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.

Related

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

by VIJAY PRASHAD

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.

Oil

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

Source

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.

A Decalogue: The Ten Theses of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue

Global Research, November 10, 2018

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

First published by Global Research on August 11, 2018

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Norway didn’t know much about Libya yet helped bomb it into chaos, state report finds

Norway pleads ignorance: ‘didn’t know much about Libya’ yet helped bomb it into chaos

Norway didn’t know much about Libya yet helped bomb it into chaos, state report finds

A Decalogue: The Ten Theses of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue

By Prof. James Petras

Global Research, August 11, 2018

 

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

What Was Achieved in Singapore

16-06-2018 | 10:04
All eyes were on Singapore this week where world-class showman and US President Donald Trump took the stage for what was undoubtedly the most important performance of his life.

What Was Achieved in Singapore

In a meeting with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un that lasted just over 40 minutes, Trump reportedly managed to hammer out an agreement to denuclearize the entire Korean peninsula “very quickly”.

He then described his new relationship with Kim as a “special bond” and said that “people are going to be very impressed” by what the pair achieved.

Sure, it’s a far cry from Trump’s “fire and fury” days when he was threatening the North Koreans with total annihilation.

It’s also a departure from suggestions by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton to apply the not-so quick “Libyan model” in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

But some things have not changed. Sticking to the on-again, off-again approach when it comes to his diplomatic episodes with Pyongyang, Trump told reporters after the summit that he trusts Kim but may later say he “made a mistake”.

In substance, the summit communiqué is equally ambiguous. It is little more than a list of very generalized commitments and nothing that Pyongyang has not already agreed to over the past thirty years.

It offers no timetable or a definition of denuclearization – a term that was previously characterized by North Korea and the US in very dissimilar ways.

The National Director at the ANSWER Coalition Brian Becker, who attended the Singapore summit, believes that Pyongyang is “prepared to carry out the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula but only in exchange for a new policy from the United States.”

“Right now the world sees that North Korea was willing to make many efforts – four unilateral concessions in a row, including a moratorium on these nuclear missile technology tests. They are now waiting for reciprocation from the United States,” Becker adds.

Although the vague declaration does in theory pave the way for further negotiations, any long-term settlement between Washington and Pyongyang requires a painstaking years-long process.

That process would have to address a long list of issues, including the reunification of the two Koreas and the withdrawal of tens of thousands of American troops from the region.

To what extent Trump, his administration or anyone in Washington is truly willing to broach such matters is pure speculation.

But tensions along the Korean Peninsula are a prefect example of a decades-long geopolitical problem that cannot be solved without the participation of all key players including China and Russia.

Washington’s escalating trade war with China and growing tensions with Russia suggest that the Americans are not interested in any such overtures.

The dishonest broker

Unlike the vague pledges in Singapore, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was the product of 18 months of negotiations between seven nations and included specifics on denuclearization and verification.

Both were ‘historic’ events, and both played out before the lenses of the world media.

Unfortunately for all involved, Washington’s nuclear deals never last longer than one presidential term.

Trump ripped-up Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Obama killed Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who signed a nuclear disarmament deal with his predecessor George W. Bush. And Bush brings us back to North Korea, tearing up Bill Clinton’s nuclear deal with Kim Jong-un’s late father.

Journalist and political commentator Shobhan Saxena says that the “North Koreans have to be careful”.

“They should know whom they are dealing with because the Americans have proven again and again that they are not honest brokers of peace and they have failed time and again to keep their word,” Saxena explains.

In essence, all these agreements were little more than short-term strategies in Washington’s quest for hegemony.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal and ratchet up tensions with Tehran also implies that the Americans will have to direct more recourses towards the Middle East.

As such, a temporary easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula would certainly go a long way in guaranteeing that the US avoids a struggle on two fronts at a time when its power and influence are on the decline.

The domestic angle

The optics of the Singapore summit feed the narrative of a major diplomatic victory for the Trump Administration.

Trump, who desperately needs a win, will undoubtedly use the Kim meeting for domestic consumption.

His Republican Party is preparing for midterm elections, and the president needs them to retain their majority in Congress or he risks increasing his chances of being impeached.

Naturally, while waiting for the dust to settle, Trump will also be eyeing a second term in office.

With every White House policy decision being scrutinized, the incumbent will have his work cut out.

And having talking points about a ‘historic’ meeting – the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader – certainly helps.

Source: Al-Ahed News

See also: قمة ترامب كيم

North Korea Warns US of ’Nuclear Showdown’

24-05-2018 | 09:17

North Korea cast doubt on the planned summit between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Donald Trump, warning that Pyongyang could make the US “taste an appalling tragedy”.
 
Trump-Kim

The summit’s fate is “entirely” up to the US, North Korea’s vice foreign minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement on Thursday. If the talks are cancelled, Choe suggested the two countries could engage in a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown”.

“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision … of the US,” she said.

“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us.”

The comments come after Trump earlier this week said there was a “very substantial chance” the summit could be delayed.

They also follow a week of heated rhetoric in Washington, with some US officials threatening a fate similar to Libya if the North does not relinquish its nuclear weapons program. Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in a NATO-backed uprising against his rule.

“In view of the remarks of the US high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us,” Choe said, referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “To borrow their words, we can also make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.”

In an interview on Fox News, US vice president Mike Pence said: “This will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal”.

His words echoed earlier comments by national security advisor John Bolton that the US was studying Libya’s unilateral disarmament as a blueprint for negotiations with Pyongyang.

“As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president,” Choe said.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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Trump Warns Kim: Make A Deal or Suffer Same Fate as Gaddafi!

18-05-2018 | 08:29


US President Donald Trump threatened the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un with the same fate as Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi if he “doesn’t make a deal” on his nuclear weapons program.
Donald Trump

Trump issued the threat at the White House when he was asked about the recent suggestion by his national security adviser, John Bolton that the “Libyan model” be a template for dealing with North Korea at a summit between Trump and Kim planned for 12 June in Singapore.

The model Bolton was referring to was Gaddafi’s agreement in December 2003 to surrender his embryonic nuclear weapons program, which included allowing his uranium centrifuges to be shipped out to the US.

Trump, however, appeared to be unaware of that agreement, and interpreted the “Libyan model” to mean the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya in support of an insurrection, which ultimately led to Gaddafi’s murder at the hands of rebels in Tripoli.

“The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy,” Trump said, suggesting that the regime’s survival could be assured if Kim agreed to disarm.

“This with Kim Jong-un would be something where he would be there. He would be running his country. His country would be very rich,” Trump said.

“We’re willing to do a lot, and he’s willing … to do a lot also, and I think we’ll actually have a good relationship, assuming we have the meeting and assuming something comes of it. And he’ll get protections that will be very strong.”

Asked whether his comments meant that he disagreed with his national security adviser, Trump said: “I think when John Bolton made that statement, he was talking about if we are going to be having a problem, because we cannot let that country have nukes. We just can’t do it.”

Pyongyang, for its part, complained about joint military exercises being conducted by US and South Korean forces. The regime’s mission to the United Nations issued a statement on Thursday saying that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and F-22 fighter planes were taking part in the exercises. He described it as “an extremely provocative and ill-boding act”.

However, Trump said that despite Pyongyang’s threats to call off the summit, “they’ve been negotiating like nothing happened”.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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