فعلاً لم يحدث هذا منذ ألف عام

 

يوليو 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– في كلام سابق للأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله إشارة اعتبرها مرشد الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران الإمام علي الخامنئي بصيص أمل عن اقتراب موعد تحرير القدس من الاحتلال، وفقاً لما وصفه نصرالله بالاستدلال بالمنطق واقع المعادلات والتوازنات، رابطاً أمله الشخصي بالصلاة في القدس بمعادلة الحياة والموت التي لا يمكن التحكم بها، رغم وقوع توقعاته لتحرير القدس ضمن المدى المنطقي لما يمكنه من أن يكون شاهداً على التحرير، وفي كلام لاحق لمستشار الإمام الخامنئي الدكتور علي ولايتي، المعروف بمكانته في الملفات الاستراتيجية في فريق الإمام الخامنئي، إشارة إلى أن إسقاط الطائرة الأميركية الإلكترونية العملاقة واحتجاز ناقلة النفط البريطانية، أحداث تمثل منعطفاً في تاريخ العالم الإسلامي.

– بالعودة إلى التاريخ تبدو منطقة الساحل الشرقي للبحر المتوسط وعمقها الآسيوي، كميدان جغرافي للمواجهات التاريخية بين الغرب والشرق، مسرحاً لتسجيل انتصارات الغرب وهيمنته واستعراضاته العسكرية، وفرض مصالحه الاقتصادية منذ خمسة قرون على الأقل عندما بدأت الإمبراطورية العثمانية تقدّم التنازلات للدول الأوروبية في جنوب السلطنة، لضمان مصالحها في بلدان الشمال، وصولاً لتفكك السلطنة مع الحرب العالمية الأولى وما تبعها من ترسيخ للهيمنة الغربية، لكن حتى مراحل صعود السلطنة العثمانية لم تشهد ردعاً للصولات والجولات الغربية نحو شرق المتوسط، فخلالها نشأ ما عُرف بعهد القناصل، وتنامي الإرساليات، ونشوء النسخ البدائية للوكالات التجارية.

– آخر ما يكتبه التاريخ عن يد الشرق العليا في شرق المتوسط كان في تمكّن شعوب المنطقة من مواجهة حملات الفرنجة التي سُمّيت بالحروب الصليبية واتخذت الدين شعاراً لها لحشد المشاركة في التعبئة لقواتها تحت شعار الذهاب إلى القدس، بينما سحقت في طريقها إلى فلسطين كل الكنائس الشرقية وقتلت الآلاف من قساوستها ورهبانها، ودمّرت ممتلكاتها، وقتلت عشرات الآلاف من رعاياها، واللافت أن حروب الفرنجة نجحت يومها خلال الفترة الممتدة من نهاية القرن الحادي عشر إلى نهاية القرن الثاني عشر ببناء مستوطنات في فلسطين ونجحت بوضع يدها على القدس، بصورة لا تختلف كثيراً عن واقع كيان الاحتلال اليوم، وبقيت الأساطيل الغربية ومحاولات تأمين طريق بري بحملات مستديمة، هي مصدر الحماية الذي يشكل مصدر قوة هذا الكيان الاستيطاني الناشئ يومها.

– مع تحرير القدس في نهاية القرن الثاني عشر، وجعلها متاحة لكل المؤمنين لممارسة عباداتهم وشعائرهم الدينية، انتهت عملياً الحروب الكبرى وبقيت مناوشات استمرت تحت مسمّى حملات صليبية، لكنها لم تقدر أن تغير الواقع الجديد، حتى نشوء كيان الاحتلال منتصف القرن العشرين، لكن اللافت بالقياس التاريخي أنه منذ نشأة هذا الكيان القائم على اغتصاب فلسطين، للمرة الأولى يبدو محاصراً بصواريخ قوى المقاومة ومقاتليها من كل الجهات عاجزاً عن خوض حرب، وتبدو الأساطيل البحرية والجوية والبرية لنجدته عاجزة عن تشكيل توازن ردع في المنطقة. وهذا هو مغزى ما تمثله حوادث إسقاط الطائرة الأميركية واحتجاز الناقلة البريطانية.

– منذ ألف عام لم يحدث مثيل لذلك، رغم ما تلقته الأساطيل الغازية لنابليون بونابرت على سواحل مصر أو أسوار عكا، ورغم حروب المواجهة التي خاضها جمال عبد الناصر في مواجهة العدوان الثلاثي، فقد بقي في كل حالة منها مجال للإعداد لجولة مقبلة، حيث كان احتياط الغرب القوي ينتقل من ضفة إلى ضفة، كما هو حال الأفول الفرنسي لحساب بريطانيا والأفول البريطاني لحساب أميركا. وهذا مغزى القول اليوم إنه منعطف تاريخي، وبصيص أمل.

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Taking a Minute to Walk in Iran’s Shoes

Iran Feature photo

Feature photo | Mourners carry flag-draped caskets in a funeral procession for 150 soldiers whose remains were recently recovered. The soldiers were killed during the war with then-US-backed-Iraq in the 1980s, Tehran, Iran, June 27, 2019. Vahid Salemi | AP

If one can learn anything from the modern history of Iran, it’s that great powers will sell — and have sold — them out at a moment’s notice.

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Iran has seen its fair share of the damage imperialism has inflicted on the world — joint Russian and British control over Iran during the Qajar era, then the killing of one fifth of the Iranian population between 1917-19 (as documented in Barry Rubin’s The Middle East: A Guide to Politics, Economics, Society and Culture, p. 508) from famine brought on by the confiscating of foodstuff by occupying British forces that had violated Iran’s neutrality in World War I. This was followed in WWII by a coup that ousted Reza Shah, the then-king of Iran, also at a time when Iran had declared neutrality, in a British coup that put his son Mohammad Reza Shah on the throne of the kingdom. We need not mention the joint American-British coup, in which hundreds were killed, that toppled the popular Mosaddegh government because of its nationalization of the Iranian oil industry (which would have damaged American and British interests in Iranian oil).

The only time Iran saw an actual democratic movement succeed in giving power to the people that foreign powers were not able to abort was with the Islamic Revolution of 1979; and, even after that, the AmericansEuropeans, and even Arab countries of the Persian Gulf aided Saddam Hussein in a war he instigated against Iran — providing him with arms and chemical weapons, as well as intelligence.



A lesson in wariness

Taking these historical events (and many more instances) into account, it is no wonder that Iranians would be very wary of any moves made by the United States and other global powers, namely those with a colonial track record. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal) could have very well marked a paradigm shift in relations with Iran, but instead, the Europeans did not abide by their commitments, and the Americans just up-and-left the agreement as soon as Trump got around to Iran. Not only that but, instead of abiding by their commitments, they’re trying to milk even more out of the deal — promising they’ll abide by their commitments if Iran offers more to an already done deal. What this means is they are being asked to add concessions in their ballistic missile program, much to the benefit of Arab Persian Gulf monarchies that are on a trend of increased militarization.

Trump's War On Iran. (Image: Carlos Latuff For MintPress News)

Credit | Carlos Latuff

Which brings us to the region’s latest round of tensions.

Given the already-stated facts, one has to understand, first and foremost, that Iran is dealing with a number of countries that have a history of falsifying facts, not standing by their agreements, and going into war in order to secure their own economic interests at the expense of other peoples. One must not forget the Indian famine in WWII, caused by food being exported from India to Britain, killing more than 20 million Indians, in reference to which Churchill said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

Living in such a flammable neighborhood — where the United States and its allies recently occupied its neighbors to the east and west and built military bases — and with such historical baggage, it’s not far-fetched that Iran, being the region’s most stable country, would rather rely on deterrence and defensive capabilities to secure itself than give concessions that could damage its security to powers that can hardly be trusted to keep their own word, as their own history suggests.

 

A wise decision

Iran made a wise decision in its downing of the RQ-4 drone. Usually, the shooting down of military surveillance drones does not lead to military escalation, though it does lead to an increase in tension. By doing so, Tehran was successful in warning any aggressor — be it the United States or any other country, for that matter — that it is not willing to compromise on matters of security or national pride (though the U.S. claims the drone was flying above international waters — 8000 miles away from U.S. soil — the debris has since been recovered by Iranian authorities in Iranian waters).

Iran US Drone

An Iranian general looks at debris from a U.S. military drone shot down by Iran’s air defense system, June 21, 2019. Meghdad Madadi | Tasnim via AP

The wisdom of this decision is that Iran delivered the intended message without causing any escalation — which doubtless would have been the outcome if it had downed a manned military plane that was also in its sites in the vicinity of the drone. It was a message that Trump had clearly received, and for which he expressed appreciation to Iranian authorities (although why he would bother to thank Iran if it was attacking a plane flying over “international waters” as he said is truly baffling).

In addition to that — although it had the legal right to shoot down the drone for flying over its airspace, which extends to 12 nautical miles from its borders — Iran also has the right to demand identification from any aircraft flying close to its territory. For more perspective, U.S. Air Defense Identification Zones extend 200 miles from the U.S. border and, as testified to by a former U.S. Air Force navigator, any unidentified drone flying that close to the U.S. border would most likely be shot down. The shooting down of this unidentified drone, even supposing the U.S.’s version of events were true, is perfectly warranted on Iran’s part, and does not allow the U.S. any measure of retaliation in “self-defense,” because no lives were lost in its downing.

Moreover, Iran clearly showed other countries what it was able to achieve independently through its reliance on its own capabilities. It downed the world’s leading military power’s aircraft for infringing on its airspace, and did so without hesitation because it sees itself as truly “sovereign.” Although the U.S. may threaten Iran with its military might and its presence in the region, Iran’s ballistic missile program has allowed it to turn that very strength into a weakness by having American bases, and 25,000 American troops, within targeting range.

A war with Iran would devastate the region. A war with Iran, Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Forces, and Ansarullah is in the interest of no one, and God only knows what other surprises Iran might have in store for conspiring Arab monarchies. The smart move would be to repair the JCPOA in order to avoid further escalation in the region.

Karim Sharara is a Lebanese PhD student who’s lived in Tehran since 2013 studying political science at the University of Tehran with a focus on Iranian affairs. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

D-Day… More Drama Than Decisive in World War II Victory

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Finian Cunningham
June 6, 2019

Stealing the laurels of victory was a necessary act of treachery by the Western powers in order to facilitate their Cold War against the Soviet Union. The same treachery continues today as Washington and its NATO allies try to wage a new Cold War against Russia.

US President Donald Trump called it the “greatest battle ever” while attending a 75th anniversary ceremony this week to mark the Western allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

Trump was joined by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and leaders from 15 other nations in the British harbor city of Portsmouth from where allied troops embarked for the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Looking back, Operation Overlord was indeed a huge military and logistical undertaking. Some 150,000 troops from the US, Britain and Canada, among others, crossed the narrow English Channel in 7,000 vessels. It is recorded as the biggest military land invasion from sea.

Allied forces were met by Nazi firepower as they stormed the Normandy beaches. But in truth the Nazi defenses were easily overwhelmed. That’s largely because Hitler had already shifted the best fighting units months before to the Eastern Front where the Third Reich was really in a war for its survival against the Soviet Red Army. The D-Day casualty figures would attest that American, British and German deaths from the brief battles in Normandy were of the order of 10,000. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front the casualties on both the German and Soviet sides were hundred-fold more, in the millions.

When the D-Day invasion was launched in June 1944, the pivotal battle at Stalingrad was long over, 16 months before that. The Wehrmacht was already being rolled back to German homeland. Some 90 per cent of all German military casualties – nearly six million soldier deaths – were to be inflicted on the Eastern Front fighting the Red Army.

The question remains: why did Western allies not launch their offensive on Nazi-occupied France much sooner? Soviet leader Josef Stalin had pleaded over the previous year with his American and British counterparts to do so on several occasions in order to relieve the Soviets. Did the Western allies finally act on D-Day because they could see that the Red Army was on the way to conquering all of Nazi Germany singlehandedly, and thus were motivated to claw some of the spoils? It was the Red Army that vanquished the Third Reich’s last stand in Berlin in May 1945. But the Soviet Union entered into a postwar carve-up of Germany with the US and Britain.

So, when President Trump talks about D-Day being the “greatest battle ever” he is being prone to unfounded exaggeration, relying on Hollywood fabulation than historical record.

There is little dispute that the opening of the Western Front did indeed help accelerate the final defeat of Nazi Germany. But it also indisputable that the greatest battles and decisive victories were achieved by the Soviet forces for the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny.

What we see in today’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day is more dramatics than actual historical reality. Official Western conceit pretends that that event was the key to defeating Nazi Germany.

Part of the reason is to arrogate a moral authority for Western states, which is hardly deserved. By claiming to have emancipated Europe from the scourge of totalitarian fascism, Western states are thereby given a political and moral cover to conduct their own otherwise blatant policies of aggression and militarism.

How many illegal wars and subterfuges have the US and its NATO allies, particularly Britain, carried out since the end of the Second World War? Some historians like the late William Blum, author of ‘Killing Hope’, or Mark Curtis, author of ‘Web of Deceit’, put the number in the hundreds. These genocidal, supreme crimes of aggression, are afforded an audacious moral license largely because these same aggressors continually invoke their supposed victory against Nazi Germany. The truth is that the US and its NATO allies have in many ways continued the same aggression of Nazi Germany in countless wars and covert operations around the world over the past seven decades. The genocides in Korea, Kenya, Malaya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Chile, Central America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, are just a few among many other US-UK atrocities.

The present looming conflicts involve the US threatening war and destruction against Iran and Venezuela based on transparently spurious pretexts. And yet Trump has the brass neck to eulogize during the D-Day commemorations this week about American forces standing up for “freedom and liberty”.

The US and its NATO allies are using the past and its presumed glories as a shield for their own criminal imperialism.

Dramatizing D-Day as an event is also crucial for the discrediting and demonizing of Russia, as it was previously with regard to the Soviet Union. Wouldn’t it have been appropriate to invite Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the D-Day events this week in order to pay respect to the colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people in defeating Nazi Germany?

The Lies About World War II

 • MAY 13, 2019

In the aftermath of a war, history cannot be written. The losing side has no one to speak for it. Historians on the winning side are constrained by years of war propaganda that demonized the enemy while obscuring the crimes of the righteous victors. People want to enjoy and feel good about their victory, not learn that their side was responsible for the war or that the war could have been avoided except for the hidden agendas of their own leaders. Historians are also constrained by the unavailability of information. To hide mistakes, corruption, and crimes, governments lock up documents for decades. Memoirs of participants are not yet written. Diaries are lost or withheld from fear of retribution. It is expensive and time consuming to locate witnesses, especially those on the losing side, and to convince them to answer questions. Any account that challenges the “happy account” requires a great deal of confirmation from official documents, interviews, letters, diaries, and memoirs, and even that won’t be enough. For the history of World War II in Europe, these documents can be spread from New Zealand and Australia across Canada and the US through Great Britain and Europe and into Russia. A historian on the track of the truth faces long years of strenuous investigation and development of the acumen to judge and assimilate the evidence he uncovers into a truthful picture of what transpired. The truth is always immensely different from the victor’s war propaganda.

As I reported recently, Harry Elmer Barnes was the first American historian to provide a history of the first world war that was based on primary sources. His truthful account differed so substantially from the war propaganda that he was called every name in the book. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/09/the-lies-that-form-our-consciousness-and-false-historical-awareness/

Truth is seldom welcomed. David Irving, without any doubt the best historian of the European part of World War II, learned at his great expense that challenging myths does not go unpunished. Nevertheless, Irving persevered. If you want to escape from the lies about World War II that still direct our disastrous course, you only need to study two books by David Irving: Hitler’s War and the first volume of his Churchill biography, Churchill’s War: The Struggle for Power .

Irving is the historian who spent decades tracking down diaries, survivors, and demanding release of official documents. He is the historian who found the Rommel diary and Goebbles’ diaries, the historian who gained entry into the Soviet archives, and so on. He is familiar with more actual facts about the second world war than the rest of the historians combined. The famous British military historian, Sir John Keegan, wrote in the Times Literary Supplement: “Two books stand out from the vast literature of the Second World War: Chester Wilmot’s The Struggle for Europe, published in 1952, and David Irving’s Hitler’s War.

Despite many such accolades, today Irving is demonized and has to publish his own books.

I will avoid the story of how this came to be, but, yes, you guessed it, it was the Zionists. You simply cannot say anything that alters their propagandistic picture of history.

In what follows, I am going to present what is my impression from reading these two magisterial works. Irving himself is very scant on opinions. He only provides the facts from official documents, recorded intercepts, diaries, letters and interviews.

World War II was Churchill’s War, not Hitler’s war. Irving provides documented facts from which the reader cannot avoid this conclusion. Churchill got his war, for which he longed, because of the Versailles Treaty that stripped Germany of German territory and unjustly and irresponsibly imposed humiliation on Germany.

Hitler and Nationalist Socialist Germany (Nazi stands for National Socialist German Workers’ Party) are the most demonized entities in history. Any person who finds any good in Hitler or Germany is instantly demonized. The person becomes an outcast regardless of the facts. Irving is very much aware of this. Every time his factual account of Hitler starts to display a person too much different from the demonized image, Irving throws in some negative language about Hitler.

Similarly for Winston Churchill. Every time Irving’s factual account displays a person quite different from the worshiped icon, Irving throws in some appreciative language.

This is what a historian has to do to survive telling the truth.

To be clear, in what follows, I am merely reporting what seems to me to be the conclusion from the documented facts presented in these two works of scholarship. I am merely reporting what I understand Irving’s research to have established. You read the books and arrive at your own conclusion.

World War II was initiated by the British and French declaration of war on Germany, not by a surprise blitzkrieg from Germany. The utter rout and collapse of the British and French armies was the result of Britain declaring a war for which Britain was unprepared to fight and of the foolish French trapped by a treaty with the British, who quickly deserted their French ally, leaving France at Germany’s mercy.

Germany’s mercy was substantial. Hitler left a large part of France and the French colonies unoccupied and secure from war under a semi-independent government under Petain. For his service in protecting a semblance of French independence, Petain was sentenced to death by Charles de Gaulle after the war for collaboration with Germany, an unjust charge.

In Britain, Churchill was out of power. He figured a war would put him back in power. No Britisher could match Churchill’s rhetoric and orations. Or determination. Churchill desired power, and he wanted to reproduce the amazing military feats of his distinguished ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, whose biography Churchill was writing and who defeated after years of military struggle France’s powerful Sun King, Louis XIV, the ruler of Europe.

In contrast to the British aristocrat, Hitler was a man of the people. He acted for the German people. The Versailles Treaty had dismembered Germany. Parts of Germany were confiscated and given to France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. As Germany had not actually lost the war, being the occupiers of foreign territory when Germany agreed to a deceptive armistice, the loss of approximately 7 million German people to Poland and Czechoslovakia, where Germans were abused, was not considered a fair outcome.

Hitler’s program was to put Germany back together again. He succeeded without war until it came to Poland. Hitler’s demands were fair and realistic, but Churchill, financed by the Focus Group with Jewish money, put such pressure on British prime minister Chamberlain that Chamberlain intervened in the Polish-German negotiations and issued a British guarantee to the Polish military dictatorship should Poland refuse to release German territory and populations.

The British had no way of making good on the guarantee, but the Polish military dictatorship lacked the intelligence to realize that. Consequently, the Polish Dictatorship refused Germany’s request.

From this mistake of Chamberlain and the stupid Polish dictatorship, came the Ribbentrop/Molotov agreement that Germany and the Soviet Union would split Poland between themselves. When Hitler attacked Poland, Britain and the hapless French declared war on Germany because of the unenforceable British guarantee. But the British and French were careful not to declare war on the Soviet Union for occupying the eastern half of Poland.

Thus Britain was responsible for World War II, first by stupidly interfering in German/Polish negotiations, and second by declaring war on Germany.

Churchill was focused on war with Germany, which he intended for years preceding the war. But Hitler didn’t want any war with Britain or with France, and never intended to invade Britain. The invasion threat was a chimera conjured up by Churchill to unite England behind him. Hitler expressed his view that the British Empire was essential for order in the world, and that in its absence Europeans would lose their world supremacy. After Germany’s rout of the French and British armies, Hitler offered an extraordinarily generous peace to Britain. He said he wanted nothing from Britain but the return of Germany’s colonies. He committed the German military to the defense of the British Empire, and said he would reconstitute both Polish and Czech states and leave them to their own discretion. He told his associates that defeat of the British Empire would do nothing for Germany and everything for Bolshevik Russia and Japan.

Winston Churchill kept Hitler’s peace offers as secret as he could and succeeded in his efforts to block any peace. Churchill wanted war, largely it appears, for his own glory. Franklin Delano Roosevelt slyly encouraged Churchill in his war but without making any commitment in Britain’s behalf. Roosevelt knew that the war would achieve his own aim of bankrupting Britain and destroying the British Empire, and that the US dollar would inherit the powerful position from the British pound of being the world’s reserve currency. Once Churchill had trapped Britain in a war she could not win on her own, FDR began doling out bits of aid in exchange for extremely high prices—for example, 60 outdated and largely useless US destroyers for British naval bases in the Atlantic. FDR delayed Lend-Lease until desperate Britain had turned over $22,000 million of British gold plus $42 million in gold Britain had in South Africa. Then began the forced sell-off of British overseas investments. For example, the British-owned Viscose Company, which was worth $125 million in 1940 dollars, had no debts and held $40 million in government bonds, was sold to the House of Morgan for $37 million. It was such an act of thievery that the British eventually got about two-thirds of the company’s value to hand over to Washington in payment for war munitions. American aid was also “conditional on Britain dismantling the system of Imperial preference anchored in the Ottawa agreement of 1932.” For Cordell Hull, American aid was “a knife to open that oyster shell, the Empire.” Churchill saw it coming, but he was too far in to do anything but plead with FDR: It would be wrong, Churchill wrote to Roosevelt, if “Great Britain were to be divested of all saleable assets so that after the victory was won with our blood, civilization saved, and the time gained for the United States to be fully armed against all eventualities, we should stand stripped to the bone.”

A long essay could be written about how Roosevelt stripped Britain of her assets and world power. Irving writes that in an era of gangster statesmen, Churchill was not in Roosevelt’s league. The survival of the British Empire was not a priority for FDR. He regarded Churchill as a pushover—unreliable and drunk most of the time. Irving reports that FDR’s policy was to pay out just enough to give Churchill “the kind of support a rope gives a hanging man.” Roosevelt pursued “his subversion of the Empire throughout the war.” Eventually Churchill realized that Washington was at war with Britain more fiercely than was Hitler. The great irony was that Hitler had offered Churchill peace and the survival of the Empire. When it was too late, Churchill came to Hitler’s conclusion that the conflict with Germany was a “most unnecessary” war. Pat Buchanan sees it that way also. https://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-Unnecessary-War-Britain/dp/0307405168/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Pat+Buchanan&qid=1557709100&s=books&sr=1-3

Hitler forbade the bombing of civilian areas of British cities. It was Churchill who initiated this war crime, later emulated by the Americans. Churchill kept the British bombing of German civilians secret from the British people and worked to prevent Red Cross monitoring of air raids so no one would learn he was bombing civilian residential areas, not war production. The purpose of Churchill’s bombing—first incendiary bombs to set everything afire and then high explosives to prevent firefighters from controlling the blazes—was to provoke a German attack on London, which Churchill reckoned would bind the British people to him and create sympathy in the US for Britain that would help Churchill pull America into the war. One British raid murdered 50,000 people in Hamburg, and a subsequent attack on Hamburg netted 40,000 civilian deaths. Churchill also ordered that poison gas be added to the firebombing of German civilian residential areas and that Rome be bombed into ashes. The British Air Force refused both orders. At the very end of the war the British and Americans destroyed the beautiful baroque city of Dresden, burning and suffocating 100,000 people in the attack. After months of firebombing attacks on Germany, including Berlin, Hitler gave in to his generals and replied in kind. Churchill succeeded. The story became “the London Blitz,” not the British blitz of Germany.

Like Hitler in Germany, Churchill took over the direction of the war. He functioned more as a dictator who ignored the armed services than as a prime minister advised by the country’s military leaders. Both leaders might have been correct in their assessment of their commanding officers, but Hitler was a much better war strategist than Churchill, for whom nothing ever worked. To Churchill’s WW I Gallipoli misadventure was now added the introduction of British troops into Norway, Greece, Crete, Syria—all ridiculous decisions and failures—and the Dakar fiasco. Churchill also turned on the French, destroying the French fleet and lives of 1,600 French sailors because of his personal fear, unfounded, that Hitler would violate his treaty with the French and seize the fleet. Any one of these Churchillian mishaps could have resulted in a no confidence vote, but with Chamberlain and Halifax out of the way there was no alternative leadership. Indeed, the lack of leadership is the reason neither the cabinet nor the military could stand up to Churchill, a person of iron determination.

Hitler also was a person of iron determination, and he wore out both himself and Germany with his determination. He never wanted war with England and France. This was Churchill’s doing, not Hitler’s. Like Churchill, who had the British people behind him, Hitler had the German people behind him, because he stood for Germany and had reconstructed Germany from the rape and ruin of the Versailles Treaty. But Hitler, not an aristocrat like Churchill, but of low and ordinary origins, never had the loyalty of many of the aristocratic Prussian military officers, those with “von” before their name. He was afflicted with traitors in the Abwehr, his military intelligence, including its director, Adm. Canaris. On the Russian front in the final year, Hitler was betrayed by generals who opened avenues for the Russians into undefended Berlin.

Hitler’s worst mistakes were his alliance with Italy and his decision to invade Russia. He was also mistaken to let the British go at Dunkirk. He let them go because he did not want to ruin the chance for ending the war by humiliating the British by the loss of their entire army. But with Churchill there was no chance for peace. By not destroying the British army, Hitler boosted Churchill who turned the evacuation into British heroics that sustained the willingness to fight on.

It is unclear why Hitler invaded Russia. One possible reason is poor or intentionally deceptive information from the Abwehr on Russian military capability. Hitler later said to his associates that he never would have invaded if he had known of the enormous size of the Russian army and the extraordinary capability of the Soviets to produce tanks and aircraft. Some historians have concluded that the reason Hitler invaded Russia was that he concluded that the British would not agree to end the war because they expected Russia to enter the war on Britain’s side. Therefore, Hitler decided to foreclose that possibility by conquering Russia. A Russian has written that Hitler attacked because Stalin was preparing to attack Germany. Stalin did have considerable forces far forward, but It would make more sense for Stalin to wait until the West devoured itself in mutual bloodletting, step in afterwards and scoop it all up if he wanted. Or perhaps Stalin was positioning to occupy part of Eastern Europe in order to put more buffer between the Soviet Union and Germany.

Whatever the reason for the invasion, what defeated Hitler was the earliest Russian winter in 30 years. It stopped everything in its tracks before the well planned and succeeding encirclement could be completed. The harsh winter that immobilized the Germans gave Stalin time to recover.

Because of Hitler’s alliance with Mussolini, who lacked an effective fighting force, resources needed on the Russian front were twice drained off in order to rescue Italy. Because of Mussolini’s misadventures, Hitler had to drain troops, tanks, and air planes from the Russian invasion to rescue Italy in Greece and North Africa and to occupy Crete. Hitler made this mistake out of loyalty to Mussolini. Later in the war when Russian counterattacks were pushing the Germans out of Russia, Hitler had to divert precious military resources to rescue Mussolini from arrest and to occupy Italy to prevent her surrender. Germany simply lacked the manpower and military resources to fight on a 1,000 mile front in Russia, and also in Greece and North Africa, occupy part of France, and man defenses against a US/British invasion of Normandy and Italy.

The German Army was a magnificent fighting force, but it was overwhelmed by too many fronts, too little equipment, and careless communications. The Germans never caught on despite much evidence that the British could read their encryption. Thus, efforts to supply Rommel in North Africa were prevented by the British navy.

Irving never directly addresses in either book the Holocaust. He does document the massacre of many Jews, but the picture that emerges from the factual evidence is that the holocaust of Jewish people was different from the official Zionist story.

No German plans, or orders from Hitler, or from Himmler or anyone else have ever been found for an organized holocaust by gas and cremation of Jews. This is extraordinary as such a massive use of resources and transportation would have required massive organization, budgets and resources. What documents do show is Hitler’s plan to relocate European Jews to Madagascar after the war’s end. With the early success of the Russian invasion, this plan was changed to sending the European Jews to the Jewish Bolsheviks in the eastern part of Russia that Hitler was going to leave to Stalin. There are documented orders given by Hitler preventing massacres of Jews. Hitler said over and over that “the Jewish problem” would be settled after the war.

It seems that most of the massacres of Jews were committed by German political administrators of occupied territories in the east to whom Jews from Germany and France were sent for relocation. Instead of dealing with the inconvenience, some of the administrators lined them up and shot them into open trenches. Other Jews fell victim to the anger of Russian villagers who had long suffered under Jewish Bolshevik administrators.

The “death camps” were in fact work camps. Auschwitz, for example, today a Holocaust museum, was the site of Germany’s essential artificial rubber factory. Germany was desperate for a work force. A significant percentage of German war production labor had been released to the Army to fill the holes in German lines on the Russian front. War production sites, such as Auschwitz, had as a work force refugees displaced from their homes by war, Jews to be deported after war’s end, and anyone else who could be forced into work. Germany desperately needed whatever work force it could get.

Every camp had crematoriums. Their purpose was not to exterminate populations but to dispose of deaths from the scourge of typhus, natural deaths, and other diseases. Refugees were from all over, and they brought diseases and germs with them. The horrific photos of masses of skeleton-like dead bodies that are said to be evidence of organized extermination of Jews are in fact camp inmates who died from typhus and starvation in the last days of the war when Germany was disorganized and devoid of medicines and food for labor camps. The great noble Western victors themselves bombed the labor camps and contributed to the deaths of inmates.

The two books on which I have reported total 1,663 pages, and there are two more volumes of the Churchill biography. This massive, documented historical information seemed likely to pass into the Memory Hole as it is inconsistent with both the self-righteousness of the West and the human capital of court historians. The facts are too costly to be known. But historians have started adding to their own accounts the information uncovered by Irving. It takes a brave historian to praise him, but they can cite him and plagiarize him.

It is amazing how much power Zionists have gotten from the Holocaust. Norman Finkelstein calls it The Holocaust Industry. There is ample evidence that Jews along with many others suffered, but Zionists insist that it was an unique experience limited to Jews.

In his Introduction to Hitler’s War Irving reports that despite the widespread sales of his book, the initial praise from accomplished historians and the fact that the book was required reading at military academies from Sandhurst to West Point, “I have had my home smashed into by thugs, my family terrorized, my name smeared, my printers [publishers] firebombed, and myself arrested and deported by tiny, democratic Austria—an illegal act, their courts decided, for which the ministerial culprits were punished; at the behest of disaffected academics and influential citizens [Zionists], in subsequent years, I was deported from Canada (in 1992), and refused entry to Australia, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and other civilized countries around he world. Internationally affiliated groups circulated letters to librarians, pleading for this book to be taken off their shelves.”

So much for free thought and truth in the Western world. Nothing is so little regarded in the West as free thought, free expression, and truth. In the West explanations are controlled in order to advance the agendas of the ruling interest groups. As David Irving has learned, woe to anyone who gets in the way.

(Republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative)

Victory Day 2019 in Lugansk People’s Republic (updated)

May 15, 2019

by George Eliason, Special Correspondent for the Saker Blog in Novorussia

Victory Day 2019 in Lugansk People’s Republic

For the last five years, I was given the opportunity to break a lot of news and human interest stories from Donbass. More specifically, I’ve lived in what became Lugansk People’s Republic since 2012 and I’ve been writing from there since the trouble started before the Ukrainian coup happened.

The video from Victory day offers a unique perspective on Russian affairs in that the interviews are with boots to ground leadership and the topic is Russian integration. Along with the day’s events and the meaning behind them is an interview with a Russian regional Deputy and the Victory Day speech by the mayor of Novoborvitsyi , LNR.

Russian Deputy Valentine Vasilchenko discusses how people on both sides of the border have a long integrated history.

I asked Russia’ Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Dimitry Polanskiy to comment on LNR’s Novoborovitsyi Mayor Desatnikov and Rovstov Raion Deputy Vasilichenko’s statements.

DP –I find such cross-border contacts natural and indispensable for people living side by side for many years and being one ethnical group. We never prevented our citizens to contact their Ukrainian counterparts, we are not doing it now.

I am sure that our recent initiative on expedient passportization of inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk will contribute to this natural process. We are glad that it was warmly welcomed by the concerned people – the queues to the issuing centers are very long and people are very grateful to Russia for such a step.

The ambassador’s comments clearly show a top to bottom commitment of the part of Russia to ease the burden placed on the people of LNR and DNR by Ukraine’s war on them.

Although I’ve written a lot about the village I live in, this is the first occasion I’ve had to spend Victory Day locally. So, what’s Victory Day in LNR DNR look like without all the machines of war and soldiers that go along with military parades?

The story goes back to the reality Donbass faced during the Great War (WWII) from 1941 to 1943. There was no army here fighting for the people.

There were no war machines. No tanks. No planes. No soldiers.

The men that were fighting age were long gone and Nazi Germany occupied the region. They tortured and murdered the citizenry with the help of their most willing, brutish, and bloody ally; the OUN UPA.

During these years, a group of children with the help of a few Soviet soldiers that got caught behind the lines sabotaged the Nazi war effort.

They were called the Young Guards. They are famous because of the sacrifice they made for their neighbors and countrymen who couldn’t defend themselves. They were Donbass famous child partisans.

From 1941 until February 1943 Donbass was under occupation. In January 1943, only one month before the region was liberated, most of the Young Guard was caught. Some were flayed alive (skinned) in Rovenki. Most were thrown down a mine shaft and some of those were still living when they were thrown in.

These young heroes exemplify the absolute best qualities youth anywhere could possess.

In Novoborovitsyi, Victory Day 2019 centered around the story of one such 14 year old named Petr Skreptsov who ran messages from the local partisans to the Soviet army in that time frame. He was eventually caught. He and his family were tortured and stabbed with bayonets by the nationalists.

The video tries to capture the essential commemoration of all these events.

While our journalism effort transitions into video, I hope you’ll overlook some of the technical flaws.

How could a serious war effort be mounted against the Nazis and Bandera’s OUN UPA without technical support? Or how about without any of the material or weaponry you would expect in a war zone against an overwhelmingly superior force that was completely armed?

Once you grasp that story, it’s only a small step to understanding how Donbass did it again in 2014 against a standing army. The Ukrainian army may have been inadequate but the logistics chain was in place.

Lugansk People’s Republic’s Victory Day is a commemoration of the drive and spirit that made the Donbass region famous from the days of the Tsars through to 2019.

While this isn’t a war of child partisans, the children, mothers with babes, and the elderly that suffer the most.

Poroshenko, while claiming to be the leader of the country LDNR citizens reside in, made it clear that the children could sit in root cellars under the threat of artillery instead of going to school. Zelenskiy is embracing the same philosophy.

The reason is both are in debt to the OUN for their respective position as presidents. Under Zelenskiy, no change is possible.

The Victory Day celebration is supposed to remind people about the dangers of nationalism and fascism. Worldwide it is celebrated by every country that was allied in WWII. The problem in the west is remembering the importance of those sacrifices lost meaning.

In Donbass, we are living daily watching local people making those sacrifices again.

Victory Day 2019 in LNR commemorates a commitment to a real future which means leaving Ukraine behind. LNR’s direction is clear. It’s Russia. Victory! Победа!

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War

Part I

July 3, 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of when the United States’ first military assault against Afghanistan with the CIA-backed Mujahideen began. It would be a mistake to treat the present-day conflict as being separate from the U.S. intervention that began in 1979 against the then-government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was not always known as the chaotic, ‘failed state’ overrun by warlords as it is now; this phenomenon is a product of that U.S.-led regime change operation. The article below, originally published on March 30, 2019, summarizes and analyzes the events that transpired during and after the Cold War years as they relate to this often misunderstood, if not overlooked, aspect of the long war against Afghanistan. 

When it comes to war-torn Afghanistan and the role played by the United States and its NATO allies, what comes first to mind for most is the ‘War on Terror’ campaign launched in 2001 by George W. Bush almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks. And understandably so, considering that the United States and its allies established a direct “boots-on-the-ground” military presence in the country that year. Not only that, but during the Bush-Cheney years, there was an aggressive propaganda campaign being played out across U.S. media outlets which used women’s rights as one of the pretexts for the continued occupation. The irony of this, however, is not lost on those who understand that the conflict in Afghanistan has a long history which, much like Syria, stretches as far back as the Cold War era — especially when it was the United States that provided support for the Mujahideen in destabilizing the country and stripping away the modernizing, progressive economic and social gains, including Afghan women’s emancipation, which the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had fought for. With the overthrow of the independent Soviet-aligned PDPA government, the Taliban emerged as a powerful faction of the Mujahideen; the U.S. would develop a working relationship with the Taliban in 1995. The war was never truly about women’s rights or other humanitarian concerns, as Stephen Gowans explains:

“Further evidence of Washington’s supreme indifference to the rights of women abroad is evidenced by the role it played in undermining a progressive government in Afghanistan that sought to release women from the grip of traditional Islamic anti-women practices. In the 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.” There were female members of parliament, and women drove cars, and travelled and went on dates, without needing to ask a male guardian for permission. That this is no longer true is largely due to a secret decision made in the summer of 1979 by then US president Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to draw “the Russians into the Afghan trap” and give “to the USSR its Vietnam War” by bankrolling and organizing Islamic fundamentalist terrorists to fight a new government in Kabul led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The goal of the PDPA was to liberate Afghanistan from its backwardness. In the 1970s, only 12 percent of adults were literate. Life expectancy was 42 years and infant mortality the highest in the world. Half the population suffered from TB and one-quarter from malaria.”

Moreover, and contrary to the commonly held belief that the conflict in Afghanistan started in 2001, it would be more accurate to say that the war started in 1979. As a matter of fact, the Carter Administration’s 1979 decision to overthrow the PDPA and destabilize Afghanistan is at the root of why the country is in the state that it continues to be in today.

Afghan women during the PDPA era vs. Afghan women today.

The Cold War – a new phase in the age of imperialism

The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s military welcome their Soviet counterparts

The 1979 to 1989 period of the Mujahideen onslaught is often referred to as the ‘Soviet-Afghan War’ because of the Soviet army’s heavy involvement. Although it is true that they were heavily involved, it is not an entirely accurate descriptor because it completely ignores the fact that it was a war that was actually crafted, instigated, and led by the United States. In what was also known then as the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the years from 1978 to 1992 are inextricably linked with Soviet history — but not because it was a Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan and that the West had to intervene to stop it, as U.S. imperialist propaganda would have us believe. The Carter administration had already begun the planning, recruitment, and training for the Mujahideen in 1978 and had launched the attack on Afghanistan months before the Soviet army militarily intervened near the end of 1979. Also, the “Afghan trap” alone did not cause the dismantling of the Soviet Union; however, it was related. But more on that when we look at the Gorbachev years. Nevertheless, the destruction of Afghanistan was declared as a final blow to the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union’s 1991 dissolution was celebrated as “the victory of capitalism over communism” by the United States. To begin to understand the conflict in Afghanistan, it is important to examine the context in which it began: the Cold War.

In the early 1900s, Vladimir Lenin observed that capitalism had entered into its globalist phase and that the age of imperialism had begun; this means that capitalism must expand beyond national borders, and that there is an internal logic to Empire-building and imperialist wars of aggression. Lenin defines imperialism as such:

“the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”

It should be clear that imperialism is not just merely the imposition of a country’s will on the rest of the world (although that is certainly a part of it). More precisely: it is a result of capital accumulation and is a process of empire-building and maintenance, which comes with holding back development worldwide and keeping the global masses impoverished; it is the international exercise of domination guided by economic interests. Thus, imperialism is less of a cultural phenomenon, and more so an economic one.

Lenin also theorized that imperialism and the cycle of World Wars were the products of competing national capitals between the advanced nations. As he wrote in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, World War I was about the competition between major imperialist powers — such as the competing capitals of Great Britain and Germany — over the control of and the split of plunder from colonies. Thus, finance capital was the driving force behind the exploitation and colonization of the oppressed nations; these antagonisms would eventually lead to a series of world wars as Lenin had predicted. During the First World War, the goals of the two imperial blocs of power were the acquisition, preservation, and expansion of territories considered to be strategic points and of great importance to their national economies. And during the Great Depression, protectionist measures were taken up by Britain, the United States, and France to restrict the emerging industrial nations — Germany, Italy, and Japan, also known as the Axis states — from access to more colonies and territories, thereby restricting them from access to raw materials and markets in the lead up to World War II. In particular, the two advanced capitalist industrialized powers of Germany and Japan, in their efforts to conquer new territory, threatened the economic space of Britain, the U.S., and France and threatened to take their territories, colonies, and semi-colonies by force — with Germany launching a series of aggressions in most of Europe, and Japan in Asia. WWII was, in many ways, a re-ignition of the inter-imperialist rivalry between the Anglo-French bloc and the German bloc, but with modern artillery and the significant use of aerial assaults. It was also a period of the second stage of the crisis of capitalism which saw the rise of Fascism as a reaction to Communism, with the Axis states threatening to establish a world-dominating fascist regime. For the time being, WWII would be the last we would see of world wars.

At the end of WWII, two rival global powers emerged: the United States and the Soviet Union; the Cold War was a manifestation of their ideological conflict. The Cold War era was a new phase for international capital as it saw the advent of nuclear weapons and the beginning stages of proxy warfare. It was a time when the imperialist nations, regardless of which side they were on during WWII, found a common interest in stopping the spread of Communism and seeking the destruction of the Soviet Union. By extension, these anti-communist attacks would be aimed at the Soviet-allied nations as well. This would increase the number of client states with puppet governments acting in accordance with U.S. interests who would join the NATO bloc with the ultimate aim of isolating the Soviet Union. It should also be noted that the end of WWII marked the end of competing national capitals such that now, financial capital exists globally and can move instantaneously, with Washington being the world dominating force that holds a monopoly over the global markets. Those countries who have actively resisted against the U.S. Empire and have not accepted U.S. capital into their countries are threatened with sanctions and military intervention — such as the independent sovereign nations of Syria and North Korea who are, to this day, still challenging U.S. hegemony. Afghanistan under the PDPA was one such country which stood up to U.S. imperialism and thus became a target for regime change.

In addition to implementing land reforms, women’s rights, and egalitarian and collectivist economic policies, the PDPA sought to put an end to opium poppy cultivation. The British Empire planted the first opium poppy fields in Afghanistan during the 1800s when the country was still under the feudal landholding system; up until the king was deposed in 1973, the opium trade was a lucrative business and the Afghan poppy fields produced more than 70 percent of opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. These reforms in 1978 would eventually attract opposition from the United States, which had already embarked on its anti-communist crusade, providing backing to reactionary forces dedicated to fighting against various post-colonial progressive governments, many of which were a part of the ‘Soviet Bloc’ — such as the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua who mounted violent opposition to the Sandinista government. Despite having gained independence on its own merits, Afghanistan under the PDPA — much like other Soviet-allied, postcolonial successes such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Libya, and North Korea — was seen as a “Soviet satellite” that needed to be brought back under colonial domination, and whose commodities needed to be put under the exclusive control and possession of the United States. Not only that, but it was considered a strategic point of interest that could be used to enclose upon the Soviet Union.

In order to undermine the then-newly formed and popular PDPA government, the Carter administration and the CIA began the imperialist intervention by providing training, financial support, and weapons to Sunni extremists (the Mujahideen) who started committing acts of terrorism against schools and teachers in rural areas. With the assistance of the Saudi and Pakistani militaries, the CIA gathered together ousted feudal landlords, reactionary tribal chiefs, sectarian Sunni clerics, and cartel drug lords to form a coalition to destabilize Afghanistan. On September 1979, Noor Mohammed Taraki — the first PDPA leader and President of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan — was assassinated during the events of the CIA-backed coup, which was quickly stopped by the Afghan army. However, by late 1979, the PDPA was becoming overwhelmed by the large-scale military intervention by U.S. proxy forces — a combination of foreign mercenaries and Afghan Ancien Régime-sympathizers — and so they decided to make a request to the USSR to deploy a contingent of troops for assistance. The Soviet intervention provided some much-needed relief for the PDPA forces — if only for the next ten years, for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “upped the ante” by pouring about $40 billion into the war and recruiting and arming around 100,000 more foreign mercenaries. In 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev would call on the Soviet troops to be withdrawn, and the PDPA was eventually defeated with the fall of Kabul in April 1992. Chaos ensued as the Mujahideen fell into infighting with the formation of rival factions competing for territorial space and also wreaking havoc across cities, looting, terrorizing civilians, hosting mass executions in football stadiums, ethnically-cleansing non-Pashtun minorities, and committing mass rapes against Afghan women and girls. Soon afterwards in 1995, one of the warring factions, the Taliban, consolidated power with backing from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. On September 28, 1996 the last PDPA Presidential leader, Mohammad Najibullah, was abducted from his local UN compound (where he had been granted sanctuary), tortured, and brutally murdered by Taliban soldiers; they strung his mutilated body from a light pole for public display.

A renewed opium trade, and the economic roots of Empire-building

U.S. troops guarding an opium poppy field in Afghanistan.

After the fall of Kabul in 1992, but some time before the Taliban came to power, the reactionary tribal chiefs had taken over the Afghan countryside and ordered farmers to begin planting opium poppy, which had been outlawed by the Taraki government. Prior to that, the Pakistani ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) set up hundreds of heroin laboratories at the behest of the CIA so that by 1981, the Pakistani-Afghan border became the largest producer of heroin in the world. Alfred McCoy confirms in his study, “Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade”:

“Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin.”

It is apparent that by putting an end to the cultivation of opium poppy, in addition to using the country’s resources to modernize and uplift its own population, the independent nationalist government of the PDPA was seen as a threat to U.S. interests that needed to be eliminated. A major objective of the U.S.-led Mujahideen — or any kind of U.S. military-led action for that matter — against Afghanistan had always been to restore and secure the opium trade. After all, it was during the 1970s that drug trafficking served as the CIA’s primary source of funding for paramilitary forces against anti-imperialist governments and liberation movements in the Global South, in addition to protecting U.S. assets abroad. Also, the CIA’s international drug trafficking ties go as far back as 1949, which is the year when Washington’s long war on the Korean Peninsula began. The move by the PDPA to eradicate opium-poppy harvesting and put an end to the exploitation brought about by the drug cartels was seen as “going too far” by U.S. imperialists. A significantly large loss in opium production would mean a huge loss in profits for Wall Street and major international banks, which have a vested interest in the drug trade. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that money-laundering made up 2-5% of the world economy’s GDP and that a large percentage of the annual money-laundering, which was worth 590 billion to 1.5 trillion dollars, had direct links to the drug trade. The profits generated from the drug trade are often placed in American-British-controlled offshore banks.

The rationale behind the PDPA’s campaign to eradicate the opium poppy harvest was based not only on practical health reasons, but also on the role played by narcotics in the history of colonialism in Asia. Historically, cartel drug lords enabled imperialist nations, served bourgeois interests, and used cheap exploited slave labour. Oftentimes, the peasants who toiled in these poppy fields would find themselves becoming addicted to heroin in addition to being, quite literally, worked to death. Cartels are understood to be monopolistic alliances in which partners agree on the conditions of sale and terms of payment and divide the markets amongst themselves by fixing the prices and the quantity of goods to be produced. Now, concerning the role of cartels in ‘late-stage capitalism’, Lenin wrote:

“Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and “spheres of influence” of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things “naturally” gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels.

This is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages.”

International cartels, especially drug cartels, are symptoms of how capital has expanded globally and has adapted to create a global wealth divide based on the territorial division of the world, the scramble for colonies, and “the struggle for spheres of influence.” More specifically, international cartels serve as stewards for the imperialist nations in the plundering of the oppressed or colonized nations. Hence the mass campaigns to help end addictions and to crack down on drug traffickers which were not only implemented in Afghanistan under the PDPA, but in Revolutionary China in 1949 and by other anti-imperialist movements as well. Of course, the opium traffickers and their organized crime associates in Afghanistan saw the campaign against opium poppy cultivation, among other progressive reforms, as an affront; this made them ideal recruits for the Mujahideen.

But why the “breakdown” in the relationship between the U.S. and the Taliban from the early 2000s and onwards? Keep in mind that, again, the members of the Taliban were amongst the various factions that made up the Mujahideen whose partnership with the United States extends as far back as the late 1970s; and it was clear that the U.S. was aware that it was working with Islamic fundamentalists. The human rights abuses committed by the Taliban while in power were well-documented before their relations with the U.S. soured by the year 2000. What made these relations turn sour was the fact that the Taliban had decided to drastically reduce the opium poppy cultivation. This led to the direct U.S. military intervention of 2001 in Afghanistan and the subsequent overthrow of the Taliban; the U.S. used the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as a pretext even if there was no proof that the Taliban had a hand in them or had been in contact with Osama bin Laden at all during that time. The U.S. would soon replace the Taliban with another faction of the Mujahideen that was more compliant with the rules that the imperialists had set out. In other words, the Taliban were ousted not necessarily because they posed a significant challenge to U.S. hegemony as the PDPA had, or because of their treatment of women — nor were they hiding Osama bin Laden; it was because they had become more of liabilities than assets. It is yet another case of the Empire discarding its puppets when they have outlived their usefulness due to incompetence and being unable to “follow the rules properly” — not unlike the U.S. removal of military dictator Manuel Noriega who was staunchly pro-American and who, in collaboration with fellow CIA asset and notorious cartel drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, previously sold drugs for the CIA to help finance the anti-communist campaign in Central America.

George W. Bush visits Hamid Karzai, who participated in the Mujahideen in the past and led the puppet government that replaced the Taliban.

By 2002, and as a result of the 2001 intervention, the lucrative opium poppy production had seen a huge boom once again. In 2014, Afghanistan’s opium poppy production made up 90% of the world’s heroin supply, leading to a decrease in opium prices. And according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the opium production in Afghanistan increased by 43% to 4,800 metric tons in 2016.

Although the United States has always been one of the top producers of oil in the world, another reason for establishing a permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was to gain control over its vast untapped oil reserves, which the U.S. had known about prior to 9/11. Oil is yet another lucrative commodity, and ensuring that Afghanistan had a compliant government that would acquiesce to its demands was important for the U.S. in this aspect as well. Naturally, the nationalist government of the PDPA was also seen as a threat to the profit-making interests of U.S. oil companies, and any nation that was an independent oil producer (or merely a potential independent oil producer, in Afghanistan’s case) was seen as an annoying competitor by the United States. However, Afghanistan would not begin its first commercial oil production until 2013, partly because of the ongoing geopolitical instability, but also because opium production continues to dominate the economy. Plus, it is likely that neither the monarchy nor the PDPA realized that there existed such vast untapped oil reserves since there were very limited volumes of oil (compared to the higher volumes of natural gas) being produced from 1957 to 1989, and which stopped as soon as the Soviet troops left. Later, reassessments were made during the 1990s; hence the U.S. ‘discovery’ of the untapped petroleum potential. But, when intensive negotiations between U.S.-based oil company Unocal and the Taliban went unresolved in 1998 due to a dispute over a pipeline deal that the latter wanted to strike with a competing Argentine company, it would lead to growing tensions between the U.S. and the Taliban. The reason for the dispute was that Unocal wanted to have primary control over the pipeline located between Afghanistan and Pakistan that crossed into the Indian Ocean. From this point on, the U.S. was starting to see the Taliban as a liability in its prerogative of establishing political and economic dominance over Central and West Asia.

In either case, oil and other “strategic” raw materials such as opium are essential for the U.S. to maintain its global monopolistic power. It is here that we see a manifestation of the economic roots of empire-building.

*

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Continued in Part 2.

Originally published by LLCO.org on March 30, 2019. For the full-length article and bibliography, click here.

Janelle Velinais a Toronto-based political analyst, writer, and an editor and frequent contributor for New-Power.org andLLCO.org. She also has a blog at geopoliticaloutlook.blogspot.com.

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Brzezinski visits Osama bin Laden and other Mujahideen fighters during training.

74TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR – THE EASTERN FRONT OF WORLD WAR 2

South Front

09.05.2019

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