U.S. Among Only 3 Countries at U.N. Officially Backing Nazism & Holocaust-Denial; Israel Parts Company from Them; Germany Abstains

Eric Zuesse

In a U.N. vote, on November 21st, only three countries — the United States, Ukraine, and Canada — voted against a resolution to condemn racist facsism, or “nazism,” and to condemn denial of Germany’s World War II Holocaust against primarily Jews.

This measure passed the General Assembly, on a vote of 115 in favor, 3 against, and 55 abstentions (the abstentions were in order not to offend U.S. President Obama, who was opposed to the resolution).

The measure had been presented to their General Assembly after a period of more than a decade of rising “neo-Nazi” (i.e., racist-fascist) movements in Europe, including especially in Ukraine, where two Ukrainian nazi parties were installed by the U.S. into high posts in Ukraine’s new government, immediately after the democratically elected Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown in a violent coup in Kiev during February of this year. The entire Ukrainian ‘defense’ establishment was then immediately taken over by the leaders of these two nazi parties, which rabidly hate ethnic Russians, and Ukraine is now led by the first — and so far, the only — nazi government to take charge of any country after the end of WW II. Within less than a mere three months after the coup, this new Government began an ethnic-cleansing program in Ukraine’s own ethnic-Russian southeast, where around 90% of the residents had voted for the man who had been overthrown in the coup — this was a campaign to isolate and exterminate those people, so that those voters could never again participate in a Ukrainian national election. Unless those voters would be eliminated, these nazis would be elected out of power — removed from office.

Ukraine voted no on this resolution because this new Ukrainian Government is the only nazi regime in the world, and they are doing the standard nazi things, and so what they are doing is in violation of numerous international laws, which are not being enforced, but which are re-asserted and re-affirmed in this resolution, though Ukraine and the Ukrainian situation aren’t at all mentioned in the resolution. The United States voted no on it, because the U.S. Government had placed them into power. And Canada voted no on it because their far-right Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been a virtually unquestioning supporter of all U.S. foreign-policy positions, and wants U.S. President Barack Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to assist the Koch brothers and other large oil giants to profitably transport and sell to Europe and around the world, tar-sands oil from Canada’s landlocked Athabasca region.

Germany abstained from voting on this resolution because their leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, does not want to offend the U.S. President by voting for a resolution that the U.S. Government strongly opposes; and also because, as today’s leader of the land where nazism started — in the first nazi political party, the Nazi Party of Germany — she does not want Germany to vote against a resolution that condemns Nazism. If Germany were to have voted against this anti-nazi resolution, she would have faced a political firestorm at home. So, Germany abstained, in order not to offend Obama on the one side, and her public on the other.

Key to understanding the vote on this resolution is knowing the relevant historical background, which has largely to do with the world’s only nazi-led Government: today’s Ukraine. Consequently, the remainder of this article will explore that issue in depth, so that this otherwise-incomprehensible U.N. vote will become comprehensible.

According to the U.N.’s press-report on the votes occurring on November 21st, “Speaking before the vote [on this resolution], the representative of Ukraine said Stalinism had killed many people in the Gulag, condemning Hitler and Stalin alike as international criminals. Calling on the Russian Federation to stop glorifying and feeding Stalinism, he said he could not support the draft text.” Ukraine refused to condemn nazism, because the resolution did not call for a condemnation also of Stalin, and of Russia. “Any intolerance should be dealt with in an appropriate and balanced manner, he added.”

Samantha Power, the U.S. Representative at the U.N., gave as her reason for voting against the resolution, its unacceptability to the Government of Ukraine. “Her delegation was concerned about the overt political motives that had driven the main sponsor of the current resolution. That Government had employed those phrases in the current crisis in Ukraine. That was offensive and disrespectful to those who had suffered at the hands of Nazi regimes. Therefore, the United States would vote against the resolution.” In other words: the U.S. opposed this resolution, supposedly, because it was offensive to Ukraine, even though the very term “Ukraine,” and all other conceivable references to Ukraine, were and are entirely absent from it. (Here is the entire resolution.) The world’s only nazi Government, Ukraine, thus had an opportunity to condemn nazism, and chose not to not vote on it, but to vote against  it. And their sponsor, the United States, joined them in that. But which was the master here, and which was the slave? Was the U.S. simply doing the will of the Ukrainian Government? Or was the Ukrainian Government doing the will of the U.S. Government — the Government that had installed it? Consider this:

THE IMMEDIATE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

My prior article, “Meet Ukraine’s Master Mass-Murderer,” documented how U.S. President Barack Obama — through his State Department and CIA and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and with funding by U.S. and Ukrainian oligarchs — exploited the “Maidan” movement in Ukraine, to replace the corrupt but democratically elected pro-Russian Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, by a rabidly anti-Russian, racist-fascist and thoroughly corrupt regime, whose most powerful person is Dmitriy Yarosh, who had founded and still leads one of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or “nazi,” armed political parties, Right Sector, and who commands a dedicated personal army of 7,000 highly trained “paramilitaries,” who not only terrorize and freely murder dissenting Ukrainians, but who even publicly, and with equal impunity, threaten the nation’s figurehead President, Petro Poroshenko, to keep him in line.

The present  article will mainly describe Yarosh’s chief competitor for power, the thuggish Ukrainian-Israeli-Swiss multibillionaire, Ihor Kolomoysky, who likewise commands a private Ukrainian army of around 7,000 mercenaries, and likewise issues public threats to overthrow Poroshenko, if Poroshenko fails to do his bidding. But first, here’s the story about

THE FIGUREHEAD LEADER — POROSHENKO:

It’s important to note that the figurehead, Poroshenko himself, is a corrupt billionaire oligarch, who, like Kolomoysky and Yarosh, has long been working with the CIA and U.S. Ambassadors and Presidents, in order to wrench Ukraine away from its historical alliance with Ukraine’s main bordering nation, Russia. So, Ukraine’s figurehead is the man whom U.S. President Obama and Republicans in Congress, and conservative congressional Democrats such as Senator Robert Melendez of New Jersey, parade before the U.S. media and their essentially captive American audience, as the face of ‘Ukrainian democracy,’ which is threatened by the ‘imperialistic designs’ of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.

Putin, of course, doesn’t like America’s and the EU’s surrounding his nation by new NATO nations (such as, perhaps, now Ukraine) which invite in U.S. military bases, and become next-door launching-pads for U.S. nuclear missiles aimed against Russia. Putin is vilified in “the West,” as Washington wants. The media pass along what the U.S. Government says. The American public doesn’t care whether Russia is surrounded by hostile nuclear missiles, and whether ethnic Russians in Ukraine, right next door to Russia, are being exterminated and driven out to become refugees in Russia. Putin isn’t being feted in Washington, as Poroshenko is. Instead, the United States is on Poroshenko’s side, against Putin’s side. In fact, U.S. President Obama, all congressional Republicans, and all conservative Democrats, praise Poroshenko, and condemn Putin, as if Putin were surrounding the U.S. with his military bases, instead of us surrounding his country with ours.

But, actually, Poroshenko is on America’s side: America isn’t on his side. Poroshenko has for a decade been a bought U.S. agent, after having first achieved his wealth by serving Ukraine’s Russian-appointed communist leaders, and then getting sweet inside deals on Harvard-designed privatizations of what had formerly been Ukrainian state-owned properties, such as a shipyard, a chocolate factory, and a TV station. But now, he’s ‘on America’s side.’

For America’s oligarchs, the Cold War never ended; it wasn’t really about communism versus capitalism; it was instead about which nation’s oligarchy would be supreme over all other nations’ oligarchies. And, when the communist (Russia-allied) team went down, Poroshenko knew to take his favors from them before, in 2004, selling himself out to the opposite (America-allied) team. And that’s what he did.

As regards what type of man Poroshenko himself actually is, consider carefully the phone-conversation between the top EU foreign-affairs official Catherine Ashton and her investigator in Kiev Urmas Paet, on 25 February 2014, right after the coup. See the call’s transcript in the middle of this, in italics, at the point where I’ve marked in brackets, “[So, Poroshenko himself knows that his regime is based on a false-flag U.S.-controlled coup d’etat against his predecessor.]”. In other words: by no later than 25 February 2014, Poroshenko already knew that this was a U.S.-backed coup and not an action on the part of the Yanukovych Government. From at least that moment forward, he was participating in, and keeping quiet about, treason to his country. He is a traitor to his nation. That’s the type of man he is. (EU officials likewise knew about it, after this phone-conversation. But they’re all quiet about it. Apparently, they, too, are on the take.)

UKRAINE’S MOST POWERFUL OLIGARCH — KOLOMOYSKY:

Britain’s Independent reported on 11 September 2013 (which was before the coup and so our ‘news’ media were reporting such things then), “Mr Kolomoisky had the reputation of being a ‘corporate raider’, someone who attacked companies by destabilising management, driving down the share price and grabbing control ‘without paying what the other shareholders would regard as a proper premium for their shares’. Mr Kolomoisky had, the judge noted, a reputation of having sought to take control of a company ‘at gunpoint’ in Ukraine. Even his main witness in the trial admitted that was his boss’s image.”

Then, on 15 January 2014, barely a month before the coup, The Hill reported about Kolomoysky and his sidekick Bogolyubov and about Kolomoysky’s huge bank, Privat, that, “In the takeover of the Kremenchuk steel factory in 2006, Privat’s raid was literal, with Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov hiring an army of thugs to descend upon the plant with baseball bats, gas and rubber[-bullet] pistols, iron bars and chainsaws. Needless to say, Kremenchuk’s steel production was soon under Privat’s control.”

Then, after the February coup, the great American independent journalist George Eliason, who happens to live in Ukraine’s conflict-zone, reported on 23 June 2014, that, “When the Kolomoisky mercenaries go into the shops it’s like a siege. They come twenty at a time circling the shop with their weapons pointing at anyone walking by. They do not receive government supplies so they clean out the stores, leaving little for residents.”

Then, Eliason added: “In reaction to the peace plan, Kolimoisky (banker, Jewish leader, oligarch statesman of Ukraine) stated that he will not be governed by Poroshenko. He would continue military operations until all the Moskal [ethnic Russians] are killed. Take him seriously: this is a guy that rips down holocaust memorials (Crimea—before Maidan) and built luxury housing where the crematorium stood. He organized and paid for the Odessa Trade Union House massacre and the Mariupol massacre. He has challenged the legitimacy of Kiev and declared himself a separatist. Should we tell president Obama?” (Obama says that the people who are being killed by his new Ukrainian Government deserve to die because they’re separatists.)

In other words: Kolomoysky respects no law but his own.

Right after the coup, Kolomoysky was appointed by Obama’s team as the Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, or region, on 2 March 2014.

AFP reported on October 31st, “Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s most controversial billionaires, funds the paramilitary, which returns the favour in these troubled times by boosting the banking and industrial tycoon’s personal security and political clout. All the signs are of a flourishing military enterprise.” Kolomoysky’s henchman Yuriy Bereza was asked how many men are in the battalion, and he answered, “Unofficially, it’s 7,000.” Bereza was threatening to overthrow the Poroshenko Government if they didn’t kill or drive out enough ethnic Russians fast enough, and was asked how much time Kolomoysky was intending to give Poroshenko. “We’re going to give them half a year.” And then, if Kolomoysky still isn’t satisfied? “‘A coup,’ he said.”

I have previously written about Kolomoysky’s links to the Obama White House. Kolomoyskyi has hired Joe Biden’s son, and another young man who is connected to John Kerry. Both could become billionaires if the U.S. team kills and drives out enough people in the targeted regions, because Ihor Kolomoysky’s company that hired them has claims to the fracking rights in much of the area the Government is bombing. To Obama’s team, the residents there are trash, but the land is golden.

RESISTANCE TO OBAMA’S UKRAINIAN OPERATION:

Some members of the U.S. Congress are opposed to the U.S. supporting nazism in Ukraine. All are Democrats. One, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, introduced a bill against it, and the journalist Max Blumenthal posted its text at Alternet, on November 18th. Headlining there, “How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis,” Blumenthal presented the “Failed Amendment barring US assistance to Ukrainian neo-Nazis.” What killed it was the rabid anti-Russian sentiment at the Anti-Defamation League, plus congressional Republicans, and the few conservative congressional Democrats.

As that incident shows, anti-nazi sentiments can pass toothless measures at the United Nations, but not meaningful measures in the U.S. Congress, where Obama’s campaign to vilify Russia resonates strongly, especially amongst the U.S. Establishment.

Even after communism in Russia ended, America’s oligarchs (including even Democratic ones, such as George Soros, and Pierre Omidyar) still loathe Russians, and aren’t at all shy about using foreign nazis in order to do the dirty-work of mass-murdering them, where and when they can.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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The Astonishing Rise of Central Bank Fear

Anyone who looks at central bankers speak can sense the fear behind their absurd bravado, and the dishonesty of their public confidence.

The extraordinary disconnect between soaring stock markets and stagnating real economies has been gleefully embraced by all who benefit from the disconnect:

The financial media, brokerages, investment banks, politicos who have made stocks the barometer of “prosperity” and of course the top 5% who own roughly 3/4 of the financial assets of the nation.

Even more extraordinary is the rise in central bank fear that has unleashed extremes of monetary policy. If the real economy is as great as advertised, then why are central banks dropping monetary neutron bombs on a nearly weekly basis?

What are they so afraid of? And if they’re not afraid of something, then why are they constantly hyping their threadbare commitment to “do whatever it takes,” pushing real interest rates into negative territory and buying stocks and bonds hand over fist?

I’ve prepared a chart depicting central bank fear, the stock market and the real economy. As central bank fear/panic pushes higher, the banks have unleashed a torrent of PR and monetary programs that have dragged stocks higher with every phony pronouncement and every new free money for financiers chumming of the stock market.

No wonder the feeding frenzy never stops–the central banks are clearly terrified of what will happen should they stop dumping monetary chum in the waters.

What is equally extraordinary is the abject failure of all the central banks’ free money for financiers to move the needle of the real economy. Virtually every bright spot in the economy results not from organic growth but from the expansion of a new credit bubble: for example, subprime auto loans.

After tens of trillions of dollars in stimulus and trillions squandered on asset purchases to suppress interest rates and prop up the stock market, the real economies are drifting into recession or stagnation.

The central bank response to this abject failure? More free money for financiers.

Anyone who looks at central bankers speak can sense the fear behind their absurd bravado, and the dishonesty of their public confidence. They’re not just afraid–they’re in a panic. Every press conference and every announcement is supposed to express confidence, but what they really express is terror: terror that doing more of what failed spectacularly will not just stop working–it will trigger the collapse of the entire rotten, corrupt system of central banks and free money for financiers


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3 Billion Gallons of Highly-Toxic Fracking Waste Dumped Into California Drinking Water Supply

California Has Been Fracked

We’ve warned for years that fracking pollutes our scarce drinking water. As the Emmy-winning documentary Gasland demonstrates,  fracking is polluting water all over the country.

A study published in the journal Ground Water predicts that the highly-toxic fluids used in fracking can migrate to aquifers within a few short years.

NBC Bay Area news reported last week that 3 billion gallons of highly-toxic fracking waste was injected into California’s aquifers:

In a time when California faces an historic drought, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has uncovered that state officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump billions of gallons of waste water into protected aquifers.

***

State officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump nearly three billion gallons of waste water into underground aquifers that could have been used for drinking water or irrigation.

Those aquifers are supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity, protected by the EPA.

***

California’s Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, “In multiple different places of the permitting process an error could have been made.”California’s Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, “In multiple different places of the permitting process an error could have been made.”

***

“This is something that is going to slowly contaminate everything we know around here,” said fourth- generation Kern County almond grower Tom Frantz, who lives down the road from several of the injection wells in question.

According to state records, as many as 40 water supply wells, including domestic drinking wells, are located within one mile of a single well that’s been injecting into non-exempt aquifers.

***

“That’s a huge concern and communities who rely on water supply wells near these injection wells have a lot of reason to be concerned that they’re finding high levels of arsenic and thallium and other chemicals nearby where these injection wells have been allowed to operate,” said Kretzmann.

Fracking Pumps Out Huge Quantities of Methane

Scientists found that fracking pumps out a lot of methane … into both our drinking water and the environment. Indeed, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that fracking puts between 100 and 1,000 times more methane into the atmosphere than the EPA assumed.

For those worried about global warming, you should note that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas: 72 times more potent as a warming source than CO2.  As such, fracking won’t decrease global warming … if anything, it will increase it.

Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Scientists have concluded that fracking actually causes earthquakes.  Some fracking companies now admit this fact.

And yet is allowed within 500 feet of nuclear power plants. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Fracking Is a Ponzi Scheme

Economically, fracking is a ponzi scheme, which has a lot in common with the subprime mortgage scam.

Fracking Our Liberties

A law passed in Pennsylvania allows doctors to access information about chemicals used in fracking, but will restrict them from sharing that information with their patients. See the writeups by Mother Jones and Truthout.

The director of the Emmy-award winning documentary on fracking – Gasland – was arrested for attempting to film a Congressional hearing on fracking.

Actor Mark Ruffalo was put on a terror watch list after he organized showings of Gasland.

The Washington Post reported in 2012 that the FBI is investigating anti-fracking activists as potential terrorists.

The state of Pennsylvania hired an Israeli-American company with extensive military and intelligence ties to put out “terror” alerts. The company – ITRR – describes itself as:

The preeminent Israeli/American security firm providing training, intelligence and education to clients across the globe.

ITRR explains:

The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response’s research and analysis center, known as the Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center (TAM-C), is located in Israel. The Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center is staffed with former law enforcement, military, and intelligence professionals experienced in the production and utilization of intelligence products.

ITRR considered opponents of fracking to be potential terrorists.

Fracking companies are also using military psychological operations techniques to discredit opponents (and see this).

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, Politics / World News, Science / Technology | 13 Comments

Mark Udall and the Unspeakable

President Obama, who is just now un-ending again the ending of the endless war on Afghanistan, has never made a secret of taking direction from the military, CIA, and NSA. He’s escalated wars that generals had publicly insisted he escalate. He’s committed to not prosecuting torturers after seven former heads of the CIA publicly told him not to. He’s gone after whistleblowers with a vengeance and is struggling to keep this Bush-era torture report, or parts of it, secret in a manner that should confuse his partisan supporters.

But the depth of elected officials’ obedience to a permanent war machine is usually a topic avoided in polite company — usually, not always. Back in 2011, the dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, a member of Obama’s transition team in 2009, said publicly that Obama had decided in 2009 to block prosecutions of Bush-era criminals in part because the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt. Ray McGovern says he has a trustworthy witness to Obama saying he would leave the crimes unpunished because, in Obama’s words, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King?” Neither of those incidents has interested major media outlets in the slightest.

As we pass the 51st anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy, many of us are urging Senator Mark Udall to make the torture report public by placing it into the Congressional Record, as Senator Mike Gravel did with the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Gravel is alive and well, and there’s every reason to believe that Udall would go on to live many years deeply appreciated for his action. But there is — let us be honest for a moment — a reason Udall might hesitate that we don’t want to speak about.

The general thinking is that because Udall’s term ends this month, he doesn’t have to please those who fund his election campaigns through the U.S. system of legalized bribery, and he doesn’t have to please his fellow corrupt senators because he won’t be working with them any longer. Both of those points may be false. Udall may intend to run for the Senate again, or — like most senators, I suspect — he may secretly plan on running for president some day. And the big payoffs for elected officials who work to please plutocracy always come after they leave office. But there is another consideration. The need to please the permanent war machine ends only when one is willing to die for something — what Dr. King said one must be willing to do to have a life worth living — not when one leaves office.

Presidents and Congress members send large numbers of people to risk their lives murdering much larger numbers of people in wars all the time. They have taken on jobs — particularly the presidency — in which they know they will be in danger no matter what they do.  And yet everyone in Washington knows (and no one says) that making an enemy of the CIA is just not done and has not been done since the last man to do it died in a convertible in Dallas. We’ve seen progressive members of Congress like Dennis Kucinich leave without putting crucial documents that they thought should be public into the Congressional Record. Any member of Congress, newly reelected or not, could give the public the torture report. A group of 10 of them could do it collectively for the good of humanity. But nobody thinks they will. Challenging a president who does not challenge the CIA is just not something that’s done.

To understand why, I recommend reading Jim Douglass’ book JFK and the Unspeakable. Douglass is currently writing about three other murders, those of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy. Distant history? Something that doesn’t happen anymore? Perhaps, but is that because we’ve run out of lone nuts with guns? Clearly not. Is it because the permanent war machine has stopped killing its enemies? Or is it, rather, because no one has presented the same challenge to the permanent war machine that those people did? Peace voices are no longer allowed in the U.S. media. Both political parties favor widespread war. War has become a matter of routine. Enforcement has become unnecessary, because the threat, or other influences that align with it, has been so successful.

I recommend checking out ProjectUnspeakable.com, the website of a play by Court Dorsey that recounts the killing of JFK, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK. (Or check out a performance in Harlem planned for February 21.)

The play consists almost entirely of actual quotes by public figures. While no attempt is made, of course, at including a comprehensive collection of information, enough evidence is included in the play to completely erase belief in the official stories of how those four men died. And evidence is included showing who actually killed them, how, and why.

As if that weren’t enough to persuade the viewer that our society is mentally blocking out something uncomfortable, the glaring obviousness of what happened in those years of assassinations is highlighted. President Kennedy was publicly asked if he might be murdered exactly as he was, and he publicly replied that it could certainly happen. His brother discussed the likelihood of it with Khrushchev for godsake. The killing of Malcolm X was not the war machine’s first attempt on his life. He and King both saw what was coming quite clearly and said so. Bobby Kennedy knew too, did not believe the official account of his brother’s murder. King’s family rejects the claim that James Earl Ray killed MLK, pointing instead to the CIA killer shown in the photographs of the assassination but never questioned as a witness. A jury has unanimously agreed with King’s family against the government and the history books.

The attention to President Kennedy has always been so intense that fear and suppression have been required. The doctors said he was shot from the front. Everyone agreed there were more bullets shot than left the gun of the official suspect, who was positioned behind the target. But investigators and witnesses have died in very suspect circumstances. The other deaths have not been in exactly the same glaring spotlight. New evidence in the killing of Robert Kennedy emerges every few years and is chatted about as a curiosity for a moment before simply being ignored. After all, the man is dead.

Let’s try an analogy. I live in Charlottesville, Va., where the University of Virginia is. This week, Rolling Stone published an article about violent gang rapes of female students in a fraternity house. I had known that rape victims are often reluctant to come forward. I had known that rape can be a hard charge to prove. But I had also known that young women sometimes regret sex and falsely accuse nonviolent well-meaning young men of rape, and that UVA held rallies against date rape, and that opposition to sexual assault and harassment was all over the news and widely accepted as the proper progressive position. With California passing a law to clarify what consent is, I had assumed everyone knew violent assault had nothing to do with consent. I had assumed brutal gang attacks by students who are expelled if they cheat on a test or write a bad check could not go unknown. And now it seems there’s something of a widely known unspoken epidemic. In the analysis of the Rolling Stone article, women deny rape goes on to shield themselves from the fear, while men deny it in order to shield themselves from any discomfort about their party-going fun-loving carelessness. And yet some significant number of students knew and stayed silent until one brave victim spoke, just as every whistleblower in Washington exists alongside thousands of people who keep their mouths shut.

What if someone in Washington were to speak? What if the unspeakable were made speakable?

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3-Star General Who Helped Lead War On Terror: We’ve Lost the Wars In Iraq and Afghanistan

“That Would Be Four Times Biting That Poison Apple: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Then Iraq Again”

3-star General Daniel Bolger helped to lead the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The first sentence of his new book - Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – starts:

I am a United Sates Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry.

Yahoo News notes:

Having studied military history, he says he should have known that a U.S.-led counterinsurgency in a country like Afghanistan could never work.

Now, with the rise of the Islamic State, there’s a growing choir urging the U.S. military to lead yet another ground war in Iraq.

“That would be four times biting that poison apple: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and then Iraq again,” he said.

General Bolger is right.

The U.S. previously carried out regime change in Iraq in 1963 and Afghanistan in the 1970s.

Empire after empire has broken its back trying to control Afghanistan.   “One more surge” won’t do the trick.

War has bankrupted empires for 2,500 years. America is  no different. Especially when countries go into debt to finance the war … instead of paying for it out of current finances.

America has fallen into the same trap … and is digging an ever-deeper hole.

Posted in Politics / World News | 5 Comments

Yes, Ye … … No, No, Nooooooooo!

http://i.imgur.com/URG8Geq.gif

More funny animals.

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Why Do We Allow Ukraine’s Government to Write the Official Report on The Downing of MH17?

Eric Zuesse

There are only two suspects in the shoot-down of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over Ukraine on July 17th: the separatist rebels, whom the Ukrainian Government charge had shot it down mistaking it for one of the Ukrainian Air Force bombers that routinely drop bombs onto the separatists and their families and indiscriminately onto everyone else in that region; or otherwise the Ukrainian Air Force itself, as a means for President Obama to be able to win increased international sanctions against Russia for Russia’s support of those blamed rebels.

That’s it, and that’s all.

One of these two suspects, the Ukrainian Government, was granted by the other three member-states of the official MH17 ‘investigating’ commission, a veto-power over anything that’s written into that ‘investigating’ report.

In other words, basically what exists is this:

The Ukrainian Government gets to write the official ‘investigation’ report on that ‘accident.’ The other three Obama-allied nations will place their signatures onto it — or else there simply won’t be any such ‘final report.’

This agreement on Ukraine’s veto-power was signed on August 8th, by Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, and Netherlands, the four member-nations of the official ‘investigation.’

This fact, of a Ukrainian veto, was made public on August 12th, in an obscure Ukrainian announcement.

Then, on August 23rd, the first English-language news report on it was published at Global Research.

The very next day, the present writer published a news-report placing that secret agreement into a fuller context.

And, on November 20th, Russian Television reported that the four-member ‘investigating’ team are still refusing to say anything about the earlier news reports that the Ukrainian Government possesses this veto-power.

Do Western Governments, and their now (in the wake of Obama’s coup) client-state of Ukraine, really think that the public are so stupid as not to recognize that this is an admission by the West (i.e., by the U.S. President and his various international stooges) that Russia was framed by themselves and their colleague U.S. client-states, into those economic sanctions?

That’s the basic question, now, isn’t it?

How many ‘reporters’ in the Western ‘news’ media are asking it? Why do their bosses refuse to allow them to ask it?

Here is why: If ‘journalists’ don’t report it, then who’s to blame, for the public’s not knowing it, isn’t really their respective public (as any elite likes to claim: “Democracy is really just mobocracy”), but is instead those ‘news’ media themselves, for hiding this important information from them. So: that’s what the ‘news’-elite wants — an ignorant or misinformed public, a public that can be led around by the nose, like animals to their slaughter.

Western diplomacy has become a scam, basically. Russia faces economic sanctions for what Obama did. And that’s the news that none of the Western ‘news’ media will report.

This cover-up of that scam is, itself, very big news. How will Western ‘news’ media cover it? Or will they instead cover-up the cover-up; and, to the extent that they report about it at all, will they charge that the authentic news-reports about the matter, such as this one, are ‘mere opinion pieces, not really news-stories at all,’ and so simply ignore the solidly documented facts that are reported in these news-stories?

However, is it really fair to expect the public to form truth-based opinions about things of which they are intentionally being kept ignorant, and even outright deceived (such as whether the sanctions against Russia are based on what they were told they were)?

Is the problem really democracy, as so many executives in the ‘news’ business say? Or is it actually oligarchy itself: that this ‘democracy’ is merely fake?

Will the Western ‘news’ media please, just for once, stand up and answer that? Or will they instead merely ignore it, as they ignore other vital truths?

(One high ‘news’-executive at one of the largest ‘news’-organizations privately answered that question to me by saying “I would highly doubt” that they would ever even consider to make the reality, which they already know quite well, public.)

How much longer can the public accept being raped by the press, and by their allegedly ‘democratic’ government?

How much longer will  they, in fact, accept it?

But how can they not  accept it, if they are being constantly lied-to? Is that what the Western press will continue to do?

Big news can have big consequences. But not so long as it’s still being kept secret, and lied-about.

Like this. But wasn’t Hitler supposed to have lost World War II? And weren’t we his enemies? So, why is today’s U.S. President leading this restoration of nazism — of racist fascism — only this time against ethnic Russians?

In fact, why does NATO itself even still exist, after the Cold War against communism was won? What are we fighting for now? What are we fighting against? Why are we fighting at all, so constantly at war?

Who benefits from this? Why do we allow it?

Perhaps, when a nation’s press is like this, controlled by oligarchs, the political drift towards and into fascism is inevitable. A ‘democratic’ fascism results if the public are deceived by an oligarchy. Racist fascism becomes then the way to build a passionate reactive compliance among the public, so they’re devoted to destroying what the oligarchs want them to fight and kill, thus to grab for the oligarchs land and resources the oligarchs want to conquer. Such a reactive passion among the public produces for oligarchs cheap soldiers. It cuts oligarchs’ costs, and thereby increases oligarchs’ profits. The idea that the press is merely a passive component in the body-politic is false; maybe it’s actually an oligarchic fraud. But, in any case, a press like this doesn’t merely result from racist fascism; it produces racist fascism. And maybe that explains what is happening in our time. Maybe that’s it. Maybe this press doesn’t merely result from fascism; maybe it causes fascism. Maybe that’s why Hitler posthumously is winning the ideological war he waged against America’s President in his time, FDR. Maybe that’s how fascism is taking over America, at last.

If this is the case, then the answer to our title-question is, of course, likewise clear.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Politics / World News, Science / Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

12 Charts Show Connection Between Roundup and Disease

Roundup is found in 75% of air and water samples.  Many farmers drench crops with Roundup right before harvest. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.

Monsanto claims that Roundup is totally safe, and can be dumped on everything without problem.

Is it true?

In reality, Roundup is linked to a number of diseases. And the ingredients in Roundup are deadly to human cells.

A study from the Journal of Organic Systems includes the following 12 charts which show the correlation between Roundup (technically known as “glyphosate”) and disease:

Posted in Politics / World News, Science / Technology | 3 Comments

Have Central Banks Entered an Undeclared War?

The monetary tectonic plates are shifting, and predicting the next global financial earthquake is relatively easy.

I recently suggested that the devaluation of the yen was Japan’s Monetary Pearl Harbor: a direct attack on the currencies of its major trading partners: the euro (European Union), the won (South Korea), the Australian dollar (AUD) and the U.S. dollar (USD), which affects both the U.S. and China since China’s currency, the renminbi, is pegged to the USD.

Though there have been no overt (that is to say, public) counter-attacks, this may not reflect monetary peace so much as an undeclared war. Correspondent Mark G. observed that the current geopolitical backdrop is considerably more unsettled than the relatively benign global chessboard in 2008:

“The Eurozone and the Pacific Rim now have a pair of regional wars being fought out primarily by financial and monetary means. We can infer that the major central banks won’t be anywhere near as cooperative during a crisis as they were in 2008.”

While the American-European financial sanctions against Russia and Russia’s counter-moves are being waged in public, the public response of the Korean and Chinese central banks to Japan’s massive devaluation has been limited to grumbling.

But it is unlikely that other central banks are limiting their response to Japan’s aggressive devaluation to words.

Let’s start by noting that central banks play two games: one is pure public relations: marionettes on strings beat deflation with sticks and declare they’ll save financial parasites with “whatever it takes” monetary policies.

Meanwhile, their actions may be mere shadows of the bold policies being trumpeted, or they may be extremes nobody dares make public, for example the Federal Reserve’s $16 trillion bailout of literally the entire Western banking sector in the last Global Financial Meltdown.

(The Levy Institute came up with $29 trillion after poring over all the data):

The U.S. Fed has remained mute, but the yen devaluation has destabilized the global monetary order, whether the Fed acknowledges it publicly or not.

Unsurprisingly, central bank public statements don’t mention that competing devaluations share certain characteristics with circular firing squads. Beggar thy neighbor policies destabilize currency flows, and from there, imports and exports, and from there, domestic regimes.

Is there a beneficiary of devaluations and shadow currency wars? It’s not too difficult to imagine gold will eventually be revalued to reflect the decline in purchasing power of devalued currencies. It’s also not too difficult to anticipate capital flows into whatever currency isn’t being actively devalued–for example, the U.S. dollar.

One peculiar consequence of choosing not to devalue one’s currency is the resulting inflows of capital fleeing devaluing currencies act as a form of quantitative easing: some of that capital flows into Treasury bonds, effectively replacing the Federal Reserve’s QE bond purchases.

The monetary tectonic plates are shifting, and predicting the next global financial earthquake is relatively easy. Predicting the timing and the winners–now that’s tricky.


How to forge a career in a bipolar economy:
Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
,
a mere $9.95 for the Kindle ebook edition and $15.47 for the print edition.

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NO ONE TOLD YOU WHEN TO RUN, YOU MISSED THE STARTING GUN

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Pink Floyd – Time

I stumbled across two mind blowing charts yesterday that had me pondering how generations of Americans had frittered their lives away, spending money they didn’t have on things they didn’t need, utilizing easy to acquire debt, and saving virtually nothing for their futures or a rainy day. We are a nation of Peter Pans who never grew up. While I was driving home from work, one of my favorite Pink Floyd tunes came on the radio and the lyrics to Time seemed to fit perfectly with the charts I had just discovered.

We were all young once. Old age and retirement don’t even enter your thought process when you are young. Most people aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they are in their early twenties. Slaving away at your entry level low paying job, chasing the opposite sex, getting drunk, and having fun on the weekends is the standard for most young people. But you eventually have to grow up. Because one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one tells you when to grow up. And based on the charts below, tens of millions missed the starting gun.

I graduated college in 1986 and started my entry level CPA firm job, making $18,000 per year. I did live at home for a year and a half before getting an apartment with a friend. I was able to buy a car, pay off my modest student loan debt, go out on the weekends, and still save some money. I was in my early 20′s and had opened a mutual fund account at Vanguard. Anyone who entered the job market from the mid 1970s through the mid 1980′s, which would be the late Baby Boomers and early Generation Xers, had job opportunities and the benefit of low stock market valuations.

P/E ratios of the market were single digits in the late 70s and early 80s, versus 20 today. Dividend yields on stocks averaged 5% for the S&P 500, versus 1.9% today. The Dow bottomed out at 759 in 1980, while the S&P 500 bottomed at 98. A 20 year secular bull market was about to get under way. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers had the opportunity of a lifetime. Even after six years of the bull, when I graduated from college the Dow stood at 1,786 and the S&P 500 stood at 521. I had just begun to invest when the 1987 crash wiped out 20% in one day. It meant nothing to me. I didn’t have much to lose, so I just kept investing.

The 20 year bull market took the Dow from 759 to 11,722 by January 2000. The S&P 500 rose from 98 to 1,552 by March 2000. You also averaged about a 3% dividend yield per year over the entire 20 years. Your average annual return, including reinvested dividends, exceeded 17%. Anyone who even saved a minimal amount of money on a monthly basis, would have built a substantial nest egg for retirement. If you had invested in 10 Year Treasuries, your annual return would have exceeded 11% over the 20 years. Even an ultra-conservative investor who only put their money into 5 year CDs would have averaged better than 7% per year over the 20 years.

Even with the two stock market collapses since 2000, your average annual return in the stock market since 1980 still exceeds 11%. That’s 34 years with an average annual total return of better than 11%. Every person who had a job over this time frame should have accumulated a decent level of retirement savings. That is why the chart below is so shocking. Over 15% of all people 60 and older and 23% of people 45 to 59 years old have NO retirement savings. None. Nada. Zilch. This means 25 million Boomers and Xers are stuck living off a Social Security pittance and choosing between keeping the heat on or eating a feast of Ramen noodles and Friskies. It seems they let 30 years get behind them. They missed the starting gun.

http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/retirement-savings.png

I’m not shocked that over 50% of 18 to 29 year olds have no retirement savings. With the terrible job market, declining real wages, massive levels of student loan debt, two stock market crashes in the space of eight years, and 4% annual returns since 2000, young people today have neither the means nor trust in the system to save for retirement. Their elders had no such excuse. Just a minimal amount per paycheck saved over the last 30 years would have compounded to well over $100,000, even at modest salary levels. It is disgraceful that 25 million people over the age of 45 have saved nothing for their retirement. Far more disgraceful is the median household retirement balance of $3,000 for all working age households. There are 122 million households in this country and 61 million of them have $3,000 or less in retirement savings.

http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/20130620__figure9.jpg

The far worse data points are the $12,000 median retirement balance of aged 55 to 64 households and the $10,100 median retirement balance of aged 45 to 54 households. These people are on the edge of retirement and have less than one year’s expenses saved. There is no legitimate excuse for this pitiful display of planning. These people had decades to save, strong financial market returns, and if they worked for a decent size organization – matching contributions to their retirement accounts. They didn’t need a huge salary. They didn’t need to save 20% of their salary. They didn’t have to be an investing genius. A savings allocation of just 3% to 5% would have grown into a decent sized nest egg after a few decades of compounding.

We know from the data in the chart, it didn’t happen. The concept of delayed gratification is unknown to the millions of nearly broke Boomers and Xers, shuffling towards an old age of poverty, misery and regret. A 64 year old has a life expectancy of about 20 years. They’ll have to budget “very” frugally to make that $12,000 last. The question is how did it happen. I don’t buy the load of crap that you can’t judge people as groups. I judge people by their actions, not their words. I know you can’t lump every Boomer and Xer into one box. Individuals in every generation have bucked the trend, lived within their means, saved for the future, and accumulated significant nest eggs for their retirement. But the aggregate numbers don’t lie. The majority of those over the age of 45 have squandered their chance at a relatively comfortable retirement. These are the people who most vociferously insist the government do something about their self created plight. It’s their right to free healthcare, free food, subsidized housing, free utilities, higher minimum wages, and a comfortable government subsidized retirement. They are wrong. They had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was up to them to educate themselves, get a job, work hard, and accumulate savings.

The generations of live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow Americans over the age of 45 have no one to blame but themselves. They bought those 4,500 sq foot McMansions with negative amortization 0% down mortgages. They had to keep up with the Jones-es by putting in granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, home theaters, Olympic sized swimming pools, and enormous decks. They have HDTVs in every room in their house and must have every premium cable channel, along with the NFL package. They upgrade their phones every time Apple rolls out a new and improved version. They pay landscapers to manicure their properties. They lease new BMWs every three years. They have taken exotic vacations on an annual basis. They haven’t packed a lunch for themselves since they were 16 years old. Eating out for lunch and dinner has been a staple of their existence for decades. That morning Starbucks coffee is a given. A new wardrobe of name brand stylish clothes for every season is a requirement because your neighbors and co-workers are constantly judging you. Nothing proves you’re a success like a Rolex watch, Canali suit, Versace boots, or Gucci handbag. The have it now generations got it then and have virtually nothing now because they acquired all of these things with debt.

Real cumulative household income is up 10% since 1980. Consumer debt outstanding has risen from $350 billion in 1980 to $3.267 trillion today. That is a 933% increase. We’ve had decades of faux prosperity aided and abetted by Wall Street shysters, corrupt politicians, mega-corporation mass merchandisers, and Madison Avenue maggots trained in the methods of Edward Bernays to convince willfully ignorant consumers to consume. And consume we did. Saving, not so much. You can blame the oligarchs, bankers, retailers, and politicians for the fact you didn’t save, but it rings hollow. No matter how much propaganda is spewed by the ruling class, we are still individuals with free will. The older generations had choices. Saving money requires only one thing – spending less than you make. Most Boomers and Xers chose to spend more than they made and financed the difference. When the average credit card balance is five times greater than the median retirement account balance, you’ve got a problem. The facts about our consumer empire of debt are unequivocal as can be seen in these statistics:

  • Average credit card debt: $15,593
  • Average mortgage debt: $153,184
  • Average student loan debt: $32,511
  • $11.62 trillion in total debt
  • $880.3 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.05 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.12 trillion in student loans

I don’t blame those in their 20′s and 30′s for not having retirement savings. Anyone who entered the workforce around the year 2000 has good reason to not trust the system or their elders. There have been two stock market collapses and every asset class is now extremely overvalued due to the criminal machinations of the Federal Reserve. There are far less good paying jobs. Real wages keep declining. They were convinced by their elders to load up on student loan debt, leaving them as debt serfs. The Wall Street/Federal Reserve scheme to boost home prices and repair their insolvent balance sheets has successfully kept young people from ever being able to afford a home. So you have young people unable to save, invest or spend. You have middle aged and older Americans with little or no savings, mountains of debt, low paying service jobs, and an inability to spend. The only people left with resources are the .1% who have captured the system, peddle the debt, and reap the rewards of consumption versus saving. They may be able to engineer a stock market rally to further enrich themselves, but they can not propel the real economy of 318 million people. Our consumer society is dying – asphyxiated by debt – shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

I’d love to offer some sage advice on how to fix this problem, but it’s too late. Too many people missed the starting gun. More than ten years got behind them. No one is going to come to the rescue of people who never saved for their future. The Federal government has already made $200 trillion of entitlement promises it can’t keep. State governments have made tens of trillions in pension promises they can’t keep. They can’t tax young people who don’t have jobs. Older generations who think the government is going to rescue them from their foolish shortsighted choices are badly mistaken. Their benefits are likely to be reduced because the unsustainable will not be sustained. The 45 to 64 year old cohort who chose not to save can run and run to try and catch up with the sun, but it’s too late. It’s sinking. Their plans have come to naught. They are destined for lives of quiet desperation. There is nothing more to say.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Pink Floyd – Time

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The Falcon Can No Longer Hear the Falconer

We in the center that cannot hold can only watch as things fall apart.

In so many ways, the falcon can no longer hear the falconer. The phrase is drawn from William Butler Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The falcon can no longer hear the falconer describes our disintegrating era well.

The politicos can no longer hear the people they supposedly serve.

Concentrated wealth no longer heeds any falconer; it is free to exploit its power in the market and the halls of government.

Unconstrained by an inner falconer of integrity, many seek to game the system to maximize their private gain by any means available.

Market manipulators, equally unconstrained, ceaselessly rig markets for their private gain and the benefit of their cronies.

The circular gyres have been widening for years, and the commands of the public, of common sense, of personal integrity and of a transparent, open market grow fainter and fainter.

The notion that the falconer should be heeded has been lost. There are no limits on greed, power, exploitation, fraud, misrepresentation, manipulation of markets or the issuance of lies to further a con, pass legislation or boost the value of a security.

As Yeats observed, we live in an era of faked sincerity and threadbare melodramas played for public consumption: those apologizing for their lies lack all conviction, while those seeking to rouse a partisan mob are full of phony passion.

Disillusioned with the pillaging and predation of our supposed leaders who have circled away from all constraint, we in the center that cannot hold can only watch things fall apart as the orderly universe operated by the few at the expense of the many dissolves (in Aldous Huxley’s phrase) into a world of planless incoherence. 

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Torturer on the Ballot

Michigan’s First Congressional District is cold enough to freeze spit. Half of it is disconnected from the rest of Michigan and tacked onto the top of Wisconsin. A bit of it is further north than that, but rumored to be inhabited nonetheless.

In the recent Congressional elections, incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Benishek was reelected to his third term with 52 percent of the votes. Benishek is a climate-change denier and committed to limiting himself to three terms, a pair of positions that may end up working well together.

Benishek’s predecessor in Congress was a Democrat, and a Democrat took 45 percent of the vote this year. Will that Democrat run again in 2016? Some would argue that if he does it should be from prison. Before he ran for office, Jerry Cannon ran the U.S. death camp at Guantanamo and, according to a witness, was personally responsible for ordering torture.

Green Party candidate Ellis Boal took 1 percent of the vote in Michigan’s First, after apparently failing to interest corporate media outlets in his campaign, and by his own account failing utterly to interest them in what he managed to learn about Cannon, who also “served” in the war in Iraq.

Now, Congress is jam-packed with members of both major parties who have effectively condoned and covered up torture for years. Both parties have elected numerous veterans of recent wars who have participated in killing in wars that they themselves, in some cases, denounce as misguided. And we’ve read about the Bush White House overseeing torture in real time from afar. But it still breaks new ground for the party of the President who has claimed to be trying to close Guantanamo for six years to put up as a candidate a man who ran the place, and a man whose role in torture was not entirely from his air-conditioned office.

I would also venture to say that it breaks new media ground for the news outlets covering the recent election nationally and locally in Michigan’s First District to not only miss this story but actively refuse to cover it when Boal held it in their faces and screamed. “Despite many attempts,” Boal says, “I have been unable to interest any media in it, save for a small newspaper in Traverse City (near me) which gave it cursory attention.”

Boal sent out an offer to any reporter willing to take an interest: “I located a witness, a former detainee now cleared and back home in Bosnia, who can testify of an instance of torture visited on him in early 2004, ordered and supervised by Cannon. I can put you in touch with him through his attorney. The details of the incident are here. . . . Without success I tried to make it a campaign issue.”

Jerry Cannon, according to both Wikipedia and his own website, first “served” in the war that killed three to four million Vietnamese. He was commander of the Joint Detention Operations Group Joint Task Force Guantanamo from 2003 to 2004. He was Deputy Commanding General responsible for developing Iraqi police forces in Iraq from 2008 to 2009, and U.S. Forces-Iraq Provost Marshal General and Deputy Commanding General for Detention Operations in Iraq from 2010 to 2011. Boy, everything this guy touches turns out golden!

Boal has collected evidence of torture during Cannon’s time at Guantanamo, from the Red Cross, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the U.S. Senate, and public reports including in the New York Times, here.

Boal focuses on Mustafa Ait Idir, a former prisoner of Guantanamo who, like most, has been widely written about, and who, like most, has been found innocent of any wrong-doing and been released (in November 2008 after years of wrongful imprisonment).

Mustafa Ait Idir says that soldiers at Guantanamo threw him down on rocks and jumped on him, causing injuries including a broken finger, dislocated knuckles, and half his face paralyzed; they sprayed chemicals in his face, squeezed his testicles, and slammed his head on the floor and jumped on him. They bent his fingers back to cause pain, and broke one of them in the process. They stuck his head in a toilet and flushed it. They stuck a hose in his mouth and forced water down his throat. They refused him medical attention.

Boal communicated with Idir through Idir’s lawyer, and Idir identified Cannon from photos and a video as the man who had threatened him with punishment if he did not hand over his pants. (Prisoners who believed they needed pants in order to pray were being stripped of their pants as a means of humiliation and abuse.) Idir refused to give up his pants unless he could have them back to wear for praying. Consequently, he was “enhanced interrogated.”

Torture and complicity in torture are felonies under U.S. law, a fact that the entire U.S. political establishment has gone to great lengths to obscure.

I shared the information above with Rebecca Gordon, author of Mainstreaming Torture, and she replied:

“Torture is a ‘non-partisan’ practice in this country. It’s beyond disgraceful that the Democratic Party would run Jerry Cannon for Congress. Sadly, while most (but clearly not all!) Dems have repudiated torture in words, their deeds have been more ambiguous. Five years after President Obama took office, the prison at Guantánamo remains open, and torture continues there. The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture has yet to be released. (Perhaps lame duck senator Mark Udall will be persuaded to read the whole thing into the Congressional Record, as some of us are hoping.) We have yet to get a full accounting, not only of the CIA’s activities, but of all U.S. torture in the ‘war on terror.’ Equally important, President Obama made it clear at the beginning of his first term that no one would be held accountable for torture. ‘Nothing will be gained,’ he said ‘by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.’ But we know this is not true. When high government officials know that they can torture with impunity, torture will continue.”

Noting Cannon’s resume post-Guantanamo, Gordon said, “Under the al-Maliki government, the Iraqi police force, and in particular the detention centers operated by the Iraqi Special Police Commandos, routinely abused members of Iraq’s Sunni communities, thereby further inflaming the political and social enmity between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq. When the so-called Islamic State began operating in Iraq, they found willing collaborators in Sunni communities whose members had been tortured by the al-Maliki government’s police. When Jerry Cannon went to Guantánamo, he went as an Army reservist. In civilian life he was Sheriff of Kalkaska County in Michigan. Cannon’s abusive practices and contemptuous attitudes towards detainees did not originate in Guantánamo. He brought them with him from the United States. Similarly, in civilian life, the members of the reservist unit responsible for the famous outrages at Abu Ghraib were prison guards from West Virginia. Their ringleader, Specialist Charles Graner, famously wrote home to friends about his activities at Abu Ghraib, ‘The Christian in me says it’s wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, “I love to make a grown man piss himself.”‘ In fact, if you want to find torture hidden in plain sight, look no farther than the jails and prisons of this country.”

The mystery of where torture came from turns out to be no mystery at all. It came from the prison industrial complex. And it’s now been so mainstreamed that it’s no bar to running for public office. But here’s another mystery: Why is President Obama going to such lengths to cover up his predecessor’s torture, including insisting on redactions in the Senate report on CIA torture that even Senator Dianne Feinstein claims not to want censored? Surely it’s not because of all the gratitude Obama’s receiving from former President Bush or his supporters! Actually, it’s no mystery at all. As Gordon points out: the torture is ongoing.

President Elect Obama made very clear in January 2009 that he would not allow torturers to be prosecuted and would be “looking forward” instead of (what all law enforcement outside of science fiction requires) backward. By February 2009, reports were coming in that torture at Guantanamo was worsening rather than ceasing, and included: “beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-force-feeding detainees who are on hunger strike.” In April 2009 a Guantanamo prisoner phoned a media outlet to report being tortured. As time went by the reports kept coming, as the military’s written policy would lead one to expect.

In May 2009, former vice president Dick Cheney forced into the news the fact that, even though Obama had “banned torture” by executive order (torture being a felony and a treaty violation before and after the “banning”) Obama maintained the power to use torture as needed. Cheney said that Obama’s continued claim of the power to torture vindicated his own (Cheney’s) authorization of torture. David Axelrod, White House Senior Advisor, refused repeatedly, to dispute Cheney’s assertion — also supported by Leon Panetta’s confirmation hearing for CIA director, at which he said the president had the power to torture and noted that rendition would continue. In fact, it did. The New York Times quickly reported that the U.S. was now outsourcing more torture to other countries. The Obama administration announced a new policy on renditions that kept them in place, and a new policy on lawless permanent imprisonment that kept it in place but formalized it, mainstreamed it. Before long Obama-era rendition victims were alleging torture.

As the Obama White House continued and sought to extend the occupation of Iraq, torture continued to be an Iraqi policy, as it has post-occupation and during occupation 3.0. It has also remained a U.S. and Afghan policy in Afghanistan, with no end in sight. The U.S. military has continued to use the same personnel as part of its torture infrastructure. And secret CIA torture prisons have continued to pop into the news even though the CIA was falsely said to have abandoned that practice. While the Obama administration has claimed unprecedented powers to block civil suits against torturers, it has also used, in court, testimony produced by torture, something that used to be illegal (and still is if you go by written laws).

“Look at the current situation,” Obama said in 2013, “where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike . . . Is this who we are?” Well, it is certainly who some of us have become, including Obama, the senior authority in charge of the soldiers doing the force-feeding, and a human chameleon able to express outrage at his own policies, a trick that is perhaps more central to the mainstreaming of vicious and sadistic practices than we always care to acknowledge.

Those retaining some sense of decency are currently urging the Obama administration to go easy in its punishment of a nurse who refused to participate in the force-feeding, who in fact insisted on being “who we are.”

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Why Living in a Post-Bubble World Is No Fun

What do we do when the bubble economy cannot be reflated?

It is generally conceded that we are living in an era of Peak Everything: peak central bank omnipotence, peak powerless of the non-elites, peak wealth inequality, peak media-induced delusion, peak market-rigging, peak bogus official statistics, peak propaganda, peak bread and circuses, peak deception, peak distraction, peak sociopathology, peak central statism, peak debt, peak leverage, peak derealization–need I go on?

Peaks generate bubbles. Bubbles reach extremes and then they pop. There is nothing mysterious about this causal chain: peaks generate extremes that manifest as bubbles, which eventually implode as extremes revert to the mean and mass delusions are shattered by the unwelcome reality that extremes are not sustainable.

The status quo solution to the devastation of a popped bubble is to inflate another even bigger bubble. If debt reached extremes that imploded, the solution is to expand debt far beyond the levels that caused the implosion.

If fudging the numbers triggered a loss of confidence, the solution is to fudge the numbers even more, so they no longer reflect reality at all.

If gaming the system crashed the system, the solution is to game the system even harder.

If the masses protest their powerlessness, the solution is to push them further from the centers of power.

And so on.

This blowing new bubbles to replace the ones that popped works for a while, but at the expense of systemic stability. Each new bubble requires pushing the system to new extremes that increase the risk of instability and collapse.

In other words, the stability of the new bubble is temporary and thus illusory.

The processes used to inflate the new bubble suffer from diminishing returns. The nature of stimulus-response is that overuse of the stimulus leads to diminishing responses. This is a structural feature that cannot be massaged away.

Goosing public confidence in the status quo with phony statistics and rigged markets works splendidly the first time, less so the second time, and barely at all the third time. Why is this so? The distance between reality and the bubble construct is now so great that the disconnection from reality is self-evident to anyone not marveling at the finery of the Emperor’s non-existent clothing.

The system habituates to the higher stimulus. If the drug/debt has lost its effectiveness, a higher dose is needed. This is the progression of serial bubbles. Then the system habituates to the higher dose/debt, and the next expansion of debt must be even greater.

This dynamic can be visualized as The Rising Wedge Model of Breakdown, which builds on the well-known Ratchet Effect: the system enables easy expansion of debt, leverage, employees, etc., but it has no mechanism to allow contraction. Any contraction triggers systemic collapse.

When the system’s ability to inflate another bubble breaks down, it’s no longer fun. It’s no longer fun to be a consumer when credit is no longer free, it’s no longer fun to be a politco when the money spigot is no longer wide open, it’s no longer fun to be a market rigger when the markets have imploded, and so on.

It is generally conceded that the global economy is currently experiencing a third bubble. The first expanded in the 1990s and popped in 2000, the second one expanded in 2002 and burst in 2008, and the third one inflated in 2009 and has yet to implode.

We can anticipate the popping of this third bubble, and this opens a line of inquiry few have taken: what if the popping of this third bubble breaks the bubble inflation machinery? In other words, what if there can be no fourth bubble to bail out the status quo, due to the systemic limitations of bubble-blowing as a solution to previous bubbles popping?

Given that we’re still in Peak Central Bank Omnipotence, it is widely believed central banks can continue inflating bubbles of confidence, assets, debt and consumption at will, essentially forever.

But what if the fourth bubble can’t reach the heights of the third bubble? What if the debt and leverage required to inflate the fourth bubble breaks down before the fourth bubble can even reach the heights needed to make everyone who bet the farm on the status quo whole?

Few dare ask these questions as they raise a terrifying follow-on question: what do we do when the bubble economy cannot be reflated?


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Politics and Police Stop Terrorism 83% – Military Only 7% – of the Time

Top Military Advisor Predicted the Rise of the Islamic State 6 Years Ago

The Rand Corporation has been a top advisor to the U.S. military for 66 years.

We noted in 2008 that a Rand study found:

Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.

Let’s look at the details of the study.  Rand points out:

The United States cannot conduct an effective counterterrorism campaign against al Qa’ida or other terrorist groups without understanding how such groups end.

***

This was the first systematic look at how terrorist groups end. The authors compiled and analyzed a data set of all terrorist groups between 1968 and 2006 ….

***

As depicted in the figure, the authors found that most ended for one of two reasons: They were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40 percent), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43 percent).

***

In 10 percent of cases, terrorist groups ended because they achieved victory. Military force led to the end of terrorist groups in 7 percent of cases.

***

http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/www/external/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/images/figure1.gif

The chart is a little difficult to read.  Here’s a new, easily-readable version based on Rand’s data, created by the nonpartisan Institute for Economics and Peace:

Rand’s 2008 summary continues:

Military force has not undermined al Qa’ida. As of 2008, al Qa’ida has remained a strong and competent organization. Its goal is intact: to establish a pan-Islamic caliphate in the Middle East by uniting Muslims to fight infidels and overthrow West-friendly regimes. It continues to employ terrorism and has been involved in more terrorist attacks around the world in the years since September 11, 2001, than in prior years …

Al Qa’ida’s resilience should trigger a fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy. Its goal of a pan-Islamic caliphate leaves little room for a negotiated political settlement with governments in the Middle East. A more effective U.S. approach would involve a two-front strategy:

  • Make policing and intelligence the backbone of U.S. efforts. Al Qa’ida consists of a network of individuals who need to be tracked and arrested. This requires careful involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as their cooperation with foreign police and intelligence agencies.
  • Minimize the use of U.S. military force. In most operations against al Qa’ida, local military forces frequently have more legitimacy to operate and a better understanding of the operating environment than U.S. forces have. This means a light U.S. military footprint or none at all.

Key to this strategy is replacing the war-on-terrorism orientation with the kind of counterterrorism approach that is employed by most governments facing significant terrorist threats today. Calling the efforts a war on terrorism raises public expectations — both in the United States and elsewhere — that there is a battlefield solution. It also tends to legitimize the terrorists’ view that they are conducting a jihad (holy war) against the United States and elevates them to the status of holy warriors. Terrorists should be perceived as criminals, not holy warriors.

How prescient the Rand report was!  In fact, the U.S. war on terror has increased terrorism.

And see this chart from the Institute for Economics and Peace:

https://www.emptywheel.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/timeline.jpg

Notice how terrorism had been declining since 9/11 … but then started increasing again when we invaded Iraq.

And our wars in Iraq and Syria created the Islamic State (and see this and this) … and gave them their caliphate.

Our entire military approach has made us less secure (more here and here) and increased terrorism.

Postscript:  Sadly, security and stopping terrorism may not be the main goals of the powers-that-be.

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Meet Ukraine’s Master Mass-Murderer: Dmitriy Yarosh

Here Is the Man Who Organized and Ran Ukraine’s February 22nd Coup in Kiev, 

and the May 2nd Massacre of Its Opponents in Odessa, for Barack Obama

Eric Zuesse

Dmitriy Yarosh is the founder and head of one of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, parties, Right Sector. He is officially the #2 Ukrainian national-security official, working directly under Andreiy Paribuiy, who heads Ukraine’s other nazi party (the party that used to call itself Ukraine’s “Social Nationalist Party,” after Hitler’s National Socialist Party, but which the CIA renamed “Svoboda,” meaning “Freedom,” so as to make it more acceptable to Americans).

However, Yarosh has turned out to be Ukraine’s actual leader, despite his not being officially at the top. His nominal boss, Paribuiy, had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was chosen on February 4th (18 days prior to the coup) to be Ukraine’s new leader, by Victoria Nuland, who was appointed by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who were appointed by Barack Obama (the actual ruler of the new Ukraine).

As Yarosh said this past March in an interview with Newsweek, he has “been training paramilitary troops for almost 25 years,” and his “divisions are constantly growing all over Ukraine, but over 10,000 people for sure.” More recently, in October, a pro-Government Ukrainian site interviewed Yarosh and he mentioned specifically a “DUC,” or Volunteer Ukrainian Corps of fighters. He was then asked “How many soldiers in DUC?” and he answered, “About seven thousand men.” These would be his real military force, by far the biggest private army in Ukraine. So, in his private files are everyone’s individual background and skill-level as a “paramilitary,” or far-right mercenary, and they all respect and obey him as the top man. He is the indispensable person in this new Ukraine.

Yarosh’s teams carry out the most violent operations for the CIA in Ukraine (including the coup). Since these are the people who actually specialize in this sort of political operation, Yarosh basically commands the country. Ukraine is now run on fear, and everyone fears Dmitriy Yarosh. Even Ukraine’s other leaders fear him. He is sometimes shockingly public with his threats against even the nation’s President. Yarosh is the only person who can afford to be.

Here you see Yarosh’s people do the coup in Kiev in February. Here you see them do the massacre in Odessa in May. Notice how similar these two operations are. Yarosh’s mind is actually on display in those operations. Yarosh is the person who gave the teams their instructions, and his followers carried these instructions out.

Here, in a news report, titled “Nazi NATO, but No War Crimes Tribunal? Why?” you can see photos, and can click onto youtube videos, of Dmitry Yarosh’s people executing his carefully planned atrocities (some in broad daylight), during the May 2nd massacre, and (via the links within a linked-to news report), also executing the February 22nd coup. You’ll additionally see there other such operations, carried out by Yarosh’s teams.

Yarosh hires only proud far-right mercenaries, who are paid by him from U.S. Government agencies (for example, see this), and from U.S. oligarchs such as George Soros (via his International Renaissance Fund) and Pierre Omidyar — people whose enormous wealth is matched by their intense hatred of Russians — and are also paid directly and indirectly by Ukrainian oligarchs, especially by the one who (along with Arsen Avakov) actually masterminded the May 2nd massacre of Russian-oriented Ukrainians: that’s the Obama White House’s friend, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky. (Kolomoysky offered $5,000 for every confirmed corpse produced at the May 2nd massacre.)

The May 2nd massacre was done specifically in order to get the residents in Ukraine’s pro-Russian southeast to fear this new Government so much as to refuse to be ruled by it. (Who wants to be ruled by people who are determined to kill you?) Until the massacre, those people didn’t want full independence from the new Government; but, after it, they did. It’s the reason for the massacre — to get them to demand full independence. Their refusal to be ruled by these people who had massacred so barbarically in Odessa people who were like themselves, made practically everyone in the southeast into “separatists.” This new Kiev Government could then call them “terrorists,” and (with acceptance from suckers in the U.S. and Europe) go to war to eliminate them — to make a free-fire zone of the entire area in which the people who had voted for the overthrown leader live. And that’s what it has been since: a free-fire zone, in which the UN and the West passively accept, when they do not outright endorse, their extermination.

Obama needed to eliminate the people in the areas of Ukraine who had voted around 90% for the man he overthrew on February 22nd. (That’s the area of the extermination.) Otherwise, Obama’s coup wouldn’t possess staying-power as a ‘democracy’; it would’t survive future nationwide Ukrainian elections if these areas of almost exclusively pro-Russian voters weren’t ruthlessly destroyed. Those Ukrainian voters thus needed to be eliminated. They were doomed by Obama’s coup-plan, and their doom was Obama’s follow-through on his coup.

But, actually, both Right Sector and “Svoboda” had shared control over the ‘democratic’ “Maidan” demonstrations against the previous President, even prior to the coup that overthrew him. That person, Ukraine’s final President to be elected in a nationwide vote, Viktor Yanukovych, did not know that the U.S. would go so nazi as that. The U.S. had hired both of these nazi groups, from the get-go. As TIME reported, on 4 February 2014 (ironically on the very same day when Victoria Nuland chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the post-coup Government), “Yarosh and another militant faction [Paribuiy’s “Svoboda”], began a parallel set of negotiations over the weekend. On Monday, they claimed to be in direct talks with Ukraine’s police forces to secure the release of jailed protesters, including members of Pravy Sektor [the Ukrainian name for Right Sector]. Mainstream opposition leaders said they had not authorized any such talks. [They were just America’s suckers among the Maidan demonstrators, the people who thought that this was really about ‘joining Western democracy.’] At the same time, Yarosh has demanded a seat at the negotiating table with the President [Yanukovych]. Once again, he was flatly denied. His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room.” But it wasn’t “too toxic” for Obama to place Yarosh into control over the new Ukraine. (Of course, once the deed was done, this was the last time when one heard in the U.S. about the reality of whom these men were. The myth about ‘American democracy’ needed to be sustained, and so the U.S. ‘news’ media stopped covering that news, and instead focused only on pumping the U.S. Administration’s allegations against Russia, which is Obama’s real target here.)

Dmitriy Yarosh is the indispensable person for such a crucial political task as the elimination of Yanukovych’s voters — and that’s the reason why Yarosh now essentially rules Ukraine.

He says that the reason they need to be slaughtered is that they are “separatists” and “terrorists.” But Yarosh himself had fought alongside Chechen Moslems in Russia for Chechnia’s independence from Russia. He said that their battle is heroic. Bottom line on Yarosh is that what Jews were to Hitler, ethnic Russians, and all of Russia, are to him, and to the entire movement that he represents, which were Ukraine’s Hitler-supporting organizations during World War II. This anti-Russian form of nazism doesn’t go only back to the German Nazi Party; it’s indigenous to northwestern Ukraine, which is why Ukraine has two native nazi parties, not merely one.

Here are Yarosh’s people, marching.

Here they are as an elite battalion slaughtering people in the extermination-zone.

And here is Yarosh himself, the top person in Ukraine’s far-right, being interviewed on Ukrainian TV; in this, you meet Dmitriy Yarosh personally:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD4aH5AVAYE

 

As you can see there, he’s quite a charming fellow. Perhaps even more so than Barack Obama. (Republicans don’t have anyone who is even nearly so charming as Yarosh.)

U.S. politicians are lucky that Yarosh doesn’t speak English, and wasn’t born in America. He’d probably win the Republican Presidential nomination (though with rhetoric that’s even milder than what he sports in Ukraine), and go on to win the U.S. Presidency, if he were an American, rather than merely being paid by U.S. taxpayers (and by some of America’s and Ukraine’s oligarchs), such as he is now.

In today’s world, charming people can be like Adolf Hitler, or Benito Mussolini, or Emperor Hirohito, none of whom was charming. After all, America is now on the fascists’ side ideologically, except that it’s for rule by U.S. oligarchs, not by German, Italian, or Japanese ones. It’s for America’s oligarchy to be the masters of other nations’ oligarchies, rather than for other nations’ oligarchies to be the masters of ours. The shoe’s on the other foot, now, that’s all. Fascism, even nazism, finally won.

The era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ideology (which was opposed to all oligarchies) has been replaced by the era of Ronald Reagan’s ideology (favoring oligarchy, “Svoboda,” or “the free market,” and thus favoring the international dominance of America’s oligarchs). Oligarchy has become the American way now, and we even call this ‘democracy.’

Hitler, the admirer of “the Big Lie,” would get a big chuckle out of such a posthumous ideological victory. Especially since the people whom Obama placed into power in Ukraine are Hitler’s passionate followers in their wanting to subordinate or else destroy all Russians, which had likewise been an aspiration of Adolf Hitler.

Obama, however, is more tactful. Here’s what he said, on 28 May 2014, to the graduating cadets at West Point: “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed [he simply can’t spell ‘past’] and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”

It’s supremacism, but for a different group of oligarchs, that’s all — America’s.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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