Saturday, August 22, 2015

Media Narrative All False on Russia

Everything Western Media Report About Russia Is a Big Fat Lie

by Stephen Lendman

August 22, 2015

Vital truths are systematically suppressed. Willful disinformation, distortions and bald-faced lies substitute - why Western media are called presstitutes, making street whores look good by comparison. More on this below.

 Longstanding regime change plans lie at the root of US anti-Russian policy - not how the country is governed, its geopolitical agenda or who leads it. Previous articles explained. 

Washington wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing Russia’s sovereign independence, its vast land mass balkanized for easier control, its resources looted, its people exploited like serfs - a pure evil Hitlerian agenda wrapped in the American flag.

Outlandish anti-Russian propaganda rages - way exceeding hostile Cold War rhetoric. Virtually all major Western publications and electronic media are in lockstep - reporting vicious Big Lies instead of hard truths.

Nonexistent “Russian aggression” is the common denominator along with calling Putin an existential threat - perhaps to US hegemonic aims, nothing else. 

“Vladimir Putin Hides the Truth,” claimed New York Times editors - about war in Ukraine Washington and its Kiev proxies bear full responsibility for waging.

They continue blaming Moscow for downing MH17 despite clear evidence proving one of more Ukrainian warplanes were responsible.

“Don’t back down on sanctions,” they blustered” - ignoring their illegality and harm to EU countries imposing them, yielding to US pressure against their own best interests and common sense.

Who Threatens America Most,” they asked? They quoted incoming Joint Chiefs chairman General “fighting Joe” Dunford calling Russia the top “existential threat” Washington faces.

In testimony before congressional committees, other US officials say the same thing - despite no evidence suggesting it, plenty indicating otherwise.

Times editors continue promoting the Big Fat Lie about “Russian aggression” - claiming hordes of its forces invaded Ukraine, yet no one spotted them because none exist.

Last May, Bloomberg outrageously claimed Russia uses “mobile crematoriums” to hide its nonexistent war dead. The source: NATO and US officials.

In March, former US Assistant Defense Secretary/current Deputy NATO Secretary-General (de facto boss) Alexander Vershbow lied saying “Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting - and dying - in large numbers in eastern Ukraine.”

“The Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them. They are trying to hide not only from the world but from the Russian people their involvement.”

Fact: No Russian aggression exists nor does any evidence suggest it’s planned. Vershbow flat-out lied claiming otherwise.

Fact: Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials are consummate peacemakers.

Fact: US-led NATO and Israel support endless wars of aggression. They represent the world’s greatest existential threat - risking mass annihilation advancing their imperial agendas.

The Economist is a London-based propaganda mouthpiece for wealth and power interests - operating since the mid-19th century. 

In the last year alone, it published numerous Russia-bashing articles - claiming nonexistent “Russian aggression,” provocative Western confrontation, and posing a greater threat than during the 1962 missile crisis.

Canada’s largest circulation national newspaper (its New York Times equivalent), the Globe and Mail, published a late July right-wing Prime Minister Stephen Harper op-ed headlined “Our duty is to stand in the face of Russian aggression,” saying:

“There can be no weakening of our resolve to punish the Putin regime for threatening the peace and security of eastern and central Europe.”

Harper’s government partners with America’s imperial wars. Canadian warplanes bombed Libya in 2011. They’re currently attacking Syrian targets on the pretext of fighting ISIS.

Canadian like American media scoundrels lie for power - substituting propaganda for what people need to know.

Obama boasts about bombing seven countries since taking office. “I have not shied away from using force when necessary,” he blustered.

Including against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, as well as partnering in Israeli wars - plus covert destabilizing operations in Venezuela, Ecuador, Iran and numerous other countries worldwide, naked aggression and lawless interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Russia and China represent America’s final frontier. Its master plan calls for asserting dominance over both nations - the only challengers to its hegemonic aims, risking nuclear war to achieve them.

Instead of condemning the madness of possible mass annihilation, media scoundrels march in lockstep with recklessness threatening everyone.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." - Visit his blog site at . Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

A Most Dangerous Year: Life and Longing in 2015

The Age of Imperial Wars

by James Petras


2015 has become a year of living dangerously.

Wars are spreading across the globe. Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.

Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.

These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.

There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.

Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?

Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts

There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.

The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.

Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists - funded by the monarchist Gulf States.

Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.

Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.

The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.

The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.

The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.

The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.

Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.

Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.

Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.

Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.

Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.

Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.

There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role

The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.

Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.

US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.

There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.

The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.

The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.

As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.

Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.

In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.

Latin America – On the Verge

Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.

In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.

The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.

‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups - to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.

War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.

The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.

The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.

The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!

From Regional to Nuclear Wars

Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.

Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.

Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.

In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.

Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.

In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.

Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.

Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees

The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.

Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.

Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.

Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.

Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.

The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.

As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.

Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.

Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…


War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.

Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!

Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.

Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.

As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements-- are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?

The war epidemic is not receding.

War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.

Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.

Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.

Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.

What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

It is time to wake up!

It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!

Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!

Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose . . . !”

Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.

What is to be done? When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?

Moving Greece's Goalposts Again: Enter 'Popular Unity'

EU backs Greece’s Tsipras as Left Platform splits from Syriza

by Robert Stevens - WSWS

22 August 2015 

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to call snap elections is a calculated maneuver aimed at establishing a new political framework for pushing through deeply unpopular austerity measures.

In the hours after Tsipras announced that he was resigning and calling the new elections, statements from European officials make clear that the decision was carried out under the direction of Greece’s European Union (EU) creditors. Tsipras’ Syriza party is expecting to be able to win the elections held next month and to form a new government, perhaps with one or another pro-austerity coalition partner.

At a press conference Friday, European Commission spokesperson Annika Breidthardt confirmed that the commission knew beforehand of Tsipras’ plans to resign. “For us this was not a surprise, following the repeated phone calls between [European Commission] President Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister Tsipras and [Greek president] Prokopis Pavlopoulos,” she said. “We expected it.”

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said elections should be completed as soon as possible. “I think the intention of Prime Minister Tsipras is to get a more stable government,” he said. By stable, Dijsselbloem means one capable of imposing spending cuts and attacks on the living standards and democratic rights of the working class agreed to by Syriza, but without the problems created by having come to power in January pledged to do the opposite.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been equally approving, saying, “Tsipras stepping down is part of the solution, not part of the crisis.”

Several major European newspapers hailed the new elections as the coming out of Tsipras as an openly pro-austerity politician. Italy’s Corriere della Sera praised Tsipras for dropping populist promises and embarking on “a long road to renewal which, for all its difficulties, has shown itself to be the only path possible.”

Over the past decade, Greece’s right-wing New Democracy (ND) party and the social-democratic Pasok have been thoroughly discredited for imposing a series of austerity measures at the behest of the EU. This is why the ruling class turned to Syriza. The Guardian’s Athens correspondent Helena Smith wrote,

“Tsipras, the logic goes, is the only man who can truly transform Greece. The application of neo-liberal policies on a resistant populace can only come from the left ...”

Tsipras timed the election announcement for the evening of August 20. Earlier in the day the Greek government received its first tranche of new loans, which are conditional on imposing a new raft of austerity measures agreed to overwhelmingly by the Greek parliament. Upon receiving the funds, the government immediately paid a €3.2 billion debt owed to the European Central Bank (ECB).

Tsipras called the elections hoping to capitalise on the confusion created by Syriza’s total repudiation of the anti-austerity programme it was elected on. He said, “The political mandate of the January 25 elections has exhausted its limits and now the Greek people have to have their say.”

The “political mandate” of Syriza was “exhausted” by the government’s repudiation of the anti-austerity sentiment that brought it to power. As for the Greek people having “their say,” this was nominally the purpose of the referendum on austerity measures that was held in early July. Workers and youth overwhelming opposed the demands from the EU, and the Syriza-led government responded by immediately agreeing to even harsher measures.

As with the referendum, the new election is not intended to register the democratic will of the population. Rather, it is a continuation of the political conspiracy of the banks and Greek ruling class.

Participating fully in this conspiracy has been Syriza’s “Left Platform,” which has done everything it can to cover for Tsipras and insist that Syriza is a vehicle for opposing the dictates of the banks.

Anticipating that a new wave of austerity will spark enormous social opposition and anger, a section of the Left Platform has now announced it is leaving the party. Twenty-five of its deputies declared that they would form a new party, dubbed “Popular Unity,” to stand in the elections. Prior to announcing this decision, Left Platform said it would establish a “broad, anti-memorandum, progressive, democratic front, which will decisively run in the elections in order to enforce the repeal of all the memorandums.”

This new party is an outfit of proven dissemblers who have loyally served inside Tsipras’ pro-austerity government. For years the Left Platform—an amalgam of ex-Stalinists, Maoists and assorted pseudo-left organizations—has specialised in spouting anti-austerity rhetoric. This continued while they acted as a leading component of the Greek capitalist state. They hailed the election of Syriza as a major turning point in European politics, and sought to present Tsipras’ fraudulent referendum in July as an unprecedented acknowledgement of popular control over government policy.

With Tsipras shifting to a more openly pro-austerity position, the Popular Unity Party will seek to play the role of containing social unrest.

Popular Unity has announced its readiness to form alliances with forces across the political spectrum, including on the right wing. In a statement hailing the new party Friday, former Left Platform and Syriza Central Committee member Stathis Kouvelakis stated that Popular Unity will “provide an expression to social forces that do not necessarily recognize themselves as part of the Left but want to fight austerity, the Memoranda …”

With 25 deputies, Popular Unity is now the third largest grouping in parliament, headed by Panagiotis Lafazanis, who previously served as Tsipras’ minister of energy. Under the Greek constitution, if an election is called within a year of the last one, the president first asks the two leading opposition parties to attempt to form a government. If they cannot, elections are triggered.

On Friday, Pavlopoulos gave the mandate to the main opposition party, New Democracy, who now have three days to attempt to form a government. As ND and its likely allies are not able to command a majority, the mandate is then expected to pass to Popular Unity.

A statement from Popular Unity declared that it will attempt negotiations with “anti-austerity” forces, including the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE), though this gives no real possibility of a viable coalition. It appears rather to be a mechanism for drawing the KKE and smaller political groupings together into a political alliance.

Speaking to the Parapolitika radio station, KKE General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoubas held out the prospect of future collaboration with new party. Tsipras was calling elections “very soon,” he claimed, “precisely so that his internal party rivals, as well as the bourgeois opposition parties, will not be able to organise themselves.”

Syriza’s betrayal and the cynical manoeuvres of the Left Platform will lead to a strengthening of the most right-wing and fascistic forces. The actions of Syriza since the election are a devastating indictment of all those within the pseudo-left who claimed that supporting Tsipras’ government was both a means of fighting austerity and combating the threat of fascism in Greece.

Syriza, whose first act on assuming office was to enter into a coalition with the openly xenophobic Independent Greeks, will only shift further to the right.

In this context the comments Friday of Syriza Labour Minister George Katrougalos were striking. Asked by a BBC journalist if Syriza’s embrace of austerity meant that there was a risk of a growth of support for right-wing parties, Katrougalos replied there no longer existed a “typical confrontation between left and right.”

Reality and Its Divergence: Canada's Haitian "Humanitarian" Intervention

The Ugly Reality of Canada's "Humanitarian" Aid to Haiti

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

Reading the comments below a recent Toronto Star op-ed reminded me of an important, if rarely mentioned, rule of Canadian foreign policy. The more impoverished a nation the greater the gap is likely to be between what Canadian officials say and do.

In a rare corporate daily breakthrough, solidarity activist Mark Phillips detailed a decade of anti-democratic Canadian policy in Haiti. But, a number of readers were clearly discomforted by the piece titled “Hey Canada, stop meddling in Haitian democracy”. “Money pumped into this dysfunctional country, is money down a rat hole,” read one. Another said, “Yes — let’s stop ‘meddling’ and while were [sic] at it — let’s stop sending them our hard earned money!!!!.”

While these statements ought to be condemned, one should feel some sympathy for the comment writers. Assuming they only peruse the dominant media, Phillips’ op-ed ran counter to all they’d ever heard about Canada’s role in Haiti.

Over the past 12 years Canadian officials have repeatedly boasted about their good deeds in the Caribbean nation all the while aggressively undermining Haitian democracy and supporting violent right-wing political forces. In January 2003 Ottawa hosted a round-table meeting dubbed the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti where high level U.S., Canadian and French officials discussed overthrowing elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, putting the country under international trusteeship and resurrecting Haiti’s dreaded military. Thirteen months after the Ottawa Initiative meeting Aristide had been pushed out and a quasi UN trusteeship had begun.

Ottawa helped overthrow Haiti’s elected government and then supported an installed regime that killed thousands. Officially, however, Ottawa was “helping” the beleaguered country as part of the “Friends of Haiti” group. And the bill for undermining Haitian democracy, including the salaries of top coup government officials and the training of repressive cops, was largely paid out of Canada’s “aid” to the country.

Even after a deadly earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, Canadian officials continued their inhumane, anti-democratic, course. According to internal documents the Canadian Press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa feared a post-earthquake power vacuum could lead to a “popular uprising”. One briefing note marked “secret” explained: “Political fragility has increased the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The documents also explained the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.”

To police Haiti’s traumatized and suffering population 2,050 Canadian troops were deployed alongside 12,000 U.S. soldiers and 1,500 UN troops (8,000 UN soldiers were already there). Even though there was no war, for a period there were more foreign troops in Haiti per square kilometer than in Afghanistan or Iraq (and about as many per capita). Though the Conservatives rapidly deployed 2,050 troops they ignored calls to dispatch this country’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) Teams, which are trained to “locate trapped persons in collapsed structures”.

While they were largely focused on “security”, the Harper Conservatives knew the public wanted Canada to aid earthquake victims. As such, they claimed Canadian troops were deployed to alleviate Haitian suffering. Harper told the press: “Ships of the Atlantic fleet were immediately ordered to Haiti from Halifax, loaded with relief supplies.” Not true. “A [Halifax] Chronicle Herald reporter and photographer embedded with the military for the mission observed that they didn’t have much food, water, medical equipment or tents to distribute, beyond what they needed for their own crews.” Nor did the other Canadian naval vessel dispatched have supplies to distribute.

The files uncovered by the Canadian Press about the government’s post-earthquake concerns go to the heart (or lack thereof) of Canadian foreign policy decision-making. Strategic thinking, not compassion, almost always motivates policy. And what is considered “strategic” is usually what corporate Canada wants.

To conceal this ugly reality officials boast about aid contributions and democracy promotion. But the primary explanation for the gap between what’s said and done is that power generally defines what is considered reality. So, the bigger the power imbalance between Canada and another country the greater Ottawa’s ability to distort their activities.

Unfortunately, the Toronto Star comments suggest Canadian officials have been quite effective in deceiving the public.

Yves Engler’s Canada in Africa — 300 years of Aid and Exploitation will be published in September. He’s the author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy. Read other articles by Yves, or visit Yves's website

Jeremy Corbyn: Man and Metaphor

The Meaning of Corbyn

by Gilad Atzmon

The meaning of Corbyn has little to do with MP Jeremy Corbyn himself, his prospects of bringing about a change or his chances of being elected.

The meaning of Corbyn is that he is symbolic of the revival of the search for meaning – a nostalgic longing for the political.

Within the context of the old liberal democratic phantasy, the political was thought to be an extension of the people’s will and whims. But this has changed radically within the present post political conditions. In the last four decades, we westerners have been reduced to mere consumers. Our Politicians have evolved accordingly. Politics has morphed into the system that facilitates consumption on behalf of big conglomerates.

Corbyn the symbol has come to embody the general fatigue with this post-political condition -frustration with austerity, endless immoral Zio-con wars, the loss of manufacturing, The Lobby, divisive identity nonsense and cultural Marxism as opposed to Marxism. Corbyn serves as a reminder of the revolution that never happened. He has reminded us that we are one after all.

The pathetic dance of despair performed last week by the Zionist continuum made up of large segments of British media, Labour leadership and pretty much every British Jewish institution in opposition to Corbyn is staggering yet hardly new or unique. They have kindly reminded us what we are up against. But the Brits were not fooled, they immediately detected the foreign attempt to hijack their battle for justice and replace it with ‘Jewish sensitivities.’

Whether Corbyn can provide the goods while operating within a horrid Zionised Labour Party is an open question. But Corbyn, the symbol, emphasises the cry for change. A cry that is a genuine demand for justice expressed by the British people as they are reawakening to the real possibility of themselves as patriots - a collective of people who care for each other as opposed to an aloof collection of self-centric tribal identities who care only for themselves.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Harper Hones Identity Politics in Mount Royal

Harper’s Conservatives Pursuing Jewish Vote in Montreal Riding

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

August 17th, 2015

Where are Conservatives most likely to be elected in Canada? Historically, rural and suburban White, Protestant ridings and the wealthiest parts of English-speaking cities have been where the Tories enjoyed the most success.

Certainly the Conservatives have never been the party of those marginalized for economic, social or religious reasons.

Yet, at the start of the month Stephen Harper launched his re-election campaign from the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in Mount Royal, one of two ridings in the country with a Jewish plurality (about 36% of the population).

If Conservative candidate Robert Libman wins Pierre Trudeau’s old seat it would represent a significant feat. The Liberals have held the riding for 75 years and the Conservatives don’t currently hold a single seat in greater Montréal. In fact, they aren’t seriously contesting any other constituency near Mount Royal.

So, what’s going on?

In the 2011 federal election an Ipsos exit poll found that 52 per cent of Canadian Jews voted Conservative versus 39 per cent of the overall population. On October 19 the Tories’ share of the Jewish vote is expected to increase while the Conservatives’ overall total drops.

The remarkable growth in Jewish support for the Conservatives over the past decade is a strong sign that anti-Semitism barely registers in the lives of most Canadian Jews. In general, they are a widely accepted, relatively successful part of Canada’s multicultural fabric — so much so that a majority now votes for the primary political party of the Canadian ruling class.

Outside Harper’s speech at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre a crowd of 100 protested. A self-described “Zionist” holding an “Israel is NOT a partisan issue” sign, Bryan Wolofsky, told me that when he canvassed during the last election in Hampstead and Cote Saint-Luc, the largely Jewish municipalities in the Mount Royal riding, Israel was people’s primary concern.

While some may disagree, there is nothing inherently troubling about a group of Canadians voting in response to a government’s policy towards another country. In fact, it can represent a righteous, selfless act.

In the mid-2000s I worked with members of Montréal’s Haitian community to defeat Liberal MPs complicit in the violent overthrow of the Caribbean nation’s elected government. For many in the Haitian-Canadian community this country’s foreign policy was a key issue in the election. They hoped to defend their homeland against outside intervention.

But the Jewish community’s support for Israel is the exact opposite. The recipient of billions of dollars of support from the world’s most powerful country, Israel is a nuclear-armed state that has repeatedly slaughtered a largely defenseless population it dispossessed. Rather than selfless internationalism, Canadian Jewish support for Israel is an assertion of ethnic/religious supremacy.

The Jewish community’s shift towards the Conservatives opens a window into the ideological underpinnings of the century-old Zionist movement. Generally presented as a response to late 1800s European anti-Semitism, the Theodore Herzl led Zionist movement was, in fact, spurred by the nationalist and imperialist ideologies then sweeping Europe. After two centuries of active Protestant Zionism and two millennia in which Jewish restoration was viewed as a spiritual event to be brought about through divine intervention, Zionism took root among some Jews as the European “scramble” carved up Africa and then the Middle East.

(Europeans controlled about 10 percent of Africa in 1870 but by 1914 only Ethiopia was independent of European control. Liberia was effectively a US colony). At the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903 Herzl and two thirds of delegates voted to pursue British Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain’s proposal to allocate 13,000 square km in East Africa as “Jewish territory … on conditions which will enable members to observe their national customs.”

History strongly suggests that Zionism was both a reaction to anti-Semitism and an attempt by European Jews to benefit from and participate in colonialism.

If Zionism were simply a response to anti-Semitism, why hasn’t the decline of anti-Semitism lessened its popularity in the Canadian Jewish community? Instead, the leadership of that community has become more and more obsessed with Israel. In 2011 the leading donors in the community scrapped the hundred-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress and replaced it with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. As the name change suggests, this move represented a shift away from local Jewish concerns and towards ever greater lobbying in favour of Israeli policy.

The political trajectory of Mount Royal provides an interesting insight into the shift towards focusing on Israel. Repeatedly re-elected in a riding that was then 50% Jewish, Pierre Trudeau distanced Ottawa from Israeli conduct more than any other prime minister before or since. Still, Trudeau was incredibly popular with the Jewish community. He appointed the first Jew to the federal cabinet, Herb Gray, and brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which strengthened religious freedoms.

If Conservative candidate Robert Libman wins in Mount Royal on October 19 it would mark a decisive end to the notion that the Canadian Jewish community is a liberal force in politics. It would also suggest that the political priority of a large number of Canadian Jews is to support a highly militarized state that continues to deny its indigenous population the most basic political rights.

Yves Engler’s Canada in Africa — 300 years of Aid and Exploitation will be published in September. He’s the author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.
Read other articles by Yves, or visit Yves's website

Nuke Whistleblower Tamosaitis Vindicated at Last

Hanford Whistleblower Vindicated, Receives $4.1 Million Settlement

by Joshua Frank - The Investigative Fund

What a long, strange trip it's been for engineer Dr. Walter Tamosaitis. Well, perhaps not so much strange as it has been heart-wrenching. Nonetheless, every once in awhile those who are maligned end up being vindicated.

That's exactly what happened this past week for Tamosaitis, who has been entangled in five strained years of litigation against his former employer URS (now owned by AECOM).

On August 12, Tamosaitis agreed to a $4.1 million settlement of his federal whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Hanford contractor URS. While AECOM refused to acknowledge any wrong-doing in the ordeal, there's no question it didn't want to drag on the case that could well have made the contractor look even worse than it already did. 
URS was hired by Bechtel to turn the radioactive sludge at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington into glass rods. It's proven to be a costly and complex task, and the longer the clean up drags on the more money the contractors make.

"We are very pleased that Walter can get on with his life after five years of litigation, and that he has been vindicated," said Jack Sheridan, the Seattle attorney who represented Tamosaitis.
"This settlement sends a message to whistleblowers everywhere that integrity and truth are worth fighting for, and that you can win if you don't give up."

In 2011, I wrote an investigative piece for Seattle Weekly, reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund, that not only looked into the very serious safety concerns raised by Tamosaitis at the Hanford nuclear reservation, put also exposed how his superiors plotted to silence him by removing him from his position and forcing him to work in an off-site, windowless basement. It was an egregious attempt to kill the messenger — a message that put millions of contract dollars at risk.

What URS didn't expect, however, was that Tamosaitis would refuse to go down without a fight. He openly spoke with me about a greedy management culture at Hanford run amok. He was candid in explaining that the Hanford cleanup was a cash cow for URS and its parent contractor Bechtel, the same company accused of bilking tax-payers over its botched Iraq reconstruction projects. As such, he accused them of putting profits above safety of its employees and the public.

Tamosaitis was in charge of overseeing a sludge mixing project at Hanford's Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), where, if certain deadlines were met, Bechtel and URS would walk away with $6 million bonus. Yet Tamosaitis wasn't about to sign off on it, because the mixing process wasn't working out.

"The drive to stay on schedule is putting the whole [WTP] project at risk," Tamosaitis told me in 2011. 
''Not on my watch' is a standard mantra among [DOE and Contract] management who like to intimidate naysayers like me. These guys would rather deal with major issues down the road than fix them up front … Cost and schedule performance trump sound science time and again."

In 2011, Tamosaitis filed a federal whistleblower complaint under the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA). By 2013, Tamosaitis was let go for "lack of work." Initially his case was dismissed by Federal District Court Judge Lonny Suko, who found that there was insufficient evidence to support his retaliation claim and that he didn't have the right to a jury trial under ERA. In 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Judge Suko, stating there was "plenty of evidence that Bechtel encouraged URS E&C to remove Tamosaitis from the WTP site because of his whistleblowing, that URS E&C knew that Tamosaitis's whistleblowing motivated Bechtel, and that URS E&C carried out the removal."

The 9th Circuit also found that Tamosaitis indeed had a right to a jury trial. In July 2014, AECOM announced it would acquire URS and has since been pushing for a resolution. While no parties admitted liability, with a $4.1 million settlement, it's clear who was victorious. Of course, the bigger issue is, will this set a precedent and help ensure that future Hanford employees aren't afraid to step forward and voice concerns about public health and environmental safety?

That's the hope, insists Tom Carpenter, director of the Seattle-based nonprofit watchdog group that keeps a close eye on all things Hanford.

"This is great news for Walt and great news for the public. Walt is a hero who staked his career to raise nuclear safety issues that could have resulted in a catastrophe down the road," Carpenter said after the settlement announcement. 
"His issues were investigated and validated, and those safety issues are being scrutinized and corrected. This settlement brings justice to Walt, and is a necessary step in the quest to address a broken safety culture at Hanford that has historically punished employees for bringing forward concerns."
Born and raised in Montana, Joshua Frank now lives on the West Coast. Formerly an independent environmental journalist, he is now the managing editor of the newsletter CounterPunch. He is also the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005) and the co-editor of Red State Rebel...

Corbyn Must Go Says British Knobs

Labour’s Corbyn: British Establishment in Destroy Mode

by Finian Cunningham - SCF

Judging by the vitriol being heaped on Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn it is a sure sign that Britain’s political establishment is deeply rattled by his runaway popularity. The ruling elite are thus moving into «destroy mode».

The veteran Labour Party MP threw his hat late into the ring to contest the leadership race, but polls among rank and file Labour supporters have him as a clear winner.

Ballots have gone out to Labour members and the outcome of the party election will be known in four weeks’ time. Already the British media campaign to discredit Corbyn is well underway. The slander and vilification being fired at the 66-year-old politician is going to get even more vicious over the next month. And if he wins, as the polls suggest, we can expect a full-on media war to destroy him over the next five years towards Britain’s 2020 general election.

What this reveals, starkly, is just how undemocratic Britain is. Any politician who steps outside the establishment is liable for destruction by the ruling forces.

The thing is that the more the British media attempt to besmirch Corbyn, the more his popularity grows, especially among younger voters, who have lately signed up in droves to join the Labour Party in order to vote for him.

Across Britain, including Scotland, Corbyn is packing town hall meetings with his straight-talking and openly socialist policies. The electrifying public mood engendered by Corbyn supporters has even coined a new phrase – «Corbyn-mania».

The North London MP, who has held his parliamentary seat since 1983, has a proven record of opposing neoliberal capitalist economics, public austerity and the warmongering foreign policies of both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party leadership under the sway of Blairism.

Corbyn is campaigning on ending austerity with massive public investment in healthcare and education, taking major industries into public ownership, and disarming Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon program. On foreign policy, he is against NATO membership and Britain’s involvement in overseas wars under US tutelage. Corbyn is pro-Palestinian and wants friendly relations with Russia.

All in all, Corbyn is articulating policies that are tantamount to signing his own political death warrant, as far as the British establishment is concerned. But as far as ordinary Britons go, Corbyn is being seen as a politician who at last reflects their own views of social justice, democratic governance and anti-war policies.

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, reckons that Britain’s state security apparatus will «target» Corbyn to derail his leadership bid. Murray says that the media campaign being mounted against Corbyn is a replay of the frenzy that the British establishment unleashed against the Scottish pro-independence vote in last year’s referendum. Another example of Britain’s undemocratic condition.

«Democracy in the United Kingdom is dysfunctional because an entrenched party system offers no choice», says the former ambassador.

Corbyn is now offering a real choice to people. And the British establishment is apoplectic. «The sheer panic gripping the London elite now is hilarious to behold», says Murray, who has given his backing to the Labour backbencher.

Michael Meacher, a former Labour minister, has also weighed in to support Corbyn’s leadership race. «It is the biggest non-revolutionary upturning of the social order in modern British politics,» he said.

«The Blairite coup of the mid-1990s hijacked the party to the Tory ideology of leave it all to the markets and let the state get out of the way,» added Meacher.

«After 20 years of swashbuckling capitalism, the people of Britain have said enough, and Labour is finally regaining its real principles and values».

Other party figures lending their support include Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, who was himself denigrated in the past by the British media as «Red Ken» owing to his socialist policies.

Corbyn’s politics hark back to «Old Labour» under the guidance of the late Michael Foot and Tony Benn. That was before the party came under the sway of «reformist» Tony Blair and his successors who have dominated Labour ever since. The other current leadership contenders, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, are all from the «Blairite» school of politics that bows to the capitalist market and US-led military atlanticism.

It is a measure of how much the Blairite New Labour Party is held in contempt by voters that Corbyn’s rivals are lagging in the polls. Traditional Labour supporters contend that the pale imitation of Tory policies under New Labour was a factor in why the party lost the recent British general election in May. They also claim that this was a factor in why Scottish voters rejected Labour in favour of the anti-austerity Scottish National Party.

The Labour Party establishment is seen as part of the Westminster ruling clique, comprised of the rightwing Tory Party of David Cameron and the mainstream news media.

The avowedly pro-Labour newspapers, The Guardian and The Mirror, have joined the fray of bashing Corbyn. Of the two news outlets, the supposedly erudite Guardian has shown the lowest tactics of ad hominem attacks.

It has run an endless stream of articles and opinion pieces by Blairite politicians aimed at character assassination of Corbyn. Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have appealed to party members to reject him. In a near-hysterical article, Blair said that Corbyn would lead to the «annihilation»of the party, while Brown was quoted making the base and outlandish argument:

«And I have to say, if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and Vladimir Putin's Russia, there is no chance of building a worldwide alliance that could deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability».

In their attacks on Corbyn, the two nominally leftwing newspapers have circled the wagons with the preponderantly rightwing British press.

The Daily Mail tells its readers that Corbyn «has been linked to conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers» and maintains connections with «extremists» like Hamas, the Irish Republican Army and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid, The Sun, has labelled him a «firebrand pensioner», a «Marxist throwback» and a «refugee from a 1970s industrial strike picket line».

But despite all the opprobrium and slur, Jeremy Corbyn has retained a steady, unfazed dignity.

He says: «We’re the one putting forward ideas, so I don’t do personal, I don’t do reaction, I don’t do abuse… I think we should try and enhance the democratic life of this country, not reduce it to that level».

Corbyn has the moral high ground and no amount of smearing has yet dissuaded voters from supporting him. Quite the opposite in fact. He says: «Can we please – and I say this to everyone – just talk about the issues that people are facing: the poverty levels, the inequality levels, the health problems, the way in which austerity is impacting on the lives of the most vulnerable in society? That is what’s most important».

On the orthodoxy of neoliberal austerity supported by both the Conservative Party and the Blairite Labour establishment, Corbyn says: «Austerity is used as a cover to reconfigure society and increase inequality and injustice. Labour needs to offer a coherent economic alternative».

Far from being rejected as a reckless «leftie», Corbyn is galvanising public support because his views are seen as eminently reasonable and democratic by an increasing number of ordinary citizens.

The flurry of invective that he is being pilloried with is a revealing display of how autocratic and undemocratic Britain truly is.

Corbyn is winning over the people with «old» policies that never really went out of fashion, but which were for decades smothered by Britain’s establishment. In today’s world of capitalist bankruptcy, Corbyn’s advocacy of democratic socialism is rekindling fervent public support and lighting a fire under Britain’s ruling class. It is not Corbyn who is discredited. It is the ruling orthodoxy, and that is why they have a morbid fear of the democratic forces he is fanning.

But in the next four weeks we will see the depths of reaction and dirt that the British establishment will steep to in order to make sure that the people are prevented from exercising a real democratic choice. The people may yet win. However, a momentous battle is shaping up.

Keeping Frankenstein on the Leash: How US and Allies Control ISIS

Ankara: the New Capital of Jihad

by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch

“The US and it’s allies want to keep this monster (ISIS) in check, but they don’t want to destroy it. All their military, political and media campaigns are smokescreens. What the West has done so far has strengthened terrorism not ended it. The proof of this is the fact that terrorism has spread everywhere, its material resources have increased, and its ranks have swollen.”  Syrian President Bashar al Assad

Has US policy in Syria fallen prey to the political ambitions of one man, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?

Certainly not. Washington has its own malignant agenda in Syria, which is to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad, split the country into pieces, lock-down critical pipeline corridors, and establish a “Salafist principality” that will justify continued US intervention across the Middle East for the foreseeable future. These are the objectives of US policy and they haven’t changed because of anything Erdogan has done.

That’s not to say that Erdogan hasn’t complicated matters by requiring the US to play by Turkey’s rules. He has. Just look at the Incirlik deal. In theory, it looks like a win-win for US war-planners who will now be able to cross into Syrian airspace in 15 minutes instead of the two hours it took from Bahrain. But the devil is in the details which suggest constraints on the US military’s ability to conduct its own campaign or even choose its own targets. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in Al Monitor:

“Turkey wants to open Incirlik not only to US warplanes but also to the aircraft of anti-IS NATO members France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Canada. What Turkey wants to accomplish here is to affix NATO legitimacy to the operation by reinforcing the perception that operations against IS targets in Syria are part of a NATO mission. 

Turkey insists that operations, flight routes and targets should be decided collectively by the coordination cell, but subject to Turkey’s final approval. This means decisions made at Incirlik must be conveyed to Ankara immediately. The coordination center in Ankara must be kept informed of all operations and flights in real time with Incirlik.

Ankara is trying to insert a clause that gives it the authority to send back the coalition planes in case of contravention of the agreement.

…. The emerging concept is coordinated planning of Turkish air operations against the PKK in Iraq and US attacks against IS. The United States and Turkey would know all the details of each other’s operations in Iraq, but not interfere with each other.” (“What’s US really doing at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base?“, Al Monitor)

If it sounds like Erdogan is in the drivers seat, it’s because he is. The US will have to do whatever Ankara tells it to do or get the boot. It’s that simple. How do you think the Obama crew is going to like taking orders from a megalomaniac like Erdogan?

They’re not going to like it at all, but they’re going to have to suck it up and play along if they want to get rid of Assad. And, whether they admit it or not, removing Assad is their top priority, so they’ll probably do what they’re told.

And did you notice how Erdogan wants to get NATO involved? That’s because his generals were resisting any action against Syria without international approval. Now that Erdogan has gotten the thumbs up from NATO and Uncle Sam, the military can bomb the Kurds “til their hearts content” and never worry about punitive sanctions or future war crimes tribunals.

Also, Erdogan is going to have the final say-so on who is targeted and who isn’t, which means that his attacks on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) or the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and can continue unabated, but Washington will have to get the go-ahead for their attacks on ISIS. Looking at it from this angle, the agreement doesn’t look nearly as rosy as the media has been saying. Even so, the Pentagon still believes Incirlik will be a “gamechanger”, which it could be since the real goal is not to eliminate ISIS, but to create a no-fly zone across Syria that reinforces US-proxy fighters in their war against the Syrian gov forces. Of course, US officials are not about to call the no-fly zone a no-fly zone because that would be an act of war and a violation of international law. Instead, they’re going to stick to their script, pretend nothing is happening, dodge the question whenever possible, and get their buddies in the media to keep the matter off the front page, which is exactly what they’ve been doing up to now.

Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

But there will be consequences for intensifying the war effort, after all, Syria does have a few powerful friends that can make US flyovers a bit more difficult. Putin, for example, is not just going to roll over and play dead. Check this out from BGN News:

“Six MiG-31 fighter jets from Russia have landed in Damascus, in partial fulfillment of a protocol signed between Moscow and the Syrian regime in 2007. Developed by the Soviet Air Force, the Mikoyan MiG-31 is a supersonic jet, and one of the fastest fighter planes in the world. The jets have a target range of approximately 200 kilometers.”  (“Russia sends six fighter jets to Syrian administration“, BGN News)

And this is just the first shot fired over Washington’s bow. They’ll be more to come as the conflict intensifies. But the message is clear, Russia and Iran are not going to allow a repeat of Libya in Syria. They’re committed to preventing the violent overthrown of Assad and the descent of Syria into anarchy. Case in point: Check out this blurb from the Miami Herald:

“According to Hamid-Rezi Taraghi, the international affairs spokesman for the Islamic Coalition party and a former member of parliament, Iran is prepared to send Iranian forces into Syria. “If necessary, we will… send up to 100,000 Basij or revolutionary guard fighters. “They’re always ready,” said Taraghi.” (“Iran’s perspective on Syria: U.S. allies to blame for rise of Islamic State“, Miami Herald)

The point is, Iran sees the war on Assad as a war on Tehran, so it’s not going to back down. They’ll send troops and supplies to Syria thinking that “it’s better to fight the US and its allies there, rather than here.” So, while US officials are crowing about the “gamechanger” Incirlik deal, what they’ve really done is they’ve thrown more gas on a fire that was already raging increasing the chances of a regional war that could eventually pit Moscow against Washington. Now check out this quote from an op-ed in Turkish daily Hurriyet:

“For Syria, there is no hope of maintaining its unitary status. As the diplomatic bargaining over dividing what is left of Syria among the parties continues at full speed, Turkey is understandably seeking to carve out a buffer zone to protect its interests.” (“Conquering Aleppo“, Selin Nasi, Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey)

Bingo. This is exactly what Erdogan has in mind, and ostensibly, the US has agreed to help him achieve his territorial aims in exchange for the use of Incirlik. Some will disagree with this analysis, but it’s absurd to think that Washington doesn’t know what Erdogan is up to. He’s carving off a nice big chunk of north Syria to add to Turkey’s landmass while Obama and Co. look the other way. That’s what’s really going on. Here’s more clarification from the same article:

“Claims that Turkish military forces on Aug. 10 entered the planned zone in Syria via the Öncüpınar/Bab al-Salameh border crossing along with the Sultan Murat Brigade, which is composed of Turkmens, presents a worrying picture, especially when taken in conjunction with pro-government media headlines that cheerfully proclaimed Aleppo as the 82nd province of Turkey. The Turkmen card, which Turkey saves for rainy days as a foreign policy option, is on the table once again – something that is not surprising when nationalist sentiments are also on the rise. The perils of this political gamble loom large: Any attack against our Turkmen brothers in the safe zone could easily spark a military clash and drag Turkey into war…..

In the end, do we really want to fight for an 82nd province?”

So Turkey’s right wing pundits are saying that Aleppo, (which is in N Syria) is “Turkey’s 82nd province”?

Yep, they sure are, which means the path has been cleared for a major invasion followed by a land-grab in northern Syria (including Aleppo) using the justification of establishing a “safety zone”. The assumption is that the US will provide air cover for this blatant act of aggression, and that the UN will sweep the whole matter under the rug since Erdogan already got the green light from both Washington and NATO. Meanwhile, Washington plans to pound the holy crap out of any Syrian government forces that come with a 50 mile radius of their glorious army of Takferi “moderates”, you know, the same moderates that cut off heads and rape teenage girls. These are America’s allies in its war against Assad, er, ISIS.

Of course, if the US was serious about fighting terrorism, they’d assist Assad in his battle against jihadi groups operating in Syria, and then move on to the vipers lairs in Ankara and Riyadh, the cesspits from whence all terror emerges. Check out this clip from Hurriyet on the problems Germany has had dealing with double-dealing Erdogan:

“The second and perhaps more troubling concern emerged within the German security establishment when Turkey’s neck-deep involvement in supporting radical groups fighting to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria reached out to expatriates in Germany. Erdoğan’s secret support for radical groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and the Ahrar al-Sham was closely monitored by German intelligence. Several test cases where Turkey failed to turn over high-profile ISIL suspects detained by Turkish police and wanted in Germany but instead let them join ISIL’s ranks in Syria convinced Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government that Erdoğan is simply playing a duplicitous game regarding the security of its allies…..

The threat of the possible radicalization of Turkish Muslims in Germany as a result of controversial policies pursued by Islamists in the AKP government (Erdogan’s party), which was accused of facilitating the flow of foreign fighters arriving in Syria from all over the world, is something about which the German government is very concerned.” (“Islamists risk rupture in Turkey’s ties with Germany“, Hurriyet)

How do you like them apples? So Obama wants to topple Assad who has NO history of supporting terrorist organizations, and join forces with Erdogan who, according to German intelligence, is not only “neck-deep.. in supporting radical groups”, but has also taken a lot of these bad apples that Germany wants to prosecute, and sent them off to fight in Syria.

And this is the guy that Obama just hopped into bed with?

Erdogan is a duplicitous-troublemaking narcissist and everyone in Washington knows it. They know he’s planning to steal Syrian land, just like they know that he’s butchering the Kurds for no reason. They also know he’s gaming the system so he can declare himself Supreme Leader of Turkey following snap elections in October. They know it all, but they don’t care, because Washington is so obsessed with its single-minded hatred of Assad, that they’d make a pact with Beelzebub Satan if they thought it would move them closer to their ultimate objective. That’s why they don’t mind throwing their lot with the likes of Erdogan.

By the way, the author of the previous op-ed clearly states that the ISIL suspects that were rounded up after the terrorist bombing in Suruc (which was used as the pretext for bombing the Kurds) have all been released. I’m not kidding. Think of how ridiculous that is. The Turkish government justifies a war on the basis of lies about an ISIS bombing “in the homeland”, and then releases all the suspects, refuses to conduct an independent investigation, detains all the eyewitnesses who were present at the time, and fails to produce a shred of evidence proving that their implausible explanation of the attack actually happened.

If you think that Turkey is fast slipping into the Twilight Zone, you’re probably right.

Here’s what you’re not going to read about Erdogan in the western media. Erdogan just lost his Parliamentary majority in June dashing his hopes of becoming Turkey’s Grand Sultan for eternity. Also, he has rejected the idea of a coalition government because he doesn’t like the idea of sharing power with members of other political parties. That means that there’s going to be snap elections sometime in late October. Erdogan expects to win a clear majority since voters typically support the sitting government during times of crisis. The problem is that, the polls are not running in Erdogan’s favor, mainly because more and more people see him as a power-hungry opportunist who uses terrorism to achieve his own ends. In a recent survey by the Gezici Research Company, the Justice and Development Party (Erdogan’s party) is losing ground. “According to the results, 39.2 percent of respondents said they would vote for the AK Party, a fall of 1.6 percentage points from the official results of the parliamentary election on June 7.” Even more shocking: “Fifty-six percent of those who participated in the survey believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is responsible for the war-like situation in the country that began shortly after the failure of the AK Party to win a majority in the general election.” (Today’s Zaman)

In other words, a growing number of Turkish voters have seen through Erdogan’s self-serving terrorist ruse. For once, the terror card has not succeeded in building support for some lame political demagogue looking to shoehorn his way into power. Of course, none of this has put a damper on Erdogan who is as determined as ever to establish one-man-rule by hook or crook. According to Hurriyet:

“Erdogan… has made it clear that he is not interested in a U.S. or French type of system where the president is answerable to the legislature, and is hemmed in by constitutional checks and balances which guard the system against the abuse of power by the president…..

He said on Aug. 14 that because he was elected by the people last year, there was already a de facto change in the administrative system in Turkey and all he needs now is a new constitution. This statement came despite the fact he has no parliamentary power to do that and despite the fact that no polls are hinting that he will be able to achieve it in a new parliamentary formation.” (“Seizing an election“, Murat Yetkin, Hurriyet)

In other words, Erdogan is claiming that he is Turkey’s king whether he reclaims a majority in parliament or not, and whether changes are made to the constitution or not. He’s the king because, well, because he says so, that’s why.

This is the madman who is now Washington’s number one ally in its bloody war against Assad. Not only was he allegedly involved in ISIS seizure of Mosul, (according to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki: “What happened in Mosul was a conspiracy planned in Ankara” ) he’s he’s also “neck-deep” …”in supporting radical groups …. such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and the Ahrar al-Sham was closely monitored by German intelligence.” (Hurriyet)

So why does Washington want to team up with someone who’s so obviously connected to very groups it claims to be fighting?

To remove Assad, of course. What other reason could there be?

Obama is convinced he can use Erdogan long enough to topple Assad and then dump him as soon as the job is done. But would Erdogan really be foolish enough to order his troops to attack Damascus?

Probably not, because if he did, there’d be a mutiny in the military and Erdogan’s career would be kaput.

But if Turkish troops aren’t going to take the Capital, then how is Obama going to pull this thing off?

Special Forces leading US-backed jihadi militias into battle? Is that the plan?

It could work, but neither Iran nor Russia would allow it. After all, if Assad falls, then Tehran knows that it’s next in line, so they’re going to defend Damascus to the very end. The same goes for Putin, although for different reasons. As a staunch defender of national sovereignty, self determination and international law, the Russian president will eventually realize that he can’t back down, that if he doesn’t stand up to US aggression in Syria, his credibility as leader of the new multipolar global system will be in tatters. He can’t afford to let that happen. Russia will have to get involved.

So this is where the rubber meets the road, where Moscow and Tehran finally face off with Uncle Sam. Of course, there doesn’t have to be a confrontation. There are other options. Iran is promoting a four-point plan that calls for an immediate cease-fire, the creation of a national unity government, a rewriting of Syria’s constitution to include the majority of Syrian ethnic groups and new national elections under international supervision. It’s a good plan and it’s the best way to stop the violence and end the crisis. But the US isn’t going to sign-on to Iran’s peace deal. No way. Washington wants regime change and it’s not going to stop until Assad is gone. That means there’s going to be a war, a war that will pit the United States against Syria, Iran and Russia.

Has anyone in Washington even thought about what that might mean?

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Panic Attackers

Panic Attackers: Grass-Roots Challenge Sparks High-Level Hissy Fit

by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

I have of late been much pestered with electronic message from an outfit called the “Centre for Policy Studies.” It styles itself the “leading independent think tank in Britain” — and it probably is as rigorously independent and open-minded as any gaggle of titled lords, Big Money poobahs, reactionary academics, epic tax-dodgers, Murdoch moochers and imperialist cheerleaders gathered in an institution co-founded by Margaret Thatcher can be.

I have actually had occasion to meet one of these ponderous grandees — a one-time Murdoch minion who also served faithfully as a mouthpiece for Moloch at several other ritzy rightwing rags before finding himself translated into the upper reaches of Davosian Valhalla at a global financial firm. It was a work assignment; I was interviewing him about his munificent philanthropy — but upon learning that I was an American, he spent almost the entire session complaining of what a raw deal poor Dick Nixon got: a leader whose greatness Americans were too stupid to see. (In a similar vein, I also interviewed the husband of one of the titled CPS members; he spent most of the interview talking about how much he had loved San Francisco — “before the gays got hold of it.”)

This gives you some flavor and measure of the “minds” behind the most top leading independent tank of leading top thinkers that there ever was in Blighty.

Now you would think these well-tanked thinkers would be feeling pretty chill nowadays, as their eager dogsbodies in the new Tory government proceed fiercely and furiously to impose the CPS vision of despoliation and repression — sorry, “freedom and responsibility” — on the worthless rabble whose bestial needs must be contained and exploited — for their own good, of course! — by their betters. Hayek's in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

But no; like the rest of the bipartisan British Establishment, the Thatcher-Tankers have been thrown into a towering tizzy by the distinct and increasing possibility that someone outside the cozy club of crony capitalism might actually ascend to the leadership of the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn – a long-serving MP who has been frequently, and at times vociferously, at odds with the sad sacks of warmongering, corporate-coddling shinola that have constituted the party’s leadership for many years — now holds a huge lead in polls for the top post. Although he is a man of “radical” views — radical, that is, to the pro-biz, pro-war, austerity-embracing centre-right technocrats who run Labour — Corbyn has surged ahead by using a sneaky, sinister tactic virtually unheard of in our day: democracy.

To a Labour Party left moribund by Blair’s war crimes, Brown’s floundering and the boundless ineptitude of Miliband, Corbyn has brought thousands of enthusiastic new members. More than 400,000 people have joined Labour since Corbyn’s campaign began. This is in marked contrast to the tenure of Tony Blair at the top of the party — a period that saw 200,000 members exit Labour, most of them stage left.

Here too you might think Labour would be pretty chuffed by this remarkable turn of events. A party more invigorated than it has been in almost 20 years, bringing a wider circle of people into the ranks, including the young and the long disaffected; what’s not to like? But the Clinton-style “triangulation” technocrats who dominate the party structure — and have turned “New Labour’s” pro-business tilt into a lucrative revolving door for themselves as they leave political life for cushy corporate jobs — have thrown a hissy fit of historic proportions at Corbyn's unexpected rise. Not to mention the ghastly thought that the party’s ordinary members might actually elect a leader who actually advocates policies they actually support. For as we well know, such things are not supposed to happen in the “managed democracies” of our modern era.

That’s why Labour and its media mouthpieces have been in a full-blown, five-alarm freak-out for the entire summer. The lip service they long paid to Labour ideas have been canker’d o’er with the pustular panic they’ve displayed so brazenly. Instead of genuinely debating Corbyn’s policies and principles— and lacking any of their own, beyond the promise of maybe hopefully perhaps being two percent less evil than the Tories (the supine stance so beloved by America’s savvy “progressives,” bless their hearts) — the Establishment candidates and party leaders have denounced Corbyn with red-baiting rhetoric taken straight from Tory tabloids, while also wailing about his “unelectability”.

One by one, the “big beasts” of Labour have lumbered out of hibernation to denounce the Corbyn “threat.” Even Tony Blair emerged from his intimate embraces with dictators and other assorted sleazebags to declare that Corbyn’s election would “annihilate” the party. (Er, see membership figures above.) Blair’s plea was so panicky that it was actually headlined: “Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff edge.” Well, a man who bears a deep, direct moral and legal responsibility for the deaths of upwards of a million innocent people (according to the measurement techniques used by his own government) in a war of pure aggression that has led to even more murderous chaos, ruin and extremism, surely knows a thing or two about going over the edge and “annihilating” support for his own party.

Blair’s intervention has been accompanied by similar squeaking of pips from such luminaries as Gordon Brown, the former PM who could not defeat two sad sacks of shinola like David Cameron and Nick Clegg, and by the whole range of party bigwigs who recently presided over an even bigger loss to the Tories’ upper-class twits. The general line goes like this:

“Sure Corbyn’s policies are popular, even among many non-Labourites; sure, he is galvanising the third of the electorate who have stopped voting in the kabuki contests between Tory Tweedledees and Labour Tweedledums; sure, he is bringing back tens of thousands of people who’d stopped voting for us — the very people whose support would have given us victory in the last two elections; sure, he is now one of the most popular and respected politicians in the country. But he can’t get elected!”

Again, this is from party leaders who have lost two straight elections by adopting Tory policies and providing no genuine alternative to a deeply corrupt and dysfunctional status quo. (Sound familiar?) Whatever other skills the current Labour establishment might possess, “electability” is definitely not one of them.

At first, the Tories were happy about the Corbyn surge, glad to see discord in the Labour ranks. (Or rather, in the Labour hierarchy. The “ranks” themselves are the ones who have propelled Corbyn to prominence.) But as the once-distant possibility of his winning the leadership turned more and more into a likelihood, the Conservative elites unlimbered their big guns in the press and political forums, and began frantically firing whatever mud and mendacity they could lay their hands on. (Much of which has since been recycled by “savvy” Labourites in their own attacks. Remarkably, Corbyn has not returned fire, but simply keeps stressing that the campaign is about policies, not personalities. This is, perhaps, his most radical and disruptive notion, and seems to have thrown the entire media-political class into a tailspin.)

So while the Tory tabloids handle the gutter work, the glittery poobahs and pundits of CPS take the high road of “policy,” producing “reports” like they one they had the temerity to send over my electronic transom last evening. Ordinarily such items are relegated swiftly to the trash (if they somehow snake their way through various blocks and filters), but, laid low with an ailment at the time, I – in an idle, perhaps addled moment – opened the message.

There I found a long, larded piece of handwringing and breast-beating entitled, “Corbynomics: The Road to Penury.” Here was rich and bitter comedy right off the bat. We have indeed been on the “road to penury” for lo these many decades: a road built by the ravaging financial bulldozers of the elite, with the aid of their diligent servants in the political class: two groups well-represented in the CPS ranks. The report goes on to —

No, I won’t do it. Life is too short to go through this kind of excreta at any length. It is not a political or economic argument, but a religious tract, put out by self-deluded moral morons who believe they are shining saints of goodness and reason — even while the rivers of shit and oceans of blood unleashed by their own extremist beliefs rise all around them. These are people who, like that pitiful plutocratic propagandist in Chicago, long for a universal “Katrina” to sweep away the lesser breeds — and all vestiges of genuine community, all efforts at seeking the greater common good — so they can impose their vision of a “clean,” corporatized, strictly managed, data-crunched and digitally controlled system of enrichment for the “right” people, and endless helotry for the rest.

So, from my sick couch, I roused myself long enough to send off this brief reply.

Sad, sad, sad, how very sad you neoliberal cargo cultists are. Waiting for the God of the "market" (i.e., a rigged system of crony capitalism) to create universal prosperity by enriching an ever smaller circle of wealth devourers and war profiteers, while nations, communities, and individual lives continue to deteriorate. We have been on a "path to penury" -- your path, the jihad of greed and corruption-- for decades. Now we are trying desperately to get off your noxious road and find a different way. Please keep your money-grubbing, extremist bilge out of my inbox. I don't need, don't want, don't believe and cannot endure any more of your witless, cud-dripping spatterings of spam.
Have a nice day.

I’m not saying that Corbyn is a shining knight or saviour, who will magically transform the system and make all things right again. (Although at least his message of “hope and change” is not bankrolled by Wall Street world-wreckers and war profiteers, like that of a former hopey-changey guy who ran for office in America awhile back.) But he is offering a resonant alternative to the cargo cult of austerity and money-worship pushed by the Labour-Tory ruling cliques: an approach clearly supported by a substantial portion, perhaps a majority, of party members.

And it’s fascinating to watch the panicked bipartisan ruling clique pull off their masks of concern for good of the country, and show their one true and abiding concern: power for their own sweet selves.