Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rebranding AlQaeda's Jabhat Al Nusra as "Moderates"

The CIA backed and armed Syrian rebel group, Hazm brigade disbanded and its members have defected to Al Qaeda linked Jabhat Al Nusra (JAN) and ISIS. Hazm brigade also left behind a warehouse of US provided weapons, including anti-tank TOW missiles, which JAN has seized. With no one left to arm against the Syrian state but JAN, the US State Department has attempted to rebrand JAN as a non-Al Qaeda moderate force. The next step of the plan is to allow US proxy Qatar to openly arm JAN. However, the audacious campaign has so far been an abysmal failure.

Hazm Brigade Provided Plausible Deniability

The latest defection and disbanding was not the first time that the US backed Hazm brigade had handed over US provided weapons to Al Qaeda, the last incident occurring in December of 2014. It was previously asserted that the US administration advertised the ‘moderate’ Hazm brigade in order to maintain plausible deniability whilst knowing the heavy weapons they provide, such as anti-tank missiles, would eventually end up in the hands of Al Qaeda.

Indeed, former-US ambassador Robert Ford recently admitted through his twitter account to Syrian journalist Edward Dark, that the US knew the Syrian rebels they were backing were allied to Al Qaeda. With the announcement that Hazm brigade had disbanded, the State Department has lost their cover to aid al Qaeda whilst maintaining plausible deniability.

Rebranding Al Qaeda

NATO media has acknowledged that JAN is the most powerful group fighting the Syrian state besides ISIS. JAN also have widespread support amongst all other insurgents groups in Syria. Given the level at which the US has committed itself to an anti-ISIS narrative, they have little left to paint as a moderate force but JAN. Though, the US has launched strikes against JAN in one instance, earning the ire of all Syrian insurgent groups who protested “We are all JAN”. Suggestions to train a new insurgent group from scratch have been called unrealistic. Hence NATO media has been running a PR campaign for JAN’s new found moderation.


Read the entire article

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Are NGOs Agents of Subversion?

Though “Bibi” Netanyahu won re-election last week, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will still look into whether the State Department financed a clandestine effort to defeat him.

Reportedly, State funneled $350,000 to an American NGO called OneVoice, which has an Israeli subsidiary, Victory 15, that collaborated with U.S. operatives to bring Bibi down.

If we are now secretly pumping cash into the free elections of friendly countries, to dump leaders President Obama dislikes, Americans have a right to know why we are using Cold War tactics against democracies.

After World War II, my late colleague on CNN’s “Crossfire,” Tom Braden, delivered CIA cash to democratic parties in Europe imperiled by communist parties financed from Moscow.

But that was done to combat Stalinism when Western survival was at stake in a Cold War that ended in 1991.

Hopefully, after looking into OneVoice and V15, the Senate will expand its investigation into a larger question: Is the U.S. using NGOs to subvert regimes around the world? And, if so, who decides which regimes may be subverted?

Read the entire article

Friday, March 20, 2015

Israeli election postmortems

Propaganda works. Israelis got the best electoral results fear-mongering can sell.

They bought smoke and mirrors deception about nonexistent threats. They voted overwhelmingly for right-wing fascist governance.

All parties significant enough to matter represent ideological extremism. Israel’s political system is like America’s.

It’s too broken to fix. It represents white supremacist Jewish interests exclusively.

Netanyahu’s Likud and Isaac Herzog/Tzipi Livni’s Zionist Union are two sides of the same coin. Rhetoric and style alone separate them.

They both consider Palestinians subhumans. They want them ethnically cleansed or eliminated altogether.

They want their land stolen for exclusive Jewish development. They want them denied all rights afforded Jews.

Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood is no different from policies under all Israeli governments since 1948—especially under nearly half a century of illegal occupation.

Zionist Union ideology matches Likud’s extremism. Its racist platform called for: “Demilitarizing the Palestinian state, keeping the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty; strengthening Jerusalem and its status as the eternal capital of the State of Israel and ensuring religious freedom and access to the holy sites to all religions, along with maintaining Israeli sovereignty; resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem through the establishment of a Palestinian state, but not within Israel.”

Read the entire article

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Power Play Behind Regime Change in Russia

With “friends” like European Council President Donald Tusk and top NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, the EU certainly doesn’t need enemies.

Gen. Breedhate has been spewing out his best Dr. Strangelove impersonation, warning that evil Russia is invading Ukraine on an everyday basis. The German political establishment is not amused.

Tusk, while meeting with US President Barack Obama, got Divide and Rule backwards; he insisted, “foreign adversaries” were trying to divide the US and the EU – when it’s actually the US that is trying to divide the EU from Russia. And right on cue, he blamed Russia — side by side with the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Tusk’s way out? The EU should sign the US corporate-devised racket known as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), or NATO on trade. And then the “West” will rule forever.

NATO may indeed incarnate the ultimate geopolitical/existential paradox; an alliance that exists to manage the chaos it breeds.

Read the entire article

Monday, March 16, 2015

Making NATO Defunct: EU Military Force intended to Reduce U.S. Influence in Europe?

An EU military force is being justified as protection from Russia, but it may also be a way of reducing US influence as the EU and Germany come to loggerheads with the US and NATO over Ukraine.

While speaking to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the time has come for the creation of a unified EU military force. Juncker used rhetoric about “defending the values of the European Union” and nuanced anti-Russian polemics to promote the creation of a European army, which would convey a message to Moscow.

The polemics and arguments for an EU army may be based around Russia, but the idea is really directed against the US. The underlying story here is the tensions that are developing between the US, on one side, and the EU and Germany, on the other side. This is why Germany reacted enthusiastically to the proposal, putting its support behind a joint EU armed force.

Previously, the EU military force was seriously mulled over during the buildup to the illegal Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 when Germany, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg met to discuss it as an alternative to a US-dominated NATO. The idea has been resurrected again under similar circumstances. In 2003, the friction was over the US-led invasion of Iraq. In 2015, it is because of the mounting friction between Germany and the US over the crisis in Ukraine.

Re-think in Berlin and Paris?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

America’s Kingly Constitution

In January the Heritage Foundation released its annual Index of Economic Freedom. The ranking did not reflect well upon the U.S. government: “The land of the free” once again found itself well down the list in terms of the most basic liberty, the right to earn a living. As Heritage explains, “Policies that promote freedom, whether through improvements in the rule of law, the promotion of competition and openness, or suitable restraints on the size and economic reach of government, turn out in practice to advance practical solutions to a wide range of economic and social challenges.” On the other hand, policies that don’t, don’t.

One might think that freer societies would also suffer from various social pathologies: in the absence of government interventions, surely the poor would suffer and minorities would lag. Yet the 11 countries above the U.S.A on the list include such notably prosperous ones as Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—none of which has the aforementioned pathologies in notably greater abundance than does America.

In short, freedom works. So why doesn’t the U.S. have more of it?

Comes George Mason School of Law’s F.H. Buckley with an answer: the United States Constitution. The federal charter, he argues in his bracing new book, is the main reason that America is notably less free than the other chief Anglophone former colonies of Britain. It is also the reason, he explains at length, why the trends all point not toward American convergence with freer countries but toward assimilation of the U.S. to the condition of other countries with presidential rather than parliamentary governments.

One might have thought that someone would write such a study sooner. After all, the obvious distinction between the American model of government and the ones further up the Heritage list—as well as other lists ranking governments by various measures of freedom—is that America’s federal Constitution established a presidential government, while freer countries tend to have parliamentary systems. To my knowledge, however, none did.

Read the entire article

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Real Story on Iran, US, Russia and China

The real story was never about how warmonger Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, a foreign leader, would crudely use the House of Cards, sorry, the US Capitol, as a lowly re-election bully pulpit to mould the US presidency and American foreign policy.

A graphic indication is that while “Bomb Iran” Bibi was distilling his 39-minute harangue in Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were engaged in their third round of nuclear negotiations in Montreux. 

The real story is also only partially about this perennial soap opera — the Iranian nuclear dossier. By the end of this month there will be a deadline to reach a framework agreement, and by June – optimistically – a comprehensive final settlement.

What’s at stake at the highest level has been known to all major players for ages. Tehran won’t settle for anything less than a swift end to the current nasty, illegal package of sanctions. Yet Washington, under the cloud of the self-described "Don’t Do Stupid Stuff" Obama administration, keeps changing the goal posts as negotiations advance. 

The latest is a demand by Obama for a 10-year suspension of Iranian nuclear activity. Zarif called it "illogical" and "excessive".

Well, as illogical as the trademark paranoia exhibited by the usual basket of US neo-cons and extreme right-wingers. Compare it to how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei regards nuclear power – with all its implications; this has also been on the record for ages for anyone to see.

Read the entire article

Friday, March 06, 2015

Paul and the Right’s Ideological Enforcers

Michael Brendan Dougherty comments on the silly reaction of some “pro-Israel” hard-liners to Rand Paul’s insufficiently zealous applause for Netanyahu:
And I understand the suspicion. If I ever exerted myself so frantically on behalf of a cause, if lobbying for it required investing so many millions of dollars, and if maintaining party discipline on it required “brutal” ad drops on congressional obscurities, I would worry that some of the response I sought was perfunctory and insincere. The sonnets you receive don’t sound as sweet. The applause seems forced. Almost like they are faking it.
Unfortunately, this ludicrous ideological policing seems to work only too well. Paul’s response in the last two days has been to reaffirm how enthusiastically “pro-Israel” he really is. Even though the fixation on the intensity of his clapping at Tuesday’s disgraceful spectacle ought to have made clear that he will never be able to do or say (or clap) enough to satisfy his party’s hard-liners, he made sure to emphasize his “pro-Israel” bona fides by talking up his co-sponsorship of Corker’s Iran bill and the number of times (50) he has joined in standing ovations for Netanyahu. We can already hear the hard-liners’ response: “He gave only 50 standing ovations? He should have given at least 70.”

Whether Paul is co-sponsoring the bill because he sincerely thinks Corker’s misguided legislation is a good idea or because he feels compelled to do it for political reasons doesn’t really matter, and the enforcers that viscerally distrust him won’t care anyway. Besides, the point of the exercise isn’t to force Paul to do this or that, since the enforcers already assume that Paul isn’t really on “their” side, but to remind all other office-holders and would-be candidates that they shouldn’t ever flirt with any remotely unconventional or dissident foreign policy views unless they want to be subjected to the same absurd degree of scrutiny and criticism. The fact that Paul rushed to dispel the “bad” impression he gave on Tuesday confirms that the enforcers got exactly what they wanted.

Read the entire article

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination

Over the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted.  The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States.  Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power.  The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism”in the past to “anti-terrorism”today.

Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy mercenary armies and military coups; financing political parties, NGO’s and street mobs to overthrow  duly constituted governments. The driving forces in the imperial state , behind the  quest for world power, vary with the geographic location and social economic composition of the targeted countries.

What is clear from an analysis of US empire building over the last half century is the relative decline of economic interests, and the rise of politico-military considerations.  In part this is because of the demise of the collectivist regimes (the USSR and Eastern Europe) and the conversion of China and the leftist  Asian, African and Latin American regimes to capitalism.  The decline of economic forces as the driving force of imperialism is a result of the advent of global neoliberalism.  Most US and EU multi-nationals are not threatened by nationalizations or expropriations, which might trigger imperial state  political intervention.  In fact, MNC are invited to invest,trade and exploit natural resources even by post-neoliberal regimes .  Economic interests come into play in formulating imperial state policies, if and when nationalist regimes emerge and challenge US MNC as is the case in Venezuela under President Chavez.

The key to US empire building over the past half-century is found in the political, military and ideological power configurations which have come to control the levers of the imperial state.  The recent history of US imperial wars has demonstrated that strategic military priorities – military bases, budgets and bureaucracy – have expanded far beyond any localized economic interests of MNC.  Moreover, the vast expenditures and long term and expensive military interventions of the US imperial state in the Middle East has been at the behest of Israel.  The take-over of strategic political positions in the Executive branch and Congress by the powerful Zionist power configuration within the US has reinforced the centrality of military over economic interests.