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Military Industrial Complex - The Hunger Games Economy

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The Hunger Games Economy
Jeff Faux: Dreams of Wall St. and Military Industrial Complex are not compatible with dreams of American middle class
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Jeff Faux is the Founder and now Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He is an activist, economist and writer, He has written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development. His latest book is “The Servant Economy; Where America¹s Elite is Sending the Middle Class.”
Transcript
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
There's been some debate amongst the American governing elite about America's place in the world and its declining power. Barack Obama went to Australia not long ago and declared that America will continue to be an Asia-Pacific power. And the issue of the Brzezinskian grand chessboard is still very much on their mind. But what does this maintaining America's position in the world mean for ordinary Americans? Who's going to pay for all this? When it comes to competitiveness, it really means wages, although that word doesn't get talked about very much, not in the mainstream press or in the halls of Congress.
Well, it does get talked about in a piece written by Jeff Faux, and he's now joining us. Jeff is a founder and distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He's an activist, economist, and writer. He's written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development, and his latest book is The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class. Thanks very much for joining us, Jeff.
JEFF FAUX, AUTHOR: Oh, it's great to be here, Paul. Thank you.
JAY: So, I mean, clearly we are dealing with a different world. And it's not just that it's militarily different, in the sense that China's now somewhat of a power, so is Russia and—back somewhat of a power—I mean, nothing on the scale of the United States, but the geopolitics and chessboard has changed somewhat. But where it's changed a lot more is with this massive industrial capacity in areas of the world where 20, 30 years ago there was nothing like it—advanced technology, high-quality production, very low wages. And America wants to maintain its competitiveness in all of this. So talk a bit about that and what that might mean for ordinary Americans, and maybe what the word competitiveness means.
FAUX: Well, I think—start from what I think is the basic assumption, and that is the United States can no longer satisfy the three great dreams that have driven American politics over the last decades. The first dream is the dream of Wall Street and business for unregulated access to speculative profits. The second dream is the dream of the military and foreign-policy elite and the military-industrial complex for global hegemony. The third dream is the dream of ordinary Americans for a rising living standard.
Now, we can have one out of three, certainly. Two out of three, maybe. Three out of three? No way. So in effect the decision is being made right now—or has been made—by this country's elite.
There's a lot of talk in Washington, as you know, about the grand bargain between Republicans and Democrats over budgets and taxes. But the real deal has already been cut. The average American income in real wages is going to decline over the next 10 years, 15 years, as far into the future as we can see. Now, this has been coming for a long time. It's not just about the recession and it's not temporary. As you probably know, for the last 30 years we've had stagnant wages in America. After wages rise steadily since World War II, they flattened out after 1979 and essentially have been flat.
So the question is: if wages were flat, how come everything looked so good? That is, people went to shopping centers and bought cars and houses during those 30 years that ended in 2008. And the reason is two. One, family incomes kept up because we sent more members of the family to work, usually the wife. Now there are more women than men in the labor force so that that strategy for most people is exhausted. The second is debt. People weren't getting raises, but they were getting access to cheaper and accessible credit. That has evaporated with the collapse of the financial sector.
JAY: Jeff, before you continue, let me ask: so if this process more or less began in the '70s, why? What happened? Why? If you could—you know, to some extent one could say that third dream of ordinary Americans, you know, to own a house, send the kids to college, not to be terrified of losing their job, to some extent that's—dream was still possible, at least in the early '60s.
FAUX: Oh, yeah. And the reason—.
JAY: So what happens?
FAUX: Yeah. There are three things that happened since the end of the '70s. The data starts from 1979; the kink in the curve starts from 1979. One was globalization, and by that I mean, essentially, exposing American workers to a very brutal and competitive global labor market before they were prepared.
Second, the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. A lot of that had to do with the decline of unions. But it affected union members and nonunion members. The second thing that happened was the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. This was not just about weaker unions, but weaker unions played a key role, not just for union members, but for people who aren't union members. Because unions were strong—or certainly stronger than they are now—the threat of unionization kept the bosses and kept the employers from cutting wages too much, cutting pensions too much, even though they would have liked to. So weaker unions, weaker bargaining positions [crosstalk]
JAY: And is weaker unions and bargaining positions linked to number one, which is globalization and the threat of moving offshore?
FAUX: That's right, certainly linked to number one. And number three, later, was the shredding of the safety net, the real value of the minimum wage, and the kinds of New Deal protections for labor that have been frayed away over the last 10 or 15 years.
But on the first, on globalization, there's something very important here to remember, and that is it not only affected working people, but it changed the culture of the American elite. You know, if you go back to the early part of the 20th century, labor and capital were in fierce struggles. But both labor and capital knew that they needed each other and were stuck in the same country. So, you know, when Henry Ford raised the wages of his Ford employees to $5 a day, the Wall Street guys said, Henry, what are you doing here? I mean, you can't pay—you're spoiling these people, you're paying them too much. And Henry Ford, who was a SOB union buster, said, look, I've got to pay them enough to come in to make the cars, but I also need to pay them enough to buy the cars. So it was an economy in which, while there were labor and capital disputes, we were all in it together.
What happened—what's happened since the 1980s is that globalization, the deregulation of trade and investment, has allowed the American commercial and economic elite to roam the world in search of lower wages, in search of government subsidies by Third World countries, etc.
JAY: Yeah, so you now have a situation where they saved GM and Chrysler, but workers'—starting worker wages go from, what, $26 to $14 an hour, and you probably couldn't buy a new car at $14 an hour.
FAUX: Exactly. And unlike Henry Ford, the people who run the Ford Motor Company today, you know, have other people they can use to sell their cars to. And so high wages, which we sort of learned after the 1930s were good for the economy because it created consumer demand and consumers bought the goods that were being produced, high wages in America are no longer what they were. They're now a threat to multinational corporations who still produce and sell things. And that's been a critical change.
JAY: They also seem to no longer think they need an educated workforce. I used to—in the '50s and '60s, all this talk about, you know, America will compete because it's going to be the most educated working class and this and that, they don't seem to care anymore. The public school system can go to hell and they don't seem to care.
FAUX: They don't care. But that's sort of the last excuse of the political governing class. I mean, whether it's, you know, Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton, they're all the so-called education presidents, and their answer to this decline in living standards and wages is not to worry, just go get an education. Barack Obama was in Florida about a year ago touring the country, saying the way we're going to compete in the world is to out-educate everyone.
Well, first what's obvious: that we're shrinking the schools, we're laying off teachers, kids can't go to college because it costs too much. But second, which is really important, we are not creating jobs for educated young people. You go into Apple, in the Apple Store, there is the future. And it's not the technology. It's in all those smart college-educated kids working as retail clerks for $10, $12 an hour. The Bureau of Labour Statistics—government agency—projects that between 2010-2020, the largest, fastest-growing occupations in this country, of the ten largest and fastest-growing, only one requires a college education.
JAY: Well, Jeff, we're going to pick this up in part two, and what I'll be asking in part two is it seems to me while this may make sense for Apple and it may make sense for a lot of individual companies to drive wages down and have more and more service jobs, as an economy somebody's got to be making money to buy all this stuff, and that seems to be where the rub is. So join us for part two of our series of interviews with Jeff Faux on The Real News Network.

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By Nick Pakpoor

Published on Jun 30, 2015
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سرافرازی یا سرافکندگی ملی Image

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سرافرازی یا سرافکندگی ملی

سرافرازی یا سرافکندگی ملی

سخنی سنجیده و سگالنده با ایرانیان

درست است که سیطره سبُعانه و سفاکانهٔ ستون پنجمی از سوسماران سمی ـ صحرائی تازیان، مُهر و سمبول متعفن و مستعجن فرهنگ مکاری ـ ملائی خود را بر پیکر ستبر و ستین ایرانیان، تبهکارانه و تازیانه، تاتو کرده است. واین هم درست است که سالهاست که غرور ملی جایش را به غروب ملی داده است تا جائیکه صلابت و صلاحیت دیرینهٔ پارسایانه اش بطور جدی و جلادانه لکه دار و لگد مال شده است ولی تجربهٔ تاریخی به کرات و مرات نشان داده است که اکر ملت ایرن مبداء و محرک مقصدش را وارستگی و وارهانندگی ملی بر پایه پلاتفرم استقلال به همراه استقامت و ایستادنی اُستادانه انتخاب کند، بدون هیچ گونه تردید و توهمی خواهد توانست یکبار برای همیشه به این مذلت و مسکنت مزدوری یعنی تمکین و تملق فرهنگی به مثابه طاعت و اطاعت در مقابل مناره متعفن و مظهر مناسک منحوس تازیان، چه در ضمیر و چه در زمین آریائیان خط قرمز بُطلان بکشد.

تاریخ اسپانیا در زدودن و زباله انداختن زبان و زیان فرهنگ مکاری ـ مسلمانی تازیان بهترین و بهین ترین گواه خدشه ناپذیر این مدعاست!

مطیح محض مشتی ملا و مفتی مخُلا و مرتج تازی التبار شدن در هیچ برهه ای از زمان در هیچ جائی از جهان نه تنها افتخار و احترامی به ارمغان نیآورده است بلکه مقام و مرتبهٔ آن ملت را رذیلانه توسط روضه خوانان و رجم گران یعنی رجاله گان دین به رهزنگاه و نیرنگاه رهسپار ساخته است.

بیائید دردخفاء و خلوت خود خردمندانه و خلاقانه نه خائنانه و خاسرانه یعنی مردانه و مزدیسانه، بجای کُرنش گری و کمر خم کنی، کُنش گر و کنکاش گری کمانگیر و کلنجار گر باشیم تا قلب این قبیلهٔ نوکران و نوچه های نعلین پوش تازیان را نشانه رویم تا بساط و بنیاد این تفکر بادیه نشینان و بربر زادگان را از بیق و بُن برآندازیم!

باردیگر چشم به انتظار مُنجی و مُعجزه گر یا میرغضبی همچون هلاکو خان مغول  نشستن تا ما ایرانیان را از شّر این شرطه های شرعی ـ عربی المعتصم بالله ئی یا المعتصم ملائی، نجات بدهد، سزنده و سزاوار سرزمین ستُرگ آریائیان نمی باشد.

سرانجام در واپسین واگویه فرجام شناسانه، البته با مدد و متد اسکاتا لوجیک منطقی یعنی به پشتوانهٔ پیشنه تاریخی و به پرتو پیمایش در پراتیک و تجربه، می توان اینچینین ادعا و استدلال کرد، تازمانیکه پوران و پورمندان،پهلوانان و پارتیزانان، فرهیختگان و فرزانگان ایرانی ـ آریائی، پارسایانه پوشنه و پوشش این پاشیدگی و پوسیدگی، پراگندگی و پریشان حالی فرهنگ تخدیر و تحقیر، گدائی و گمراهی، کرخت و گژهی، کلب و گور پرستی، گوسفندی و گردن خم کنی،نزر و نیاز، نماز و نوکری به دُژگاه یا دفن گاه های کعبه و کربلا، نهاوند و نجف را به همراه طواف طوطی وار طوایف طُلاب، عمامه و عراب را با رجعت به رنسانس و رستاخیزی رهاننده یعنی با بازگشت یا فراشکردی فرازمندانه به فرهنگ دیرینهٔ آریائی ـ آهورائی، این عاملان اصلی رذالت و رخوت ملی ـ میهنی را به کرانه و کناره زباله زمان، پرتاب نکنند یا بقول ولتر: مذهب خود را به بسان پول رایج کشورشان تحویل نگیرند تا ابدالدهر در چنبره وابستگی و واماندگی، اسارت و ایستائی با اتیکت عفریت عبودیت در زیر سلطهٔ سفاکانه و تسلط تبهکارنهٔ این ختنه شدگان خبیث تناسل و تفکر، تازی الاتبار باقی خواهند ماند.

 

پروندهٔ دو امام تازی Image

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پروندهٔ دو امام تازی

پروندهٔ دو امام تازی. حسن و حسین

براینکه درک و داوری درستی از دژُنام گویان و دژُآگاهان، دغلکاران و دلقکان، دعانویسان و دروغ پردازان دین، یعنی پیروان پژوین و پشماگند تاریک بین و تازیک اندیش داشته باشیم. باید با سویج یا سُنبه و سُوندی سُنباننده به سودن و سُفتن در ترازوی تاریخ، بمثابهٔ ساینتیفیک هیستوری البته با مدد و متد سافیس تیکیت و فیلوسوفیک آنرا مورد کنُش و کنکاش قرار دهیم تا در غرقاب غبار غسل و غساله های غداره بند توضیح المسائل نویس ها و دعانویس های دیوان تفتیش عقاید شرطه های شرعی ـ عربی، غرق نشویم.

وقتی که ترکان قشری قزلباش به سرکردکی شاه اسماعیل صفوی یک شبه با دروغ و دغلکاری و با داخل کردن یا وارد کردن کاروانی از آخوند و انگل، اهریمن و اجنه، رجاله و روضه خوان، راهزن و رمه بان، رند و رمال، جاهل و جمل سوار، جادوگر و جنبل باف از جبل عامل لبنان تا عراق از شام تا یمن و بحرین، توانست یکبار دیگر همچون سلف خود سعدوقاص، مردم ایران را با زور و ذوالفقار قاریان قبح و قمه کشان قزلباس، مجبور و محکوم به پذیرش و گردن نهادن قلادهٔ غلامی قصابان جدیدی از تبار وحشیان تبهکار تازی، بنام شیعه اثناعشری ـ عربی را بجای تسنن ترکی ـ تازی وادار سازد. تا بدین وسیله شبهٔ شوم بساط سیطره تحجر و تعزیه گری، زنجیر زنی و قمه زنی، سینه زنی و سیه روزی،آشوبگری و آشوراسالاری،شیخ شنیع و شام غریبانی را به همراه کارخانهٔ مسخ و مهدیه گری را با جهولت و جلادی، تمام وکمال در سراسر آسمان ایران زمین بگستراند 

ـ برعکس ادعای آستان بوس ها و اختابوس های رجزخوان و رجاله های رذالت پیشهٔ روضه خوان و رجم گر آثناعشری ـ عربی حاکم بر ایران، بیائید دمی ، کمی هم به افادهٔ افاضات یا آراجیف ابتذال گونه، پژوین و پلشت ابا عبدالله یعنی امام الحسین علیه العرب تازی را از زبان ضریس بن عبدالملک بشنوید که می گوید: از ابا عبدالله امام الحسین علیه السلام بشنیدم که فریش و فرمایش می کرد که " ما همه از تبار قمه کشان قریشیم و پیروان عرب تازی و دُشمنان قسم خورده عجم هستیم، واضع و واعظ است که هر عرب تازی بهتر و بهین تر و بالاتر و برتر از هر عجم می باشد و هر عجم فرومایه تر و فرودست تر از هر عرب تازی می باشد. باز همو مرتکب فضیلت فخارانه می شود و در ادامه می فرماید که باید ایرانیان را به مدینه آورد و زنانشان را برای زفاف و ذکاة فروخت و مردانشان را به بردگی و بندگی عرب ها مجبور کرد" (1 ) نقل و قول این مطالب: سقیته البحار و مدینه الاحکام و آثار. تالیف حاج شیخ عباس قمی در کتاب شیعه گری نوشته مسعود انصاری صفحه 54

"حتی اسناد تاریخی تصدیق شده و تائید شده بسیاری گواه بر این مدعای مستند و موثق می باشد که برای ترور و تصرف طبرستان در زمان خلافت خاسر و خبیث، خناس و خدعه عثمان عرب، جنگ سختی به سرداری و سر جلادی سعیدبن عاص در آن منطقه درگرفت که در نتیجهٔ شهامت و رشادت مردم ناکام ماند، از جمله سرکردگان و سرگردن زنان این ساطور بدست عرب، حسن و حسین، فرزندان علی ابی طالب، قمه کش و قاتل قوم و قبیله بنی قریظه بودند "

(2) برای صحت و صحیح بودن صرافانه این ادعای گوینده مراجعه شود به تاریخ طبری جلد پنجم، صفحه 2116 ، فتوح البلدان صفحه 183 ، مختصرالبلدان صفحه 152

البته در بسیاری از کتب تاریخی عرب و اروپائی به وفور و  وثوق آمده است که از بدو تجاوز و تصرف ایران توسط تازیان تبهکار، همیشه تبعیض نژادی به همراه تعرض و  تعقیب، تهدید و تعزیر، یکی از شگردهای شقی و شیادانه، شیطان صفتانه و شعبده بازانهٔ شمشیرکشان شرعی بوده است که چه بطور مستقیم و چه غیر مستقیم توسط ستون پنجمی بنام شیاطین الفقها یا فقیه الشیاطین تازی تبار علیه ایرانیان اعمال می شد.

تا جائیکه تازیان مسلمان بری تحقیر و تمسخر، توهین و تکفیر ایرانیان، می گفتند که سه چیز در اسلام تازیان وجود دارد که نماز یعنی این نماد نوکری و نوچه گری به دُژگاه یا درگاه سوسمارزادگان سمی - صحرائی  قمه کشان قریشی را باطل می کند: یکی سگ و دومی اُلاغ و سومی ایرانی میباشد.

1 ـ نقل و قول این مطالب: سقیته البحار و مدینه الاحکام و آثار. تالیف حاج شیخ عباس قمی در کتاب شیعه گری نوشته مسعود انصاری صفحه

2ـ برای صحت و صحیح بودن صرافانه این ادعای گوینده مراجعه شود به تاریخ طبری جلد پنجم، صفحه 2116 ، فتوح البلدان صفحه 183 ، مختصرالبلدان صفحه 152

نوشتهٔ دکتر شجاع الدین شفا

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The Silent & Unseen Victims of the Greek Debt Crisis Image

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The Silent & Unseen Victims of the Greek Debt Crisis

The Silent & Unseen Victims of the Greek Debt Crisis

Costas Giannopoulos, president of Greek children's aid organization "The Smile of the Child," says thousands of children and refugees are failing to receive basic services needed for survival -   July 31, 2015

JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.
The human toll of Greece's debt crisis continues to mount. Aid organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations, abused or abandoned children, are warning they're running out of cash at the same time the country's economic woes intensify. Meanwhile the UN estimates 1,000 refugees are arriving in Greece every day, many of whom are women and children, and are struggling to secure the basic necessities of life.
Now joining us to discuss this from Athens, Greece, is Costas Giannopoulos. He is the president of the Greek children's aid organization The Smile of a Child, which shelters hundreds of abused children across Greece.
Thanks so much for joining us.
COSTAS GIANNOPOULOS, PRESIDENT, THE SMILE OF A CHILD: Thank you for having us.
NOOR: So we just got back from Greece. We wanted to get your perspective on the impact of Greece's economic crisis on the most vulnerable populations, including families and children.
GIANNOPOULOS: You see, going down to the, to the depths that we are and seeing this silent crisis as it is in Greece, and also the vulnerable ones that they cannot speak up, they cannot talk about the situation. We live in a situation right now that is in a standstill for this, for these children, the families that we're supporting and we're trying to support.
And even us, even the organizations that are supported by people, by the same people that they have now problems and the companies that they are also in a very difficult situation to survive because of these capital controls continuing. And because the economy's not moving around. So even us, trying to support 60,000 children with families, or children abandoned, or abused, or refugee children, we are struggled and trying to support children but without any means of supporting from the society like we were in the past.
So it's a silent crisis. It's a deadly crisis, because you can see people killing themselves instead of shouting or fighting or doing something just to avoid this. It's something that it's rare for Greece the last so many years.
NOOR: And talk about how the crisis is impacting the services that your organization is able to provide.
GIANNOPOULOS: You see, our organization is nationwide working 24/7 trying to support children, vulnerable children, running SOS line, like a help line for children. And for missing children we're running also amber alert, activating amber alert like you do in the United States from the national center that we operate, also. So we have made some structures with professionals, and also a lot of 2,000 volunteers and 408 professionals to run this. Because you cannot do it without professionalism and be active in this area.
So also we have support centers for families. And so this is happening 24/7. So it means that we have to find to raise $1.2 million every month to make this moving. And just to give you that, only 10 percent is administration costs.
And this has come to a standstill. We had in our count a few days ago only 400,000 euros to--by the end of the month. So we made all this announcement through the media to say that Greece going down, I mean, the families are going down. But we are some people, we are some organizations that we don't want them to see losing their dignity. We want to continue supporting this everyday situation. Supporting with ambulances, with health--children with health issues, that they need to have examinations, et cetera.
We have a situation that it will take a long time to discuss about it, but I'm just trying to give it as much as possible. Because we feel frustrated. Struggle. It's like, it's like your head under the water and you cannot breathe. And then when you come up then you go down again. So it's a situation that, you know, it's killing, it's killing people. And killing people in particular, that they're trying now to find their lives at the beginning.
NOOR: And so the term, the terms of the Troika's third bailout demands more austerity, more cuts to government services and spending. How do you affect this new round of austerity to affect children in Greece?
GIANNOPOULOS: You see, if they find a way to make the economy going round, and have the, the companies and the, the commerce continue to work, anything will do. Anything will do to make sure that this tourism economy will go around. And even with measures it will be much better--unfortunately I'm saying this. I shouldn't say this. Them having, going back to drachma or destroying all the economy at the end, and having everything stand still.
We have to be, we have to stay in Europe. We have to fight for this. And we have to show to our partners that the Greece--there's another Greece that fights. There's another Greece that tries to make sure that we keep the dignity of the Greek people. I had written a letter to [inaud.] I just had a reply today from his office that he will pass to [inaud.] our letter trying to, to tell them that we should keep at least a minimum of children living in Greece and of the refugee children without [inaud.] that they come in thousands from various places, from all over from the islands. That we should keep at least, at least which is health, food, and survival. And this should be done in a proper way, not just leaving them in the parks and coming up in our ambulances and taking children that they have illnesses and they have viruses, and they have so many problems.
NOOR: And actually when we were in Greece last week we visited a public park in central Athens where approximately 500 recently-arrived Afghan refugees had been living in squalid conditions. And we actually will be able to show you the images of that refugee camp.
So we contacted the United Nations about the lack of services these refugees were receiving. And they told us in this statement part of this was due to the fact that these populations, some of these recently-arrived refugees had not yet applied for asylum in Greece, and therefore they're not eligible for housing through the state. And they also said, quote, with due consideration to the economic crisis in Greece it's grappling with, the UN HCR calls on the Greek government to respond to its obligation to provide adequate reception conditions for persons in need of international protection while we also reiterate our calls on the European Union for more robust support to Greece.
We understand that your organization has provided services to many of these camps. Can you give us an update of the conditions that these refugees--it's 1,000 a day that are arriving in Greece.
GIANNOPOULOS: First of all there was a meeting with the ministries, the various ministries, that this is something that we say, like the UN say, that these people should be moved to a proper place. To a place that they can live in proper conditions. I mean healthy environment, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, despite they don't want to ask for asylum, these are human beings that are trying to find better ways and better life. And the scope, the only vision is to move ahead to go to other European countries. They don't want to stay in Greece. They don't want to, they just want to stay for a period of time until they find ways legally or illegally to go to other European countries.
Unfortunately the situation has gone so bad that the health issues, because of the 42 degrees temperature, it's creating a lot of problems. Quite a few children that we take them to the hospitals, because of gastroenteritis, because of other issues. Skin problems, et cetera, et cetera. So there are more and more people coming. And some they're leaving, and some they are coming. And this is not the situation that living in the center of Athens, even in a park without toilets, without any means of health, sanitation and everything.
So we're trying to support them as much as we can. There are other organizations also at least to keep them in feeding them, or giving them the water, and also some fruit and some stuff that they, they at least survive. But this is not the way. We are against philanthropy. We are for, we need and we ask the government to make something about it knowing also that they have no money. Knowing also that although they're getting some money from these refugees but they have to use it properly. And they have to use it for the benefit of these people that are coming thousands and thousands, every day by day from the various places through the islands.
NOOR: Well, Costas Giannopoulos, president of the Greek children's' aid organization The Smile of the Child, thank you so much for joining us.
GIANNOPOULOS: Thank you. Thank you for having us.
NOOR: Thank you for joining us at the Real News Network.
End

France: Migrants wait it out as Calais crisis rolls on Image

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France: Migrants wait it out as Calais crisis rolls on

France: Migrants wait it out as Calais crisis rolls on

Published on Jul 30, 2015
Police lined the roads near the fences around the Channel Tunnel entrance in Calais on Thursday morning, as hundreds of undocumented migrants waited for entry into the tunnel to gain access to the UK, only two days after a man was killed trying to make the trip from France to Britain.

migrants and terrified British holidaymakers Image

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migrants and terrified British holidaymakers

Calais crisis: Watch moment hundreds of migrants tried to storm Eurotunnel terminal filled with terrified British holidaymakers

Middle east

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A New War is Unfolding on Turkey

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A New War is Unfolding on Turkey's Eastern Border

A New War is Unfolding on Turkey's Eastern Border

Erdogan and the AKP is resuming the war against the Kurds in order to take back control of parliament, and it will make a messy situation even messier and not help defeat ISIS, says Patrick Cockburn, author of "The Rise of the Islamic State" -   July 30, 2015

Bio
Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country's recent history. Cockburn's latest book is The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.
Transcript
A New War is Unfolding on Turkey's Eastern BorderJESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
On Wednesday Turkey's renewed fight with Kurdish militants intensified after the government launched a new wave of air strikes in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey. This comes after the Turkish government launched their campaign against terrorism, which includes ISIS and the pro-Kurdish independence workers' party, the PKK. But now that America's goal of getting Turkey involved in both the fight against ISIS and Assad is coming to fruition, is the U.S. entangling itself in another conflict between the Turks and the Kurds?
Now joining us to help us unscramble this complicated issue is Patrick Cockburn. Patrick is the author of the book The Jihadi's Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, and he's a correspondent for the Independent of London.
Thanks so much for joining us, Patrick.
PATRICK COCKBURN, CORRESPONDENT, THE INDEPENDENT: Thank you.
DESVARIEUX: So Patrick, so far the Turkish offensive against terrorism has been directed primarily against the PKK Kurdish guerrillas in the mountains of northern Iraq, rather than ISIS in Syria. Do you see these actions as resuming the war between the Turks and the Kurds?
COCKBURN: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the Turkish air force has been bombing PKK Kurdish guerrilla bases in the mountains of northern Iraq. They've attacked 400 targets. They're arresting Kurdish activists, not just of the PKK, but any kind of activist inside Turkey. So one can say this conflict really has resumed.
DESVARIEUX: But some would argue, Patrick, that it may be a bit of a stretch because Erdogan has not openly said that he's going after any pro-independence Kurdish groups, just the PKK, which is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States. What do you make of that argument?
COCKBURN: Yeah. But I think--I think it's actually the PKK isn't even his main target. It's the parliamentary party, the Kurdish parliamentary party or Kurdish-dominated party called the HDP. Now, the history of this is only in June, last month, this party got 13 percent of the vote. It got about 6 million votes. And this deprived Erdogan, the president of Turkey, of his parliamentary majority. And they're desperate to get that back in a second election. So they kind of need to knock this Kurdish party out of the election by either pretending they're terrorists, actually, they've been calling for peace, or alternatively just putting their leadership in jail, stopping them functioning.
So I think that's probably one of the primary purposes of this whole new war is not the PKK, which the Turks probably know they can't really put out of business with air attacks, but the Kurdish political party, which is much more specific, which took away Erdogan's parliamentary majority.
DESVARIEUX: So do you see Erdogan's decision to join this fight against ISIS as being purely political, then?
COCKBURN: Yes, I think it's very largely political and it's motivated by internal Turkish politics. There are some other things which probably play into it.
DESVARIEUX: Like what, specifically?
COCKBURN: Well, the Kurds in Syria, there are about 2 million-plus Kurds in Syria, about 10 percent of the population. They've been fighting the Islamic State, ISIS, very hard. They've been getting a lot of assistance from U.S. air power. They've been advancing. And they occupy a corner of northeast Syria, but they've been taking positions from Islamic State along that border. It's about 500 miles long, and they've taken about half of it.
Now, the Turkish government sitting in Ankara really didn't like this, the way the Kurds immediately to the side of things, Syria, becoming more and more powerful, were allied to the U.S., and were inflicting a lot of defeats on the Islamic State.
DESVARIEUX: So if the Kurds were so successful in fighting ISIS as you mention in Syria and in Iraq, then if you are really concerned with ISIS's growing influence then this sounds like a bad move, because you're essentially fighting the people that were actually being successful at fighting against ISIS.
COCKBURN: Yeah, there's no doubt. I mean, this has some benefits for Islamic State, which is that suddenly the people they've been fighting, the Syrian Kurds, who are in fact the Syrian branch of the PKK who American and Turkey say are terrorists. So the PKK when they're in Turkey are terrorists, but when they're in Syria they're our brave allies. So that's pretty contradictory.
I guess that the U.S. and the Europeans think that if Turkey genuinely closes the border to Islamic State that's bad news for Islamic State because a lot of these suicide bombers are foreign volunteers who crossed from Turkey into Syria, and the border was famously easy to cross. So they hope that that will weaken them, and will prevent foreign volunteers coming back to countries in Western Europe and planting bombs, and so forth.
But it's not--it's a very messy situation, because the Turks are not really going after Islamic State. They're going after the Kurds. So we suddenly have a whole new war developing in eastern Turkey and along that border, as if the situation wasn't violent enough already.
DESVARIEUX: I'm so glad you mentioned new war, because I want to discuss the position of the United States. They've supported the Syrian branch of the PKK, which you mentioned, but have clearly wanted their close ally Turkey to be part of the conflict in Syria and Iraq. So now with these tensions erupting between the Kurds and the Turks again, are we going to see the U.S. entangling itself in another conflict in the Middle East because of this?
COCKBURN: Well, the U.S. kind of is entangled in it. Why have they done this was, in many ways it just made a messy situation even messier. I think they wanted to use air bases in Turkey to attack Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They're much closer, only about 60 miles from the Syrian border, there's a big one at Incirlik, rather than flying their aircraft from aircraft carriers in the Gulf and Mediterranean and elsewhere. So they had a military reason.
And I think it also, I think they got a big shock when in May they'd been announcing that they're using their air power against Islamic State and stopped Islamic State in its tracks, it wasn't making advances anymore. They got the situation under control. And then two very important things happened. On the 17 of May Ramadi, a big city in western Iraq, was captured by Islamic State. Four days later they took another city in Syria, Palmyra. And this is totally contrary to what the U.S. generals in command there had been saying. So I think they wanted to increase the power of their air campaign, and so they were desperate to use these Turkish bases.
But they're saying this is a game-changer. I sort of doubt it, because with air power alone they could damage Islamic State, they could cause more casualties. But it's not going to defeat Islamic State, given by what's happening, happened over the last year.
DESVARIEUX: All right, Patrick Cockburn, thank you so much for joining us.
COCKBURN: Thank you.
DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
End

The Siege Of Aden (Trailer) Image

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The Siege Of Aden (Trailer)

The Siege Of Aden (Trailer)

Published on Jul 27, 2015
VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh spent two weeks in Yemen’s seaport city of Aden, the focal point of the Yemeni Southern Resistance.
Amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis, enduring the chaos of near-constant shelling and menace of snipers, Dairieh films with refugees, local politicians, and a training camp teaching young Yemenis to continue fighting the Houthi forces.
Watch "Inside War-Torn Yemen: Sanaa Under Attack" - http://bit.ly/1cBKnJ4
Read "Saudi-led Coalition Announces Ceasefire in Yemen Shortly After Airstrike Kills 80" - http://bit.ly/1HUO3RM
Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News
Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.co

Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still Assad Image

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Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still Assad

Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still Assad

With Turkey's announcement that it will fight ISIS, the US will be able to use Turkish bases to fulfill its mission of overthrowing Assad, says Col. Larry Wilkerson - July 29, 2015

Bio
Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."
Transcript
Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still AssadJESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
On Tuesday Turkey called an emergency session of NATO, saying they will be joining the fight against the Islamic State and it will be working with the U.S. to create an ISIS-free safe zone between the border of Syria and Turkey. But in this fight against Terrorism the Turks have included the pro-Kurdish independence group the PKK, which has been one of the most instrumental and effective groups in fighting ISIS. So with all this news, we want to know if the U.S. is entangling itself in another conflict in Turkey without coming much closer to defeating ISIS.
Now joining us to help us answer this question is Larry Wilkerson. He is the former secretary of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and a regular guest on the Real News. Thanks for joining us, Larry.
LARRY WILKERSON, FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: Thanks for having me, Jessica.
DESVARIEUX: So Larry, let's quickly talk about this safe zone. How much of this ISIS-free zone is about ISIS, or how much of this is really about defeating the pro-Kurd, independence Kurdish movement?
WILKERSON: I don't think you'll ever find Erdogan and [Ankara] in general giving up on that goal. But it's important what you said, PKK. That does not have to mean the entire Kurdish nation, as it were. It just means those elements which are terrorist within its midst, or that the Turks consider to be terrorist.
I think this was a combination of things that made Erdogan want to come back into the fold, if you will. He's not been too good a NATO member. And that was beginning to haunt Turkey a bit I think, on the foreign policy, security policy scene. And he's been more or less limited in the recent elections by his significant loss in parliamentary majority. So he had to reconsider things. And I think on the foreign policy scene, as I said, he had to become a more responsible NATO member.
And I think from Ankara's point of view, Erdogan's point of view, he thinks he's gotten both things he needs to do. He's asserting his NATO membership in good fashion, if you will, by going after ISIS. And at the same time he's not foreclosing the option of going after the PKK.
DESVARIEUX: But Larry, if the Kurds were so successful in fighting ISIS, in particular in Syria and in Iraq where Kurdish groups are being seen as the most effective ground troops in the battle against ISIS, is this deal in reality going to actually help defeat ISIS? I mean, essentially if you were so concerned about fighting ISIS why would you then throw your support to a power that is going to be undermining the group that's really been on the front lines?
WILKERSON: I think if Turkey's serious--there are two answers to your question. One is the one I just gave, this is a political solution for Erdogan and we aren't going to see a bit of change on the ground, not really. Or two, he's serious about ISIS and being a responsible NATO member. And if you're talking about forces to oppose ISIS and the most powerful amongst those forces, Turks on the ground would lead the list. Not the PKK, and not the Kurds in general.
So if he's really serious about it and if he's willing to put Turks on the ground to fight ISIS then we've got a different military situation. In fact, I predict we've got one that if he does that, we'll see the end of the formidable aspects, if you will, and I don't think there are too many formidable aspects to ISIS, within the next year. It'll remain to be seen how serious he is, and we'll see if he does in fact create this zone and how big it is. Because if you say the zone's on the border, it could be a kilometer. It could be two kilometers, which is really not much. If it's on the border and it's 30 kilometers or 40 kilometers, or even 50 kilometers, that's serious territory and that's going to require some land forces.
DESVARIEUX: We should also mention that the U.S. has now access to Turkey's bases. Larry, do you think that this deal with Turkey, between Turkey and the United States, is really making it clear that toppling Assad is a higher priority than defeating ISIS? And if so, is this misguided?
WILKERSON: There you've got another issue. And you've struck upon an issue that demonstrates the incredible complexity of this civil war in Syria. Assad was not Mubarak, as I've said many times. He was going nowhere. He has the wealthy on his side, he has the majority of the military on his side, the majority of the business community on his side. Of course the [inaud.] on his side, who will be eradicated probably if he collapses, or at least they think so.
So this is a very complex situation. Assad is powerful, and the only way you're going to bring him down is if you do have some really other powerful entities going after him. And I'm sorry, but Saudi Arabia and people like that are simply not enough. Ankara could be enough. So you struck another dimension of this conflict that heightens its complexity. What is Erdogan's ultimate purpose? He hates Assad. He'd love to bring him down. Is that why he's doing this?
DESVARIEUX: And is it misguided, essentially though, too, Larry? Are we putting a lot of emphasis now on toppling Assad as opposed to even saying let's start to think about negotiations with Assad? Are we now just going all in and saying it's all about overthrowing Assad with this move?
WILKERSON: That's a tremendous question. I think you may be right. If you are right, I think it's a strategic disaster because I think the only way you're going to end the civil war in a fashion that accommodates multiple interests, which is an absolute necessity, is by accepting some sort of political solution that keep Assad around for a while. I don't see any other solution that is all-encompassing like that.
The other aspect is if you take Assad out, if you take him out dramatically as we did Saddam Hussein, be careful what you wish for. You may get it. What replaces Assad may be ten times worse than Assad.
So this is not a very smart decision if what you've said is true. What I've suggested about the complexity is true, that we're really after Assad.
DESVARIEUX: All right. Larry Wilkerson joining us from Falls Church, Virginia. Thank you so much for being with us.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Jessica.
DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
End

United state

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Sandra Bland death: Texas police release new CCTV - BBC News Image

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Sandra Bland death: Texas police release new CCTV - BBC News

Sandra Bland death: Texas police release new CCTV - BBC News

Published on Jul 29, 2015
Texas police have released video footage of Sandra Bland in custody, showing her movements before she was found dead in her cell.
The footage shows her arriving at the jail, filling out forms and making a phone call. The BBC's David Willis says police hope that the release of the images will quash conspiracy theories about her death.

USA: NYPD officers brutally arrest black male Image

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USA: NYPD officers brutally arrest black male

USA: NYPD officers brutally arrest black male

Published on Jul 28, 2015
Mobile phone footage captured several New York police officers violently detaining a man in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday. The officers, from the New York Police Department's (NYPD) 70th Precinct, can be seen repeatedly punching the man and kneeing him in the head whilst other officers hold him down.
Video Courtesy of: Michael Rolland

WW3 Granted A Clear Path By Obama Image

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WW3 Granted A Clear Path By Obama

WW3 Granted A Clear Path By Obama

Published on Jul 18, 2015
Media spin fail artist Susan Rice has done it once again. You may recall how Rice declared on five mainstream media interview shows that the Benghazi attack was a result of rioting due to the horribly produced and nefarious film “Innocence Of The Muslims”. Ms. Rice has stepped in it again. This admission opens up the floodgates to scathing criticism of the highly unpopular deal the Obama Administration, NATO dubbed a “Historic Breakthrough”, made with Iran. Over 100 Billion dollars worth of frozen Iranian assets are to be thawed due to the deal that has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deeming it a “Historic Mistake”. The possibility the thawed resources pose to fund terrorism in the region and ignite a whole new stage of middle east conflict is staggering.
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  • Cellphones, wireless devices connected to cancer - study
    Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters By http://www.rt.com/usa/ Radiation emitted from wireless devices can cause a metabolic imbalance in users, which can lead to various health risks including cancer and neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study.TagsGizmos, Health, Information TechnologyA review article -- “Oxidative Mechanisms of Biological Activity of Low-intensity Radiofrequency Radiation" -- published this month in Electromagnetic Biology & Medicine collected available, peer-reviewed experimental data on "oxidative effects of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in living cells."Such a metabolic imbalance, or oxidative stress, is “an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defense," according to co-author Dr. Igor Yakymenko.Oxidative stress from repeated RFR exposure is linked to cancer and other ailments, the study posited.“These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health,” Yakymenko said.The study, done by American and Ukrainian scientists, "indicates that among 100 currently available peer-reviewed studies dealing with oxidative effects of low-intensity RFR, in general, 93 confirmed that RFR induces oxidative effects in biological systems.""Ordinary wireless radiation" could trigger ROS production in cells, the study said. New York Daily News✔@NYDailyNewsThe scientists were right — your cellphone can give you cancer. http://nydn.us/1DbLzQr8:36 PM - 30 Jul 2015 Yakymenko said that cellphone use for 20 minutes a day for five years can boost the risk of one type of brain tumor by three times, while using a cellphone for an hour a day for four years and increase the risk of certain tumors by three to five times.The National Cancer Institute in the United States estimated that about 23,400 new cases of primary malignant brain and central nervous system cancers were diagnosed in 2014 across the US.Yakymenko also cautioned that brain and related cancers can take as many as 30 years to develop.The "data were obtained on adults who used cell phones mostly up to 10 years as adults,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. “The situation can dramatically differ for children who use cells phone in childhood, when their biology much more sensitive to hazardous factors, and will use it over the life.”READ MORE: Nearly 200 scientists warn of cellphone health risksSkeptics emphasized that the new study is a "meta-study," or one that is a compilation of many other reviews. The larger study, in turn, inherits any and all inadequacies of those evaluations, including possible inaccuracies in study-participant reporting, recall bias, and changes in technology.Links between cellphone use and cancer have cropped up over the years, especially as cellphone use has increased. In the United States, for example, use tripled from 2000 to 2010, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.Allegations of such links are fueled by cellphones' emission of non-ionizing radiation via radio waves and the body's absorption of this kind of energy.In 2011, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said cellphone usage is "possibly carcinogenic" following a review of all available scientific evidence on the topic. The 31 IARC scientists that took part in the review said more research was needed to arrive at a more definite conclusion.Specifically, IARC found an increased risk for glioma, a brain cancer, associated with cellphone use. After IARC's report, Cancer Research UK pointed out that there are known "weaknesses" to studies that the likes of IARC took into account. In 2014, Cancer Research UK said "it seems unlikely that using a mobile phone can cause brain tumours, particularly as lab research hasn’t shown a biological way this could happen."The organization, though, added that there still "isn’t enough good evidence to say with absolute confidence that no risk exists."The National Cancer Institute in the US has also expressed doubts about any cancer-cellphone links."Although there have been some concerns that radiofrequency energy from cell phones held closely to the head may affect the brain and other tissues, to date there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radiofrequency energy can cause cancer," the sub-agency of the National Institutes of Health said in 2013."It is generally accepted that damage to DNA is necessary for cancer to develop. However, radiofrequency energy, unlike ionizing radiation, does not cause DNA damage in cells, and it has not been found to cause cancer in animals or to enhance the cancer-causing effects of known chemical carcinogens in animals." Dr. Mallika Marshall @mallikamarshallRT @CBSHealth Should #cellphones come with #health warnings?http://cbsn.ws/1D66vIb2:27 PM - 28 Jul 2015 In May, a group of nearly 200 biological and health scientists from around the world urged the World Health Organization and governments to take precautions that address cellphones' links to cancer.“Putting it bluntly they are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely,” said Dr. Martin Blank, from the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University.“We have created something that is harming us, and it is getting out of control. Before Edison’s light bulb there was very little electromagnetic radiation in our environment. The levels today are very many times higher than natural background levels, and are growing rapidly because of all the new devices that emit this radiation.”Next month in Berkeley, California, a Right to Know ordinance will go into effect requiring cellphone sales outlets to offer customers a handout or display a sign informing of federal guidelines regarding how much radiation cellphones can emit, as well as safety instructions for safe cellphone use.   
  • Assange: the untold story of an epic struggle for justice
    By John Pilge http://johnpilger.com The siege of Knightsbridge is both an emblem of gross injustice and a gruelling farce. For three years, a police cordon around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. It has cost £12 million. The quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His "crime" is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.The persecution of Julian Assange is about to flare again as it enters a dangerous stage. From August 20, three quarters of the Swedish prosecutor's case against Assange regarding sexual misconduct in 2010 will disappear as the statute of limitations expires. At the same time Washington's obsession with Assange and WikiLeaks has intensified. Indeed, it is vindictive American power that offers the greatest threat - as Chelsea Manning and those still held in Guantanamo can attest.The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up, and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks continues to expose criminal activity by the US, having just published top secret US intercepts - US spies' reports detailing private phone calls of the presidents of France and Germany, and other senior officials, relating to internal European political and economic affairs.None of this is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as "part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal". In 2012, the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama boasted on its website that he had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had pronounced the whistleblower guilty. He was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, having been tortured during his long pre-trial detention.Few doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. Threats of the capture and assassination of Assange became the currency of the political extremes in the US following Vice-President Joe Biden's preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a "cyber-terrorist". Those doubting the degree of ruthlessness Assange can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president's plane in 2013 - wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.According to documents released by Snowden, Assange is on a "Manhunt target list". Washington's bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is "unprecedented in scale and nature". In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has spent five years attempting to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy. The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers.Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the US Justice Department has contrived charges of "espionage", "conspiracy to commit espionage", "conversion" (theft of government property), "computer fraud and abuse" (computer hacking) and general "conspiracy". The Espionage Act has life in prison and death penalty provisions.Assange's ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the US declaring his case a state secret. In March, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the "national security" investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was "active and ongoing" and would harm the "pending prosecution" of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rosthstein, said it was necessary to show "appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security". Such is the "justice" of a kangaroo court.The supporting act in this grim farce is Sweden, played by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny refused to comply with a routine European procedure routine that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case. For four and a half years, Ny has never properly explained why she has refused to come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US.Contrary to its 1960s reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA "renditions" - including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had flown to Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan - in which Sweden had forces under US command."Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England," wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers facing Assange, "clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights."Why hasn't the Swedish prosecutor resolved the Assange case? Many in the legal community in Sweden believe her behaviour inexplicable. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: "Go to London, for God's sake."Why hasn't she? More to the point, why won't she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won't she hand them over to Assange's Swedish lawyers? She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn't she question him? And if she did question him, the conditions she would demand of him and his lawyers - that they could not challenge her - would make injustice a near certainty.On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This will now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages will destroy her case against Assange. One of the messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, "but the police were keen on getting a hold on him". She was "shocked" when they arrested him because she only "wanted him to take [an HIV] test". She "did not want to accuse JA of anything" and "it was the police who made up the charges". (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".)Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, "I have not been raped." That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident - whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga which blights the reputation of Sweden itself.For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, the Swedish police opened a "rape investigation" and immediately - and unlawfully - told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange's arrest for the "rape of two women". This was the news that went round the world.In Washington, a smiling US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the arrest "sounds like good news to me". Twitter accounts associated with the Pentagon described Assange as a "rapist" and a "fugitive".Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, "I don't believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape." Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, "There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever." The file was closed.Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden's imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor's dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, "Ah, but she is not a lawyer." Assange's Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, "This is a laughing stock... it's as if they make it up as they go along."On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden's military intelligence service - which has the acronym MUST -- publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled "WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers." Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be "cut off" if Sweden sheltered him.For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the new investigation to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq "War Logs", based on WikiLeaks' disclosures, which Assange was to oversee. His lawyer in Stockholm asked Ny if she had any objection to his leaving the country. She said he was free to leave.Inexplicably, as soon as he left Sweden - at the height of media and public interest in the WikiLeaks disclosures - Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol "red alert" normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals. Put out in five languages around the world, it ensured a media frenzy.Assange attended a police station in London, was arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court. He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned by Ny in London, pointing out that she had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used for that purpose. She refused.Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: "The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction... The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?"This question remained unanswered as Ny deployed the European Arrest Warrant, a draconian and now discredited product of the "war on terror" supposedly designed to catch terrorists and organised criminals. The EAW had abolished the obligation on a petitioning state to provide any evidence of a crime. More than a thousand EAWs are issued each month; only a few have anything to do with potential "terror" charges. Most are issued for trivial offences, such as overdue bank charges and fines. Many of those extradited face months in prison without charge. There have been a number of shocking miscarriages of justice, of which British judges have been highly critical.The Assange case finally reached the UK Supreme Court in May 2012. In a judgement that upheld the EAW - whose rigid demands had left the courts almost no room for manoeuvre - the judges found that European prosecutors could issue extradition warrants in the UK without any judicial oversight, even though Parliament intended otherwise. They made clear that Parliament had been "misled" by the Blair government. The court was split, 5-2, and consequently found against Assange.However, the Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, made one mistake. He applied the Vienna Convention on treaty interpretation, allowing for state practice to override the letter of the law. As Assange's barrister, Dinah Rose QC, pointed out, this did not apply to the EAW.The Supreme Court only recognised this crucial error when it dealt with another appeal against the EAW in November 2013. The Assange decision had been wrong, but it was too late to go back. With extradition imminent, the Swedish prosecutor told Assange's lawyers that Assange, once in Sweden, would be immediately placed in one of Sweden's infamous remand prisons.Assange's choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the US, or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety. Supported by most of Latin America, the courageous government of Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence and legal advice that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the US; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington. The Labor government of prime minister Julia Gillard had even threatened to take away his passport.Gareth Peirce, the renowned human rights lawyer who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: "Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions... it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged."It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew "only what I read in the newspapers" about the details of the case.Meanwhile, the prospect of a grotesque miscarriage of justice was drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks were aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, to freedom of speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious.Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive. The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, "one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years". It became part of his marketing plan to raise the newspaper's cover price.With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book's authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a "damaged personality" and "callous". They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that "Scotland Yard may get the last laugh".The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act to prevent the misuse of the EAW. The draconian catch-all used against him could not happen now; charges would have to be brought and "questioning" would be insufficient grounds for extradition. "His case has been won lock, stock and barrel," Gareth Peirce told me, "these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit." In other words, the change in the UK law in 2014 mean that Assange would have won his case and he would not have been forced to take refuge.Ecuador's decision to protect Assange in 2012 bloomed into a major international affair. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ecuador's decision. Ignoring international law, the Cameron government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. Instead, Ecuador's embassy was placed under siege and its government abused with a series of ultimatums. When William Hague's Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down. During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.Since then, Julian Assange has been confined to a small room under Ecuador's protection, without sunlight or space to exercise, surrounded by police under orders to arrest him on sight. For three years, Ecuador has made clear to the Swedish prosecutor that Assange is available to be questioned in the London embassy, and for three years she has remained intransigent. In the same period Sweden has questioned forty-four people in the UK in connection with police investigations. Her role, and that of the Swedish state, is demonstrably political; and for Ny, facing retirement in two years, she must "win".In despair, Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in the Swedish courts. His lawyers have cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights that he has been under arbitrary, indefinite detention and that he had been a virtual prisoner for longer than any actual prison sentence he might face. The Court of Appeal judge agreed with Assange's lawyers: the prosecutor had indeed breached her duty by keeping the case suspended for years. Another judge issued a rebuke to the prosecutor. And yet she defied the court.Last December, Assange took his case to the Swedish Supreme Court, which ordered Marianne Ny's boss - the Prosecutor General of Sweden Anders Perklev - to explain. The next day, Ny announced, without explanation, that she had changed her mind and would now question Assange in London.In his submission to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General made some important concessions: he argued that the coercion of Assange had been "intrusive" and that that the period in the embassy has been a "great strain" on him. He even conceded that if the matter had ever come to prosecution, trial, conviction and serving a sentence in Sweden, Julian Assange would have left Sweden long ago.In a split decision, one Supreme Court judge argued that the arrest warrant should have been revoked. The majority of the judges ruled that, since the prosecutor had now said she would go to London, Assange's arguments had become "moot". But the Court ruled that it would have found against the prosecutor if she had not suddenly changed her mind. Justice by caprice. Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as"abnormal" and demanded that she be replaced.Having said she would go to London in June, Ny did not go, but sent a deputy, knowing that the questioning would not be legal under these circumstances, especially as Sweden had not bothered to get Ecuador's approval for the meeting. At the same time, her office tipped off the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, which sent its London correspondent to wait outside Ecuador's embassy for "news". The news was that Ny was cancelling the appointment and blaming Ecuador for the confusion and by implication an "uncooperative" Assange - when the opposite was true.As the statute of limitations date approaches - 20 August 2015 - another chapter in this hideous story will doubtless unfold, with Marianne Ny pulling yet another rabbit out of her hat and the commissars and prosecutors in Washington the beneficiaries. Perhaps none of this is surprising. In 2008, a war on WikiLeaks and on Julian Assange was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the "Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch". It described a detailed plan to destroy the feeling of "trust" which is WikiLeaks' "centre of gravity". This would be achieved with threats of "exposure [and] criminal prosecution". Silencing and criminalising such a rare source of truth-telling was the aim, smear the method. While this scandal continues the very notion of justice is diminished, along with the reputation of Sweden, and the shadow of America's menace touches us all. For important additional information, click on the following links:   http://justice4assange.com/extraditing-assange.html   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/assange-could-face-espionage-trial-in-us-2154107.html   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ImXe_EQhUI   https://justice4assange.com/Timeline.html   http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/wikileaks_doj_05192014.pdf   https://wikileaks.org/59-International-Organizations.html   https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1202703/doj-letter-re-wikileaks-6-19-14.pdf   http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/23/julian-assange-ecuador-and-sweden-in-tense-standoff-over-interview?CMP=twt_gu   http://assangeinsweden.com/2015/03/17/the-prosecutor-in-the-assange-case-should-be-replaced   https://justice4assange.com/Prosecutor-cancels-Assange-meeting.html  
  • A Killer-Diller: GMO Soy makes Formaldehyde in our Gut
    By : F. William Engdahl "http://journal-neo.org" Of course only very pathologically damaged mothers would ever knowingly feed their family formaldehyde. But that’s precisely what hundreds of millions of families are unknowingly doing around the world every day. A brilliant new scientific experiment has proven in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal, Agricultural Sciences, that human consumption of GMO soy creates a cumulative toxic effect: the accumulation of formaldehyde in the body, along with a dramatic reduction of a specific anti-oxidant essential to detoxify cells. For humans or animals, eating GMO soy is tantamount to drinking a toxic cocktail.The study was carried out by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, an MIT-trained systems biologist, who used CytoSolve, a new systems biology method to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments, from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries. The study revealed that there was a dramatic accumulation of formaldehyde, a known Class 1 carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, in GMO soybeans and soy products. Not good…What the study opens in a dramatic way is the urgency of a fundamental recalibration of the entire United States and EU testing procedure now used by the US and EU government agencies when they make a decision that a given GMO seed–Monsanto GMO corn or Syngenta GMO soybean or any other–is safe for human or animal consumption.The study has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural Sciences. It uses modern computational systems biology methods to reveal that genetically engineered soy (the GMO tested) creates significant disruption to the levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and to glutathione, an important anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification. A group of medical doctors and scientists reviewing Ayyadurai’s study noted, “The computational results suggest substantial difference in concentrations of formaldehyde and glutathione in the genetically engineered soybean (GMO) tissues. These significant changes in key biomarker concentrations could cause deleterious biological impacts. The…results reveal how a ‘small,’ single recombinant DNA event may create ‘large,’ unpredictable, systemic perturbations to molecular systems equilibria. In light of such changes, it is clear to say that GMOs and non-GMOS may not always be ‘substantially equivalent.’Substantially equivalent?How does the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for assuring the safety of the food we eat, currently test GMO seeds before certifying them as safe for humans? Well, it doesn’t test them at all. Run that by again slowly, you say? Not at all? How can this be?In 1992, President George H. W. Bush held a closed-door White House meeting with the top leadership of Monsanto, the world’s largest GMO purveyor and maker of the world’s best-selling weed-killed paired by contract to all its GMO seeds. At that White House meeting Bush agreed to the Monsanto request that there be no intrusive independent government tests of the health and safety of its GMO seeds. The US President agreed to impose something known as the Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence as the sole “test,” supplemented by test results supplied by Monsanto or other GMO companies.What criterion do the government agencies apply to GMO products under the Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence? Simply, they compare if the GMO corn ear looks like a non-GMO corn ear; if it smells like a non-GMO corn ear; if it tastes like a non-GMO corn ear; if it feels like… In short, there are no US FDA or US Department of Agriculture health and safety tests. It would suggest that Monsanto and other GMO agribusiness giants might not want genuine transparent testing of their GMOs for very good reason. They have something very ugly to hide.Since 1992, through four different presidents—Bush Sr., Clinton, ‘Baby’ Bush, Obama—that Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence has never been altered. To make certain it is not, Monsanto former Vice President, Michael R. Taylor, was named by President Obama to be FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods. Taylor has had a long career covering up for Monsanto. In an earlier stint at the FDA under President G.W.H. Bush in 1991, Taylor, then Deputy Commissioner for Policy, signed the Federal Register notice stating that milk from cows treated with Monsanto BGH growth hormones did not have to be labeled as such. He also co-authored the FDA 1992 policy statement on genetically engineered plant foods that established Monsanto’s desired Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence.Dr. Ray Seidler, a former senior Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency, commenting on the new study stressed, “The discovery reported by Dr. Ayyadurai reveals a new molecular paradigm associated with genetic engineering that will require research to discover why, and how much formaldehyde and glutathione concentration, and what other cellular chemicals relevant to human and animal health, are altered. We need the kinds of standards Dr. Ayyadurai demands to conduct such research.”Seidler continued, “Formaldehyde is a known class-1 carcinogen. Its elevated presence in soybeans caused by a common genetic engineering event is alarming and deserves immediate attention and action from the FDA and the Obama administration. Soy is widely grown and consumed in the US, including by infants fed baby food products, with 94% of soy grown here being genetically engineered.”Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant. It’s also used for preservation of biological specimens, and for the embalming of human remains. It is commonly used in nail hardeners and nail varnish. In September 2007, the European Union banned the use of formaldehyde due to its carcinogenic properties as a biocide, including embalming, under the Biocidal Products Directive (98/8/EC). Now it’s being quietly produced in the consumption of GMO soy by EU citizens and animals fed imported GMO soy “power feed,” which is the vast majority of cattle and pigs in the EU today.To stress, because of the Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence approved by President Bush Sr. at the request of Monsanto ince 1992, almost 100% of all soybeans grown in the USA is GMO and produced highly toxic Class 1 carcinogen, formaldehyde in the body of the human or animal.The USA today is the world’s leading producer and exporter of soybeans and soy meal used around the world in “high-protein” animal feed mixes, or for direct human consumption. The world’s second largest soybean grower, Argentina, since the corrupt President Carlos Menem gave Monsanto exclusive growing rights in the 1990’s, is today almost 100% GMO. The third major grower, Brazil, is 85% GMO soy.This means, simply put, if you are one of hundreds of millions in the EU, USA or even China, who consumes soybeans either as milk substitute or as a food, you are eating a substance that is creating cumulative formaldehyde in your system and at the same time, dramatically lessening the needed production of the vital anti-oxidant that we need to detoxify our cells. As the late great singer, guitarist and song-writer, Bo Diddley, would say, eating GMO soy is a real “killer-diller.”F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.  
  • Iranian City Approaches Record for World's Hottest Day
    By http://sputniknews.com Residents of the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshar were eager to reach a deal that would give them relief from the heat Thursday, when the air there felt like 154 degrees, factoring in the humidity.The actual air temperature was 109 degrees with a dew point temperature of 90, the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang reported."Bandar Mahshahr sits adjacent to the Persian Gulf in southwest Iran where water temperatures are in the 90s. Such high temperatures lead to some of the most oppressive humidity levels in the world when winds blow off the water," wrote Jason Samenow, of the Post. Ryan Maue @RyanMaue50°C (122°F) + stations Thursday:ORMM (Bashrah Iraq) 51°CKQTZ (Baghdad Iraq) 50°C6:19 PM - 30 Jul 2015 The highest known heat index ever recorded, according to weather historian Christopher Burt, is in the 155-160 degree range.In his book "Extreme Weather," Burt says Dharhan, Saudi Arabia, also on the Persian Gulf, logged a heat index of around 155-160 degrees on July 8, 2003. Its air temperature was 108 degrees, with a dew point of 95. Iran is not the only country to be subjected to punishing temperatures in the Middle East, where humidity has paired with a suffocating heat wave.Also on Thursday, Baghdad hit 122 degrees, although the dew point was a lowly 44 considering the desert environment. That combination produced a heat index of 115, the Post reported.
  • The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
    By http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42501.htm By Mike Whitney July 30, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch" -  The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so. Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility,  they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites. Just take a look at these two tweets from CNN Turkey on Saturday and you’ll see what’s going on under the radar:     @CNNTURK_ENG:    #BREAKING Sources tell CNN Türk last night Turkish jets made 159 sorties against #PKK camps in N.Iraq&hit 400 targetspic.twitter.com/oGVJmKsGbs    @CNNTURK_ENG:    #BREAKING Sources tell CNN Türk last night there was no air strike against #ISIS, targets were hit by tank fire near #Kilis.    (The tweets first appeared at Moon of Alabama)Repeat: 159 air attacks on Kurdish positions and ZERO on ISIS targets. And the media wants us to believe that Turkey has joined Obama’s war on ISIS?The Turks know who they’re bombing. They are bombing their 30-year long enemy, the Kurds.  Here’s more on the topic from Telesur:    “A decades-old conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK has been reignited. Turkey vowed Saturday to continue attacks against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), along with strikes against the Islamic State group.    “The operations will continue for as long as threats against Turkey continue,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.    Ankara also confirmed it carried out airstrikes against PKK sites in Iraq. While Davutoglu said any organizations that “threaten” Turkey would be targeted in a crackdown on militants, on Friday President Tayyip Erdogan said the PKK would be the main focus of attacks.”  (“Turkey Says More Anti-PKK Strikes to Come“, Telesur)Repeat: “Erdogan said the PKK would be the main focus of attacks.”For Washington, it’s all a question of priorities. While the Kurds have been good friends and steadfast allies,  they don’t have a spanking-new air base for launching attacks on Syria. Turkey, on the other hand, has a great base (Incirlik ) that’s much closer to the frontlines and just perfect for launching multiple sorties, drone attacks or routine surveillance fly-overs.  The only glitch, of course, is that Washington will have to bite its tongue while a former ally is beaten to a pulp. That’s a price that Obama is more than willing to pay provided he can use the airfield to prosecute his war.It’s worth noting, that Turkey’s relationship with jihadi groups in Syria is a matter of great concern, mainly because Turkey appears to be the terrorists biggest benefactor.  Check this out from Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:    “Naturally, one has to ask who fathered, breastfed and nourished these Islamist terrorists in hopes and aspirations of creating a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Khalifat state? Even when Kobane and many Turkish cities were on fire, did not the Turkish prime minister talk in his interview with CNN about his readiness to order land troops into the Syrian quagmire if Washington agreed to also target al-Assad?    This is a dirty game….” (Editorial, “Kobane and Turkey are Burning“, Hurriyet Daily News)And here’s more from author Nafeez Ahmed:    “With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.”  (“How the West Created the Islamic State“, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch)Then there’s this from USA Today:    “Militants have funneled weapons and fighters through Turkey into Syria. The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, have networks in Turkey….    Turkish security and intelligence services may have ties to Islamic State militants. The group released 46 Turkish diplomats it had abducted the day before the United States launched airstrikes against it. Turkey, a NATO member, may have known the airstrikes were about to begin and pressured its contacts in the Islamic State to release its diplomats.    “This implies Turkey has more influence or stronger ties to ISIS than people would think,” Tanir said.” (“5 reasons Turkey isn’t attacking Islamic State in Syria”, USA Today)The media would like people to believe that the bombing in Suruc changed everything; that Erdogan and his fellows suddenly saw the light and decided that, well, maybe we shouldn’t be supporting these ISIS thugs after all. But that’s just baloney. The only one who’s changed his mind about anything is Obama who seems to have realized that his takfiri proxy-warriors aren’t ruthless enough to remove Assad, so he’s decided to team up with Sultan Erdogan instead.  That means Erdogan gets a green light to butcher as many Kurds as he wants in exchange for boots on the ground to topple Assad. That’s the deal, although, at present, the politicians are denying it. Now check out this blurb from Foreign Policy “Situation Report”:    “The nominee to be the next commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, didn’t really get off to a great start in his relationship with Senate Armed Services Committee chief Sen. John McCain. The general drew the ire of the Arizona lawmaker by telling the panel on Thursday that the Islamic State is essentially fighting to a draw in Iraq and Syria. McCain took the opportunity and ran with it, telling the Iraq vet that “I’m very disappointed in a number of your answers,” on the Islamic State, promising to send along more questions to push the general on his views. It was an unexpected ending to what had been a hum-drum confirmation hearing, and if McCain wants to press the issue, it could hold up a vote on Neller’s confirmation until after the August congressional recess.” (Situation Report“, ForeignPolicy.com)The point is, the Big Brass is telling US policymakers that ISIS  is not going to win the war, which means that Assad is going to stay in power.  That’s why Obama has moved on to Plan B and thrown his lot with Erdogan, because the Pentagon bigshots finally realize they’re going to need boots on the ground if they want regime change in Syria. But “whose boots”, that’s the question?Not U.S. boots, that’s for sure. Americans have had it up to here with war and are not likely to support another bloody fiasco in the Middle East. That’s where Erdogan comes into the picture. Washington wants Turkey to do the heavy lifting while the US provides logistical support and air cover. That’s the basic gameplan. Naturally, the media can’t explain what’s really going on or it would blow Obama’s cover. But who doesn’t know that this whole campaign is aimed at removing Assad? You’d have to be living in a cave for the last three years not to know that.The bottom line is that Erdogan has three demands. He wants a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border to protect Turkey from ISIS and Kurdish attacks.  He wants a no-fly zone over all or parts of Syria. And he wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power.  That’s what he wants and that’s what Obama has agreed to (as part of the Incirlik deal ) although the media is refuting the claim.   To help explain what’s going on, take a look at this article in  Reuters that was written back in October, 2014. Here’s an excerpt:    “Turkey will fight against Islamic State and other “terrorist” groups in the region but will stick to its aim of seeing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday…    “We will (also) continue to prioritise our aim to remove the Syrian regime, to help protect the territorial integrity of Syria and to encourage a constitutional, parliamentary government system which embraces all (of its) citizens.”…    But it (Turkey) fears that U.S.-led air strikes, if not accompanied by a broader political strategy, could strengthen Assad and bolster Kurdish militants allied to Kurds in Turkey who have fought for three decades for greater autonomy.    “Tons of air bombs will only delay the threat and danger,” Erdogan said…..    We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it.” (“Turkey will fight Islamic State, wants Assad gone: President Erdogan“, Reuters)That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?  Either the US helps Turkey get rid of Assad or there’s no deal. The Turkish president’s right-hand man, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said the same thing  in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in February, 2015. Here’s an excerpt from the article:    “Turkey would be willing to put its troops on the ground in Syria “if others do their part,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Monday.    “We are ready to do everything if there is a clear strategy that after ISIS, we can be sure that our border will be protected. We don’t want the regime anymore on our border pushing people against — towards Turkey. We don’t want other terrorist organizations to be active there.”…    He said that American airstrikes in Syria were necessary but not enough for a victory.    “If ISIS goes, another radical organization may come in,” he said. “So our approach should be comprehensive, inclusive, strategic and combined …  to eliminate all brutal crimes against humanity committed by the regime.”    “We want to have a no-fly zone. We want to have a safe haven on our border. Otherwise, all these burdens will continue to go on the shoulder of Turkey and other neighboring countries.”…    Turkey is trying to dispel the idea that the United States can become involved in Syria by going after ISIS but not al-Assad.” (“Turkey willing to put troops in Syria ‘if others do their part,’ Prime Minister says“, CNN)Repeat: “Turkey would be willing to put its troops on the ground in Syria”, but Assad’s got to go. That’s the trade-off. Davutoglu has since backed off on this demand, but the basic deal hasn’t changed.  Leaders in the US and Turkey have just decided to be more discreet about what they tell the press. But the plan is moving forward.  For example, officials from the Obama administration have denied that they will provide a no-fly zone over Syria.  According to the New York Times, however, the US has agreed to create an “Islamic State-free zone” or “safe zone… controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents.”   (“Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS“, New York Times)So the question is: Will the US provide air cover over this “Islamic State-free zone”?Yes, it will.Will Assad send his warplanes into this zone?No, he won’t. He’d be crazy to do so.Okay. Then what the US has created is a no-fly zone, right?  And this actually applies to all of Syria as well, now that US warplanes and drones are less than 500 miles from Damascus. The Incirlik deal means that the US will control the skies over Syria. Period. Here’s more from the Times trying to occlude the obvious details:    “American officials say that this plan is not directed against Mr. Assad. They also say that while a de facto safe zone could indeed be a byproduct of the plan, a formal no-fly zone is not part of the deal. They said it was not included in the surprise agreement reached last week to let American warplanes take off from Turkish air bases to attack Islamic State fighters in Syria, even though Turkey had long said it would give that permission only in exchange for a no-fly zone…..” (“Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS”, New York Times)What does this gibberish mean in English?  It means that, yes, the US has created a no-fly zone over Syria, but, no,  the administration’s public relations doesn’t want to talk about it because then they’d have to admit that Obama caved in to Turkish demands. Got that?And just to show that the NYT hasn’t lost its sense of humor, here’s more in the same vein:    “American officials in recent months have argued to Turkish counterparts that a formal no-fly zone is not necessary, noting that during hundreds of American-led strike missions against Islamic State in Syria, forces loyal to Mr. Assad have steered clear of areas under concerted allied attack….” (NYT)In other words, “American officials” are telling Erdogan that  ‘We don’t need to call this a no-fly zone, because once the F-16s start circling the skies over Damascus, Assad will get the message pretty quick.’Can you believe that they would publish such circular palavering in the nation’s top newspaper?And the same is true with the massive expropriation of Syrian sovereign territory, which the US and Turkey breezily refer to as  an “Islamic State-free zone”.  This just proves that Obama caved in to another one of Erdogan’s three demands, the demand for a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border. Not surprisingly, this blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty hasn’t even raised an eyebrow at the United Nations where delegates have gotten so used to Washington’s erratic behavior that they don’t even pay attention anymore.By the way, this issue of setting up buffer zones, shouldn’t be taken lightly. As State Department spokesman Mark Toner opined just weeks ago, “We’d essentially be opening the door to the dissolution of the Syrian nation-state.”Indeed, isn’t that the point? Aside from the fact, that these “protected areas” will be used as launching grounds for attacks on the central government, they’ll also become autonomous regions consistent with the US strategy to redraw the map of the Middle East by breaking Iraq and Syria into smaller, tribal-governed cantons incapable of challenging regional hegemon, Israel, or global superpower, the US.  Author Thomas Gaist provides a little background on this phenom in a post at the World Socialist Web Site:    “In a brief published Tuesday, “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war,” the Brookings Institution detailed the application of this neocolonial strategy in Syria….The Brookings report argued that a “comprehensive, national-level solution” is no longer possible, and called for the carving out of “autonomous zones.”    “The only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria,” the report argued. The US and its allies should seek “to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria.”    This “confederal Syria” would be composed of “highly autonomous zones,” the report said, and would be supported militarily by the deployment of US-NATO forces into the newly carved-out occupation areas, including deployment of “multilateral support teams, grounded in special forces detachments and air-defense capabilities.”    “Past collaboration with extremist elements of the insurgency would not itself be viewed as a scarlet letter,” the Brookings report argued, making clear the extremist militant groups which have served as US proxy forces against the Assad government will not be excluded from the new partition of Syria.” (“Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria“, Thomas Gaist, World Socialist Web Site)Isn’t this precisely the strategy that is unfolding in Syria and Iraq today?Of course, it is. Everything you’ve been reading about “Islamic State-free zones”, “safety zones”, or “no-fly zones”  is lies. I won’t even dignify it by calling it propaganda. It’s not. It’s 100 percent, unalloyed bullshit. Just like the idea that this new buffer zone (carved out of Syrian territory) is going to be administered by “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents”. (which is the NYT’s new innocuous-sounding sobriquet for al-Qaida terrorists.)  That’s another lie that’s intended to divert attention from the real plan, which is the Turkish occupation of Syrian territory consistent with Erdogan’s and Davutoglu’s commitment to put boots on the ground if the US agrees to their demands. Which Obama has, although the media denies it.The US is not going to entrust this captured territory to “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents”, because as Gen. Robert Neller already admitted to McCain, the jihadis aren’t winning.  In other words, the jihadi plan is a flop. That’s what this whole Turkey-US alliance-thing is all about. It is a major shift in the fundamental policy. There’s going to be a ground invasion, and the Turks are going to supply the troops. It’s only a matter of time. Here’s how analyst Gaist sums it up:    “Having failed to remove Assad using proxy militia forces alone, Washington is now contemplating the direct invasion of Syria by outside military forces for the purpose of carving out a large area of the country to be subsequently occupied by US and NATO troops. Plans for a new imperialist division of Syria and the broader Middle East have been brewing within the US ruling elite for decades.”  (“Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria“, Thomas Gaist, World Socialist Web Site)Naturally, Obama’s not going to tell the media what he’s up to. But that’s the plan.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 fergiewhitney@msn.com.
  • Gen. Dempsey: Obama Ignored My “Military Advice” On Iran Nuke Deal and Sanctions [Video]
      By http://rightwingnews.com/iran   30 Jul, 2015 by Terresa Monroe-Hamilto  He doesn’t even listen to those he hand-picked to do his bidding. He has nothing but disdain for our military and despises them in the extreme. He has never taken our leaders’ advice and I wouldn’t expect him to do so on Iran. He doesn’t care how the deal hurts America or puts the world in danger, he cares about appeasing the Mullahs, plain and simple. Dempsey is exiting stage Left and I bet it can’t be soon enough for him. This presidency will go down as the most disastrous foreign policy experiment ever for the United States. And the results of this monstrous capitulation are to die for. From Weasel Zippers:Via Grabien:AYOTTE: “Just to be clear, when you came before the committee then you said under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran on those issues. So was it your military recommendation that we not agree to lifting of those sanctions?”DEMPSEY: “Yes. And I used the phrase “As long as possible.” And then that was the point at which the negotiation continued. But, yes, that was my military advice.”I’m not a big Kelly Ayotte fan, but good for her on this one. Dempsey just came right out and said that Obama did not follow his military advice on Iran and sanctions on the nuke deal. Not that it will matter. There is a paragraph in the secret Iranian side deal, paragraph 36, I believe, that gives any future president or Iran an out on this deal with 35 days notice. That means that Iran can take the deal, get $150 to 200 billion and then nix the agreement whenever they choose to do so. This was never a valid agreement, it was meant to give money to the Iranians so they could finish what they started – their nuclear weapons program and the destruction of Israel. It is Islamic wealth redistribution. If Dempsey were truly honest, that is what you would hear from him.   Ayotte Q&A with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey  
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jew stabs at least 6 at Jerusalem gay pride parade
    ARCHIVE PHOTO: Participants hold rainbow flags during the 12th annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem August 1, 2013. © Ronen Zvulun / Reuters By http://www.rt.com/news At least six people were stabbed at an LGBT pride parade by in Jerusalem on Thursday, local media reported, citing Israeli police and paramedics. The suspected attacker, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, has been arrested.Police said that six people have been injured, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that two of them were in serious condition.The attacker who was arrested was apparently an ultra-Orthodox Jew – a follower of Haredi Judaism, which is characterized by rejection of modern secular culture, reported Channel 10.Zoe Schochet, 18, who took part in the parade, was talking to one of the victims when an assailant stabbed him in the back.“It was really scary,” she told The Times of Israel, adding that the man was bearded and was dressed in black. +972 Magazine @972magBREAKING: At least four stabbed at Jerusalem Pride Parade, updates to come.6:02 PM - 30 Jul 2015 The incident took place on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem.Emergency services have been seen treating the victims on the scene."We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground,” Shai Aviyor, a witness, told Israel's Channel 2 TV.In the meantime, Oded Fried, the head of a prominent gay rights society told Reuters that the parade will continue despite the incident."Our struggle for equality only intensifies in the face of such events," he said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack on Gay Pride parade.“It’s a most grave incident,” he said. “We will mete out justice to those responsible for the act. In the state of Israel freedom of choice of the individual is one of the basic values. We must ensure that in Israel every man and woman will live in security with whichever way they choose to live.”According to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, “the stabbing at the gay pride parade is a moral crime that cannot be forgiven.”“Whoever committed this crime harmed Jewish values and ethics and needs to get the most severe punishment,” he said. Police identified the attacker as Yishai Shlissel, who stabbed three participants in the LGBT pride parade back in 2005, Jerusalem Post said. Shlissel had been recently released from jail after serving a 10-year prison sentence. He was initially sentenced to 12 years in jail for attempted murder, but then the Supreme Court of Israel shortened his sentence.Before committing the stabbing in 2005 he reportedly shouted, “I came to kill in God’s name.”
  • “All countries in the region can only conclude that America is indeed weak. America has capitulated to Iran.”
    By http://www.jihadwatch.org Indeed. Dark days ahead. “Six Strikes against the Nuclear Deal with Iran,” by Prof. Efraim Inbar, The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, July 15, 2015:There are (at least) six significant and immediate bad results from the agreement reached yesterday between the Western powers and Iran.1. America the weak: The way in which the negotiations were conducted underscored the weakness of the US. The Obama administration was willing to offer almost unlimited concessions to the skillful Iranian negotiators, ignoring all its own deadlines and red lines. It is clear that President Obama was desperate for a deal in order to leave office with a ”legacy.”While Washington congratulates itself on a “successful” result, what counts is the perceptions of the countries in the region. Alas, all countries in the region can only conclude that America is indeed weak. America has capitulated to Iran. 2. Nuclear legitimacy: Instead of insisting on the dismantling of all uranium enrichment facilities in Iran, as was accomplished in Libya, the US actually accorded international legitimacy to a large-scale Iranian 2. nuclear infrastructure, including thousands of centrifuges. The deal leaves almost intact all central components of the Iranian nuclear program.US Secretary of State John Kerry has in fact admitted that Iran might be just three months away from a nuclear bomb within the framework of the nuclear agreement. In doing so, the US has totally ignored UN Security Council Resolution 1696 of July 2006, which demanded that Iran suspend enrichment activities, as well as American demands for the dismantlement of the nuclear facilities….5. Balance of power: The American decision to accept Iran as a nuclear-threshold state, and Obama’s statements in favor of a “responsible Iranian role” in the region, accompanied by an inflated American threat perception of ISIS – signal a most significant change in American Middle East foreign policy. This accord marks an end to Iran’s regional isolation. Instead, America seems to be siding with the Shiites against Sunnis. This move changes dramatically the regional balance of power, instilling even greater uncertainty in regional politics.The naïve American belief that Iran can become a “normal” state – will backfire. While cautious, Iran is nevertheless a “revisionist” power trying to undermine the status quo. It does not hide its hegemonic aspirations. Its subversive activities in Shiite Bahrain and the Shiite eastern province of Saudi Arabia (where most of the oil is), and in other Gulf countries, might create an unbearable situation for the West. Eventually, Iran might even attain its declared goal of putting an end to the American presence in the Persian Gulf.6. Conflict with Israel: American policy is now on a collision course with Israel. The consensus in Israel is that Obama signed a very bad deal, which is dangerous for the Middle East and well beyond it. Israelis, as well as most Middle Easterners, do not buy the promise of a moderate Iran. They know better. Israelis take seriously the calls of the Iranian mobs “Death to America. Death to Israel.”Thus an Israeli military strike on Iran has become more likely, and in the near future – before the US puts the brakes on military supplies to the Israeli army.Efraim Inbar, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.    
  • China – Latin America Ties Go Ahead in New Multipolar World
    By Augusto SOTO | 30.07.2015 | 00:00 "http://www.strategic-culture.org/news" China-Latin America ties are often seen as Beijing-Washington-strategic-chess related. Nevertheless that perception is wrong as Beijing and the subcontinent are truly developing stronger and direct ties unrelated to any triangular consideration.A non-geostrategic pragmatic relationship with political consequencesChina and Latin America (also called the subcontinent) are developing a new bilateral approach based on extraordinary trade and investment, both increasing and certainly paving the way to upgrading political ties in the non-distant future, a process which is a change of historic dimensions, in spite of the Latin America chapter within the frame of China-US ties.On July 13, 2015, Director-General of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhu Qingqiao and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco (Paco) Palmieri of the US Department of State co-chaired the seventh bilateral consultation round on Latin American affairs between the two foreign ministries in Washington D.C. It is merely a consultative level talk, thanks to the extreme courtesy of Beijing following the extreme curiosity of Washington.Indeed in the post-Cold War order the subcontinent highly appreciates principles proclaimed by Beijing, such as non-interference, collaboration, pragmatism, persuasion, strategic patience, multilateralism and multipolarism, most of them not embraced by Washington (1).China has become indispensable as a source of growth for Latin America. The value of bilateral trade grew 22 times between 2000 and 2014. Last year, two-way trade hit 263.6 billion U.S. dollars and China's investment in the region also went up to more than 80 billion dollars. Six months ago in Beijing, leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC in Spanish), a 33-country bloc, gathered for the first time for a two-day forum. In a magnificent context, Chinese president Xi Jinping pledged that Chinese direct investment in Latin America would reach $250 billion over the next decade while predicting that annual bilateral trade could hit $500 billion.Could, thus, Beijing’s approach to the subcontinent be considered as a pivot strategic move of the kind of US pivot to Asia? Clearly not. First, there is no unilateralism from Beijing’s side. For example, there are no Chinese armed forces periodically exercising, let’s say in Panama or Mexico, as conversely US does by signing political and security agreements with some of China’s neighbours and by deploying and redeploying forces in front of her coasts.Second, at multilateral level there are no political and security arrangements in the subcontinent like the ones China has with her Eurasian partners in the frame of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). There are neither border defence cooperation agreements nor joint military exercises, and not a common response to drug trafficking either, a dimension which Washington deals with together with some of its continental neighbours.Nevertheless, meaningful political change in China-Latin America ties stemming from material interaction is ad portas. By combined population Brazil, Chile and Peru - countries for which China is already a first commercial partner -, represent most of South America, and consequently in that subregion China is already its first commercial partner, surpassing the US and Europe. As for Latin America as a whole China is its second commercial partner (slightly behind the US). Even Central America and the Caribbean, just decades ago within the space of US uncontested hegemonic influence, are showing patterns of change. In 2008 Costa Rica recognized Beijing out of pragmatic considerations, thus displacing Taipei, one of Washington’s closest allies in Asia.Also, like SCO member partners do, several South American countries are replacing the US dollar in bilateral trade and soon significantly at multilateral level by using both, local currencies and the Chinese yuan. The most recent agreement with China, signed in May, establishes that Chile's central bank and the People's Bank of China are clearing a path for the use of the Chinese yuan in South America, including a swap agreement about to facilitate exchanges of a maximum of 2.2 trillion pesos ($3.6 billion) for three years.Some bilateral and multilateral tasks ahead (including BRICS)In 2008 Chinese government launched its first ever policy paper on Latin America and the Caribbean region. Ever since, Beijing has increased its first-hand knowledge of the subcontinent, enabling China a permanent updated strategy. Conversely, the subcontinent still has not come up with the implementation of any document similar to a common policy paper.Nevertheless, there are signs that Latin America’s little progress in key long-term strategic areas might be about to change. First, CELAC Cooperation Plan 2015-2019, launched last January in Beijing, provides in principle an appropriate and more sophisticated institutional framework to advance bilateral ties.Second, it remains to be seen the impact of BRICS as a new synergy factor for China-Latin America ties. Here the initiative will be on the Brazilian side and the attention will focus on its still pending continental leadership. Indeed the challenge ahead for Itamaraty’s diplomacy will be balancing its global new role with a potential renewed presence in South America. Actually Brazil has spent most of the last decade playing global, rather than regional, relatively neglecting MERCOSUR and particularly South America’s Asia Pacific neighbours (including Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia).Chinese president Xi Jinping has proposed increase connectivity between BRICS and South America. Ufa’s BRICS declaration in July 2015 asserted that its New Development Bank (NDB) “shall serve as a powerful instrument for financing infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects in the BRICS and other developing countries and emerging market economies” (2). Xi also proposed NDB’s close cooperation with financing mechanisms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In both banks coincide Brazil, China, Russia, and India.There is wide space for action, indeed. Latin America still should address several gaps to reinforce its China connection, including diversity exports, apply high-tech into manufacturing and develop infrastructure and communications. The infrastructure projects are key to allow the great connectivity needed for a large scale interaction with the East.And while it is true that there is a truly “maritime Silk Road” going ahead as exchanges with China go by sea where no infrastructure other than ships is necessary, East-West transport within Latin America has become a key factor to make the difference. First of all, raw materials from South America’s hinterland are difficult to channel to its main ports, and secondly, Atlantic nations such as Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina could dramatically lower costs through both planned and in-the making “bioceanic corridors” crossing the Amazonas jungle and the Andean mountains to reach the Pacific Ocean (3).ConclusionLatin America is not a single political entity, its strategic raw materials are various and unevenly distributed throughout its geography, thus China’s impact varies from country to country and group of countries. In any case, its impact will contribute to Latin America’s integration being BRICS New Development Bank a powerful tool for connectivity as long as Brazil plays intercontinental at continental level first.Has Beijing the intention to compete with Washington for a greater sphere of influence in the region? Although perhaps unavoidable in this very decade, it will not necessarily replace - although significantly weaken - US influence in the subcontinent.Most likely during some years several Central American and Caribbean countries will continue more US-tied oriented by trade, politics, migration flows and culture than the rest of Latin America. Meanwhile, while the US will continue reaffirming its condition as second Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico as well as receiving further cultural influence from the South, the direct economic and political impact from China at both bilateral as well as multilateral level via Beijing’s interaction with the subcontinent, will have an influence in China-US ties.(1) Augusto Soto, “How far are China and Latin America”, The Global Experts, March 2, 2011(2) TBP, “BRICS adopts Ufa Declaration”, The BRICS Post, July 9, 2015(3) ECLAC, “Latin America and the Caribbean and China: towards a new era in economic cooperation”, Santiago, May 2015
  • Death of Taliban’s Leader Will Dramatically Expand ISIL Terror in Region
    By http://sputniknews.com/asia The reports of the death of Mullah Omar, the leader of Taliban, could cause a significant blow to the Islamic fundamentalist political movement, dramatically strengthening the position of the Islamic State militants in the region, the Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Afghanistan, Omar Nessar, said.“The appearance of such messages, especially if confirmed, could cause a severe blow to the positions of the Taliban movement and dramatically strengthen the position of ISIL in Afghanistan and in the region in general” RIA Novosti reported Nessar as saying. Afghan Officials Report Taliban Group Leader Mullah Omar Dead The Taliban has yet to comment on the claim, which was made by an Afghan security service spokesman to the BBC. Abdul Hassib Seddiqi told the BBC's Afghan Service that Mullah Omar had died of health problems at a hospital in Pakistan.But as the confirmation is yet to come, Nessar believes that reports of the death of Omar may be planned disinformation. “At the moment it looks like it was done to discredit Taliban the movement and weaken their position, as one of the reasons that deter militants and commanders to join the Islamic State is the oath they gave their spiritual leader Mullah Omar,” he said.“Right now I would reserve my confirmation about the leader’s death, considering that these claims are coming from the parties that may be interested in such a development of the situation,” Nessar added.The expert added that if Mullah Omer is confirmed dead most probably his son will take over. His son who is only 26 years old may not be able to keep things under control for the Taliban. In any case, the Taliban would suffer a major blow and may lose a large number of its followers if the news of the leader is confirmed.On the other hand, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Vladimir Sazhin, thinks that the death of Omar would lead to fight for power within the Taliban.“As the movement is not a single system and comprises many factions, the situation within the Taliban will change, without anyone knowing for how long the power struggle will continue,” Sazhin said.