The Pre-planned Aggression





The Pre-planned Aggression

Abid Ullah Jan

Most of us believe that the war on Afghanistan was not only a tremendous success, but also perfectly legitimate. Victory was achieved quickly. The Taliban government was overthrown and Al-Qaeda a non-entity before 9/11 was dispersed. “Radical Islamists” in neighboring Pakistan accepted it as a defeat and seemed demoralized. After the fact, some scoffed at the backwardness and weakness of the Taliban. Above all everyone has now accepted that the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is the result of the 9/11 attacks in New York and the Taliban’s “harboring terrorists.”

The events of 9/11 generated worldwide sympathy for the United States Almost all heads of state sent condolences and pledged assistance in hunting down the alleged perpetrators. The Bush administration, sensing the excellent opportunity, seemed happy to feign consulting widely for extra support for the pre-planned war on Afghanistan. Without any real investigations and confirmation of the instant allegation, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution requiring all member countries to pursue “terrorists” and the financial systems supporting them. NATO invoked Article 5 of its Charter, declaring 9/11 as an attack on all nineteen NATO states. The Organization of American States followed suit. Few if any states were to reject requests for assistance from the United States over the following months. We will assess the legal value of these developments in chapter 6 of this book. Suffice it to mention here that 9/11 generated enormous sympathy for the United States.

As a result, the Bush administration immediately identified Osama bin Laden and the least known organization by the name of Al-Qaeda as the culprits.[1] Interestingly, Three days before President Bush’s inauguration, Colin Powell at his confirmation hearing discussed for the first time his priorities as the nation’s new secretary of state. He spoke on 20 topics—from China and the Balkans to U.N. sanctions and Iraq. He never mentioned the Al-Qaeda “terrorist group.”[2] Similarly, Tony Karon’s exclusive report in Time magazine, Bin Laden Rides Again: Myth vs. Reality, was published just two months before 9/11, but despite detailing the hype surrounding Osama bin Laden, the report made no mention of an Al-Qaeda “terrorist network.”[3]

In the heat of 9/11, the Taliban were also declared guilty by association. Bush said, he wanted Osama “dead or alive,”[4] and though many found this primitive, very few could understand the desire for vengeance. It is interesting that until 9/11, Bush was very much a lame duck president, the butt of jokes, and under attack for the way his election depended on fraud (later proven) in Florida. By starting a war, he united his country behind him. The events of 9/11 not only saved his presidency but also helped in his re-election.
On September 15, 2001, Bush gave the Taliban an ultimatum: hand over Osama and close his camps, or face the consequences. Afghanistan’s Grand Islamic Council did recommend that head of state Mullah Mohammad Omar persuade Osama to leave, and United States and British politicians, as well as the opposition Northern Alliance within Afghanistan, repeatedly said that there are signs of splits within the Taliban.[5]

On September 18, 2001, the Foreign Minister said it might extradite Osama if the United States provided “solid and convincing” evidence of his involvement in terrorism. Having no evidence, not even a shred of it, Bush told Congress, “There will be no negotiations or discussions. . . there’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt . . . we know he’s guilty.”[6]

The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, and other leaders, kept repeating the request for evidence. Discussions were proceeding between Pakistani diplomats and clerics and the Taliban. Musharraf also declared that the “Taliban’s days are numbered.” The Taliban in the meanwhile agreed to handover Osama to an Islamic court in Peshawar, Pakistan. In late September and early October 2001, leaders of Pakistan’s two religious parties negotiated Osama’s extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official said, significantly, that “casting our objectives too narrowly” risked “a premature collapse of the international effort [to overthrow the Taliban] if by some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured”.[7] The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers, went so far as to say that “the goal has never been to get Bin Laden.”[8] Pakistan’s General Musharraf also vetoed the deal under United States pressure.[9] The United States said its demands were “clear and non¬negotiable.”

On October 9, 2001, the New York Times reported that a faction of the Taliban leadership had met secretly with Pakistani officials the day before and said they would try to negotiate the handover of bin Laden if the US stopped bombing for two or three days. The Times reported, however, that Pakistani and US officials were doubtful the overture would resolve the crisis because Bush “has said repeatedly that he will not negotiate, or even discuss, terms for the handover of Mr. bin Laden.”

The whistle blowing FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests.[10] In November 2001, the US Air Force complained it had had Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission quickly enough.[11] This evidence comes from sources already in the public domain and clearly proves that it is incompatible with what the United States government has said from day one of the attacks. In fact, the war was already planned. The stage was set. Osama was the perfect ruse for invading Afghanistan.

This intransigence was the hallmark of the United States policy of not listening to or accepting any proposal that might become an alternative to the war of aggression. Logically, the primary concern of the United States should have been to find out the real culprits, not closing the doors on solutions other than going on a pre-determined killing spree for invasion and occupation. The United States should have also provided evidence, as it promised,[12] and done more negotiating.

Facing more parliamentary criticism in Britain, British Prime Minister Tony Blair produced a dossier of evidence on October 4, 2001, which contained more pretext than proof. The United States could have provided evidence only if the administration had it. Secretary of State Colin Powell favored providing evidence, arguing it would win more allies. CIA Director Tenet added that it might help to split the Taliban. But Defense Secretary Rumsfeld strenuously opposed producing a dossier, saying it would set a dangerous precedent for future military interventions when the evidence might not be so extensive. Rumsfeld knew that the evidence for invading Afghanistan was not extensive either. He also knew that cooking evidence would be a time consuming task, which might become a precedent that might hamper further such illegal actions. His argument won the day, especially after Pakistan became the first Muslim state to accept the official story of 9/11—it got “aid” instead of evidence.[13]

Whether the Taliban would have accepted evidence is less important than whether the world—especially the Muslim world—would be swayed toward or away from the United States case. The statement, “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. . . we know he’s guilty” has left no doubt about the standards of American justice, an impression furthered by United States announcements that “terrorists” would be tried before special military tribunals, not regular law courts. This has been confirmed from the way the United States is running several concentration camps all over the world, particularly Afghanistan, which it claimed to be liberating from the “tyranny” of the Taliban. The consequence was skepticism about American claims. Later events have confirmed that the claims were without basis.

Something does not add up. Negotiations might have continued. The next demand might have been to hand over al-Qaeda leaders to a neutral country. All these things came out in the Taliban proposals. One step might have been the setting up a U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Terrorism. But, by then, the United States was rejecting every proposal of a peaceful resolution and all extensions of international criminal law. Alternatively, the United States might have appeared reasonable by making public the substantial evidence it claimed to have. Had the Taliban rejected all evidence and compromise, the United States would have won the moral high ground for military action.

Negotiations were not prejudicial to a military response, which despite prior arrangements took 25 days to refine and implement anyway. The United States would have won more general support for its coming war by even appearing to negotiate. Alternatively, if Osama was handed over to a third party (OIC or Pakistan as the Taliban suggested), that would have been good, since the United States had ostensibly no vital interest in the Taliban other than that they stop harboring terrorists. However, the United States spurned all negotiations, which shows the falsehood of the assumption that the United States had no vital interest in the removal of the Taliban. Actually, everything was staged to achieve that very objective, despite beliefs to the contrary.

Gallup polls in 37 countries in late September asked the question: “In your opinion, once the identity of the terrorists is known, should the American government launch a military attack on the country or countries where the terrorists are based, or should the American government seek to extradite the terrorists to stand trial?” Only in the United States, Israel and India (these two countries were already warring on “terrorists”) majorities favored the military option. Around 80 percent of Europeans and 90 percent of South Americans favored extradition and trial, as did 80 percent of Bosnians and 69 percent of Pakistanis—the only Muslim countries surveyed. This shows the reasonable, rational and logical response as opposed to a response of a predetermined war.

The United States started with such enormous deception for gaining maximum sympathy, that its rejecting to negotiate solution with the Taliban did not seem damaging. Most allies pledged support, as did rivals like Russia and India with their own terrorist agendas to pursue. China and regional powers as varied as the Central Asian states, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all gave assistance without question, usually permitting bases and flying rights in their countries. Some were bribed. Others, such as Pakistan, were threatened with total war.
Numerous lies regarding the Taliban had already poisoned the public mind. There was much ado about a few isolated incidents. However, those who lived under the Taliban, specifically for observing if the Taliban were really committing the alleged crimes, testified that many of the “well attested” claims against the Taliban had no basis in fact. Once the war started, and the extradition and trial alternative was dropped from polls, far more Westerners who supported the war—and most people everywhere—deplored its civilian casualties. However, the countries, which sent troops to assist the United States, were almost all Western, and only the Anglo-Saxons—Americans, British, Canadians and Australians—did any serious fighting.

The Muslim world was quite aware and concerned about the issues, which Osama was raising. Osama had declared that the United States sided with repressive Muslim regimes, killed Iraqis, stationed U.S. troops on holy Muslim soil, and supported Israel against the Palestinians. All these facts were widely believed, because they were true and based on solid evidence. Even Blair, in a lame attempt to blunt Osama’s message, made Pro-Palestinian statements in preparation of the assault on the Taliban, stating that the “peace talks” in the Middle East must be resumed immediately and establishment of a Palestinian state “is essential for peace.”[14] Blair met with Yasir Arafat on October 15, 2001 and declared, “A viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated and agreed settlement… The end we desire is a just peace in which the Israelis and Palestinians live side by side, each in their own state, secure and able to prosper and develop.”[15] These proved to be the same lies with which the United States and its allies tried to deceived Palestinians and the rest of Muslims in 1991 with Madrid Conference.

Some Muslims believed the official story of 9/11. However, those, who knew the potential of Osama and his followers and the level of sophistication such attacks required, instantly rejected these allegations. Brimming with confidence after the successful day of 9/11, Bush referred to his pre-planned war as a “crusade,” hardly the way to endear himself to Muslims. The American media also tended to answer the question, “Why do they hate us?” by referring to the nature of Islam and 1.2 billion Muslims, rather than discussing the real issues. The so-called main-stream newspapers, such as the New York Times, started developing a mindset for religious war with one article after another with such titles as “This is a Religious War: September 11 was Only the Beginning,”[16] “Yes, this is About Islam,”[17] “The Core of Islamic Rage,”[18] “Jihad 101,”[19] “The Deep Intellectual Roots of Islamic Terror,”[20] “Faith and the Secular State,”[21] “Kipling Knew What the United States May Learn Now,”[22] “Al-Jazeera: What the Muslim World is Watching,”[23] “The Real Cultural Wars,” “The Revolt of Islam,”[24] “The One True Faith,”[25] “Holy Warriors Escalate an Old War on a New Front,”[26] and “Feverish Protests Against the West Trace to Grievances Ancient and Modern.”[27]

There is compelling evidence, to be presented below, that the 9/11 terrorist attacks could never happen the way the official story is presented to the world. These attacks were extremely sophisticated operations, planned at a very high level for using as an excuse to start an already planned invasion of Afghanistan. The primary objective as discussed in Chapter 3 of this book was to stop the evolution of the Taliban’s success into a global Islamic movement for liberation of the Muslim world from the colonial yoke, which Muslim countries have to bear in many forms.

It took the United States only 25 days to begin the war on Afghanistan, compared to the four and a half months of preparations before it could come to Kuwait’s aid in 1990. Other military adventures also show that it is totally impossible to organize a military operation within the space of only twenty-five days. Yet, this feat was achieved against Afghanistan. The United States attacked that country on October 7, 2001, a mere twenty-five days after 9/11.

There were 25 days of apparent inaction as the Bush administration presented the façade of trying to reach a diplomatic solution to the ostensible problem. Much of the “restraint” was simply to find time to move the remaining troops and materiel into place and to browbeat reluctant countries such as Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan into providing staging areas and over flight rights. In addition, there was real concern about destabilizing many allied governments in the Muslim world. No diplomatic solution was tried; the administration’s line was consistently “no negotiations.”

No sovereign country could accept what the United States demanded from the Afghanistan government after 9/11 particularly when the United States reneged on its public promise to provide any evidence about Osama’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.[28] In spite of all this, the Taliban were willing to negotiate about handing Osama over to a neutral third party. In fact, a deal had been worked out to have Osama tried in Pakistan by a tribunal that would then decide whether to turn him over to the United States. The United States government did not even want that. Its “diplomacy” was deliberately designed to lead to the war and removal of the Taliban.

On the face of it, this was a war against terrorism. The Northern Alliance, with which the United States allied to oust the Taliban, is a bunch of terrorists, known for torture, killing civilians, and raping women.[29]

The most preposterous suggestion that came to the fore in preparation for the pre-planned invasion of Afghanistan was the United States identification of the culprit behind the 9/11 attacks within hours of the event. While it is reasonable that a list of suspects would immediately come to mind in such circumstance. It is another matter to be so certain of a single individual’s guilt to the extent that a state is prepared to attack another sovereign state and remove its government. Within minutes after the attack, a parade of politicians and “terrorism experts” appeared on every TV channel, all claiming that the attacks were the work of Osama Bin Laden. Within hours FBI agents were raiding homes of one of the alleged hijackers in Florida (see Chapter 5). Within a few days, all “19 hijackers” were “identified” and the news channels plastered these faces over television screens. This is preposterous. If there had been so much advance knowledge, why the United States could not prevent the attacks in the first place? How could the U.S. authorities have been so certain that they were immediately ready to attack another country?

Even General Musharraf claimed that the evidence the US authorities shared with him was good enough to convict someone in a court of law.[30] The truth is that even more than four years down the road, the world has not seen a single shred of the evidence he claimed to have seen.

Within a few days, the United States officials were proclaiming Osama’s guilt as 100 percent certain, using the expression, “his fingerprints are everywhere,”[31] and the United States was already threatening to attack Afghanistan.

The extent of absurdity of the United States claims is evident from the timeline of its establishing the guilt. It is not even enough time to set up a committee to discuss the personnel and logistics of an investigation into such a complex case.

It is evident that United States authorities were not only happy but also fully prepared to use the 9/11 events to start a war against Afghanistan. There is credible information, summarized below, that alleges the United States authorities were already making plans to attack Afghanistan long before 9/11.

According to Jane’s Intelligence Review, India joined USA led plans against Afghanistan in March 2001.[32] Rahul Bedi’s report, India joins anti-Taliban coalition, clearly states: “India is believed to have joined Russia, the USA and Iran in a concerted front against Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.”

Shireen M. Mazari, Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, wrote on August 23, 2001 in daily The News:

…the U.S. is gradually building up towards some military action against the Taliban government. Its first such effort, which was primarily a “Get Osama” one, failed miserably—and the trauma of that cannot be ignored. After all, the only super power of the day could not get Osama from a “ragtag” bunch of Afghans calling themselves the Taliban! Now the U.S. has decided to couch their “Get Osama” policy within a wider garb of a “Get the Taliban” policy. It all began with the imposition of sanctions against the Taliban while the Northern Alliance was heavily armed by France, Russia and India. Alongside the sanctions, the U.S. chose to provide aid to Afghans directly so as to undermine the Taliban government from within. Unfortunately for the U.S., all this has not led to the removal of the Taliban from Kabul![33]

The signs of U.S. plans against the Taliban were evident since a long time. Earlier, on February 7, 2001, the CIA Director George Tenet told Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Afghanistan is “growing in potential for state fragmentation and failure that we have observed this past year.” Contrary to the realities on the ground, where Northern Alliance was helpless against the Taliban despite assistance from many countries abroad, Tenet told the committee: “The Afghan civil war will continue into the foreseeable future, leaving the country fragmented and unstable. The Taliban remain determined to impose its radical form of Islam on all of Afghanistan, even in the face of resistance from other ethnic groups and the Shia minority…The chaos here is providing an incubator for narcotics traffickers and militant Islamic groups operating in such places as Kashmir, Chechnya, and Central Asia.”[34] There are more quotes about George Tenet’s wish to start a war against the Taliban than one think.

Tenet has had at least two different plans how to support a war against the Taliban for years. One plan was in the form of a National Security Presidential Directive, the other part of an 80-country attack plan, called “worldwide attack matrix.” This is even no big secret. In January 2002, the Washington Post wrote about this plan. It includes “propaganda operations, support for internal police and foreign intelligence services, and lethal covert action against terrorist groups or individuals.”[35]

Through June and July 2001, as the Washington Post described, CIA Director George J. Tenet worked himself “nearly frantic” with concern. “At Langley, Tenet was nearly ready. His proposed assistance to the Northern Alliance rebels ranged from $125 million to $200 million and included money, battlefield intelligence, non-lethal equipment such as body armor and winter clothing.”[36]

Bob Woodward reported in the Washington Post on September 18, 2001 that the CIA’s paramilitary units had been working in Afghanistan for the “past 18 months.” These units worked “with tribes and warlords in southern Afghanistan,” to help “create a significant new network in the region of the Taliban’s greatest strength.”[37] This factor alone is enough to show the length and pre-determination of the United States government to wage a war of aggression on Afghanistan.

It was later revealed by Uzbekistan that Uzbekistan and the United States had been conducting joint covert operations against Afghanistan’s Taliban government “for two to three years”[38] and U.S. troops were told of a major exercise to take place mid-September 2001.[39] Reliable western military sources also say that a U.S. contingency plan to attack was complete by end of summer 2001.[40]

In 1999, the CIA found an abandoned airstrip in Afghanistan, and made plans to use it for taking agents in and out, and similar purposes. It is speculated that this is the same airstrip occupied and used as a base of operations early in the later Afghan war.[41] The same year, a joint project run by the CIA and NSA slipped into Afghanistan and placed listening devices within range of al-Qaeda’s communication system.[42] If air strips were selected for taking captured Osama out of Afghanistan and all of al-Qaeda’s communications were being monitored, getting Osama should have been a piece of cake. The question is: why was Osama never captured or killed and apparently no hints of the 9/11 plot revealed? Interestingly all this happened when CIA’s paramilitary units were fully involved in Afghanistan 18 months before 9/11. The answer is simple: the objective was not capturing Osama. The target was removing the Taliban from power.

CIA Director Tenet later claimed in later 1999 that the CIA established a network of agents throughout Afghanistan and other countries aimed at capturing Osama bin Laden and his deputies.[43] Tenet states that by 9/11, “a map would show that these collection programs and human networks were in place in such numbers to nearly cover Afghanistan. This array meant that, when the military campaign to topple the Taliban and destroy al-Qaeda began [in October 2001], we were able to support it with an enormous body of information and a large stable of assets.”[44] Anyone with an average intelligence can tell that these elaborate plans were never intended to capture Osama, whose whereabouts are still unknown, whereas the real objective of eliminating the Taliban government has been achieved.

By the beginning of 2000, the US had already begun “to quietly build influence” in Central Asia. The US had established significant military-to-military relationships with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Soldiers from those countries had been trained by Americans. The militaries of all three countries had an ongoing relationship with the National Guard of a US state—Kazakhstan with Arizona, Kyrgyzstan with Montana, Uzbekistan with Louisiana. These countries also participated in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.[45]

In April 2000, the United States gave permission to greatly expand a military base in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, and construction began shortly thereafter. The justification for expanding, Al Adid, a billion-dollar base, was preparedness for renewed action against Iraq.[46] This new headquarters was built of several modular buildings that allow General Franks to basically do anything in Qatar that he does in Tampa.[47] Dozens of other US military bases had sprung up in the region in the 1990s.[48] Such facilities in Qatar later form the regional headquarters for the US attack on Afghanistan. Bush himself acknowledged importance of Qatar facility in these words: “In Afghanistan, forces directed from here from Qatar, and headquartered in Tampa, you delivered decisive blows against the Taliban and against al Qaeda.”[49]

The Washington Post reported on December 19, 2000 that the United States had “quietly begun to align itself with those in the Russian government calling for military action against Afghanistan… Until it backed off under local pressure, it went so far as to explore whether a Central Asian country would permit the use of its territory for such a purpose.” According to the Washington Post:

Second, Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth met recently with Russia’s friends in the government of India to discuss what kind of government should replace the Taliban. Thus, while claiming to oppose a military solution to the Afghan problem, the United States is now talking about the overthrow of a regime that controls nearly the entire country, in the hope it can be replaced with a hypothetical government that does not exist even on paper.[50]

Jane’s Intelligence Review reported on March 15, 2001 that the United States was working with India, Iran and Russia “in a concerted front against Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.” India was supplying the Northern Alliance with military equipment, advisers and helicopter technicians and both India and Russia were using bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for their operations.[51]

Agence France-Presse reported that General William Kernan, commander in chief of the Joint Forces Command, mentioned “the details of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan which fought the Taliban and al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.” The scenario of dislodging the Taliban was “examined by Central Command in May 2001.”[52]

US General Tommy Franks, later to head the US occupation of Afghanistan, was visiting the capital of Tajikistan by May 16, 2001. He said the Bush administration considered Tajikistan “a strategically significant country” and offered military aid. This followed a visit by a Department of Defense official earlier in 2001 and a September 2000 regional visit by Franks. The Guardian later asserted that by this time, “US Rangers were also training special troops in Kyrgyzstan.[53]

News Insight magazine from India reported on June 28, 2001 that the Indian Government supported the planned United States military incursion into Afghanistan. The article, titled “India in anti-Taliban military plan: India and Iran will “facilitate” the planned U.S.-Russia hostilities against the Taliban,” reported that India and Iran will “facilitate” American and Russian plans for “limited military action” against the Taliban if the contemplated tough new economic sanctions don’t bend Afghanistan’s fundamentalist regime.[54] The report also included a graphic presentation of the expected military movements during the planned operation. Earlier in the month, Russian President Putin told a meeting of the Confederation of Independent States that military action against the Taliban may happen, possibly with Russian involvement using bases and forces from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as well.[55]

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani diplomat, said that senior U.S. officials told him in mid-July 2001, that they planned to attack Afghanistan by mid-October at the latest, before the winter snow set in.[56] On July 21, 2001, three American officials, Tom Simons (former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in a Berlin hotel.[57] It was the third of a series of back-channel conferences called “brainstorming on Afghanistan.” Taliban representatives sat in on previous meetings, but boycotted the third meeting due to worsening tensions. However, the Pakistani ISI relays information from the meeting to the Taliban.[58] At the meeting, former US State Department official Lee Coldren passes on a message from Bush officials. He later says, “I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.”[59]

Naik also says “it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban.”[60] One specific ultimatum conveyed through this meeting to the Taliban was to choose between “carpets of bombs” or “carpets of gold.”[61] Niaz Naik says Tom Simons made the “carpets” statement. Simons claims: “It’s possible that a mischievous American participant, after several drinks, may have thought it smart to evoke gold carpets and carpet bombs. Even Americans can’t resist the temptation to be mischievous.” Naik and the American participants deny that the pipeline was an issue at the meeting.[62] This also negates the theory that the United States dislodged the Taliban only to have facilitate gas pipelines and have access to petroleum resources.

During the summer of 2001, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s office “sponsored a study of ancient empires—Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols—to figure out how they maintained dominance.”[63] By September 9, 2001, a former National Security Presidential Directive describing a “game plan to remove al-Qaeda from the face of the Earth” was placed on Bush’s desk for his signature. The plan dealt with all aspects of a war against al-Qaeda, ranging from diplomatic initiatives to military operations in Afghanistan. According to NBC News reporter Jim Miklaszewski, the “directive outlines essentially the same war plan … put into action after the Sept. 11 attacks. The administration most likely was able to respond so quickly to the attacks because it simply had to pull the plans ‘off the shelf.’”[64]

So the plan to wage a war of aggression was ready before 9/11. However, it was not possible to carry it out. Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Advisor, stated, “You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I’ll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City.”[65] In July 2002, British Prime Minister Tony Blair will state: “To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.”[66] This confirms the need for a repeat Pearl Harbor to get public support for the administrations plan to invade and conquer Afghanistan.

These revelations are no less than the Downing Street memos regarding Iraq. While the American media kept the people distracted with “All Condit All the Time” during the summer of 2001, the United States Government was informing other governments that it would be at war in Afghanistan, no later than October! How lucky for the United States government that just when it was planning to invade another country, for the express purpose of removing that government, a convenient “terrorist” attack occurred to anger Americans into support for the invasion.

Muslims are not alone in assuming that the United States agencies commit terrorist acts for achieving pre-determined objectives. Many Western, particularly American, analysts conclude that it is the CIA behind global terrorism and even so-called “insurgency” in the occupied countries and incidents such as Anthrax mailing in the United States.[67] Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski predicted long ago that for the US to maintain its global primacy, it must prevent any possible adversary from controlling Eurasia. He notes that, “The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power has been much more ambivalent. The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.” Furthermore, because of popular resistance to US military expansionism, his ambitious Central Asian strategy could not be implemented “except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”[68]

Following the trauma of 9/11, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld predicted that there would be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. How could Rumsfeld have been so sure of that, unless his orders instigated 9/11 attacks, or he was fully aware of the “terrorist’s” future plans? According to Los Angeles Times military analyst William Arkin, on October 27, 2002, Rumsfeld set out to create a secret army, “a super-Intelligence Support Activity” network that would “bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception,” to stir the pot of spiraling global violence.[69]

It cannot be merely a coincidence that the United States was fully prepared to attack Afghanistan and at the same time, some wild terrorists had the audacity and full support to carry out such a complicated operation to invoke American wrath.

Apparently, revenge was the motive for the war, but the planning and real motives were far deeper. Although many Americans felt an emotional desire for revenge, the following three principal reasons for war cannot be described in these terms.

The first reason was decimating the Taliban for their dream of establishing what they called a pure Islamic Emirate. A later part of this book describes this aspect in detail.

The second reason was that of imperial credibility. The United States is an empire of a different kind from the Roman or the British, but still one that holds sway over much of the world through a combination of economic and military domination. In order to remain in power, an empire must show no weakness; it must crush any threat to its control. Osama was not a threat. He could not invade and occupy the United States or seriously challenge the American Empire. The threat was the ideology of Islam, which the Taliban were locally promoting. Osama became one of the ruses used for dislodging the Taliban. The last half of the Vietnam War, after the United States government realized there would be no political victory, was fought for credibility to show other countries the price of defiance. Here the case was different after the demise of the Soviet Union. The Taliban had removed the warlords and brought peace and stability to the country. An increasing number of Muslims looked at the Taliban as the pioneers of an emerging model of a truly Islamic society and way of governance. Nothing on their part was perfect by any standard. Nevertheless, the corporate terrorists joined the fry because they were interested in, the interests of many in the United States. American media in particular exaggerated the need to eliminate the Taliban after implicating them for such a devastating staged attack in the center of imperial power.

The third reason was actually the expected bonus or booty of the crusade. It is the leverage over the oil and natural gas of Central Asia. Afghanistan is the one country that the United States could control where a pipeline can run from those reserves to the Indian Ocean, for the rapidly growing Asian market. The war would provide an opportunity for that, as well as a chance to set up military bases in the former Soviet republics of the region to ward off the emergence of an Islamic alternative to the status quo.

Several American leaders have stated that the United States Government had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack and was genuinely surprised by it.[70] Bush said, “Americans have known surprise attacks—but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day—and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.”[71] However, they considered this to be an opportunity to get rid of the Taliban rather than brining the individual culprits to justice. Those who are a little skeptical believe that the United States Government did not have anything to do with organizing the attacks but knew in advance that they were coming and deliberately allowed them to happen, for propaganda reasons.

Those who deeply analyze the facts believe that the Bush administration was actively involved in 9/11 as part of an integrated plan, which involved the coming war in Afghanistan. If we accept that the Bush administration pre-planned the attack on Afghanistan, then this is the only plausible explanation. We will come back to analyze 9/11 in chapter 5. Here it is necessary to begin the first chapter with examining the motivational forces behind those who planned a war on Afghanistan before 9/11 to understand that 9/11 was part of the whole setup, not an isolated incident.

Leading authors and researchers in the United States, who have clearly established that 9/11 was an inside job, need to move ahead and put the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together. They need to find the architects of the war on Afghanistan (chapter 2) and the real challenge that they have undertaken (chapter 3). They also need to find out how the United States sponsored “Jihad” in Afghanistan has turned into the final crusade in Afghanistan (chapter 5).

The last three chapters of the book look into the legitimacy of the United States war and occupation of Afghanistan and confirmation of the real motives behind the war on that country.


For the references in this write up, please refer to the author’s latest book: Afghanistan: The Genesis of the Final Crusade.

Israel’s 60 years of nuclear proliferation

Israel’s 60 years of nuclear proliferation

By Jerry Mazza

Perhaps it began before 1948, when Israel and Palestine were partitioned by the UN into two separate but equal states. Perhaps the nuclear notion occurred to David Ben-Gurion and friends in 1945, as they observed two atomic bombs dropped by the US on the Empire of Japan (mostly civilian populations) to end WW II. In fact, the nuclear solution brought about an immediate surrender.

In 1948, many highly-skilled Jewish scientists who came to Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s, in particular Dr. Ernst David Bergman, who became the director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and founder of his new nation’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons, joined in support of Ben-Gurion. Those scientists scoured the Negev Desert for uranium deposits on orders from the Israeli Ministry of Defense. By 1950, low-grade deposits near Beersheba and Sidon were found, and their discoverers worked on a low power system of heavy water production.

After all, Israel, having created itself as a Jewish island in a sea of angry Arabs, must have been impressed by the US bombs. Here was a way for David to slay Goliath, a nuclear slingshot, so powerful that it dared any new Holocaust seekers to attempt another. That nuclear stone, properly aimed, powered and fired, would neutralize the would-be attackers in their own Holocaust, if necessary Thus began the tyranny of the rogue nuclear power while the Goliaths of America and Russia were nuclear arming themselves to the teeth.

In fact, as US Army Lt. Col. Warner D. Farr, retired, tells us of this in his must-read 27-page history of Israel’s Nuclear Weapons — The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies, “As payment for Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, France provided nuclear expertise and constructed a reactor complex for Israel at Dimona (Beersheba) capable of large-scale plutonium production and reprocessing. The United States discovered the facility in 1958 and it was a subject of continual discussions between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers.” A bit of war guilt for the Nazi and Vichy governments was mixed in as well.

As Farr reports, “Israel used delay and deception to at first keep the United States at bay, and later used the nuclear option as a bargaining chip for a consistent American conventional arms supply. After French disengagement in the early 1960s, Israel progressed on its own, including through several covert operations, to project completion. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices. By the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered using them. The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli Nuclear weapons. . . .” And so it goes.

With one of the world’s largest nuclear facilities, the actual reactor nested in a deeply set basement, not available for “nuclear opacity,” Israel was on its way to becoming one of the world’s larger nuclear powers and skirting observation. Israel leadership must have breathed a sigh of relief at this Pandora’s Box gifted them, as if from heaven. Dr. Bergmann in fact continued to work closely with the newly created Weizman Institute of Science from 1949 on. In fact, they would contribute to France’s development of nuclear weapons, as well, to help it catch up with the US, USSR, UK, and Canada.

Of course, by 1958, the Dimona plant, alternately called a manganese and/or textile plant, was photographed by US U-2 spy planes and identified as a likely site of a reactor complex. The French, swarming like ants about the complex, were hard to hide as well in Beersheba, so much so that Charles DeGaulle, France’s president, wanted a promise from Israel not to make nuclear weapons, and to announce the “project” to the world. Before Israel did that, they were preempted by the US State Department announcing the secret plant. Even the NY Times announced on December 21, 1960 that Ben-Gurion was building a 24-megawatt reactor “for peaceful purposes.” Sure it was.

This led to a strain in relations between the two nations, with inspections beginning in 1962 until 1969. In fact, the US inspectors only saw the buildings above ground, not the many levels underground. The above ground areas had simulated control rooms. Access to the underground plutonium reprocessing plant was kept so secret that elevator entrances to it were actually bricked over, a highly conscious deception that would cause a country like Iran today a great deal of flak, to say the least. In fact, Ben-Gurion continued to talk about peaceful uses of the plant as it sunk deeper into making nuclear weapons. This as Israel dodged the 50’s and 60’s NATO and US nuclear umbrella.

The French continued to partner, hand in hand, sharing even nuclear tests and data, the French reportedly reshipping reprocessed plutonium back to Israel as payback for scientific assistance.

1963-1973, project completion

Cutting through this bizarre web (all of which you should read in Farr’s article), the French continued work with Israel at Dimona, the sole purpose being to use the underground processing plant for one use, and one use only, nuclear weapons. In fact, for accidentally passing into Dimona’s airspace, Israel shot down one of its own Mirage fighters during the Six-Day War and a Libyan airliner in 1973, with 104 passengers on board, when it strayed over the Sinai. Extra heavy water to run the reactor at a higher rate was provided not only by France, but Norway, while the US provided the uranium for “Operation Plumbat.”

After the ’67 war, France cut off uranium supplies to Israel; supplies had come from former French colonies, Gabon, the infamous Niger (as in yellowcake), and the Central African Republic. Small quantities of uranium came from Israel’s Negev phosphate mines, while it bought quantities from Argentina and South Africa. The West Germans had a front company for high seas transfer, which delivered 200 tons of yellowcake, delivered by the smugglers in 560 sealed oil drums labeled “Plumbat,” which means lead. How clever. The complicity of these nations remained underground as well, so as not anger the Soviets and Arabs. MOSSAD info on former Nazi then German officials helped with motivation.

The first extraction of plutonium, under Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, occurred in 1965. Unfortunately by that time, the Egyptian Air Force had overflown Dimona and most probably recognized the presence of a nuclear reactor. Additionally, 50 American HAWK anti-aircraft missiles half-ringed the plant. Yet Israel consider Egyptian overflights of May 16, 1967, as possible pre-strike reconnaissance, one source listing the flights as trip wires that drove Israel to war. Unfortunately, if one has powerful weapons the impulse is to use or threaten to use them, even if cause needs to be fabricated. Fortunately, Nasser vetoed an Egyptian military plan to attack Dimona at the start of any war. Israel put together two nuclear bombs and 10 days later went to war. The nuclear option was being played out.

And so it went, through the 60s. Lyndon Johnson was more willing than John Kennedy to look the other way, even as Israel pressed him for A-4E Skyhawks first and F-4E Phantoms later, with an agreement not to use them to deliver nuclear weapons. Sure. The F-4s were delivered on September 5, 1969, with their nuclear capable hardware intact. So it goes. Israel and the world dig themselves deeper into a nuclear hole. See the Farr article for complete details. The next section, from 1974-1999, is called Bringing the Bomb up the Basement Stairs, that is into artillery pieces to fire nuclear shells.

By 1976, even the CIA believed that the Israelis were using plutonium from Dimona and had 10 to 20 nuclear weapons available. In 1985, whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu reported the number of nuclear fission bombs at 200 or more, with boosted devices, neutron bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads and Jericho warheads. “The Vanunu photos show a sophistication that inferred to the requirement for testing,” comments Farr.

Indian Ocean tests?

On September 22, 1979, a bright familiar flash in the south Indian Ocean was seen by an American satellite. It was believed to be a South Africa-Israel joint nuclear test. It was, as Farr reports, “according to some, the third test of a neutron bomb. The first two were hidden in clouds to fool the satellite and the third was an accident — the weather cleared.” Though experts differ on these tests, other writers report that scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory believed it to have been a nuclear explosion. This as a presidential panel decided otherwise.

Controversy over possible nuclear testing continues until this day. In June 1998, Farr reports, “a Member of the Knesset accused the government of an underground test near Eilat on May 28, 1998. Egyptian ‘nuclear experts’ have made similar charges. The Israeli government hotly denied the claims.”

In addition, the Israelis have been interested in American nuclear weapons development data, especially from US intelligence. Farr tells us, “American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the Soviet Union, allowing Israel to target accurately Soviet Cities [after discovering they, Israel, were on a Soviet target list]. This showed Israel’s intention to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent political lever, or retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union itself.

“Israel also used American satellite imagery to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor at Osiraq, Iraq. This daring attack, carried out by eight F-16’s accompanied by six F-15’s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli election) . . . The blasts shred the reactor and blew out the dome foundations, causing it to collapse on the rubble. This was the first attack on a nuclear reactor [Itals mine].” So Israel, US, Russia, France, et al, where do we go from here?

Perhaps to Gordon Thomas, reporting at Globe Intel in his article, Mossad and the Russian Mafia Plutonium Connection, 11/21/03. Here is a sample. You can read the rest . . .

<>“Scientists at the European Trans-Uranium Institute at Karlsruhe in Germany, tracking the movements of all fissionable material from the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal, have raised suspicions that Mossad has purchased some of the material to allegedly stop it falling
into the hands of Islamic and other terror groups.

“But there is also the real possibility that Israel has gone into the nuclear black market to buy fissionable material to bolster its own huge nuclear arsenal. Israel already has one of the world’s largest arsenals — more than capable of decimating all its Arab neighbors. Its 200 nuclear bombs and missiles are stockpiled in the Negev desert.

“The suspicion that Israel has also started to buy material stolen from the former Soviet Union surfaced a year ago when a quantity of Uranium-235 was found in the Paris apartment of three criminals known to broker arms deals with terror groups like al-Qaeda. . . .”

So, now we have a Wild East situation, with Israel purchasing nuclear material supposedly to stop it from falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda. It would seem said material is no safer in Israel’s hands than in those of the fictional Al-Qaeda, a CIA brand name for terror, originally created, funded, and armed to fight the Russians in 1979 in Afghanistan. Its name was used again in 2001 to describe the patsies for 9/11, those 19 Muslim characters whose presence on the four ill-fated airliners has never been fully validated. This brings us full circle to Israel’s own participation in 9/11, a story for another day, but a very real story.

Bottom line

I have not written this article to condemn Israel on its 60th anniversary as a quasi-legal state, quasi to question the UN’s legitimacy to create it, and quasi for Israel’s subsequent actions to ingest and destroy the Palestinians. My aim is to point out Israel’s own hypocrisy regarding Iran’s possible possession of nuclear capability not just for peacetime power. Beyond the Cold War, it is Israel that has historically been edging us into a worldwide nuclear conflagration; and doing so since 2001 with the hegemonic boobs presently running the USA and supporting Israel’s misguided efforts with billions of dollars of aid for arms in the hope that it will keep the Arab world intimidated and give us its oil.

I also understand the motivation of the Israeli founders in seeking a nuclear option as a deterrent to another Holocaust. But they have created now what Seymour Hirsch noted as “The Samson Option,” which is to bring down the whole world on our heads to prevent what seems a self-fulfilling prophecy of Holocaust.

As a rogue nation, under its own impetus, Israel should invoke its Talmudic and biblical conscience, take a breath, and rethink where they are, who they are, what they are doing, and to whom. The survival of Israel’s Zionist State of Mind should not be contingent on the potential destruction of the world. That is as simply, as compassionately, as reasonably as I can state it. After my voice, will come voices far more strident and ugly, as you can imagine.

Trust me. Put aside your arms and put aside your bunker mentality to talk peacefully.

US Acts Of War Against Iran

US Acts Of War

Against Iran

By Karl Schwarz

US Acts Of War
By Karl Schwarz
It has been said that “as goes GM, so goes America.” With GM teetering on bankruptcy – and suffering massive losses due to lack of foresight on how to compete with foreign car makers – Americans need to stop, think, and realize that GM going down means America is not far behind. My guess is those GM executives never dreamed that BushCo policies would turn out to be so devastating to America, and their business.
Folks, you have not seen the worst of it yet. This Super Storm is just now getting warmed up and will be the equivalent of “The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Tornado Warning for the entire United States”
As the US tries to explain away to the American Sheeple why the cost of gasoline is now so high, read this recent article and consider the extent DC is lying to America yet again. They like to use the typical lies of ‘shortages’ and ‘supply versus demand’ but global production is at an all-time high and demand is dropping. 2008/07/03/2008-07-03T184028Z_01_N02435397_RTRIDST_0_USA-OIL- EXPORTS-ANALYSIS.html
“The 1.6 million barrels a day in record petroleum exports represented 9 percent of total U.S. refining capacity of 17.6 million barrels a day. However, with refiners operating at 85 percent of capacity during the January-April period, the shipments represented a much a larger share of total U.S. oil products produced.”
Folks, that means they are EXPORTING oil, after they import it, to make money to cover up the other damage their policies have done.
Congress recently appropriated $400 million for covert operations aimed at Iran. By any measure, that is an Act of War…but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The US has been harassing and provoking Iran for almost 30 years now.
That will prove to be yet another $400 million that Congress might as well have just carted out and dumped on the Capitol Mall, and set it on fire.
In my last article on Rense, “The World’s Foremost Terrorist Organization: The United States Government”, I did not address some matters regarding Iran.
The military hospital at Landstuhl has also had ‘black ops commandos’ come there who were extracted from Iran, too, either dead or wounded. That, too, is an Act of War by a nation that thinks it has the unilateral right to cross any border and do anything to anyone it pleases. The US does not, in fact, have such a right under International Law – or any other sense of common human decency.
But I digress, common decency is not a forte of Washington, DC.
When the nutcases in DC came up with their not-at-all-brilliant Global War on Terror as a renaming of their “Grand Chessboard” scheme, they immediately surrounded Iran with placement of troops in Iraq. Yes, Mr. John MaGoo, IRAN borders Iraq, there is no ‘Pakistan-Iraq’ border.
We have parked carrier attack groups off Iran’s shores in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. We have parked additional troops and armor in Northern Iraq and have the CIA backing the rebel Iranian MEK group that also seeks the overthrow of the Islamic government in Tehran.
Iran cannot trust the Turks since NATO membership for them means they have to choose the US side, not the Iran side in the lies, er, debates.
We have parked additional troops in Turkmenistan to the north of Iraq. Some of the special operations forces that came to Landstuhl Germany were part of operations originating out of Turkmenistan to penetrate Iran and stir up shit with the Iranian government.
We have parked US forces in Afghanistan to their East.
About the only place that Iran has a peaceful border and no threat is Pakistan, which has begun distancing itself from the US due to the brazen lunacy of their fake Global War on Terror and its underlying scheme of dominating world oil and natural gas. Since I am not a paid advisor to Clueless McCain, I will not spend any time explaining to him why things are just fine along the Iran­Pakistan border. They also have no problems whatsoever with Armenia, but that border area is very small compared to others.
If you are not a whiz at global geography, this map pretty well sums up the situation. It dates back to the Second Invasion of Iraq under the stupidly, callously-named “Iraqi Freedom” operation. This map was in my book ‘One-Way Ticket to Crawford Texas’:
Azerbaijan, about the only US ally in the region, is also a threat to Iran. All during the time that the US was conspiring and planning and scheming to take over the Caspian Basin to get control of that mother lode of oil and gas, Azerbaijan was the CIA base of operations in that region of the world.
Through the Azerbaijan­American Chamber of Commerce, our CIA was up to all sorts of dirty tricks to get control of the Caspian Basin, and continued harassment of Iraq and Iran. If you dig deep enough, one can find Gary Best of Mega Oil, and recently-sentenced Simon Mann, both former SAS and US Special Forces, both involved in those “shits and giggles” games in that part of the world before they headed to Africa to stir up problems there, too.
My sources in Yerevan, Armenia inform that many visas are being issued to Americans there to enter Iran. My source? The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yerevan, Armenia, nice folks.
Reason ­ probable increased CIA infiltration of Iran.
Reason for that ­ Iran has elections in the future and CIA wants to see if they can manipulate those elections like they try to do all over the world. Of course, there is that urgent need to falsify more intelligence…just like they did regarding Iraq.
Reason the Iranians are letting them in? Probably to correctly identify who the US has put in that part of the world to continue the dissension, provocations and attempts to manipulate and control. Their probable new ‘base of operations’ is that White Elephant, multi-billion dollar ’embassy’ in Baghdad.
When you look at this matter objectively, Iran has demonstrated a considerable – if not extraordinary – amount of restraint and has limited the defense of Iran to Iran itself within their own borders. That is a sovereign right and they are entitled to it.
Even the US State Department recently admitted that it is Iran that is keeping the peace in Iraq by persuading the Shiite cleric Al Sadr to not unleash his forces in all-out civil war in Iraq.
That photo op completely destroys the Bush rhetoric about what Iran is doing in Iraq. Imagine my surprise, another Bush Lie exposed for what it is.
With Iran shipping hundreds of billions of oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, etc, through the Strait of Hormuz, they have no reason whatsoever to close that strait unless in response to a direct attack from the US or Israel.
One of the reasons that Russia and China are backing Iran is not only about energy, oil and natural gas. Both of those Superpowers are fully aware of what a total fraud Bush, Congress and the Global War on Terror are.
They know that Washington, DC will tell any lie, undertake any dirty, underhanded trick, to get its way.
The BushCo killers played a bad hand, one based on lies and deceit, and they lost. Their delusional dream that they would rule the world by ruling the Caspian Basin is a ship that now sits at the bottom of the sea. But our ‘leaders’ are far too arrogant to admit they lost it all.
Most of the entire region feels this same way about the US presence in the area. There goes the neighborhood.
And that’s the way it is, July 31, 2008.

Sexual assault in military ‘jaw-dropping,’ lawmaker says

Sexual assault in military

‘jaw-dropping,’ lawmaker says

A congresswoman said Thursday that her “jaw dropped” when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military. A government report indicates that the numbers could be even higher.

Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.

She said she recently visited a Veterans Affairs hospital in the Los Angeles area, where women told her horror stories of being raped in the military.

“My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military,” said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.

“Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.

“We have an epidemic here,” she said. “Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”

As of July 24, 100 women had died in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.

Defense statistics show that military commanders took unspecified action, which can include anything from punishment to dismissal, in an additional 419 cases.

But when it came time for the military to defend itself, the panel was told that the Pentagon’s top official on sexual abuse, Dr. Kaye Whitley, was ordered not to show up despite a subpoena.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to cover up here, but we’re not going to allow it,” Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said to the Defense official who relayed the news of Whitley’s no-show. “This is unacceptable.”

Rep. John Tierney, the panel’s chairman and a Democrat from Massachusetts, angrily responded, “these actions by the Defense Department are inexplicable.”

“The Defense Department appears to be willfully and blatantly advising Dr. Whitley not to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena,” Tierney said.

An Army official who did testify said the Army takes allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously.

“Even one sexual assault violates the very essence of what it means to be a soldier, and it’s a betrayal of the Army’s core values,” Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle said.

The committee also heard from Mary Lauterbach, the mother of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, a 20-year-old pregnant Marine who was killed in December, allegedly by a fellow Marine.

Mary Lauterbach said her daughter filed a rape claim with the military against Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean seven months before he was accused of killing her. Video Watch dead Marine’s mom demand change »

“I believe that Maria would be alive today if the Marines had provided a more effective system to protect the victims of sexual assault,” she said.

In the months after her daughter filed the rape claim, she said, the military didn’t seem to take her seriously, and the onus was on “Maria to connect the dots.”

“The victim should not have the burden to generate evidence for the command,” Lauterbach told the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. “Maria is dead, but there will be many more victims in the future, I promise you. I’m here to ask you to do what you can to help change how the military treats victims of crime and to ensure the victims receive the support and protection they need and they deserve.”

Another woman, Ingrid Torres, described being raped on a U.S. base in Korea when she worked with the American Red Cross.

“I was raped while I slept,” she said.

The man who assaulted her, she said, was a flight director who was found guilty and dismissed from the Air Force.

Fighting back tears, Torres added, “he still comes after me in my dreams.”

The Government Accountability Office released preliminary results from an investigation into sexual assaults in the military and the Coast Guard. The GAO found that the “occurrences of sexual assault may be exceeding the rates being reported.”

“At the 14 installations where GAO administered its survey, 103 service members indicated that they had been sexually assaulted within the preceding 12 months. Of these, 52 service members indicated that they did not report the sexual assault,” the GAO said.

The office found that the military and Coast Guard have established policies to address sexual assault but that the implementation of the programs is hampered by an array of factors, including that “most, but not all, commanders support the programs.”

“Left unchecked, these challenges can discourage or prevent some service members from using the programs when needed,” the GAO said.


Tierney said, “what’s at stake here goes to the very core of the values of the military and the nation itself.

“When our sons and daughters put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us, the last thing they should fear is being attacked by one of our own.”

Cynthia McKinney Deserves Your Support, Obama Does Not

Cynthia McKinney Deserves Your Support, Obama Does Not

A Campaign Foreign Policy Focus by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Dateline: Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Glen Ford, who helms the prestigious Black Agenda Report (BAR), is one of America’s most distinguished journalists, and an uncompromising observer of American and world realities. He and his team, which includes Bruce Dixon and the formidable Margaret Kimberley, have repeatedly warned the African American community and the public at large against the still unfolding infatuation with Barack Obama. That kind of courage and insight is rarely seen in the mainstream media. We take pleasure in keynoting this essay, which is not only a rebuke of Obama’s many lies, but also an eloquent denunciation of the abject state of our political culture and media. —Patrice Greanville, The Greanville Journal

Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who seems poised to capture the Green Party presidential nomination, in Chicago, this month, “is at this juncture in history the only vehicle through which progressives can both register their outrage at Barack Obama and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for real social change.” Meanwhile, the frequency of Obama’s Right turns seem to increase in direct proportion to the nearness of the general election. “Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal.” The question is, How many progressives will put their votes and resources to honorable use?


“Cynthia McKinney’s campaign is the last opportunity to threaten Obama with a backlash against his betrayals of progressive principles.


“We have to bring the war in Iraq to a respectable, responsible and honorable end,” said Barack Obama, sharing a platform with Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, last week. The list of qualifiers and impediments to a quick exit from Iraq lengthens with each Obama lurch to the Right. The closer the Illinois senator gets to the White House, the farther he projects the Iraq occupation into a future just as murky as that envisioned by George Bush and John McCain. In Obama’s endlessly conditional world, withdrawal from Iraq must be done “responsibly” – meaning, in actuality, that the U.S. must retain the power to keep the Iraqis “responsive” to American military, economic and political demands. A U.S. military pullout (of who knows how many troops, since Obama has always been elusive on the question) must be “honorable” – meaning, it should not give the appearance of weakness or admission of criminality. Most important, the U.S. must emerge from the withdrawal (or reduction, or draw-down, or other conjure-word) in a position of “respect” – a total impossibility, unless respect actually means evoking terror throughout the neighborhood at the very thought of ever again provoking the Americans into violating the laws of modern civilization.

Such is the endless elasticity of terms like “peace” and “withdrawal” when mouthed by Barack Obama, a master of bait-and-switch, a game he apparently believes he can play indefinitely on the people of the United States and the planet. The general debasement of language in the U.S. political culture – a degeneration that devalues meaning and facts, cause and effect, in favor of bells, whistles, hype and prettily-packaged but hollow “hope” – provides a perfect soundstage for Obama’s politics of vapidity, in which no term has reliable, lasting definition. Only in a flim-flam market culture, in which old products are packaged as “new and improved” and senile reactionary farts like Ronald Reagan are deemed “revolutionaries,” could Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic congressional leadership masquerade as proponents of peace – even as virtually the entire senatorial Party endorses another $162.5 billion for Iraq-Afghanistan war funding.

“Barack Obama is a master of bait-and-switch.”

Obama is confident he can retain the “peace candidate” label while erecting successive obstacles to actual, physical withdrawal from Iraq, and while simultaneously pledging to add 92,000 troops to the U.S. Armed Forces in order “to fight two wars and defend our homeland.” His confidence is well-placed, not just because he is the Big Money Candidate in the current historical shift of corporate dollars from Republicans to Democrats – money that buys a mass version of reality – but because generations of two-party homogenized gibberish has rendered millions of Americans incapable of distinguishing between fact and fantasy, between waging war and pursuing peace.

Cynthia McKinney, a candidate worth fighting for.

The true voices of peace speak clearly, in simple language. “The U.S. should withdraw all troops and mercenaries from Iraq in as orderly a fashion as possible,” says former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, candidate for the Green Party’s presidential nomination. “This withdrawal should be quickly accomplished, since the troops and the equipment were all pre-positioned in the area to start with, at the start of the invasion.”

No flim-flam, no equivocations, no inventing of excuses to prolong the crime against peace (a Nuremburg capital offense). McKinney speaks as both a former U.S. Representative and a movement activist, one of the architects of the Reconstruction Party’s Power to the People Platform, which declares:

“We need an end to all wars and occupations by U.S. forces, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need an immediate cessation of funding for war. We need prosecution for all individuals guilty of violating the law, including having committed or authorized crimes against humanity, crimes against the peace, torture, or war crimes. We need a complete renunciation of the pre-emptive war doctrine. We need an end to all wars and war’s utility. We need to dismantle the apparatus that implements schemes of regime change around the world, and that instead assists in self-determination of all peoples.”

The platform on which McKinney runs is straightforward, eminently understandable, and in conformance with the substance and spirit of international law. It is what Barack Obama used to pretend to say, in front of progressive audiences, only without his mitigating language designed for ease of reversal – commonly called flip-flop, but more accurately, betrayal – terms that ultimately smother peace in a pillow of words like “respectable, responsible and honorable.”

This is how Obama uses his impressive language skills: to lure constituencies that seek peace into the maelstroms of war; to assault the integrity of language itself with his relentless tinkering with meanings, until finally, his original peaceful promises turn into their warlike opposites.

Obama’s modus operandi is consistent and, especially after his recent flurry of policy reversals, transparent to all who care to observe him dispassionately. He is a word-hustler, a slickster, a politician/actor who has always been eager to serve the global aims of the very rich. That’s why, back in the summer of 2003, while a candidate for the Illinois Democratic U.S. senatorial nomination, he had to be pressured (by Bruce Dixon and me) to have his name removed from the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council membership list. And that’s why, five years later, he stripped off his anti-NAFTA clothing to announce on CNBC, the businessman’s cable source: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”

“The U.S. should withdraw all troops and mercenaries from Iraq in as orderly a fashion as possible,’ says former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.”

As Naomi Klein wrote in “Obama’s Chicago Boys” (June 14, The Nation), Obama “is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago School,” established by Ronald Reagan’s favorite economist, Milton Friedman, at the University of Chicago, where Obama taught constitutional law for ten years. Obama’s chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is on the faculty. It was Goolsbee who, back in February, urged the rightwing Canadian government not to pay too much attention to Obama’s campaign critiques of NAFTA, explaining that the candidate’s rhetoric was “more reflective of political maneuvering than policy.”

Goolsby spoke the truth. Obama has maneuvered himself out of the anti-NAFTA camp, entirely. As he told Nina Easton of Fortune, the quintessential ruling class magazine:

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.

Obama used to say he would reexamine NAFTA in its totality. Now he says, “I’m not a big believer in doing things unilaterally.” He has capitulated.

But there is an unwavering progressive in the race. “The practical effect of NAFTA is that it is an anti-union policy,” says Green candidate Cynthia McKinney. “Why US unions would support a political party [the Democrats] that has decisively contributed to their own demise, is beyond me. I support the international right to unionize. My legislation, the Corporate Responsibility Act and the TRUTH Act sought to compel US corporations operating abroad to abide by U.S. labor, environmental standards, thereby lifting up workers in other parts of the world, not exploiting them. The Reconstruction Movement Draft Manifesto also calls for repeal of Taft Hartley, to strengthen workers’ rights in this country.”

McKinney cites the Power to the People Platform: “We need to promote and enact laws for U.S. corporations that keep labor standards high at home and raise them abroad. Toward that end, it is clear that we need a repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the U.S.-Peru FTA and justice for immigrant workers, including an end to the guest-worker program riddled with abuses.”

“No one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal.”

Both Black and white progressives deliberately made themselves irrelevant to the Democratic campaign by failing to challenge Obama before and during the primary season. Now there is one remaining chance to put a healthy fear into Obama and to help build a Black-led movement that will fight for progressive values after the election is over: solidarity with Cynthia McKinney.

Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal. Last month he finally confessed that Black Agenda Report has been right about him all the time: he’s Hillary Clinton’s political clone “If you look at my positions and Senator Clinton’s, there’s not a lot of difference, which is why it’s so easy for advisers, senior advisers of Senator Clinton, to support my candidacy,” said Obama, unveiling his roster of national security advisors.

And what a “Back to the Future” crew of Bill Clinton and Bush #1 retrograde hacks he has chosen! Obama’s core group of foreign policy gurus is non-change personified – U.S. imperialism from the pre-Bush #2 era in the flesh. (See “Background of Obama’s Foreign Policy Group,” Institute for Public Accuracy.) Endless war is written on their faces. Progressives should have taken Obama seriously when he announced to everyone who would listen, back in March, “The truth is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional, bipartisan, realistic foreign policy of George Bush’s father, John F. Kennedy, of in some ways Ronald Reagan.”

Obama had the gall to praise Reagan and the elder Bush while on a “Stand for Change” bus tour. Cynthia McKinney offers real change – peace for a change.

“The United States should and must engage the world, but not in empire, not in military,” said McKinney, who was first elected to the U.S. Congress from a suburban Atlanta district in 1992. “Ninety percent of the US security budget is dedicated to some military engagement with the world. The United States should stop arming factions, supporting factions, new elections should be held [in Iraq] with international advisors, and the “coalition of the willing” should work with the United Nations to disarm and restore to the extent possible the Iraqi civil sector. The Reconstruction Draft Manifesto calls for an end to US militarism and the establishment of a Department of Peace by restructuring the US State Department.”

So it does. The manifesto is a comprehensive movement document, a basis for political action beyond the narrow confines of electoral contests. “Sadly,” says the manifesto, “the Bush – Pelosi war policy is a formula for endless global conflict, deterioration of the rule of law among nations, and growing impoverishment, indebtedness and evisceration of civil liberties at home.”

More and more each day, “the Bush-Pelosi war policy” is also Barack Obama’s policy, as further evidenced by his about-face on Bush spying on U.S. citizens with the aid of U.S. telecom companies.

In going the extra, unrequested mile for AIPAC, the Israel lobby, Obama moved to the Right of every U.S. president in history. Obama’s blustering vow that Jerusalem will remain forever an “undivided” “Jewish” city would lock the U.S. into a position unacceptable to every Arab or Muslim government on Earth. His bellicosity regarding Iran differs from John McCain’s, only in that Obama would theoretically deign to hold talks with Iranians “at a time and place of my choosing,” while refusing to rule out a preemptive strike.

“The Bush-Pelosi war policy” is also Barack Obama’s policy.”

Every Obama foreign policy instinct seems to support the “special” and unlimited “relationship” with Israel, robust defense of American Manifest Destiny, ever-increasing war expenditures, and inherent supra-national, extra-legal U.S. rights – formulas for planetary doom. On not one major foreign policy front does Obama any longer advocate positions consistent with peaceful planetary development. Not one!

It’s time for people claiming to be progressives who supported Obama, to accept that they were bamboozled by a champion slickster. Actually, that’s putting the best face on the situation, since most of Obama’s progressive credentials were simply wished into existence by folks who were tired of even pretending to fight. Obama now dares to drop all pretense of progressivism, trusting that there will be no ramifications on the Left, especially among the otherwise most dependable progressive constituency, African Americans.

Will the next few weeks and months prove Obama right? Cynthia McKinney deserves Black and Left support, while Obama manifestly does not.

McKinney, whose last act in Congress was to submit articles of impeachment against George Bush in 2006; who courageously questioned the White House version of events before and after September 11, 2001; who acted as a one-person conscience of the House Armed Services Committee, speaking out against corporate and military mega-theft under both Clinton and Bush; who has with amazing consistency always placed principle above her own personal and electoral fortunes, is at this juncture in history the only vehicle through which progressives can both register their outrage at Obama and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for real social change. (Ralph Nader cannot, for reasons of temperament and race, achieve such dual purposes.)

On Venezuela, the difference between Obama and McCain is narrow, indeed: Obama has reflexively included popularly (and repeatedly) elected President Hugo Chavez among the world’s “rogue” leaders, deriding his “predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy,” while McCain’s pitiful verbal skills at first allowed him only to sputter that Chavez is “wacko.” More recently, McCain vowed to “work to impede Venezuela and Bolivia from following the same path of failure that Castro followed in Cuba.” McCain criticized Obama for, again, being theoretically prepared to meet with Chavez. Not to be outdone, Obama held a match to the region, condoning the Colombian narco-state’s armed intrusion into the territory of Ecuador, a nation friendly to Venezuela.

McKinney’s position on the region is as follows:

“It is totally irresponsible to call Hugo Chavez an ‘oil tyrant’ as published some time ago. Totally irresponsible to support the violation of the territorial integrity of Ecuador, a country that has signaled its desire to join the framework for peace and against destabilization by pulling out of the school of the Americas…. I pledge untiring support for self-determination in Bolivia, wracked now by a secessionist-type ‘autonomy’ movement, probably fomented outside Bolivia’s borders.”

Obama wholeheartedly backs the militarization of Africa through the new U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM. “There will be situations that require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to fight terrorism with lethal force. Having a unified command operating in Africa will facilitate this action,” said Obama.

“The McKinney campaign is the only vehicle through which progressives can both register their outrage at Obama and begin the process of rebuilding a mass Black-led movement for real social change.”

McKinney has acted as a sentinel for Africa, on guard against U.S. recolonization of the continent. She correctly regards AFRICOM as a threat to the region. “More than likely, this force will be used in just the same way as Plan Colombia is used — to police dissent and punish the innocent solely for pecuniary reasons. The last thing Africa needs is AFRICOM, U.S. soldiers, or a School of the Americas-type relationship with Africa.”

When Obama is not carrying imperial water in the bullying of weaker nations, he is silent on burning global issues – especially those of keen interest to African Americans.

The December 2006 U.S.-instigated Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, which according to the United Nations created “the worst [and still ongoing] humanitarian crisis in Africa,” elicits not a peep from Obama. In fact, the only comments from Obama on Somalia that we have found are his complaints about pictures taken during a trip to his father’s homeland, Kenya, depicting Obama in the ceremonial tribal garb of the overwhelming Muslim Somalis.

McKinney has repeatedly denounced the U.S. overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004, the kidnapping and exile of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, and Brazil’s and the United Nation’s role in occupying the country on behalf of the Americans.

Obama’s last recorded comments on Haiti, from 2005, were summarized on his Senate web site:

“Obama said he favors a congressional fact-finding mission to Haiti. He said additional aid is needed there, but it must come with strings attached to ensure it is used properly and not to line the pockets of politicians, as happened in his father’s native Kenya.”

This is apparently all that Obama has to say about the bloody suppression of the Haitian nation by the U.S. and its allies.

“The last thing Africa needs is AFRICOM.”

There can be no effective reasoning with those African Americans who want only that a member of The Race occupy the Oval Office – no matter the character and politics of that Black individual. But self-described progressives of all races cannot excuse their own docility in the face of Obama’s rightward lunge – especially when there exists one last opportunity to threaten the Democratic nominee-to-be with a backlash against his betrayals of progressive principles – one last chance to affect Obama’s behavior before Election Day, November 4, and beyond. Cynthia McKinney has made herself available to the Green Party’s convention in Chicago, July 10-12, and will almost surely be their nominee.

If progressives cannot bring themselves to vote honorably, they can at the very least go to McKinney’s campaign site and send money. Even a little principled behavior is better than none at all.

The War, the Truth, and the New York Times

The War, the Truth, and the New York Times

<!–Rowan Wolf–>

By Anwaar Hussain

Now that every one and Charlie’s aunt knows of the crimes of America’s ruling cabal, how about finally asking to bring out the hangman’s ropes?

So finally the truth is acknowledged by the mother of all main stream media, the New York Times.

The June 6 editorial, ‘The Truth About the War’ of the media giant begins with these words, “It took just a few months after the United States’ invasion of Iraq for the world to find out that Saddam Hussein had long abandoned his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. He was not training terrorists or colluding with Al Qaeda. The only real threat he posed was to his own countrymen.” That it took more than five years for the leading light of a servile American media to finally find it out, is a fact glossed over most shamelessly.

Truth told late is worse than a murderous lie, is all that one can say to the NYT. It is a dishonest admission coming rather late for a million plus human beings. The icing on this deceitful piece of reporting is the ending of the Op-Ed. It says, “We cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Bush lied about Iraq. But when the president withholds vital information from the public – or leads them to believe things that he knows are not true – to justify the invasion of another country, that is bad enough.”

BAD ENOUGH! Did I read it right? That’s it? BAD ENOUGH! Would you believe it? A million murdered Iraqis, 4000 dead US soldiers, obliterated Iraqi cities, DU shot-up environment, countless crippled and maimed human beings, innumerable shattered lives and how does the NYT express its outrage; by calling it ‘bad enough’? “Sorry mommy, I just killed a million people.” “That’s bad. Don’t do that again, now eat your spinach” eh? Bad enough!? Someone hand me the sick bag please.

Every canon of the United Nations and the 1945 Nuremberg Charters, the International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions has been shot to doll rags by this criminal cabal in its willful, premeditated genocide of an innocent people and what does the American media leviathan call it? Bad enough!?

Not just the international laws, in the US Law itself all jurisdictions which use capital punishment designate the highest grade of murder a capital crime. What’s more, even aggravated rape is a capital crime in Louisiana, Florida, and Oklahoma; extortionate kidnapping in Oklahoma; aggravated kidnapping in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and South Carolina; aircraft hijacking in Alabama; drug trafficking resulting in a person’s death in Connecticut; train wrecking which leads to a person’s death, and perjury which leads to a person’s death in California. And here, the wanton destruction of a whole country and annihilation of its innocent citizens is merely ‘bad enough’ for the New York Times?

How about finally telling the Americans the fact that they were used as pawns in the ghastly drama played amidst decomposing Iraqi corpses. How about finally reporting the horrendous crime committed by the US forces in the Iraqi city of Fallujah? How about informing the Americans that the city was bombed, re-bombed, its citizens gunned down, its structures devastated by powerful weapons till it was nothing but a hell on earth of crushed bodies, shattered buildings and the reek of death?

How about giving them the eyewitnesses’ testimony that reported human corpses littering Fallujah’s streets, nibbled at by starving canines and parents forced to watch their wounded children die and then bury their bodies in their gardens? Why not finally tell the Americans an Iraqi journalist’s exact report to the BBC and Reuters: “I have seen some strange things recently, such as stray dogs snatching bites out of bodies lying on the streets. Meanwhile, people forage in their gardens looking for something to eat. Those that have survived this far are looking gaunt. The opposite is happening to the dead, left where they fell, they are now bloated and rotting…”?

How about publishing on the front page, the ghastly images from Abu Ghuraib, including the thuggish grinning faces of Specialists Sabrina Harman and Charles Garner peering out with an evil force, each offering a “thumbs-up” gesture as if posing for a pride of performance award with an ice packed corpse of an innocent, tortured to death Iraqi in the background? How about ordering an investigative report into America’s torture trail that, from Uzbekistan and Pakistan to Guantanamo Bay, weaves across the globe? How about finally checking out what the American officials affectionately called ‘the renditions’? How about running on the front page a video called “Hadji Girl” in which just a few of the lyric lines go as;

I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me,
As the bullets began to fly,
The blood sprayed from between her eyes,
And then I laughed maniacally. . .
I blew those little f**ckers to eternity . . .
They should have known they were f**king with the Marines.

How about finally informing the Americans that not just the murder of a million plus human beings, their rulers also stand accused of bullying unilateralism, dismissive approach towards international treaties, rude attitude towards other nations and cultures, and disrespect for institutions of the world government?

How about finally admitting that the real lesson of the current American onslaught on a defenseless, but oil rich, people is nothing other than that there is no limit to the horrors that the ruling American class will inflict to stay in power and gobble up the fast dwindling world resources; that as long as the American nation continues to tolerate these leaders, who make lies seem true and slaughter respectable, mass carnage will continue to be committed in their name?

How about highlighting in bold letters American historian Howard Zinn’s quote that says, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”? How about becoming the vanguard of a movement to expose the ugly truth of America’s wars and informing the Americans that these wars are waged for nothing other than corporate power, global conquest, death, destruction and oppression? How about pursuing relentlessly the murderous charlatans who still strut about on the national and international scenes?

Now that every one and Charlie’s aunt knows of the crimes of America’s ruling cabal, how about finally asking to bring out the hangman’s ropes?

How about it, eh New York Times? Pray, tell us.

Copyrights: Anwaar Hussain




By Gaither Stewart / With Patrice Greanville

Fourth of July display of “patriotism” by the American Legion. For most Americans, the defense of “Americanism” is indistinguishable from the defense of capitalism, aka “the free enterprise system”—its favorite euphemism. Only in America is a man opposed to capitalism thought to be “un-American.”

The dismal demise of the American Dream (if it ever really existed), the dream not of what we believe it was but of what we wanted to believe it was.

“It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude.” (Aldous Huxley in a 1962 speech at Berkeley)

Dateline: (Rome) July 31, 2008

JFK, long enshrined as one of America’s best presidents, was a plutocrat in his own right, and a de facto propagandist for the superiority of the “American Way of Life.” No US president could govern (or get elected) on a platform that disparaged individualism, or the core values of capitalism.

IT’S UNDENIABLE THAT THE AMERICAN SOCIAL MODEL (the vaunted “American Way of Life”) is a paradox in the world. All you have to do is look around at other nations and the difference is clear as the Rome sky in July. Even today at the nadir of its profound social crisis because of its flagrant, outright failure, America continues unabashedly to hammer away at its people how fortunate they are, while simultaneously proposing itself to the world as the paradigm, the quintessence, the very epitome of western civilization.

There is the image of our leaders exuding goodness and, above all, good feelings. Sentimental feelings for the oppressed handed down to the good people of the Republic. I have read that sentimentality implies a lack of real feelings. That might be true. But I don’t want it to be true. I mean how often are we sentimental about some touching scene or memory that we want to hold. Yet, are we all lacking in genuine feelings? Because feelings often do escape us, fleeing, hiding, vanishing, then reappearing, stepping forward and backward into … into what? Into unreality? Into nothingness? I don’t want to believe so. But is our history not carrying us there, straight back into the faded American Dream?

For generations emigré ideologue Ayn Rand spread virtually unopposed her brand of corrosive libertarian individualism in America, notably in the campuses, where her views would find a fertile soil. That she openly defended selfishness as a virtue is rarely denounced for the glaring contradiction it represents, especially in a nation awash in Christian religiosity.

Ah, the American Dream! To the degree the model appears to the rest of the world as honeycombed and as full of holes as Swiss cheese, the more America’s ideological operation morphs into a contest between good (the US model) and evil (the rest). America’s private struggle between good and evil becomes in turn the ideological platform and the inspiration-justification of puritanical, individualistic and greedy America’s age-old universal crusade against the rest of the world. Moreover, lest one forgets or believes the doctrinal crap, the American social system is all the more insidious for human society today because it has become the social model for the world of capitalist globalization.

How did it come about that the ballyhooed “American Dream” turned out to be nothing more than institutionalized social injustice? And cheapness and tackiness, to boot. Like the banal dialogue of an unreal, real-life sitcom. The self-righteous social trajectory described in the glowing terms of “freedoms” in the Bill of Rights (e.g. the right to have arms) is undermined by a social philosophy of niggardly, tight-fisted individualism implying the right to individualistically shoot down fellow students or foreigners called terrorists who resist. Thus the poisonous combination of that individualism (personal avarice and fuck-the-rest) and the glaring absence of an incisive workers’ movement (I have in mind a genuine popular political opposition) is the original sin that has led the nation and the world at large under its sway into the blind alley of entire unprotected social classes, irrational environmental hostility and pre-emptive, perpetual war.

The great paradox is that the list of declared, claimed and proclaimed—but not guaranteed—fictitious rights for Americans have deflated and become non-rights for others.

What do I have mind, specifically? We see it all around us. In places the world shrinks. In others, it expands. Things change and shift around. But America Land of the Free, part of the shrunken world, tries not to see its shattered dream. Dazzle their minds with impossible dreams. Implant in their mindsets visions of triumph. Then, mask the inevitable loss of hope by the masses. Feebly, old dreams try to resurface and again vanish. The glamorous glitter of once-upon-a-time has been reduced to a tacky faint flicker of the lonely used-car lot or the mottled colors of empty Burger Kings blinking in the night. Begrudgingly, struggling for former space and bickering and resisting, cars get smaller. Houses peel and run down. Legions of “Walmarters” experience a new sense of abandonment while new sets of beautiful celebrities look out of TV screens soothingly and travel around the world and buy villas on Lake Como. More and more American megacelebs like Madonna, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, launched by the US mediaplex, are now world celebrities, but their acquired, discerning multimillionaire taste makes them spend a substantial part of their time in Europe and in other spots favored by the rich and famous. Even Depp, despite his hip non-materialist image, is in fact a very rich bourgeois married to a similarly rich French actress, who enjoys more than five big residences in various continents, and the dilettante pleasures of playing winemaker and restaurateur in Paris. He naturally prefers year-round residence in France. The point here is that for those who, as a result of wealth, leave behind their American provincialism, America is no longer the only game in town.

So what is happening elsewhere in the world?

The “European Idea” is catching on even on stubbornly conservative America.

Well, though Europe’s one hundred year old social state based on a spirit of solidarity is weakening and ceding ground to the brash, selfish American capitalist-individualistic-everyman-for-himself society and its neo-liberal allies of the European Union, the European Idea of the social state hangs on and resists. Europeans, as a rule, understand the idea of class better than Americans, where class is the dirty family secret. Thus, there is still a veritable abyss between on one hand the American market model based on individualism (that is the hosanna-ed American Dream), with a high (albeit slowing down) rate of mobility at the cost of a low level of protection of its people, and on the other the European system based on the social state, which is the European Idea.

The absence of a solid and stable workers movement in the USA (let’s just list it as the number one truant)—which should be this nation’s third party, (or in actuality, its legitimate second party, as Democrats, conceits aside, totally belong with the Republicans in the current single party system representing the corporatocracy)—is responsible for America’s anti-social answer to what is in essence a central social issue. Once-upon-a-time workers’ movements and trade unions in America chalked up some important achievements, once. That was a long time ago. The day of the Wobblies, for example. On the east side of the ocean the diverse histories of workers’ movements had a close relationship and connection with the rise of the nation states and the effects of the industrial revolution and the eventual emergence of the social state.

France’s workers are on the move to resist neocon Sarkozy’s policies designed to shred the nation’s social contract.

America’s dissonant, reactionary voice is instead the anti-social divergence of the model projected by the USA. Therefore the pernicious halo surrounding propagandistic Americanism. Therefore, the transformation of the American Dream into nightmare, which, intrinsically always was. That impossible dream, that at the very most dream-gone-wrong, that incubus, has in turn provided the foundations for an enduring Corporatism-Fascism, in America stubbornly referred to only as individualism.

The same individualism, the nightmare, the Americanism that has transformed our “duly elected” leaders into terrorists.

ABC’s popular Marcus Welby, M.D. (in private practice) was one of many shows on the US media system that have taken privatized medicine for granted, and presented near-mythical visions of the national healthcare system.

It should be clear that at the root of America’s social evil lies the truancy of an organized workingman’s movement, a stable and permanent nationwide movement that would provide the framework and structure for a workingman’s political party and an accompanying representative trade union to serve as a genuine balance of power in our one-sided, non-representative criminal political system. Who for example represents working people today? Who? Our millionaire congressmen? Our billionaire presidents? Or perhaps our corrupt, sellout political parties, the fundraisers necessary to elect our non-representatives?

The sad reality is that the workers’ movement in the USA never matured. It was never powerful enough to mark a permanent direction of the social organization of civil society. It never succeeded in creating permanent low cost cooperatives and mutualities, social clubs and educational societies and other forms of political-social expression to confront the Corporatist system of a nation that today hardly “makes” anything yet exports … it exports what? Democracy? Or terrorism?

In fact, the word “social” in the title of this essay is misleading, illusory. It is a travesty to use the word “social” in reference to the form of American society under a government that as Gore Vidal once said does nothing for its people. And it gets away with it! People don’t revolt. We should label this individualistic, eternally atomized, lift-yourself-up-by- your-bootstraps and to hell with everybody else society “anti-social” and rebel against it.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE – One Aspect of a Just Society

In recent days I went to my local Universal Health Plan doctor in Rome for a health problem. I called the nearby office for an appointment, fixed for the next afternoon. When I arrived there was one patient ahead of me already in the doctor’s office. I was admitted after a five-minute wait. My wife and I had chosen this doctor rather than another as our primary doctor because she is young, dynamic and scrupulous and besides will also make home visits. I keep home visits by doctors in mind because when my father in North Carolina was paralyzed for years after a stroke, each time he had some new problem such as influenza he had to hire an ambulance to carry him the few blocks of the one-half mile to the office of this “good Christian man” who had been his doctor for many years. The Rome universal health care doctor examined me, asked the right questions about my medical history and sent me to a nearby radiological center for x-rays. Two days later I picked up the analysis, made another appointment with my primary doctor who after looking over the x-rays, prescribed the appropriate medication which I immediately picked up at the pharmacy. Within a period of four days, including two medical visits, the x-rays and analysis and medicine, my problem was resolved: Total costs to me: ZERO.

Typical waiting room in US metro hospital. Contrary to the received wisdom, patient care is certainly not superior to that found in many countries around the world.

That is Italy’s universal health care at work, which despite cuts by today’s extreme rightwing, neo-liberal government still offers its people (both citizens and residents) universal health care. And, it bears mentioning, France’s system is even better, in fact, even today, under attack by Sarkozy, the French Bush clone, the best in the world.

The Italian social state—by far not the best in Europe—guarantees most workers one-month vacations, retirement at between 57 and 60 years, months-long maternity leave for both mother and father, unemployment pay, national category contracts, pensions, housing, food and other “social” benefits. That is a social system!

Alitalia workers stage protest to maintain their compensation package, under attack by corporate forces and the current Berlusconi government.

In Italy, in all of Europe, no political party, no candidate for public office, no politician at any level, would even dare run on an anti-social program. Budgetary cuts, savings, reforms, yes, but never the adoption of the American anti-social system. The American system is not even imaginable to most other peoples. Not in Europe. Not in Latin America or Canada or Iran or in any industrialized nation of the world. ONLY in the United States of America. That lack is enough reason for revolution. And that is just reason enough to refuse one’s vote for anyone less than a defender of social justice.

Italian students demonstrate against the government’s attempts at rolling back social benefits gained after decades of continuing struggles.

I don’t know what a universal health service for the USA would cost. Certainly only a minimal part of conducting perpetual wars or building a space shield or financing vassal states around the world or a fraction of the advertising costs for junk foods and products that make us obese and ignorant. In any case the point is not the cost. It is not an economic problem of the nation. We have to keep that in mind. The problem is the power of the greedy vested interests of medical associations, the pharmaceutical industry (the manipulative “Big Pharma” so eloquently shown in Michael Moore’s SiCKO), hospitals, and related medical care organizations. The problem is the power of money!

However, foremost and above all it is a problem of the a priori negation of anything smacking of a social state (as present in much of the world) in opposition to the concept of the capitalistic market economy of America which does less for its people than do Canada in the north or Mexico to the south, or France or Italy or Russia or Bulgaria, in fact less than every European country. (I can almost hear at this point the knee-jerk chauvinist programmed reaction of many American readers: “Go live in Bulgaria, then!” To which I reply: My point is that Bulgaria gives its citizens, in proportion to its resources, wealth and potential, much more than America. Do not compare absolutes here as you have been misleadingly taught to do; keep things in proportion.)

The creation of a receptive atmosphere for the “social idea” should/would be the major role of a nationwide, organized workers’ movement. That lack, that default, that truancy, is methodically destroying the health of our nation. For workers everywhere represent the average national interest. What affects them affects the vast majority of the nation. What benefits them, benefits the vast majority of the nation. The decoupling of the workers’ interests from the interests of the “average citizen”, “middle class” America, etc., its portrayal as a corrupt, self-seeking “special interest”, is one of the all-time victories of capitalist propaganda in the United States. It needs to be debunked.

The USA with its individualistic everyman-for-himself society today ranks poorly among other industrialized countries in health care, 23rd in infant mortality, 20th and 21st in life expectancy for women and men respectively. Yet the USA spends more per capita for health care than other countries. Where does that money go? We all know the answer: it goes to a greedy health care system of doctors, hospitals, private health insurance and pharmaceutical giants and to their related inflated and inefficient bureaucracies, to their powerful respective lobbyists and into the hands of our “democratically” elected representatives.

So deeply engrained is the anti-social nature in the “American republic” that the brainwashed people themselves have been conditioned to believe that universal health care is contrary to their best interests. It just doesn’t make sense. The reality is vastly different than in the popular imagery.

America is a walk in and out of a world of shadows. Images and contrasts are strong, overpowering, and confused and bizarre. Drinking beer from bottles and cans but martinis from elegant crystal, parks with manicured paths patrolled by policemen on horseback but streets without sidewalks walked at the risk of loitering fines in hopes of finding a bus shelter rest station. How quickly in America you pass from light to shadow. And you wonder if you will get the chance to try again and do better next time.

No. It doesn’t make sense to continue whacking our way through this jungle of the world’s most bizarre and costly medical care system. Some twenty years ago I covered the American presidential elections for a European newspaper in the state of North Carolina where I grew up. The first question I posed to a cross-section of the population of that one state concerned universal health care. Not one single person at the time came out strong in favor of it. The most favorable response was “well, if they want to give it to me.” Most did not even know what universal health care meant. After my explanation, the knee jerk reaction of the great brainwashed citizenry was “We couldn’t choose our doctors!” or “The Canadian system doesn’t work.” As if they knew! It does work!

Health costs continue to soar, care is compromised and quality is in free fall as obese Americans die of coronary disease. The health care world lies in the shadows. Health care for profit does not work. It cannot work. It is not a solution now and can never be a solution. Profit and greed stand in the way. No matter what the industry explains, health care will always be a right and a necessity, not merchandise like a Blackberry or an i-phone. It is estimated that a single payer (the state) universal health care system would save 100-200 billion dollars a year, it would cover everyone and it would guarantee more medical visits and hospital days to all. Now a recent encouraging poll shows that some 75% of Americans favor universal health care.

Many of “our” representatives say health care is not the domain of the state. That’s right! You heard me. HEALTH CARE IS NOT THE DOMAIN OF THE STATE! Bullshit! What can they mean? If health care is not the domain of the state, in what domain should health fall? Or was health care always intended for the world of shadows? It makes you wonder? Why can’t the USA treat its citizens at least as well as other countries do??

Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), a physician, is certainly no friend of the idea of universal health coverage. A multimillionaire, he has held substantial interests in Humana, one of the nation’s greediest and largest publicly traded health insurers.

Part of the answer: a nation led by terrorists is not likely to care for its people, either.

Health care is one of the great mysteries. But what about the other social issues our government holds prisoner in the shadows? What about month-long paid vacations? What about more job security and a tiny bit less mobility? What about more taxes—make that simply fair taxes— for the super rich? What about a little less individualism and much more social solidarity? What about a third and a fourth political party? What about a workingman’s movement?

The Wobblies’ charter. The International Workers of the World (IWW) waged a heroic struggle to organize American labor at the turn of the 20th century. They were defeated by the combined forces of government and corporate repression, and the class betrayal of the movement by “business unionists”, who by the 1950s had become an integral part of the corporate-sponsored “American Way” and its ideology of fierce anti-communism.

The headlines in this Sunday’s edition of Italy’s major daily newspaper, La Repubblica reflect the mood of the moment in only one of Europe’s social states:

“Precarious workers (workers without contracts) in revolt”

“Trade Unions in revolt against raising the pension age to 62!”

“Create conditions for a general strike!” (an exhortation)

“Fear is an invention.” (to keep the Left under control)

“Farewell to the future” (of our children if capitalism continues unimpeded)

“The Left failed, we need a new start from a workers position”

“The Left has nothing to lose but its chains” (sic!)

As they say in Italy, “La lotta continua.” The struggle goes on. But when will the American masses truly join in?

The overlords we picked

The overlords we picked

By  Glen Ford

And ignorant and passive, too, if you’re an American.

Rolling the Dice Once Again – in Iran

*”The Lords of Capital have always chosen to resolve their contradictions
through war.”*

Tom Engelhardt, the prolific intellectual engine of the Nation Institute’s
daily column TomDispatch,
recently predicted that the Bush administration won’t attack Iran
because…well, because they’re too sensible to launch such a mad
enterprise. In a July 9 piece titled:
“Why Cheney Won’t Take Down Iran,”
Engelhardt acknowledged the many signs that point towards an air assault on the world’s fourth biggestoil exporter by the United States, Israel or both. “Given the Bush
administration’s ‘preventive war’ doctrine,” wrote Engelhardt, “which has
opened the way for the launching of wars without significant notice or
obvious provocation, and the penchant of its officials to ignore reality,
all of this should frighten anyone”.

Then Engelhardt rolled off some of the many reasons the U.S., for its own
good, should *not* wage war on Iran: the “global shock” of $300-$400 per
barrel oil, “$12 gas at the pump”; International Atomic Energy Agency chief
Mohamed ElBaradei’s warning that a military strike “would turn the region
into a fireball”; last year’s revolt of U.S. generals and
spies, who conspired to undercut the administration’s rationale for an Iran attack;
and doubts among the chattering classes as to Dick Cheney’s clout in the
last months of George Bush’s regime.

Engelhardt tends to believe that “the weight of reality” and the strategic
presence of more “adults in the room” have brought a degree of sanity to the
Bush gang, and that Karl Rove’s 2002 declaration,
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality” is no
longer operative in the White House. “Are they still capable of creating
‘their own reality’ and imposing it, however briefly, on the planet,” asks
Engelhardt? “Every tick upwards in the price of oil says no. Every day that
passes makes an attack on Iran harder to pull off.”

*”The Bush pirates believed the consequences of failure to invade Iraq were
far graver than the risks of war.”*

Engelhardt’s underlying assumption appears to be that an attack on Iran
would be, in a word, crazy – too crazy even for the Bush men – that the
risks to the United States and world order are so terrifyingly high that
only madmen would take the plunge. The flaw in the argument is the
assumption that the Bush men and the Lords of Capital whom they serve see
the world in much the same way as the rest of us. They do not, and we know
they do not based on their behavior in 2002-2003, when the same cost-benefit
analysis would have argued decisively against an unprovoked invasion of
Iraq. Clearly, the Bush pirates believed the consequences of failure to
invade Iraq were far graver than the risks of war. The question we should be
asking is: What makes relative peace so scary that American imperialists
would rather gamble the fate of the planet, including their own futures, on
a roll of the dice in the Persian Gulf?

*Imperialism’s Nightmare Vision*

I submit that the Lords of Capital and their servants – today, as in 2003 –
understand perfectly well that the system they oversee cannot long exist
under the current paths of world development; that their only hope to
perpetuate themselves into future decades is to violently upset the
planetary game board – as often as necessary. From the financial oligarchy’s
perspective, the death of the world as they know and possess it – *their *world
– is imminent, and can only be avoided through acts of horrific aggression,
terror and barbaric reversion to primitive modes of accumulation, i.e. brute
theft and pillage.

An exaggeration of current world realities?

That is the weight of* their* reality – actually, the weight of the
contradictions of late stage capitalism under the hegemony of the
all-powerful finance sector, which produces nothing yet seeks to monetize,
commodify and buy and sell everything. So, what do the Lords of Capital see, when they survey “their” world? They see the final failure of their grand scheme to shift the centers of global production to the South and East while somehow preserving the supremacy of
the de-industrializing West – an impossibility. As arch-speculator George
Soros keenly understands, power must”shift in favor of the developing world, particularly China” – an unacceptable outcome to the Lords of Capital. They therefore require a military
alternative to the laws of political economy and civilized relations among
nations. Their continued existence depends on their capability and *
willingness* to smash and rearrange the planetary reality whenever
imperialism’s illogical and wildly contradictory arrangements are
threatened. Raw military power – a global coercive regime – must be deployed
to counter the elemental logic of political economy (and history) with the
logic of terror.

*”**The supremacy of western finance capital can only be maintained by
periodically waging war against world order.”*

The US Stock Exchange in New York City: Most ruling classes have used patriotism to keep the population at bay and doing their bidding. How fitting that this temple of mendacity, greed and inequality should wrap itself (literally) in the flag!

They must be constantly prepared to wage war against peace, because only
through war can they forestall the inevitable collapse of the rule of
unproductive capital – that grotesque insult to the human productive spirit
and simple common sense. The grand vision of corporate globalism – the
finance capitalists’ imperial heaven – cannot exist in the real world except
through the application of terror. That’s why the servants of the Lords of
Capital were compelled to devise the Project for a New American
Century(PNAC) as a grand military strategy to buttress the terminal illogic of
their planet-smothering version of corporate globalism.

The PNAC’s mission was to eliminate the *capability* of any state or
combination of states to mount a “deterrent to American intervention”
anywhere in the world. It was a declaration of war against the world. The
U.S. would develop the capability to wage four separate wars simultaneously
– resistance would be rendered futile.

The invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003 – the first stage of a much deeper
thrust into Asia that was foiled by the Iraqi resistance – must be
understood in the context of U.S.-based finance capital’s imperative to rule
the planet through military coercion. The rise of the euro, the approach of
peak oil – let us not get lost in the bushes. The Lords of Capital will
always have reasons for war, since the global regime they seek to maintain
constantly creates conflicts with the productive forces of the world and
threatens human existence – now, for example, diverting food production and
distribution at affordable prices in favor of biofuels.

The US-based global military-industrial-media complex needs wars not only to preserve its hegemony, but to ward off the constant propensity of capitalism to stall out. Wars are a form of military Keynesianism, fabulously profitable to the warmongering circles, and sustainers of jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers in the metropolis.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a terroristic display, a macabre kind of
mega-theater designed to intimidate and straightjacket the entire world,
including putative allies. As I wrote on January 30, 2003, seven weeks before the war:

“The real show is in the show, itself. The people who created George Bush’s
ridiculous War Face are not just *playing* crazy to gain transient advantage
over Frenchmen and Russians. They are Hell-bent on *proving* to the natives
(all of us) that they are capable of unimaginable destruction. We must see
it to believe it – which is why this war is all but inevitable. In the
aftermath of horror, the world will become malleable, ready for reshaping in
the not-yet-defined New Order. That’s the plan. The pirates are confident
they can improvise the post war details at their leisure, later. What we are
witnessing is essentially the buildup to a global consciousness-searing U.S.
military demonstration – the Mother of All War Shows. If we search for the
military or economic objectives of the conflict on anything so crude as a
map, we have missed the point.

Which is not to say that Washington didn’t have strategic objectives –
dominance of the entire region and its resources – but that they did not
achieve them and, therefore, retain every “reason” for further aggression,
to continue pursuing frustrated objectives. That’s why there was no “exit
strategy” in 2003. It is the most compelling reason for remaining in Iraq,
and why an attack on Iran is just waiting to happen.

My friend Tom Engelhardt thinks the ghastly potential consequences of a
strike into Iran act as brakes to U.S. (and/or Israeli) aggression. However,
if the point of the aggression is to prove to the world that the attacker is
willing to risk global catastrophe to impose his will – if the strategy is
to play a deadly game of chicken with the rest of the planet – then the more
risky, the better.

Wingnut poster mocking the supposed leftism of the Democrats. Only in America can you find so many levels of ignorance, deviousness and imbecility intersecting at once.

It is true, as I wrote on the day Bush’s tanks crossed the Kuwaiti border,
that “the Pirates have accelerated the processes of their own ruin.” (See “They
Have Reached Too Far- Bush’s Road Leads to Ruin for Himself and His Pirates,” Black Commentator, March 20, 2003.) But the accumulated contradictions of maintaining imperial
hegemony are what drove Washington to invade Iraq – to attempt to upset the
global game board – in the first place. The fact that the invasion
“accelerated the processes” of U.S. decline simply makes another assault on
world order more “necessary” from the perspective of the Lords of Capital.
From their standpoint, the alternative is the demise of the system that
defines their existence. What civilized people would view as behavior too
risky to contemplate, *they* perceive as defensive measures to stave off
systemic death.

*”**If the strategy is to play a deadly game of chicken with the rest of the
planet – then the more risky, the better.”*

In the five years since the Iraq invasion, the euro has grown in buying
power from $.93 to $1.60, fossil fuel producers lose money every time they
sell oil and gas pegged to the failing dollar, and the nations of the world
continue to discover more creative ways to “redline” the U.S. out of their
political and economic affairs. What’s an imperialist to do? Bang the fist
on the table, one more time, to upset the global game. Mr. Engelhardt
believes “[e]very tick upwards in the price of oil” makes it less likely
that the U.S. will attack Iran. But it is mainly U.S. war ranting that has
sent the price of oil into the stratosphere – another American game of
chicken in which it proves it is willing to destroy the economies of the
industrial world, including its own, to somehow preserve imperial hegemony.
Washington’s conduct is, if anything, crazier than pre-Iraq invasion –
unless one understands the logic of the Lords of a dying system, whose
remaining levers of global control are artificial, largely disconnected from
the real world economy, and ultimately dependent on military coercion and
the threat to bring the whole house down.

U.S. threats to bring down the house may be redundant. In the past year, the
world has slowly become aware that the global economic order as we have
known it awaits an implosion unlike any in history. The sky really is falling in on late stage capitalism.

*The Big One*

Where has capitalism been warehousing its most fundamental contradictions
during the current epoch of decay? How has finance capital managed to
disconnect itself from so much of global productive enterprise and still
churn out ever-increasing returns, without which it would quickly die? The
answer appears in the form of the Mother of all Bubbles, the $750 trillion
in “fictitious capital” that former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and other European social
democrats point out “represents 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP) of
all countries” on Earth, including more than $500 trillion in derivatives
and other “notional” instruments.

This is the “money” that capitalist financial institutions pretend is real –
and whose shadowy presence overwhelms and distorts the real world’s
comparatively puny $50 trillion economy (the U.S. GDP is $15 trillion).
Derivatives and such instruments are not wealth, but mainly organized debt
that is treated as money, and which threatens to strangle real economic
activity. It is a “ticking time bomb” that no one – no one! – knows how to diffuse, much less eliminate.

Apparently, that’s the monopoly money the Lords of Capital have been playing
with to become “notionally” richer and richer while producing virtually
nothing and threatening everyone else with ruin if they disrespect the
Empire. Imperial heaven actually does rest on a foundation of clouds and
other smoke – and weapons of war.

*”It is a ‘ticking time bomb’ that no one – no one! – knows how to diffuse.”*

It is impossible to imagine how the Lords of Capital will separate their
mountains of play money from productive capital, or how the structures they
lord over can survive the inevitable implosion.

Back in 2002, when Washington decided to upset a disadvantageous global game
board by invading Iraq, only $100 trillion in derivatives floated in the
financial firmament. Now the bubble has swollen five-fold and, thanks to the
U.S. sub-prime lending debacle, the world is becoming aware of the looming
catastrophe. Nobody is trading the bogus instruments, which means their
“value” is nil. Since no combination of oil producers’ “sovereign funds” can
turn so much “shadow capital” into the real thing, there can be no effective
bailout or controlled deflation of the “fictitious money” bubble. It is the
end game of late stage capitalism’s terminal contradictions, the final
outcome of the Lords of Capital’s futile quest to maintain global power
while disconnected from, and a burden to, the productive sectors of the

So, will the Lords of Capital accept their class extinction – their social
death – as the edifices of their rule implode in utter ruin? Not likely.
They’ve still got the U.S. military, bigger (or, at least, more expensive)
than all the rest of the world’s armed forces, combined. The option will
still remain, to seize vital sectors and regions of the planet, holding them
hostage to continuing Western imperial sway. To just *take* stuff, in a
hi-tech war of primitive accumulation. That was the goal of the greater Iraq
adventure, until it got bogged down by pesky “insurgents.” From where the
Lords of Capital sit, they don’t have any other choices, not any longer, if
they insist on maintaining global hegemony. And they *do* insist.

Of course, there is nothing written in stone that says Iran must be the
location for the next U.S. land and resource grab – but there will be a
grab. Africa is daily penetrated and subdued, and Venezuela is as good or
bad a place as any to roll the dice. One thing is certain: the Lords of
Capital are literally incapable of transforming themselves into productive
world citizens. And they have *always* chosen to resolve their
contradictions through war.

Despite differences of temperament, Barack Obama serves the same masters as
John McCain: the Lords of Capital. That’s why Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez wisely refuses to differentiate between the nominees-to-be. “The two
candidates for the U.S. presidency attack us equally, they attack us
defending the interests of the empire,” Chavez told his socialist party.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, it is the empire and the empire must fall.”

Our job is to prevent them from bringing the rest of the world down with it


Part One: ‘The greatest demonstration of the

historical failure of the capitalist model’

Ian Angus

“If the government cannot lower the cost of living it simply has to leave. If the police and UN troops want to shoot at us, that’s OK, because in the end, if we are not killed by bullets, we’ll die of hunger.”
A demonstrator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

In Haiti, where most people get 22% fewer calories than the minimum needed for good health, some are staving off their hunger pangs by eating “mud biscuits” made by mixing clay and water with a bit of vegetable oil and salt.[1]

Meanwhile, in Canada, the federal government is currently paying $225 for each pig killed in a mass cull of breeding swine, as part of a plan to reduce hog production. Hog farmers, squeezed by low hog prices and high feed costs, have responded so enthusiastically that the kill will likely use up all the allocated funds before the program ends in September.

Some of the slaughtered hogs may be given to local Food Banks, but most will be destroyed or made into pet food. None will go to Haiti.

This is the brutal world of capitalist agriculture – a world where some people destroy food because prices are too low, and others literally eat dirt because food prices are too high.

Record prices for staple foods

We are in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide food price inflation that has driven prices to their highest levels in decades. The increases affect most kinds of food, but in particular the most important staples – wheat, corn, and rice.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that between March 2007 and March 2008 prices of cereals increased 88%, oils and fats 106%, and dairy 48%. The FAO food price index as a whole rose 57% in one year – and most of the increase occurred in the past few months.

Another source, the World Bank, says that that in the 36 months ending February 2008, global wheat prices rose 181% and overall global food prices increased by 83%. The Bank expects most food prices to remain well above 2004 levels until at least 2015.

The most popular grade of Thailand rice sold for $198 a tonne five years ago and $323 a tonne a year ago. On April 24, the price hit $1,000.

Increases are even greater on local markets – in Haiti, the market price of a 50 kilo bag of rice doubled in one week at the end of March.

These increases are catastrophic for the 2.6 billion people around the world who live on less than US$2 a day and spend 60% to 80% of their incomes on food. Hundreds of millions cannot afford to eat.

This month, the hungry fought back.

Taking to the streets

In Haiti, on April 3, demonstrators in the southern city of Les Cayes built barricades, stopped trucks carrying rice and distributed the food, and tried to burn a United Nations compound. The protests quickly spread to the capital, Port-au-Prince, where thousands marched on the presidential palace, chanting “We are hungry!” Many called for the withdrawal of UN troops and the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the exiled president whose government was overthrown by foreign powers in 2004.

President René Préval, who initially said nothing could be done, has announced a 16% cut in the wholesale price of rice. This is at best a stop-gap measure, since the reduction is for one month only, and retailers are not obligated to cut their prices.

The actions in Haiti paralleled similar protests by hungry people in more than twenty other countries.

  • In Burkino Faso, a two-day general strike by unions and shopkeepers demanded “significant and effective” reductions in the price of rice and other staple foods.
  • In Bangladesh, over 20,000 workers from textile factories in Fatullah went on strike to demand lower prices and higher wages. They hurled bricks and stones at police, who fired tear gas into the crowd.
  • The Egyptian government sent thousands of troops into the Mahalla textile complex in the Nile Delta, to prevent a general strike demanding higher wages, an independent union, and lower prices. Two people were killed and over 600 have been jailed.
  • In Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, police used tear gas against women who had set up barricades, burned tires and closed major roads. Thousands marched to the President’s home, chanting “We are hungry,” and “Life is too expensive, you are killing us.”
  • In Pakistan and Thailand, armed soldiers have been deployed to prevent the poor from seizing food from fields and warehouses.

Similar protests have taken place in Cambodia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. On April 2, the president of the World Bank told a meeting in Washington that there are 33 countries where price hikes could cause social unrest.

A Senior Editor of Time magazine warned:

“The idea of the starving masses driven by their desperation to take to the streets and overthrow the ancien regime has seemed impossibly quaint since capitalism triumphed so decisively in the Cold War…. And yet, the headlines of the past month suggest that skyrocketing food prices are threatening the stability of a growing number of governments around the world. …. when circumstances render it impossible to feed their hungry children, normally passive citizens can very quickly become militants with nothing to lose.”[2]

What’s Driving Food Inflation?

Since the 1970s, food production has become increasingly globalized and concentrated. A handful of countries dominate the global trade in staple foods. 80% of wheat exports come from six exporters, as does 85% of rice. Three countries produce 70% of exported corn. This leaves the world’s poorest countries, the ones that must import food to survive, at the mercy of economic trends and policies in those few exporting companies. When the global food trade system stops delivering, it’s the poor who pay the price.

For several years, the global trade in staple foods has been heading towards a crisis. Four related trends have slowed production growth and pushed prices up.

The End of the Green Revolution: In the 1960s and 1970s, in an effort to counter peasant discontent in southeast Asia, the U.S. poured money and technical support into agricultural development in India and other countries. The “green revolution” – new seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural techniques and infrastructure – led to spectacular increases in food production, particularly rice. Yield per hectare continued expanding until the 1990s.

Today, it’s not fashionable for governments to help poor people grow food for other poor people, because “the market” is supposed to take care of all problems. The Economist reports that “spending on farming as a share of total public spending in developing countries fell by half between 1980 and 2004.”[3] Subsidies and R&D money have dried up, and production growth has stalled.

As a result, in seven of the past eight years the world consumed more grain than it produced, which means that rice was being removed from the inventories that governments and dealers normally hold as insurance against bad harvests. World grain stocks are now at their lowest point ever, leaving very little cushion for bad times.

Climate Change: Scientists say that climate change could cut food production in parts of the world by 50% in the next 12 years. But that isn’t just a matter for the future:

  • Australia is normally the world’s second-largest exporter of grain, but a savage multi-year drought has reduced the wheat crop by 60% and rice production has been completely wiped out.
  • In Bangladesh in November, one of the strongest cyclones in decades wiped out a million tonnes of rice and severely damaged the wheat crop, making the huge country even more dependent on imported food.

Other examples abound. It’s clear that the global climate crisis is already here, and it is affecting food.

Agrofuels: It is now official policy in the U.S., Canada and Europe to convert food into fuel. U.S. vehicles burn enough corn to cover the entire import needs of the poorest 82 countries.[4]

Ethanol and biodiesel are very heavily subsidized, which means, inevitably, that crops like corn (maize) are being diverted out of the food chain and into gas tanks, and that new agricultural investment worldwide is being directed towards palm, soy, canola and other oil-producing plants. This increases the prices of agrofuel crops directly, and indirectly boosts the price of other grains by encouraging growers to switch to agrofuel.

As Canadian hog producers have found, it also drives up the cost of producing meat, since corn is the main ingredient in North American animal feed.

Oil Prices: The price of food is linked to the price of oil because food can be made into a substitute for oil. But rising oil prices also affect the cost of producing food. Fertilizer and pesticides are made from petroleum and natural gas. Gas and diesel fuel are used in planting, harvesting and shipping.[5]

It’s been estimated that 80% of the costs of growing corn are fossil fuel costs – so it is no accident that food prices rise when oil prices rise.

* * *

By the end of 2007, reduced investment in the third world, rising oil prices, and climate change meant that production growth was slowing and prices were rising. Good harvests and strong export growth might have staved off a crisis – but that isn’t what happened. The trigger was rice, the staple food of three billion people.

Early this year, India announced that it was suspending most rice exports in order to rebuild its reserves. A few weeks later, Vietnam, whose rice crop was hit by a major insect infestation during the harvest, announced a four-month suspension of exports to ensure that enough would be available for its domestic market.

India and Vietnam together normally account for 30% of all rice exports, so their announcements were enough to push the already tight global rice market over the edge. Rice buyers immediately started buying up available stocks, hoarding whatever rice they could get in the expectation of future price increases, and bidding up the price for future crops. Prices soared. By mid-April, news reports described “panic buying” of rice futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, and there were rice shortages even on supermarket shelves in Canada and the U.S.

Why the rebellion?

There have been food price spikes before. Indeed, if we take inflation into account, global prices for staple foods were higher in the 1970s than they are today. So why has this inflationary explosion provoked mass protests around the world?

The answer is that since the 1970s the richest countries in the world, aided by the international agencies they control, have systematically undermined the poorest countries’ ability to feed their populations and protect themselves in a crisis like this.

Haiti is a powerful and appalling example.

Rice has been grown in Haiti for centuries, and until twenty years ago Haitian farmers produced about 170,000 tonnes of rice a year, enough to cover 95% of domestic consumption. Rice farmers received no government subsidies, but, as in every other rice-producing country at the time, their access to local markets was protected by import tariffs.

In 1995, as a condition of providing a desperately needed loan, the International Monetary Fund required Haiti to cut its tariff on imported rice from 35% to 3%, the lowest in the Caribbean. The result was a massive influx of U.S. rice that sold for half the price of Haitian-grown rice. Thousands of rice farmers lost their lands and livelihoods, and today three-quarters of the rice eaten in Haiti comes from the U.S.[6]

U.S. rice didn’t take over the Haitian market because it tastes better, or because U.S. rice growers are more efficient. It won out because rice exports are heavily subsidized by the U.S. government. In 2003, U.S. rice growers received $1.7 billion in government subsidies, an average of $232 per hectare of rice grown.[7] That money, most of which went to a handful of very large landowners and agribusiness corporations, allowed U.S. exporters to sell rice at 30% to 50% below their real production costs.

In short, Haiti was forced to abandon government protection of domestic agriculture – and the U.S. then used its government protection schemes to take over the market.

There have been many variations on this theme, with rich countries of the north imposing “liberalization” policies on poor and debt-ridden southern countries and then taking advantage of that liberalization to capture the market. Government subsidies account for 30% of farm revenue in the world’s 30 richest countries, a total of US$280 billion a year,[8] an unbeatable advantage in a “free” market where the rich write the rules.

The global food trade game is rigged, and the poor have been left with reduced crops and no protections.

In addition, for several decades the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have refused to advance loans to poor countries unless they agree to “Structural Adjustment Programs” (SAP) that require the loan recipients to devalue their currencies, cut taxes, privatize utilities, and reduce or eliminate support programs for farmers.

All this was done with the promise that the market would produce economic growth and prosperity – instead, poverty increased and support for agriculture was eliminated.

“The investment in improved agricultural input packages and extension support tapered and eventually disappeared in most rural areas of Africa under SAP. Concern for boosting smallholders’ productivity was abandoned. Not only were governments rolled back, foreign aid to agriculture dwindled. World Bank funding for agriculture itself declined markedly from 32% of total lending in 1976-8 to 11.7% in 1997-9.”[9]

During previous waves of food price inflation, the poor often had at least some access to food they grew themselves, or to food that was grown locally and available at locally set prices. Today, in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, that’s just not possible. Global markets now determine local prices – and often the only food available must be imported from far away.

Food is not just another commodity – it is absolutely essential for human survival. The very least that humanity should expect from any government or social system is that it try to prevent starvation – and above all that it not promote policies that deny food to hungry people.

That’s why Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was absolutely correct on April 24, to describe the food crisis as “the greatest demonstration of the historical failure of the capitalist model.”

What needs to be done to end this crisis, and to ensure that doesn’t happen again? Part Two of this article will examine those questions.


1. Kevin Pina. “Mud Cookie Economics in Haiti.” Haiti Action Network, Feb. 10, 2008.

2. Tony Karon. “How Hunger Could Topple Regimes.” Time, April 11, 2008.,8599,1730107,00.html

3. “The New Face of Hunger.” The Economist, April 19, 2008.

4. Mark Lynas. “How the Rich Starved the World.” New Statesman, April 17, 2008.

5. Dale Allen Pfeiffer. Eating Fossil Fuels. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island BC, 2006. p. 1

6. Oxfam International Briefing Paper, April 2005. “Kicking Down the Door.”

7. Ibid.

8. OECD Background Note: Agricultural Policy and Trade Reform.

9. Kjell Havnevik, Deborah Bryceson, Lars-Erik Birgegård, Prosper Matondi & Atakilte Beyene. “African Agriculture and the World Bank: Development or Impoverishment?” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal,

Ian Angus is the editor of Climate and Capitalism.

Part Two: Capitalism, Agribusiness, and the Food Sovereignty Alternative

Part Two: Capitalism, Agribusiness,

and the Food Sovereignty Alternative

Ian Angus

“Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet.”
Fidel Castro, 1998

When food riots broke out in Haiti last month, the first country to respond was Venezuela. Within days, planes were on their way from Caracas, carrying 364 tons of badly needed food.

The people of Haiti are “suffering from the attacks of the empire’s global capitalism,” Venezuelan president Hugo Chàvez said. “This calls for genuine and profound solidarity from all of us. It is the least we can do for Haiti.”

Venezuela’s action is in the finest tradition of human solidarity. When people are hungry, we should do our best to feed them. Venezuela’s example should be applauded and emulated.

But aid, however necessary, is only a stopgap. To truly address the problem of world hunger, we must understand and then change the system that causes it.

No shortage of food

The starting point for our analysis must be this: there is no shortage of food in the world today.

Contrary to the 18th century warnings of Thomas Malthus and his modern followers, study after study shows that global food production has consistently outstripped population growth, and that there is more than enough food to feed everyone. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, enough food is produced in the world to provide over 2800 calories a day to everyone — substantially more than the minimum required for good health. That’s about 18% more calories per person than in the 1960s, despite a significant increase in total population.[1]

As the Food First Institute points out, “abundance, not scarcity, best describes the supply of food in the world today.”[2]

Despite that, the most commonly proposed solution to world hunger is new technology to increase food production.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, aims to develop “more productive and resilient varieties of Africa’s major food crops … to enable Africa’s small-scale farmers to produce larger, more diverse and reliable harvests.”[3]

Similarly, the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute has initiated a public-private partnership “to increase rice production across Asia via the accelerated development and introduction of hybrid rice technologies.”[4]

And the president of the World Bank promises to help developing countries gain “access to technology and science to boost yields.”[5]

Scientific research is vitally important to the development of agriculture, but initiatives that assume in advance that new seeds and chemicals are needed are neither credible nor truly scientific. The fact that there is already enough food to feed the world shows that the food crisis is not a technical problem — it is a social and political problem.

Rather than asking how to increase production, our first question should be why, when so much food is available, are over 850 million people hungry and malnourished? Why do 18,000 children die of hunger every day?

Why can’t the global food industry feed the hungry?

The profit system

The answer can be stated in one sentence. The global food industry is not organized to feed the hungry; it is organized to generate profits for corporate agribusiness.

The agribusiness giants are achieving that objective very well indeed. This year, agribusiness profits are soaring above last year’s levels, while hungry people from Haiti to Egypt to Senegal were taking to the streets to protest rising food prices. These figures are for just three months at the beginning of 2008.[6]

Grain Trading

  • Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Gross profit: $1.15 billion, up 55% from last year
  • Cargill: Net earnings: $1.03 billion, up 86%
  • Bunge. Consolidated gross profit: $867 million, up 189%.

Seeds & herbicides

  • Monsanto. Gross profit: $2.23 billion, up 54%.
  • Dupont Agriculture and Nutrition. Pre-tax operating income: $786 million, up 21%


  • Potash Corporation. Net income: $66 million, up 185.9%
  • Mosaic. Net earnings: $520.8 million, up more than 1,200%

The companies listed above, plus a few more, are the monopoly or near-monopoly buyers and sellers of agricultural products around the world. Six companies control 85% of the world trade in grain; three control 83% of cocoa; three control 80% of the banana trade.[7] ADM, Cargill and Bunge effectively control the world’s corn, which means that they alone decide how much of each year’s crop goes to make ethanol, sweeteners, animal feed or human food.

As the editors of Hungry for Profit write, “The enormous power exerted by the largest agribusiness/food corporations allows them essentially to control the cost of their raw materials purchased from farmers while at the same time keeping prices of food to the general public at high enough levels to ensure large profits.”[8]

Over the past three decades, transnational agribusiness companies have engineered a massive restructuring of global agriculture. Directly through their own market power and indirectly through governments and the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organization, they have changed the way food is grown and distributed around the world. The changes have had wonderful effects on their profits, while simultaneously making global hunger worse and food crises inevitable.

The assault on traditional farming

Today’s food crisis doesn’t stand alone: it is a manifestation of a farm crisis that has been building for decades.

As we saw in Part One of this article, over the past three decades the rich countries of the north have forced poor countries to open their markets, then flooded those markets with subsidized food, with devastating results for Third World farming.

But the restructuring of global agriculture to the advantage of agribusiness giants didn’t stop there. In the same period, southern countries were convinced, cajoled and bullied into adopting agricultural policies that promote export crops rather than food for domestic consumption, and favour large-scale industrial agriculture that requires single-crop (monoculture) production, heavy use of water, and massive quantities of fertilizer and pesticides. Increasingly, traditional farming, organized by and for communities and families, has been pushed aside by industrial farming organized by and for agribusinesses.

That transformation is the principal obstacle to a rational agriculture that could eliminate hunger.

The focus on export agriculture has produced the absurd and tragic result that millions of people are starving in countries that export food. In India, for example, over one-fifth of the population is chronically hungry and 48% of children under five years old are malnourished. Nevertheless, India exported US$1.5 billion worth of milled rice and $322 million worth of wheat in 2004.[9]

In other countries, farmland that used to grow food for domestic consumption now grows luxuries for the north. Colombia, where 13% of the population is malnourished, produces and exports 62% of all cut flowers sold in the United States.

In many cases the result of switching to export crops has produced results that would be laughable if they weren’t so damaging. Kenya was self-sufficient in food until about 25 years ago. Today it imports 80% of its food — and 80% of its exports are other agricultural products.[10]

The shift to industrial agriculture has driven millions of people off the land and into unemployment and poverty in the immense slums that now surround many of the world’s cities.

The people who best know the land are being separated from it; their farms enclosed into gigantic outdoor factories that produce only for export. Hundreds of millions of people now must depend on food that’s grown thousands of miles away because their homeland agriculture has been transformed to meet the needs of agribusiness corporations. As recent months have shown, the entire system is fragile: India’s decision to rebuild its rice stocks made food unaffordable for millions half a world away.

If the purpose of agriculture is to feed people, the changes to global agriculture in the past 30 years make no sense. Industrial farming in the Third World has produced increasing amounts of food, but at the cost of driving millions off the land and into lives of chronic hunger — and at the cost of poisoning air and water, and steadily decreasing the ability of the soil to deliver the food we need.

Contrary to the claims of agribusiness, the latest agricultural research, including more than a decade of concrete experience in Cuba, proves that small and mid-sized farms using sustainable agroecological methods are much more productive and vastly less damaging to the environment than huge industrial farms.[11]

Industrial farming continues not because it is more productive, but because it has been able, until now, to deliver uniform products in predictable quantities, bred specifically to resist damage during shipment to distant markets. That’s where the profit is, and profit is what counts, no matter what the effect may be on earth, air, and water — or even on hungry people.

Fighting for food sovereignty

The changes imposed by transnational agribusiness and its agencies have not gone unchallenged. One of the most important developments in the past 15 years has been the emergence of La Vía Campesina (Peasant Way), an umbrella body that encompasses more than 120 small farmers’ and peasants’ organizations in 56 countries, ranging from the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil to the National Farmers Union in Canada.

La Vía Campesina initially advanced its program as a challenge to the “World Food Summit,” a 1996 UN-organized conference on global hunger that was attended by official representatives of 185 countries. The participants in that meeting promised (and subsequently did nothing to achieve) the elimination of hunger and malnutrition by guaranteeing “sustainable food security for all people.”[12]

As is typical of such events, the working people who are actually affected were excluded from the discussions. Outside the doors, La Vía Campesina proposed food sovereignty as an alternative to food security. Simple access to food is not enough, they argued: what’s needed is access to land, water, and resources, and the people affected must have the right to know and to decide about food policies. Food is too important to be left to the global market and the manipulations of agribusiness: world hunger can only be ended by re-establishing small and mid-sized family farms as the key elements of food production.[13]

The central demand of the food sovereignty movement is that food should be treated primarily as a source of nutrition for the communities and countries where it is grown. In opposition to free-trade, agroexport policies, it urges a focus on domestic consumption and food self-sufficiency.

Contrary to the assertions of some critics, food sovereignty is not a call for economic isolationism or a return to an idealized rural past. Rather, it is a program for the defense and extension of human rights, for land reform, and for protection of the earth against capitalist ecocide. In addition to calling for food self-sufficiency and strengthening family farms, La Vía Campesina’s original call for food sovereignty included these points:

  • Guarantee everyone access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with full human dignity.
  • Give landless and farming people — especially women — ownership and control of the land they work and return territories to indigenous peoples.
  • Ensure the care and use of natural resources, especially land, water and seeds. End dependence on chemical inputs, on cash-crop monocultures and intensive, industrialized production.
  • Oppose WTO, World Bank and IMF policies that facilitate the control of multinational corporations over agriculture. Regulate and tax speculative capital and enforce a strict Code of Conduct on transnational corporations.
  • End the use of food as a weapon. Stop the displacement, forced urbanization and repression of peasants.
  • Guarantee peasants and small farmers, and rural women in particular, direct input into formulating agricultural policies at all levels.[14]

La Vía Campesina’s demand for food sovereignty constitutes a powerful agrarian program for the 21st century. Labour and left movements worldwide should give full support to it and to the campaigns of working farmers and peasants for land reform and against the industrialization and globalization of food and farming.

Stop the war on Third World farmers

Within that framework, we in the global north can and must demand that our governments stop all activities that weaken or damage Third World farming.

Stop using food for fuel. La Vía Campesina has said it simply and clearly: “Industrial agrofuels are an economic, social and environmental nonsense. Their development should be halted and agricultural production should focus on food as a priority.”[15]

Cancel Third World debts. On April 30, Canada announced a special contribution of C$10 million for food relief to Haiti.[16] That’s positive – but during 2008 Haiti will pay five times that much in interest on its $1.5 billion foreign debt, much of which was incurred during the imperialist-supported Duvalier dictatorships.

Haiti’s situation is not unique and it is not an extreme case. The total external debt of Third World countries in 2005 was $2.7 trillion, and their debt payments that year totalled $513 billion.[17] Ending that cash drain, immediately and unconditionally, would provide essential resources to feed the hungry now and rebuild domestic farming over time.

Get the WTO out of agriculture. The regressive food policies that have been imposed on poor countries by the World Bank and IMF are codified and enforced by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture. The AoA, as Afsar Jafri of Focus on the Global South writes, is “biased in favour of capital-intensive, corporate agribusiness-driven and export-oriented agriculture.”[18] That’s not surprising, since the U.S. official who drafted and then negotiated it was a former vice-president of agribusiness giant Cargill.

AoA should be abolished, and Third World countries should have the right to unilaterally cancel liberalization policies imposed through the World Bank, IMF, and WTO, as well as through bilateral free trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA.

Self-Determination for the Global South. The current attempts by the U.S. to destabilize and overthrow the anti-imperialist governments of the ALBA group — Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada — continue a long history of actions by northern countries to prevent Third World countries from asserting control over their own destinies. Organizing against such interventions “in the belly of the monster” is thus a key component of the fight to win food sovereignty around the world.

* * *

More than a century ago, Karl Marx wrote that despite its support for technical improvements, “the capitalist system works against a rational agriculture … a rational agriculture is incompatible with the capitalist system.”[19]

Today’s food and farm crises completely confirm that judgment. A system that puts profit ahead of human needs has driven millions of producers off the land, undermined the earth’s productivity while poisoning its air and water, and condemned nearly a billion people to chronic hunger and malnutrition.

The food crisis and farm crisis are rooted in an irrational, anti-human system. To feed the world, urban and rural working people must join hands to sweep that system away. •

Ian Angus is editor of Climate and Capitalism. Part One of this article was published in Socialist Voice and in The Bullet (#102) (Socialist Project), on April 28, 2008.


1. Frederic Mousseau, Food Aid or Food Sovereignty? Ending World Hunger in Our Time. Oakland Institute, 2005. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, Global Summary for Decision Makers.

2. Francis Moore Lappe, Joseph Collins, Peter Rosset. World Hunger: Twelve Myths. (Grove Press, New York, 1998) p. 8

3. “About the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.”

4. IRRI Press Release, April 4, 2008.

5. “World Bank President Calls for Plan to Fight Hunger in Pre-Spring Meetings Address.” News Release, April 2, 2008.

6. These figures are taken from the companies’ most recent quarterly reports, found on their websites. Because they report the numbers in different ways, they can’t be compared to each other, only to their own previous reports.

7. Shawn Hattingh. “Liberalizing Food Trade to Death.” MRzine, May 6, 2008.

8. Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster and Frederick H. Buttel. Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment. Monthly Review Press, New York, 2000. p. 11

9. UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Key Statistics Of Food And Agriculture External Trade.

10. J. Madeley. Hungry for Trade: How the poor pay for free trade. Cited in Ibid.

11. Jahi Campbell, “Shattering Myths: Can sustainable agriculture feed the world?” and “Editorial. Lessons from the Green Revolution.” Food First Institute.

12. World Food Summit.

13. La Vía Campesina. “Food Sovereignty: A Future Without Hunger.” (1996)

14. Paraphrased from Ibid.

15. La Vía Campesina. “A response to the Global Food Prices Crisis: Sustainable family farming can feed the world.”

16. By way of comparison, this year Canada will spend $1 billion on the illegal occupation of and war in Afghanistan.

17. Jubilee Debt Campaign. “The Basics About Debt.”

18. Afsar H. Jafri. “WTO: Agriculture at the Mercy of Rich Nations.” Focus on the Global South, November 7, 2005.

19. Capital, Volume III. Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Volume 37, p. 123

The War, the Truth, and the New York Times

The War, the Truth, and the New York Times

<!–Rowan Wolf–>

By Anwaar Hussain

Now that every one and Charlie’s aunt knows of the crimes of America’s ruling cabal, how about finally asking to bring out the hangman’s ropes?

So finally the truth is acknowledged by the mother of all main stream media, the New York Times.

The June 6 editorial, ‘The Truth About the War’ of the media giant begins with these words, “It took just a few months after the United States’ invasion of Iraq for the world to find out that Saddam Hussein had long abandoned his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. He was not training terrorists or colluding with Al Qaeda. The only real threat he posed was to his own countrymen.” That it took more than five years for the leading light of a servile American media to finally find it out, is a fact glossed over most shamelessly.

Truth told late is worse than a murderous lie, is all that one can say to the NYT. It is a dishonest admission coming rather late for a million plus human beings. The icing on this deceitful piece of reporting is the ending of the Op-Ed. It says, “We cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Bush lied about Iraq. But when the president withholds vital information from the public – or leads them to believe things that he knows are not true – to justify the invasion of another country, that is bad enough.”

BAD ENOUGH! Did I read it right? That’s it? BAD ENOUGH! Would you believe it? A million murdered Iraqis, 4000 dead US soldiers, obliterated Iraqi cities, DU shot-up environment, countless crippled and maimed human beings, innumerable shattered lives and how does the NYT express its outrage; by calling it ‘bad enough’? “Sorry mommy, I just killed a million people.” “That’s bad. Don’t do that again, now eat your spinach” eh? Bad enough!? Someone hand me the sick bag please.

Every canon of the United Nations and the 1945 Nuremberg Charters, the International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions has been shot to doll rags by this criminal cabal in its willful, premeditated genocide of an innocent people and what does the American media leviathan call it? Bad enough!?

Not just the international laws, in the US Law itself all jurisdictions which use capital punishment designate the highest grade of murder a capital crime. What’s more, even aggravated rape is a capital crime in Louisiana, Florida, and Oklahoma; extortionate kidnapping in Oklahoma; aggravated kidnapping in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and South Carolina; aircraft hijacking in Alabama; drug trafficking resulting in a person’s death in Connecticut; train wrecking which leads to a person’s death, and perjury which leads to a person’s death in California. And here, the wanton destruction of a whole country and annihilation of its innocent citizens is merely ‘bad enough’ for the New York Times?

How about finally telling the Americans the fact that they were used as pawns in the ghastly drama played amidst decomposing Iraqi corpses. How about finally reporting the horrendous crime committed by the US forces in the Iraqi city of Fallujah? How about informing the Americans that the city was bombed, re-bombed, its citizens gunned down, its structures devastated by powerful weapons till it was nothing but a hell on earth of crushed bodies, shattered buildings and the reek of death?

How about giving them the eyewitnesses’ testimony that reported human corpses littering Fallujah’s streets, nibbled at by starving canines and parents forced to watch their wounded children die and then bury their bodies in their gardens? Why not finally tell the Americans an Iraqi journalist’s exact report to the BBC and Reuters: “I have seen some strange things recently, such as stray dogs snatching bites out of bodies lying on the streets. Meanwhile, people forage in their gardens looking for something to eat. Those that have survived this far are looking gaunt. The opposite is happening to the dead, left where they fell, they are now bloated and rotting…”?

How about publishing on the front page, the ghastly images from Abu Ghuraib, including the thuggish grinning faces of Specialists Sabrina Harman and Charles Garner peering out with an evil force, each offering a “thumbs-up” gesture as if posing for a pride of performance award with an ice packed corpse of an innocent, tortured to death Iraqi in the background? How about ordering an investigative report into America’s torture trail that, from Uzbekistan and Pakistan to Guantanamo Bay, weaves across the globe? How about finally checking out what the American officials affectionately called ‘the renditions’? How about running on the front page a video called “Hadji Girl” in which just a few of the lyric lines go as;

I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me,
As the bullets began to fly,
The blood sprayed from between her eyes,
And then I laughed maniacally. . .
I blew those little f**ckers to eternity . . .
They should have known they were f**king with the Marines.

How about finally informing the Americans that not just the murder of a million plus human beings, their rulers also stand accused of bullying unilateralism, dismissive approach towards international treaties, rude attitude towards other nations and cultures, and disrespect for institutions of the world government?

How about finally admitting that the real lesson of the current American onslaught on a defenseless, but oil rich, people is nothing other than that there is no limit to the horrors that the ruling American class will inflict to stay in power and gobble up the fast dwindling world resources; that as long as the American nation continues to tolerate these leaders, who make lies seem true and slaughter respectable, mass carnage will continue to be committed in their name?

How about highlighting in bold letters American historian Howard Zinn’s quote that says, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”? How about becoming the vanguard of a movement to expose the ugly truth of America’s wars and informing the Americans that these wars are waged for nothing other than corporate power, global conquest, death, destruction and oppression? How about pursuing relentlessly the murderous charlatans who still strut about on the national and international scenes?

Now that every one and Charlie’s aunt knows of the crimes of America’s ruling cabal, how about finally asking to bring out the hangman’s ropes?

How about it, eh New York Times? Pray, tell us.

The US Liberty Is Coming and It’s Making Us Look Bad!

Israeli Civil Rights Center Warns

US Attorney General: Gaza Boat Organizers

Have Violated the Neutrality Act

By Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center

The Israeli civil rights group, Shurat HaDin, has sent an urgent letter to United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey, warning him that the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and others, have conspired to violate the U.S. Neutrality Act, 18 U.S.C. section 960, in their efforts to organize a boatlift to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.

In the letter sent by Shurat HaDin director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, it is alleged that the organizers of the “Gaza Ship” illegally solicited and raised donations in California to fund the purchase of several boats, which they plan to sail into Gaza on August 5th. The boats are reportedly set to travel from Greece with ISM members on August 1st.

Since the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel has initiated a blockade to prevent the smuggling of illegal weapons to the terrorists. The letter expresses concern that the boats will be carrying weapons, explosives and other contraband to Hamas officials.

The Neutrality Act provides that:

“Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money for, or takes part in, any military or naval expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominion of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

The letter to the Attorney General charges that the ISM has openly solicited and obtained financial support for this hostile operation against Israel in violation of the Neutrality Act and urges the Justice Department and the FBI to launch a full investigation into the funding of the boats and to prosecute those involved.

“For too long the American supporters of Hamas have raised funds in the US to finance their efforts to obstruct Israel’s abilities to fight the Palestinian terrorist groups,” stated attorney Darshan-Leitner. “We are urging the Attorney General to investigate this blatant violation of the Neutrality Act and prosecute the organizers of the Gaza boat operation who are seeking to illegally smuggle weapons and explosives to Hamas.”

‘SS Liberty’ Sails to Challenge Israel

‘SS Liberty’ Sails to Challenge Israel

'SS Liberty' Sails to Challenge Israel

Forty-one years after the American surveillance ship USS Liberty was napalmed, torpedoed and strafed by Israeli naval and air forces during the Six-Day War, another “Liberty” will be setting out from a Cyprus port in August to try to break through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The “SS Liberty” is one of two ships — along with “SS Free Gaza” — that will be carrying an international group opposed to Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed the blockade just over a year ago.

Karin Pally, a spokeswoman in Los Angeles for the group Free Gaza Movement, said the ship was named in honor of 34 Sailors and Marines killed in the attack and to help bring the Gaza issue home to Americans.

Jim Ennes, an officer aboard the original Liberty and author of the book Assault on the Liberty said he was invited to take part in the protest sailing to Gaza but was not able to make it.

Until contacted by for comment, Ennes was unaware that organizers had named one of the ships after the Liberty, but he said he is “absolutely” pleased with the move and wishes he could be there.

Israel attacked the Liberty on June 8, 1967, later saying they thought it was an Egyptian vessel — though survivors and others have long said the Israeli pilots and sailors knew exactly who they targeted.

The U.S. Navy began telling families of the American dead that the attack was accidental even before it convened an official board of inquiry, which about 10 days later delivered that same finding, according to Navy documents.

Six years ago the legal affairs adviser to the board, retired Capt. Ward Boston, broke his silence to say the investigation was a sham, and that the final version was altered to exonerate the Israelis. Boston died in June.

Pally said the two ships will include about 40 passangers from 16 countries, including Israel and the United States.

“Everyone is committed to non-violence,” she said of the participants. “The Free Gaza Movement has arranged with a third party security expert to completely secure and search the boats before they leave Cyprus to make sure there are no weapons or anything dangerous aboard.”

The larger of the two ships, the SS Free Gaza, will be equipped with a Web cam and will be posting streaming video to their Web site — — during the voyage, Pally said.

© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. This ma

Russia to McCain: Threaten after election

Russia to McCain: Threaten after election
Tue, 29 Jul 2008 17:36:22

Presumptive GOP nominee John McCain

Moscow has said that US presidential hopeful John McCain should first be elected then threaten to throw Russia out from the G8.

“We can afford to cut off relations with any of our partners if that’s what they want…. We’re not interested in what [John] McCain has to say. Let him become president first, then we’ll listen to him,” a senior Russian diplomat told reporters on Tuesday, according to AFP.

“We want the American electorate to answer for the choice it will make…. At the moment, they are turning Russia into a scapegoat for the mistakes of their foreign policy,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

McCain has said he would push for Russia’s removal from the G8 as punishment for what he called ‘rolling back political freedoms’ in the country.

Asked about his threat to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized nations, the Arizona senator told ABC television in an interview last week that “We need to improve their behavior.”

The call faced opposition from other members of the group.

McCain’s Rival Barack Obama has also opposed ousting Russia from the G8.

“It would be a mistake,” Obama told CNN in an interview when asked about McCain’s proposal.

Russia is a fairly recent entry into the group. The country joined the Group of Seven in 1997.

‘American linked with India blasts’

‘American linked with India blasts’
Wed, 30 Jul 2008 17:47:22

Ahmedabad was hit by a series of explosions on Saturday.

Indian police have raided the home of an American suspect in connection with the weekend bomb attacks, which left dozens of people dead.

Police in Mumbai traced an e-mail claiming responsibility for the blasts back to the residence of Kenneth Haywood in Navi Mumbai, a satellite city across the water from India’s commercial capital, AP reported.

The security personnel also seized a computer from which the e-mail was sent. The e-mail claimed responsibility for Ahmadabad bombings that killed 45 people.

Mumbai police said it had questioned the 48-year-old US citizen but did not arrest him; as they were still investigating whether he was involved or his e-mail account was hacked.

“He is a suspect, yes,” said a police officer involved in the investigation.

Saturday’s e-mail, sent from a Yahoo account and written in English, was made available to the media.

Political analysts in India and local media reports have not ruled out the involvement of external powers in the weekend’s serial bombings.

Pentagon: US must prepare for permanent war

Pentagon: US must prepare for permanent war

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Pentagon’s new national defense strategy calls for a shift in focus from conventional warfare to mastering the complex threat of global extremism, a published report said Thursday.

According to excerpts of the National Defense Strategy approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and published by the Washington Post, the US military must prepare for a more diverse and long-lasting struggle against insurgency and terror, or “irregular” warfare.

“Iraq and Afghanistan remain the central fronts in the struggle, but we cannot lose sight of the implications of fighting a long-term, episodic, multi-front, and multi-dimensional conflict more complex and diverse than the Cold War confrontation with communism,” the Post quoted the document as saying.

“Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is crucial to winning this conflict, but it alone will not bring victory.”

The defense strategy calls for strategic partnerships with Russia and China, as well as a greater focus on the conditions that spark extremist movements and behavior.

“The use of force plays a role, yet military efforts to capture or kill terrorists are likely to be subordinate to measures to promote local participation in government and economic programs to spur development, as well as efforts to understand and address the grievances that often lie at the heart of insurgencies,” the document said.

“For these reasons, arguably the most important military component of the struggle against violent extremists is not the fighting we do ourselves, but how well we help prepare our partners to defend and govern themselves.”

The newspaper said it obtained the 23-page document, which has not been officially released, from a defense industry news service,