined first by price suppression, which is accomplished by the manipulation of precious metals futures markets. While it would be hugely wasteful for a private individual or consortium to manipulate such a market with their own money, that is where the unlimited fiat available at central bank trading desks come in: and we know central banks are secretly trading precious metals futures due to leaked documents from CME Group.

      Leo Melamed, chairman of CME Group and the putative father of modern commodity futures markets noted in his book Escape to the Futures that CME’s Globex system was inspired by the original London gold fix:

      Sandner, Kilcollin and I were in London with the chairman of the Rothschild Bank seeking his advice on how to bring the “gold fix” to Chicago. From the heated debate that followed one would have concluded that Kilcollin knew more about the subject than the legendary Rothschilds, the people who had founded the concept ages before.

      What we can see from this is that strategic commodities such as gold and oil are far from a free market: recall my previous article The Empire is Losing the Energy War which described how the Saudi state functions as a price-suppression weapon against Russia’s oil exports. This global commodity suppression schema allows the importation of the planet’s finite resources at a fraction of the true cost in return for theoretically unlimited currency. Recall Fed governor Kevin Warsh’s comments in December of 2011 when gold hit an all time high that banks were:

      “finding it tempting to pursue financial repression- suppressing market prices that they don’t like”

      There are signs, however, that the thin pool of physical bullion which exists to maintain confidence in paper markets is drying up. In March of 2020, CME Group had to relax its own requirement of 100oz bars to allow 400oz London good delivery bars to be shipped from overseas and used for trade settlement. Some would say: if price suppression exists then why has the gold price gone up over the last few years?

      The middle ground between setting the price to very low or very high levels, say, $100 or $10,000, is that the prices are set high enough to minimize outflows from vaults, while at the same time using futures to hammer down the prices at psychologically important levels and initiating margin calls on those who are long gold using leverage. Those who have watched gold for a long time can attest to the sudden and inexplicable drops which originate in the futures market and which occur every time the gold price appears *just* ready to break out.

      It’s a very complicated charade for the bullion bank cartel. Allow the price per ounce to go too low and you risk running out of the gold necessary to facilitate markets. At the same time, if the price rises too high it attracts international attention and risks gold reemerging in monetary policy. Notice how as soon as the supply shortages became apparent in March 2020 the bankers were forced to reset gold from $1230 to over $2000 in order to stem the outflows of physical delivery.

      Putin is intentionally exacerbating this drought of physical gold in Western banks by expanding the Russian central bank’s purchases of gold. For the past few years Russia has been the number one global purchaser of bullion, having spent over $40 billion to bring Moscow’s reserves to the highest level in history: a sum close to the annual military budget because it is a strategic asset.

      Just last week, Russia’s gold reserves passed its dollar reserves for the first time reaching a sum of $583 billion, highlighted by the central bank as part of Putin’s de-dollarization agenda. Given that purchases have grown at roughly 15% per year we can predict that even if the price does not rise, the value of these holdings will be around $1 trillion in three years. Read the anxious commentary about these purchases in Bloomberg and Forbes, and remember the nervousness in the business press when Germany demanded its gold back in 2013, which would only exist if behind-the-scenes physical gold flows were disjointed and there was internal muttering in the financial world as to whether the demand could be fulfilled.

      To any who doubt that this is an overt move, in the pre-WW2 monetary system the mass accumulation of gold was well understood among central bankers as an aggressive act intended to starve competitor states of their ability to create credit. For example, French and American hoarding resulted in hyperinflation for Germany and forced Britain’s pound sterling off the gold standard.

      Russia’s acquisition of precious metal is a direct threat to the financial system. How funny that the system is so fraudulent that it is an act of aggression to simply demand in physical form what one has paid for in full on an open market; an act which the designers of the system cannot protest lest they reveal their own bankruptcy. Just as it did in the 1920s, the hoarding of gold in the East will eventually limit the West’s ability to extend credit, it is simply unfolding on a longer time frame.

      So why is a tiny stock like GameStop causing billionaire Leon Cooperman to cry on CNBC, and why is the SEC threatening small-time investors?

      Simply, the financial markets are being revealed as a highly illiquid house of cards. Retail investors from Reddit began trolling short-sellers by rapidly buying small stocks and causing hedge funds to blow up from expensive margin calls. The losses are now estimated at around $70 billion, and as these small-time investors funnel their unemployment and stimulus checks into their aggressive trades they have fought wealthy investors in a more effective way than Occupy Wall Street ever did. They have now turned their eyes to the small and illiquid silver market…

      Look at the fate of the Hunt brothers fortune: they were oil billionaires who tried to exercise their legal right to take physical delivery of a large volume of silver futures contracts and had CME pull the rug out from under them before it could be achieved. CME Group defeated the Hunt brothers by instituting Silver Rule 7 which limited the dollar amount of physical silver that an individual investor could buy. But how will that stop the hordes of young low net worth traders who are now telling one another to purchase physical bullion and intentionally strain the rigged silver market?

      This arcane financial system is doomed to fail because it is based on ever-higher and more unstable abstractions of underlying wealth: CDOs squared and cubed, dark pool derivatives markets totaling trillions of dollars, and so on: all of which depends on the financial sector sucking as much money as possible out of a shrinking global economy through securitization. Now that people are demanding the underlying assets themselves, change is beginning.

      What an interesting timeline: where Russia and unemployed youths have come to the same conclusion for how to defeat the banks.

      The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

      Who is Behind “Fake News”? Mainstream Media Use Fake Videos and Images

      By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

      Global Research, November 07, 2020

      First published on November 24, 2016

      Author’s Note

      Independent media is under attack. 

      Censorship is now routinely applied. 

      Readers on social media are warned not to go onto certain sites.

      Those who say the truth are tagged as “conspiracy theorists”.  

      In relation to the corona crisis, the media is involved in sustaining a Worldwide fear campaign. 

      Several medical doctors who have spoken out against the official Coronavirus narrative have been fired.

      Globalresearch.ca has been tagged by Canada’s media as a source of disinformation.

      Our analysis confirms that the mainstream media are routinely involved in distorting the facts and turning realities upside down. 

      They are the unspoken architects of “Fake News”.  The Lie becomes the Truth. 

      One area of routine distortion is the use of fake videos and images by the mainstream media. 

      Michel Chossudovsky, October 26, 2020


      Four Notorious Cases of  Media Distortion

      These are four examples and there are many more. The manipulation of videos and images is routine. In some cases, these manipulations are revealed by readers, independent media and social media. In most cases they go undetected. And when they are revealed, the media will say “sorry” we apologize: they will then point to technical errors. “we got the wrong video”.

      What is important to emphasize is that these media distortions are invariably deliberate.

      1. Coverage of CNN 2008 Riots in Tibet

      Chinese Cops with khaki uniforms and Indian Style Moustaches

      The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s 2008 report, had nothing to do with China. The policemen were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the Northeastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.
      Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.

      Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms?

      1′.27-1′.44″ video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks

      Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report?

      REPORT ON CHINA, MARCH 14, 2008

      ScreenScreenshot from above CNN video

      Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008  1’38”, 1’40″ (image above)

      Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.

      Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.

      Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.

      Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and moustache do not look Chinese.

      Look carefully.

      They are Indian cops.

      The videotape shown on March 14, 2008 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China. CNN got its countries screwed up.

      For the full report on Global Research click Here

      2. BBC Coverage of the War on Libya, 2011

      Green Square Tripoli. Libyans Celebrating “Liberation” and the Victory of Rebel forces over Gadaffi waving Indian Flags

      Examine the footage: It’s not Green Square and it’s not the King Idris Flag (red, black green) of the Libyan Rebels.  

      Its the Indian flag (orange, white and green) and the people at the rally are Indians.

      Perhaps you did not even notice it.

      And if you did notice, ”it was probably a mistake”.

      Sloppy journalism at the BBC or outright Lies and Fabrications? Recognize the flags?

      Indian Flag  (see right)

      Libya’s Rebel Flag (King Idris)

      Terrorists “celebrating” in Green Square

      There was no celebration. It was a NATO sponsored massacre which has resulted in several thousand deaths. (2011)

      But the truth cannot be shown on network television. The impacts of NATO bombings have been obfuscated.

      The rebels are heralded as ”liberators”.

      NATO bombing is intended to save civilian lives under The Alliance’s R2P mandate.  But the realities are otherwise: the civilian population is being terrorized by the NATO sponsored Rebels.

      The images must be switched to conform to the “NATO consensus”.

      Death and destruction is replaced by fabricated images of celebration and liberation.

      See the full report on Global Research

      3. CNN and BBC on 9/11.

      The Report on the Collapse of WTC Building Seven Occurred Prior to the Collapse

      Fake News regarding the Collapse of WTC Building Seven

      The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed.

      The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.

      CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event.

      See the images below: WTC Building Seven is still standing.

      (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

      The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

      “CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.” (see below)

      See the complete Global Research article

      4. The March 2016 Brussels Terrorist Attacks.

      Belgian Media Used Video of a 2011 Moscow Airport Terrorist Attack

      Brussels News media Dernière Heure at dhnet.be as well as La Libre reported on the terror attacks by providing a CC Camera Airport Surveillance Video of the terror attacks. 

      The published video footage was fake as documented by a blog posting on Media Part

      The video pertains to a terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on 24 January 2011 (posted on youtube in November 2013).

      The  report of DHnet.be on the Brussels airport attack used the video of the Moscow 2011 attack with the date of the Brussels attack: (22/03/2016) pasted onto the Russian video.

      Below is the screenshot of DH’s report.

      And the screenshot of  La Libre at http://lalibre.be,

      And here is a screenshot of the January 2011 terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedova International Airport published on youtube in November 2013 followed by the full youtube video of the Moscow attack:

      According to the BBC (January 24, 2011) report (which includes the video), the Moscow 2011 airport attack  resulted in 35 dead.

      Screenshot of BBC Report January 2011 report

      Coincidence? That Same Day, There was A Second Fake Surveillance Video at Brussels Maelbeek Metro Station 

      The terror attack in the afternoon of March 22 2016 at Brussels Maelbeek Metro station was reported by mainstream media including CNN.

      In these reports, video footage from a 2011 terror attack in Minsk, Belarus was used by network TV and online media to describe what was happening in the metro station at the time of the attacks.

      According to the Independent:

      CCTV footage that was shared after the Brussels attacks, believed to show video from inside Maelbeek Metro station, has been proven fake.

      As news emerged of the third explosion in the Belgian capital, which targeted the station situated near EU offices, many began sharing what they believed to be footage of the bombing.

      However it was soon discovered that the video in fact came from the Minsk Metro bombing of 2011 that killed 15 and injured over 200 people.

      The Independent’s report is based on a fallacy. It was the mainstream media that published the Moscow and Minsk video footages. It was thanks to incisive social media blog reports that the use of fake videos by the mainstream media was revealed.

      The more fundamental question: two cases of fake videos:

      Can we trust the mainstream media reports concerning the Brussels terror attacks?

      Comparisons: Brussels, 22 March 2016 versus Minsk, 11 April 2011. Same video footage

      Here is a screenshot of  video footage broadcast on network TV and on the internet depicting the explosion in the Metro in Brussels, March 22, 2016

      The alleged video footage of the CCTV surveillance camera, Brussel Maelbeek Metro Station (subsequently removed).  The CC surveillance camera is under control of the Metro security authorities. (screenshot above)

      Now Compare the above to the screenshot of  the Minsk April 2011 attacks followed by full-length video.

       Full video of the Minsk Attack

      Read Complete article on Brussels Fake Videos

      Concluding Remarks

      The lies and fabrications of the MSM are not the result of “sloppy journalism”.

      They are deliberate and are intended to mislead the public.

      The mainstream media routinely uses fake images and videos in its coverage of the war on Syria.

      The campaign against alternative and independent media seeks to limit freedom of expression.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

      Large demonstration held in support of Gaddafi family in northern Libya: video

      Supporters of the Gaddafi family took to the streets of Bani Walid, Sirte, and Ghat to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s return to politics.

      By News Desk -2020-08-25

      BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:35 P.M.) – Supporters of the Gaddafi family have once again gathered in Sirte, the birthplace of the former president, Muammar, to show their support for them amid ongoing turmoil between the two largest political blocs in Libya.

      According to Ouais Hasairi, the Libyan National Army (LNA) clashed with members of the Gdadfa Tribe, which is the tribe of Muammar Gaddafi, over the arrest of 50 civilians in the city of Sirte.

      The incident, according to Hasairi, took place in the coastal city of Sirte on August 24th, as the demonstrations in support of the Gaddafi family continue in this region of the country.

      Supporters of the Gaddafi family can be seen waiving the green flag, which represented the Libyan Arab Republic under the former president Muammar Gaddafi.

      Last week, three demonstrations were reported in Sirte and two other cities in north-central Libya, as dozens of people rallied in support of the Gaddafi family and the return of Saif Al-Islam to Libyan politics.


      Demonstrations held in support of Gaddafi family in 3 Libyan cities

      By News Desk -2020-08-20

      Supporters of the Gaddafi family took to the streets of Bani Walid, Sirte, and Ghat to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s return to politics.

      BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – Dozens of people gathered inside three Libyan cities this week to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, the son of the former president, Mu’ammar Al-Gaddafi.

      According to Al-Wasat, the demonstrations were held in the cities of Sirte, Bani Walid, and Ghat, which are located in north-central Libya.

      The participants reportedly held photos of the former Libyan President, along with his sons, Saif Al-Islam, Mu’tassem, and Khamis.

      The protesters were reportedly calling for the return of Saif Al-Islam to Libyan politics, while announcing their support for his presidency.

      The city of Sirte is the birthplace of Mu’ammar Gaddafi and was one of the main strongholds for the late president during the first phase of the Libyan Civil War.

      Since Gaddafi’s death, the city has been controlled by the Government of National Accord, Libyan National Army, and Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh).

      Sirte is currently under the control of the Libyan National Army and has been since they captured the city from the Government of National Accord in January 2020.

      The Government of National Accord is now eyeing the recapture of the city, despite the Egyptian government’s announcement that Sirte is their “red line”.

      Related News

      Time is Not on Our Side in Libya

      Photograph Source: Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni – CC BY-SA 3.0


      JULY 22, 2020

      Ahmed, who lives in Tripoli, Libya, texts me that the city is quieter than before. The army of General Khalifa Haftar—who controls large parts of eastern Libya—has withdrawn from the southern part of the capital and is now holding fast in the city of Sirte and at the airbase of Jufra. Most of Libya’s population lives along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, which is where the cities of Tripoli, Sirte, Benghazi, and Tobruk are located.

      Haftar, who was once an intimate of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is now prosecuting a seemingly endless and brutal war against the United Nation’s recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and led by President Fayez al-Sarraj. To make matters more confusing, Haftar takes his legitimacy from another government, which is based in Tobruk, and is formed out of the House of Representatives (HOR).

      Ahmed says that the quiet is deceitful. Militias continue to patrol the streets along the Salah al-Din Road near where he lives; the rattle of gunfire is anticipated.

      On July 8, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made a statement that could have been delivered at any point over the last decade. “Time is not on our side in Libya,” he announced. He laid out a range of problems facing the country, including the military conflict, the political stalemate between the GNA and the HOR, the numbers of internally-displaced people (400,000 out of 7 million), the continued attempts of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea, the threat from COVID-19, and the “unprecedented levels” of “foreign interference.”

      The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to send a Fact-Finding Mission to Libya to investigate human rights violations in this war, including the mass graves found in Tarhouna. The credibility of the Council is in doubt. An earlier Commission of Inquiry on Libya set up in 2012 to study war crimes in 2011-2012 was shut down largely because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) refused to cooperate with the investigation. A second inquiry, set up in March 2015, closed its work in January 2016 with the political deal that created the Government of National Accord.

      Guterres did not mention the NATO war in 2011. I am told that he wants to appoint a joint Special Representative with the African Union and he would like a full review of the UN mission. All that is well and good; but it is short of what is necessary: an honest look at the NATO war that broke the country, fomenting a conflict that seems without end.

      Foreign Interference

      Statements about Libya drip with evasion. These terms—“foreign interference” and “foreign-backed efforts”—are dropped into conversations and official statements without any clarification. But everyone knows what is going on.

      I ask Rida, who lives in Benghazi (now under the control of General Haftar), what she makes of these phrases. “We all know what is going on,” she tells me via text. “The government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and others; while Haftar is backed by Egypt and others,” she writes.

      At the core, she says, this is a dispute between two regional powers (Turkey and Egypt) as well as a contest between the Muslim Brotherhood (Turkey) and its adversaries (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates). Wrapped up in all this are contracts for offshore drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, which additionally involved Cyprus and Greece.

      It is not enough that this is a regional conflict. There is accumulating evidence that General Haftar is being supported by armed mercenaries (from Russia and Sudan) and by arms shipments from France, while the United States seems to have hedged its bets with support to both sides in the conflict.

      Last year, General Haftar’s forces moved swiftly toward Tripoli, but were eventually rebuffed by the intervention of Turkey (which provided the Tripoli government with military aid as well as Syrian and Turkish mercenaries).

      In late December, Turkey formally signed a military and security agreement with the Tripoli-based GNA, which enabled Turkey to transfer military hardware. This agreement broke the terms of the UN resolution 2292 (2016), recently reaffirmed in UN resolution 2526 (2020). Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have openly been supplying Haftar.

      Now, the forces of the Tripoli government have moved to the central coastline city of Sirte, which has emerged as the key hotspot in this contest.

      The Tobruk government, which backs General Haftar, and a pro-Haftar tribes council urged Egypt’s General Abdul Fatah El Sisi to intervene with the full force of the Egyptian armed forces if Sirte falls to the Turkish-backed government. Egypt’s military drill—called Hasm 2020—came alongside the Turkish navy’s announcement of maneuvers off the Libyan coast—called Navtex.

      This is a most dangerous situation, a war of words escalating between Turkey and Egypt; Egypt has now moved military hardware to its border with Libya.


      Of course, oil is a major part of the equation. Libya has at least 46 billion barrels of sweet crude oil; this oil is highly valued for Europe because of the low costs to extract and transport it. Countries like the UAE, which are pushing the embargo of Libyan oil, benefit from the withdrawal of Libya, Iranian, and Venezuelan oil from already suppressed world oil markets. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has stopped oil exports since January; from about 1.10 million barrels per day, Libyan oil production fell to nearly 70,000 barrels per day.

      Neither Haftar nor the Government of National Accord in Tripoli can agree on the export of oil from the country. Oil has not left the country for the better part of the past six months, with a loss—according to the NOC—of about US$6.74 billion. General Haftar controls major oil ports in the east, including Es Sider, and several key oil fields, including Sharara.

      Neither side wants the other to profit from oil sales. The United Nations has intervened to try and resolve the differences, but so far there has been limited progress. The entire conflict rests on the belief that either side has that it could win a military victory and therefore take the entire spoils; no one is willing to compromise, since any such agreement would mean a de jure partition of the country into its eastern and western halves with the oil crescent divided between the two.

      Demilitarized Zone

      UN Secretary-General Guterres has surrendered to reality. In his recent statement on Libya, he listed a series of “de-escalation efforts, including the creation of a possible demilitarized zone”; this “demilitarization zone” would likely be drawn somewhere near Sirte. It would effectively divide Libya into two parts.

      Neither Ahmed nor Rida would like their country to be partitioned, its oil then siphoned off to Europe, and its wealth stolen by oligarchs on either side. They had misgivings about Muammar Qaddafi’s government in early 2011; but now both regret the war that has ripped their country to shreds.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:VIJAY PRASHAD

      Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

      Trump Unloads on Bolton After Bolton Unloads on Trump


      Philip Giraldi

      Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

      June 25, 2020

      Trump Unloads on Bolton After Bolton Unloads on Trump - TheAltWorld

      John Bolton’s new memoir “The Room Where It Happened,” which came out two days ago in spite of White House attempts to block it, is the standard kiss and tell that senior American politicians and officials tend to write to make money for their retirement. There should be no question but that Bolton has done his best to cast the president in as bad a light as possible, which is easily done considering that communicating by twitter and through insults leaves a lot of room for second guessing about motive and intentions.

      As required by law, Bolton’s book was reviewed for classified information starting in December, and when the process was finished it was started all over again, making clear that the tit for tat over the contents was essentially political and unrelated to national security. Having failed to stop the publication, the Trump Justice Department will now move to take away Bolton’s earnings from the book, a tactic that originated back in the 1970s with CIA whistleblower Frank Snepp’s “Decent Interval.” Critics of the security review process have noted that when a book says nice things about the government it is rarely interfered with no matter what classified information it might reveal, while a work that is unfriendly can expect to be hammered and delayed by the state secrets bureaucracy.

      Why Donald Trump hired leading neoconservative John Bolton in the first place remains somewhat of a mystery, but the most plausible theory is that the number one GOP donor Sheldon Adelson demanded it. Adelson regards Bolton as something of a protégé and was particularly taken by Bolton’s enthusiasm for attacking Iran, something that the Las Vegas casino magnate and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu both passionately desired.

      After months of an apparently difficult tenure as National Security Advisor, John Bolton was finally fired from the White House on September 10, 2019, but the post mortem on why it took so long to remove him continued for some time afterwards, with the punditry and media trying to understand exactly what happened and why. Perhaps the most complete explanation for what occurred came from President Donald Trump himself shortly after the fact. He said, in some impromptu comments, that his national security advisor had “…made some very big mistakes when he talked about the Libyan model for Kim Jong Un. That was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Gadhafi. That was not a good statement to make. And it set us back.”

      Incredible as it may seem, Trump had a point in that Bolton was clearly suggesting that North Korea get rid of its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic benefits, but it was the wrong example to pick as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave up his weapons and was then ousted and brutally killed in a rebel uprising that was supported by Washington. The Bolton analogy, which may have been deliberate attempt to sabotage any rapprochement, made impossible any agreement between Kim and Trump as Kim received the message loud and clear that he might suffer the same fate.

      Subsequently, Bolton might have been behind media leaks that scuttled Trump’s plan to meet with Taliban representatives and that also, acting on behalf of Israel, undercut a presidential suggestion that he might meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Trump summed up his disagreements with Bolton by saying that the National Security Advisor “wasn’t getting along” with other administration officials, adding that “Frankly he wanted to do things — not necessarily tougher than me. John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq. That’s tough. But he’s somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with, but he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration who I consider very important. And you know John wasn’t in line with what we were doing. And actually in some cases he thought it was too tough, what we were doing. Mr. Tough Guy.”

      Trump’s final comment on Bolton was that “I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can do to spin it his way,” a throw-away line that pretty much predicted the writing of the book. Bolton has many supporters among hardliners in the GOP and the media as well as among democracy promoting progressive Trump haters and it will be interesting to see what damage can be inflicted on the president’s reelection campaign.

      Pre-publication reviews have focused on the takeaways from the book. The most damaging claim appears to be that Donald Trump asked the Chinese government to buy more agricultural products from the U.S. to help American farmers, which the president described as a key constituency for his reelection. Bolton claims that Trump specifically asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy American soybeans and other farm commodities and, as a possible quid pro quo, Trump intervened to reduce some financial penalties imposed on the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE for evading sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

      Also concerning China, Bolton asserts that the president encouraged Xi to continue building concentration camps for the Muslim Uighurs, a religious and ethnic minority largely concentrated in the country’s Xinjiang region. The context of the alleged comment is not clear, nor is it easy to imagine how the subject even came up, so the claim might be regarded as exaggerated or even apocryphal. Bolton was not even present when the alleged conversation took place and only learned of it second hand.

      Other claims made by Bolton include that Trump didn’t know that Britain was a nuclear power and that Finland is not part of Russia. The book also describes in some detail how Trump spent most of his time in White House intelligence briefings presenting his own views instead of listening to what analysts from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offices had to say.

      That Donald Trump was a poor student and is an intellectual lightweight has been noted by many observers. Combining that with his essential lack of curiosity about the world and its peoples means that he does not know much about foreigners and the places they live in. But it is both condescending and somewhat of a cheap trick by Bolton to pillory him for his ignorance.

      The media’s vision of the most damaging charge, that Trump colluded with the Chinese, is, quite frankly ridiculous. Buying American agricultural products is in the interest of both farmers and the U.S. economy. Reducing penalties on a major Chinese company as a sweetener and to mitigate bilateral tensions is called diplomacy. Of course, anything a president does with a foreign country will potentially have an impact when reelection time rolls along, but it would be difficult to suggest that Trump did anything wrong.

      The Bolton book has also been critiqued by some, including the New York Times, as the exposure of “a president who sees his office as an instrument to advance his own personal and political interests over those of the nation.” Bolton writes how “Throughout my West Wing tenure, Trump wanted to do what he wanted to do, based on what he knew and what he saw as his own best personal interests… I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations.”

      Trump is, to be sure, a man who has subordinated the dignity of the office he holds to personal ambition, but he differs more in the pervasiveness of his actions than in the substance. Many other presidents have made many of the same calculations as Trump though they have been more restrained and careful about expressing them.

      Finally, a number of editors who have read review copies of the book have observed how badly written and organized it is. If anyone is looking for a real indictment of Donald Trump and all his works, they will not find it in the Bolton book. Apart from the new information it provides, which seems little enough, it would appear to be a waste of $20 to possibly enrich an author who has been promoting and saying “more please” to America’s wars for the past 20 years.

      The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

      The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

      May 23, 2020

      By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

      The ‘War on Syria’ is far from being over, and it will continue until all foreign forces illegally present on Syrian soil retreat; either willingly, or defeated.

      And even though the American presence in Syria has no clear and realistic political purpose other than wreaking havoc. https://transnational.live/2020/05/19/america-exists-today-to-make-war-how-else-do-we-interpret/ and making it hard for Russia to help reach a decisive victory, in a twist of fate, the focus of the Russo-American conflict in the region may soon move away from Syria.

      In reality, the outcome of the ‘War on Syria’ was never expected by the initial assembly of adversaries when they launched the attack. Furthermore, they had many deep differences and nothing in common other than a shared hatred for Syria, but the unexpected turn of events has intensified their internal conflict and seemingly catapulted the strife between those former allies much further afield to a new hub in Libya.

      Whilst the world and its media are busy with COVID-19, a new huge struggle is brewing, and this time, it is drawing new lines and objectives that are in reality going to be fueled, financed and executed by the former once-united enemies of Syria; but this time, it will be against each other.

      An array of regional and international issues lies behind the impending conflict; and to call it impending is an under-statement. It is already underway, but hasn’t reached its peak yet, let alone making any significant news coverage.

      It is a real mess in Libya now, and the short version of a long story goes like this:

      Soon after NATO hijacked the UNSC mandate to enforce a no-fly-zone decision over Libya and manipulated it in a manner that ‘legalised’ bombing Libya culminating in toppling and killing Gadhafi, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the formal capital Tripoli on the Western side of the coast, was created.

      But the ‘revolution’ against Gadhafi was launched in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. After Gadhafi’s demise, another interim government was formed in Libya’s east under the name of National Transitional Council (NTC).

      The NTC, whose flag is the flag of the ‘revolution’, did not recognize the GNA and regarded it as a Western lackey.

      After a few years of squabbling, NTC strongman General Haftar decided to militarily disable the GNA.

      With little concrete protection on the ground from the West, and under the guise of upholding UNSC mandates, Erdogan jumped into the existing void and the opportunity to grab Libya’s oil, and decided to send troops to support the GNA.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51003034

      In return, Haftar is getting support from other regional players. Recently, representatives from Egypt, the UAE, Greece, Cyprus and France had a meeting and denounced Turkey’s involvement in Libya. https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/05/12/greece-egypt-cyprus-france-uae-denounce-turkey-in-joint-statement/. Erdogan perhaps borrowed a term from his American part-ally-part-adversary and referred to the meeting and its decree as an ‘alliance of evil’. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/turkey-accuses-five-nations-of-forming-alliance-of-evil/2020/05/12/a3c5c63a-9438-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html Fancy this, a NATO member accusing other NATO members of being in an alliance of evil.

      It must be noted that even though Saudi Arabia did not attend the meeting, it was there in spirit, and represented by its proxy-partner the UAE.

      The USA took a step further and accused Russia and Syria of working behind the scenes and planning to send fighters to Libya to support Haftar. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-usa-syria-idUSKBN22J301

      But this article is not about the geopolitical hoo-ha. It is about shedding a light on what score-settling is expected to eventuate in Libya, and who is likely to end up doing the fighting against who.

      Even though the Afghani Mujahedeen were purportedly the first Jihadi fighters to engage in battle in the 20th Century, their fight was against foreign USSR troops. In terms of an internal force that aimed for fundamentalist Muslim rule, there is little doubt that the first event of such insurgency in the Middle East was the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) revolt that took place in Syria in the early 1980’s and which was quashed by the then President, Hafez Assad. After their smashing defeat, the fundamentalists kept their heads low until they lit the flame again in the Palestinian refugee Naher Al-Bared Camp at the northern outskirts of Tripoli Lebanon in 2007.

      There are, for those who are unaware, two cities bearing the name Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast; one is in Northern Lebanon, and it is Lebanon’s second largest city, and the other Tripoli is located on the Western side of the Libyan Coast. They are sometimes called Tripoli of the East and Tripoli of the West, respectively.

      Shaker Al-Absi, leader of Fateh Al Islam, a Salafist terror organization, declared jihad and engaged in a bitter fight against the Lebanese Army. He was defeated, remained at large, but any look at Lebanon’s Tripoli after his demise displayed a clear evidence of a huge build-up of Salafist presence in the city.

      When the ‘War on Syria’ started only four years later, Tripoli became a major hub for the transport of fighters and munitions from Lebanon into Syria. Nearly a decade later, and with a few Jihadi pockets left in the Idlib province now, their defeat in Syria is imminent.

      But who exactly are those murderous head-chopping radical elements that we talking about; past and present?

      When the coalition that started the attack on Syria took form, it was comprised virtually of all of Syria’s enemies. Most of them were religious fundamentalists. In an early article, I called them ‘The Anti-Syrian Cocktail’.  https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-cocktail-by-ghassan-kadi.html

      Back then, ISIS, did not exist in the form that it became known as. Furthermore, I have always advocated that there was no difference at all between Al-Nusra and ISIS and/or any other Takfiri organizations. They are all terror-based and founded on violent readings of Islam.

      In time however, and this didn’t take long, it became apparent that even though the ideologies were identical, there were two major financiers and facilitators to those many different terror organizations. One was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the other by Qatar and facilitated by Turkey.

      The former group is affiliated with what is known as Saudi Wahhabi Islam. They are also known as the Salafists. The latter group are the MB’s.

      As the war was shifting in favour of Syria, their agendas diverged, the schism grew deeper and strong rivalries emerged; especially as the Wahhabis and their sponsors were sent home defeated. Part of this fallout was the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict.

      But the rivalry that is least spoken about is personal. It is the one between Erdogan and Al-Saud.

      They are both fighting over the leadership of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. But Erdogan also has his nationalist anti-Kurdish agenda, and of course, he is desperate to put his hands on oil supplies that he can call his own. He cannot find oil on Turkish soil or in Turkish waters, but he is prepared to act as a regional pirate and a thug and steal another nation’s oil. If no one is to stop him, he feels that he can and will.

      Upon realizing that Turkey could not get in Syria either victory or oil, Erdogan is now turning his face west towards Libya. He finds in Libya a few scores that he hopes to settle after his failure in Syria. He wants a face-saving military victory, he wants to assert his position as THE Sunni leader who can reclaim glory, and he wants free oil. Last but not least, In Libya, he will find himself close to Egypt’s Sisi; the political/religious enemy who toppled his MB friend and ally, President Mursi.

      On the other side, defeated but not totally out, Saudi Arabia wants blood; Erdogan’s blood.

      The Saudis blame Erdogan (and Qatar) for their loss in Syria because he was more focused on his own agenda and spoils rather than the combined ones of the former alliance they had with him. They blame him for abandoning them and making deals with Russia. They hold him responsible for the breakup of the unity of Muslim fundamentalism. They fear his aspirations for gaining the hearts and minds of Muslims who regard him as a de-facto Caliph. As a matter of fact, it was Saudi Crown Prince MBS who used the borrowed word ‘evil’ first when he stated more than two years ago that Erdogan was a part of a ‘Triangle of Evil’. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-turkey-idUSKCN1GJ1WW. And how can we forget the Khashoggi debacle and the ensuing standoff between Turkey and Saudi Arabia?

      We must stop and remember once again that not long ago at all, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were allies, who together, plotted how to invade Syria and bring her down to her knees. These are the heads of the two major countries that facilitated the war machine with Saudi money injecting fighters and munitions into Syria from the south, and open Turkish borders and Qatari money injecting them from the north.

      Back to Libyan General Haftar. In his westerly advance along Libya’s terrain, he cleaned up the ISIS elements who stood in his way and hindered his progress.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/02/libya-foreign-powers-khalifa-haftar-emirates-russia-us But ironically, he is now fighting their religious rival; the Turks, the protectors of the MB’s.

      The USA may accuse Syria of sending troops into Libya, but where is the proof and why should Syria do this after all? And even though the Saudis and the Emiratis are warming up relationships with Syria, the Syrian Army is still engaged in battle and is not prepared to go and fight in Libya. There is nothing for it to gain. Once the war is over, Syria will be concerned with rebuilding a war-torn nation. Syria has no interests in Libya; none what-so-ever.

      The role of Russia is not very clear on the ground even though there are clear indications that Russia supports Haftar ideologically. The support began when Haftar demonstrated to the Russians that he was adamant about fighting ISIS and exterminating its presence in Libya. He lived up to this promise thus far and gained Russian respect.

      How will the situation in Libya eventually pan out is anyone’s guess. That said, apart from sending regular Turkish Army units, Erdogan is not short on rounding up fighters; and he has attained much experience in this infamous field of expertise from his vicious attack on Syria. With Qatari money in his pocket, he can recruit as many fighters as Qatar can afford.

      Erdogan realizes that the West is not interested in backing him up militarily in Libya. The best deal he can get from America is a tacit support. And with France, a NATO member taking part in the above-mentioned five-nation conference, he will definitely have to stand alone so-to-speak.

      He has Qatar behind him, but how powerful is Qatar? A ‘nation’ of 200,000 citizens? How can such a small state play such a big role and why?

      Qatar is not really a nation or even a state in the true sense. Qatar is an entity, a ‘corporation’ owned by a ruling dynasty that serves the interests of the USA and Israel. https://thesaker.is/qatar-unplugged/. This family will outlay any sum of money to guarantee its own protection and continuity.

      And Erdogan, the friend-and-foe of both of America and Israel, knows the vulnerabilities and strengths of Qatar, and he is using his deceptive talents to provide the Qatari ruling family with the securities that the shortfalls that America and Israel do not provide. For example, it was he who sent troops to Qatar after the Saudi threats. And even though Erdogan will never take any serious actions against his NATO masters except in rhetoric, the weak and fearful Qataris will dance to the tune of any protector and will sell their souls to the devil should they need to.

      On the other hand in Libya, if Haftar finds himself facing a huge Turkish army, he will need assistance on the ground. Where will he seek it from?  His next-door neighbour Egypt? If so, will it be in the form of regular army units or hired guns?

      Sisi is neither a religious nor a fundamentalist zealot, but this is not meant to be a complementary statement. He has not taken any serious black-and-white steps in regional politics. This does not mean he is a man of principles. He is probably waiting for dollar signs, and if he sees financial benefits in supporting Saudi Arabia in a proxy war against Turkey in Libya, he may opt to agree; if the price it right.

      Whether or not Saudi Arabia can afford a new war, especially with current crude prices, is another story, but as the war on Yemen winds down, the gung-ho MBS is irrational enough to be persuaded. His regional enemy is no longer Assad. His current enemy is Erdogan.

      To be fair to MBS, despite his vile, criminal and megalomaniac attributes, he never claims to be a religious leader, but Erdogan does, and many Sunni Muslims see in Erdogan THE leader they have been waiting for. This alone constitutes a huge challenge for MBS because neither he, nor anyone else in the whole of Saudi Arabia for that matter, is regarded anywhere in the Muslim World as a potential leader of the Sunni Muslims.

      In reality, as far as Muslim leadership is concerned, the Saudis can only bank on the location of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Apart from this, they only have wealth that enables them to buy supporters, but their oil wealth is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

      In the uphill fight against Erdogan within the Muslim World, both of the Saudis and the Turks realize that the fight between them in Syria is over. Actually, the Saudis have no loyal ‘troops’ on Syrian soil left to fight anyone with. This begs the question of whether or not the Turks and Saudis are moving the battle ground and the score settling from Syria to Libya.

      This time around, such a potential battle between the two lines of Jihadis may have to morph from a fight between terror organizations to a war between regular armies; the Turkish Army against the Egyptian Army. Such a battle will rage over Libyan soil, with the Turks financed by Qatar and Egypt by Saudi Arabia.

      Such a war will not necessarily bring in Iran into the fight. If it eventuates, it will be a fundamentalist Sunni-Sunni war, sponsored by fundamentalist Sunni states, each fighting for and against different versions of radical Muslim fundamentalism, under the watchful eyes of the USA and to the glee of Israel.

      The jihadi war that was first ignited in Tripoli Lebanon between a rogue terror organization and the Lebanese Army did not end. It kept moving theatres and objectives and changing players. Is the final score going to be settled in Tripoli Libya?

      The Covert Financial War Against Hezbollah: Lebanon’s Money Trail

      February 27, 2020

      by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

      The new Lebanese Government has been pre-destined to fail; and for no wrong doing on its part. Actually, PM Diab formed the cabinet on the 22nd of January 2020, and as I sit down to write this on the 26th of February, I would have to say that, irrespective of the conditions upon which Diab was chosen to be the new PM, he has not yet had the chance to prove his worth or otherwise.

      The popular street anger that emerged in Lebanon on the 18th of October 2019 has forced former PM Hariri to resign. Among other reform requests, the protesters demanded a cabinet comprised of new non-political faces, and Diab’s cabinet as well as Diab himself, are technically-speaking indeed new on the Lebanese political arena. But even before Diab formed the new cabinet, he himself was touted to be a Hezbollah supporter, and this made him unacceptable by the protestors. And after he named his cabinet members, more such claims were made; and I am not in a position to assert them or otherwise.

      In a series of articles that were published on my blog, https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2020/02/lebanons-dilemma-revolving-identity_27.html, I focused on the on-going Lebanese unrest from an identity-based perspective and the conflict of loyalties. But money, as some say, makes the world go round.

      This article is not intended to address history as such and/or Diab’s alleged loyalties. It is rather about what is behind the money trail that has been part-and-parcel of all political developments in Lebanon ever since 1975 and before.

      When the Lebanese Civil War broke out in 1975, the exchange rate of the Lebanese Lira (LL) to the US Dollar (USD) was in the vicinity of 3 LL to 1 USD . And, even though the war devastated the country whose economy was primarily underpinned mainly by tourism and banking services, the Lebanese economy did not seem to suffer, at least significantly. There were times when certain commodities were hard to find, but that was mainly due to transport-related problems caused by road closures, and not due to economic conditions that stood in the way of their availability.

      The LL remained strong, but eventually slipped and took a minor dive towards the end of 1984. By September 1984, the exchange rate was 5 LL to 1 USD. Even though that 5:1 mark generated panic, in hindsight, it reflected further fiscal strength of the LL given that this landmark happened more than nine whole years into the war. And, between 1984 and 1990 or so, it slipped to 1500 LL to 1 USD.

      There was much turmoil during this period and many retirees and ex-pats lost their life-long savings. As for those still at a working age, they suffered severely until their wages were eventually indexed and the LL maintained its 1500-1 ratio to the USD for a very long time; actually till the time the recent uprisings commenced just 3 months ago.

      In hindsight, there is no mystery or divine intervention behind the rather strong Lebanese economy during the first 9 years of the Civil War and which kept the exchange rate steady.

      The buck stops with war money and the war money trail.

      Seven years into the Lebanese Civil War, Israel invaded Lebanon and the PLO was forced out. Two years later, the LL began to slump.

      Coincidence? Perhaps not.

      During the first few years of the Civil War, Lebanon lost its traditional “golden age” sources of income, but it was inundated with war money.

      The main donors were Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia.

      Some would argue that the CIA made heavy investments, and this is quite possible. But the CIA and similar agencies, including the Mossad, had their individual operatives. On the other hand, Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia were sponsoring whole armies; so to speak.

      Virtually all Left wing Lebanese political parties sent delegations to Libya seeking financial support. This includes what was referred to in Lebanese political terms as political “shops”. Some of those “shops” were comprised of small groups with a dozen fighters. They all came back with millions of USD, some with tens of millions.

      The Saudis were very keen to finance the emerging Salafist militia (even though they were not referred to as such back then) because those militia were fighting the Right wing “Christian infidels”. At the same time, they were happy to finance those same “Christian infidels” because they were fighting the Communists (who were party to the Lebanese political Left).

      Saddam, the Iraqi Baathist, on the other hand was very keen to sponsor any group that stood up against the rival Syrian Government of the other Baath Party faction.

      The Kuwaitis, Gulfies and Qataris played more or less the same game as that of the Saudis.

      All up, there were huge sums of war money pouring into Lebanon. Adding to that was what the Lebanese ex-pats sent their families and what they invested into their savings. The Lebanese banking system found alternatives to tourism and foreign investment, and the economy remained prosperous despite the devastating civil war that was destroying much of what the eye could see.

      But the Lebanese political parties and “shops” were not the only recipients of “brotherly” aid and not the largest ones either. By far, the biggest recipient was the PLO in all of its branches and subdivisions.

      Whilst most of the monies “invested” in the Lebanese Civil War were spent on munitions, operatives on the ground were canvassed, employed as mercenary fighters with most generous pay. One would not zero out the possibility that the Lebanese banking system benefited from those transactions.

      Throughout the first decade of the Civil War years of Lebanon, there was no shortage of money or jobs for those prepared to literally cut throats for a living. Pragmatically-morbid as this may sound, war money and its willful recipients kept unemployment levels low and the economy buoyant.

      Now, was the initial slump of the LL exchange rate in 1984 a direct result of the expulsion of the PLO and its associated funds from Lebanon? No one can answer this question with reliable economic accuracy. That said, the timing of the events begs the question.

      What we do know is that between 1984 and the year the war ended in 1989, the LL slumped from 5:1 USD, to 1500:1 USD.

      As the Civil War eventually came to an end in 1989, Rafiq Hariri emerged on the scene as a savior. He made huge investments in rebuilding certain aspects of the Lebanese infrastructure. The self-made billionaire, Lebanese by birth, but a dual national of Saudi Arabia, who eventually became Lebanon’s PM, bolstered the economy not only by bringing in his own investments, but also by presenting and ensuring a strong Saudi regional backup to his ventures.

      Hariri also established the philanthropic “Hariri Foundation” which sponsored tens of thousands of Lebanese youth to receive tertiary education at home and abroad.

      Hariri also created jobs as he rebuilt downtown Beirut, and certainly his American style election campaigns injected millions of dollars into the streets.

      Hariri resurrected the confidence in the Lebanese economy and the LL. As a result, the LL maintained its exchange rate of LL 1500 to 1 USD and the Gaddafi/Saddam war funds were superseded and made redundant by the “peace” Hariri/Saudi funds. In any event, by then, the demise of Saddam was just around the corner.

      The Rafiq Hariri money injections replaced the lost PLO war money, which in turn replaced the original Lebanese golden age economy pillars of banking and tourism that supported the Lebanese economy during its “golden age”.

      When Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, change was on the horizon.

      His son, Saad, carried his legacy and continued to fund his father’s initiatives at all levels.

      When the war on Syria began, with the help and facilitation of Saad Hariri, the Saudis and Qataris injected huge sums of money into Lebanon in order to lure jihadi recruits, arm them and send them into Syria. The northern city of Tripoli was the main hub for this influx. And, because Tripoli had its own internal conflict between Bab el Tabbana fighters who were loyal to the then Hariri/Saudi/Qatari camp in their fight with the Alawite fighters of Jabal Mohsen, money kept flowing in.

      In the most dire of situations therefore, in peace and in war, the Lebanese economy has always had a lifebuoy.

      Furthermore, the Lebanese Government was able to receive international aide and grants, especially after major escalations. All up, in the so-called Paris 1, 2 and 3, together with the so-called Cedar 1 fundraisers, the plan was to provide Lebanon with USD 17 Bn to be provided according to a schedule that terminates in 2025. The fund providers were the EU, the USA and the Arab oil states. It is not clear how much has already been received.

      The Lebanese people cannot see where these funds have gone to, and now the government has repayment commitments to make and which it cannot meet and this is public knowledge.

      What is pertinent here, is that all war funds have now run dry, with the exception of the Iranian aid to Hezbollah. That aid however, never really had a significant effect on the economy in the past, and it is not expected to have one now either.

      Gaddafi and Saddam are long gone, the Saudis are no longer in partnership with the Qataris, but neither party is sponsoring any warring entity in Lebanon at the moment. Hariri’s Saudi Oger giant construction company has gone bankrupt, and even though Saad Hariri is believed to have quarantined at least a billion dollars for himself, he has closed all charity organizations, electoral offices and payments to his loyal troops.

      But this is not all, even the scheduled “legitimate” foreign aid has stopped, and that was before the recent street uprising.  https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/lebanon-to-receive-no-foreign-aid-before-government-is-formed-say-diplomats-1.8260216

      The situation now is much more untenable for current PM Diab, because he knows that it would be pointless of him to even try to approach the well-financed Arab states seeking help, so he is not even trying.  https://www.mtv.com.lb/news/مــحــلــيــات/1022176/لماذا_يتريّث_دياب_في_طَرق_الأبواب_الخارجية؟

      There is no doubt at all that all benefactors that have traditionally been assisting Lebanon are quite aware of the corruption and theft, and they must be growing sick and tired of being constantly asked to give more; especially that they know beforehand that their funds will be squandered. Ironically however, many of them did not worry about the fate of their funds when they were financing warring factions. Nonetheless, they are employing the issue of corruption to hold back on providing loans and finance to Lebanon.

      For the first time in its history, neither the Lebanese people nor the political parties or government are receiving any lifeline funds.

      To add insult to injury, Lebanese banks have implemented draconian measures to limit withdrawals. The figures have improved slightly, but the withdrawal limit is still around USD 200 a month. Even if one has millions invested, he/she has to stop at this limit. This includes businesses and as a result many employers have had to dismiss their workforce. As if this alone is not bad enough, it is preventing hundreds of thousands of Lebanese expats from sending money to their savings accounts and relatives at home. Expat money had always been one of the corner stones of Lebanese economy.

      Any of the above factors can alone cripple the back of a country’s economy; let alone all combined. And even if Diab was clean as a whistle and willing and able to stamp out corruption and move forward, to say that he is not allowed to succeed is not a far-fetched statement to make. One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that the different economic strangleholds imposed currently on Lebanon did not line up accidently.

      What does not meet the eye here is that Lebanese people are deliberately being squeezed into the corner of poverty, even starvation, so that they revolt. But the main target of inducing this anger is not to affect reform against corruption, but rather to inflame the anti-Hezbollah passion in order to disarm it and keep Israel safe from its rockets.

      Because the Axis of Resistance has been victorious, corruption is now used by its enemies to cripple Lebanon economically in order to bring Hezbollah to its knees and provide Israel with it has not been able to achieve by force.

      The big irony here, is that none of the politicians who are corrupt and have been named to have thieved from the public purse is a Hezbollah official. Admittedly though, Nabih Berri (leader of Amal) and Gibran Basil (son-in-law of President Aoun) have been named as highly corrupt, but they are allies of Hezbollah, not members; and there is a big difference. The list of corrupt officials however, includes virtually all officials from all traditional Lebanese parties and dynasties; not Hezbollah.

      And even though protestors in the streets are demanding reform and the return of stolen funds and chanting out “Killon Yani Killon” (ie “all of them means all of them”), the anti-Hezbollah/Syria/Iran fervor is very specifically high on their agenda.

      They have been playing videos showing thugs carrying Hezbollah flags and chanting Shiite slogans, attacking the peaceful demonstrators. If Hezbollah wanted to attack the demonstrators, would it be so unsavvy to carry flags? But ironically, no one questions the identity of those thugs and who is really behind them. Such videos are further inflaming the sentiments and the calls for disarming Hezbollah. This is exactly what Israel wants. This is social engineering 101, but some even moderate-thinking Lebanese are now reiterating that disarming Hezbollah is part-and-parcel of the reform needed.

      Lebanon is not under any Western sanctions as such. It is under siege, a covert siege, a covert financial war against Hezbollah and the way out of it requires wisdom and diligence.

      A Tour for Americans in Kaddafi’s Libya they never saw on Television

      Meet the king:  Added by UP
      Anyone talking about pre-war Libya is simply making it up.  
      The King never lived under Gaddafi, still,
      he can tell you “everything” about Libya,
      and he is not making it up.
      This post was first posted on 27 Oct 2011 as reply to Senior Editor of VT Gordon Duff, who rejoiced the Death of on TV: Gaddafi Questions. Though Duff never lived in pre-war Libya may be never visited Libya, he claimed he can tell his readers “everything” about Libya, and he is not making it up.

      A Tour for Americans in Kaddafi’s Libya they never saw on Television

      The Libya Americans never saw on Television

      You know I have to wonder if Americans know anything about Libya at all. There are many from other countries that don’t seem to know much about it either I am afraid.

      Comments on different news sites tell me how mislead many are. One of the most predominant comments is now Libya will come out of the Dark Ages.
      Well I am not sure what dark ages they are talking about as Libya was quite advanced.
      NATO has blown them back to the dark ages,
      So take a tour of Libya with me and see how things were before US/NATO intervention and tell me if they lived in the Dark Ages.
      Videos of how Libya was before the invasion are below. Definitely they did not live in the dark ages.
      Before we start the tour there are a few things you need to know however.
      1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
      2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.
      3. Having a home considered a human right in Libya.
      4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
      5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
      6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.
      7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.
      8. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
      9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
      10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.
      11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.
      12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
      13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.
      14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.
      15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.
      16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
      17 Women’s Rights: Under Gaddafi, gender discrimination was officially banned and the literacy rate for women climbed to 83 per cent. The rights of Black’s were also improved.
      To add to problems now facing those in Libya are the tons of DU dropped on them by US/NATO forces.
      There was no DU before to make people sick, so now there will be numerous health problems never before seen in Libya.
      1. Libya is Africa’s largest exporter of oil, 1.7 million tons a day,
      which quickly was reduced to 300-400,000 ton due to US-NATO bombing.
      Libya exports 80% of its oil: 80% of that to several EU lands (32%
      Italy, 14% Germany, 10% France); 10% China; 5% USA.
      2. Gaddafi has been preparing to launch a gold dinar for oil trade with
      all of Africa’s 200 million people and other countries interested.
      French President Nickola Sarkozi called this, “a threat for financial
      security of mankind”. Much of France’s wealth—more than any other
      colonial-imperialist power—comes from exploiting Africa.
      3. Central Bank of Libya is 100% owned by state (since 1956) and is thus outside of multinational corporation control (BIS-Banking International Settlement rules for private interests). The state can finance its own projects and do so without interest rates
      4. Gaddafi-Central Bank used $33 billion, without interest rates, to
      build the Great Man-Made River of 3,750 kilometers with three parallel pipelines running oil, gas and water supplying 70% of the people (4.5 of its 6 million) with clean drinking and irrigation water.
      5. The Central Bank also financed Africa’s first communication satellite with $300 million of the $377 cost. It started up for all Africa, December 26, 2007, thus saving the 45-African nations an annual fee of $500 million pocketed by Europe for use of its satellites and this means much less cost for telephones and other communication systems.
      Some of the numbers above vary a bit from web site to web site but all are relatively close.More here

      Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

      Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

      By Staff, Agencies

      Speaking for the first time about reasons for firing his national security advisor John Bolton, US President Donald Trump said he was “way out of line” on Venezuela, even as the State Department doubled down on regime change.

      “I disagreed with John Bolton on his attitudes about Venezuela. I thought he was way out of line,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

      The failed attempt to effect regime change in Caracas – which Bolton has been at the forefront of since January – was only one of the issues the president brought up. Bolton’s sabotage of denuclearization talks with North Korea, earlier this year, was another.

      “We were set back very badly when [Bolton] talked about the Libyan model” with North Korea, Trump added. “That’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

      Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to give up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs to the US, only to be violently overthrown and murdered by US-backed groups in 2011.

      Bolton also “wasn’t getting along with the people in the administration that I consider very important,” Trump added, making sure to point out that he had opposed the 2003 Iraq War while Bolton was an unapologetic advocate of it.

      None of that explains why Trump hired Bolton and kept him on as his principal foreign policy adviser for nearly 18 months, however. Nor does it explain why Trump agreed to appoint Bolton’s colleague Elliott Abrams as Washington’s point man on Venezuela, despite a history of his Trump-bashing public comments.

      The Trump administration on Wednesday showed no signs of abandoning the approach to Caracas championed by Bolton and Abrams since January, despite it having failed miserably. Shortly after Trump’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US has invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which would give legal framework for military intervention in Venezuela.

      Pompeo’s pretext is that this was requested by Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela recognized by the US and a handful of its allies, but no one else in the world. Guaido’s repeated attempts to take over power in Caracas since January have failed miserably.

      Trump maintained that his policy on Venezuela is “humanitarian” and designed to “help” people there, and blamed “socialism” for the country’s economic woes. He has framed his 2020 re-election bid as stopping the “socialist” Democrats from taking over the US.

      “I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said when asked if he would be willing to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This was in stark contrast to his readiness to meet with the Iranian president, another thing Bolton reportedly opposed.

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      American Media Distortion vs. Facts

      American Media Distortion vs. Facts
      TEHRAN (FNA)– The privately-owned media is still dominated by the interests of the US political and corporate elites, and used as a tool by the government to manufacture public consent.

      In any circumstance, they use the media to publish fabricated news, lies and biased information to get the public in line with their political motives, aiming at achieving their agendas. In many cases, the US has used the media to distort facts in regard to its foreign policy action in the Middle East.

      Not so long ago, US corporate media played an integral role in fueling the Iraq War in 2003. It had no doubts that the Bush administration went to war because they wanted to strengthen the credibility and influence of America in the Middle East to reassert its position as an un-challengeable hegemon after the 9/11 attack.

      But they distorted the facts surrounding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and terrorist harboring as invasion rationale. It was published by many Western media coverage outlets, particularly the US media, to disseminate to the public. In the weeks leading up to the illegal invasion, nearly three-quarters of the American public believed the lie promoted in that moment. Then, the US-led military coalition, which included their allies, invaded Iraq. After the invasion was done, the truth was revealed that there were no such WMDs.

      Another prime example comes from the war against Qaddafi of Libya. Media distortion and manipulation were used to start the war against Libya. To gain support for the invasion and aggression, which is part of the traditional tactics the US and NATO have followed, perception management was overtly employed through well-known US media agencies and other Western mainstream news.

      After The Financial Times, for instance, reported that Libyan military jets attacked civilian protesters, US and EU officials hardly condemned Qaddafi’s regime and took military action. Truly, there was no piece of video evidence proving the attack, and the report turned out to be false. Libyan military planes only got involved later on during the conflict when they missioned to bomb ammunition depots to prevent the rebels from getting arms, after the media claims were made about jets firing on protesters.

      There was no doubt that reports were distorted. To some critics of the US military actions in foreign countries, it is undoubtedly conclusive that there have been lies and distortions involved in wars the US has fought in. The most recent example could be Syria and its imaginary chemical attacks on its own people.

      It is even more interesting that the US uses media not only to manufacture the public consent of its domestic citizens in association with wars in foreign countries, as mentioned above, but also employs it as fact distortion in international affairs outside of America.

      As the world order is moving to multi-polarity, and the Islamic Asian civilization is being realized, particularly by Iran’s growing economic and political development, the competition between the status quo dominant US and Iran has continuously been obvious in recent years.

      The current confrontation amid the unresolved economic terrorism has certainly demonstrated this fact. Concerning this, the US has used as many tactics as possible to contain challenger Iran in international issues, regionally and globally.

      As a superpower with dominant power in global media, the US will inevitably continue to use the media to manufacture public consent regarding domestic and international affairs. There is no doubt that the US corporate media, to an extent, will play a complimentary role in its foreign policy approach in publishing false ideas and news, creating concepts and framing theories that favor its own interests, and not the ones that serve regional peace and global stability.

      In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

      In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

      In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

      Libya is in a state of anarchic turmoil, with various groups fighting each other for control of the country, and as the Wall Street Journal reported last September, “Islamic State is staging a resurgence in chaotic Libya, claiming more than a dozen attacks in the North African country this year and threatening to disrupt the flow of oil from one of the world’s most significant suppliers.” To such mainstream media outlets as the Wall Street Journalthe fact that oil supplies are being disrupted is much more important than the savage IS attacks that result in slaughter of so many innocent people who are only foreigners, anyway.

      The UN Security Council said it deplored the Islamic State’s “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack… in Tripoli on 25 December 2018” and expressed “deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Libyan people and Government of National Accord, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.”

      It is laudable that the Security Council should express such sentiments, but if Libya was not “fractured by a six-year civil war”, there would be no need for sympathy from anyone.

      The cause of the catastrophe in Libya in Libya was the seven month US-NATO blitzkrieg from March to October 2011 in which thousands of bombs and rockets rained down on that unfortunate land which was governed by President Muammar Ghaddafi whom the West was determined to overthrow by assisting a rebel movement. In Ghaddafi’s Libya, as detailed by the World Health Organisation the government provided “comprehensive health care including promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to all citizens free of charge through primary health care units, health centres and district hospitals.” Life expectancy was 75 years (as against 66 in India; 71 in Egypt; 59 in South Africa), and the CIA World Factbook noted that there was a literacy rate of 94.2% which was higher than in Malaysia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

      Ghaddafi was far from being a saint. He dealt with his enemies in the most brutal fashion and was guilty of numerous offences against humanity. But so were (and are) many others like that around the world whose countries are not subject to US sanctions or seven months of strikes by US-NATO planes and missiles.

      The US-NATO blitz was successful, and Gaddafi was overthrown and captured by rebel forces, whereupon, as reported, “the increasingly desperate and terrified 69-year-old Gaddafi was thrown on to the front of a white car bonnet, his blood-soaked head locked between the knees of a militiaman… He slipped off the bonnet, his ravaged body unable to cope with the constant battering.” Then, as can be seen in a particularly horrible video, he was beaten mercilessly, sodomised with a bayonet, and murdered.

      When she was informed of this, the news caused the United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to giggle and announce with a laugh that “We came. We saw. He died.”

      Trump is the worst president in US history, but at least we have been spared the global ascendancy of a person who cackles with mirth when being told that someone had been murdered.

      In any event, Libya was reduced to chaos amid the Clinton cackles, just as is happening in Venezuela at the moment. Its leader, Maduro, is not unlike Gaddafi in many ways, being ruthless and arrogant, and there is no doubt the country has suffered under his regime — but it has suffered a great deal more because of vicious sanctions imposed by Washington, just as happened in Libya.

      The United Nations Human Rights Council is not regarded favourably by Washington’s sanctioneers, simply because it points out the negative side of sanctions, in that it is always ordinary people who suffer — and especially the poor, the deprived, the sick, the lame, all those whom Trump says he loves. At a Prayer Breakfast in the White House on 7 February he declared that “America is a nation that believes in redemption” and that religious faith “transforms lives, heals communities and lifts up the forgotten,” which, as with almost everything he says, was a load of hypocritical garbage.

      These US sanctions have caused untold suffering. As Al Jazeera reported on 8 February, “a hospital… has said 14 children have died this week following an outbreak of amoebiasis, a form of dysentery transmitted by contaminated food or water. Dozens of other children infected by the disease cannot receive adequate treatment due to a lack of medical supplies.” And on it goes, just as it did in Libya and pre-invasion Iraq which had suffered similarly evil sanctions for so many years.

      The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has urged everyone involved in the Venezuela crisis to “lower tensions” and begin speaking to each other, but there was no possibility that anyone would listen to him, least of all those intent on the overthrow of Maduro. The UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures as affecting human rights, Idriss Jazairy (an admirable and highly intelligent person), stated on 31 January that “coercion” by the US (without naming it) is a “violation of all norms of international law.” He said flatly that “Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela… precipitating an economic and humanitarian crisis . . . is not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

      But Washington doesn’t want a peaceful settlement of disputes, least of all, at the moment, in Venezuela. It wants to ensure that there is suffering, in order that Maduro can be overthrown by those whom it has deprived of the basic necessities of life. Further, it wants its own man to be at the Top.

      So — enter Mr Juan Guaidó, a minor politician in Venezuela’s parliament.

      According to the Wall Street Journal on 25 January, “The night before Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela, the opposition leader received a phone call from Vice President Mike Pence. Mr Pence pledged that the US would back Mr. Guaidó if he seized the reins of government from Nicolás Maduro by invoking a clause in the South American country’s constitution, a senior administration official said.”

      As the New York Times noted on 8 February, “Mr. Trump said the oil sanctions were meant to punish Mr. Maduro for human rights violations and force him to cede power to Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader whom the United States has recognized as the rightful Venezuelan president.”

      The entire “revolution” has been engineered from Washington, but at least, this time, they haven’t gone in with rockets and bombs. There is no doubt that Washington will win, and that Maduro will leave in one way or another.

      And my advice to him is : don’t wait too long before you give up and get out. Otherwise, Maduro, baby, They’ll Come. They’ll See. And You’ll Die.

      America to Venezuela – “Your Money AND Your Life!”

      January 26, 2019

      By Rostislav Ishchenko

      America to Venezuela – “Your Money AND Your Life!”
      Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard

      cross posted with https://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-america-to-venezuela-your-money-and-your-life/
      source: https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20190126/1022466449.html

      Attempts to carry out a coup in Venezuela have been regularly made since the time of Hugo Chávez. The first one in 2002, when the predecessor of Maduro was opposed by a considerable part of army and was arrested for two days by putschists, was the most productive one.

      Back then the people of Venezuela took to the streets in support of Chavez. Also, many leaders of the countries of Latin America, including the late Fidel Castro, who enjoyed absolute authority on the continent, also voiced his support. Two days later the putschists released the president and surrendered. Since then the army has been a reliable stronghold of Chavists. And now too the Generals have declared their full support for Maduro.

      Apparently, this time the US isn’t relying on internal opposition. Experts already said that the mutiny initiated by Washington is original and unprecedented, because the US simply recognised the the speaker of parliament Juan Guaido, who appointed himself as the interim president, as the acting head of state. However, originality and unprecedentedness in this case lies only in the speed of recognition and the degree of openness of the American interference.

      Trump’s Twitter declared Guaido’s recognition a few minutes (about half an hour) after his self-declaration. At the same time, Washington neglected all existing norms of international law. But this is exactly the same scheme that was used in Libya against Gaddafi and in Syria against Assad.

      This scheme is rather reliable. As practice shows, without the external support of Russia, the resistance of the national government breaks sooner or later. In Libya eight months passed between the first protests (on February 15th 2011) up to the murder of Gaddafi (on October 20th 2011). Assad in Syria stood on the verge of a catastrophe in the fourth year of the civil war.

      In both cases the striking power of the mutiny consisted of foreign mercenaries supported by the aircraft of the West, which closed the sky to the national Air Force, and then giving direct support to rebels, striking blows to the national Armed Forces. The internal opposition only legitimated the invasion, having given the intervention of gangs of pro-West mercenaries the status of an internal resistance.

      In both cases there was one more factor – less noticeable but probably most important. The financing of the mutiny and intervention happened at the expense of the part of the assets of the target state that was in western jurisdiction.

      The US has already utilised all three components against Maduro. An alternative government that is recognised by Washington as lawful already exists in the person of Juan Guaido. The US tries to give him control over the assets of Venezuela that are in western jurisdiction, and not without success either. The Bank of England refused to return $1.2 billion in gold ingots to Maduro’s government.

      The total cost of Venezuela assets abroad is $8 billion. It is possible to assume that if not all of them, then at least a considerable part of them is controlled by the West. At it is precisely with this money that the mutiny will be financed.

      So the optimistic assessment of domestic experts is that it is enough to capture the Colombian Embassy in Caracas where the alternative president Juan Guaido hides himself and also to expel American diplomats (who already refused to leave since Washington doesn’t recognise Maduro, who declared a severance of diplomatic relations with the US, as the lawful president) from the country and that everything will settle down. On the contrary, violent acts against foreign diplomatic missions can only legitimate intervention.

      While the US and their allies control billions of dollars of the state assets of Venezuela, they can employ “interim” presidents one after the other. The main thing was already done by Juan Guaido — he declared the existence of an alternative center of power. Now it is possible to even kill or arrest Guaido – the alternative government already leads an independent life. Now there can even be no Venezuelan politicians [in the phoney “government” – ed] at all. Statements on his behalf will be made by any blogger from London employed by the CIA.

      With the Venezuelan billions requisitioned by the West, the West can maintain many-thousands gangs of mercenaries for years. The violation of the exterritoriality of diplomatic missions will be quite a sufficient pretext for the deployment of an air operation in support of rebels.

      Only force sufficient enough to paralyse western efforts can stop a creeping coup in Venezuela. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the main weight of the fight for their country in any case will fall on the national Armed Forces.

      Russia and China can theoretically give military aid to Venezuela, but their geographical position practically excludes carrying out an operation similar to the Syrian one. The communications of any group that Beijing or Moscow will try to deploy in Venezuela will find themselves under the control of the American fleet and it will be rather easy for Washington to paralyse their activity, having declared a naval and air blockade of the territories under the control of Maduro’s government.

      Of course, it is possible to breakthrough such a blockade, but it will be a situation that is as critical as the Caribbean Crisis. Superpowers can find themselves on the verge of a direct military clash.

      Anyway, the difficulties of logistics assume limited purely military support for Maduro by his foreign allies, while the US, being based on the territory to a hostile-towards-Venezuela Colombia have the opportunity to deploy unlimited forces of mercenaries. They can try to organise an invasion in the favour of Juan Guaido and the regular armed forces of the adjacent Latin American states.

      So the fate of the government of Maduro will depend: firstly, on the ability of the national Armed Forces to make a military operation against Venezuela a pleasure that is too expensive; secondly, on the ability of Russia and China to find an indirect way of responding to the West’s aggression, making it not just resource-intensive (in the mean time the US is going to fight against Maduro with Maduro’s money), but causing damage to the financially economic interests of the West – in the here and now, long before the billions stolen from the people of Venezuela will run out.

      This is a nontrivial task. Moreover, it is necessary to solve the problem in real time, while the US plans its actions in advance. In the geopolitical sphere an answer will be given to Washington anyway. But whether or not Maduro’s government will survive long enough to see it is a question that so far has no answer. Assad stood and lasted long time to receive help. Gaddafi – No.

      Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

      Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

      January 03, 2019

      by David Penner for The Saker Blog

      Ask any American liberal aged sixty-five and older what they think about Franco, Mussolini, or Hitler and they will vehemently denounce these men as tyrants, murderers, and despots. Ask them what they think about the Vietnam War and they will say it was a tragedy, not only for the Vietnamese, but for the poor American soldiers who were drafted and used as cannon fodder. Liberals also once defended the civil rights movement and the New Deal while vigorously opposing McCarthyism. That these same people would go on to support deunionization, resegregation, and Russophobia while enthusiastically backing barbarous wars and interventions in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine constitutes not only a betrayal of leftist principles, but is indicative of a rejection of reason and the reality-based world.

      Like the proverbial general always fighting the last war, liberals remain trapped in the past, unable to adapt to rapidly unfolding kinetic developments. The problem is that not only is this general fighting the last war, this is a general that can no longer distinguish between right and left and has lost any semblance of a moral compass.

      There’s a Hitler on The Danube

      One could argue that the new Cold War began with Bill Clinton bringing Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into NATO. For Russians that were not yet alarmed by this perfidy, their red lines were irrefutably crossed with the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Serbia, regarded by Russians as a brotherly nation. This constituted an illegal war of aggression, and was carried out without a mandate from the United Nations Security Council. Indeed, the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia initiated an unraveling of international law and marked an erosion in the equilibrium between the great powers.

      As Noam Chomsky has noted, Yugoslavia was marked for destruction, because unlike the other formerly communist European countries they did not embrace privatization. The destruction of Yugoslavia was not only a violation of the UN Charter, but was also the first “humanitarian intervention” following the collapse of the USSR that liberals were duped into embracing. In an article on the RT website titled “15 years on: Looking back at NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia,” the author writes, “NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ ‘war on terror,’ or ‘preventive war’ – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe.”

      While Milošević and the Serbs were marked for demonization due to their lack of enthusiasm for neoliberal “reforms,” Croatian secessionists (many of whom subscribed to a neo-Nazi and neo-Ustasha ideology), Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia, and the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were supported by the West. Brigadier-General Pierre Marie Gallois of the French Army has condemned the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, and has gone on record stating that the endless stories of Serb atrocities, such as mass rapes and the siege of Sarajevo were fabricated. Gallois also argues that the German elite sought revenge for the fierce Serb resistance during the two world wars, especially with regard to the Serb partisans that held up German divisions that were headed towards Leningrad and Moscow during Operation Barbarossa. While relentlessly demonized, the Serbs were in many ways the greatest victims of the NATO-orchestrated Balkan wars, as hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcibly expelled from both Croatia and Kosovo while Serbia was turned into a free-fire zone by NATO for over seventy days. Washington took advantage of the conflict to solidify control over its European vassals.

      During the aerial campaign, between ten and fifteen tons of depleted uranium were dropped on Serbia resulting in extremely high rates of cancer. The Independent coyly informed its readers that the forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia, which they refer to as an “exodus” – is a great mystery – a “riddle.” The only “riddle” is how liberals can denounce genocide and speak ad nauseam about human rights while supporting neo-Nazi regimes, such as the Poroshenko government in Kiev and the Tudjman government in Croatia, which have perpetrated genocidal war crimes in broad daylight. The forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia was eventually reported by The New York Times, but four years too late. Liberal-backed jihadists in Libya and Syria have likewise carried out one ethnic cleansing after another.

      Endless calls by the mainstream press to stop the evil Serbs from establishing a “greater Serbia” were blatant propaganda, as there was no way that the hundreds of thousands of Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo could have “invaded” these territories, as they had already been living there for centuries. Indeed, this very scenario holds true for the ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Moreover, as the mass media was busy vilifying the Serbs, behind the scenes American diplomats had no illusions about who they were dealing with, referring to the Croatian nationalists as “our junkyard dogs.”

      In an article titled “The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia,” Michael Parenti writes:

      Tudjman presided over the forced evacuation of over half a million Serbs from Croatia between 1991 and 1995, replete with rapes and summary executions. This included the 200,000 from Krajina in 1995, whose expulsion was facilitated by attacks from NATO war planes and missiles. Needless to say, U.S. leaders did nothing to stop and much to assist these atrocities, while the U.S. media looked the other way.

      Kosovo was also prized by the Western elites because of its rich deposits of coal, lead, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver valued in the billions of dollars. The tragic balkanization of Yugoslavia, where brother was pitted against brother, brought about the destruction of a non-aligned country with a nationalized economy thereby bolstering the power of Western finance capital.  Of the NATO bombings, Parenti posits that, “To destroy publicly-run Yugoslav factories that produced auto parts, appliances, or fertilizer…is to enhance the investment value of western producers. And every television or radio station closed down by NATO troops or blown up by NATO bombs extends the monopolizing dominance of the western media cartels. The aerial destruction of Yugoslavia’s social capital served that purpose.”

      Lamentably, all of this was drowned out by the mass media’s vilification of the Serbs. An article in The Guardian titled “Serbs enslaved Muslim women at rape camps” encapsulates perfectly how Western liberals were duped into embracing a war which was waged for no other reason than to fortify the power of US and NATO hegemony. This propaganda is particularly galling in light of the fact that women’s rights have been thrown back into the Stone Age precisely in the very countries which have come under attack by Washington and her proxies, such as Libya, jihadist-occupied Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

      “Save Benghazi” and More Humanitarian Psychosis

      Repeated calls by the presstitutes to “save Benghazi” sufficed to obtain liberal support for a war of aggression that has left Libya in such a state of anarchy and chaos, that Libyans who have been unable to flee the country are now trapped in a failed state where warring militias vie for power. In an article in Foreign Affairs titled “Obama’s Libya Debacle,” Alan J. Kuperman writes, “With Moscow’s acquiescence, the United Nations Security Council had approved the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya and other measures to protect civilians. But NATO exceeded that mandate to pursue regime change.”

      Under Gaddafi Libyans enjoyed a high standard of living, and health care and education were free. Gaddafi’s desire to set up a gold-backed dinar put him in the crosshairs of the Western elites, as this would have liberated Africans from domination by the World Bank and the IMF through establishing a common gold-backed currency. Alas, this was lost on the human rights crusaders of the holier-than-thou faux left.

      Libya, which formerly had the highest standard of living in Africa, has been annihilated as a nation state. Slave markets are a legacy of this great “humanitarian intervention,” as are pogroms carried out against black Africans, formerly given refuge by the Gaddafi regime. An article in The Telegraph, which appeared in March of 2011, titled “Libya crisis: Benghazi fights for its life as Gaddafi attacks,” was one of countless articles in the mainstream press that incited messianic liberals into supporting a war of aggression against a people that had become too independent.

      Once a country is marked for destruction by the Western elites no story is too outrageous, as evidenced by Susan Rice’s claim that Gaddafi supplied his troops with Viagra so that they could more effectively carry out mass rapes. This barbaric destruction of a sovereign state was summed up by liberal icon Hillary Clinton, who when asked about the brutal murder of Gaddafi, happily blurted out “We came! We saw! He died!

      In what constituted the most genocidal invasion of a country following the end of the Vietnam War, Iraq was marked for annihilation after Saddam Hussein made the decision to sell oil in euros. In a rare moment of candor from a high priest of liberalism, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children that died due to the Clinton-backed sanctions, replied “We think the price is worth it.” This chilling remark underscores the fact that, contrary to liberal theology, the destruction of Iraq was perpetrated with equal fervor by both parties. Incredibly, even after spending trillions of dollars systematically destroying Iraqi social and political institutions, Washington failed to install a puppet government in Baghdad which has forged alliances with Tehran, Damascus, and Moscow.

      Liberal saint Obama, in comparing the reunification of Crimea and Russia with the Iraq War, informs us that the “annexation of Crimea” – which was enthusiastically backed by the overwhelming majority of Crimeans – was worse than the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in a million deaths, destroyed a civilization and fueled the rise of ISIS.

      As if her abysmal record makes her a Marxist scholar, Albright now warns Americans of the dangers of fascism, her implication of course being that the rise of Trump represents a threat to our democracy. Perhaps the Donald’s desire to pursue detente with Russia, and the fact that he has yet to start any new wars are what liberals are really upset about.

      The Obama administration’s support for the Saudi war on Yemen is yet another impressive achievement for the liberal class, and has yielded such an earthly paradise that Yemenis have resorted to eating leaves to survive. For this extravaganza of mass murder the presstitutes didn’t even bother coming up with a fictitious narrative, allowing the salt of the earth to set aside their pom-poms for a while and take a nap.

      Syria: Mass Murder in Paradise

      Unsurprisingly, the mass media had no trouble duping imaginary leftists into believing that Syrians were being indiscriminately slaughtered by the Syrian Arab Army and the evil Russians. Unbeknownst to The Guardian and The New York Times, the US military presence in Syria is illegal, while Russian and Iranian military personnel are there at the invitation of the Syrian government. The Obama administration and its vassals are clearly responsible for the carnage in Syria, as they poured billions of dollars into backing the many jihadist groups. The mass media also hoodwinked liberals into thinking that the US military has been fighting ISIS, when they have used ISIS along with Al-Nusra Front and other illegal armed formations, as proxies with which to wage war on Syrian society. If Washington were battling the jihadists in Syria, why would they simultaneously be antagonists with the Syrian government and the Russians, who together saved Syria from being overrun by these very barbarians? Indeed, such questions have become a form of unmitigated heresy.

      Articles such as “The Effects of Suspending American Aid to Moderate Syrian Opposition Groups,” by Hosam al-Jablawi, which appeared on The Atlantic Council’s website, seek to further the fallacy that the militants have been mostly democratic and secular. Washington and her vassals have poured enormous amounts of weaponry into the conflict zone, and Israeli weapons have been discovered in Syrian territories liberated from Daesh. That German machine guns from the Second World War have been discovered in some of these hideouts is symbolic of the true intentions of these murderous and sociopathic gangs.

      The New York Post has referred to the jihadists in Syria as “freedom fighters.” While this may not be regarded as a “liberal” publication, an even more inane sentiment was expressed on Democracy Now, where Amy Goodman discussed the fighting in Eastern Ghouta with Rawya Rageh, Alia Malek, and Wendy Pearlman. Throughout the entire discussion of what can only be called an imaginary war, the fact that a large swath of Syria was taken over by jihadists, many of whom were not even Syrians but foreigners, is not even mentioned. In this cloud-cuckoo-land that passes for journalism the militants do not even exist. Assad and Putin are simply killing as many Syrians as possible, and doing so in an orgy of gratuitous savagery.

      An article in The Guardian titled “You’re on your own, US tells Syrian rebels, as Assad goes on offensive” is deliberately written with the intention of stirring up liberal outrage over “indifference in the face of genocide,” and seeks to evoke memories of the Holocaust, the appeasement of Hitler, and the defeat of the Republicans by the forces of Franco. Meanwhile, independent media is shunned by liberals, who dismiss efforts at real journalism and political analysis as “conspiracy theory.” Thankfully for the insane, there is no shortage of good reading material.

      Moscow has repeatedly maintained that the Syrian Arab Army is no longer in possession of chemical weapons, and there is ample evidence that the chemical attacks in Syria are false flag operations carried out by the jihadists to justify NATO aerial attacks on the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian infrastructure. Clearly, these incidents make for great Hollywood and have been extremely effective in stirring up gullible liberals who proceed to bray, as if on cue, for another regime change.

      Tied to the mass media’s obsession with accusing Assad of “gassing his own people” are the White Helmets, who have been funded by the West, and who are clearly allied with the jihadists. The White Helmets played a critical role in duping liberal fundamentalists into thinking that there was a democratic uprising in Syria, and that the West must intervene “to put an end to the suffering.” Time will tell if Washington truly ceases all military operations in this war-ravaged country.

      Forgotten Killing Fields: Afghanistan and Ukraine

      The invasion and military occupation of Afghanistan was sold as a war to free oppressed women. An article in The Independent by Jane Dalton titled “Afghanistan’s first female military pilot granted asylum in US after fleeing Taliban death threats,” is crude propaganda, yet very effective nevertheless. This is a great way to distract insouciant liberals from what Americans are more likely to do in their dealings with Afghans, which is to murder them, and then urinate over their dead bodies. What the mass media doesn’t like to talk about is how the rise of the Taliban is a direct result of Washington’s support for the mujahideen in their insurgency against the secular Afghan communist government in the 1980s. Washington is furious with the International Criminal Court over considering prosecution of American officials for war crimes in Afghanistan, and has even threatened to arrest ICC judges in retaliation. Unbeknownst to these judges, Americans are God’s chosen people. Consequently, they are incapable of war crimes.

      Samantha Power is a particularly pious priest in the Church of Humanitarian Interventionism. Power was a staunch advocate of military intervention in Libya, and used her influence to cover up the crimes of the US-Saudi genocidal assault on Yemen. She defended Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, and yet was extremely critical of the “annexation of Crimea.” That the reunification of Crimea and Russia was in fact a legitimate humanitarian intervention is an irony that was undoubtedly lost on her. In a 2016 showdown with Vitaly Churkin at the UN Power accused Russia, Syria, and Iran of slaughtering civilians in Aleppo, when they were liberating the city from jihadists backed by Washington and her vassals. Power also spoke of the liberation of Aleppo as if the jihadists were Jews bravely defending themselves in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Syrian and Russian troops were fascists perpetrating brutal acts of collective punishment. Following this deranged rant, Churkin said, “The speech by the US representative is particularly strange to me; she gave her speech as if she was Mother Teresa herself. Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country.”

      The NATO-backed putsch in Kiev, supported wholeheartedly by the Obama administration, resulted in an unconstitutional seizure of power by the heirs of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as a genocidal war waged against the ethnic Russians of the Donbass who have steadfastly refused to recognize the Banderite regime. In pitting neo-Nazis against neo-partisans, the restoration of Ukrainian nationalism has resurrected the demons of the past, as the bodies of slain Novorossiyan fighters are mingled with the bones of their heroic grandfathers.

      Despite blathering on about the Nazis for decades, liberals were fully complicit in bringing this odious regime to power, as they were easily hoodwinked into thinking that the coup was a grassroots democratic uprising, and that the armed formations battling the Ukrainian military in the Donbass were divisions from the Russian Armed Forces, when they are overwhelmingly comprised of locals from Donetsk and Lugansk.

      Moreover, as the Western elites impose multiculturalism and identity politics at home, they are simultaneously fomenting the rise of neo-Nazism in Eastern Europe. This underscores the moral bankruptcy, duplicity, and schizophrenia of the liberal class and has trapped Europeans in an intellectual paralysis where they are being offered a choice between neo-Nazism or multiculturalism, both of which benefit the oligarchy. The Maidan coup, executed by pogromists, neo-Nazis, and Banderites has legitimized unconstitutional seizures of power and inspired those who would like to carry out a putsch of their own in Germany.

      A Hitler on The Moskva River?

      As Putin has noted, following the collapse of the USSR Washington and NATO have pursued a policy of unilateralism. These wars have not only been carried out in flagrant violation of the UN Charter that condemns wars of aggression, but have also contributed to the degradation of the rule of law within the West itself. Western stenographers like to complain about terrorism, but terrorists filled the vacuum following the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and a large swath of jihadist-occupied Syria – “humanitarian interventions” – where liberal complicity is undeniable and irrefutable.

      The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism is rooted in the myth that the invasion of Normandy brought about the defeat of fascism. While this is not to denigrate the contributions made by resistance groups in Western Europe or those who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, the fact is that the defeat of fascism was achieved by the Red Army and allied partisans who bore the brunt of the best German troops, together with the courage of the Russian people who suffered the loss of twenty-seven million of their countrymen. This much vaunted invasion was launched on June 6, 1944, and only after it was clear that the Nazis were going to lose the war.

      The descent of liberals into a morass of madness and bestiality is intertwined with a gross naivete regarding the true intentions of publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian which are leading their readers around like so many poodles. Sadly, most of these creatures will go to their graves never understanding the treachery of these periodicals that they have given their very souls to. Liberals have also decided that it is better to spend trillions of dollars on illegal wars of aggression while their sons and daughters have inadequate health insurance and wallow in dead-end jobs working for the minimum wage.

      In a spectacular display of Russophobia and Apocalypticism, Nikki Haley, who could easily work for either party and not know the difference, recently wrote on her Twitter page that “Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture.” Washington’s decision to make Putin their favorite new bogeyman undoubtedly helps justify the obscene budget of the military industrial complex. Let’s pray that the bells of humanitarian intervention don’t ring out in strident cacophony over the Kremlin, which would assuredly take us to a place from which there is no dawning, and the evanescing of the sun of mankind forever.
      David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Russia Insider and KevinMD. Also a photographer and native New Yorker, he is the author of three books: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at 321davidadam@gmail.com.

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