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Εγχειρίδιο χειρισμού κρίσεων λόγω πολιτικών ΔΝΤ από τη CIA! / Already confirmed: Civil liberties under attack! / Greece's creditors gone completely insane! / How the global financial mafia sucked Greece's blood / ECB's economic hitmen / Η Μέρκελ επιβεβαιώνει τα σχέδια των γραφειοφασιστών! /Greece: the low-noise collapse of an entire country/ How the neoliberal establishment tricked the masses again, this time in France / Ενώ η Γερμανία προετοιμάζεται για τα χειρότερα, η Ελλάδα επιμένει στο ευρώ! / Ένας παγκόσμιος "proxy" πόλεμος κατά της ελευθερίας έχει ξεκινήσει! / In reality, McCarthyism never ended in America / Ο επικεφαλής του "σκιώδους συμβουλίου" της ΕΚΤ επιβεβαιώνει ότι η ευρωζώνη είναι μια χρηματοπιστωτική δικτατορία! /With a rising Jeremy Corbyn and a declining Angela Merkel, Brexit has been upgraded to play a much more critical role / Δημοψήφισμα για Grexit: η τελευταία ευκαιρία να σωθεί η Ελλάδα και η τιμή της Αριστεράς / Populism as the new cliche of the elites to stigmatize anyone not aligned with the establishment / Δεν γίνεται έτσι "σύντροφοι" ... / Panama Papers: When mainstream information wears the anti-establishment mask / The Secret Bank Bailout / The head of the ECB “shadow council” confirms that eurozone is a financial dictatorship! / A documentary by Paul Mason about the financial coup in Greece / The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century / First cracks to the establishment by the American people / Clinton emails - The race of the Western neo-colonialist vultures over the Libyan corpse / Επιχείρηση Panama Papers: Το κατεστημένο θέλει το μονοπώλιο και στις διαρροές; / Operation "looting of Greece" reaches final stage / Varoufakis describes how Merkel sacrificed Greece to save the Franco-German banks / France officialy enters the neo-Feudal era! / The US establishment just gave its greatest performance so far ... / A significant revelation by WikiLeaks that the media almost ignored / It's official: the US is funding Middle-East jihadists! / Οι αδίστακτοι νεο-αποικιοκράτες του 21ου αιώνα / How to handle political unrest caused by IMF policies! / Πώς το νεοφιλελεύθερο κατεστημένο ξεγέλασε τις μάζες, αυτή τη φορά στη Γαλλία / Οι Γάλλοι νεοαποικιοκράτες επιστρέφουν στην Ελλάδα υπό 'ιδανικές' συνθήκες

15 December, 2017

Over 700 Rohingya children killed by Myanmar military

At least 730 Rohingya children under the age of five have been mercilessly slaughtered by Myanmar police forces in an almost six-month crusade against the Muslim community, Doctors Without Borders reports.

Following a series of surveys, the humanitarian agency concluded that of this figure, 59 percent of the children were shot, while 15 percent burned to death in their homes, 7 percent succumbed to beatings and 2 percent were killed by landmines.

A conservative estimate from Doctors Without Borders shows that at least 6,700 refugees have been killed throughout the course of the first month of militarized persecution. This figure far exceeds official statistics which present a death toll of 400.

The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation, as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don’t account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar,” said the French Division of Doctors Without Border’s medical director, Dr Sidney Wong, describing the hundreds of families trapped by soldiers as their homes were set ablaze.

The report says that between August 25 and September 24, the average mortality rate registers 8.0 deaths per 10,000 people, approximately 2.26 percent of the over 600,000 interviewed. Based on the organization’s six surveys distributed in the Bangladeshi refugee camps scattered throughout the Cox Bazar, it would imply that somewhere between 9,425 and 13,759 Rohingya died since the beginning of what UN officials refer to as an ethnic cleansing.


14 December, 2017

Brexit, NAFTA: corporate lobbyists attempt to counterattack in two major fronts

It seems that the neoliberal globalists expressed by a significant portion of the UK business elites inside the country, pulled the strings yesterday provoking a small coup inside the Tories camp, in an attempt to put the first 'landmines' against UK's course towards Brexit. According to BBC:

The government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Tory MPs. In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.

The government had argued this would jeopardise its chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU. Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305.

Ministers said the "minor setback" would not prevent the UK leaving the EU in 2019.

Image result for lobbyists

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders warned about the return of the disastrous NAFTA agreement:

As we speak, the re-negotiation of NAFTA is being done behind closed doors with 500 corporate lobbyists and executives who are working overtime to protect their interests at the expense of the working people of this country.

We wrote that, despite the first deeply disappointing signs of Donald Trump by forming a cabinet of plutocrats and former Goldman Sachs jackals, he finally made a positive move through signing for the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Yet, the corporate lobbyists are seeking for a dynamic comeback. It is expected to put a lot of pressure on Trump administration, in order to bring back on the table such international trade deals. As Trump takes back all pre-election promises at the speed of light, Bernie had to warn him on NAFTA: “For once in your life, keep your promises!

But beyond this major battle between business interests on both sides of the Atlantic, the Left seems again unprepared to take advantage of the situation. Nationalists, supported by local business interests have their own agenda. Neoliberals, supported by multi-national business interests try to regain ground, as their ideology starts to collapse.

Between, the Left. Just follows the developments without being able to become the new power, separate from the interests of the neoliberal regime. No agenda, no strategy ...

UN official shocked by toxic conditions in US Black Belt: 'Worst Poverty' in First World

Extreme poverty, environmental degradation and toxic hazards in poor communities in the United States are facing increased international scrutiny following an inspection of rural Alabama communities by a United Nations official. The conditions struck the official as shocking and completely out of step with prevailing conditions in the wealthy, developed world.

The tour by Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has cast a light on an issue known well to poverty-blighted communities and oppressed nationalities in the U.S.: inequitable local policies that safeguard environmental racism by literally concentrating toxic hazards in the backyards of the poor.

Some might ask why a U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States. But despite great wealth in the U.S., there also exists great poverty and inequality,” Alston said.

The U.N. official's tour aims to provide transparency to the human rights violations, destitution, and lack of access to crucial basic services that have blighted oppressed communities throughout the United States. U.N. investigators have also toured cities and towns in California and Alabama, as well as Washington, D.C., West Virginia and the colonial territory of Puerto Rico.

According to Alston, the level of degradation he found can only be compared to the disparities that exist in the poor peripheries of the global economy – where the vast majority of people have known little besides maldevelopment, impoverishment and the institutional violence of inequality.

During a tour of a rural Butler County community, Alston witnessed "raw sewage flows from homes through exposed PVC pipes and into open trenches and pits," with one home's water line running straight through the fetid outdoor pool.

"I think it's very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I'd have to say that I haven't seen this," Alston commented.

Prior to the Civil War, the southern Alabama region was a cotton-farming area where antebellum plantation owners exploited the labor of thousands of Black slaves on vast estates.


How corporate giants are using private security firms to spy on protesters

Last month, an investigation by the New Yorker magazine alleged that disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein used private detectives from two different firms to spy on women he had allegedly sexually harassed or assaulted. The New Yorker claimed that a private spy posed as a women’s rights advocate to get actor Rose McGowan to talk and secretly recorded the meetings. McGowan has accused Weinstein of rape although Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” all claims of non-consensual sex.

In Britain, these sorts of methods have come to be associated with the Metropolitan Police and their undercover police officers. Officers in the Special Demonstration Squad and its successors pretended to be animal rights activists and anti-capitalist demonstrators to infiltrate activist organizations such as Greenpeace.

The revelations that some of them had long relationships and even children with protestors while living under assumed identities led to the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing, which is ongoing. However, some police say that there are far more questions to be asked about the activities of private sector undercover operatives.

The Bureau and Guardian were given inside information which shines a light on this hidden world, when hundreds of pages of documents were leaked to us from two corporate intelligence firms. The documents cover the period 2003-11 and offer insight into how some operators in a normally subterranean industry work.

The subsequent investigation by the Guardian and the Bureau then identified five large companies which have paid corporate intelligence firms, often known as “private spies”. These firms were paid to monitor campaigning groups that challenged their businesses, the leaked documents reveal.

The monitoring, which included the use of fake activists, who infiltrated campaign groups to spy on them, intelligence gathering and obtaining internal documents, was funded by household names including the Royal Bank of Scotland, British Airways, Porsche, the utility company RWE and the manufacturing company, Caterpillar.

The targets of the monitoring spanned the grieving family of a young protester crushed to death by a bulldozer to a range of environmental campaigns, including even phone mast protesters.


Ο Μαδούρο κέρδισε τις εκλογές κι έχασε τον κόσμο

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Είναι δύσκολο να καταλάβεις γιατί κάποιος να θέλει να τορπιλίσει ένα πλοίο το οποίο βυθίζεται από μόνο του – ιδιαίτερα αν μια τέτοια κίνηση θα έχει καταστροφικές συνέπειες για την εικόνα του σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο. Ο πρόεδρος της Βενεζουέλας όμως τα κατάφερε αυτή την Κυριακή όταν ανακοίνωσε ότι τα κόμματα που μποϊκοτάρισαν τις δημοτικές εκλογές χάνουν το δικαίωμα συμμετοχής στις προεδρικές εκλογές του 2018.

Τη στιγμή λοιπόν που η δεξιά αντιπολίτευση βρισκόταν αντιμέτωπη με τη μεγαλύτερη κρίση της ιστορίας της, οι δηλώσεις Μαδούρο την έφεραν και πάλι στο προσκήνιο. Η λέξη «δικτατορία» γέμισε και πάλι τους τίτλους των διεθνών μέσων ενημέρωσης, για μια χώρα που έχει πραγματοποιήσει 23 εκλογικές αναμετρήσεις σε διάστημα 18 χρόνων – τις τρεις τελευταίες μέσα σε λιγότερο από 12 μήνες.

Η εκλογική διαδικασία παρουσιάστηκε σαν θρίαμβος από το Ενωμένο Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα της Βενεζουέλας (PSUV) του Μαδούρο, το οποίο κατέλαβε τις 23 από τις 24 πρωτεύουσες περιφερειών της χώρας, με ποσοστά που στις περισσότερες περιπτώσεις ξεπερνούσαν το 60%.

Ο τελευταίος αριθμός βέβαια μπορεί να μη σημαίνει και πολλά στην πράξη, αφού τρία από τα τέσσερα μεγαλύτερα κόμματα της αντιπολίτευσης επιχείρησαν να μποϊκοτάρουν τη διαδικασία. Η ιδιαίτερα υψηλή προσέλευση όμως (για τα δεδομένα δημοτικών εκλογών στη Βενεζουέλα), που έφτασε το 47%, αλλά και η σαρωτική επικράτηση εναντίον των εναπομεινάντων υποψηφίων επιβεβαίωσε όσους υποστήριζαν ότι η δημοτικότητα του προέδρου επανακάμπτει.

Μπορούσες να πάρεις μια γεύση αυτής της «επιστροφής» στα εκλογικά κέντρα των φτωχότερων περιοχών του Καράκας. Στο Πετάρι, στους πρόποδες ενός μπάριο (της βενεζουελάνικης εκδοχής της φαβέλας), οι κάτοικοι σχημάτιζαν ουρά έξω από ένα σχολείο όπου είχαν στηθεί οι κάλπες.

Μέσα σε λίγα λεπτά μέτρησα τουλάχιστον πέντε άτομα με κινητικά προβλήματα που ήρθαν υποβασταζόμενα να ψηφίσουν. Δίπλα τους αρκετοί μικροπωλητές άφηναν την πραμάτεια τους στην είσοδο για να μπουν στα σχολεία όπου είχαν στηθεί οι κάλπες.

Η σαφής ταξική γραμμή που χωρίζει τους οπαδούς του Μαδούρο από τα μεσαία και ανώτερα στρώματα δεν φάνηκε να έχει ξεθωριάσει ούτε στο ελάχιστο. Στην άλλη άκρη της πόλης, δίπλα από το αεροδρόμιο, όπου τα τελευταία χρόνια χτίστηκε μια ολόκληρη κωμόπολη δωρεάν κατοικιών για φτωχούς, τα μέλη του PSUV έδιναν τον ρυθμό με τεράστια ηχεία που είχαν φορτώσει σε ανοιχτά φορτηγάκια.

Ο Μαδούρο κατάφερε τους τελευταίους μήνες να τονώσει το δικό του κοινωνικό συμβόλαιο επαναφέροντας σε πλήρη λειτουργία τα προγράμματα δωρεάν διανομής τροφίμων. Παράλληλα, η σταθεροποίηση των διεθνών τιμών πετρελαίου έδινε μια μικρή ελπίδα για την οικονομία παρά τις τρομακτικές συνέπειες που έχει πλέον ο διεθνής οικονομικός αποκλεισμός των ΗΠΑ.

Μεταξύ άλλων ο αποκλεισμός δένει τα χέρια του προέδρου για κάθε προσπάθεια αναδιάρθρωσης του εξωτερικού χρέους, καθώς ο Τραμπ απαγορεύει σε όλα τα αμερικανικά χρηματοπιστωτικά ιδρύματα κάθε επαφή με τη Βενεζουέλα.

Ο Μαδούρο βέβαια πρέπει να ευχαριστεί για την επιβίωσή του και τη δεξιά αντιπολίτευση, η οποία τους τελευταίους μήνες πυροβολεί τα πόδια της με συνεχείς παλινωδίες και εσωτερικές διασπάσεις. Μετά τις εκλογές για τη Συντακτική Εθνοσυνέλευση, οι διαδηλώσεις σταμάτησαν σχεδόν τελείως, ενώ οι υποψήφιοι δεν μπορούσαν να αποφασίσουν αν θα συμμετάσχουν στις επόμενες εκλογικές αναμετρήσεις.

«Οταν κερδίζουν στις κάλπες, έστω και με μία ποσοστιαία μονάδα, καταλαμβάνουν αμέσως τη θέση, ενώ αν χάσουν καταγγέλλουν νοθεία» μας εξηγούσε μια ημέρα πριν από τις εκλογές ο 35χρονος κυβερνήτης της επαρχίας Μιράντα, Έκτορ Ροντρίγκες, που θεωρείται από πολλούς ως το νέο πρόσωπο του PSUV και επικρατέστερος διάδοχος του Μαδούρο, όταν και αν ο τελευταίος αποφασίσει να αποσυρθεί.

Μέχρι τότε ο Μαδούρο θα κερδίζει τις εκλογές και θα χάνει τις μάχες που δίνει με τον εαυτό του.


When Washington cheered the Jihadists

Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better.

by Daniel Lazare

Part 3 - Deals with the Devil

The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn’t. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place.

The Islamists were something America could employ to their advantage and then throw away like a squeezed lemon. A few Syrians would suffer, but America would win, and that’s all that counts.

The parallels with the DIA are striking. “The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” the intelligence report declared, even though “the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency.”

Where Gambill predicted that “Assad and his minions will likely retreat to northwestern Syria,” the DIA speculated that the jihadis might establish “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality” at the other end of the country near cities like Hasaka and Der Zor (also known as Deir ez-Zor).

Where the FP said that the ultimate aim was to roll back Iranian influence and undermine Shi‘ite rule, the DIA said that a Salafist principality “is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Bottle up the Shi‘ites in northwestern Syria, in other words, while encouraging Sunni extremists to establish a base in the east so as to put pressure on Shi‘ite-influenced Iraq and Shi‘ite-ruled Iran.

As Gambill put it: “Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won’t have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington.

With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway.

Source, links:

[1] [2]


How Trump’s declaration inflames a Middle East already ablaze

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a turning point in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the issue is much bigger than Palestine as Donald Trump may have just lit the match that will set off the powder keg of the Arab World.

by Eric Draitser

Part 5 - Out of turmoil, freedom?

Trump has wittingly or unwittingly opened a political can of worms, one that cannot simply be closed again. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will undoubtedly have severe ramifications for the politics of the region. But what impact will it have on Palestinians themselves, on the future of a free Palestine?

No one can say for certain how this conflict will play out; whether we’re going to see a third intifada or just some anger and indignation followed by deafening silence. Sadly, Palestinians have become all too accustomed to a world long on rhetoric but very short on action in their defense.

The struggle for a free Palestine is the anti-colonial struggle, it is the struggle against oppression and subjugation. In that struggle, it is the responsibility of people of conscience to defend the rights of Palestinians to determine their own future, and free themselves of the ghastly occupation to which they are subjected.

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel may have been just the blunder the world needed to finally, collectively defend Palestinians in their struggle for freedom.


Source, links:

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Πενήντα μουσουλμανικές χώρες ανακηρύσσουν την Ανατολική Ιερουσαλήμ πρωτεύουσα της Παλαιστίνης

Οι ηγέτες περισσότερων από 50 μουσουλμανικών χωρών που συμμετείχαν σε σύνοδο κορυφής στην Κωνσταντινούπολη κάλεσαν σήμερα τη διεθνή κοινότητα να αναγνωρίσει την Ανατολική Ιερουσαλήμ ως πρωτεύουσα ενός παλαιστινιακού κράτους, αντιδρώντας στην απόφαση των ΗΠΑ να αναγνωρίσουν την Ιερή Πόλη ως πρωτεύουσα του Ισραήλ.

«Ανακηρύσσουμε την Ανατολική Ιερουσαλήμ πρωτεύουσα του κράτους της Παλαιστίνης και καλούμε τις άλλες χώρες να αναγνωρίσουν το κράτος της Παλαιστίνης και την Ανατολική Ιερουσαλήμ ως κατεχόμενη πρωτεύουσά του», ανέφεραν οι μουσουλμάνοι ηγέτες σε ανακοίνωση που εξέδωσαν μετά τη λήξη της συνόδου κορυφής του Οργανισμού Ισλαμικής Συνεργασίας που διεξήχθη στην Κωνσταντινούπολη.

«Απορρίπτουμε και καταδικάζουμε σθεναρά την ανεύθυνη, παράνομη και μονομερή απόφαση του προέδρου των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών να αναγνωρίσει την Ιερουσαλήμ ως δήθεν πρωτεύουσα του Ισραήλ. Θεωρούμε αυτή την απόφαση άκυρη και μη γενόμενη», προσθέτουν.

Εκτιμούν επίσης πως η απόφαση του Τραμπ καλλιεργεί τον «εξτρεμισμό και την τρομοκρατία».

Είναι «μια εσκεμμένη υπονόμευση όλων των προσπαθειών που αποσκοπούν στην επίτευξη ειρήνης, καλλιεργεί τον εξτρεμισμό και την τρομοκρατία και απειλεί την παγκόσμια ειρήνη και ασφάλεια», σύμφωνα με την ανακοίνωση.

Αναφέρουν επίσης πως η Ουάσινγκτον, με την απόφασή της αυτή που αντιβαίνει στα διεθνή ψηφίσματα, «υπογράφει την αποχώρησή της από τον ρόλο της ως μεσολαβητή στην αναζήτηση μιας ειρηνικής διευθέτησης».

Η Ουάσινγκτον «ενθαρρύνει με αυτό τον τρόπο το Ισραήλ, την κατοχική δύναμη, να συνεχίσει τον εποικισμό, το απαρτχάιντ και την εθνοκάθαρση στα παλαιστινιακά εδάφη που κατελήφθησαν το 1967», αναφέρεται ακόμη στο ανακοινωθέν.


13 December, 2017

When Washington cheered the Jihadists

Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better.

by Daniel Lazare

Part 2 - Assessing the Damage

Five years later, it’s worth a second look to see how Washington uses self-serving logic to reduce an entire nation to rubble.

First a bit of background. After displacing France and Britain as the region’s prime imperial overlord during the 1956 Suez Crisis and then breaking with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser a few years later, the United States committed itself to the goal of defeating Arab nationalism and Soviet Communism, two sides of the same coin as far as Washington was concerned. Over the next half-century, this would mean steering Egypt to the right with assistance from the Saudis, isolating Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, and doing what it could to undermine the Syrian Baathist regime as well.

William Roebuck, the American embassy’s chargé d’affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi‘ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are “often exaggerated.” It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany.

A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to “attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years,” first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

Since the United States didn’t like what such governments were doing, the solution was to install more pliable ones in their place. Hence Washington’s joy when the Arab Spring struck Syria in March 2011 and it appeared that protesters would soon topple the Baathists on their own.

Even when lofty democratic rhetoric gave way to ominous sectarian chants of “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin,” U.S. enthusiasm remained strong. With Sunnis accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the population, strategists figured that there was no way Assad could hold out against religious outrage welling up from below.

Enter Gambill and the FP. The big news, his article began, is that secularists are no longer in command of the burgeoning Syrian rebel movement and that Sunni Islamists are taking the lead instead. As unfortunate as this might seem, he argued that such a development was both unavoidable and far from entirely negative.

Islamist political ascendancy is inevitable in a majority Sunni Muslim country brutalized for more than four decades by a secular minoritarian dictatorship,” he wrote in reference to the Baathists. “Moreover, enormous financial resources are pouring in from the Arab-Islamic world to promote explicitly Islamist resistance to Assad’s Alawite-dominated, Iranian-backed regime.

So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though “the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people,” Gambill said, “it has two important silver linings for US interests.” One is that the jihadis “are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts” thanks to their skill with “suicide bombings and roadside bombs.

The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in “a full-blown strategic defeat” for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark.

So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies,” the article concluded, “we should quietly root for them – while keeping our distance from a conflict that is going to get very ugly before the smoke clears. There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames.

Source, links:

[1] [3]


How Trump’s declaration inflames a Middle East already ablaze

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a turning point in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the issue is much bigger than Palestine as Donald Trump may have just lit the match that will set off the powder keg of the Arab World.

by Eric Draitser

Part 4 - Beijing, Moscow, and competing interests in Palestine

China and Russia have, each in its own way, begun asserting themselves in the Middle East. Naturally, Russia’s military intervention in the war in Syria has made Moscow a belligerent in the region, with all the baggage that comes with that role. In contrast, Beijing has begun asserting itself economically, which is fairly typical of the Chinese strategy for power projection. These differing approaches, each capitalizing on the strengths of the respective countries, further complicate the picture in Palestine.

In response to the move by Trump, China’s foreign ministry spokesman reaffirmed that China “support[s] the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and stand behind Palestine in building an independent, full-sovereignty state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” This was, of course, a reiteration of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address to the Arab League in 2016, in which he proclaimed that Beijing supports East Jerusalem as the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Rhetoric aside, it should be remembered that Palestinian President Abbas’ visit to China over the summer resulted in Xi making a new four-point proposal for Palestine, which not only reiterated China’s stance on East Jerusalem, but also offered financial support in the form of Chinese companies investing in Palestine to develop industrial parks and solar power plants.

China sees in the Middle East a linchpin of its Belt and Road Initiatives, which attempt to develop land-based access for Chinese goods to Europe and elsewhere in the global economy. China has offered $15 billion in investment for large-scale projects in the Middle East, but does China have the political stomach for wading into the minefield of Middle East politics?

Would China also jeopardize its chances to build the Red-Med railway in Israel — the plan to connect the Red Sea Israeli port of Eilat with the Mediterranean port of Ashdod — which could be seen as arguably the most geopolitically important project China has in the entire Middle East?

This rail project would effectively offer China an alternative to the Suez Canal, which today is one of the most important commercial shipping chokepoints in the world, and one on which China relies heavily. For China, the big prize at the center of all its Belt and Road initiatives is unfettered, mostly land-based access to the European market. The Red-Med railway provides that. Would Beijing risk it in order to take a stand for Palestine? This remains to be seen.

And then there’s Russia. While the Kremlin’s gamble on intervention in Syria has paid off in terms of winning the war for Assad’s government and securing Russia’s place as patron and protector of Syria, it has also made Russia hated in much of the Middle East, especially among Sunni power brokers, from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar to Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine itself. The Russians have put themselves in a strategically complex scenario wherein they have more influence with one side (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and the Shia alliance) while also losing, or at least significantly weakening, their ability to play all sides.

Add to that the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a warm, friendly relationship that both have worked very hard to cultivate, obviously for self-interested reasons. Netanyahu needs Putin as leverage against Washington to continue to ensure that the Americans not only remain loyal to Israel, but that they increase their backing as a means of undermining Putin. For his part, Putin needs Netanyahu and the Israelis both as a political chess piece against Washington, and because of the significant cultural ties between Russia and Israel, in the form of Russian-Jewish emigres who account for a significant proportion of Israel’s population.

Russia needs to maintain a good relationship with Israel to placate not only internal forces inside Russia, but also to maintain influence in Israeli politics.

It’s also critical to note that — while Russia has intervened in Syria and has generally been seen as more pro-Iranian, pro-Shiite than its western counterparts — the Kremlin still eyes the Shia warily, and views Iran as part friend and part enemy.

As Khaled Yacoub Oweis of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs told Deutsche Welle earlier this year, “Russia supposedly gave the green light when Israel attacked pro-Iranian military targets. In one way or another, Putin has warned the Iranians about tangling with Israel.” Such is the balancing act Putin maintains in the Middle East where, despite Russia’s involvement in Syria, Moscow remains close to Israel and, at least tangentially, the United States.

And of course, there are also economic factors at play in the Israel-Russia calculus. Russia’s only two significant exports remain energy and military hardware, both of which factor into Israel’s position.

Being leaders in military technology and innovation, the Israelis see partnership with the Russians as a lucrative investment. Similarly, the Russians want Israeli know-how on surveillance and security, counter-terrorism, drone technology, app development, and much more. The Russians don’t see any such potential with any of their Arab partners.

As for energy, the Russians are keenly aware that the Israelis want to exploit Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves (i.e., Leviathan field), which could potentially make them into exporters to Europe. This would significantly weaken Russia’s position at a time when Europe is looking for ways to diversify away from reliance on Russian gas. This complicates the relationship further. Needless to say, a cost-benefit analysis for Russia is likely the outcome, and if I were a betting man I’d say that Moscow, on balance, sees little benefit from direct support for Palestinians.

Source, links:

[1] [2] [3] [5]

12 December, 2017

Creating a threat in intelligence agency 'mechanics'

Current manufactured threat: 'Russianism'

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explains how intelligence agencies create artificial threats to justify their existence and draw more money from the government budget:

An intelligence agency has to have a threat around which to rally because that's how budgets are determined and that's how manpower is allocated. So, what good is an intelligence agency if there is no threat to counter?

In the United States we can go back even before the creation of CIA in 1947. From the beginning of 20th century we've always had to have an -ism, let's say to rally against, whether it was Anarchism, or Socialism, or Communism, or Islamism. Well, we're rallying against 'Russianism' right now.

Russia very easily could be a partner of the United States, whether it's a defence partner, or a counter-terrorism partner, or even an economic and trade partner. The United States has decided that it's better politically to rally against the Russians. It's a political decision it's been made rather than a long-term strategic decision.

We are in the midst of a new Cold War. The irony of this Cold War is that it's been backed and pushed by the Democrats rather than by the Republicans. We see this normally as a Republican or a conservative foreign policy point and indeed we've got a role reversal now where it's the Democrats leading the charge.

The CIA told us that there was no torture program. We know that, that was a lie. The CIA told us that there was no program for extraordinary rendition and kidnapping. That was a lie. The CIA told us that there was no archipelago of secret prisons around the world. We know that, that was a lie. The CIA said that it had not hacked into the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's computer system. That was a lie.

Well, now they tell us that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee email system, they offer no evidence and they tell us to take their word for it. Over the last decade and a half, the CIA has consistently lied to the American people. So, why in the world would we believe them on this?

Since 9/11 attacks we have transitioned into a full-time, wartime economy. A permanent wartime economy. It's no accident that the largest concentration of millionaires in the United States is in Washington DC and its suburbs. They used to be in Silicon Valley, which made sense. Now it's in Washington. Why? Because we have so many defense and intelligence contractors getting rich off of these boogeymen that we've set up around the world.

Recall that, William Binney (who is the central figure of the documentary A Good American), deconstructs the myth of an organization that is supposed to be pioneer in new technologies. He presents NSA - another top US intelligence agency - as an organization which had certain difficulties to follow the explosive progress of the computer technology during 1990s, in order to modernize its obsolete equipment as fast as possible.

But the most mind-blowing revelation comes from Binney's NSA colleague Thomas Drake. At one point, Drake recalls how a Senior Military Officer dismissed Osama bin Laden as “a raghead spouting off about a fatwa in the desert” in response to their intelligence reports on Al Qaeda in the late 90s. After the events of 9/11, Drake quotes his former NSA boss Maureen Baginski who reportedly said “9/11 was a gift to the NSA, we’re gonna get all the money we need and then some.

So, the protection of citizens against terrorist attacks has become irrelevant in front of the big money targeted by the corrupted groups of interests inside the intelligence agencies. It seems that nothing has been remained unaffected from the rotten culture of "money and power above all and by all means" that dominates in today's societies.

Young people are really over capitalism

What’s next?

Last summer, two authors asked Fast Company readers a simple question: “Are you ready to consider that capitalism is the real problem?”

For millennials, the answer seems to be increasingly yes. “A lot of young people don’t believe in it anymore,” Ana Garcia, a college junior, told the Wall Street Journal in a recent article on the topic. “We don’t trust capitalism because we don’t see ourselves getting ahead.”

A 2016 poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that just 19% of Americans aged 18 to 29 identified themselves as capitalists; only 42% claimed they supported the economic system. Another Harvard poll, released on December 5, found that two-thirds of that same age group is fearful for the future of the country. Just 14% think we’re headed in the right direction.

It’s not difficult to connect the dots between young Americans’ rejection of capitalism and their concern over the future of the country. The millennial generation is the one, after all, that came of age and entered the job market during or right after the financial crash of 2008, which was precipitated by the failure of the large financial institutions that both symbolize and drive the capitalist system.

It’s also, according to the World Economic Forum, the first generation in modern memory to be on track to be worse off than their parents. The median earnings of millennials in 2013 were 43% lower than someone who was their age and working in 1995. Even though average wages have inched slowly upward in recent years after a long period of stagnation, they’re still 8% lower than they were before the 2008 recession. And average student debt, has, since 2008, climbed from around $24,000 to over $37,000.

Richard Wolff, an economist who’s been lecturing on anti-capitalism for the past 50 years, has witnessed this shift away from trust in the economic system firsthand, and has seen how instrumental young people have been in this movement. The change in consciousness he’s witnessed among his students, he told Fast Company in September, is instrumental in precipitating a move toward a different economic system–a shift he thinks is so far underway as to be too late to stop. “The sheer beauty of this is that nothing fuels this movement more than capitalism’s own troubles, and the displeasure, disaffection, and anxiety it produces,” he says.

So what might that alternative look like? Ask millennials, and they have a strong preference for a more socialist model: According to a 2016 Gallup poll, the popularity of capitalism and socialism is neck-and-neck among younger Americans, while older generations are still distrusting of socialism. Younger people are also the ones driving the surge of the Democratic Socialists of America, which endorsed 15 winning candidates in the November election. And Americans aged 18 to 29, according to a recent WSJ poll, are more likely than any other age bracket to say that they believe the government should be doing more, not less, to help people in need.

If anything, the Trump administration is only serving to galvanize millennials’ beliefs. The president himself is perhaps one of the most extreme products of capitalism, and his success signifies what many feel to be the irrationality of the system. And as the Republican Party inches closer to passing the tax bill that will increase inequality and strip students of their already-limited financial resources, while leaving even less to help people at the lower end of the economic spectrum, the call for a system that prioritizes humanity and equity over inflating the profits of a tiny fraction of the already well-off will only continue to grow.

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Hezbollah chief says fight for Jerusalem is now top priority

Lebanese Hezbollah will work with its allies to create a strategy “in the field” to confront Israel, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said, calling again for a third Palestinian intifada (uprising), during a rally in Beirut on Monday.

Today the axis of resistance, including Hezbollah, will return as its most important priority ... Jerusalem and Palestine and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance in all its factions,” Nasrallah said, as cited by Reuters.

Speaking by video-link at a rally attended by tens of thousands in Hezbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, Nasrallah vowed that the struggle for Jerusalem and an independent Palestine is now Hezbollah’s top priority.

According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s regional victories – the Iran-backed group played a key role in ground operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria – will allow it to renew its focus on Palestine.

He also called on Hezbollah and its allies to form a united strategy "in the field" to confront Israel, and advocated for third Palestinian intifada to overturn US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


S. Korea's arms sales jump 20% amid Pyongyang threats

South Korea boosted its arms sales by more than 20 percent last year and has ambitions to become a major weapons exporter, according to a new study. It comes amid frequent ballistic missile tests by arch rival, North Korea.

Research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), released Monday, studied the sales of arms and military services by the world's largest arms-producing and military service companies in 2016. It found that South Korea dominated the "emerging producers" category.

"The trend in this category for 2016 is dominated by the 20.6 percent overall increase in the arms sales of South Korean companies, with total sales amounting to 8.4 billion," SIPRI wrote in a release. Other members of that category were Brazil, India, and Turkey.


Private jet owners don't need any extra help

Private jet owners don't need any extra help. Yet that's exactly who Trump and the Republicans are helping with this tax bill, while attacking working families.

Κ. Ήσυχος: «Η Ελλάδα γίνεται “εμπορικός αντιπρόσωπος” του ΝΑΤΟ»

Σε συνέντευξή του στο Real News Network, ο πρώην αναπληρωτής υπουργός Εθνικής Άμυνας, Κώστας Ήσυχος, σχολιάζει την εξωτερική πολιτική της χρεοκοπημένης Ελλάδας.

Μιλά για τα υπέρογκα ποσά που δαπανά η χώρα ετησίως σε στρατιωτικό εξοπλισμό, για τις Αμερικανικές βάσεις που διατηρούνται στη χώρα και για το παράδοξο του ότι μια θεωρητικά αριστερή κυβέρνηση υποστηρίζει σε τέτοιο βαθμό τις ιδέες του ΝΑΤΟ και μετατρέπει τη χώρα σε «εμπορικό αντιπρόσωπό» του.

Επίσης, ο Κώστας Ήσυχος σχολιάζει τη στρατηγική του Ερντογάν, αλλά και τη στάση του Αλέξη Τσίπρα απέναντι στις ΗΠΑ και στον πρόεδρο Ντόναλντ Τραμπ.


When Washington cheered the Jihadists

Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better.

by Daniel Lazare

Part 1

When a Department of Defense intelligence report about the Syrian rebel movement became public in May 2015, lots of people didn’t know what to make of it. After all, what the report said was unthinkable – not only that Al Qaeda had dominated the so-called democratic revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for years, but that the West continued to support the jihadis regardless, even to the point of backing their goal of creating a Sunni Salafist principality in the eastern deserts.

The United States lining up behind Sunni terrorism – how could this be? How could a nice liberal like Barack Obama team up with the same people who had brought down the World Trade Center?

It was impossible, which perhaps explains why the report remained a non-story long after it was released courtesy of a Judicial Watch freedom-of-information lawsuit. The New York Times didn’t mention it until six months later while the Washington Post waited more than a year before dismissing it as “loopy” and “relatively unimportant.” With ISIS rampaging across much of Syria and Iraq, no one wanted to admit that U.S. attitudes were ever anything other than hostile.

But three years earlier, when the Defense Intelligence Agency was compiling the report, attitudes were different. Jihadis were heroes rather than terrorists, and all the experts agreed that they were a low-risk, high-yield way of removing Assad from office.

After spending five days with a Syrian rebel unit, for instance, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers wrote that the group “mixes paramilitary discipline, civilian policing, Islamic law, and the harsh demands of necessity with battlefield coldness and outright cunning.

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, assured the Washington Post that “al Qaeda is a fringe element” among the rebels, while, not to be outdone, the gossip site Buzzfeed published a pin-up of a “ridiculously photogenic” jihadi toting an RPG.

Hey girl,” said the subhead. “Nothing sexier than fighting the oppression of tyranny.

And then there was Foreign Policy, the magazine founded by neocon guru Samuel P. Huntington, which was most enthusiastic of all. Gary Gambill’s “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists,” which ran on the FP web site just a couple of weeks after the DIA report was completed, didn’t distort the facts or make stuff up in any obvious way. Nonetheless, it is a classic of U.S. propaganda. Its subhead glibly observed: “So the rebels aren’t secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn’t much matter.

Source, links:

[2] [3]


How Trump’s declaration inflames a Middle East already ablaze

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a turning point in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the issue is much bigger than Palestine as Donald Trump may have just lit the match that will set off the powder keg of the Arab World.

by Eric Draitser

Part 3 - A region at war

Though it is often seen in a vacuum, the Palestine issue cannot be divorced from the broader dynamics of the region. And, given the heightened tensions and turmoil in the Middle East – the war in Syria, Saudi-Qatar conflict, the war in Yemen, the Islamic State’s rise, etc. – Palestinian resistance must be examined as part of a broader regional transformation.

Hezbollah has for years been seen by many, especially the Israeli state, as a principal belligerent on the side of Palestinians. Since 2006 and Hezbollah’s resounding victory over Israeli military forces, the organization has become perhaps the primary force for armed resistance against Israel. As such, the organization would undoubtedly have a vital role to play in any potential resistance. But questions remain about Hezbollah’s capabilities in the wake of its intervention in Syria and, to a lesser degree, Yemen.

According to a survey of news coverage of Hezbollah fighter funerals, more than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters were killed in combat in Syria in the four and a half years of Hezbollah’s involvement (September 2012 – April 2017). As Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council noted:

This number [1000 killed]…must be treated as an absolute minimum, since the Hezbollah leadership has every reason to downplay losses. Giving full information on number of killed would increase domestic (Lebanese) resistance to Hezbollah’s involvement and reveal more information about its forces to its adversaries… Of these Hezbollah fighters, 60 were identified as al-Qaid al-Shahid (martyred commander) or al-Qaid al-Maydani (field commander), which distinguishes them from the rank-and-file members of the Shia militia.

Aside from demonstrating how much blood Hezbollah has shed on the battlefields of Syria, the death toll indicates that, at the very least, Hezbollah’s battlefield leadership has been significantly impacted by the losses. Naturally, new commanders rise to take the place of their fallen leaders but, as any general could tell you, it’s not easy to replace competent field commanders. Indeed, some of those leaders were veterans of the 2006 campaign against Israel, and it remains an open question whether that experience can truly be replaced.

Of course, Hezbollah has also been actively involved in Yemen — if not in military actions, then certainly as advisers. According to a 2015 Financial Times exclusive, Hezbollah sources in Beirut were quoted as saying that Houthi fighters had “trained with us in Iran, then we trained them here and in Yemen,” and that Iran was “probably” supplying weapons to the Houthis. One Hezbollah source told the FT that “We are the guerrilla experts, so we give advice about the best timings to strike back, when to hold back.

While these points are disputed by some in the organization and its supporters, the fact remains that Houthi capabilities, to say nothing of tactical victories, owe much to Hezbollah as a role model, if not a direct mentor.

As Paul Salem — Vice President for Policy Analysis Research, and Programs at the Middle East Institute — noted recently:

Hezbollah has been building up its presence in Yemen and Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has raised the Houthi cause and the war against Saudi Arabia there as a main cause of Hezbollah in recent speeches. Hezbollah’s role in the missile that was launched at Riyadh on November 4 only punctuated the threat. Saudi Arabia fears that Hezbollah and Iran could build missile systems that threaten the kingdom from Yemen as they have done against Israel from Lebanon.

So, it seems that the war in Yemen, like that in Syria, has implications for the Palestinian resistance. While it’s highly unlikely that Yemen has drained much in terms of material resources from Hezbollah, that conflict has made Hezbollah into a direct belligerent against Saudi Arabia, a significant escalation from the indirect proxy conflict in Syria.

The implications for Palestine should be self-evident: why would Saudi Arabia, and MBS specifically, allow Hezbollah to become the leading edge of a fight against Israel when the organization remains the leading edge of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran in both Syria and, to a lesser extent, Yemen? The contradiction here makes it apparent that, in the context of Palestine, any appearance of unity would be mere window-dressing. Beneath the surface, these forces would remain in conflict.

Also, one has to wonder whether MBS would attempt to extricate himself from the self-created quagmire in Yemen by using Palestine as a bargaining chip. Might Riyadh make a backroom deal wherein they sell out the Palestinian resistance in exchange for political and/or military support from the U.S. in Yemen? This would make some sense given President Trump’s recent comments urging the Saudis to end the blockade of Yemen, a statement widely regarded as an indication that Washington’s political cover for Saudi war crimes was wearing thin. Could we see a renewed backing from Washington in exchange for non-interference in any Palestinian uprising? It is a definite possibility.

And, given the recent news of the death of former Yemeni President Saleh, the chances of an escalated war against the Houthis have grown exponentially. The Saudis will need U.S. political cover and military/logistical support to prosecute their war.

Not to be forgotten, the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar complicates the situation in Palestine further. As mentioned above, the financial and political backing that each has provided to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas respectively will undoubtedly spill over into a proxy conflict in Palestine, one that could torpedo any chance of a truly unified resistance to Israeli oppression and occupation.

Of course, one cannot forget Turkey’s ongoing war against the Kurds, and the criminal networks and death squads operating under the Islamic State banner that have been decimated in recent months. The latter is particularly crucia,l as southern Lebanon had become a major battleground against ISIS fighters, which culminated in the controversial agreement between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government and ISIS to provide safe passage for more than 300 ISIS militants and their families.

All these factors complicate the picture of a unified Palestinian resistance. Do they make it impossible? Of course not. However, it must be understood that any uprising in Palestine is connected to, and not divorced from, the politics of the region.

But what of the global players, specifically China and Russia? How might they factor into this increasingly complicated mosaic of political relations?

Source, links:

[1] [2] [4] [5]