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'Drone bases in Africa' - US secret drone bases

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'US builds secret drone bases in Africa'

United States is to build a series of new secret drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in an attempt to target suspected militants in Somalia and Yemen.

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Iran

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نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد Image

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نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

سیر و سیاحتی به مناسبت 61 مین سالگرد کودتای ننگین 28 مرداد

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

پیش از اینکه با سنبه وسوندی سنباننده به سفتن مدخل ومجرای، بحثی تاریخی، در مورد کودتای 28 مرداد سال 1332 خورشیدی ایران را، باز کنم، لازم می بینم که نخست بطور مختصر و مرخم ومفید، اشاراتی نیز داشته باشم به شیوها وشگردهای شیادانه و شعبده بازانه تعداد بسیار، بسیار اندکی از مائوئیست های متاسیون شده و کمونيیست های Quisling شده به همراه مونارکیست های منحط و متواری، مومیایی شده، که درطی دهه های گذشته، بویژه پس از انقراض و اضمحال یا انحطاط بساط سلطه و سیطره ارتجاع ، استعمار و استکبار جهانی در ایران، که اغلب بخاطر مزد و معاش در جهت ارتزاق و ارتشاف شخصی و شکمی، با تغذیه از اسناد استفراغ زده شده و آروغ زده شده ارتجاع جهانی، بسان رجاله گان سیاسی، با رجزخوانی رذیلانه، برای رضی و راضی نگهداشتن دشمنان دژنام ایرانی، در رسانه ها و روزنامه های باصطلاع فارسی زبان زیر سیطره و ساطور سیاه سازمان های اطلاعاتی lntelligency چون CIA امریکا و MI6 انگلستان و DGSE فرانسه، BND آلمان و موساد اسرائیل بنام صدای امریکا و رادیوی فریب و Fradulent فردا، بی بی سی، رادیوی RFI، رادیوی دویچه وله فارسی، صدای شوم Zionism جهانی، یعنی اسرايیل، البته با مدد سفسطه ولی با سکسکه سفیل ، سفیهانه و سالوسانه، علیه سیمای ستبر مردم ایران یا سخن پراکنی کرده یا با کمک مستقیم و غیر مستقیم Benefit سیاسی ارتجاع جهانی، مرتکب نسک و نشر و جهل، جوزن وجادوگری تاریخی شده اند، و بارها و بارها به کرات و مرات با کراهت و گژبینی گزند گونه در سنگر گزیزگاه دشمن با کرنش و کمر خم کنی خماننده ولی با نیش و نیشتر و نیرنگی فریبنده، برای توجیه و تطهیر و تبرئه عاملان و قاتلان و خائنان داخلی و خاری کودتای 28 مرداد، نوکربابانه یا نطق کرده یا نسک نگاشته اند. لطفآ بقیه را در video توجه فرمائید!

 


گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image

8,041 views

گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
Reference:BRICS
1-Putin and BRICS form Seed Crystal of a New International Monetary Pole
William Engdahl | July 25, 2014
2-BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance
By RT: Published time: July 15, 2014 18:14
3-BRICS against Washington consensus
BY By Pepe Escobar “Asia Times: Jul 15, '14”
4-Dollar dying; multi-polar world in offing
By F.William engdahl
4-US Dollar Suffers Serious Setback
By By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
5-Throwing BRICS at Israel
By Johnny Punish
نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب Image

10,588 views

نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب

دیو داعش و نقش غرب

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

گوینده آنچه را که مربوط به ریشه سعودی،سلفی،سیاه ایی، زهش یا زایش، پیدایش یا پالایش تاول یا تکاثر،ترسناک،تروریسم تکفیری میشود را در یک ویدئویی،بتاریخ 24 فوریه 2014 میلادی،با نوضیح و نفسیر، و بر پایه پویش پروسه تیک پژوهشی،تکوینی،تاریخی،در جهت آژیرنده و آگاه کننده، مورد ارزیابی و آنالیز منطقی قرار داده ام

ولی بعد و بنیاد پحث امروز گوینده بطور اختصار و در حد اختیار،اختصاص دارد به حوادث دهشتناک و دردناکی که بطور فزاینده و فژاگن در کشور همسایگی،ما ایرانیان یعنی کشور عراق جریان دارد.


 

Europe

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‘Turkey opens border to death squads to fight in Syria, blocks Kurds battle ISIS’ Image

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‘Turkey opens border to death squads to fight in Syria, blocks Kurds battle ISIS’

Turkey's former PM, now President Erdogan and President Assad were close allies before the Syrian unrest sparked. But Ankara was quick to turn its back on Damascus. Turkey has reportedly been arming and providing refuge to some Syrian rebel forces since 2011. With more on the Turkish involvement in the Syrian conflict is activist and journalist Sukant Chandan.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

‘Wake Up UK!’: Protesters in Britain rally against ISIS Image

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‘Wake Up UK!’: Protesters in Britain rally against ISIS

Protesters accused the British government of helping create the jihadist menace - by backing Syrian opposition forces which went on to join Islamic State. Demonstrators also called on London to break off relations with governments who've been directly funding the rebels. While calls for the UK to send troops to the Middle East are increasingly becoming louder. Live to RT's Polly Boiko in London.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

CrossTalk: The Russia story Image

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CrossTalk: The Russia story

Who is ultimately responsible for Russia's negative image abroad? Why is there a single narrative in the West where Russia is the ubiquitous enemy? Has the Cold War really ended? Is it really in the West's interests to have a weak Russia? CrossTalking with Charles Bausman, Elena Branson, and Richard Krickus.Watch all CrossTalk shows here:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL75A81D67D2955F81 (Sep 2009 - Feb 2011)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K12YqkZDcnaHfDd5cptKhs9 (Mar 2011 - Jul 2012)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K1wI7Kcpxfq6NviCKYKjXAn (Jul 2012 - current)RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Middle east

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Is the anti-ISIS Campaign an Attempt to Renew War Against Assad? Image

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Is the anti-ISIS Campaign an Attempt to Renew War Against Assad?

Glen Ford: The U.S.-Saudi strategy of using jihadists as proxies in their wars is collapsing before our very eyes

Bio
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.
Transcript
Is the anti-ISIS Campaign Attempting to Renew War Against Assad?SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Also, welcome to this edition of The Glen Ford Report. Glen is coming to us from Plainfield, New Jersey.
Glen, thanks for joining us.
GLEN FORD, EXEC. DIRECTOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thanks for having us.
PERIES: So, Glen, you want to do an update to a segment you have already done on the ISIS, and particularly pending President Obama's speech on Wednesday. So what are you working on?
FORD: Well, we actually have been working on this for the last three years. We've been predicting that the jihadists that the U.S. and its allies have been using as proxies, as foot soldiers in the imperial wars in North Africa and the Middle East, that those proxies would turn against the United States. We said that three and a half years ago. And now it is dramatically transpiring.
So, as an update, it's now become quite clear, and it will becoming more clear in the next few days, that the U.S. is going to try to turn this anti-ISIS campaign--a campaign that President Obama seems physically very uncomfortable with, for some very fundamental reasons--they're going to try to turn this anti-ISIS military campaign into a renewed war against the Syrian government. And he has already telegraphed that it will be a long war. Long wars mean very expensive wars. He says it will be a three-year campaign. In short, under the guise of taking the war against ISIS, this air war against ISIS, deep into Syria, the U.S. is going to attempt to become the air force for those so-called moderate Syrian rebels, forces that actually don't exist, but become an air force for them as the United States and its NATO allies did for the jihadists in Libya three years ago.
And to create this force on the ground that actually does not exist in terms of moderates, the United States wants to give those folks these imaginary people. I'm sure that they will somehow appear if the United States gives them the $500 million that Obama has set aside for them pending congressional approval.
But this is a bankrupt policy. The United States is doubling down on the bankrupt policy, even as it has collapsed, because it has no other choice. That is, the U.S. and its allies don't have any natural allies as foot soldiers in the region. Everybody hates the United States. To be associated with the United States is treason in that part of the Arab and Muslim world. So you have to get Islamists and get some kind of convergence, temporary can political convergence with them in order to attack the people that you want to attack, which is the secular governments of Libya, now destroyed, and of Syria, which the U.S. is in the process of attempting to destroy.
So the project continues. Now it has this stop-ISIS, humanitarian, anti-beheading flavor, but the mission is still the same. And therefore we can say with absolute certainty that the United States is going to try to act as an Air Force for supposed Syrian moderates over the next three years in Syria, using the presence of ISIS as an excuse.
And what they've also doing here--and you see more and more of this in The New York Times and The Washington Post and all these other corporate opinion leaders. You see them including this line that's always come out of the so-called Free Syrian Army, that there somehow is a relationship between the government of President Assad in Syria and ISIS, that Assad avoids attacking ISIS, and ISIS avoids attacking Assad. This, of course, is ridiculous, not based in fact, but it's the political line they're putting forward to somehow justify these forces that they are assembling, supposedly to attack ISIS, engaging against the Assad government, which has been the target all along and was why the United States armed and financed all of these jihadists, including ISIS, which is godfathered by the Americans and the Turks and the Qataris and the Saudis and NATO in general.
PERIES: Glen, when we have seen such horrific depictions of beheading of American citizens, what is a more rational response to these kinds of incidences?
FORD: Well, it's no more pleasant to die from being incinerated by U.S. drones or U.S. manned aircraft or just conventional weapons of any kind than being hands-on beheaded. In fact, the United States leads the world in industrial killing. I don't think that you are I would opt to be obliterated by the drone as opposed to being beheaded. I don't think I'd have a choice in the matter. But I do know that a lot more people are obliterated by industrial-strength war as carried on by established powers than by the ISISs (if that's the plural) of the world.
PERIES: And finally, Glen, I know that given how critical you have been about President Obama's foreign-policy, you probably wouldn't get to his ear. But if you were to be able to whisper some common sense in his ear before the upcoming address on Wednesday, what would you be saying to him?
FORD: The point here about this ISIS story--and it is a huge story. And the story is not about the savagery and beheading that ISIS's troops engaged in. The real story is that the U.S.-Saudi strategy, long-standing, 40 years of using jihadists as proxies in their wars, is collapsing before our very eyes. It has collapsed totally in Libya, where it was so prominently used, in that there is a war going on in which the Saudis and the Qataris are on opposite sides of the jihadist war, that is, jihadists who are fighting their own minds. Whatever that is that is. And those who are more aligned with the West are fighting it out on the ground. And the Egyptian leaders--Sisi is acting as the new Mubarak, and even closer to home for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Emirates are all arguing among themselves and calling each other names in terms of which jihadists they are supporting. And the reason they are doing that is because they are afraid for the safety of their own heads now that this jihadist Jeannie has been let out the bottle. Those of the big stories. Not American journalists getting beheaded.
PERIES: Thank you so much for joining us, Glen.
FORD: Thank you.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

US to arm Kurdish - Fueling Fight Image

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US to arm Kurdish - Fueling Fight
Fueling Fight: US to arm Kurdish forces in Iraq to battle ISIS militants
Published on Aug 12, 2014
Militia forces in Iraq's Kurdistan are to be armed by US in an attempt to prevent it falling fully into the hands of ISIS militants. RT's Gayane Chichakyan reports
Plitting Iraq by US -

598 views

Plitting Iraq by US - 'US interested in Iraq'
US fighter jets bomb ISIS artillery, 'Washington only interested in splitting Iraq'

Published on Aug 8, 2014
US military aircraft have conducted an airstrike on artillery used by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Rear Admiral John Kirby said the attack took place to help defend Kurdish forces near Erbil, Iraq

United state

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War, Whistleblowing and Independent Journalism Panel Image

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War, Whistleblowing and Independent Journalism Panel

Panel includes: *William Binney, NSA whistleblower *Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, EPA whistleblower *Jessica Desvarieux, journalist [moderator] *Phil Donahue, journalist *Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblowr *Kirk Wiebe, NSA whistleblower

Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana Image

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Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana

Patrick Nightingale, Defense Attorney says that decriminalization is only a step towards addressing the real problem of disproportionate arrests in African American and minority communities

Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana
Defense attorney Patrick Nightingale says decriminalization is only a step towards addressing the real problem of disproportionate arrests in African-American and minority communities - September 19, 14

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, recently announced that the marijuana bill that goes into effect on October 20 will not legalize marijuana, only decriminalize it. While this is a step forward and it might reduce the number of people arrested and stuck with criminal records, it will not eliminate the over-policing of African-Americans and Latin communities under the auspices of the war on drugs, which is a major problem that most major cities in the United States experience.
Now joining us from Philadelphia to discuss all of this is Patrick Nightingale. Patrick is a practicing criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, Patrick was a prosecutor with the Allegheny County district attorney's office in Pittsburgh.
Thanks for joining us, Patrick.
PATRICK NIGHTINGALE, FORMER PROSECUTOR, LEAP: Thank you very much. And on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I would like to thank you for welcoming us onto your show.
PERIES: You're most welcome.
Patrick, let's outline the problem and the solution that the legislation is trying to get at.
NIGHTINGALE: The problem that activists in Philadelphia, Philadelphia NORML, their chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, had been tracking arrest data in Philadelphia for small amounts of marijuana and for marijuana paraphernalia since 2008. And what they found was a striking, a shocking disparity in rates of arrest amongst defendants of color, primarily in the African-American community. What they found were arrest rates as high as 85 percent of all arrests during that five-year period of time were people of color despite evidence and anecdotal evidence and surveys that suggest that rates of marijuana consumption between whites and blacks are fairly even. So what they recognized was a grossly disproportionate system of arrests. And they sought about trying to find a way to address that.
And what they did was they approached Philadelphia's city council and a sympathetic councilmen, Councilman Jim Kenney, who was willing to author an ordinance that would change the way City of Philadelphia police interact with and handle small amounts of marijuana cases. And that ultimately led to the ordinance that the mayor is going to sign.
PERIES: And what is the history here? What is the particularity of the relationship between the Philadelphia police and the low-income communities or minority communities, as you have put it?
NIGHTINGALE: It's similar to the problems facing any urban environment. Unfortunately, urban environments have a certain concentration of people who are considered to be low-income. There are a number of, disproportionate amount of, say, 911 calls in lower-income communities. And police resources are deployed according to those types of demographics.
So, unfortunately, what we have is because of a dense population in an urban environment, low-income situation in an urban environment, you're going to have pretty significant police presence in these types of neighborhoods, as opposed to neighborhoods that aren't generating as many 911 calls. In Philadelphia, that means that there is an increased police presence in neighborhoods primarily of color.
And as a result of that increased police presence, you have quite literally--I don't want call it a war on Philadelphians, 'cause I don't think that's how the Philadelphia police see their role. However the net effect of that has been a very strained relationship with the police and with Philadelphians over something as simple as small amounts of marijuana, where in other parts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other parts of southeastern Pennsylvania, certainly here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we don't arrest people; we give them a summons to appear for court.
PERIES: And from what I understand from this piece of legislation or bill, the courts will still be handling a majority of the citations given, yes?
NIGHTINGALE: Well, any citation that is issued, a person still has the right to contest it before a magistrate. Now, if someone is cited in Philadelphia under their new ordinance and they are facing a $150 fine, they're free to contest that. But then the remedy is for them to be charged with a misdemeanor, small amount of marijuana charge, and face a criminal conviction. So, yes, as with any fine, crime, whether it's civil or criminal, there is redress within the courts. However, it would be ill-advised to turn down the opportunity for a noncriminal civil citation and opt to be charged criminally. That really wouldn't make much sense.
PERIES: And from what you see, will this piece of legislation really get at the problem?
NIGHTINGALE: I think that it is an effective first step. Ultimately, when, as you said when we were beginning the program, the war on drugs has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, and especially communities of color. Since the war on drugs has started, we have seen a spike in our federal prison population, primarily people of color, in this country, and it is pegged right to the war on drugs. I don't want to say the war on drugs was racist ab initio, but certainly it has had that type of effect.
For example, in the federal system we used to have 100 to 1 powder to crack cocaine disparity, meaning that if you had five grams of crack cocaine, you were facing the exact same punishment as someone who had 500 grams of powder cocaine. That was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, but recently that disparity has been reduced to 18 to 1. Why 18 to 1? I do not know, but there continues to be this type of institutional disparity that results in a disproportionate number of primarily young black men and young Hispanic men filling up our prisons. And as long as the war on drugs continues in that respect, I think we're going to see the same type of disparate racial makeup of our prison population.
So this ordinance is an excellent first step to reduce that type of police presence at the very lowest level, because we know that someone possessing a small amount of marijuana isn't the issue, isn't the problem. We know that that person isn't going to be getting into fights, isn't going to go home and get engaged in domestic violence situations. So where can we look at the number-one cause of police-citizen encounters? It's going to be these small-amount cases. So we can really help to reduce the overbearing law enforcement footprint in these communities and rebuild some of the trust with these communities that law enforcement critically needs in order to solve serious crimes, crimes of violence, homicide, burglaries, home invasions, you name it.
PERIES: Patrick, while we'll probably all agree that this is a step forward, do you think Philadelphia should go in the same route of where a lot of states and a lot of cities have been deregulating it and legalizing it for health use as well as personal use?
NIGHTINGALE: Philadelphia cannot do that. Here in Pennsylvania, in our Constitution, we have a home rule charter. And that home rule charter sets forth that a city, a municipality such as Philadelphia may enact ordinances or legislations if it's necessary because it's not addressed on the statewide level, but it does not permit the city of Philadelphia to, for example, opt out of enforcing the Controlled Substances Act. Philadelphia cannot declare marijuana legal in Philadelphia. Marijuana is still illegal to possess. The city of Philadelphia Police Department is still free to make an arrest and charge a marijuana offense. Other law enforcement agencies that may be working within the jurisdiction of the city of Philadelphia, for example, a college, a university police department may still arrest and charge that. So the idea or the notion of Philadelphia has somehow exempted themselves from Pennsylvania's Controlled Substances Act isn't entirely true. This is more a step forward, a common sense agreement between the Philadelphia police, the mayor, City Council, and the people of Philadelphia that here is a different way the police can approach enforcing marijuana laws in Philadelphia.
What we need is statewide action. And right now in Pennsylvania, we're very close to possibly passing a very comprehensive medicinal marijuana bill. It has very strong support in the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House. But we're running out of time. We don't know if we'll be able to get that passed before the end of the 2014 legislative session. And we have a governor's election that could stymie our efforts to get this passed within the next couple of months. But what we need is statewide action. We need statewide medicinal marijuana. We need statewide decriminalization. And ultimately, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition believes that we need to get law enforcement out of the issue of cannabis regulation in the entirety and leave it up to responsible adults to act however they choose to act, consistent with responsibility and principles of liberty.
PERIES: And, Patrick, one final question to you. Is the police force in Philadelphia on board in terms of this bill?
NIGHTINGALE: Yes, that is the significant difference, because they were not on board when it was first passed back in June. In fact, the chief of police said that in his opinion they were statutorily required to continue to make arrests for small amounts of marijuana. The activists in Philadelphia Chris Goldstein, Derek Rosenzweig, N. A. Poe, they did an excellent job working with Councilman Kenney to convince the police that this is a reasonable alternative, it does not improperly infringe on police power, it does not illegally infringe on police power, and police are free to continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. And I think that that was the type of reinforcement that the chief needed to know that it wasn't City Council trying to strip his department of its legitimate and statutorily authorized powers.
PERIES: Patrick, thank you so much for joining us today.
NIGHTINGALE: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to be on your show.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels Image

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Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels

As a new poll shows most Americans think Obama’s ISIS strategy will fail, activists are challenging Congress to reject military solutions

Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels
As a new poll shows most Americans think Obama's ISIS strategy will fail, activists are challenging Congress to reject military solutions - September 19, 14

Bio
Jessica Desvarieux is a multimedia journalist who serves as the Capitol Hill correspondent for the Real News Network. Most recently, Jessica worked as a producer for the ABC Sunday morning program, This Week with Christianne Amanpour. Before moving to Washington DC, Jessica served as the Haiti corespondent for TIME Magazine and TIME.com. Previously, she was as an on-air reporter for New York tri-state cable outlet Regional News Network, where she worked before the 2010 earthquake struck her native country of Haiti. From March 2008 - September 2009, she lived in Egypt, where her work appeared in various media outlets like the Associated Press, Voice of America, and the International Herald Tribune - Daily News Egypt. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in journalism. She is proficient in French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and has a working knowledge of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Follow her @Jessica_Reports.

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  • The PetroYuan Cometh: China Docks Navy Destroyer In Iran’s Strait Of Hormuz Port
    The PetroYuan Cometh: China Docks Navy Destroyer In Iran’s Strait Of Hormuz Port By Tyler Durden "Zero Hedge" Since China fired its first ‘official’ shot across the Petrodollar bow a year ago, there has been an increasing groundswell of de-dollarization across the world’s energy trade (despite Washington’s exclamations of ‘isolated’ non-dollar transactors).The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year, with China increasingly leveraging its rise as an economic power and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters, in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union, to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy – with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position.And now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in the Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas – right across the Straits of Hormuz from ‘US stronghold-for-now’ Bahrain and UAE.The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year:China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In YuanGuest Post: From PetroDollar To PetroYuan – The Coming Proxy WarsThe Rise Of The Petroyuan And The Slow Erosion Of Dollar HegemonyAnd now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in a Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas – right across the Straits of Hormuz from ‘US stronghold-for-now’ Bahrain and UAE.Adm. Hossein Azad, naval base chief in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, said the four-day visit that began Saturday saw the two navies sharing expertise in the field of marine rescue.“On the last day of their visit while leaving Iran, the Chinese warships will stage a joint drill in line with mutual collaboration, and exchange of marine and technical information particularly in the field of aid and rescue,” said Azad.The report said the destroyer was accompanied by a logistics ship, and that both were on their way to the Gulf of Aden as a part of an international mission to combat piracy.…Last year a Russian naval group docked in the same port on its way back from a Pacific Ocean mission. The move is also seen part of off efforts by Iran to strike a balance among foreign navies present in the area near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s oil is shipped.U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is based in nearby Bahrain, on the southern coast of the Gulf.* * *Here’s why it matters… As we concluded previously,History and logic caution that current practices are not set in stone. With the rise of the “petroyuan,” movement towards a less dollar-centric currency regime in international energy markets—with potentially serious implications for the dollar’s broader standing—is already underway.As China has emerged as a major player on the global energy scene, it has also embarked on an extended campaign to internationalise its currency. A rising share of China’s external trade is being denominated and settled in renminbi; issuance of renminbi-denominated financial instruments is growing. China is pursuing a protracted process of capital account liberalisation essential to full renminbi internationalisation, and is allowing more exchange rate flexibility for the yuan. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) now has swap arrangements with over thirty other central banks—meaning that renminbi already effectively functions as a reserve currency.Chinese policymakers appreciate the “advantages of incumbency” the dollar enjoys; their aim is not for renminbi to replace dollars, but to position the yuan alongside the greenback as a transactional and reserve currency. Besides economic benefits (e.g., lowering Chinese businesses’ foreign exchange costs), Beijing wants—for strategic reasons—to slow further growth of its enormous dollar reserves. China has watched America’s increasing propensity to cut off countries from the U.S. financial system as a foreign policy tool, and worries about Washington trying to leverage it this way; renminbi internationalisation can mitigate such vulnerability. More broadly, Beijing understands the importance of dollar dominance to American power; by chipping away at it, China can contain excessive U.S. unilateralism.China has long incorporated financial instruments into its efforts to access foreign hydrocarbons. Now Beijing wants major energy producers to accept renminbi as a transactional currency—including to settle Chinese hydrocarbon purchases—and incorporate renminbi in their central bank reserves. Producers have reason to be receptive. China is, for the vastly foreseeable future, the main incremental market for hydrocarbon producers in the Persian Gulf and former Soviet Union. Widespread expectations of long-term yuan appreciation make accumulating renminbi reserves a “no brainer” in terms of portfolio diversification. And, as America is increasingly viewed as a hegemon in relative decline, China is seen as the preeminent rising power. Even for Gulf Arab states long reliant on Washington as their ultimate security guarantor, this makes closer ties to Beijing an imperative strategic hedge. For Russia, deteriorating relations with the United States impel deeper cooperation with China, against what both Moscow and Beijing consider a declining, yet still dangerously flailing and over-reactive, America.For several years, China has paid for some of its oil imports from Iran with renminbi; in 2012, the PBOC and the UAE Central Bank set up a $5.5 billion currency swap, setting the stage for settling Chinese oil imports from Abu Dhabi in renminbi—an important expansion of petroyuan use in the Persian Gulf. The $400 billion Sino-Russian gas deal that was concluded this year apparently provides for settling Chinese purchases of Russian gas in renminbi; if fully realised, this would mean an appreciable role forrenminbi in transnational gas transactions.Looking ahead, use of renminbi to settle international hydrocarbon sales will surely increase, accelerating the decline of American influence in key energy-producing regions. It will also make it marginally harder for Washington to finance what China and other rising powers consider overly interventionist foreign policies—a prospect America’s political class has hardly begun to ponder.
  • US rejects Iran's offer to cooperate against Islamic State
    US rejects Iran's offer to cooperate against Islamic State By RT The US has rejected a proposal from Iranian officials regarding cooperation between the two nations in fighting against the Islamic State (IS). Tehran was reportedly ready to join forces in exchange for Washington's flexibility on its nuclear program.Reports of Iran's readiness for joint efforts with the US and its allies came from senior Iranian officials. The parties, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that Tehran is willing to cooperate in the fight against IS, but only if the United States responds with a more favorable stance on its uranium enrichment program."Iran is a very influential country in the region and can help in the fight against the ISIL (IS/ISIS) terrorists...but it is a two-way street. You give something, you take something," a senior Iranian official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the country's nuclear program is "peaceful."When asked about Iran's proposal, a US official said it could not be accepted."The United States will not be in the position of trading aspects of Iran's nuclear program to secure commitments to take on ISIL," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.Last week, Tehran refused Washington's offer to join a global alliance preparing to combat Islamic State militants. According to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the US offered to discuss a coordinated effort against IS, which was rejected by Iran due to America's “murky intentions.”Fight with ISIS spreads across globe: How are roles distributed in that battle?Iran's nuclear program is currently being discussed on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia are taking part in the talks.Other countries have also commented on Iran's willingness to join the Western fight against IS, which it expressed during nuclear negotiations.Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called the terms for such cooperation "absurd." French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the current talks should focus on Iran's nuclear activities and not shift to any other international issues."You must not establish confusion between this question (the role of Iran in fighting IS) and the question of nuclear weapons that we are discussing now with the Iranians," Fabius said on Monday.The current talks in New York are aimed at helping Iran and the six nations reach terms of a final nuclear agreement by November 24. Tehran partly froze its uranium enrichment program under a November 2013 interim deal. In exchange for that, limited Western sanctions against Iran have been lifted.
  • Marina Silva – Part of Plan to Destabilize Brazil
    Marina Silva – Part of Plan to Destabilize Brazil By Nil NIKANDROV | 23.09.2014 | 00:01 "Strategic Culture Foundation" Washingtonhas launched a large-scale propaganda campaign to support Marina Silva, the Brazilian presidential race candidate for the Brazilian Socialist Party. They keep on saying her victory is guaranteed in the final election. The predictions mainly boil down to uncertain results in the first round slated for October 5. USexperts believe that Silva will get the votes of those who support Aécio Neves da Cunha from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party accounting for 14-16% of electorate. In this case the pro-US candidate will get around 60% leaving no chances to Dilma Rousseff representing the Workers Party in the runoff on October 26. Independent analysts express doubts about this scenario, they say it’s an illusion. There are also warnings made about possible rigging.Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Dilma Rousseff party mate, is out on the stump backing the incumbent President. He doubts Silva has any chances at the election. According to him, it’s not Silva, but rather some media outlets that pose a real threat. They use to their advantage the difficulties emerged as a result of ongoing social and economic reforms implemented to serve the people’s interests. Still the country is on the way to progress, large industrial projects are implemented. Lula is confident that the truth will win over lies. The support of former President to Dilma Rousseff is important. As a result Silva may lose many votes. Giving an interview to one of the newspapers Silva burst in tears saying she cannot control what the former President said about her, but she could do her best not to hurt him in return. The ex-President immediately responded saying that Marina Silva did not have to lie about him shedding tears. She had other reasons to cry about. The meaning is clear. Silva is not so confident about the victory, that’s what provokes her emotions. Silva was in the ranks of the Workers Party for more than a quarter of century, she made her career standing side by side with Lula. During his tenure she was a senator before becoming environmental minister in 2003. All those years she was closely watched by the US. She was under surveillance by special funds of different kinds and international organizations looking for those who had promising future to make them serve Washington’s interests. It’s enough to have a look at the decorations and awards she received with the help of American friends to understand she was in the focus of their attention as far back as in the 1980s. Of course, they took into consideration the specific features of her personality, including the inclination to compensate physical attractiveness with achievements in her political career.Brazilis becoming a strong, sovereign and self-assertive state with great clout in the Western Hemisphere challenging the US influence. The debates in Washington are held behind closed doors but one thing is evident – the US wants to change Rousseff for somebody more pliant. Marina Silva seems to serve the purpose.US special services paved the way for her success by eliminating another candidate Eduardo Campos, the leader of Socialist Party. His Cessna 560ХL plane suddenly went down before landing and crashed. French Slate.fr listed the plane crash as one of the five most important happenings this summer that missed the radar screen but could exert seriously influence the global politics. Before the tragedy Dilma Rousseff was considered to be a sure winner. Silva’s joining the presidential race complicated things for the Workers Party trying to hold to power. No doubt Brazil will become more pro-US in case Silva takes office. The spying scandal and the statements by President Rousseff about US eavesdropping in Brazil being unacceptable will become a thing of the past. Unasur (The Union of South American Nations - Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, or UNASUR - an intergovernmental union integrating two existing customs unions: Mercosur and Andean Community of Nations as part of a continuing process of South American integration) and Mercosur (Spanish: Mercado Común del Sur, a sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela with Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associate countries. The purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency) will no longer be in the focus of Brazilian foreign policy. The re-organization of the Organization of American States, the issue most important for the United States, will top the list of foreign policy priorities. Mercosur may continue to exist, but not as a competitor for ALCA (the Free Trade Area of the Americas) that Washington had tried to push through till 2005 when the idea was refused by Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and some other states. Silva is not very enthusiastic about BRICS prospects. She believes the participation in this group brings no dividends. She has no intention to strengthen the relations with Russia and China, the alliance with Venezuela and Cuba will no longer be effective. Everything the administrations of Lula Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff have achieved so far will go down the drain to please the North American power.The pre-election battle has become a fierce fight. Silva has no time to lose and the load is becoming too heavy. On and off she calls back her statements according to the reaction of public. She had to explain her intention to reduce the production of oil in areas called “pre-salt,” located under the maritime bed. Silva had expressed her rejection of gay marriage in the past but made a flip-flop to support it. Marina Silva (Brazilian Socialist Party), an evangelical who belongs to the conservative Assembly of God, retracted her support for gay marriage one day after she presented her government plan. The chapter Citizenship and Identities of the program included “support for proposals defending ... civil marriage.” The Silva's campaign team released a statement correcting the text. The new version defends “the rights of a civil union between people of the same sex”, deleting the word “marriage”, which would include more rights for a couple. In the second debate between the main candidates ahead of the October 5 first round vote, Rousseff sought to come off the ropes three days after Brazil entered recession, asking environmentalist Silva how she would finance her some $60 billion of policy commitments. "Where do you propose to get the money from?" asked Rousseff, seeking to give her Workers Party (PT) a fourth straight term leading Latin America's powerhouse. "First, these are not promises, they are commitments," responded Silva, who served as environment minister under Rousseff's presidential predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The money would be raised, she insisted, "through our country returning to efficiency in public spending - today there is widespread wasting of public resources." Rousseff was right when she expressed her doubt that someone with such unstable views and convictions could rule the country.More Brazilians start to realize that Silva would radically change the policies to lead the country to national disaster. That is exactly what the “puppeteers” from Washington would like to achieve. Silva has psychological problems, she is an unbalanced person – it all may influence the decision making process to hinder the Brazil’s progressive development and break the social balance as the country’s political forces learn to interact within the constitutional framework. The mission Washington wants to accomplish is creating prerequisites for staging a “color revolution” in Brazil. It wants to use “the fifth column” and pro-US media outlets for provoking “spontaneous civil protests.”The US sends more experienced people to its embassy in Brazil. The Central Intelligence Agency’s station is manned by to the full be seasoned cloak and dagger warriors. Colonel Samuel Prugh is the senior defense official and defense attaché to Brazil. With unique experience in data collecting and human intelligence he has a lot of personal acquaintances among the Brazilian military and knows the country well. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff did their best to avoid public demonstration of discontent with US subversive activities conducted inside the country. Off and on the Brazilians used protected diplomatic channels to tell Washington they have uncovered an agent operating under cover in oil industry, diplomatic office or the armed forces of the country. Incidents never became public domain. After the well-known scandal related to the reports that the U.S. National Security Agency tapped President’s personal communications and spied on Brazil’s state oil company the Brazilian government took a tough stand and demanded public apologies.The US government refused to apologize and even intensified its intelligence gathering efforts in Brazil. The US sent more people to work in consulates. The consulate office in Rio de Janeiro stands out. It workers boasts 500 staffers. John Creamer, the Consul General, says 300 of them process visa applications from early morning till late night. According to him, it the processing used to take up to six months before. Now one-two weeks is enough. Are the consulates workers are really so much concerned over issuing visas or are they busy preparing the “Arab Spring” or “Ukrainian Maidan” type of events under the US special services’ auspices? Time will tell.
  • US to spend $1 trillion to revitalize its aging nuclear arsenal: Report
    US to spend $1 trillion to revitalize its aging nuclear arsenal: Report By presstv The United States plans to spend more than $1 trillion to revitalize its antiquated nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, according to a new report.The Obama administration has dedicated a “sprawling new plant” in Kansas City, Mo.--bigger than the Pentagon-- to modernize “the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines,” The New York Times reports.The Kansas City National Security Campus is part of a “wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers,” the report said.The new project, which will leave most of the US nuclear arsenal intact, is in stark contrast to President Barack Obama’s campaign promise in 2008 of “a nuclear-free world.”Instead, because of “political deals and geopolitical crises,” the Obama administration is overseeing an extensive modernization of its atomic arsenal while implementing only modest arms reductions, the Times said.Gary Samore, Obama’s top nuclear adviser in his first term, said that Russia’s actions in Ukraine were a major factor. “That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible.”The United States and Russia last year agreed to reduce their tactical nuclear weapons, but the deal is unlikely to complete after the recent tensions between the two countries over the crisis in Ukraine.Congressional hawks believe that the new plan will put the United States in a “stronger position if a new arms race breaks out” and hope the renovated nuclear plants could allow the US arsenal to “expand rapidly” under a different president, according to the report.HRJ/HRJ
  • The New Great Game Round-Up: September 22, 2014
    The New Great Game Round-Up: September 22, 2014 By Christoph Germann | September 22, 2014 Washington’s Futile Efforts to Destabilize Russia, Azerbaijan & Turkey Push Southern Gas Corridor *The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players. On September 20, 1994, Azerbaijan’s President Heydar Aliyev and nine foreign oil companies signed the “Contract of the Century” for the exploration and exploitation of three offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea. This is hailed as the “beginning of independent Azerbaijan’s policy of energy diversification” by the United States and other Western powers. A few days ago, Azerbaijan’s embassy in the U.S., state-owned oil and natural gas corporation SOCAR, supermajor BP and the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), which boasts advisors such as James Baker III, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the “Contract of the Century” in Washington. The key role of Azerbaijan in the Southern Gas Corridor was one of the major topics during the celebrations and the Aliyev regime is doing its best to satisfy the expectations:Turkey, Azerbaijan break ground for Trans-Anatolian Gas PipelineTurkey’s energy minister has declared a gas pipeline a “peace corridor” linking the Caucasus with the Balkans.“We open the project as a peace corridor that is the result of 15 years hard work by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Through the South Caucasus pipeline and its backbone, the Trans-Anatolia pipeline, we connect the Caucasus with the Balkans. I wish every country could understand the true value of these projects and contribute with us,” Taner Yıldız said while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the South Caucasus pipeline in Baku on Sept. 20. Azerbaijan & Turkey Push Southern Gas CorridorThe Trans-Anatolian gas Pipeline (TANAP) is expected to cost $12 billion and the construction is planned to be completed by 2018. Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil and French supermajor Total recognized at the right moment that the soaring costs are going to be a problem and pulled out of the TANAP project at the end of last year. According to SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev, the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor projects will require investments of around $45 billion. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan and Turkey are determined to follow through with these projects. Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev and Turkey’s new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have vowed to extend the cooperation in the energy sector “to new levels.” Davutoglu also stressed that the two countries plan “to realize many joint projects in the defense industry.” Up to this point, Azerbaijan has purchased lots of weapons from Russia but NATO’s proxy in the South Caucasus is now embarking on a different strategy:Azerbaijan Pursues Drones, New Security OptionsHeightened tensions with longtime foe Armenia over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh and mediator Russia’s Ukrainian adventure appear to be pushing Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan ever more strongly toward a military strategy of self-reliance.The strategy comes via two approaches: first, a build-up in Azerbaijani-made military equipment, including drones co-produced with Israel; and, second, a new defense troika with longtime strategic partners Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and neighboring Georgia, a NATO-member-hopeful.Defense Minister Jamalov claims that Azerbaijan expects by the end of 2015 to be able to meet almost all of its own needs for ammunition and tank and artillery shells, formerly mostly supplied by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Azerbaijan maintains close military ties with members and allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the last few days, more than 30.000 Azerbaijani and Turkish troops have been conducting large-scale military exercises in Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Germany held a workshop on the theme “The armed forces in a democratic society” in Baku. Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Ilgar Nasibov, who was just charged with assault for being heavily beaten, can tell you a thing or two about Azerbajian’s “democratic society.” The Aliyev regime tolerates no criticism in this regard and tries hard to deflect scrutiny of the deteriorating human rights situation. Baku spares neither trouble nor expense to shape public opinion in the West and The New York Times demonstrated recently how this works:Azerbaijan’s Opinion-Shaping Campaign Reaches ‘The New York Times’Earlier this month, “The New York Times” published documents demonstrating Azerbaijan’s efforts to expand its relationship with think tanks in the United States to bolster U.S. public opinion of the country and make it clear that Baku “is an important security partner.”“It is a campaign that produced real results,” the September 6 report stated.Three days later, the very same newspaper published an op-ed about Azerbaijani-Armenian tensions without disclosing the author’s ties to the government in Baku.As long as Baku does Washington’s bidding with regard to Pipelineistan and NATO, Western media will refrain from subjecting the Aliyev regime to critical scrutiny and turn a blind eye to actions, which would be heavily criticized in other countries. In recent weeks, the Azerbaijani authorities pressured the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to close its office in Baku and froze NDI’s bank accounts in the country along with the accounts of Transparency International, Oxfam and the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). At the beginnnig of this month, Azerbaijani security officials raided the Baku office of IREX and the latest move is the upgrade of Azerbaijan’s foreign agent law:Azerbaijan hardens rules of foreign NGOs activityAzerbaijan hardens rules relating to the activities of representative offices and branches of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by foreign countries. A number of changes are proposed to be made to the Law “On State Registration and State Register of Legal Entities” due to it, Milli Majlis (parliament) told Trend.…Washington’s Futile Efforts to Destabilize Russia Azerbaijani MP Gudrat Hasanguliyev explained that the Azerbaijani society “accepts amendments to the legislation and the arrest of some foreign-funded NGOs leaders as quite normal.” If this statement had been made in Russia, it would have attracted more attention in the West. When the Russian authorities take action against foreign-funded NGOs, Western governments and media lose no opportunity to moan that Russia is becoming a dictatorship. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, the fifth column in Russia is now under increasing pressure. For example, the human rights organization “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg”, which was put on the foreign agent list after making controversial claims about the presence of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, is desperate to get the foreign agent label removed:Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg NGO fights against foreign agent statusSoldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg NGO protest against labeling the organization as a ‘foreign agent’ and want the Ministry of Justice to remove it from the blacklist, Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday.Ella Polyakova, the head of the St. Petersburg branch of the Soldiers’ Mothers group, argued that the NGO did not fall under the law because it did not receive any foreign funds and was not engaged in political activity. She vowed to contest the ministry’s decision in court.…While Ella Polyakova & Co. emphasize that the organization is currently(!) not being funded from abroad, they fail to mention that the various Russian Soldiers’ Mothers Committees have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the U.S. government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over the years. The United States and its allies have been doing their best to undermine the position of Russian President Putin and to destabilize the Russian Federation but all the trouble was for nothing. Putin’s approval ratings are at an all-time high and Russia is more united than it was before NATO tried to play off the Chechens against their Russian brothers in order to gain a foothold in the North Caucasus. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov managed to turn Chechnya into a stable and relatively secure republic, loyal to the Kremlin, and he is now reaping the benefits of his work:Russia to Start Drafting Chechen Men Into Army, Kadyrov SaysFive years after a brutal war between Russian forces and Chechen separatists officially ended, the first 500 Chechen men will be drafted to serve in the Russian army, its leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said.“I was lucky enough to meet with [Russian] Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu,” Kadyrov said late Thursday in a post on Instagram. “Of particular note, the minister — at our request — made the decision to this year draft 500 young [Chechen] men for regular military service.”“This is the first time in many years that this has been done. In the future, the number of draftees will increase,” he added.…With the situation in Chechnya under control, the Russian authorities are free to focus on threats emanating from Central Asia. Central Asian migrants frequently attract negative attention in Russia due to criminal activites. Two weeks ago, members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) were arrested in Moscow on suspicion of making fake driving licenses and passports. A few days ago, a court in Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East sent three Tajik members of the Islamic Party of Turkestan to prison and another group of Tajiks was caught smuggling Afghan heroin to Russia:Russian Police Arrest Alleged Smugglers Of Afghan HeroinRussian police say they have seized more than 1,000 kilograms of Afghan-produced heroin and arrested more than 30 suspected drug traffickers in an operation targeting a criminal group with ties in Tajikistan.Interfax quotes officials from the Russian Federal Drug Control Service as saying on September 18 that the core of the smuggling group was comprised of veterans from Tajikistan’s civil war in the 1990s, including former government troops and opposition fighters.Russian police say the heroin was hidden in railroad cargo and in automobiles.They said funds from drug sales were deposited with illegal financial centers in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Cyprus.…Turkmenistan “Invades” NATO’s Narco-Criminal State Afghanistan Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, who has earned himself a place on the U.S. sanctions list for constantly criticizing NATO’s “opium eradication” in Afghanistan, warned during a recent anti-drug meeting of the Caspian region that the drug production in Afghanistan is already at a “historic high” and that the situation is likely to deteriorate even more after the NATO withdrawal. What Ivanov meant to say is that the Russians want a bigger share of the booming opium business. Unfortunately, the United States and its allies are not going to abandon their narco-criminal state without resistance after they have spent billions of dollars to “rebuild” the country:US Reconstruction of Afghanistan Most Expensive in US HistoryWashington’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said the U.S. has provided more than $104 billion to rebuild Afghanistan — more money than the United States has spent on reconstruction for any one country in history.Sopko said the United States so far has failed to effectively deal with corruption in Afghanistan. He added the gap that is “astonishing” given that Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and the US is spending billions of dollars there.He was equally critical of Washington’s failed $7.- billion effort to fight the opium industry. Without an effective counter-narcotics strategy and Afghan political will, Sopko warned, the country could become a narco-criminal state.…As highlighted last week, the security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating lately while the two presidential candidates were unable to agree on a winner of the heavily rigged “election.” Especially Afghanistan’s northern neighbors have to worry about the security of their borders. Turkmenistan was apparently fed up with the increasing fighting along the Afghan-Turkmen border and decided to send troops into Afghanistan:Turkmenistan Armed Forces Reportedly Cross Afghanistan BorderTurkmenistan’s armed forces have entered the territory of Afghanistan in an apparent effort to drive back Taliban forces that had settled on the border between the two countries, Afghan residents have told the Turkmen service of RFE/RL.The report is in Turkmen but has been translated into Russian by Alternative Turkmenistan News. It quotes residents of the Qaisar region of Afghanistan’s Faryab province saying that Turkmenistan soldiers crossed the border about three months ago and have dug trenches and built fences.This would seem to be the latest escalation in an increasingly tense situation on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border. Earlier, there had been reports of Turkmenistan border guards making incursions in Afghanistan, and the Turkmenistan armed forces carrying out exercises close to the border. But now they seem to be going even farther.…Interestingly enough, neither the Afghan authorities nor the NATO-led international forces have said anything about this “invasion” by Turkmenistan. Washington decides on a case-by-case basis if state sovereignty applies. Ukraine? Of course! Syria? Of course not! Afghanistan? It is only an invasion when the Russians do it! Currently, NATO is only interested in getting the security agreement that the U.S. and its allies need to keep troops in the country into next year. This is going to be one of the first tasks of Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani:Afghanistan’s presidential rivals sign power-sharing dealAfghanistan’s rival presidential candidates signed a deal on Sunday to share power after months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilized the nation at a crucial time as most foreign troops prepare to leave.Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister who will be named president, embraced rival Abdullah Abdullah after they signed the power-sharing agreement at a ceremony watched by outgoing president Hamid Karzai, and broadcast live from his palace.…# # # #Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & AnalystChristoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here
  • The Absurdity of US Policy in Syria
    The Absurdity of US Policy in Syria Only a Truce in Syria Can Stop ISIS By PATRICK COCKBURN "Counter Punch"If the United States and its allies want to combat the Islamic State jihadists (IS, formerly known as Isis) successfully, they should arrange a ceasefire between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-IS Syrian opposition. Neither the Syrian army nor the “moderate” Syrian rebels are strong enough to stop IS if they are fighting on two fronts at the same time, going by the outcome of recent battles. A truce between the two main enemies of IS in Syria would be just that, and would not be part of a broader political solution to the Syrian crisis which is not feasible at this stage because mutual hatred is too great. A ceasefire may be possible now, when it was not in the past, because all parties and their foreign backers – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran – are frightened of the explosive advance of the Islamic State. US Secretary of State John Kerry told the US Security Council on Friday that there is room for everybody “including Iran” in an anti-IS coalition.President Obama was much criticised for admitting that he had no strategy to cope with IS and, despite his address to the nation on 10 September, he still does not have one. Assuming he is not going to send a large US land army to the region, he lacks a credible and effective local partner in either Syria or Iraq with the necessary military force to take advantage of air strikes, even if they are intensified in Iraq and extended to Syria.Mr Obama won the assent of the House of Representatives last week to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria who are supposedly going to fight both Assad and IS. This is essentially a PR operation, since IS forces 30 miles from Aleppo are poised to move against the last rebel strongholds, while the Syrian army is close to regaining control of the city itself.Likewise in Iraq, air strikes can only do so much. The government in Baghdad and the Iraqi army are still Shia-dominated and, however much the Sunni in Iraq dislike IS, they are even more frightened of its opponents. The US will try to split Sunni tribes and neighbourhoods away from the fundamentalists as it did in 2007, but there were then 150,000 US troops in the country and al-Qa’ida in Iraq was much weaker than IS. At the same time, it will find it difficult to advance further because, aside fromBaghdad, it has already seized the areas where live the 20 per cent of Iraqis who are Sunni Arab. In Syria at least 60 per cent of the population are Sunni Arabs, meaning that IS’s natural constituency is much bigger.The case for a ceasefire in Syria is cogently argued by Yezid Sayigh of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut in a paper entitled “To Confront the Islamic State, Seek a Truce in Syria”. He rightly says that “both the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the more moderate armed rebels arrayed against it are stretched thin, bleeding badly and in an increasingly vulnerable position …. Each has self-serving reasons to suspend military operations to confront the looming jihadist threat from the east.”The Syrian army suffered heavy defeats at the hands of IS in July and August, though these were little reported in the West. Mr Sayigh cites figures of 1,100 government soldiers dead in July alone. It has long been clear that the army was short of combat troops and could only fight one front at a time. Mr Assad appears to have calculated that the rise of IS would be to his political advantage because most of the world would prefer him to the fundamentalists. But he underestimated the military strength of IS since they captured Mosul on 10 June.No truce is likely to happen unless there is pressure on both sides by their outside backers – notably the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Much would depend on how realistic they are: the US and Saudi Arabia still want the departure of Assad, but this has been very unlikely since the second half of 2012. Demanding this at the Geneva II talks in February effectively killed off any diplomatic framework for negotiations to JihadisReturn_WebAd_2014_08_20_Counterpunch_Square_300x300end the conflict. Critics of multilateral ceasefires argue that this would mean accepting that the Assad government stay in place, but the Syrian government is not departing in any case. The Assad government may believe that it is gradually reasserting its authority over the rest of the country, but these advances are at a snail’s pace and its grip on ground regained is fragile. The Syrian army might not be able to withstand an all-out offensive by IS.IS is growing stronger while its opponents in Syria are weakening. It is recruiting fast in all parts of its caliphate: Mr Sayigh cites opposition reports that it began training 6,300 recruits in Iraq in July alone. A study by the National Security Adviser’s office in Baghdad showed that in the past, where jihadis took over an area with 100 fighters, they could recruit between 500 and 1,000. IS seems prepared for air strikes, evacuating its fighters and heavy weapons from buildings where they are identifiable. US air power did not win the war in Afghanistan and is even less likely to do so in Iraq or Syria.A ceasefire in Syria would remove one of IS’s strongest cards, which is the fear of the Sunnis that, bad though IS may be, the alternative of government re-occupation is even worse. For its part, the government may fear no longer being able to face Syrians with a stark choice between Assad and jihadis who chop off heads.The restoration of a more normal civilian life in Syria would be an immense advance. Some of the 3 million refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced people out of a total population of 22 million would be able to go home. There might be a re-emergence of more moderate individuals and groups marginalised or driven underground since 2011.At the moment, the political landscape in Syria must look good from the point of view of IS. Its opponents are divided. The US is backing a group of moderates who barely exist and wants to weaken the Assad government. In the past week some of the heaviest fighting in Syria has been IS’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, close to Turkey. It is defended by the fighters of the YPG Kurdish militia who are the Syrian branch of the mainly Turkish Kurd PKK which the US labels as “terrorist”.US policy has an Alice in Wonderland absurdity about it, everything being the opposite of what it appears to be. The so-called “coalition of the willing” is, in practice, very unwilling to fight IS, while those hitherto excluded, such as Iran, the Syrian government, Hezbollah and the PKK, are the ones actually fighting. A truce between the government and moderate rebels in Syria would enable both to devote their resources to fighting IS, as they need to do quickly if they are to avoid defeat.Patrick Cockburn’s new book is The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.
  • Violation of International Law: Where is Obama’s “Authorization to Use Force” in Iraq
    Violation of International Law: Where is Obama’s “Authorization to Use Force” in Iraq By Inder Comar There was much enthusiasm in 2008 that President Barack Obama would bring a saner and more lawful approach to issues of foreign policy and war and peace. Six years later — with Americans still being killed in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay still in active operation, US drones killing people in several countries and even American citizens, and now new mischief in Iraq — it is clear that President Obama has done little more than expand the already large war-making powers of his predecessor and fully enabled the vision of a “unitary executive” with unfettered powers in war and peace.Where is, for example, President Obama’s domestic authorization for the use of force in Iraq against the Islamic State? Obama has taken the position that the 2001 Authorization of Use of Force (“AUMF”) passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, as well as the 2002 AUMF against Iraq passed before that war provide him with the legal basis for further air strikes. None other than John Yoo, the famous ratifier of torture in the George W. Bush Administration, has rushed to Obama’s defense, claiming that Obama has all the legal authority he needs under the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.But the notion that these Authorizations support current military action against the Islamic State more than a decade after they were initially passed is highly flawed. The 2001 AUMF was specifically limited to terrorist groups that had planned or aided the 9/11 attacks. There is zero evidence (and no government official has yet argued) that the Islamic State is somehow tied to 9/11. The 2002 AUMF, which provided the domestic legal basis for the Iraq War, is also untenable as justification for this war as it was based on the purported “threat” posed by Saddam Hussein. Indeed, through his National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Obama himself called for the revocation of the 2002 AUMF in July, mere weeks before now claiming it as a renewed basis for the adventurism in Iraq.The attacks are also bereft of any basis in international law. Under the United Nations Charter, a country may only use armed force against another country in self-defense, or when approved by the United Nations Security Council. There is no resolution that has authorized the US strikes in Iraq; and the notion that the United States must lob bombs into Iraq as a matter of self-defense is simply not credible.While not made explicitly (at least not yet), the White House will likely rely on a tenuous theory in international law called the “responsibility to protect,” which argues that countries may involve themselves militarily in other countries in order to protect civilians or prevent other imminent humanitarian harms. This was the basis of the bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia, which never had UN Security Council authorization. Obama’s current Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is a well known advocate of this doctrine and she has recently argued that the US has all the legal authorization it needs for the air campaign.But there is no basis in international law for such a theory, and more clear-minded observers have rightly concluded that the so-called “responsibility to protect” is a thinly-veiled excuse for Western meddling in countries thousands of miles away. As Antony Loewenstein notes:We never hear any [responsibility to protect] backers pushing for a military intervention in Gaza to protect the Palestinians from Israeli missiles. Nobody is talking about protecting Egyptian civilians from the brutal, US-backed dictatorship in Egypt. Barely a word is raised to protect the repressed activists in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. Whether it’s dressed up as solidarity, a responsibility to protect, or an intervention to prevent breaches of human rights, from Iraq to Libya these are grotesque experiments on helpless civilians, the conclusions of which are clear for us to see.The Nuremberg Trials, which outlawed wars not conducted in conformity in international law, made no exceptions for “responsibility to protect,” and in fact labeled any war not conducted with a solid legal footing as the “crime of aggression,” considered the supreme international crime – largely because of the horrific consequences that take place when wars break out. Yet here, too, this White House has recently argued to the Northern District of California that the Nuremberg Trials are “irrelevant” to the determination of whether Presidents can be held accountable for their actions with respect to war and peace.From a historical point of view, it is ironic that a young senator from Illinois who campaigned in large part agains the Iraq War and who showcased his credentials as a constitutional scholar would be the handmaiden of the permanent “state of exception” described by the National Socialist philosopher Carl Schmitt, who argued that sovereigns should have the right to suspend the legal and juridical constraints of their societies so that they may act outside of law. This is the opposite of the legal constitutionalism that forms the philosophical basis of the American legal order, which can be summarized with the words of Edward Coke: “The King himself should be under no man, but under God and the Law.”Even six years later, the stings and scars of the Bush-era wars still haunt those who favor civilization over barbarity, and certainly continue to physically affect those who fought on either side, as well as the millions of civilians who always suffer when wars take place.The failure of President Obama to seek a more rational foreign policy is a disquieting but important lesson: those pressing for a lawful, constitutional government that resolves international conflicts instead of initiating them have far more work to do and cannot rely on the promises — falsely given — by politicians from any political party. The last Administration was wrong, but it was openly wrong and harbored no pretenses that it sought an imperial Presidency. In contrast, this Administration has cloaked itself in sanctimony even while consolidating the grave excesses of its predecessor. Both parties remain committed to imperialism and the wars that accompany them, or in the immortal words of Tacitus, writing two millennia ago of those who dismantled the ancient republic in Rome in order to create a dynastic and militant empire: “To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”D. Inder Comar is legal director at Comar Law. Comar Law is currently litigating a lawsuit against members of the Bush Administration for allegedly committing aggression against Iraq (Saleh v. Bush, N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, 13-cv-1124 JST).
  • Climate Change, Manufactured Dissent and “Foundation-funded Doomsayers”
    Climate Change, Manufactured Dissent and “Foundation-funded Doomsayers” By James F. Tracy "Global Research" The earth’s climate is changing. Sea levels are rising. We are all at risk. The role of humans in climate change is undeniable. Capitalism is to blame. Governments must fix the problem.These are the mantras of the environmental movement on display at the People’s Climate March being held on September 21.The talking points of foundation-funded doomsayers reverberate in unison because their financing is dependent on publicizing a specific message and agenda. The otherwise critical minds supporting what passes for rebelliousness overlook the sponsorship and tacit control wielded by powerful private interests.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Autx79iHJsScratching the surface, one finds that the most salient proponents of the carbon-centric global warming worldview are largely dependent on such funding. For example, Bill McKibben, a principal organizer of the People’s Climate March, has built a career around the false notion that minuscule increases in carbon dioxide are a principal cause of “extreme weather” events.[Image Credit: baltidome.wordpress.com] As this author has noted,McKibben’s 350.org project is the public face of his 501(c)(3) 1Sky Education Fund, which between its founding in 2007 and 2009 took in close to $5,000,000 in foundation money and “public contributions.” In 2010 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave 1Sky $200,000. The key “scientific” paper McKibben points to as support for his dire warnings on climate change, “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim,” coauthored by NASA scientist James Hansen, was partially funded through Rockefeller Foundation money.[1]A seemingly radical, anti-establishment veneer is helpful in lending the environmental movement some degree of legitimacy. Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein is the most recent voice of climate alarmism. Klein’s previous works, No Logo (2000) and The Shock Doctrine (2007), have afforded her with considerable notoriety and some degree of credibility, particularly among those on the progressive-left.Klein’s most recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, suggests that drastic measures must be taken to save the environment from destructive human activities. This Changes Everything is published by Simon & Schuster, a subsidiary of the publicly-traded CBS Corporation, which boasted revenues of $15.284 billion in 2013 alone.[2] Like McKibben’s Rockefeller sponsors, Simon & Schuster and CBS are typically uninclined toward promoting genuinely anti-establishment thought and discourse.Klein is one of the few in the progressive-left cavalcade to recognize that geoengineering and weather manipulation pose extreme threats to the environment. “Well, so, one of the geoengineering methods that gets taken most seriously is called ‘solar radiation management,’” Klein remarks on the foundation-funded Democracy Now! news hour,[3] another promoter of the People’s Climate March.Solar radiation management, managing the sun. So, what you—so the idea [sic] is that you would spray sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere, then they would reflect some of the sun’s rays back to space and dim the sun and cool the Earth. So, climate change is caused by pollution in the lower atmosphere, and so they’re saying that the solution to that pollution is pollution in the stratosphere. And, you know, it’s really frightening when you look at some of the modeling that is being done about what the possible downsides of this could be [sic].[4]In fact, there is substantial evidence–patents, government documents, and scientific papers–that such organized contamination projects have been underway since at least the late 1990s and are almost certainly a major factor in the “extreme weather events” pointed to with such alarm by figures like McKibDN_Kleinben. Yet Klein deceptively suggests that geoengineering is still in the planning stages and has not begun. Indeed, to acknowledge that such plans are well-advanced and now fully operational would call into question the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis she and her adherents proclaim as the rationale for opposing “capitalism.” It would also likely jeopardize a lucrative publishing contract with a global media conglomerate.[Image Credit: democracynow.org]Foundation-funded and corporate-promoted environmentalism is notable not only for its hypocrisy, but also for what it leaves obscure to its well-intentioned devotees.With this in mind, the purpose of such artificial dissent is arguably to repackage the threat of extreme weather that has been manufactured by military and government programs over the years as the basis for strategic socio-political and economic changes to which the public would never freely submit.To curb humankind’s environmental excesses, today’s state-backed corporatism mistakenly decried as capitalism must further expand into the everyday lives of individuals, where an “internet of things” will inevitably catalog, regulate and control all consumable resources and biological entities.“A really efficient totalitarian state,” Aldous Huxley once observed, “would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”[5]Along these lines, establishment environmentalism’s continued feigned urgency and spectacle of protest ingeniously disguises the deeper belief that humanity’s salvation lies in its own subservience to technocratic control.Notes[1] James F. Tracy, “Chemtrails: The Realities of Geoengineering and Weather Modification,” Global Research, November 8, 2012.[2] “CBS CORP 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)” (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 14, 2014.[3] James F. Tracy, “Manufactured Dissent: The Financial Bearings of the Progressive-Left Media,” Global Research, August 3, 2012.[4] Amy Goodman, “Naomi Klein on Motherhood, Geoengineering, Climate Debt & the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement,” Democracy Now! September 18, 2014.[5] Aldous Huxley, Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited, Harper Perennial, 2005.
  • How Stieg Larsson Exposed the Swedish Far Right
    How Stieg Larsson Exposed the Swedish Far Right By Louis Proyect "Source: Counterpunch.org"Posted in: Europe, Media (Alt), Media (Main), Sweden | No commentsFor the average person the early death of Stieg Larsson must have come as a disappointment since that meant that the fourth Dragon Tattoo novel would remain uncompleted, the last in a series that were perfect reading on the bus or subway going to work. I understood how they might feel since I once missed my stop while reading the account of the petite but potent Lisbeth Salander beating up a 300-pound biker and stealing his Harley-Davidson.But after reading Jan-Erik Pettersson’s “Stieg Larsson: the real story of the man who played with fire”, I felt a keener loss, that of a man who I never met but now miss as a comrade in the fight against a decaying capitalist system. I was always aware that Karl Stig-Erland “Stieg” Larsson, who died at the age of 50 from a heart attack on November 9, 2005, was a member of the Trotskyist movement–as was I–but never knew much about what he did in between the time he left the movement and began writing the novels that made him famous. I was under the impression that he made his living as a journalist but that would be like saying that John Reed did so as well. Like so many journalists with integrity over the last 100 years, Stieg Larsson aimed his words like a Molotov cocktail at the forces of capitalist reaction. If anything, the exploits of Mikael Blomkvist, the journalist hero of his novels, pale in comparison to the life that the author led.I picked up Pettersson’s book (used copies sell for a penny on Amazon.com!) primarily to get a handle on how Sweden moved away from the welfare state in the 80s and 90s and on how those changes impacted the Marxist detective novel writers I wrote about inCounterPunch recently. While the book provided valuable information that allowed me to put someone like Henning Mankell, the creator of the Wallender novels, into context, the story of Stieg Larsson began to captivate me, so much so that I decided to write this article as a way of paying homage to this extraordinary human being. The facts about Larsson’s life that follow come from Pettersson’s book; the analysis you can blame on me as always.Like me, Stieg Larsson, 9 years my junior, left home at the age of 16 never to return. In my case, it was to go to Bard College; in his case—craving independence—it was to live in a modest apartment across the street from his parents. Like others from our generation, Larsson started off as an antiwar activist but soon joined the Trotskyist movement in 1970 largely on the basis of its prominence in the antiwar movement. Pettersson also notes that he opted for Trotskyism since the socialist realism favored by the Maoists left him cold. His favorite movie was Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Ones”, a work that Stalin would have considered an executable offense.By the late 80s he had dropped out, not for political reasons but like so many other people going through the revolving doors of such groups he felt the need to get on with his life when a socialist revolution no longer seemed imminent.Through most of the 70s, Larsson surrendered to a wanderlust that took him to places where the class struggle was at its most intense. This included Eritrea, where he trained EPLF fighters on the use of mortars. As an army veteran, Larsson had technical skills that proved useful, just as my programming skills would be useful to the Sandinistas a decade later. Unlike the highly disciplined but ineffectual SWP in the USA, the loosely knit Swedish Trotskyist movement allowed its members to go and do as they please. This, of course, is the way that all genuine living movements should be organized.In 1979 he went to work for Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (Swedish for News Agency) as a graphics artist. It was there that he continued the work he had begun when writing for the Trotskyist magazine, researching rightwing conspiracies of the sort that would feature in his own fiction as well as that of other Swedish Marxists working in the same genre. Unlike much of the conspiracist left today that is obsessed with planned detonations at the WTC and the like, Larsson’s reporting was grounded in facts.In 1983, Larsson became the Swedish correspondent for Searchlight, a British magazine launched by ex-CP’er Maurice Ludmer who had broken with the party over its equivocal stance on racism. To understand the magazine in its totality—something that Pettersson fails to do—it is best to see it in some ways as the British counterpart to Morris Dees’s Southern Poverty Law Center. Wikipedia states that Searchlightexaggerated the threat of anti-Semitism in order to raise funds. While this was reprehensible, the magazine was also responsible for exposing the British National Party, arguably a much greater threat in Britain than the KKK ever was during Dees’s ambitious fundraising campaigns.None of this had much to do with Larsson’s dispatches from Sweden, where neo-Nazis were probably a bigger threat to democracy than the BNP was in Britain or the Klan in the USA. While there’s a tendency to regard Sweden as a benign and peaceful social democratic Eden, the truth is that Nazi roots go very deep in Swedish soil, a function in part of the country’s Aryan self-image, at least the part of the population that is predisposed to such myths.Pettersson lays out this rightwing history in graphic detail, a history that hung over the Swedish Marxist detective novelists like a dark cloud.It all seems to start with King Charles XII, who defeated the Russians in a landmark battle in 1700 and became a symbol of Swedish nationalism. Fed up with what he called “pharaoh worship”, playwright August Strindberg wrote a lacerating critique of the king and his place in the Swedish national mythos in 1910 that created a huge debate. Taking sides against him were two of the country’s most revered figures: Verner von Heidenstam, a poet, and world-famous explorer Sven Hedin. In 30 years the two would become Nazi sympathizers.An important element of the emerging fascist movement in Sweden was its embrace of eugenics. After founding the Swedish Society for Racial Hygiene in 1909, Herman Lundborg would crusade against the presence of undesirables in Swedish society like the Roma, for whom sterilization was the final solution. Eventually a full-fledged Nazi party would emerge in Sweden. In distinction to Germany, it was much more the choice of the elites rather than a crazed middle-class. It was exactly this peculiarity that led Stieg Larsson to develop the notorious Vanger clan.With the defeat of Nazi Germany, Swedish fascism went underground, evoking a novel like “The Odessa File”. As was the case throughout Europe, it reemerged in the late 1970s to exploit the rising fear and hatred of immigrants, a subject that has served as the theme for numerous episodes of the Swedish TV series I examined in myCounterPunch article.A group called “Keep Sweden Swedish” sprang up, following the same strategies as the British National Front. It and other such groups that followed in its wake convinced Stieg Larsson to write a book documenting their origins and trajectory. Written in 1991, “The Far Right” generated a lot of attention, including from its targets. A fascist skinhead magazine published a list of 15 enemies that included their phone numbers and addresses. Larsson was one of those listed.Like David Duke, the Klan leader who became a Republican, Swedish fascists made a turn toward “respectability” that was symbolized by the formation of a party innocuously called New Democracy. It received 7 percent of the vote in 1991 and sent 25 members to the parliament under the new Conservative Party government. While the New Democracy used its roost in parliament to champion a nativist agenda, the old-line militants struggled for the same goals in the streets. Using the same name as the American fascists, the Swedish White Aryan Resistance and other such groups might beat or kill anybody outside the master race.Stieg Larsson had decided that a Swedish magazine in the spirit of Searchlight had become necessary. That was how Expo came into being in 1995, the obvious inspiration for the fictional Millennium that employed Mikael Blomkvist. Expo was a much more modest affair than the relatively glossy Millennium. The premier issue of Expo included an article on a rightwing intelligence network that would spy on Swedish activists and that had received seed money from Combat 18, a British fascist outfit. In many ways, this network followed in the footsteps of Lyndon Larouche who fed the Reagan White House information on the anti-nuclear movement.Expo also covered the Swedish White Power rock music scene. Profits from record sales went into the coffers of fascist organizations. As was the case with New Democracy, hatred of immigrants and belief in Aryan supremacy went hand in hand—always combined with obscurantist beliefs in Nordic mythology. If the songs were nominally about Thor and Odin, the subtext was Keep Sweden Swedish.In 1996 Larsson wrote about the National Alliance, the latest and most dangerous entry into the far right. The group reacted by threats against newsstands that distributed it and veiled threats against those who worked for the magazine. One shop had its windows smashed and the owner received death threats. This was what prompted Larsson, an early computer geek, into exploring security procedures such of the kind that would be reflected in his fiction, including the use of encrypted messages and files.Initially complying with police instructions that Expo stay mum during an ongoing investigation of the attacks, Larsson decided at last to go public. He provided details of the terrorist threats to Nu, a major liberal magazine. The revelations proved so explosive that the circulation of Expo went from a couple of thousand to 800,000. Ironically, it was mounting threats from neo-Nazi hoodlums that led to a security measure that would rob his long-time partner of the rights to his estate.He was probably the person most under threat in the whole of Sweden. His name appeared on neo-Nazi websites all over Europe. He was constantly receiving threats in the form of anonymous letters and telephone messages. He coped so well because he had learned to be careful and adopted strict safety procedures. When he knew he was being watched, he would deliberately arrive late for meetings. When he went to a café he preferred to sit with his back to the wall.On one occasion during his time at TT, when the press agency had its offices on Kungsholm torg, a group of neo-Nazis were waiting for him in the park across the street, armed with baseball bats. But since Stieg took his usual rear exit from the office as a security measure, he spotted them in time and was able to slip back into the building.This safety consciousness was also the reason he and his partner Eva Gabrielsson never married, so that they could avoid being traced through official registers. Even so, Stieg usually wrote under his own name in Expo, and in the autumn of 1999 the journal announced that in future the editorial staff would include their photograph with their byline to demonstrate that they would not be intimidated by perpetrators of violence.The issues that animated Stieg Larsson remain very much with us. The New Democracy of the 1990s has been superseded by Sweden Democrats, another party with an innocuous name but an even more toxic program. In this month’s election, the Sweden Democrats got 13 percent of the vote, just enough to prevent the Social Democrats from forming a majority-led government. In a September 12 report on the elections, the NY Times explained why the fascist party could garner twice the number of votes that the New Democracy received in 1991. Polls indicate that 44 percent of Swedes want to decrease the number of immigrants, many of whom are seeking political asylum.The NY Times portrayed the Sweden Democrats as victims of leftist harassment.Intimidation of the party and its supporters has taken other forms as well. Last December, an organization of former militant leftists known as the Research Group collaborated with the prominent evening newspaper Expressen to discover and publish personal details about those writing under pseudonyms in online anti-immigrant chat forums. The list of those de-anonymized included private citizens, some of whom were later cornered by television crews in the doorways to their homes.Being cornered by television crews hardly compares to the threats posed by a party that was the result of a merger between Keep Sweden Swedish and the Progress Party, an outfit that according to Wikipedia raised slogans like “AIDS comes from abroad” and “the woman back to the stove”. The Sweden Democrats sponsored concerts by Ultima Thule, a band that played the White Power circuit.Like the New Democracy, the party made an effort to appear more “moderate” after the fashion of David Duke. Its members were ordered to stop wearing Nazi uniforms at rallies and a torch logo that had been inspired by one used by the National Front in England was ditched. The party’s “moderation” faction now in control decided that Le Pen’s party in France would be its model, a decision no doubt influenced by the funds it received from that party.In addition to its xenophobia, the party stands for traditional values, including the belief that the family rests on having one father, and one mother, and rails against the “homosexual lobby”.Like every other fascist party in Europe, Sweden Democrats voted against the pact between the EU and Ukraine in the European parliament arguing that their opposition to the EU and to immigration went hand in hand. Those inclined to see political patterns that defy easy left/right categorization might see this as further confirmation that the admiration for Vladimir Putin in such circles rests on his ability to put into practice socially conservative policies that to this point remain out of reach for a party that received “only” 13 percent of the vote. Giving the drift of the European economy and the tendency of the ultraright to scapegoat homosexuals and immigrants, it is entirely conceivable that the Sweden Democrats might become part of a coalition government down the road. This is something that Stieg Larsson would have resisted with every fiber of his mind and body. So should we.Louis Proyect blogs at http://louisproyect.org and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.  
  • General ‘Breedhate’ in Another Sabotage Sortie
    General ‘Breedhate’ in Another Sabotage Sortie By Finian CUNNINGHAM | 22.09.2014 | 00:02 "Strategic Culture Foundation" US Air Force General Philip Breedlove strafed the renewed peace plan for Ukraine before it barely got off the ground at the weekend, thereby aiming to shoot down another political bid to end months of deadly violence in the country.It’s not the first time that the NATO military chief has used high-flown rhetoric to preempt a diplomatic solution to end the fighting in war-torn eastern Ukraine. That conflict has claimed nearly 3,000 lives over the past six months, with up to one million civilians displaced and millions more trapped in a spiralling humanitarian crisis.The irresponsible language of Four-Star General Breedlove in exacerbating the crisis makes one wonder if his name should not henceforth be known as General “Breedhate”.Early on Saturday, in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, the Contact Group of representatives from the Kiev regime, east Ukrainian separatists and the Russian government came up with an implementation plan to underpin the earlier ceasefire agreed on September 5.Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, representing the Kiev side, explained that a 30-kilometre “buffer zone” had been defined, which would entail fighters withdrawing artillery from present conflict lines in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are charged with monitoring the new corridor separating the warring sides.That buffer-zone plan could provide the key to implementing the tentatively agreed ceasefire worked out by the Contact Group in Minsk two weeks ago. That truce has been dogged by ongoing violations over the past two weeks, mainly by Kiev’s military forces continuing to shell residential areas. The Kiev military, comprising regular forces and the paramilitary fascist National Guard, was sent into the eastern regions in April to quell the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.Given the appalling humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, an observer would think that all reasonable parties should be striving to bolster the chances of success for any ceasefire initiative. Moscow has evidently demonstrated its political commitment. But not, it seems, Washington or its General Breedhate.The American military commander was speaking at a NATO military conference in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on Saturday just hours after the latest peace plan was unveiled in Minsk. The General dismissed the ceasefire as being “there only in name” and he repeated unsubstantiated claims that Russian forces were operating in Ukraine. That’s hardly a constructive attitude.As German newspaper Deutsche Welle reported, the Four-Star General “could not pinpoint how many” or where exactly these alleged Russian soldiers are operating in eastern Ukraine.“The fluidity of movement of Russian forces and Russian-backed forces back and forth across [the Ukrainian] border makes it almost impossible to understand the numbers,”said the General with telling, and conveniently, vague assertion.“The ceasefire is still there in name, but what is happening on the ground is quite a different story,”Breedlove added.The NATO commander was merely piling on more bricks to the already teetering wall of lies that Washington and its European allies have been constructing ever since the crisis in Ukraine erupted last November. That wall is partly aimed at shielding any truth or facts intruding into an accurate understanding of the crisis.Russia is the unquestioned aggressor and upon that fictitious foundation, the US and EU have built an edifice of escalating sanctions against Moscow and likewise provocative NATO military actions across Eastern Europe, from the Baltics to the Black Sea. NATO is currently carrying out “war games” in Ukraine despite the country not being a member of the alliance.This week saw Kiev’s President Petro Poroshenko given the red-carpet treatment in the White House and Capitol Hill, where his claims of “Russian aggression” were met with resounding, unblinking applause and promises of more US military aid totalling now some $250 million.General Breedlove also recently accused Russia of launching “hybrid war tactics” against Ukraine and its neighbours. He did not elaborate or substantiate what this sinister sounding concept meant, simply insinuating that Russia is covertly destabilising Ukraine and the wider region with “little green men”.Speaking to the pro-American imperium Atlantic Council, the Daily Beast reports him as saying: “To the little green men thing, we’ve clearly seen the script play out in Crimea, we’ve seen the script play out in eastern Ukraine. We’re beginning to see some of the script in Moldova and Transnistra.”It is truly disturbing that the man supposedly responsible for defending the entire Western hemisphere forms his views of geopolitical security risks on the basis of “little green men”.Back in early May when Russian President Vladimir Putin worked out a previous peace plan for eastern Ukraine with OSCE chairman Didier Burkhalter, it was General Breedlove who again moved to sabotage that initiative with unfounded claims – once again – that Russian military forces were amassing on the border. The General referred to unverifiable satellite imagery purporting to show Russian mechanised columns.Moscowhas consistently denied accusations that it is mobilising forces near or within Ukrainian territory. And Moscow’s repeated requests for NATO to present its “evidence” in a verifiable way have not been reciprocated.Breedlove and his civilian NATO counterpart, secretary general Anders “the Fogh of war” Rasmussen, have acted as shameless propagandists to fuel the barrage of lies against Russia.This NATO onslaught is integrated with crude warmongering from the Western-backed neo-Nazi regime in Kiev that seized power in an illegal coup on February 22 against the elected President Viktor Yanukovych. That coup was instrumented by the American CIA, involving mass murder of civilians and police from covert snipers firing on crowds in Kiev’s Maidan Square on February 20.Even as delegates were about to meet in Minsk at the weekend to thrash out a workable ceasefire, the self-styled prime minister in Kiev, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was preparing for more war. “Russiawill not give us peace so I am asking the defense minister for full battle readiness,” said Yatsenyuk, despite the peace plan having been agreed to by his president, Poroshenko. “We can't believe anyone, especially the Russians,” added Yatsenyuk with his typical irrational belligerence.The regime’s appointed defence minister, Valeriy Geletei, had excelled his usual unprofessionalism when he reiterated claims that Russia had deployed tactical nuclear weapons in eastern Ukraine. Geletei said that these weapons were used near Donetsk airport to drive out Kiev’s military forces.Russia’s defence ministry swiftly condemned the Kiev regime’s attempts to escalate the conflict with such wild claims. “Geletei’s regular attempts to justify the failures of the punitive operation in the southeast of Ukraine by alleged actions of Russian army units look like paranoia. But no reasonable person will take them seriously,” Moscowsaid.The trouble is Washington takes all such crazy ranting from Kiev very seriously because it is an integral part of the Western propaganda drive against Putin’s Russia. This is the kind of maniac company that Breedlove and his Washington seniors are consorting with: liars and paranoids.But Breedlove is sort of half right in his mendacity. The ceasefire has not been respected since it was first signed on September 5. Not because of Russia’s covert involvement, but rather simply from continued shelling of civilian centres by Kiev’s forces. This week at least eight civilians were reportedly killed in Donetsk city from indiscriminate shelling. By definition, if the self-defence militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic hold the city then the side firing the deadly shells are the Kiev forces who are besieging. These are the forces that are openly being supported by Washington, Brussels and NATO.This is why the buffer zone agreed this weekend in Minsk is a crucial mechanism for putting the agreed peace plan into practice.But when you have people like “Breedhate" and his political masters in Washington strafing all attempts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, then the chances of success are right away shot to pieces.