Category Archives: Articles in English
By Nicholas West
The more one researches mind control, the more one will come to the conclusion that there is a coordinated script that has been in place for a very long time with the goal to turn the human race into non-thinking automatons. For as long as man has pursued power over the masses, mind control has been orchestrated by those who study human behavior in order to bend large populations to the will of a small “elite” group. Today, we have entered a perilous phase where mind control has taken on a physical, scientific dimension that threatens to become a permanent state if we do not become aware of the tools at the disposal of the technocratic dictatorship unfolding on a worldwide scale.
Modern mind control is both technological and psychological. Tests show that simply by exposing the methods of mind control, the effects can be reduced or eliminated, at least for mind control advertising and propaganda. More difficult to counter are the physical intrusions, which the military-industrial complex continues to develop and improve upon.
1. Education – This is the most obvious, yet still remains the most insidious. It has always been a would-be dictator’s ultimate fantasy to “educate” naturally impressionable children, thus it has been a central component to Communist and Fascist tyrannies throughout history. No one has been more instrumental in exposing the agenda of modern education than Charlotte Iserbyt — one can begin research into this area by downloading a free PDF of her book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, which lays bare the role of Globalist foundations in shaping a future intended to produce servile drones lorded over by a fully educated, aware elite class.
2. Advertising and Propaganda – Edward Bernays has been cited as the inventor of the consumerist culture that was designed primarily to target people’s self-image (or lack thereof) in order to turn a want into a need. This was initially envisioned for products such as cigarettes, for example. However, Bernays also noted in his 1928 book, Propaganda, that “propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.” This can be seen most clearly in the modern police state and the growing citizen snitch culture, wrapped up in the pseudo-patriotic War on Terror. The increasing consolidation of media has enabled the entire corporate structure to merge with government, which now utilizes the concept of propaganda placement. Media; print, movies, television, and cable news can now work seamlessly to integrate an overall message which seems to have the ring of truth because it comes from so many sources, simultaneously. When one becomes attuned to identifying the main “message,” one will see this imprinting everywhere. And this is not even to mention subliminal messaging.
3. Predictive Programming – Many still deny that predictive programming is real. I would invite anyone to examine the range of documentation put together by Alan Watt and come to any other conclusion. Predictive programming has its origins in predominately elitist Hollywood, where the big screen can offer a big vision of where society is headed. Just look back at the books and movies which you thought were far-fetched, or “science fiction” and take a close look around at society today. For a detailed breakdown of specific examples, Vigilant Citizen is a great resource that will probably make you look at “entertainment” in a completely different light.
4. Sports, Politics, Religion – Some might take offense at seeing religion, or even politics, put alongside sports as a method of mind control. The central theme is the same throughout: divide and conquer. The techniques are quite simple: short circuit the natural tendency of people to cooperate for their survival, and teach them to form teams bent on domination and winning. Sports has always had a role as a key distraction that corrals tribal tendencies into a non-important event, which in modern America has reached ridiculous proportions where protests will break out over a sport celebrity leaving their city, but essential human issues such as liberty are giggled away as inconsequential. Political discourse is strictly in a left-right paradigm of easily controlled opposition, while religion is the backdrop of nearly every war throughout history.
5. Food, Water, and Air – Additives, toxins, and other food poisons literally alter brain chemistry to create docility and apathy. Fluoride in drinking water has been proven to lower IQ; Aspartame and MSG are excitotoxins which excite brain cells until they die; and easy access to the fast food that contains these poisons generally has created a population that lacks focus and motivation for any type of active lifestyle.
Most of the modern world is perfectly groomed for passive receptiveness — and acceptance — of the dictatorial elite. And if you choose to diligently watch your diet, they are fully prepared to spray the population from the above.
6. Drugs – This can be any addictive substance, but the mission of mind controllers is to be sure you are addicted to something. One major arm of the modern mind control agenda is psychiatry, which aims to define all people by their disorders, as opposed to their human potential. This was foreshadowed in books such as Brave New World. Today, it has been taken to even further extremes as a medical tyranny has taken hold where nearly everyone has some sort of disorder — particularly those who question authority. The use of nerve drugs in the military has led to record numbers of suicides. Worst of all, the modern drug state now has over 25% of U.S. children on mind-numbing medication.
7. Military testing – The military has a long history as the testing ground for mind control. The military mind is perhaps the most malleable, as those who pursue life in the military generally resonate to the structures of hierarchy, control, and the need for unchallenged obedience to a mission. For the increasing number of military personal questioning their indoctrination, a recent story highlighted DARPA’s plans for transcranial mind control helmets that will keep them focused.
8. Electromagnetic spectrum – An electromagnetic soup envelops us all, charged by modern devices of convenience which have been shown to have a direct impact on brain function. In a tacit admission of what is possible, one researcher has been working with a “god helmet” to induce visions by altering the electromagnetic field of the brain. Our modern soup has us passively bathed by potentially mind-altering waves, while a wide range of possibilities such as cell phone towers is now available to the would-be mind controller for more direct intervention.
9. Television, Computer, and “flicker rate”– It’s bad enough that what is “programmed” on your TV (accessed via remote “control”) is engineered; it is all made easier by literally lulling you to sleep, making it a psycho-social weapon. Flicker rate tests show that alpha brain waves are altered, producing a type of hypnosis — which doesn’t portend well for the latest revelation that lights can transmit coded Internet data by “flickering faster than the eye can see.” The computer’s flicker rate is less, but through video games, social networks, and a basic structure which overloads the brain with information, the rapid pace of modern communication induces an ADHD state. A study of video games revealed that extended play can result in lower blood flow to the brain, sapping emotional control. Furthermore, role-playing games of lifelike war and police state scenarios serve to desensitize a connection to reality. One look at the WikiLeaks video Collateral Murder should be familiar to anyone who has seen a game like Call of Duty.
10. Nanobots – From science fiction horror, directly to the modern brain; the nanobots are on the way. Direct brain modification already has been packaged as “neuroengineering.” A Wired article from early 2009 highlighted that direct brain manipulation via fiber optics is a bit messy, but once installed “it could make someone happy with the press of a button.” Nanobots take the process to an automated level, rewiring the brain molecule by molecule. Worse, these mini droids can self-replicate, forcing one to wonder how this genie would ever get back in the bottle once unleashed. Expected date of arrival? Early 2020s.
A concerted effort is underway to manage and predict human behavior so that the social scientists and the dictatorial elite can control the masses and protect themselves from the fallout of a fully awake free humanity. Only by waking up to their attempts to put us to sleep do we stand a chance of preserving our free will.
09.12.2014 :: Analysis
The result was a junta, composed of neo-liberal puppets, rightist nationalists and fascists, which immediately proceeded to purge the Ukrainian legislature of any politicians opposed to the coup and Kiev’s submission to the European Union and NATO. The NATO-sponsored client regime then moved swiftly to extend its control by centralizing power and overturning the official policy of bilingualism (Russian and Ukrainian) in the southeastern regions. It was preparing to break its long-standing agreement over the huge Russian naval base in Crimea and renege on its massive debts to Russia for gas and oil imports.
These extremist measures by a violent coup regime amounted to a radical break with existing economic, cultural and political institutions and, naturally, provoked a robust response from large sectors of the population. The overwhelmingly Russian speaking majority in Crimea convoked a referendum with 90% voter participation: 89% voted to secede and rejoin Russia. The ethnic Russian and bilingual, industrialized southeast regions of Ukraine organized their own referenda, formed popular militias and prepared for an armed response from what they viewed as an illegal junta in Kiev. Threatened by the new measures against their language and traditional and economic ties with Russia, the resistance drew its fighters from the vast reservoir of skilled industrial workers, miners and local business people who understood that they would lose thousands of jobs and access to the Russian markets as well as cultural and family links under the boot of the EU-NATO puppet in Kiev.
For critical sections of Ukraine, the Kiev junta was illegitimate, so the NATO overseers, cooked up an election with a pre-selected candidate, Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire oligarch, willing to serve as a ‘reliable’ proxy, despite his history of dubious ‘business’ deals, who would implement the Euro-US agenda. Despite large sectors boycotting the sham elections, the ‘victorious President’ Poroshenko immediately joined the EU, shredding the heavily subsidized and generous gas and oil agreements with Russia as well as cutting Ukraine off from its main export markets. He proposed to join NATO and convert Ukraine into a launching pad aimed at Russia. He eagerly signed an IMF agreement ending critical subsidies for low income Ukrainians, privatizing public enterprises and raising the cost of basic public services and food. He launched an all-out military campaign against the Donbass region, using missiles, air strikes, artillery and ground forces while assuring his masters in Washington and Brussels that he could easily smash all resistance to his dictatorial fiats and impose their radical retrograde agenda.
The scope and depth of the changes and the unilateral manner in which they were formulated and implemented provoked a widespread popular uprising in the southeast that cut across the entire social spectrum. The popular democratic nature of the opposition in the east attracted support throughout the region, reaching beyond the borders of Ukraine. The resistance easily captured Ukrainian military outposts while conscripted soldiers, ex-soldiers and local police units joined the resistance, bringing their arms with them.
The Kiev regime and its increasingly fascist shock troops responded with terror tactics, bombing civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods. In the ethnically-mixed city of Odessa, with its substantial Russian-speaking population, Kiev-based fascists torched the city’s main trade union building where civilian protesters had sought refuge, burning alive or later slaughtering over 40 trapped citizen demonstrators.
The terrorist tactics of the Kiev government spurred thousands more to join the resistance. Horrified and demoralized Ukrainian conscripts, who had been told they were fighting ‘Russian invaders’ defected or surrendered in large numbers. The spectacle of surrender and demoralization among its armed forces and police undermined this phase of Kiev’s offensive and led to a ‘legitimacy’ crisis.
The US-EU propaganda campaign intensified denying civilian resistance in the southeast any authenticity as an independent, democratic, national force by labeling them as ‘Russian separatists’ and ‘invaders’. Together with their puppet-‘President’ Petro Poroshenko, the US-EU tried to discredit the popular resistance via a major provocation: Ukrainian government air controllers in Kiev re-directed a civilian air liner, Malaysian Airlines Flt. 17, to fly directly over the war zone, shot it down killing almost 300 passengers and crew. The puppet in Kiev and their masters in Brussels and Washington then blamed the resistance, as well as Russia, for the crime!
The NATO-backed proxy regime’s tactic of terror boomeranged and caused even more outrage! More Ukrainian troops refused to fire on the own compatriots .The puppet regime in Kiev had to rely on the special fascist battalions eager to kill ‘Russians’. Many ordinary soldiers deserted rather than obey orders to fire heavy artillery shells into densely populated urban neighborhoods full of trapped civilians. Other troops crossed over into the safety of neighboring Russia where they surrendered and turned their arms over to the resistance.
The incredible strength of the southeast regional resistance came from several sources: First and foremost, they were defending home turf: their families, relatives, friends, neighbors, homes, workplaces, transport systems, hospitals and schools and they increasingly saw themselves as a nation confronting the ravages of a foreign-imposed dictatorship arbitrarily selling their principle economic enterprises and means of livelihood while submitting to the dictates of the US-EU controlled International Monetary Fund. This popular resistance was bolstered morally and materially by pro-democracy activists and militants from Euro-Asia, who understood that a NATO victory in Ukraine would lead to more coups in sovereign countries, more civil wars and brutal conquests throughout the region – a formula for economic and social disaster affecting tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.
NATO’s heavy-handed presence behind the putsch in Kiev spurred a national liberation struggle in Ukraine and the growth of anti-NATO internationalism regionally. The battle was joined. The Kiev blitzkrieg halted in confusion. The battles for Donetsk and Lugansk turned the tide. The Resistance went on the offensive. Over 800 Kiev soldiers were killed. Thousands more were wounded, captured or deserted.
The Resistance was advancing westward and to the south threatening to create a land bridge to the Crimea and encircle an entire regiment. The puppet regime in Kiev panicked and pleaded for its EU and US patrons to intervene directly. Divisions within the junta deepened: the fascists demanded an all-out war against the Russian-speaking population and total mobilization. The neo-liberals, for their part, begged for direct NATO intervention.
Meanwhile, the EU and US imposed wide economic sanctions against Russia, unwilling to believe that the citizens in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine would successfully resist their puppet in Kiev. They drank their own propaganda swill and blamed ‘Putin’, the Russian President, for the debacle. The increasing economic sanctions against Russia had no effect on the popular resistance in Ukraine as it took on the character of a national liberation struggle. However, the sanctions did provoke painful counter-measures from Russia, which slapped major embargos on EU and US agricultural products, deepening Europe’s economic recession. And there was a build up of NATO troops and joint military exercises on Russia’s borders in Poland, the Baltic States and over the Black Sea.
Finally the NATO powers realized that their puppet’s military conquest of the East was not going to be another ‘cake walk’, indeed it was turning into a brutal farce. From top to bottom, the junta’s armed forces were in shambles. The continued advance of the popular resistance and the onset of winter without Russian oil and gas could topple the regime in Kiev and force new elections free from NATO, the CIA and the machinations of US Assistant Secretary ‘F… the EU’ Victoria Nuland, Obama’s key strategist for Eastern Europe.
With NATO’s and Washington’s fears in mind, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ‘compromise’ for Poroshenko, an immediate ceasefire and negotiations leading to a political settlement between Kiev and the rebels. In the face of a military debacle in the East and growing internal fissures, the puppet in Kiev agreed to the ceasefire.
Prospects for Peace with Justice
Poroshenko and his NATO overseers eagerly grabbed onto Putin’s peace plan to stave off the advance of the popular resistance and gain time to re-group, rebuild and re-supply Kiev’s armed forces. NATO leaders are counting on a ‘political’ settlement where they trade easily-broken political promises in exchange for the resistance demobilizing and disarming under Kiev’s authority. There is no indication that the NATO-Kiev axis intends to abandon their strategic goal of turning Ukraine into a NATO base and vassal state of the EU.
As the cease fire comes into effect, the NATO powers have organized two sets of military exercises within Ukraine and on its immediate border – clearly undermining Russia’s strategic interests. The ongoing military build-up is a sign that NATO intends to participate directly in crushing the popular resistance in the next round. It is just a matter of time for NATO and Kiev to trot out some pretext to end the ceasefire. Meanwhile, NATO is increasing the flow of arms, advisers and contract mercenaries to Kiev. The oligarch in Kiev, Poroshenko is attempting to bolster his ground forces by imposing a highly unpopular universal conscription. Even the citizens in the west of Ukraine can see the war is going badly with the return of wounded soldiers and caskets holding their sons and brothers.
Tactically Poroshenko/NATO may offer paper concessions, greater ‘autonomy’ . . . under the rule of the Kiev junta, and the acceptance of bilingualism, but political, administrative, legal and fiscal powers will not devolve to the democrats in Donesk and Lugansk to design and implement their own policies and protect their rights. The regime will demand the re-entry of ‘its army’ on the pretext of guarding borders against Russia. There will be no reparations for the massive loss of life and infrastructure in the region. Kiev will seek to surround and fragment the Resistance and eliminate the key cross-border sanctuary with Russia. The ultimate goal would be to squeeze and oust resistance-led regional self-government.
The prolongation of negotiations will be used to build-up Kiev’s military capabilities. Meanwhile more US-imposed EU economic sanctions against Russia give Washington greater power to expand its influence in Europe and deepen political and trade polarization between the EU and Moscow. The Ukraine crisis is only one part of the Obama regime’s strategy of global military escalation, which includes re-entry into Iraq, direct bombing of Syria (including Damascus) and increased sanctions against companies and banks trading with Iran and Cuba, as well as the encirclement and provocation of China.
An independent Russia is the real target and the annexation of the Ukraine is a mere stepping stone on the way to Moscow. Under this strategic (and insane) vision, the US and EU will never accept a neutral (NATO-free), independent, democratic Ukraine. The popular resistance in the country’s southeast must clearly understand this strategic vision and continue the fight. They must recognize that the only means to establish democracy and self-rule, free from NATO and IMF dominance, and free from the marauding gangs of Kiev-led Nazi thugs – the terrorist Azov, Aidar and Donbass battalions – is via a plebiscite for total national independence.
The current cease fire is a Trojan horse: within the bowels of these negotiations, Kiev warlords are busily preparing to unleash more of their military excrement – fascist hordes and the oligarchs’ private armies, the monstrous spawn of the NATO-armed Azov battalion under Nazi banners, sporting swastika tattoos and hate-filled insignias. The choice is clear.
A reluctant warrior intervenes against a threat to the homeland–or so we’re told
With Barack Obama’s September 10 announcement of a military plan to launch strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many pundits might be breathing a sigh of relief. The White House is finally taking the kind of military action they have been recommending for months.
But there are some serious questions that should be asked–about the threat posed by the Islamic State and about some of the assumptions guiding the debate.
‘Striking the Homeland’
The idea that ISIS poses an immediate threat to the United States–as opposed to its non-Sunni Muslim neighbors–has been a consistent theme in the media, encouraging the public to support war. Rep. Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) declared on ABC‘s This Week (8/24/14) that the Islamic State is “intent on hitting the West and there are external operations, I believe, underway.” WhenCBS‘s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (9/7/14) asked Republican Sen. Marco Rubio if he thought they posed a “threat to the homeland now,” Rubio replied: “I do. I believe they do.” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Meet the Press, 8/31/14) said the threat to the country was “potentially very serious.”
ABC This Week host Martha Raddatz (9/7/14) explained that if the options are leaving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power or the threat from the Islamic State, the White House was “clearly siding with the threat to the homeland.” On ABC World News (8/16/14), reporter Terry Moran told viewers that “a new US intelligence assessment says that ISIS poses a direct threat to the American homeland. So, what happens here in northern Iraq…matters a lot back home.”
But experts do not see an immediate danger, which is coming through in some media coverage. As the New York Times (9/11/14) put it:
Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.
The Times added that “when American counterterrorism officials review the threats to the United States each day, the terror group is not a top concern. ” And the Washington Post‘s Adam Goldman (9/10/14) reported that the day Obama delivered his speech laying out his plan, “top US intelligence officials told Congress on Wednesday that the organization does not pose an immediate threat to the country.”
Obama, the Reluctant Warrior
One clear message from corporate media has been that Barack Obama is unusually reticent about using military force. Asked to comment about Obama’s “reluctance to take the fight against ISIS to Syria,” correspondent Richard Engel said on Meet the Press (8/31/14):
Well, I speak to military commanders. I speak to former officials. And they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done.
And this “reluctance” is seen in Obama’s foreign policy generally (FAIR Blog,8/26/14). As the Washington Post (9/10/14) put it, Obama is “six years into a presidency devoted to ending US wars in the Muslim world.” TheAssociated Press (9/11/14) presented Obama’s Islamic State decision as a dramatic turn, calling him “the president who wanted to end America’s wars.”
But Obama’s actual record conflicts with this picture. In Iraq, Obama tried to keep more troops in Iraq than the Bush administration had agreed to in the withdrawal plan it had negotiated. Obama’s substantial achievement in Afghanistan was a massive escalation of that war (FAIR Blog, 5/27/14).
His administration greatly increased the number of drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians (FAIR Blog,8/30/13). And Obama used the US military to help overthrow the government of Libya–though the disastrous outcome of that operation is seldom cited as evidence that Obama is too eager to intervene.
Congress Gets in the Way
The decision to consult Congress on the matter of starting a war–as required by the Constitution–is often treated as a weakness. As the New York Times(9/9/14) put it:
A year ago this month, in one of the more embarrassing episodes of his presidency, bipartisan opposition to airstrikes in Syria forced the president to withdraw his request for authorization to strike the Assad government.
NPR reporter Scott Horsley (9/10/14) recalled this incident as a moment of failure: “It quickly became clear Congress had no stomach for that, and Obama had to back down. That was a real body-blow to the president’s prestige.” The implication is that respecting public sentiment opposing war is a sign of weakness–and that presidents should be more concerned about their “prestige” than about the Constitution.
Finally Intervening in Syria
Throughout the past year, hawkish critics of the White House and many pundits have insisted that the Obama administration should have intervened long ago. To many pundits, if the US had only attacked Syria sooner, none of this would have happened. As ABC‘s Cokie Roberts (8/10/14) said:
We’re not acting like a superpower, that’s the problem…. I agree with Hillary Clinton, as you quoted her earlier, saying, well, if we had gotten into Syria when the rebels were begging us to come in, and saying, here we are, trying to secure our freedom, where is America, then you wouldn’t have had this group filling the vacuum.
Other media accounts (Washington Post, 8/11/14) argue that more US support for the armed opposition in Syria would not have been decisive in either removing Bashar al-Assad from power or preventing the rise of the Islamic State.
And some of these arguments rest on the assumption that US policy towards Syria can be characterized as one of nonintervention. As the New York Times(9/10/14) reported:
Mr. Obama has resisted military engagement in Syria for more than three years, out of fear early on that arming the rebels who oppose Mr. Assad would fail to alter the balance in the civil war while more direct military intervention could have spillover effects in the volatile region.
This is seriously misleading–and contradicted by the Times‘ own reporting. Under the headline “CIA Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition” (6/21/12), the paper reported that the US government was playing a very active role in supporting the armed revolt, with CIA officers in Turkey helping to deliver weapons to particular opposition groups. Days earlier, the Wall Street Journal (6/13/12) was reporting that the CIA was working with opposition groups to “develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training.”
As Patrick Cockburn reports in his new bookThe Jihadis Return, the arms that the CIA was “steering” to Syrian rebels were instrumental in enabling ISIS to expand the territory it held in Iraq:
An intelligence officer from a Middle Eastern country neighboring Syria told me that ISIS members “say they are always pleased when sophisticated weapons are sent to anti-Assad groups of any kind because they can always get the arms off them by threats of force or cash payments.”… Arms supplied by US allies such as Qatar and Turkey to anti-Assad forces in Syria are now being captured regularly in Iraq.
ISIS came into being as a result of the US invasion of Iraq (CounterSpin,8/15/14), and was greatly strengthened by the US-backed destabilization of Syria. Since it is US intervention that has gotten us where we are today, the false assumption that the White House has failed to do anything at all makes any serious analysis of what to do now impossible. (The idea that doing something effective about the real threat ISIS poses to its neighbors means a military attack was challenged by IPS’s Phyllis Bennis in a column for The Progressive–9/10/14; the reverse, she argues, is actually the case.)
What seems abundantly clear is that the media’s coverage of the threat posed by the Islamic State–and the group’s savvy dissemination of appalling propaganda–have produced some shift in public opinion. As journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 9/8/14) remarked:
It’s as though ISIS and the US media and political class worked in perfect unison to achieve the same goal here when it comes to American public opinion: fully terrorize them.
The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.
How do we know that this is a lie? Is it because we have heard nothing but lies about Russia from NATO, from US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, from assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, from Obama and his entire regime of pathological liars, and from the British, German, and French governments along with the BBC and the entirety of the Western media?
This, of course, is a good reason for knowing that the latest Western propaganda is a lie. Those who are pathological liars don’t suddenly start telling the truth.
But there are even better reasons for understanding that Russia has not invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops.
One reason is that Putin has invested heavily in diplomacy backed by unprovocative behavior. He would not risk his bet on diplomacy by sending in troops too few in number to have a decisive effect on the outcome.
Another reason is that if Putin decides he has no alternative to sending the Russian military to protect the Russian residents in eastern and southern Ukraine, Putin will send in enough troops to do the job quickly as he did in Georgia when the American and Israeli trained Georgian army invaded South Ossetia and was destroyed in a few hours by the Russian response. If you hear that 100,000 Russian troops accompanied by air cover have invaded Ukraine, it would be a more believable claim.
A third reason is that the Russian military does not need to send troops into Ukraine in order to stop the bombing and artillery shelling of the Russian populations by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev. The Russian air force can easily and quickly destroy the Ukrainian air force and artillery and, thereby, stop the Ukrainian attack on the secessionist provinces.
It was only two weeks ago that a fabricated report spread by the UK Guardian and the BBC that a Russian armored convoy entered Ukraine and was destroyed by the Ukrainian Military. And two weeks prior to that we had the hoax of the satellite images allegedly released by the US State Department that the corrupt US ambassador in Kiev spread around the world on social media allegedly showing that Russian forces were firing into Ukraine. One or two weeks from now we will have another lie, and another a week or two after that, and so on.
The cumulative effect of lie piled upon lie for most people is to build the view that the Russians are up to no good. Once this view is established, Western governments can take more serious moves against Russia.
The alleged entry of 1,000 Russian soldiers into Ukraine has been declared by NATO Brigadier General Niko Tak to be a “significant escalation in Russia’s military interference in Ukraine.” The champion liar Samantha Power told the US Security Council that “Russia has to stop lying.” The UK ambassador to the UN said that Russia was guilty of “a clear violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.” UK prime minister Cameron warned Russia of “further consequences.” German chancellor Merkel announced that there would be more sanctions. A German Security Council advisor declared that “war with Russia is an option.” Polish foreign minister Sikorski called it Russian aggression that required international action. French president Hollande declared Russia’s behavior to be “intolerable.” Ukraine’s security council imposed mandatory conscription.
This suicidal drive toward war with Russia by Europe’s leaders is based entirely on a transparent lie that 1,000 Russian troops crossed into Ukraine
Of course the Western media followed in lock-step. The BBC, CNN, and Die Welt are among the most reckless and irresponsible.
The mountain of lies piled up by Western governments and media has obscured the true story. The US government orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and imposed a US puppet in Kiev. Washington’s puppet government began issuing threats and committing violent acts against the Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders attached to Ukraine. The Russian people in eastern and southern Ukraine resisted the threat brought to them by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev.
Washington continually accuses the Russian government of supporting the people in the territories who have voted their separation from Ukraine. There would be no war, Washington alleges, except for Russian support. But, of course, Washington could easily stop the violence by ordering its puppet government in Kiev to stop the bombing and shelling of the former Russian provinces. If Russia can tell the “separatists” not to fight, Washington can tell Kiev not to fight.
The only possible conclusion from the facts is that Washington is determined to involve Europe in a war with Russia or at least in an armed standoff in order to break up Europe’s political and economic relations with Russia.
Europe’s leaders are going along with this because European countries, except for Charles de Gaulle’s France, have not had independent foreign policies since the end of World War II. They follow Washington’s lead and are well paid for doing so.
The inability of Europe to produce independent leadership dooms Russian President Putin’s diplomacy to failure. If European capitals cannot make decisions independently of Washington, there is no scope for Putin’s diplomacy.
Notice that the very day after Putin met with Washington’s Ukrainian vassal in an effort to resolve the situation, the new lie of Russian invasion was issued in order to ensure that no good can come of the meeting in which Putin invested his time and energy.
Washington’s only interest is in hegemony. Washington has no interest in resolving the situation that Washington itself created in order to bring discomfort and confusion to Russia. With the caveat that the situation could be resolved by Ukrainian economic collapse, otherwise the longer Putin waits to resolve the situation by force, the more difficult the task will be.
Assisi (Italy), 23 August 2014.
The National Coordination of the Italian Left against the Euro held its “European Forum 2014″ in Assisi (Italy) from 20 to 24 August 2014 which brought together a large number of participants, including countries in the European Union but also Ukraine and Russia. On this occasion the leaders of several radical political organizations of the European Union adopted a declaration in favour of withdrawing from the euro and the European Union.
In all countries of the EU and especially in the euro area, violent anti-social policies are pursued relentlessly by the European Union and its member governments : massive decline in social spending, wage deflation by blocking wages, lower payroll taxes, unjustified subsidies to large corporations supposedly to create jobs, privatization, dismantling of public services and social security, financialization of the economy and public budgets … The result is an exponential increase in mass unemployment and lack of job security.
The origin of this is to be found in the policies of the European Union, fully blocked by the Lisbon Treaty. The latter is based on all the neoliberal dogma that have already demonstrated their damage value to the interests of the working and middle classes. In the euro area the trade gaps between countries have worsened. The euro is a weapon of mass destruction against employment. The single currency is only used to protect the return on shareholders’ investment by maintaining a permanent and voluntary high level of unemployment.
The very essence of this European construction is based on the values and interests of the Western ruling classes : europeanism, atlanticism, capitalism, authoritarianism. Such a system cannot change its nature, it cannot be improved from within. It must be dismantled in order to build something radically new. The European Union is indeed the most sophisticated system in the world founded on an attempt to build a civilization based on market forces. The European Union is a horrendous system of domination and alienation from which the peoples need to be emancipated.
The European Union is a cornerstone of the neoliberal world order, with its giant multinational firms, and supranational institutions (WTO, IMF, World Bank, NATO, EU, OECD). The system has a main characteristic: to act relentlessly to dissolve the sovereignty of peoples on a national scale. It is indeed the best way to enable, the domination of big business to increase with no bounds as evidenced by TAFTA. Destroying the nations is the guarantee for the dominant classes that there is no turning back to neoliberal “reforms”. As the sovereignty of the people cannot exist without national sovereignty, eliminating the nation is to eliminate democracy. It is therefore the means to suppress the capacity for the people to act and decide on their future. The fact that the European Union is one of the mainstays of the Kiev fascistic regime demonstrates its full alignment with NATO and American imperialism.
After years of exercise of power by Socialist, Labour or Social democratic parties in several countries of the European Union, it is now possible to take stock of their record. The assessment is overwhelmingly excruciating as can be seen in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and France … These parties are now openly neoliberal, they do not even pretend any longer to try to defend the working classes. They are all making way for large German-style coalition governments (governments uniting left and right parties), similar to those already implemented by the European Union in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy. If the divide between the ruling class and the working classes is clearer from year to year, the one between the left and right is becoming increasingly blurred. Nothing essential separates the left from the right in many countries. The above-mentioned political forces are shaping the political environment that develops and enhances the growth of the far right, by allowing the gradual assimilation of the nation with an essentially ethnocultural definition of the extreme right, whereas for us the nation is strictly constitutional and political. To leave this central political concept of identity definition of the nation in the hands of the far right is seriously irresponsible, and shows that all these parties have given up the essential conditions of the very existence of both politics and democracy.
The reasons for the rise of far-right parties in the member countries of the EU are mainly due to the policies of austerity for working and middle classes which strike people with poverty and force them to compete. The far right is now alone to appropriate the idea and the symbols of the nation. And conversely the idea of nation ends up being equated with the extreme right. But the far right advocates a narrow view of the nation reduced to its sole identity dimension. Far from being anti-system, as it claims, the far right is actually an indirect agent serving the system and the ruling classes. These parties are the most nauseating in their xenophobic, chauvinistic and anti-union attitudes and prejudiced against all organizations that collectively represent the interests of the working classes.
It is urgent to rebuild a thought, a method of practice and a program in favour of the interests of the working classes and the middle classes. Key elements for us are:
- Total elimination of unemployment and job insecurity.
- Plans for the re-industrialization and nationalization of key strategic sectors of industry and services.
- The dismantling of financial markets.
- The cancellation and overthrow of the public debt.
- National protectionist measures in the framework of the universal Havana Charter of 1948.
- An environmental transformation in the mode of production.
- The withdrawal from supranational institutions that maintain the neoliberal world order, NATO, IMF, World Bank, WTO, EU and the euro.
We call this de-globalization. The core of this strategy and this program is to claim and assume the necessity of regaining national sovereignty for each country. That is to say, the decisive struggle for each country to preserve the authentically political characteristics of its society, where the people have the legal and institutional capacity to decide and implement what they consider corresponds to the general interest.
The signatories will organize a new international meeting at an even larger level. Aiming at bringing together widely all forces working to defend the interests of working and middle classes, for the withdrawal from NATO, the European Union and the euro, for full employment.
- Borotba (Struggle): Sergei Kirichuk, Ukraine.
- Committee “Euro Exit” (“Out of the euro ‘Committee): Wilhelm Langthaler, Austria.
- National Coordinamento Sinistra contro Euro (National Coordination of Left against the Euro) Moreno Pasquinelli, Italy.
- Frente Civico (FC – Civic Front): Manolo Pérez Monereo, Spain.
- People’s United Front (EPAM): Antonis Ragousis, Greece.
- Left Co-March, Kostas Kostopoulos, Greece.
- Political Movement for the Emancipation of the People (M’PEP): Jacques Nikonoff and Joel Perichaud, France.
- Plan B: Nasia Pliakogiammi, Greece.
If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country’s actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board.
August 27, 2014 “ICH” – Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.
Argentina is already foreclosed from international capital markets, so it doesn’t have much to lose by thwarting the US court system. Similar bold moves by Ecuador and Iceland have left those countries in substantially better shape than Greece, which went along with the agendas of the international financiers.
The upside for Argentina was captured by President Fernandez in a nationwide speech on August 19th. Struggling to hold back tears, according to Bloomberg, she said:
When it comes to the sovereignty of our country and the conviction that we can no longer be extorted and that we can’t become burdened with debt again, we are emerging as Argentines.
. . . If I signed what they’re trying to make me sign, the bomb wouldn’t explode now but rather there would surely be applause, marvelous headlines in the papers. But we would enter into the infernal cycle of debt which we’ve been subject to for so long.
The Endgame: Patagonia in the Crosshairs
The deeper implications of that infernal debt cycle were explored by Argentine political analyst Adrian Salbuchi in an August 12th article titled “Sovereign Debt for Territory: A New Global Elite Swap Strategy.” Where territories were once captured by military might, he maintains that today they are being annexed by debt. The still-evolving plan is to drive destitute nations into an international bankruptcy court whose decisions would have the force of law throughout the world. The court could then do with whole countries what US bankruptcy courts do with businesses: sell off their assets, including their real estate. Sovereign territories could be acquired as the spoils of bankruptcy without a shot being fired.
Global financiers and interlocking megacorporations are increasingly supplanting governments on the international stage. An international bankruptcy court would be one more institution making that takeover legally binding and enforceable. Governments can say no to the strong-arm tactics of the global bankers’ collection agency, the IMF. An international bankruptcy court would allow creditors to force a nation into bankruptcy, where territories could be involuntarily sold off in the same way that assets of bankrupt corporations are.
For Argentina, says Salbuchi, the likely prize is its very rich Patagonia region, long a favorite settlement target for ex-pats. When Argentina suffered a massive default in 2001, the global press, including Time and The New York Times, went so far as to propose that Patagonia be ceded from the country as a defaulted debt payment mechanism.
The New York Times article followed one published in the Buenos Aires financial newspaper El Cronista Comercial called “Debt for Territory,” which described a proposal by a US consultant to then-president Eduardo Duhalde for swapping public debt for government land. It said:
[T]he idea would be to transform our public debt default into direct equity investment in which creditors can become land owners where they can develop industrial, agricultural and real estate projects. . . . There could be surprising candidates for this idea: during the Alfonsin Administration, the Japanese studied an investment master plan in Argentine land in order to promote emigration. The proposal was also considered in Israel.
Salbuchi notes that ceding Patagonia from Argentina was first suggested in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, as a second settlement for that movement.
Another article published in 2002 was one by IMF deputy manager Anne Krueger titled “Should Countries Like Argentina Be Able to Declare Themselves Bankrupt?” It was posted on the IMF website and proposed some “new and creative ideas” on what to do about Argentina. Krueger said, “the lesson is clear: we need better incentives to bring debtors and creditors together before manageable problems turn into full-blown crises,” adding that the IMF believes “this could be done by learning from corporate bankruptcy regimes like Chapter 11 in the US”.
These ideas were developed in greater detail by Ms. Krueger in an IMF essay titled “A New Approach to Debt Restructuring,” and by Harvard professor Richard N. Cooper in a 2002 article titled “Chapter 11 for Countries” published in Foreign Affairs (“mouthpiece of the powerful New York-Based Elite think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations”). Salbuchi writes:
Here, Cooper very matter-of-factly recommends that “only if the debtor nation cannot restore its financial health are its assets liquidated and the proceeds distributed to its creditors – again under the guidance of a (global) court” (!).
In Argentina’s recent tangle with the vulture funds, Ms. Krueger and the mainstream media have come out in apparent defense of Argentina, recommending restraint by the US court. But according to Salbuchi, this does not represent a change in policy. Rather, the concern is that overly heavy-handed treatment may kill the golden goose:
. . . [I] n today’s delicate post-2008 banking system, a new and less controllable sovereign debt crisis could thwart the global elite’s plans for an “orderly transition towards a new global legal architecture” that will allow orderly liquidation of financially-failed states like Argentina. Especially if such debt were to be collateralized by its national territory (what else is left!?)
Breaking Free from the Sovereign Debt Trap
Salbuchi traces Argentina’s debt crisis back to 1955, when President Juan Domingo Perón was ousted in a very bloody US/UK/mega-bank-sponsored military coup:
Perón was hated for his insistence on not indebting Argentina with the mega-bankers: in 1946 he rejected joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in 1953 he fully paid off all of Argentina’s sovereign debt. So, once the mega-bankers got rid of him in 1956, they shoved Argentina into the IMF and created the “Paris Club” to engineer decades-worth of sovereign debt for vanquished Argentina, something they’ve been doing until today.
Many countries have been subjected to similar treatment, as John Perkins documents in his blockbuster exposé Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. When the country cannot pay, the IMF sweeps in with refinancing agreements with strings attached, including selling off public assets and slashing public services in order to divert government revenues into foreign debt service.
Even without pressure from economic hit men, however, governments routinely indebt themselves for much more than they can ever hope to repay. Why do they do it? Salbuchi writes:
Here, Western economists, bankers, traders, Ivy League academics and professors, Nobel laureates and the mainstream media have a quick and monolithic reply: because all nations need“investment and investors” if they wish to build highways, power plants, schools, airports, hospitals, raise armies, service infrastructures and a long list of et ceteras . . . .
But more and more people are starting to ask a fundamental common-sense question: why should governments indebt themselves in hard currencies, decades into the future with global mega-bankers, when they could just as well finance these projects and needs far more safely by issuing the proper amounts of their own local sovereign currency instead?
Neoliberal experts shout back that government-created money devalues the currency, inflates the money supply, and destroys economies. But does it? Or is it the debt service on money created privately by banks, along with other forms of “rent” on capital, that create inflation and destroy economies? As Prof. Michael Hudson points out:
These financial claims on wealth – bonds, mortgages and bank loans – are lent out to become somebody else’s debts in an exponentially expanding process. . . . [E]conomies have been obliged to pay their debts by cutting back new research, development and new physical reinvestment. This is the essence of IMF austerity plans, in which the currency is “stabilized” by further international borrowing on terms that destabilize the economy at large. Such cutbacks in long-term investment also are the product of corporate raids financed by high-interest junk bonds. The debts created by businesses, consumers and national economies cutting back their long-term direct investment leaves these entities even less able to carry their mounting debt burden.
Spiraling debt also results in price inflation, since businesses have to raise their prices to cover the interest and fees on the debt.
From Sovereign Debt to Monetary Sovereignty
For governments to escape this austerity trap, they need to spend not less but more money on the tangible capital formation that increases physical productivity. But where to get the investment money without getting sucked into the debt vortex? Where can Argentina get funding if the country is shut out of international capital markets?
The common-sense response, as Salbuchi observes, is for governments to issue the money they need directly. But “printing money” raises outcries that can be difficult to overcome politically. An alternative that can have virtually the same effect is for nations to borrow money issued by their own publicly-owned banks. Public banks generate credit just as private banks do; but unlike private lenders, they return interest and profits to the economy. Their mandate is to serve the public, and that is where their profits go. Funding through their own government-issued currencies and publicly-owned banks has been successfully pursued by many countries historically, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, China, Russia, Korea and Japan. (For more on this, see The Public Bank Solution.)
Countries do need to be able to buy foreign products that they cannot acquire or produce domestically, and for that they need a form of currency or an international credit line that other nations will accept. But countries are increasingly breaking away from the oil- and weapons-backed US dollar as global reserve currency. To resolve the mutually-destructive currency wars will probably take a new Bretton Woods Accord. But that is another subject for a later article.
*Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are atEllenBrown.com.
But the notion that the US is building an empire, by engaging in wars to exploit and plunder countries’ markets, resources and labor, defies the realities of the past two decades. US wars, including invasions, bombings, occupations, sanctions, coups and clandestine operations have not resulted in the expansion of markets, greater control and exploitation of resources or the ability to exploit cheap labor. Instead US wars have destroyed enterprises, reduced access to raw materials, killed, wounded or displaced productive workers around the world, and limited access to lucrative investment sites and markets via sanctions.
In other words, US global military interventions and wars have done the exact opposite of what all previous empires have pursued: Washington has exploited (and depleted) the domestic economy to expand militarily abroad instead of enriching it.
Why and how the US global wars differ from those of previous empires requires us to examine (1) the forces driving overseas expansion; (2) the political conceptions accompanying the conquest, the displacement of incumbent rulers and the seizure of power and; (3) the reorganization of the conquered states and the accompanying economic and social structures to sustain long-term neo-colonial relations.
Empire Building: The Past
Europe built durable, profitable and extensive empires, which enriched the ‘mother country’, stimulated local industry, reduced unemployment and ‘trickled down’ wealth in the form of better wages to privileged sectors of the working class. Imperial military expeditions were preceded by the entry of major trade enterprises (British East India Company) and followed by large-scale manufacturing, banking and commercial firms. Military invasions and political takeovers were driven by competition with economic rivals in Europe, and later, by the US and Japan.
The goal of military interventions was to monopolize control over the most lucrative economic resources and markets in the colonized regions. Imperial repression was directed at creating a docile low wage labor force and buttressing subordinate local collaborators or client-rulers who facilitated the flow of profits, debt payments, taxes and export revenues back to the empire.
Imperial wars were the beginning, not the end, of ‘empire building’. What followed these wars of conquest was the incorporation of pre-existing elites into subordinate positions in the administration of the empire. The ‘sharing of revenues’, between the imperial economic enterprises and pre-existing elites, was a crucial part of ‘empire building’. The imperial powers sought to ‘instrumentalize’ existing religious, political, and economic elites’ and harness them to the new imperial-centered division of labor. Pre-existing economic activity, including local manufacturers and agricultural producers, which competed with imperial industrial exporters, were destroyed and replaced by malleable local traders and importers (compradors). In summary, the military dimensions of empire building were informed by economic interests in the mother country. The occupation was pre-eminently concerned with preserving local collaborative powers and, above all, restoring and expanding the intensive and extensive exploitation of local resources and labor, as well as the capture and saturation of local markets with goods from the imperial center.
The results of contemporary US military interventions and invasions stand in stark contrast with those of past imperial powers. The targets of military aggression are selected on the basis ofideological and political criteria. Military action does not follow the lead of ‘pioneer’ economic entrepreneurs – like the British East India Company. Military action is not accompanied by large-scale, long-term capitalist enterprises. Multi-national construction companies of the empire, which build great military bases are a drain on the imperial treasury.
Contemporary US intervention does not seek to secure and take over the existing military and civilian state apparatus; instead the invaders fragment the conquered state, decimate its cadres, professionals and experts at all levels, thus providing an entry for the most retrograde ethno-religious, regional, tribal and clan leaders to engage in intra-ethnic, sectarian wars against each other, in other words – chaos. Even the Nazis, in their expansion phase, chose to rule through local collaborator elites and maintained established administrative structures at all levels.
With US invasions, entire existing socio-economic structures are undermined, not ‘taken over’: all productive activity is subject to the military priorities of leaders bent on permanently crippling the conquered state and its advanced economic, administrative, educational, cultural and social sectors. While this is militarily successful in the short-run, the medium and long-term results are non-functioning states, not a sustained inflow of plunder and expanding market for an empire. Instead what we have is a chain of US military bases surrounded by a sea of hostile, largely unemployed populations and warring ethno-religious groups in decimated economies.
The US claims to ‘world leadership’ is based exclusively on failed-state empire building. Nevertheless, the dynamic for continuing to expand into new regions, to militarily and politically intervene and establish new client entities continues. And, most importantly, this expansionist dynamic further undermines domestic economic interests, which, theoretically and historically, form the basis for empire. We, therefore, have imperialism without empire, a vampire state preying on the vulnerable and devouring its own in the process.
Empire or Vampire: The Results of US Global Warfare
Empires, throughout history, have violently seized political power and exploited the riches and resources (both material and human) of the targeted regions. Over time, they would consolidate a ‘working relation’, insuring the ever-increasing flow of wealth into the mother country and the expanding presence of imperial enterprises in the colony. Contemporary US military interventions have had the opposite effect after every recent major military conquest and occupation.
Iraq: Vampires Pillage
Under Saddam Hussein, the Republic of Iraq was a major oil producer and profitable partner for major US oil companies, as well as a lucrative market for US exports. It was a stable, unified secular state. The first Gulf War in the 1990’s led to the first phase of its fragmentation with the de facto establishment of a Kurdish mini-state in the north under US protection. The US withdrew its military forces but imposed brutal economic sanctions limiting economic reconstruction from the devastation of the first Gulf War. The second US-led invasion and full-scale occupation in 2003 devastated the economy and dismantled the state dismissing tens of thousands of experienced civil servants, teachers and police. This led to utter social collapse and fomented ethno-religious warfare leading to the killing, wounding or displacement of millions of Iraqis. The result of GW Bush’s conquest of Baghdad was a ‘failed state’. US oil and energy companies lost billions of dollars in trade and investment and the US economy was pushed into recession.
Afghanistan: Endless Wars, Endless Losses
The US war against Afghanistan began with the arming, financing and political support of Islamist jihadi-fundamentalists in 1979. They succeeded in destroying and dismantling a secular, national government. With the decision to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 the US became an occupier in Southwest Asia. For the next thirteen years, the US-puppet regime of Hamad Karzai and the ‘NATO coalition’ occupation forces proved incapable of defeating the Taliban guerrilla army. Billions of dollars were spent devastating the economy and impoverishing the vast majority of Afghans. Only the opium trade flourished. The effort to create an army loyal to the puppet regime failed. The forced retreat of US armed forces beginning in 2014 signals the bitter demise of US ‘empire building’ in Southwest Asia.
Libya: From Lucrative Trading Partner to Failed State
Libya, under President Gadhafi, was evolving into a major US and European trading partner and influential power in Africa. The regime signed large-scale, long-term contracts with major international oil companies which were backed by a stable secular government. The relationship with the US and EU was profitable. The US opted to impose a ‘regime change’ through massive US-EU missile and bombing strikes and the arming of a motley collection of Islamist terrorists, ex-pat neo-liberals and tribal militias. While these attacks succeeded in killing President Gadhafi and most of his family (including many of his grandchildren) and dismantling the secular Libyan government and administrative infrastructure, the country was ripped apart by tribal war-lord conflicts, political disintegration and the utter destruction of the economy. Oil investors fled. Over one million Libyans and immigrant workers were displaced. The US and EU ‘partners-in-regime-change’ have even fled their own embassies in Tripoli – while the Libyan ‘parliament’ operates off-shore from a casino boat. None of this devastation would have been possible under President Gadhafi. The US vampire bled its new prize, Libya, but certainly couldnot incorporate it into a profitable ‘empire’. Not only were its oil resources denied to the empire, but even oil exports disappeared. Not even an imperial military base has been secured in North Africa!
Syria: Wars on Behalf of Terrorists not Empire
Washington and its EU allies backed an armed uprising in Syria hoping to install a puppet regime and bring Damascus into their “empire”. The mercenary assaults have caused the deaths of nearly 200,000 Syrians, the displacement of over 30% of the population and the seizure of the Syrian oil fields by the Sunni extremist army, ISIS. ISIS has decimated the pro-US mercenary army, recruiting and arming thousands of terrorists from around the world It invaded neighboring Iraq conquering the northern third of that country. This was the ultimate result of the deliberate US dismantling of the Iraqi state in 2003.
The US strategy, once again, is to arm Islamist extremists to overthrow the secular Bashar Assad regime in Damascus and then to discard them for a more pliable client. The strategy ‘boomeranged’ on Washington. ISIS devastated the ineffective Iraqi armed forces of the Maliki regime in Baghdad and America’s much over-rated Peshmerga proxy ‘fighters’ in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’. Washington’s mercenary war in Syria didn’t expand the ‘empire’; indeed it undermined existing imperial outposts.
The Ukrainian Power Grab, Russian Sanctions and Empire Building
In the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, the US and EU incorporated the Baltic, Eastern European and Balkan ex-communist countries into their orbit. This clearly violated major agreements with Russia, by incorporating most of the neo-liberal regimes into NATO and bringing NATO forces to the very border of Russia. During the corrupt regime of Boris Yeltsin, the ‘West’ absolutely looted the Russian economy in co-operation with local gangster – oligarchs, who took up EU or Israeli citizenship to recycle their pillaged wealth. The demise of the vassal Yeltsin regime and the ascent and recovery of Russia under Vladimir Putin led the US and EU to formulate a strategy to deepen and extend its ‘empire’ by seizing power in the Caucuses and the Ukraine. A power and land grab by the puppet regime in Georgia attacking Russian forces in Ossetia in 2012 was decisively beaten back. This was a mere dress rehearsal for the coup in Kiev. In late 2013-early 2014, the US financed a violent rightwing putsch ousting the elected government and imposing a hand-picked pro-NATO client to assume power in Kiev.
The new pro-US regime moved quickly to purge all independent, democratic, federalist, bilingual and anti-NATO voices especially among the bi-lingual citizens concentrated in the South-Eastern Ukraine. The coup and the subsequent purge provoked a major armed uprising in the southeast, which successfully resisted the invading NATO-backed neo-fascist armed forces and private armies of the oligarchs. The failure of the Kiev regime to subdue the resistence fighters of the Donbass region resulted in a multi-pronged US-EU intervention designed to isolate, weaken and undermine the resistance. First and foremost they attempted to pressure Russia to close its borders on the eastern front where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians eventually fled the bombardment. Secondly, the US and EU applied economic sanctions on Russia to abandon its political support for the southeast region’s democratic and federalist demands. Thirdly, it sought to use the Ukraine conflict as a pretext for a major military build-up on Russia’s borders, expanding NATO missile sites and organizing an elite rapid interventionist military force capable of bolstering a faltering puppet regime or backing a future NATO sponsored putsch against any adversary.
The Kiev regime is economically bankrupt. Its war against its own civilians in the southeast has devastated Ukraine’s economy. Hundreds of thousands of skilled professionals, workers and their families have fled to Russia. Kiev’s embrace of the EU has resulted in the breakdown of vital gas and oil agreements with Russia, undermining the Ukraine’s principle source of energy and heating with winter only months away. Kiev cannot pay its debts and faces default. The rivalries between neo-fascists and neo-liberals in Kiev will further erode the regime. In sum, the US-EU power grab in the Ukraine has not led to the effective ‘expansion of empire’; rather it has ushered in the total destruction of an emerging economy and precipitated a sharp reversal of financial, trade and investment relations with Russia and Ukraine. The economic sanctions against Russia exacerbate the EU current economic crisis. The belligerent posture of military confrontation toward Russia will result in an increase in military spending among the EU states and further divert scarce economic resources form job creation and social programs. The loss by significant sectors of the EU of agricultural export markets, as well as the loss of several billion-dollar military-industrial contracts with Russia, certainly weakens, rather than expands, the ‘empire’ as an economic force
Iran: 100 Billion Dollar Punitive Sanctions Don’t Build Empires
The US-EU sanctions on Iran carry a very high political, economic and political price tag. They do not strengthen empire, if we understand ‘empire’ to mean the expansion of multi-national corporations, and increasing access to oil and gas resources to ensure stable, cheap energy for strategic economic sectors within the imperial center.
The economic war on Iran has been at the behest of US allies, including the Gulf Monarchies and especially Israel. These are dubious ‘allies’ for US ‘empire’ . . . widely reviled potentates and a racist regime which manage to exact tribute from the imperial center!
In Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, Iran has demonstrated its willingness to co-operate in power sharing agreements with US global interest. However, Iran is a regional power, which will not submit to becoming a vassal state of the US. The sanctions policy has not provoked an uprising among the Iranian masses nor has it led to regime change. Sanctions have not weakened Iran to the extent of making it an easy military target. While sanctions have weakened Iran’s economy, they has also worked against any kind of long-range empire building strategy, because Iran has strengthened its economic and diplomatic ties with the US’ rivals, Russia and China.
As this brief survey indicates, US-EU wars have not been instruments of empire-building in the conventional or historical sense. At most they have destroyed some adversaries of empire. But these have been pyrhic victories. Along with the overthrow of a target regime, the systematic break-up of the state has unleashed powerful chaotic forces, which have doomed any possibility of creating stable neo-colonial regimes capable of controlling their societies and securing opportunities for imperialist enrichment via economic exploitation.
At most the US overseas wars have secured military outposts, foreign islands in seas of desperate and hostile populations. Imperial wars have provoked continuous underground resistance movements, ethnic civil wars and violent terrorist organizations which threaten ‘blowback’ on the imperial center.
The US and EU’s easy annexations of the ex-communist countries, usually via the stage-managed ballot-box or ‘color revolutions’, led to the take-over of great national wealth and skilled labor. However, Euro-American empires bloody campaigns to invade and conquer the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa and the Caucuses have created nightmarish ‘failed states’ – continuously draining imperial coffers and leading to a state of permanent occupation and warfare.
The bloodless takeover of the Eastern European satellites with their accommodating, corrupt elites has ended. The 21st century reliance on militarist strategies contrasts sharply with the successful multi-pronged colonial expansions of the 19th – 20th century, where economic penetration and large scale economic development accompanied military intervention and political change. Today’s imperial wars cause economic decay and misery within the domestic economy, as well as perpetual wars abroad, an unsustainable drain.
The current US/EU military expansion into Ukraine, the encirclement of Russia, NATO missiles aimed at the very heart of a major nuclear power and the economic sanctions may lead to a global nuclear war, which may indeed put an end to militarist empire-building… and the rest of humanity.
By Sherwood Ross
The “largest lie,” wrote hisorian Howard Zinn, who died January 27th at age 87, is that “everything the United States does is to be pardoned because we are engaged in a ‘war on terrorism.’”
“This ignores the fact that war is itself terrorism, that the barging into people’s homes and taking away family members and subjecting them to torture, that is terrorism, that invading and bombing other countries does not give us more security but less security.”
In an article published previously in The Long Term View magazine of the Massachusetts School of Law, Zinn said that in the Fallujah area of Iraq, Knight Ridder reporters found there was no Ba’athist or Sunni conspiracy against the US, “only people ready to fight because their relatives had been hurt or killed, or they themselves had been humiliated by home searches and road stops.”
Zinn, popularly known as the people’s historian, pointed out that the US may have liberated Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein but afterwards it became Iraq’s occupier. He noted this is the same fate that befell Cuba after the US liberated it from Spain in 1898. In both nations, the US established military bases and US corporations moved in to profit from the upheaval.
Zinn recalled the words of then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the NATO ministers in Brussels in June, 2002, “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” of weapons of mass destruction. “That explains why this government, not knowing exactly where to find the criminals of September 11, will just go ahead and invade and bomb Afghanistan, killing thousands of people, driving hundreds of thousands from their homes, and still not know where the criminals are,” Zinn wrote.
“This explains why the government, not really knowing what weapons Saddam Hussein is hiding, will invade and bomb Iraq, to the horror of most of the world, killing thousands of civilians and soldiers and terrorizing the population,” he continued.
The historian pointed out that even if the US experienced few battle casualties in its invasion of Iraq, casualties would mount afterwards in the occupying army from sickness and trauma, which took a high toll both in Viet Nam and after the Gulf War. In the 10 years after the Gulf War, 8,000 veterans died and 200,000 veterans filed complaints about illnesses incurred “from the weapons our government used in the war.”
Zinn predicted accurately that once the American public realized President Bush had lied to them about Iraq, they would turn against the government. “When it loses its legitimacy in the eyes of its people, its days are numbered,” he said of the Bush administration.
Writing of his personal feelings, Zinn said, “I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over… I wake up thinking this country is in the grip of a President (George W. Bush) who was not elected, who has surrounded himself with thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water, the air. And I wonder what kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit.”
Zinn called on his readers “to engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.”
Published on Sep 8, 2013
‘Bigger than Watergate': US ‘regular’ meetings with Al-Qaeda’s leader; documented White House ‘false flag terrorism’ moving people ‘like sheep'; the father of Twin Towers victim tell us why he backs this month’s 9/11 campaign on Times Square and around the world; & the protests calendar for September.
Seek truth from facts with Bob McIlvane, whose son Bobby was killed in the lobby of the North Tower; NATO’s Secret Armies author Dr. Daniele Ganser; Elizabeth Woodworth of Consensus911; Journal of 9/11 Studies co-editor Dr. Graeme MacQueen; Dr. Kevin Barrett author of Questioning the War of Terror, civil engineer Jon Cole of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth; and Rachel Maddow of The Rachel Maddow Show.
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges, argues that we are heading for economic, environmental, political, and moral collapse, as a once proud nation becomes an empire. According to Hedges, corporations are using mass entertainment to sell us the illusion of meaning, while we are kept apathetic about the decline of our culture, the erosion of education, and the systematic loss of our liberties.
Chapter by chapter
In Chapter 1, “The Illusion of Literacy,” beginning with the popular appeal of professional wrestling and reality TV, the author traces how media creates illusions of life, or pseudo-events, which overlay reality in the minds of those who follow them. These pseudo-events become more important than our real-world problems. “The success of professional wrestling, like most of the entertainment that envelops our culture, lies not in fooling us that these stories are real. Rather, it succeeds because we ask to be fooled. We happily pay for the chance to suspend reality.”
Moving through a detailed panorama of media, the cult of celebrity, and shows like American Idol, The Swan, Big Brother, and Survivor, Hedges uncovers the messages behind these shows. “They leave us chasing vapors. They urge us toward a life of narcissistic self-absorption. They tell us that existence is to be centered on the practices and desires of the self rather than the common good.”
This assaults literacy, not just our ability to read, but also our capacity to think deeply about issues.
A culture dominated by images and slogans seduces those that are functionally literate but who make the choice not to read…Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideals. Knowledge is confused with how we are made to feel. Commercial brands are mistaken for expressions of individuality.
This is most important in the area of politics.
Those captive to images cast ballots based on how candidates make them feel. They vote for a slogan, a smile, perceived sincerity, and attractiveness, along with the carefully crafted personal history of the candidate…Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those create the most convincing fantasies.
In chapter 2, “The Illusion of Love,” Hedges addresses the issue of the growing use of pornography in the last 40 years. He shows the horrors of the porn industry, its abuse of women and the industrialization of rape. He allows porn actors to speak for themselves, focusing on those who share their victimization by soulless companies whose only concern is profit; in porn they are commodities, not people. Hedges pulls no punches in letting them tell their stories. The testimonies here are stark and sexually detailed, certainly not for the faint-hearted. In other interviews with people who support the industry you can hear the hollowness of their justifications of abuse and torture.
He has a section of interviews with Shelly Lubben and some of her team at a porn convention. Shelly is an ex-porn star and is now a Christian crusader against the industry. Her mission is to rescue women from porn and show them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The author never openly commends her work against the industry, though he seems to share her viewpoint. Hedges does not write from a Christian perspective, and given his other railing against Christians (especially the “Christian Right”) this is a compliment.
There are few conclusions or recommendations for how to deal with this scourge on the mental landscape of our citizens. Instead, the author leaves us to draw our own from the descriptions of how pornography victimizes both users and producers. He rightly sees pornography as disassociated from relationships, intimacy, and real sex, and more about power and violence. Hedges uses our cultures fascination with porn, and the way that it has become mainstreamed into other media, to show how we have replaced real love with an illusion. Porn is a reflection of the violence that we have come to accept as entertainment, as figured in the Abu Graib abuses.
Chapter 3, “The Illusion of Wisdom,” is about higher education, specifically the schools of the elite, like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Cambridge—the very schools where most of those in political and corporate power receive their education. Admission to these schools, like a country club membership, is only available to the rich and powerful, who make colossal donations to gain admittance for their children. Diversity is cultural and ethnic, but there is no diversity of class. Intelligence and analytical skills are the only traits prized in these cloisters of privilege, and those students and faculty who question the status quo are shunned. Hedges contrasts this to an earlier time when enrollment was open, and where students questioned what they were hearing, rather than simply regurgitating facts.
These elites are not capable of asking the broad, universal questions, the staples of an education in the humanities, which challenge the deepest assumptions of a culture and examine the harsh realities of political and economic power…Instead the elite are taught skills which prepare them for careers in business and politics. If business and political institutions are going the wrong way, these skills will not enable them to see what is wrong, or show any way to correct them…The unstated ethic of these elite institutions is to make as much money as you can to sustain the elitist system…By the time they graduate, they are superbly conditioned for the drudgery of moving large sums of money around electronically or negotiating huge corporate contracts.
The consequence of this shift in education over the last 100 years is that the people making the biggest decisions about what kind of country and economy the rest of us will inherit are those unprepared to question authority and the status quo, and unlikely to set aside the interests of the rich and powerful to build a better world for all Americans. The moral and ethical dimensions of business and public policy will not just be ignored, but intellectually unavailable to them.
Chapter 4, “The Illusion of Happiness,” is about positive psychology and social engineering. Positive psychology believes that happiness can be engineered. “By thinking about things, by visualizing them, by wanting them, we can make them happen.” As preposterous as this con artistry seems, this is a prevailing philosophy being sold to major corporations. “The corporations tell us who we are and what we can become…If we are not happy there is something wrong with us.”
This ties in with the picture that Hedges is painting of our culture of illusion.
Once we adopt a positive mind, positive things will always happen. This belief, like all the other illusions peddled in the culture, encourages people to flee from reality when reality is frightening or depressing… This flight into self-delusion is no more helpful in solving real problems than alchemy. But it is very effective in keeping people from questioning the structure around them that are responsible for their misery. Positive Psychology gives an academic patina to fantasy.
These positive psychologists sell their services to corporations, who then build a culture where productivity at work, based on an illusion of happiness, not family or church, becomes the highest ethical goal for an individual. As this fails to produce real fulfillment and leads to isolation, the person who rebels against his keepers is passed over for promotion, or “downsized.” The person who is cowed into submission flees into the fantasy of spectacle on television or pornography to validate a life that should have been lived for a higher calling than next year’s annual report. Either way this accomplishes the corporation’s goal of profit, either by producing more brake pads, or downsizing those who don’t want to play the game.
Positive psychology, like celebrity culture, the relentless drive to consume, and the diversionary appeals of mass entertainment, feeds off the unhappiness that comes from isolation and the loss of community. The corporate teaching that we can find happiness through conformity to corporate culture is a cruel trick, for it is corporate culture that stokes and feeds the great malaise and disconnect of the culture of illusion.
The final chapter, “The Illusion of America,” sums up the rest of the book with the opening line, “I used to live in a country called America.” Hedges tells us that, though we use the same language of freedom, rights, liberty, and justice for all, we are left with only the illusion of these things in a country that cruelly treats those who are poor, laid off, and whose homes have been foreclosed, while those who have engineered their demise on Wall Street take home 10 million dollar bonuses. Ironically, the government we elected to promote liberty and to protect our people never steps in to interrupt this greed. There are slogans of hope and change, but the real hope is for the rich to get richer, and the change is just another coat of paint on the same collapsing edifice that was once a great and proud nation.
I challenge you to read that chapter for yourself. It’s not fun. Whether or not all that Chris Hedges says is true, there is certainly the ring of authenticity to someone born in the early 50s who grew up looking forward to a brighter future and a better America. Perhaps the most chilling statement is, “At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or the possibility of totalitarianism as real.” In the 70s I wondered, as I read Revelation 13, how the prediction of an evil world ruler could ever be bought and sold in America. Francis Schaeffer’s words were prophetic: “History indicates that that at a certain point of economic breakdown people cease being concerned with individual liberties and are ready to accept regimentation. The danger is obviously greater when [the] two main values so many people have are personal peace and affluence.”