Nothing Says “Change” Like 3,000 Cops in Riot Gear

Red Wind

Nothing Says “Change” Like 3,000 Cops in Riot Gear

by Red Wind

Just a little taste of what awaits me in Denver.

Last month, under pressure from the A.C.L.U. lawsuit, the city released a list of expenses related to the convention showing that the police were preparing for large demonstrations and mass arrests and that the department had spent $2.1 million on protection equipment for its officers, $1.4 million for barricades and $850,000 for supplies related to the arrest and processing of suspects.

In disclosing the cost breakdown, city officials denied rumors that had circulated for weeks that they had contemplated buying exotic nonlethal weapons that fired an immobilizing goo, or that used radiation or sonic waves to incapacitate people or vehicles.

As the article makes clear, all of this over-the-top preparation is to contain political protestors—not to protect against a terrorist attack—even though authorities admit that there is no credible threat of either terrorism or violent protest.

The federal government is also sending Denver an additional $50 million for security, and while I’m not so naïve as to think that no additional security is required, my experience in New York in 2004 (coupled with the stories I have heard about Boston) tells me that all this extra muscle will encourage authorities to err on the side of imagined security while actively suppressing the First Amendment rights of many protesters and passers-by.

Just imagine what some of that money and organization could do to feed, house, or clothe some of the Denver-area needy. . . . Just sayin’.

And now, a wag of my finger at the New York Times. The photo above, which ran with the story under the headline “Denver Police Brace for Convention,” is not actually a picture of the Denver Police, or any auxiliary that might be in Denver, for that matter. As the half-tone caption informed me (and I only noticed the caption because I wanted to reproduce the image for this post), this photograph, by Bob Bukaty of the AP, is actually from Boston, from the day before the Democratic Convention of 2004. Running this picture under a headline about Denver reminds me of nothing so much as an “artist’s interpretation”—like those you might see of aliens in the Weekly World News—and can only serve to alarm readers about the violence that supposedly awaits the Democrats this year in Denver. Violence, as the story will tell you, that is not indicated by any pre-convention intelligence.


Anti-Capitalism in Five Minutes

Anti-Capitalism in Five Minutes

by Robert Jensen

We know that capitalism is not just the most sensible way to organize an economy but is now the only possible way to organize an economy. We know that dissenters to this conventional wisdom can, and should, be ignored. There’s no longer even any need to persecute such heretics; they are obviously irrelevant.

How do we know all this? Because we are told so, relentlessly – typically by those who have the most to gain from such a claim, most notably those in the business world and their functionaries and apologists in the schools, universities, mass media, and mainstream politics. Capitalism is not a choice, but rather simply is, like a state of nature. Maybe not like a state of nature, but the state of nature. To contest capitalism these days is like arguing against the air that we breathe. Arguing against capitalism, we’re told, is simply crazy.

We are told, over and over, that capitalism is not just the system we have, but the only system we can ever have. Yet for many, something nags at us about such a claim. Could this really be the only option? We’re told we shouldn’t even think about such things. But we can’t help thinking – is this really the “end of history,” in the sense that big thinkers have used that phrase to signal the final victory of global capitalism? If this is the end of history in that sense, we wonder, can the actual end of the planet far behind?

We wonder, we fret, and these thoughts nag at us – for good reason. Capitalism – or, more accurately, the predatory corporate capitalism that defines and dominates our lives – will be our death if we don’t escape it. Crucial to progressive politics is finding the language to articulate that reality, not in outdated dogma that alienates but in plain language that resonates with people. We should be searching for ways to explain to co-workers in water-cooler conversations – radical politics in five minutes or less – why we must abandon predatory corporate capitalism. If we don’t, we may well be facing the end times, and such an end will bring rupture not rapture.

Here’s my shot at the language for this argument.

Capitalism is admittedly an incredibly productive system that has created a flood of goods unlike anything the world has ever seen. It also is a system that is fundamentally (1) inhuman, (2) anti-democratic, and (3) unsustainable. Capitalism has given those of us in the First World lots of stuff (most of it of marginal or questionable value) in exchange for our souls, our hope for progressive politics, and the possibility of a decent future for children.

In short, either we change or we die – spiritually, politically, literally.

1. Capitalism is inhuman

There is a theory behind contemporary capitalism. We’re told that because we are greedy, self-interested animals, an economic system must reward greedy, self-interested behavior if we are to thrive economically.

Are we greedy and self-interested? Of course. At least I am, sometimes. But we also just as obviously are capable of compassion and selflessness. We certainly can act competitively and aggressively, but we also have the capacity for solidarity and cooperation. In short, human nature is wide-ranging. Our actions are certainly rooted in our nature, but all we really know about that nature is that it is widely variable. In situations where compassion and solidarity are the norm, we tend to act that way. In situations where competitiveness and aggression are rewarded, most people tend toward such behavior.

Why is it that we must choose an economic system that undermines the most decent aspects of our nature and strengthens the most inhuman? Because, we’re told, that’s just the way people are. What evidence is there of that? Look around, we’re told, at how people behave. Everywhere we look, we see greed and the pursuit of self-interest. So, the proof that these greedy, self-interested aspects of our nature are dominant is that, when forced into a system that rewards greed and self-interested behavior, people often act that way. Doesn’t that seem just a bit circular?

2. Capitalism is anti-democratic

This one is easy. Capitalism is a wealth-concentrating system. If you concentrate wealth in a society, you concentrate power. Is there any historical example to the contrary?

For all the trappings of formal democracy in the contemporary United States, everyone understands that the wealthy dictates the basic outlines of the public policies that are acceptable to the vast majority of elected officials. People can and do resist, and an occasional politician joins the fight, but such resistance takes extraordinary effort. Those who resist win victories, some of them inspiring, but to date concentrated wealth continues to dominate. Is this any way to run a democracy?

If we understand democracy as a system that gives ordinary people a meaningful way to participate in the formation of public policy, rather than just a role in ratifying decisions made by the powerful, then it’s clear that capitalism and democracy are mutually exclusive.

Let’s make this concrete. In our system, we believe that regular elections with the one-person/one-vote rule, along with protections for freedom of speech and association, guarantee political equality. When I go to the polls, I have one vote. When Bill Gates goes the polls, he has one vote. Bill and I both can speak freely and associate with others for political purposes. Therefore, as equal citizens in our fine democracy, Bill and I have equal opportunities for political power. Right?

3. Capitalism is unsustainable

This one is even easier. Capitalism is a system based on the idea of unlimited growth. The last time I checked, this is a finite planet. There are only two ways out of this one. Perhaps we will be hopping to a new planet soon. Or perhaps, because we need to figure out ways to cope with these physical limits, we will invent ever-more complex technologies to transcend those limits.

Both those positions are equally delusional. Delusions may bring temporary comfort, but they don’t solve problems. They tend, in fact, to cause more problems. Those problems seem to be piling up.

Capitalism is not, of course, the only unsustainable system that humans have devised, but it is the most obviously unsustainable system, and it’s the one in which we are stuck. It’s the one that we are told is inevitable and natural, like the air.

A tale of two acronyms: TGIF and TINA

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous response to a question about challenges to capitalism was TINA – There Is No Alternative. If there is no alternative, anyone who questions capitalism is crazy.

Here’s another, more common, acronym about life under a predatory corporate capitalism: TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday. It’s a phrase that communicates a sad reality for many working in this economy – the jobs we do are not rewarding, not enjoyable, and fundamentally not worth doing. We do them to survive. Then on Friday we go out and get drunk to forget about that reality, hoping we can find something during the weekend that makes it possible on Monday to, in the words of one songwriter, “get up and do it again.”

Remember, an economic system doesn’t just produce goods. It produces people as well. Our experience of work shapes us. Our experience of consuming those goods shapes us. Increasingly, we are a nation of unhappy people consuming miles of aisles of cheap consumer goods, hoping to dull the pain of unfulfilling work. Is this who we want to be?

We’re told TINA in a TGIF world. Doesn’t that seem a bit strange? Is there really no alternative to such a world? Of course there is. Anything that is the product of human choices can be chosen differently. We don’t need to spell out a new system in all its specifics to realize there always are alternatives. We can encourage the existing institutions that provide a site of resistance (such as labor unions) while we experiment with new forms (such as local cooperatives). But the first step is calling out the system for what it is, without guarantees of what’s to come.

Home and abroad

In the First World, we struggle with this alienation and fear. We often don’t like the values of the world around us; we often don’t like the people we’ve become; we often are afraid of what’s to come of us. But in the First World, most of us eat regularly. That’s not the case everywhere. Let’s focus not only on the conditions we face within a predatory corporate capitalist system, living in the most affluent country in the history of the world, but also put this in a global context.

Half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. That’s more than 3 billion people. Just over half of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than $1 a day. That’s more than 300 million people.

How about one more statistic: About 500 children in Africa die from poverty-related diseases, and the majority of those deaths could be averted with simple medicines or insecticide-treated nets. That’s 500 children – not every year, or every month or every week. That’s not 500 children every day. Poverty-related diseases claim the lives of 500 children an hour in Africa.

When we try to hold onto our humanity, statistics like that can make us crazy. But don’t get any crazy ideas about changing this system. Remember TINA: There is no alternative to predatory corporate capitalism.

TGILS: Thank God It’s Last Sunday

We have been gathering on Last Sunday precisely to be crazy together. We’ve come together to give voice to things that we know and feel, even when the dominant culture tells us that to believe and feel such things is crazy. Maybe everyone here is a little crazy. So, let’s make sure we’re being realistic. It’s important to be realistic.

One of the common responses I hear when I critique capitalism is, “Well, that may all be true, but we have to be realistic and do what’s possible.” By that logic, to be realistic is to accept a system that is inhuman, anti-democratic, and unsustainable. To be realistic we are told we must capitulate to a system that steals our souls, enslaves us to concentrated power, and will someday destroy the planet.

But rejecting and resisting a predatory corporate capitalism is not crazy. It is an eminently sane position. Holding onto our humanity is not crazy. Defending democracy is not crazy. And struggling for a sustainable future is not crazy.

What is truly crazy is falling for the con that an inhuman, anti-democratic, and unsustainable system – one that leaves half the world’s people in abject poverty – is all that there is, all that there ever can be, all that there ever will be.

If that were true, then soon there will be nothing left, for anyone.

I do not believe it is realistic to accept such a fate. If that’s being realistic, I’ll take crazy any day of the week, every Sunday of the month.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the board of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. He is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. He can be reached at

Hiding Behind Islamism

Hiding Behind Islamism

by Abid Ullah Jan

“It is necessary to understand the links between the present day monetary system, American dominance and fascism. Many of us do not realize the way “Islamism” is used to avoid the global depression on the pattern of the Wall Street crash in 1929. The impending depression is directly linked to the supremacy of the United States.”

“Islamic fundamentalism” was blown out of proportion after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. By late 1990s, this term was turning into a cliché without enough impact to generate the required amount of fear of Islam. Islamophobes, thus, invented the term “Islamism” to add new dimensions to presenting Islam as a threatening menace.

Eight years down the road, the one-line definitions of “Islamism” and “Islamists” have flooded the corporate media. Most reporters and analysts are frequently using these terms without realizing that they are promoting the myth of “Islamism” and serving sinister objectives which they may not necessarily support.

Irrespective of the deceptive definitions, “Islamism” is used to keep the image of an enemy alive. It is used as a glue to hold the crumbling American empire and associated alliance together. “Islamism” scares non-Muslims and keeps the European Union and others at bay from thinking outside the box for initiatives such as, coming up with an alternative to the present monetary system or taking an independent course to economic development. The never-ending repetition of “Islamism,” however, cannot fool a majority of Muslims.

Muslims know that Islamism, as defined by Islamophobes, is nothing but Islam. This is the best way in which they can demonize Islam, present its core teachings as a threat to civilization and, at the same time, maintain the façade of being neutral. Many opportunist Muslims justify the associated new versions of Islam with different justifications. However, most debates and usage of these terms is taking place without the broader realization that the myth of Islamism is used to support the crumbling empire’s futile struggle for survival.

In the struggle for protecting and expanding the American empire, both religious and secular forces are complementing each other. If it were just the totalitarian, corporate forces – determined to sustain the dollar dominance in the global market – they would not have considered invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as a productive step forward. But the secular totalitarians were obliged to overthrow the Taliban because the religiously motivated figures in military, media, politics and academia could not see emergence of an alternative to the status quo.

Remember, for sustaining the global dominance of petro-dollar, as we will discuss below, political status quo in the Muslim world is as much important as taking measures to not allow others to trade in euros for oil. Not allowing Muslims to exercise their right to self-determination and to free themselves from de facto colonization is part of the broader strategy aimed at maintaining the status quo of the global monetary and economic order. A Muslim world, free from the remaining clutches of colonialism and puppet regimes, is a far greater threat than the Iranian or Iraqi oil bourse for trading oil in euros. An interest-free monetary system and economic order will be the first priority of an Islamic states or a single Islamic entity. This will be a direct challenge to what the United States is desperately saving through spreading the fear of “Islamism” waging the twenty-first century wars and occupations.

That is why the secular totalitarians had no option but to proceed and dislodge the Taliban, who were becoming an inspiration for greater movements for self-determination and self-rule in the Muslim world. At the same time, the corporate-extremists had to send a message to the Muslim world that the only accessible way for it is to exist was to submit to the de facto colonization.

Intentions of the forces struggling to sustain the U.S. economic power through protecting petro-dollar are understandable. Many, however, do not realize that checking the fall of petro-dollar was not possible without creating the myth of a common enemy. The history of the U.S. economic dominance and its efforts to sustain it is as clear as ABC to most of us. To further simplify the issue, Steve Masterson presented an impressive analysis at Indymedia UK to show how the secular, corporate powers have allied to save the crumbling U.S. Empire through saving petro-dollar.[24] The only leftover aspect to add to this analysis is the way “Islamism” is used to save modern-day fascism.

It is necessary to understand the links between the present day monetary system, American dominance and fascism. Many of us do not realize the way “Islamism” is used to avoid the global depression on the pattern of the Wall Street crash in 1929. The impending depression is directly linked to the supremacy of the United States.

Looking at the financial aspect of modern-day fascism, many researchers are coming to the conclusion that capitalism itself is an advanced form of fascism. Others declare the United States a fascist state. To get at the roots of the reality, Nelson Hultberg, founder and executive director of Americans for a Free Republic, puts the terms fascism and capitalism in perspective with his clarifying remarks in parentheses):

Fascism – a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual, and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. [The state has power over every aspect of the economy to plan and regulate its workings. The factors of production are owned privately, but controlled by the governing authorities as to what and how they are to produce, and what level of profits they are to retain.]

Capitalism – an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. [The state is neither to own nor operate the factors of production, nor to interfere in the peaceful decisions of their operation, leaving them to be controlled by the natural laws such as supply and demand that operate within the marketplace.][25]

Hultberg explains that the two systems are obviously different in the fact that fascism advocates state control over the factors of production and their profits, while capitalism advocates private control over those factors.

Thus, capitalism is a system of economic organization without government involvement. The descriptive adjective of “laissez-faire” means to leave alone. Theoretically, the government’s job is basically to preserve the peace and perform those few limited functions granted by the Constitution. Otherwise, private enterprise is free enterprise. Individual owners of private businesses make the decisions of hiring, pricing, wage determination, production levels, policy planning, profit disposal, etc. Government is divorced from these economic decisions.

Under fascism, the government’s job is to intervene into the marketplace to control all the various economic interactions of its participants. Its role is to manipulate the economic interactions through regulations and the conveyance of special privileges. Government assumes this power because it is felt that this is the only way stability and order can be maintained in society. The government confiscates much of the businesses’ profit and uses them as the government sees fit. The term “private” is still used within the context of government-business “cooperation.” However, government simply tells businesses what it wants done and legally mandates that it be done. There is no choice in the matter. Those who do not do as the government says are imprisoned or fined egregiously.

Hultberg concludes that fascism is thus a command economy where massive centralized government is developed to regulate its citizens’ lives. The major power centers of society – government, corporations, and banks – form a triad to monopolize and manipulate the economy according to their liking, their aggrandizement, and their profit at the expense of the individual and his rights.[26]

After equating capitalism to fascism, analysts turn around and have a look at the United States. They conclude that the United States is a “classic example” of modern day fascism. “The essence of fascism,” writes Thomas J. DiLorenzo of Loyola College, “is that government should be the master, not the servant, of the people. Think about this. Does anyone in America really believe that this is not what we have now? Are Internal Revenue Service agents really our ‘servants’? Is compulsory ‘national service’ for young people[…]not a classic example of coercing individuals to serve the state? Isn’t the whole idea behind the massive regulation and regimentation of American industry and society the notion that individuals should be forced to behave in ways defined by a small governmental elite?”[27]

“Virtually all of the specific economic policies advocated by the Italian and German fascists of the 1930’s,” says DiLorenzo, “have also been adopted in the United States in some form, and continue to be adopted to this day. Sixty years ago, those who adopted these interventionist policies in Italy and Germany did so because they wanted to destroy economic liberty, free enterprise, and individualism. Only if these institutions were abolished could they hope to achieve the kind of totalitarian state they had in mind.”[28]

A recent film by Aaron Russo, “America: Freedom to Fascism,” explains how over a period of time, America has become a fascist state indeed. Using interviews with U.S. Congressmen, the former IRS Commissioner, former IRS and FBI agents, tax attorneys and authors Russo proves conclusively that Americans are living in a fascist state.

To understand how the American fascism overshadowed the global capitalist order, one has to review the history of Federal Reserve Bank (FED), a private company, playing the central role in keeping the U.S. alive as a paper tiger. Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to coin (create) money and regulate the value thereof. Today however, the FED controls and profits by printing money through the Treasury, and regulating its value not only for the Americans but also the rest of the world.

The FED began with approximately 300 people and a few banks that became owners in the Federal Reserve Banking System. They make up an international banking cartel of wealth beyond comparison.[29] The FED banking system collects billions of dollars in interest annually and distributes the profits to its shareholders.[30] The Congress gave the FED the right to print money (through the Treasury) at no interest to the FED. The FED creates money from nothing, and loans it back to people through banks, and charges interest on people’s currency. The FED also buys Government debt with money printed on a printing press and charges U.S. taxpayers’ interest.

One of the reasons for the Anglo-American alliance for terrorizing the world, as we will see below, is that bankers of the 12 Central banks[31] of the Federal Reserve are connected to London Banking Houses which ultimately control the FED. When England lost the Revolutionary War with America, it planned to control the U.S. by controlling its banking system, the printing of dollar, and its debt.[32] The same bankers who own the FED control the media. They also give huge political contributions to sympathetic members of Congress.[33] Eustace Mullins shows in his book, The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, how England, through the Bankers, controls the U.S. Congress.[34]

The Federal Reserve came to being when a group of bankers funded and staffed Woodrow Wilson’s campaign for President, who had committed to sign the act. President Wilson, who reportedly received $85,000 bribe from bankers,[35] pushed the Federal Reserve Act through Congress just before Christmas. Much of Congress was on vacation. Later, Wilson remorsefully admitted while referring to the FED:

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world – no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”[36]

Presidents Lincoln, Jackson, and Kennedy tried to stop this family of bankers by printing U.S. dollars without charging the taxpayers interest. Today, if the government runs a deficit, the FED prints dollars through the U.S. Treasury, buys the debt, and the dollars are circulated into the economy. In 1992, taxpayers paid the FED banking system $286 billion in interest on debt the FED purchased by printing money virtually cost free.[37] Recent statistics would be far more shocking. Forty percent of personal federal income taxes of Americans go to pay this interest. The FED’s books are not open to the public. Congress has yet to audit it.

Referring to the Federal Reserve banks, Congressman Louis T. McFadden said in 1932:

“We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.”[38]

The corporate media that is quick to generate the fear of “Islamism” and “Islamist terrorism” has hardly discussed FED. The reason is that the bankers behind the scene own the corporate media. In July 1968, the House Banking Subcommittee reported that Rockefeller, through Chase Manhattan Bank, controlled 5.9 percent of the stock in CBS. The bank had gained interlocking directorates with ABC as well. In 1974, Congress issued a report stating that the Chase Manhattan Bank’s stake in CBS rose to 14.1 percent and NBC to 4.5 percent (through RCA, the parent company of NBC). The same report said that the Chase Manhattan Bank held stock in 28 broadcasting firms. After this report, the Chase Manhattan Bank obtained 6.7 percent of ABC, and today the percentage could be much greater. It only requires 5 percent ownership to significantly influence the media.[39] This is only one of 300 wealthy shareholders of the FED. It is believed other FED owners have similar holdings in the corporate media. Pat Robertson explains in his book, The New World Order, writes that to control the media, FED bankers call in their loans if the media disagrees with them.[40] He also suggests the United States must abolish the FED.[41]

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called “alarmist” for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly.[42] In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote “in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media” – controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world’s largest media corporation.

In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations – Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) – now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.

These media giants have very high stakes involved in global business. That’s why they have to look at the international relations and political developments from the perspective of corporate interest. The global commercial system is a very recent development. Until the 1980s, media systems were generally national in scope. While there have been imports of books, films, music and TV shows for decades, the basic broadcasting systems and newspaper industries were domestically owned and regulated. Beginning in the 1980s, pressure from the IMF, World Bank and U.S. government to deregulate and privatize media and communication systems coincided with new satellite and digital technologies, resulting in the rise of transnational media giants.

How quickly has the global media system emerged? The two largest media firms in the world, Time Warner and Disney, generated around 15 percent of their income outside of the United States in 1990. By 1997, that figure was in the 30 percent to 35 percent range. Both firms expect to do a majority of their business abroad at some point in the next decade.[43]

Rockefeller also controls the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the sole purpose of which is to aid in stimulating greater interest in foreign affairs. Nearly every major newscaster belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations. The Council on Foreign Relations controls many major newspapers and magazines. Additionally, major corporations owned by FED shareholders are the source of huge advertising revenues, which surely would influence the media.[44]

With Congress allowing the constitutionally illegal FED to continue, much of taxes go to the shareholders of the FED and their bankers. The people, who enacted the FED, started the IRS, within months of the FED’s inception. The FED buys U.S. debt with money they printed from nothing, then charges the U.S. taxpayers interest. The government had to create income tax to pay the interest expense to the FED’s shareholders, but the income tax was never legally passed. In his book, The Law That Never Was, Bill Benson gives details, state-by-state, showing why it was not legally passed.[45]

The above-mentioned description only described the ways to systematic looting of the middle class and the trend towards corporatism as being the core of present day fascism. Of course, there are other trends of fascism today. The most disturbing trend is controlling citizens and militarization of the society. With the advent of the crazy war on drugs and now the “war on terrorism,” we see a very disturbing trend towards increased intrusion into privacy of individuals, violence by law enforcement officials, human rights abuses and usurpation of civil liberties. International laws and standards of human rights have become meaningless. Americans have witnessed the illegal introduction of the military into civil law enforcement in the war on drugs in Texas. For example, Americans must not have forgotten murder of a teenage sheepherder or the film clips of the Humboldt County’s goon squad applying pepper mace directly into the eyes of peaceful protestors. We have reports of FBI involvement in the bombing of Earth First activist Judy Bari and the Earth First office in Arizona. With the introduction of Patriot Act, the “war on terrorism,” racial profiling, and electronic surveillance the situation has gone from bad to worse in the United States.

“People are more afraid of terror than having their privacy violated,” says Tomasso, chair of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. “For so long the rhetoric has been about fear, not hope and more traditional American values.”[46] Actually, when a live frog is boiled slowly, it doesn’t know it’s in deep trouble until it is too late. The American public has been so collectively ‘slowly boiled’ with fear mongering rhetoric that the vast majority cannot even articulate the civil liberties which have been hacked away by this administration.

At international level, there is already an undemocratic world government in place. One set of people can change the future of others who are not involved in decision-making both in the West and those who are still reeling under de facto colonization in the Muslim world. Its objective is to put all human activity in the market, including education, culture, and health, and to maintain the status quo at home and abroad. Global fascism – a combination of capitalism and pseudo democracy – is responsible for pushing wealth upward both between countries and within countries. Since 1980, every country has experienced increasing inequalities. Eighty-five percent of people live in countries where inequalities are increasing and this includes China, Russia, E. Europe and West Europe and the United States, and at the same time inequalities are increasing between North and South.

The top 20 percent of humanity is capturing 82 percent of the wealth, while the bottom 80 percent of the graph must get along with 1.3 percent of the world’s wealth. These inequalities are becoming more extreme. There are now about 485 billionaires in the world, who control the equivalent of the wealth of half the world. Only three of those billionaires control wealth equalling the national production of 48 countries.[47] All these people have a great stake in sustaining the status quo. That is why the world’s military spending has surged back up to $1 trillion (U.S.) a year, the old Cold War level, thanks chiefly to the fear of “Islamism” and the “war on terrorism” That is $200 billion more than in 2000, before the 9/11 attacks. It is money the United States and its allies could have put to far better use helping the world’s poorest by meeting the United Nations target of spending 0.7 per cent of their wealth on aid.[48] The league of fascists is not even halfway there. Since 2000, military spending per person in the G-7 has jumped by $168. Aid spending has risen by $11.[49]

A quick review is necessary to see how the situation came to this point; what role did the United States play into it and how the wars and occupations are directly related to the same phenomenon. This will also give us a clear idea as to how “Islamism” is being used to consolidate the worst form of fascism human beings have ever seen.

We know that World War II followed the global depression. Eustace Mullins gives evidence in his book to prove that the FED knowingly created the Great Depression for their gain.[50] During that war, the United States supplied provisions and munitions to all its allies, refusing currency and demanding gold payments in exchange.[51]

Masterson explains that by 1945, 80 percent of the world’s gold was sitting in U.S. vaults. The dollar became the one undisputed global reserve currency – it was treated worldwide as ‘safer than gold’. The Bretton Woods agreement was established. The chief features of the Bretton Woods system were an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate of its currency within a fixed value – plus or minus one percent – in terms of gold; and the ability of the IMF to bridge temporary imbalances of payments. In the face of increasing strain, the system collapsed in 1971, following the United States’ suspension of convertibility from dollars to gold.

On August 15, 1971, without prior warning to the leaders of the other major capitalist powers, U.S. president Nixon announced in a Sunday evening televised address to the nation that the United States was removing the gold backing from the dollar. The commitment by the United States to redeem international dollar holdings at the rate of $35 per ounce had formed the central foundation of the post-war international financial system set in place at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. Nixon’s unilateral announcement dealt it a fatal blow.[52]

The United States took full advantage of the period between 1944 and 1971, printed huge amount of dollars, exported and paid for ever-increasing amounts of commodities, tax cuts for the rich, many wars, mercenaries, spies and politicians the world over.

In 1971, several countries simultaneously tried to sell a small portion of their dollars to the United States for gold. Finally, the United States refused to exchange dollars for gold. Masterson quotes Krassimir Petrov, Ph. D. in Economics at Ohio University, who recently wrote, “The U.S. Government defaulted on its payment on August 15, 1971. While popular spin told the story of ‘severing the link between the dollar and gold’, in reality the denial to pay back in gold was an act of bankruptcy by the U.S. Government.”[53]

The dollar and U.S. economy were on a precipice resembling Germany in 1929. The United States now had to find a way for the rest of the world to believe and have faith in the paper dollar. The solution was in oil, in the petrodollar. The United States viciously bullied first Saudi Arabia and then OPEC to sell oil for dollars only – it worked, the dollar was saved. Now countries had to keep dollars to buy much needed oil. And the United States could buy oil all over the world, free of charge. What a Houdini for the United States! Oil replaced gold as the new foundation to stop the paper dollar sinking.

Since 1971, the United States printed even more dollars to spend abroad. The trade deficit grew and the United States cheaply sucked-in much of the world’s products. Meanwhile, more vaults were built.

Masterson shows the reason for the U.S. paranoia when it comes to protecting the dollar. He cites expert, Cóilínn Nunan, from his 2003 work. According to Nunan, “The dollar is the de facto world reserve currency: the U.S. currency accounts for approximately two thirds of all official exchange reserves. More than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions and half of all world exports are denominated in dollars. In addition, all IMF loans are denominated in dollars.”[54]

Dr Bulent Gukay of Keele University recently wrote, “This system of the U.S. dollar acting as global reserve currency in oil trade keeps the demand for the dollar ‘artificially’ high. This enables the U.S. to carry out printing dollars at the price of next to nothing to fund increased military spending and consumer spending on imports. There is no theoretical limit to the amount of dollars that can be printed. As long as the U.S. has no serious challengers, and the other states have confidence in the U.S. dollar, the system functions.”[55]

This analysis shows that until 1990s, the U.S.-dollar was safe. This is when the Soviet demise became a reality. This is the time, when propaganda about Islamic fundamentalism began to unite the ranks against a common enemy. The ranks began to split around the same time. Since 1990, Western Europe has been busy growing, swallowing up central and Eastern Europe. French and German bosses were jealous of the U.S. ability to buy goods and people the world over for nothing. They wanted a slice of the free cake too.

Propaganda about “Islamic fundamentalism” intensified and the mantra of “Islamism” and “Islamists” was introduced around the time when the totalitarians in the United States noticed that French and Germans had the power and established the euro in late 1999 against massive U.S.-inspired opposition across Europe, especially from Britain – paid for in dollars of course. But the euro succeeded.

Only months after the euro-launch in January 2002, Saddam’s Iraq announced it was switching from selling oil in dollars only, to euros only – breaking the OPEC agreement. Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Libya, all began talking openly of switching too – were the floodgates about to be opened? Saddam Hussein had started insisting in 2000 that Iraq’s oil be sold for euros.[56]

William R. Clark, the author of Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar, wrote in January 2003:

“Well, I’m going to give their game away – the core driver for toppling Saddam is actually the euro currency. Although completely suppressed in the U.S. media, the answer to the Iraq enigma is simple yet shocking. The upcoming war in Iraq war is mostly about how the ruling class at Langley and the Bush oligarchy view hydrocarbons at the geo-strategic level, and the overarching macroeconomic threats to the U.S. dollar from the euro. The Real Reason for this upcoming war is this administration’s goal of preventing further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an oil transaction currency standard. However, in order to pre-empt OPEC, they need to gain geo-strategic control of Iraq along with its 2nd largest proven oil reserves.”[57]

In 2000, Iraq began selling oil in euros. In 2002, Iraq changed all their petro-dollars in their vaults into euros. A few months later, the United States began their invasion of Iraq. This makes perfect sense. However, the question is: Was 9/11 another Houdini chance to save the United States petro-dollar and the biggest financial/economic crash in history? Were Taliban also changing to selling petrol in euros? This is the point where the alliance between Islamophobes and the corporate extremists (colonialists) is exposed. They are dependable on each other.

The June 16, 2006 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and the resolution that wrapped the Iraq conflict into the “war on terrorism” and rejected a deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal is yet another evidence that without the bogeyman of Islamism (terrorism), the totalitarians cannot take a single step forward. They could never start this war on the pretext of terrorism. So how can they justify it in the name of addressing the problem of terrorism? The reason is that the propaganda has now substantially made up public mind, the whole House of Representatives are hiding behind the pretext of ‘terrorism.” Bush, Rumsfeld and their British counterparts already declared that the war in Iraq is to avoid an “Islamic empire” from coming into being.

In 2003, the whole world was watching: very few were aware that the United States was engaging in the first oil currency or petrodollar war, fuelled by religious motivation and fully supported by religious extremists. Religious motivation behind the war is a proven case. One of the sings is that after occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus was on constitutions and debates about Islam and democracy and Islamic Shari’ah. Simultaneously, after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the United States secured oil areas first.

Their first oil sales in August were, of course, in dollars, again. The only government building in Baghdad not bombed was the Oil Ministry! It does not matter how many people are murdered – for the corporate fascists, the petrodollar and U.S. Federal Reserve must be saved as the only way to save dollar and the economic meltdown – otherwise the U.S. economy will crash, and much more besides. At the same time, the religious terrorists have fully ensured to wrap the war in religious colors. Bush, Rumsfeld and others have been calling since a while that the war is to save an Islamic empire from coming into being. The House last week passed a resolution, which equated and justified the war of aggression for sustaining the empire with war on terrorism.

The fascists in the United States know that they cannot fight this war all alone. Furthermore, the challenger to the U.S. economic dominance is not rial, dinar or dirham. The challenger is euro. If the glue of “Islamism” is not there, what will keep the Western alliance scared, bonded and tied to the U.S. dollar?

So the religious fanatics and colonial-corporatists are working hand in glove to sustain the myth of Islamism to save the crumbling empire. In early 2003, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela talked openly of selling half of its oil in euros (the other half is bought by the United States). On April 12, 2003, the U.S.-supported business leaders and some generals in Venezuela kidnapped Chavez and attempted a coup. The masses rose against this and the Army followed suit. The coup failed and the real face of the totalitarian fascists was exposed. Still the mass awareness has a long way to go, because most people are simply convinced that something in the name of “Islamism” exists. At the most, many only reach the stage of realization that the war is for oil. This, however, is not as simple as this.

A one-dimensional analysis tells us that in November 2000, the euro/dollar was at $0.82 dollars, its lowest ever, and still diving, but when Iraq started selling oil in euros, the euro dive was halted. In April 2002, senior OPEC reps talked about trading in euros and the euro shot up. In June 2003, the U.S. occupiers of Iraq switched trading back to dollars and the euro fell against the dollar again. It is a good analysis from the economic perspective; however, one has to see the other side of the coin as well.

The other side of the issue shows that the fascists in the United States are not scared of the mythical “Islamism.” That is their creation. They are scared of losing ground to Europeans who are also closely monitoring the situation in which the crumbling empire strives to maintain its monopoly. According to Masterson, in August 2003, Iran started to sell oil in euros to some European countries and the euro rose sharply. In the winter of 2003, Russian and OPEC politicians talked seriously of switching oil/gas sales to the euro and the euro rose. In February 2004, OPEC met and made no decision to turn to the euro – and yes, the euro fell against the dollar.

In June 2004, Iran announced it would build an oil bourse to rival London and New York, and again, the euro rose. The euro stands at $1.27 and has been climbing of late.[58] So the need is to engage Europe in other matters so that an alternative to dollar dominance does not take root. The only thing that can force Europeans to follow the totalitarians in the United States blindly are terrorist attacks, such as those in Madrid and London, and planting blasphemous cartoons in the press with the help of neo-cons in the United States,[59] so that public lose patience with the rise of “Islamism” – a perfect distraction for erecting an alternative to the crumbling American empire.

The empire, nevertheless, faces a serious dilemma. Although most of the non-Muslims have yet to see and recognize that “Islamism” is an invention to distract the public from the real war for sustaining de facto colonization of the Muslim world and, at the same time, keeping Europe at bay for gaining economic dominance. Nevertheless, the empire’s dilemma is not hidden from anyone. On May 5, 2006, Iran registered its own Oil Bourse, the IOB. Not only are they now selling oil in euros from abroad – they have established an actual Oil Bourse, a global trading centre for all countries to buy and sell their oil!

In his recent visit to London, Chavez talked openly about supporting the Iranian Oil Bourse, and selling oil in euros. When asked in London about the new arms embargo imposed by the United States against Venezuela, Chavez prophetically dismissed the United States as “a paper tiger”.

According to Masterson’s analysis, almost the entire world’s oil is presently sold on either the NYMEX, New York Mercantile Exchange, or the IPE, London’s International Petroleum Exchange. Both are owned by U.S. citizens and both sell and buy only in U.S. dollars. The success of the Iran Oil Bourse makes sense to Europe, which buys 70 percent of Iran’s oil. It makes sense for Russia, which sells 66 percent of its oil to Europe. But the U.S. faces a dilemma which further execrates when China and India stated that they are very interested in the new Iranian Oil Bourse. And worse still for the totalitarian fascists in the United States, it makes sense for Europe, China, India and Japan – as well as all the other countries mentioned above – to buy and sell oil in euros. They will certainly have to stock-up on euros now, and they will sell dollars to do so. The euro is far more stable than the debt-ridden dollar. The IMF has recently highlighted U.S. economic difficulties and the trade deficit strangling the United States – there is no way out. The U.S. House of Representatives’ recent decision to present the Iraq war in the wrapper of a “war on terrorism” is the sign of desperation and depression already settling in the hearts and minds in Washington.

The reason Britain is the staunchest ally of the United States in the “war on terrorism” and promotion of the myth of Islamism is that it faces the same fate with the collapse of present monetary system, as we discussed earlier. Of course, the problem for so many countries now is, how to get rid of their vaults full of dollars before it crashes? Furthermore, the United States has bullied so many countries for so many decades around the world, that many will see a chance to kick the bully back. Britain remains in a precarious position because the United States cannot accept even 5 percent of the world’s dollars. If it happened, it would not only crash the U.S. economy, but also drag Britain with it in particular and much of the world in General. Therefore, it must not sound strange when Blair talks about “poisonous misinterpretation” of Islam in his fear mongering speeches. It is not surprising that Britain was the first to issue a dossier of evidence on 9/11 to hold Osama and company responsible. Interestingly, the FBI says after five years, it has “no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”[60] In 2001, however, British government was quicker than the U.S. officials, who were still not sure how to present the inside job of 9/11 as a terrorist attack by Muslim fanatics, inspired by Islamism.

Promoting the myth of a powerful enemy, bent on challenging the status quo – ”our way of life” – is necessary. Without these myths, the empire has no option to check the economic depression in case the rest of the world has time to relax from the worries of “Islamism” and focus on the right economic approaches to get rid of the United States’ monopoly. In that case, the United States will have to general trade surplus to survive. Masterson quotes the Scottish Socialist Voice article, which states, “the U.S., needs to generate a trade surplus to get out of this one. Problem is it can’t.” To do that they must force U.S. workers into near slavery, to get paid less than Chinese or Indian workers. We all know that this will not happen.

In the post 9/11 period in which most of the official lies are exposed on public, it would invite chaos for sure. Maybe a workers’ revolution. The protests in the wake of recent, controversial immigration bill in the United States are an eye opener. But looking at the situation as it is now, it is more likely to be a re-run of Germany post-1929, and some form of extreme-right mass movement will emerge.

The Muslim world is paying the price for the dilemma faced by the United States, Europe and China alike. Unfortunately, the new enemy of choice is Islam and most of the oil resources are also in the Middle East. Europe, China and the rest of Asia still have no economic independence and strength to stop the whole world’s economies collapsing with the United States. Presently, their vaults are full to the brim with dollars.

The United States is at the end of the tether. It has to find a way to pay for its dollar-imperialist exploitation of the world since 1945. It can never sustain the shaky alliances with the morbid dread of “Islamism” and Islamists taking over the world. Somehow, eventually, it has to account for every dollar in every vault in the world. “Islamism” cannot save the United States. “Islamism” is a myth, created to conceal real motives of the religious and secular totalitarians in the West in general and the United States in particular. Promoting this myth was not possible without a collaborative approach on the part of those who wanted to sustain the United States’ economic dominance and those who wanted to Christianize the whole world and establish the “dominion of God.”

The extremist neo-cons and their corporate colonialist buddies have no option than declaring a war on the world like Hitler. They know that bombing Iran could backfire tremendously. It would bring Iran openly into the war in Iraq, behind the Shiite majority. The United States cannot cope even now with the much smaller Iraqi insurgency. Perhaps the United States will follow the present course of feeding into the Sunni vs Shiite conflict and turn it into a wider Middle-East civil-war. However, this is so dangerous for global oil supplies and associated petro-dollar. Further, they know that this would be temporary, as Masterson suggests, “some country somewhere else, will establish a euro-oil-exchange. Perhaps in Brussels.”

The United States cannot scrap the dollar and print a whole new currency. This will destroy 66 percent of the rest of the world’s savings and reserves in one swoop. Imagine the implications? The fanatical approach to resolve every issue through military force is because of such desperation in the White House, Wall Street and Pentagon. Otherwise who could expect the nonsense of equating the war in Iraq with the “war on terrorism” from the U.S. House of Representatives three years after invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The United States has already done the way Germany did. It staged 9/11 attacks. The U.S. president and other top officials lied through their teeth to invade and occupy Iraq. The Nazis also put Reichstag on fire and filmed a mock Polish Army attack on Germany to win hearts and minds at home just before invading Poland in 1938. But these measures are short lived as well. So, how is the United States going to escape this time? The only global arena of total superiority left is military. The only solution to the inflated fear of “Islamism” is a twenty-first century Final Solution at home and abroad. Who knows what horrors lie ahead. A greater world war is the only tool by which the United States could discipline its ‘allies’ into keeping the dollar in their vaults and maintaining the status-quo of “our way of life.”

We need to understand that the looming Greater War is not because of “Islamism” or “Islamist terrorism.” The coming crisis belongs purely to capitalism, (dollar) imperialism and the colonial fascists’ zeal to continue de facto colonization.


The above is an excerpt from Abid Ullah Jan’s latest book, “After Fascism: Muslims and the Struggle for Self-determination.”

© 2006 Abid Ullah Jan.


Negroponte’s ‘Serious Setback’

by Dahr Jamail

03 March 2006

John Negroponte, the US National Intelligence Director, provided testimony on Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “global threats.”

Negroponte, who was the US ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005, was immediately promoted to his current position after his presence in Iraq. Ironically, he warned the committee on Tuesday, “If chaos were to descend upon Iraq or the forces of democracy were to be defeated in that country … this would have implications for the rest of the Middle East region and, indeed, the world.”

Warning of the outcome of a possible civil war in Iraq, Negroponte said sectarian civil war in Iraq would be a “serious setback” to the global war on terror. Note – he did not say it would be a “serious setback” to the Iraqi people, over 1,400 of whom have been slaughtered in sectarian violence touched off by the bombing of the Golden Mosque last week in Samarra.

No, the violence and instability in Iraq would be a “serious setback” to the global “war on terror.”

But it’s interesting for him to continue, “The consequences for the people of Iraq would be catastrophic,” whilst feigning his concern. Because generating catastrophic consequences for civilian populations just happens to be his specialty.

If we briefly review the political history of John Negroponte, we find a man who has had a career bent toward generating civilian death and widespread human rights abuses, and promoting sectarian and ethnic violence.

Remember when Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, from 1981 to 1985? While there he earned the distinction of being accused of widespread human rights violations by the Honduras Commission on Human Rights while he worked as “a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan’s strategy,” according to cables sent between Negroponte and Washington during his tenure there.

The human rights violations carried out by Negroponte were described as “systematic.”

These violations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by operatives trained by the CIA. Records document his “special intelligence units,” better known as “death squads,” comprised of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Victims also included US missionaries (similar to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq) who happened to witness many of the atrocities.

Negroponte had full knowledge of these activities, while he made sure US military aid to Honduras increased from $4 million to $77.4 million a year during his tenure, and the tiny country became so jammed with US soldiers it was dubbed the “USS Honduras.”

It is also important to remember that Negroponte oversaw construction of the air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US. This air base, El Aguacate, was also used as a secret detention and torture center during his time in Honduras.

While Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, civilian deaths sky-rocketed into the tens of thousands. During his first full year, the local newspapers carried no less than 318 stories of extra-judicial attacks by the military.

He has been described as an “old fashioned imperialist” and got his start during the Vietnam War in the CIA’s Phoenix program, which assassinated some 40,000 Vietnamese “subversives.”

Negroponte’s death squads used electric shock and suffocation devices in interrogations, kept their prisoners naked, and when a prisoner was no longer useful he was brutally executed.

Outraged at the human rights abuses by the Reagan-Bush administration, in 1984 Nicaragua took its case to the World Court in The Hague. The decision of the court was for the Reagan-Bush administration to terminate its “unlawful use of force” in international terrorism and pay substantial reparations to the victims. The White House responded by brushing off the court’s findings and vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions that affirmed the judgment that all states must observe international law.

In the middle of Negroponte’s tenure in Iraq, the Pentagon (read Donald Rumsfeld) openly considered using assassination and kidnapping teams there, led by the Special Forces.

Referred to not-so-subtly as “the Salvador option,” the January 2005 rhetoric from the Pentagon publicized a proposal that would send Special Forces teams to “advise, support and possibly train” Iraqi “squads.” Members of these squads would be hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Shia Badr militiamen used to target Sunni resistance fighters and their sympathizers.

What better man to make this happen than John Negroponte? His experience made him the perfect guy for the job. What a nice coincidence that he just happened to be in Baghdad when the Pentagon/Rumsfeld were discussing “the Salvador option.”

Fast forward to present day Iraq, which is a situation described by the Washington Post in this way: “Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday – blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound.”

The Independent newspaper from London recently reports that hundreds of Iraqis each month are tortured to death or executed by death squads working out of the Shia-run Ministry of Interior.

During the aforementioned committee hearing, Negroponte said that the US is concerned about the purchasing of arms by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Negroponte accused Chavez of using funds generated from the sale of oil to purchase weaponry, saying, “It’s clear that he is spending hundreds of millions, if not more, for his very extravagant foreign policy at the expense of the impoverished Venezuelan population.”

Coincidentally, on the exact same day he said this, the US State Department announced that the only new rebuilding money in its latest budget request for Iraq is for prisons.

With no other big building projects scheduled for Iraq in the next year, the State Department coordinator for Iraq is asking Congress for $100 million for prisons, while the Iraqi people languish with 3.2 hours of electricity daily in the average home, staggering unemployment and horrendous security, with most still dependent upon a monthly food ration.

Meanwhile John Pace, the Human Rights Chief for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq until last month, recently stated that he believes the US has violated the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and is fueling the violence via raiding Iraqi homes and detaining thousands of innocent Iraqis. Pace estimates that between 80-90% of Iraqi detainees are innocent.

During an interview on Democracy Now!, when asked to described the role of the militias in Iraq, Pace said “they first started as a kind of militia, sort of organized armed groups, which were the military wing of various factions. And they have – they had a considerable role to play in the [security] vacuum that was created by the invasion.”

He went on to describe their actions: “So you have these militias now with police gear and under police insignia basically carrying out an agenda which really is not in the interest of the country as a whole. They have roadblocks in Baghdad and other areas, they would kidnap other people. They have been very closely linked with numerous mass executions …”

Pace, when asked if there were death squads in Iraq, replied, “I would say yes, there are death squads,” and “my observations would confirm that at least at a certain point last year and in 2005, we saw numerous instances where the behavior of death squads was very similar, uncannily similar to that we had observed in other countries, including El Salvador.”

What we’re witnessing in Iraq now with these death squads and escalating sectarian violence is the product of policies implemented by Negroponte when he was the US Ambassador in Iraq.

But let us remove the covert operations factor for a moment.

For over a year now, Shia death squads have been killing Sunni en masse.

Thus, at first glance, the bombing of the Golden Mosque last week as Sunni retaliation makes sense.

However, what doesn’t make sense is the immediate showing of solidarity between Shia and Sunni clerics following the bombing.

Let us now reinsert the covert operations factor into this equation.

Along with the showing of religious solidarity, there is widespread belief by Shiite religious clerics both in and outside Iraq, as well as belief in the Arab media, that US covert operations were behind the bombing:

  • Shiite Cleric Muqtada Al Sadr blamed the United States occupation for the current violence. He recently stated, “My message to the Iraqi people is to stand united and bonded, and not to fall into the Western trap. The West is trying to divide the Iraqi people. As God is my witness, I hereby demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq.”
  • In another interview, Sadr stated, “We say that the occupiers are responsible for such crisis [Golden Mosque bombing] … there is only one enemy. The occupier.”
  • Adel Abdul Mehdi, the Iraqi Vice President, held the American Ambassador [Zalmay Khalilzad] responsible for the bombing of the Golden Mosque, “especially since occupation forces did not comply with curfew orders imposed by the Iraqi government.”
    He added, “Evidence indicates that the occupation may be trying to undermine and weaken the Iraqi government.”
  • At a major demonstration in Beirut, prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric and Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said America and Israel are to blame for the sectarian divisions in Iraq, claiming that the violence will offer further justifications for maintaining the occupation of Iraq.
  • According to the Saudi-based Arab News editorial, a civil-war scenario may serve the interests of the Bush administration: “This may in the end be what Washington wants, because if Iraq plunges into chaos, it could be the Bush ticket out of the Iraq debacle, albeit paid for in rivers of Iraqi blood as well the utter humiliation of the president’s administration and its neo-con agenda.”
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, urged Iraqi Shia not to seek revenge against Sunni Muslims, saying there were definite plots “to force the Shia to attack the mosques and other properties respected by the Sunni,” and blamed the intelligence services of the US and Israel for being responsible for the bombing of the Golden Mosque.
  • Hoseyn Shari’atmadarit wrote in the Keyhan newspaper of Iran on February 25 of several instances of documented covert operations carried out by occupation forces in Iraq, including: “In Shahrivar two British intelligence officers were arrested [in September 2005] at an inspection post while carrying a considerable amount of explosives, detonators and other equipment necessary to build a bomb. This event certainly shows the direct involvement of the English intelligence service in the bombings in Iraq … The commander of the English military deployed in Basra [then] issued an order to attack the police centre and release two English saboteurs.”

In the recent committee meeting, Negroponte told US senators he was seeing progress in Iraq. He said, “And if we continue to make that kind of progress, yes, we can win in Iraq.”

Evidently the kind of progress John Negroponte sees in Iraq is not the kind that benefits the Iraqi people. Because the only progress in Iraq, apart from building prisons, is for the situation to continue growing progressively worse by deepening sectarian divides, despite the best efforts of religious leaders to create peace and unity.

Would civil war in Iraq be a “serious setback” for John Negroponte? Because the sectarian violence happening in Iraq right now is already a “serious setback” for the Iraqi people.

Thus, does Negroponte really care if there is civil war? Does he really concern himself with the wellbeing of the Iraqi people? Or is his main concern creating the catastrophe which keeps them divided?

America’s corporate-controlled media: garbage disguised as news

America’s corporate-controlled media:

garbage disguised as news

by David R. Hoffman

22 August 2006

During the course of writing this article, I reached for my handy thesaurus to find appropriate synonyms to describe the profession of “cable television news journalist.”

There were three: 1). Pseudo-journalist, a.k.a. professional liar; 2). Bottom feeding scum sucker who regurgitates garbage; 3). A coward often known to hawk unjust and illegal wars from the safety of television studios while avoiding military service.

Okay, I confess. There were no such descriptions in my thesaurus. Still, given the feeding frenzy the profligate vultures of the corporate-controlled media have engaged in after a suspect was arrested for the 1996 murder of preteen “beauty” queen JonBenet Ramsey, there certainly should be.

Of course such frenzy isn’t surprising in media that habitually favor superficiality over substance, and routinely utilize perjurers, plagiarists, psychotics and PIMPS (propagandists in media positions) as their so-called “experts.” Nor is it surprising that many of these alleged “experts” adapt their opinions to comport with the views of any pseudo-journalist they are trying to appease.

In today’s American culture failure to appease a pseudo-journalist can make one the target of “prescriptive publicity” – a McCarthy-era tactic routinely employed by pseudo-journalists against those who express contrary viewpoints. Prescriptive publicity involves misquoting or revealing only a minuscule portion of what a person has said, finding some self-serving politician to “condemn” that person’s words, then announcing where that person is employed or how they earn their living in the hope that job loss or other forms of social or economic persecutions will follow. Yet these same pseudo-journalists rapidly, and hypocritically, develop a “respect” for the constitutional doctrines of freedom of speech and press whenever their opinions, or the opinions of those they agree with, come under attack.

Make no mistake about it: Corporate-controlled media in America were the primary instigators of the illegal invasion of Iraq. While it will never be known whether adverse media coverage alone would have dissuaded the incompetent and arrogant Bush dictatorship from attacking Iraq, these media consistently failed to ask relevant questions, simply because they were salivating over the ratings and profit potential of “embedded reporters,” twenty-four-hour war coverage, and the opportunity to sponsor pro-war rallies.

But how did corporate-controlled media arrive at this dismal state? Ironically by shattering one of the myths of the capitalist system: Competition will always produce a superior product.

The corporate-controlled media have proven that competition often lowers competitors to their lowest common denominator. Therefore a news network losing ratings and profits because it covers only relevant stories and issues will invariably lower its journalistic standards if it witnesses a pseudo-news network gaining ratings and profits by disseminating lies and covering salacious and superficial tripe.

Sadly it is unlikely corporate-controlled media will ever again elevate their journalistic standards, given the “junk-food” culture of America. While many in the developing world are malnourished because of lack of food, America is a nation where people can be gluttonous, and still remain malnourished because of the quality of the food they are consuming.

This analogy also applies to the philosophies of corporate-controlled media: They provide the sensation of being “full” (i.e. informed) while their consumers starve for lack of substance.

Those who doubt this need only be reminded of how differently the media embraced the recent developments in the Christmas Day murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the recent developments in the Christmas day murders of Harry and Harriette Moore. The Moores, two African-American civil rights workers from Florida, were murdered when a bomb exploded in their home on Christmas Day, 1951, making them the first modern-day civil rights martyrs. A few days ago Florida’s Attorney General announced that these murders had finally been solved. Yet a viewer was hard-pressed to find any mention of this on the so-called cable “news” networks. Conversely, coverage of the alleged resolution of the Ramsey murder inundated these networks for hours on end.

That’s not surprising. Three years ago, in a PRAVDA.Ru article entitled THE IDEAL PARADIGM (November 10, 2003), I stated that in America, or at least in American media, apparently the only crime victims worthy of national attention are those who are white, female, fair-haired (preferably blonde), and from well-to-do families.

Clearly all should mourn the Moores, who died in pursuit of racial justice, just as all should mourn the death of an innocent little girl who was brutally tortured and murdered. But for those they left behind who is really more deserving of sympathy?: Evangeline Moore, the daughter who lost both parents because they courageously crusaded to end lynching and gain voting rights for African-Americans, or the Ramseys, the parents who lost the daughter they made-up, dressed and displayed like a grown woman for the vicarious satisfaction of winning a childhood “beauty” pageant.

The corporate-controlled media have given their answer. And, as usual, their answer is wrong.

David R. Hoffman is the Legal Editor of PRAVDA.Ru

The Lavon Affair

The Lavon Affair

by David Hirst


Excerpts from his book: The Gun and the Olive Branch, 1977, 1984, Futura Publications

In July 1954 Egypt was plagued by a series of bomb outrages directed mainly against American and British property in Cairo and Alexandria. It was generally assumed that they were the work of the Moslem Brothers, then the most dangerous challenge to the still uncertain authority of Colonel (later President) Nasser and his two-year-old revolution. Nasser was negotiating with Britain over the evacuation of its giant military bases in the Suez Canal Zone, and, the Moslem Brothers, as zealous nationalists, were vigorously opposed to any Egyptian compromises.

It therefore came as a shock to world, and particularly Jewish opinion, when on 5 October the Egyptian Minister of the Interior, Zakaria Muhieddin, announced the break-up of a thirteen-man Israeli sabotage network. An ‘anti-Semitic’ frame-up was suspected.

Indignation increased when, on 11 December, the group was brought to trial. In the Israeli parliament, Prime Minister Moshe Sharett denounced the ‘wicked plot hatched in Alexandria … the show trial which is being organized there against a group of Jews who have fallen victims to false accusations and from who mit seems attempts are being made to extract confessions of imaginary crimes, by threats and torture . . .’ [49] The trade union newspaper Davar observed that the Egyptian regime ‘seems to take its inspiration from the Nazis’ and lamented the ‘deterioration in the status of Egyptian Jews in general’. [50] For Haaretz the trial ‘proved that the Egyptian rulers do not hesitate to invent the most fantastic accusations if it suits them’; it added that ‘in the present state of affairs in Egypt the junta certainly needs some diversions’. [51] And the next day the Jerusalem Post carried this headline: ‘Egypt Show Trial Arouses Israel, Sharett Tells House. Sees Inquisition Practices Revived.’

The trial established that the bombings had indeed been carried out by an Israeli espionage and terrorist network. This was headed by Colonel Avraharn Dar – alias John Darling – and a core of professionals who had set themselves up in Egypt under various guises. They had recruited a number of Egyptian Jews; one of them was a young woman, Marcelle Ninio, who worked in the offices of a British company. Naturally, the eventual exposure of such an organization was not going to improve the lot of the vast majority of Egyptian Jews who wanted nothing to do with Zionism. There were still at least 50,000 Jews in Egypt; there had been something over 60,000 in 1947, more than half of whom were actually foreign nationals. During the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the populace had some times vented its frustration against them, and some were killed in mob violence or by terrorist bombs. In spite of this, and of the revolutionary upheaval which followed four years later, few Jews – including the foreign nationals – left the country, and fewer still went to Israel. A Jewish journalist insisted: ‘We, Egyptian Jews, feel secure in our homeland, Egypt.’ [52]

The welfare of Oriental Jewry in their various homelands was, as we have seen, Israel’s last concern. And in July 1954 it had other worries. It was feeling isolated and insecure. Its Western friends-let alone the rest of the world-were unhappy about its aggressive behaviour. The US Assistant Secretary of State advised it to ‘drop the attitude of the conqueror’. [53] More alarming was the rapprochement under way between Egypt, on the one hand, and the United States and Britain on the other. President Eisenhower had urged Britain to give up her giant military base in the Suez Canal Zone; Bengurion had failed to dissuade her. It was to sabotage this rapprochement that the head of Israeli intelligence, Colonel Benyamin Givli, ordered his Egyptian intelligence ring to strike.

Givli’s boss, Defence Minister Pinhas Lavon, and the Prime Minister, Moshe Sharett, knew nothing of the operation. For Givli was a member of a powerful Defence Ministry clique which often acted independently, or in outright defiance, of the cabinet. They were proteges of Bengurion and, although ‘The Old Man’ had left the Premiership for Sde Boker, his Negev desert retreat, a few months before, he was able, through them, to perpetuate the hardline ‘activist’ policies in which he believed. On Givli’s instructions, the Egyptian network was to plant bombs in American and British cultural centres, British-owned cinemas and Egyptian public buildings. The Western powers, it was hoped, would conclude that there was fierce internal opposition to the rapprochement and that Nasser’s young regime,faced with this challenge, was not one in which they could place much confidence. [54] Mysterious violence might therefore persuade both London and Washington that British troops should remain astride the Canal; the world had not forgotten Black Saturday, 28 January 1951, in the last year of King Farouk’s reign, when mobs rampaged through downtown Cairo, setting fire to foreign-owned hotels and shops, in which scores of people, including thirteen Britons, died.

The first bomb went off, on 2 July, in the Alexandria post office. On 11 July, the Anglo-Egyptian Suez negotiations, which had been blocked for nine months, got under way again. The next day the Israeli embassy in London was assured that, up on the British evacuation from Suez, stock-piled arms would not be handed over to the Egyptians. But the Defence Ministry activists were unconvinced. On 14 July their agents, in clandestine radio contact with Tel Aviv, fire-bombed US Information Service libraries in Cairo and Alexandria. That same day, a phosphorous bomb exploded prematurely in the pocket of one Philip Natanson, nearly burning him alive, as he was about to enter the British-owned Rio cinema in Alexandria. His arrest and subsequent confession led to the break-up of the whole ring-but not before the completion of another cycle of clandestine action and diplomatic failure. On 15 July President Eisenhower assured the Egyptians that ‘simultaneously’ with the signing of a Suez agreement the United States would enter into ‘firm commitments’ for economic aid to strengthen their armed forces. [55] On 23 July – anniversary of the 1952 revolution – the Israeli agents still at large had a final fling; they started fires in two Cairo cinemas, in the central post office and the railway station. On the same day, Britain announced that the War Secretary, Antony Head, was going to Cairo. And on 27 July he and the Egyptians initiated the ‘Heads of Agreement’ on the terms of Britain’s evacuation.

The trial lasted from 11 December to 3 January. Not all the culprits were there, because Colonel Dar and an Israeli colleague managed to escape, and the third Israeli, Hungarian-born Max Bennett, committed suicide; but those who were present all pleaded guilty. Most of them, including Marcelle Ninio, were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. But Dr Musa Lieto Marzuk, a Tunisian-born citizen of France who was a surgeon at the Jewish Hospital in Cairo, and Samuel Azar, an engineering professor from Alexandria, were condemned to death. In spite of representations from France, Britain and the United States the two men were hanged. Politically, it would have been very difficult for Nasser to spare them, for only seven weeks before six Moslem Brothers had been executed for complicity in an attempt on his life. Nevertheless Israel reacted with grief and anger. So did some Western Jews. Marzuk and Azar ‘died the death of martyrs’, said Sharett on the same day in the Knesset, whose members stood in silent tribute. Israel went into official mourning the following day. Beersheba and Ramat Gan named streets after the executed men. Israeli delegates to the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission refused to attend its meeting, declaring that they would not sit down with representatives of the Cairo junta. In New York there were bomb threats against the Egyptian consulate and a sniper fired four shots into its fourth-floor window. [56]

This whole episode, which was to poison Israeli political life for a decade and more, came to be known as the ‘Lavon Affair’, for it had been established in the Cairo trial that Lavon, as Minister of Defence, had approved the campaign of sabotage. At least so the available evidence made it appear. But in Israel, Lavon had asked Moshe Sharett for a secret inquiry into a matter about which the cabinet knew nothing. Benyamin Givli, the intelligence chief, claimed that the so-called ‘security operation’ had been authorized by Lavon himself. Two other Bengurion proteges, Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres, testified against Lavon. Lavon denounced Givli’s papers as forgeries and demanded the resignation of all three men. Instead, Sharett ordered Lavon himself to resign and invited Bengurion to come out of retirement and take over the Defence Ministry. It was a triumphant comeback for the ‘activist’ philosophy whose excesses both Sharett and Lavon had tried to modify. It was con-summated, a week later, by an unprovoked raid on Gaza, which left thirty-nine Egyptians dead and led to the Suez War Of 1956 . [57]

When the truth about the Lavon Affair came to light, six years after the event, it confirmed that there had been a frame-up-not, however, by the Egyptians, but by Bengurion and his young proteges. Exposure was fortuitous. Giving evidence in a forgery trial in September 1960, a witness divulged on passant that he had seen the faked signature of Lavon on a document relating to a 1954 ‘security mishap’. [58] Bengurion immediately announced that the three-year statute of limitations prohibited the opening of the case. But Lavon, now head of the powerful Histradut Trade Union Federation, seized upon this opportunity to demand an inquiry. Bengurion did everything in his power to stop it, but his cabinet overruled him. The investigation revealed that the security operation’ had been planned behind Lavon’s back. His signature had been forged, and the bombing had actually begun long before his approval –which he withheld– had been sought. He was a scapegoat pure and simple. On Christmas Day 1960,the Israeli cabinet unanimously exonerated him of all guilt in the ‘disastrous security adventure in Egypt’; the Attorney General had, in the meantime, found ‘conclusive evidence of forgeries as well as false testimony in an earlier inquiry’. [59] Bengurion was enraged. He issued an ultimatum to the ruling Labour party to remove Lavon, stormed out of a cabinet meeting and resigned. In what one trade unionist described as ‘an immoral and unjust submission to dictatorship’, his diehard supporters in the Histradut swung the vote in favour of accepting Lavon’s resignation. Lavon, however, won a moral victory over the man who twice forced him from office. In the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, students demonstrated in his favour. They carried placards reading: ‘Bengurion Go to Sde Boker, Take Dayan and Peres with You. We do Not Accept Leaders with Elastic Consciences.’ [60] The affair rocked the ruling establishment, split public opinion, forced new elections and contributed largely to Bengurion’s eventual disappearance from public life.

But Lavon was not the only real victim. There were also those misguided Egyptian Jews who paid with their lives or long terms of imprisonment. It is true that when, in 1968, Marcelle Ninio and her colleagues were exchanged for Egyptian’ prisoners in Israel, they received a heroes’ welcome. True, too, that when Miss Ninio got married Prime Minister Golda Meir, Defence Minister Dayan and Chief of Staff General Bar Lev all attended the wedding and Dayan told the bride ‘the Six-Day War was success enough that it led to your freedom’. [61] However, after spending fourteen years in an Egyptian prison, the former terrorists did not share the leadership’s enthusiasm. When Ninio and two of her colleagues appeared on Israel television a few years later, they all expressed the belief that the reason why they were not released earlier was because Israel made little effort to get them out. ‘Maybe they didn’t want us to come back,’ said Robert Dassa. ‘There was so much intrigue in Israel. We were instruments in the hands of the Egyptians and of others … and what is more painful after all that we went through is that this continues to be so.’ In Ninio’s opinion, ‘the government didn’t want to spoil its relations with the United States and didn’t want the embarrassment of admitting it was behind our action’. [62]

But the real victims were the great mass of Egyptian Jewry. Episodes like the Lavon Affair tended to identify them, in the mind of ordinary Egyptians, with the Zionist movement. When, in 1956, Israeli invaded and occupied Sinai, feeling ran high against them. The government, playing into the Zionist hands, began ordering Jews to leave the country. Belatedly, reluctantly, 21,000 left in the following year; more were expelled later, and others, their livelihood gone, had nothing to stay for. But precious few went to Israel.


[49] Jerusalem Post, 12 December 1954.
[50] 13 December 1954.
[51] 13 December 1954.
[52] Berger, op. cit., p. 14.
[53] love, Kennett, Suez: The Twice-Fought War, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1969, P. 71.
[54] Ibid., p . 73.
[55] Ibid., p. 74.
[56] Love, op. cit., P. 77.
[57] See p. 198.
[58] New York Times, 10 February 1961.
[59] Ibid
[60] Jewish Chronicle, London, 17 February 1971.
[61] Ha’olam Hazeh, 1 December 1971
[62] Associated Press, 16 March 1975.