The Case for Nationalizing Monsanto

Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity.

Capitalism fails in two situations: monopoly and state-capital cronyism. Monopoly extinguishes competition and that effectively extinguishes capitalism.

When the elites of the state and private capital collude, i.e. crony capitalism, the few gain power and wealth at the expense of the many.

The state (broadly speaking, government) fails when it serves the few at the expense of the many, while claiming to serve the interests of the many. The state only fulfills its purpose when it serves the interests of the many at the expense of the few who control the majority of the political power and private wealth.

Monsanto is the epitome of monopoly and crony-state collusion. But Monsanto’s grip is not only on the throat of the nation– through its monopoly on seeds that it enforces globally, its grip is strangling the entire world.

Monopolies on food, energy and water (what I term the FEW resources) are not like monopolies on discretionary goods and services. People have to pay whatever the monopoly charges, as substitutes are either unavailable, very expensive or under the control of the same cartel/quasi-monopoly.

Before Monsanto extended its grip as the state-enforced seed monopoly, state universities and extension services developed seed strains and provided the seeds for a nominal cost. Over time, this publicly owned and managed system of providing low-cost seeds has eroded under pressure from for-profit private firms such as Monsanto and the benign neglect of a government that has been captured by private interests and self-serving elites.

The supposed benefits of costly monopoly-developed GMO seeds is increasingly being questioned: Plant Breeding vs. GMOs: Conventional Methods Lead the Way in Responding to Climate Change.

The rapid advance of gene sequencing is opening new doors for much quicker development of conventional plant breeding techniques that require no genetic modification (GMO).

If the American people wanted to bestow a gift to the world that would be valued by billions of people yet would cost the American citizenry a ridiculously modest sum, it would be to nationalize Monsanto and provide its seed products for free. To do this requires letting go of all the self-serving neoliberal fantasies that crony-capitalists propagandize to protect their monopolies: for example, only the profit motive drives innovation, so only private companies can supply the world with advanced seeds.

All this propaganda boils down to defending monopoly and cronyism as capitalism–The Big Lie of all monopolists and crony-capitalists. This was the reason given for privatizing publicly owned utilities that are then transformed into highly profitable monopolies–the precise opposite of capitalism’s primary engine of innovation.

Monsanto is worth around $57 billion. Compare this to the Federal debt of $18 trillion, or the full lifecycle cost of the bloated F-35 fighter aircraft program, which weighs in at $1 trillion. We should also compare $60 billion with the $16.8 trillion that the Federal Reserve loaned the world’s too big to jail banks.

Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity, and doing so for a mere $57 billion would be a bargain–especially when you consider the $3 trillion the state has squandered on endless wars of choice and the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve and the government have squandered propping up the self-serving, parasitic cartel of too big to jail banks.

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Alexey Mozgovoy | Why His Legacy Will Unify Novorossia

The importance of Alexey Mozgovoy on the world stage, today can’t be measured through his tactical genius and success against Kiev. It’s not what his political views were or that he was the “hometown hero” in Donbass.

What made Mozgovoy extraordinary is that he didn’t care what your politics were. He wasn’t a nationalist or a socialist like his critics try to paint him. If you loved people he could work with you. He was a normal guy that woke up in extraordinary circumstances and rose to the occasion. If Maidan hadn’t happened the world wouldn’t know him and obscurity wouldn’t have diminished him in the slightest. We may know about people we consider great because of events, but those qualities were there to begin with.

The reason LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic) and Prezrak (Ghost Battalion) love this leader was his humanity. It’s also why he is respected in Kiev by regular army leaders. It is a very odd quality for a wartime military leader to be known for.

He engaged and spoke with counterparts from across the front line in the Ukrainian military leadership regularly to find a way to stop the war he often described as “brother against brother.”

This is in spite of the fact that Mozgovoy’s Prizrak battalions have been one of the most potent forces on the battlefield in Donbass. According to Mozgovoy the true enemy of the people in both Donbass and Kiev are the Oligarchs that own the government, the resources, and businesses in Ukraine.

Another issue is that we defend the interests of the people, not the government. Because governments change, but the people – never. With those who honestly perform their duties to the people, we always find a common language.” From an interview with Alexey Mozgovoy

Under him, Prezrak battalion set up a humanitarian aid battalion that is getting international attention today as a model of how a military can deliver aid and help the civil population survive under the harsh conditions driven by Kiev’s war. Recently this was enhanced with the addition of humanitarian battalion “Angel” which joined Prezrak this spring.

Contrast this with Amnesty International’s report blasting Kiev for torture, Ukraine’s repeal of any human rights in Donbass, and the ongoing humanitarian blockade keeping food and medicine out of the region, its easy to see why both he and Prezrak battalion are so respected.

Senior Advisor to the international human rights organization Amnesty International Joanne Mariner said that the report on the use of torture against prisoners in Ukraine will shock Europe. Kiev has to immediately bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes and if this does not happen, the EU should put economic pressure on the Ukrainian authorities.”

When I heard about his murder I looked across the spectrum of Ukrainian social media and the reaction was mixed. Some and the emphasis is some, Ukrainian nationalists saw his assassination as a mistake. His was among the clearest voices constantly suing for peace in Donbas, and trying to save the lives of soldiers on both sides.

Why Alexey Mozgovoy was Assassinated

A reporter for the Komsomolskaya Pravda, Alexey Kots concluded that the Prezrak commander was murdered to sow discord between the battalions and government in LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic). By killing one of the few people that acted like a natural bridge between all parties in the conflict, a civil war could be started in LPR between the different military units. The hope of peace and unifying Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and LPR destroyed.

Kots adds credibly that it is quite possibly a Ukrainian Special Services operation and ultimately the goal is to stop the building of the country to be known as Novorossia. Mosgovoy was seen as a primary figure in this project.

What the Murderer’s Don’t Understand

On that note I received a communication that paints the assassination of Mozgovoy squarely into Alexey Kots’ conclusion, and gloating Novorossia would never happen now. This came from the person organizing Ukraine’s Information War. What the murderers and planners didn’t comprehend is that Prezrak was run by an intellectual that loved humanity, not an ego bent on gaining power. Mozgovoy’s commanders care about the people as much as he did and the work will continue.

The only way Kiev’s terrorists could win is if all the work and organization of the battalion were centered on promoting a single strongman leader. Prezrak’s leadership is as far from a cult of personality situation as it gets.

Why They Failed

The battalion is centered on humanitarian responsibilities that define Prezrak in LPR. Every officer is a capable leader and although he’ll be missed Alexey Borisavich Mozgovoy left Prezrak Mechanized Battalions in capable hands. The dream of Novorossia that started last year will go to completion.

Looking back to the beginning of the war the commander’s own words describing how Prezrak “Ghost” battalion was birthed: Thanks to the idiocy of Avakov we gained our name. Through the incompetence of Poroshenko we gained our weapons. Keep up the good work, and soon, we will have a free country in which will be a free, social civil society! – Alexey Borisavich

I only met commander Mozgovoy once when we spent some time together doing an interview. I got to know him very well through his men throughout the course of a year. I spent time embedded with them and interact with them in a variety of situations. May he rest in peace.

“The greatest victory will be if we create a government that thinks of the people; not victory in the war, but victory over ourselves, over our own minds.” Alexey Mozgovoy

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China Lobby Pre-WWII, Israel Lobby Pre-WWIII

By David Swanson

The history of catastrophically murderous and stupid warfare that the United States can memorialize on Memorial Day dates back to Day 1 and earlier, begins with the genocide of the native inhabitants of the land, the invasions of Canada, etc., and from that day to this too many deadly escapades to list.

But one way in which the U.S. government gets itself into major crusades of mass killing is by hearing what it wants to hear. It even goes to the extent of allowing top U.S. government officials, sometimes briefly out the revolving door of public “service,” to work in the pay and service of foreign nations pushing war propaganda on the U.S. public.

James Bradley’s new book is called The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in China. It’s well worth a read. For years leading up to World War II, the China Lobby in the United States persuaded the U.S. public, and many top U.S. officials, that the Chinese people all wanted to become Christian, that Chaing Kai-shek was their beloved democratic leader rather than the faltering fascist he was, that Mao Zedong was an insignificant nobody headed nowhere, that the United States could fund Chaing Kai-shek and he would use the funding to fight the Japanese, as opposed to using it to fight Mao, and that the United States could impose a crippling embargo on Japan without any Japanese military response.

For years leading up to at least the brink of World War III, the Israel Lobby in the United States has persuaded the United States that Israel is a democracy rather than an Apartheid state with rights based on religious identity. The United States, which has just derailed plans at the United Nations for a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free Middle East, and done so at the behest of nuclear Israel, has been following Israel’s catastrophic lead in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the rest of the region, chasing the mirage of a democratic law-abiding Israel that is no more real than that of the Christian-Americanized China that eventually had the U.S. identifying the little island of Taiwan as “the real China.”

The mirage that contributed to the “new Pearl Harbor” of 911, in other words, is not entirely unlike the mirage that contributed to Pearl Harbor itself. The U.S. thinking of China as an extension of the United States, while knowing nothing about China and actually forbidding anyone Chinese from entering the country, did more harm to the world than imagining Israel as the 51st state has yet accomplished. Give it time.

Bradley’s new book, in the early sections, covers more quickly some of the same ground as his remarkable The Imperial Cruise, still very much worth reading — including the U.S. militarization of Japan and Theodore Roosevelt’s encouragement of Japanese imperialism. The new book covers, better than I’ve seen anywhere else, the history of how many of the wealthiest individuals and institutions of the East Coast United States in the 19th century got their money — including Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandfather’s money — by illegally selling opium in China. The opium trade led to the opium wars and to the British and U.S. attacks on and occupation of pieces of China, making use of early versions of what the U.S. now calls in most nations on earth “Status of Forces Agreements.”

The U.S. flooded China with drug dealers, traders of other commodities, and Christian missionaries, the latter far less successful than the others, converting very few people. A leading missionary admitted that in 10 years he had converted 10 Chinese people to Christianity. With an eye on Chinese and Southeast Asian trade, the United States built the Panama Canal and took over the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.  With an eye on keeping Russia away from profitable Pacific trade, President Theodore Roosevelt supported Japanese expansion into Korea and China, and negotiated “peace” between Japan and Russia while secretly consulting with Japan every step of the way. (Another echo of the Palestinian “peace process” in which the U.S. is on Israel’s side and “neutral.”) T.R. was given a Nobel Peace Prize for the deed, about which award presumably not a single Korean or Chinese person was consulted. When Woodrow Wilson refused to meet with non-white Hoh Chi Minh in Paris, he also took part in handing over to Japan the colonies previously claimed by Germany in China, enraging the Chinese, including Mao. The seeds of future wars are small but perfectly discernable.

The U.S. government slant would soon shift from Japan to China. The image of the noble and Christian Chinese peasant was driven by people like the Trinity (later Duke) and Vanderbilt educated Charlie Soong, his daughters Ailing, Chingling, and Mayling, and son Tse-ven (T.V.), as well as Mayling’s husband Chaing Kai-shek, Henry Luce who started Time magazine after being born in a missionary colony in China, and Pearl Buck who wrote The Good Earth after the same type of childhood. TV Soong hired retired U.S. Army Air Corps colonel John Jouett and by 1932 had access to all the expertise of the U.S. Army Air Corps and had nine instructors, a flight surgeon, four mechanics, and a secretary, all U.S. Air Corps trained but now working for Soong in China. It was just the start of U.S. military assistance to China that made less news in the United States than it did in Japan.

In 1938, with Japan attacking Chinese cities, and Chaing barely fighting back, Chaing instructed his chief propagandist Hollington Tong, a former Columbia University journalism student, to send agents to the United States to recruit U.S. missionaries and give them evidence of Japanese atrocities, to hire Frank Price (Mayling’s favorite missionary), and to recruit U.S. reporters and authors to write favorable articles and books. Frank Price and his brother Harry Price had been born in China, without ever encountering the China of the Chinese. The Price brothers set up shop in New York City, where few had any idea they were working for the Soong-Chaing gang. Mayling and Tong assigned them to persuade Americans that the key to peace in China was an embargo on Japan. They created the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression. “The public never knew,” writes Bradley, “that the Manhattan missionaries diligently working on East Fortieth Street to save the Noble Peasants were paid China Lobby agents engaged in what were possibly illegal and treasonous acts.”

I take Bradley’s point to be not that Chinese peasants are not necessarily noble, and not that Japan wasn’t guilty of aggression, but that the propaganda campaign convinced most Americans that Japan would not attack the United States if the United States cut off oil and metal to Japan — which was false in the view of informed observers and would be proved false in the course of events.

Former Secretary of State and future Secretary of War Henry Stimson became chair of the committee, which quickly added former heads of Harvard, Union Theological Seminary, the Church Peace Union, the World Alliance for International Friendship, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the Associate Boards of Christian Colleges in China, etc. Stimson and gang were paid by China to claim Japan would never attack the United States if embargoed — a claim dismissed by those in the know in the State Department and White House, but a claim made at a time when the United States had virtually no real communication with Japan.

The public’s desire to stop arming Japan’s assaults on China seems admirable to me and resonates with my desire that the U.S. stop arming Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen, to take one example of dozens. But talking could have preceded an embargo. Setting aside the racist and religious filters in order to see the reality on the ground in China would have helped. Refraining from the threatening moves of the U.S. Navy, moving ships to Hawaii and building airstrips on Pacific Islands could have helped. The anti-war choices were far wider than economic antagonization of Japan and non-communicative insults to Japanese honor.

But by February 1940, Bradley writes, 75% of Americans supported embargoing Japan. And most Americans, of course, did not want war. They had bought the China Lobby’s propaganda.

FDR and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau set up front companies and loans to Chaing, going behind the back of Secretary of State Cordell Hull. FDR, it seems, was not just catering to the China Lobby but truly believed its story — at least up to a point. His own mother, who had lived in a U.S. bit of China as a child with her opium-pushing father, was honorary chairwoman of both the China Aid Council and the American Committee for Chinese War Orphans. FDR’s wife was honorary chairwoman of Pearl Buck’s China Emergency Relief Committee. Two thousand U.S. labor unions backed an embargo on Japan. The first economic advisor to a U.S. president, Lauchlin Currie, worked for both FDR and the Bank of China simultaneously. Syndicated columnist and Roosevelt relative Joe Alsop cashed checks from TV Soong as an “advisor” even while performing his service as “objective journalist.” “No British, Russian, French, or Japanese diplomat,” writes Bradley, “would have believed that Chaing could become a New Deal liberal.” But FDR seems to have believed it. He communicated with Chaing and Mayling secretly, going around his own State Department.

Yet FDR believed that if embargoed, Japan would attack the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) with the possible result of a wider world war. Morgenthau, in Bradley’s telling, repeatedly tried to slip through a total embargo on petroleum to Japan, while FDR resisted. FDR did move the fleet to Pearl Harbor, impose a partial embargo on aviation-fuel and scrap, and loan money to Chaing. The Soong-Chaing syndicate also worked with the FDR White House to create a U.S.-funded, U.S.-trained, and U.S.-staffed air force for China to use in attacking Japanese cities. When FDR asked his advisor Tommy Corcoran to check out the leader of this new air force, former U.S. Air Corps captain Claire Chennault, he may have been unaware that he was asking someone in the pay of TV Soong to advise him on someone else in the pay of TV Soong.

Bradley says that FDR kept his Asian air war scheme secret from the U.S. public. Yet, on May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision of “numerous fighting and bombing planes” to China by the United States. “Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected,” read the subheadline. This may have been “kept secret” in the sense in which Obama’s kill list is secret despite appearing in the New York Times. It’s not endlessly discussed because it doesn’t fit well into happy little narratives. The “first draft of history” is always very selectively entered into history books that survive into future decades.

But Bradley is right that this was no secret from Japan. And he includes something I don’t remember knowing before, namely that Chennault admitted that when a ship carrying his pilots left San Francisco for Asia in July 1941, his men heard a Japanese radio broadcast boast, “That ship will never reach China. It will be sunk.” Also in July, FDR approved a Lend-Lease program for China: 269 more fighters and 66 bombers, and froze Japanese assets. All of this was part of longer and wider trends that Bradley could have developed more fully. But he offers some interesting details and a curious interpretation of them, concluding that Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson catapulted the United States into World War II by maneuvering to deny any U.S. oil to Japan for a month, beginning while FDR was off conspiring with Winston Churchill on a boat and creating what would be called the Atlantic Charter.

In Bradley’s account Hull learns of the embargo, a month in, on September 4, 1941, and informs FDR that day. But they elect to leave it unchanged as somehow undoing it would somehow be seen as allowing Japan to get “more” oil than before. The embargo had by this point been public news in Japan for a month. FDR had access to reports on Japanese news, as well as to decoded secret Japanese government communications, not to mention that he met with the Japanese ambassador in the interim. Were communications really not advanced in 1941 beyond what they were when Texas took so long to learn that slavery had ended?

In any case, when Japan saw the embargo lasting, it did not move toward moderate democracy as the China Lobby had always said would happen. Instead it became a military dictatorship. Meanwhile Time magazine was publicly hoping that a U.S. and British war on the side of China would persuade the Chinese to convert to Christianity. The parallel in the Israel Lobby is of course the Christian fanatics who believe that Israel is leading the way toward some magically prophesied future of desirable catastrophe.

Mayling Soong’s speech to the U.S. Congress in February 1943 rivaled Bibi Netanyahu’s of 2015 for mass adoration, delusion, and devotion to a fraudulent foreign power. The delusion would continue for generations. The Catholic Vietnam Lobby would get in on the game. The U.S. wouldn’t recognize Mao’s China until it had been reduced to making Richard Nixon its president. For the full account, I recommend Bradley’s book.

Yet I think the book has some gaps. It doesn’t seek to touch on FDR’s desire for war on Germany, nor on the value to him and his administration of a Japanese attack as the key to entering both the Atlantic and the Pacific wars. What follows I have written about before.

What Was FDR’s Game?

On December 7, 1941, FDR drew up a declaration of war on both Japan and Germany, but decided it wouldn’t work and went with Japan alone. Germany, as expected, quickly declared war on the United States.

FDR had tried lying to the American people about U.S. ships including the Greer and the Kerny, which had been helping British planes track German submarines, but which Roosevelt pretended had been innocently attacked.

Roosevelt had also lied that he had in his possession a secret Nazi map planning the conquest of South America, as well as a secret Nazi plan for replacing all religions with Nazism.

As of December 6, 1941, eighty percent of the U.S. public opposed entering a war. But Roosevelt had already instituted the draft, activated the National Guard, created a huge Navy in two oceans, traded old destroyers to England in exchange for the lease of its bases in the Caribbean and Bermuda, and secretly ordered the creation of a list of every Japanese and Japanese-American person in the United States.

On April 28, 1941, Churchill wrote a secret directive to his war cabinet: “It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”

On August 18, 1941, Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: “The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition, “Everything was to be done to force an incident.”

From the mid-1930s U.S. peace activists — those people so annoyingly right about recent U.S. wars — were marching against U.S. antagonization of Japan and U.S. Navy plans for war on Japan — the March 8, 1939, version of which described “an offensive war of long duration” that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan.

In January 1941, the Japan Advertiser expressed its outrage over Pearl Harbor in an editorial, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan wrote in his diary: “There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese, in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed my government.”

On February 5, 1941, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner wrote to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to warn of the possibility of a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

As noted, as early as 1932 the United States had been talking with China about providing airplanes, pilots, and training for its war with Japan. In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

On December 21, 1940, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, the retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed.

By July, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers trained by Chennault and paid by another front group. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, “wired Madame Chaing Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies.” Whether or not that was the entire point, this was the letter: “I am very happy to be able to report today the President directed that sixty-six bombers be made available to China this year with twenty-four to be delivered immediately. He also approved a Chinese pilot training program here. Details through normal channels. Warm regards.”

The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, also known as the Flying Tigers (logo later designed by Walt Disney, as Bradley notes), moved ahead with recruitment and training immediately and were provided to China prior to Pearl Harbor.

On May 31, 1941, at the Keep America Out of War Congress, William Henry Chamberlin gave a dire warning: “A total economic boycott of Japan, the stoppage of oil shipments for instance, would push Japan into the arms of the Axis. Economic war would be a prelude to naval and military war.”

On July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt remarked, “If we cut the oil off , [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Dutch East Indies a year ago, and you would have had a war. It was very essential from our own selfish point of view of defense to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific. So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out there.” Reporters noticed that Roosevelt said “was” rather than “is.” The next day, Roosevelt issued an executive order freezing Japanese assets. The United States and Britain cut off oil and scrap metal to Japan, whether Acheson actually sneaked this past Roosevelt or not. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian jurist who served on the war crimes tribunal after the war, called the embargoes a “clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence,” and concluded the United States had provoked Japan.

On August 7, 1941, the Japan Times Advertiser wrote: “First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma, with the link broken only in the Thailand peninsula. Now it is proposed to include the narrows in the encirclement, which proceeds to Rangoon.”

By September the Japanese press was outraged that the United States had begun shipping oil right past Japan to reach Russia. Japan, its newspapers said, was dying a slow death from “economic war.”

In late October, U.S. spy Edgar Mower was doing work for Colonel William Donovan who spied for Roosevelt. Mower spoke with a man in Manila named Ernest Johnson, a member of the Maritime Commission, who said he expected “The Japs will take Manila before I can get out.” When Mower expressed surprise, Johnson replied “Didn’t you know the Jap fleet has moved eastward, presumably to attack our fleet at Pearl Harbor?”

On November 3, 1941, the U.S. ambassador sent a lengthy telegram to the State Department warning that the economic sanctions might force Japan to commit “national hara-kiri.” He wrote: “An armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.”

On November 15th, U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as “the Marshall Plan.” In fact we don’t remember it at all. “We are preparing an offensive war against Japan,” Marshall said, asking the journalists to keep it a secret, which as far as I know they dutifully did.

Ten days later Secretary of War Stimson wrote in his diary that he’d met in the Oval Office with Marshall, President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Harold Stark, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt had told them the Japanese were likely to attack soon, possibly next Monday.

It has been well documented that the United States had broken the Japanese’ codes and that Roosevelt had access to them. It was through intercept of a so-called Purple code message that Roosevelt had discovered Germany’s plans to invade Russia. It was Hull who leaked a Japanese intercept to the press, resulting in the November 30, 1941, headline “Japanese May Strike Over Weekend.”

That next Monday would have been December 1st, six days before the attack actually came. “The question,” Stimson wrote, “was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition.”

The day after the attack, Congress voted for war. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R., Mont.) stood alone in voting no. One year after the vote, on December 8, 1942, Rankin put extended remarks into the Congressional Record explaining her opposition. She cited the work of a British propagandist who had argued in 1938 for using Japan to bring the United States into the war. She cited Henry Luce’s reference in Life magazine on July 20, 1942, to “the Chinese for whom the U.S. had delivered the ultimatum that brought on Pearl Harbor.” She introduced evidence that at the Atlantic Conference on August 12, 1941, Roosevelt had assured Churchill that the United States would bring economic pressure to bear on Japan. “I cited,” Rankin later wrote, ” the State Department Bulletin of December 20, 1941, which revealed that on September 3 a communication had been sent to Japan demanding that it accept the principle of ‘nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific,’ which amounted to demanding guarantees of the inviolateness of the white empires in the Orient.”

Rankin found that the Economic Defense Board had gotten economic sanctions under way less than a week after the Atlantic Conference. On December 2, 1941, the New York Times had reported, in fact, that Japan had been “cut off from about 75 percent of her normal trade by the Allied blockade.” Rankin also cited the statement of Lieutenant Clarence E. Dickinson, U.S.N., in the Saturday Evening Post of October 10, 1942, that on November 28, 1941, nine days before the attack, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., (he of the catchy slogan “Kill Japs! Kill Japs!” ) had given instructions to him and others to “shoot down anything we saw in the sky and to bomb anything we saw on the sea.”

General George Marshall admitted as much to Congress in 1945: that the codes had been broken, that the United States had initiated Anglo-Dutch-American agreements for unified action against Japan and put them into effect before Pearl Harbor, and that the United States had provided officers of its military to China for combat duty before Pearl Harbor.

An October 1940 memorandum by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum was acted on by President Roosevelt and his chief subordinates. It called for eight actions that McCollum predicted would lead the Japanese to attack, including arranging for the use of British bases in Singapore and for the use of Dutch bases in what is now Indonesia, aiding the Chinese government, sending a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Philippines or Singapore, sending two divisions of submarines to “the Orient,” keeping the main strength of the fleet in Hawaii, insisting that the Dutch deny the Japanese oil, and embargoing all trade with Japan in collaboration with the British Empire.

The day after McCollum’s memo, the State Department told Americans to evacuate far eastern nations, and Roosevelt ordered the fleet kept in Hawaii over the strenuous objection of Admiral James O. Richardson who quoted the President as saying “Sooner or later the Japanese would commit an overt act against the United States and the nation would be willing to enter the war.”

The message that Admiral Harold Stark sent to Admiral Husband Kimmel on November 28, 1941, read, “IF HOSTILITIES CANNOT REPEAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED THE UNITED STATES DESIRES THAT JAPAN COMMIT THE FIRST OVERT ACT.”

Joseph Rochefort, cofounder of the Navy’s communication intelligence section, who was instrumental in failing to communicate to Pearl Harbor what was coming, would later comment: “It was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country.”

The night after the attack, President Roosevelt had CBS News’s Edward R. Murrow and Roosevelt’s Coordinator of Information William Donovan over for dinner at the White House, and all the President wanted to know was whether the American people would now accept war. Donovan and Murrow assured him the people would indeed accept war now. Donovan later told his assistant that Roosevelt’s surprise was not that of others around him, and that he, Roosevelt, welcomed the attack. Murrow was unable to sleep that night and was plagued for the rest of his life by what he called “the biggest story of my life” which he never told.

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How Democratic & Republican Party Chiefs Work to Deceive the U.S. Public

Eric Zuesse

An organization that typically promotes the Republican propaganda agenda received information from the Democratic Obama Administration, and they publicized information from it that concerned the 2012 Benghazi attack, which was a failure by the State Department — something that congressional Republicans have been investigating for years. But when independent investigative journalists examined the actual documents, they found a much uglier picture, which concerned the entire U.S. Government, and evil policies that are being pursued both by the Democratic President and by Republicans (as well as by some Democrats) in Congress, and which ‘both sides’ want covered up instead of covered. So: they’re not covered. U.S. ‘news’ media haven’t been reporting any of that — just the partisan propaganda. The American public received propaganda, not news, from America’s ‘news’ media — or else they received nothing at all about the issue.

On 18 May 2015, the Republican Party’s Judicial Watch organization headlined, “Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance: Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq. Administration knew of arms being shipped from Benghazi to Syria.”

Promptly, this angle on the matter was publicized to ‘news’ consumers on Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, WorldNetDaily, AIM, The Tea Party, LJ Review, Political Brew, InfoWars, Hebrew Nation, Zero Hedge, and Sharyl Attkisson, among other right-wing sites. But the major scandal that was displayed in those documents wasn’t so much as even touched upon in any of this stenographic ‘news’ reporting, from conservative sites, which passed along to their readers that conservative propaganda.

If anything, the mainstream “liberal” sites, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN, were no better, and maybe even worse: they ignored this data-dump altogether; they didn’t cover anything in it, not even the propaganda that the Republican sites did from it.

Then the great British independent investigative reporter Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed dug into the trove of documents that Judicial Watch had now dumped online, and he headlined on 22 May, “Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS,” and he reported a far different, and vastly more important, news story than did the conservative Judicial Watch:

He reported that these documents showed that in order “to isolate the Syrian regime,” which we were trying to defeat since it’s allied with “Russia, China, and Iran” (according to the documents), we were allied with the Sunni world of Al Qaeda, ISIS, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Muslim Brotherhood, so as to bring down the Shiite Assad regime in Syria. 

Ahmed says:

“The strategy appears to fit a policy scenario identified by a recent US Army-commissioned RAND Corp report. The report, published four years before the DIA document, called for the US ‘to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.’”

That jargon-laden report, from 2008, said: “Divide and Rule is a strategy that focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various SJ groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts.” The idea was for the U.S. to win by getting other countries and peoples to go to war against each other and for the U.S. to sell more weapons while other countries become weakened by the conflicts. However, that 2008 analysis was actually out-of-date, because it ignored the issues of Russia and China, and barely even mentioned a subordinate option: “Under this strategy, the United States might take an aggressive stance by seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and replacing it with a moderate one that does not rely on Shiite chauvinism for its legitimacy. This would tamp down the forces of radical Shiism in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.” This statement of the option ignored that the very idea of an Islamic Caliphate is specifically Sunni, not at all Shiia. (Our Government — and our stenographic ‘free press,’ both right and left — hides this crucial fact in order to wage its war against Iran and its allies, who have done Americans no harm, though the U.S. has done great harm to them.) In fact, the RAND report refers in passing to the “well-known states such as China and Russia; however, despite the importance of these states within military planning, they are not directly linked to the long war.” Russia and China have, since then, actually become Obama’s chief foci. So: that 2008 Rand report isn’t at all in synch with current U.S. foreign policy, which actually supports the forces for Islamic Caliphate. (The Judicial-Watch-released document refers instead to “Salafist principate,” so as to hide the connection of Obama-Administration policy goals to Obama’s — and to congressional Republicans’ in general — actual support of ISIS, etc.: their joint determination to defeat the Russia-China allied countries, such as Venezuela, Syria, Libya, and Iran.) The American people fear ISIS, etc., but America’s aristocrats instead fear China and want to conquer Russia. Propaganda by both of the political parties pretends that the American Government has the people’s priorities and concerns at heart, not the aristocracy’s (which it actually does).

Ahmed closes his news report by condemning America’s “own deeply misguided policies of secretly sponsoring Islamist terrorism for dubious geopolitical purposes.” (Ahmed doesn’t define what those are. I have.

The next day, May 23rd, Robert Barsocchini (but without providing links to either Judicial Watch or Dr. Ahmed) headlined at washingtonsblog: “DIA Docs: West Wants a ‘Salafist Principality in Eastern Syria’,” and he explained that when the documents (which he acknowledged had been released to Judicial Watch) say “Salafist,” they are referring specifically to the Saudi Wahhabist form of that sect, the version that’s pushing for an Islamic Empire or “Caliphate” headquartered in Mecca, the form of Islam that’s known in the West as jihadist or “extremist” or “Islamic Caliphate.” Regarding the extremism of the Saudi royal family, Barsocchini then links to and quotes from wikipedia:

Saudi Government is funding to increase the Salafi Islam throughout the world. Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”, between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year [and US government/corporate propaganda budgets of many billions per year]),[92] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith“, throughout the Muslim World.

“Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[96] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[97] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew, and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”) to be perceived as the correct interpretation – or the “gold standard” of Islam – in many Muslims’ minds.

In other words: The United States, with support by the ‘Democratic’ President and also by both parties, Democrats and Republicans, in Congress, is assisting the jihadist or Saudi-financed wing of Islam, in order to defeat Russia, and China (since those are the nations that America’s aristocrats are really concerned about). (They’re concerned about empire.)

The documents, which were dated 12 August 2012, mentioned that there is a (and they used all-caps)

“POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION [to Assad] WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME.” 

So: contrary to the Republican Party’s campaign to condemn the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi attack by Al Qaeda, and contrary to the Democratic Party’s campaign to deceive the American people into believing that we’re at war against extremism in the Muslim world, our government is, in fact, united in both Parties to support the Saudi princes who virtually own Islamic extremism.

If this is an American government that supports the American people, then it does so by lying to them, and by working on the side of the enemies not only of the American people but of the publics throughout the world. Why would that be? What’s indisputable is that it is so.

That’s the story which Ahmed found new documentation for in his report on the data-dump from Judicial Watch. Are America’s ‘news’ media reporting this important news story — added confirmation that the U.S. is on the Saudi side in order to defeat Russia and its allies? Or are they instead reporting the criticisms by the chiefs of both political parties against each others’ party? If it’s such stenographic ‘news’ reporting, then it’s really unchanged since 2002 and 2003, when U.S. ‘news’ media stenographically reported the Administration’s statements about “Saddam’s WMD,” etc., and when most Democrats joined with virtually all Republicans in supporting a criminal invasion of Iraq — a criminal invasion that profited many American aristocrats while it did enormous harm to everyone else.

The documents that were linked to by Judicial Watch included also the following prophetic August 2012 military predictions, which, if the Obama Administration were acting upon these matters that early, no indication exists of it (and note here: the all-upper-case text will be changed in order to make this large text-block more easily readable):

D. The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and [the consequences] are as follows:

—1. This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria [Assad’s enemies], and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI [ISIS] could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

—2. [blacked out]

—3. The renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi arena.

That passage was reported in the press release by Judicial Watch, and so it was included in some of the coverage by the ‘news’ media that reported anything of Judicial Watch’s story.

The big news story in the United States is the utter corruption of its ‘free press.’ That’s what we’re seeing, yet again, with regard to the Republican-Democratic policy of warring against Russia, China, Syria, and Iran; and for Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bharain, and the other oil sheikhdoms. Anyone who quotes the lying rhetoric of the U.S. Government in order to deny that this is true should consult the links that have been provided here, before affirming those lies by Republicans and Democrats.

The United States is Government of the people, by and for the aristocracy. Everything (and especially Obama’s ‘trade’ deals) can be truthfully understood only on that basic understanding, in which America’s two political parties have become, since at least 1980, just two contending branches of the aristocracy party, in this country, which was founded on ending the aristocracy.

The big story is this posthumous defeat of America’s Founders by a now-resurgent aristocracy.

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda, Science / Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How West’s Native People Largely View the US

Bolivian President Evo Morales is “widely described as Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, at a time when around 62% of the population identified as indigenous; political analysts therefore drew comparisons with the election of Nelson Mandela to the South African Presidency in 1994. This resulted in widespread excitement among the approximately 40 million indigenous people in the Americas, particularly those of Bolivia. However, his election caused concern among the country’s wealthy and landowning classes, who feared state expropriation and nationalisation of their property, as well as far-right groups, who claimed it would spark a race war.”

Here are some excerpts from one of the president’s latest speeches:

Our Latin American memory is full of episodes of armed intervention from the United States, invasions, dominating impositions and constant aggression.

For example, let us never forget the annexation of the territory of Mexico by the United States, nor armed invasions against several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, El Salvador, Guatemala and others.

the world’s chief promoter of military dictatorships and coups is the United States. The colonializing imperial view of the United States towards our Latin America and the Caribbean is one of contempt and belittlement, a view of superiority, political, military, technological and economic superiority. It is the gaze of the colonizer over the colonized, the invader over the invaded, the ruler over their vassals, it is the eagle eyeing its helpless prey.

More than 200 years have passed since US independence and the country not only continues to see our region as its backyard, but as its patrimony that belongs to it by divine right. By means of its imperial power, the United States through the imposing of neoliberal economics, with a colonial mentality or using the talk of international security, this dominating boss has classified us as either good or evil, ‘stick for the bad and carrot for the good.’

The bad countries are those of us who respond with ideas, with dignity, the bad ones are those who nationalize our natural resources and basic services, those put a brake on the political arrogance of US ambassadors who have been converted into viceroys.

We are the bad guys because we defend our political and economic sovereignty.

[we are] treated as if we were slaves in our own territory…

We never declared war on the United States, never tried to annex a part of their territory, we never armed ourselves to threaten their safety. Under no circumstances did we interfere in their internal affairs, we never violated their sovereignty…

Obama … listen to your people who must be tired of so much war, having buried many dead and have so many invalids.

Leave in the past the speeches full of double standards, put aside the threats, blackmail and pressures that the U.S. Capitol or the White House envelop our governments.

Stop using fear, the politics of terror and conditions of any kind. Stop behaving like an empire and let’s conduct ourselves as democratic and sovereign states. All empires perish, democracies are eternal.

Our people are recovering their identity and the dignity of their States.

We want no more Monroes on our continent, no Truman’s doctrine, no more Reagan doctrine, no more Bush doctrine.

We want no more presidential decrees, no executive orders declaring us threats to their country, we do not want them to watch over us, monitor our cell phones, spy on us or kidnap our presidential aircraft.

President Obama, stop turning the world into a battlefield…

Avoid wars that you have produced so far, wars that only benefit the financial tyranny, that benefit the large armaments industry, stop destroying entire civilizations, stop chasing ghosts…

What democracy and freedom can the government of the United States speak of, if everyday they violate the human rights of millions of citizens worldwide, through electronic surveillance, undercover operations and persecution?

What human rights can the US government speak of if torture is a common method used by its intelligence agencies and the death penalty is still in force?

…they want to be the champions of human rights when they do not even meet the basic requirement to ratify [UN] agreements…

What democracy can the Government of the United States speak of if it is sponsoring terrorist acts in various parts of the world?

It is not exporting democracy when it produces the greatest quantity of weapons for the destruction of humanity. No democracy can sustain itself by spying on the world, violating the privacy of millions of citizens.

What democracy can President Obama speak of when he sends thousands of armed marines to our continent to indoctrinate soldiers to fight against our peoples?

What a strange democracy that installs military bases in our countries, when it applies extraterritorial laws, when it has unresolved territorial issues with Cuba and Puerto Rico.

What democracy can it speak of as it cruelly blockades [Cuba] for 50 years…

What you need to do is repay it for all the damages you have caused to Cuba for 50 years. (Applause)

Everyone knows that the supposed war on drugs was merely a pretext to impose your economic policies.

The wars against communism, against drug trafficking and terrorism have become a pretext to impose policies of fear and intervene in strategic areas to plunder our natural resources.

President Obama, stop making war, and turn your country into a democratic republic, instead of maintaining an anti-democratic and unsustainable empire.

I respectfully ask you to concern yourself with the millions of Americans living in extreme poverty in your own country…

President Obama, I ask you to expel the criminals from your territory, from your country.

It is not right for your country to become a home for confessed terrorists, corrupt ones, of murderers, of separatists who have escaped. Expel those who have escaped so that they can be judged by their peoples.

President Obama, if you feel that you are the leader of a world power, I ask you take the lead in saving Mother Earth, in saving life, of humanity.

The Western hemisphere’s indigenous people are not alone.  A Swiss poll conducted at the end of 2014 asked 65 countries around the world which country they viewed as the greatest obstacle blocking the path to world peace.

Rogue nuclear state Pakistan got 8% of the vote, taking the #2 slot.  Way out beyond every other country, with three times more votes than Pakistan and twelve times more votes than Russia, was the US at 24%, running away with the award for greatest threat to world peace.

@_DirtyTruths

Posted in Energy / Environment, General, Politics / World News | 1 Comment

From the Very Creation of the Internet, U.S. Spy Agencies Fought to Block Encryption

American spy agencies have intentionally weakened digital security for many decades. This breaks the functionality of our computers and of the Internet. It reduces functionality and reduces security by – for example – creating backdoors that malicious hackers can get through.

The spy agencies have treated patriotic Americans who want to use encryption to protect their privacy as extremists … or even terrorists.

As Gizmodo’s Matt Novak points out, this attack started at the very birth of the internet:

In the 1970s, civilian researchers at places like IBM, Stanford and MIT were developing encryption to ensure that digital data sent between businesses, academics and private citizens couldn’t be intercepted and understood by a third party. This concerned folks in the U.S. intelligence community who didn’t want to get locked out of potentially eavesdropping on anyone, regardless of their preferred communications method. Despite their most valiant efforts, agencies like the NSA ultimately lost out to commercial interests. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

***

When the NSA got wind of the research developments at IBM, Stanford and MIT in the 1970s they scrambled to block publication of their early studies. When that didn’t work, the NSA sought to work with the civilian research community to develop the encryption. As Stowsky writes, “the agency struck a deal with IBM to develop a data encryption standard (DES) for commercial applications in return for full pre-publication review and right to regulate the length, and therefore the strength of the crypto algorithm.”

Naturally, in the Watergate era, many researchers assumed that if the U.S. government was helping to develop the locks that they would surely give themselves the keys, effectively negating the purpose of the encryption. Unlike IBM, the researchers at Stanford and MIT didn’t go along with the standard and developed their own encryption algorithms. Their findings were published (again, against the wishes of the NSA) in the late 1970s after courts found that researchers have the right to publish on the topic of cryptography even if it makes the government uncomfortable. According to Stowsky, the NSA retaliated by trying to block further research funding that Stanford and MIT were receiving through the National Science Foundation.

Novak also notes that – right from the start – people realized the potential of the internet as a tool for conducting mass surveillance on the public. And see this, this and this.

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

Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS

Judicial Watch has – for many years – obtained sensitive U.S. government documents through freedom of information requests and lawsuits.

The government just produced documents to Judicial Watch in response to a freedom of information suit which show that the West has long supported ISIS.   The documents were written by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency on August 12, 2012 … years before ISIS burst onto the world stage.

Here are screenshots from the documents. We have highlighted the relevant parts in yellow:

ISIS1Why is this important? It shows that extreme Muslim terrorists – salafists, Muslims Brotherhood, and AQI (i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq) – have always been the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

This verifies what the alternative media has been saying for years: there aren’t any moderate rebels in Syria (and see this, this and this).

The newly-declassified document continues:

ISIS 2Yes, you read that correctly:

there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime ….

In other words, the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – the West, our Gulf allies, and Turkey wanted an Islamic caliphate in order to challenge Syrian president Assad.

Sure, top U.S. generals – and vice president Vice President Joe Biden – have said that America’s closest allies support ISIS.  And mainstream American media have called for direct support of ISIS.

But the declassified DIA documents show that the U.S. and the West supported ISIS at its inception … as a way to isolate the Syrian government.  And see this.

This is a big deal.  A former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer and a former MI5 officer confirm that the newly-released documents are a smoking gun.

This is a train wreck long in the making.

Posted in Politics / World News | 36 Comments

FBI Confirms No Major Terrorism Cases Cracked Via Unconstitutional Patriot Act Phone Spying

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

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FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows government agents to compel businesses to turn over records and documents, and increasingly scooped up records of Americans who had no ties to official terrorism investigations.

– From the Washington Times article: FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers 

Back in 2013, as debate about the Snowden revelations was at its zenith, I published a post titled NSA Chief Admits “Only One or Perhaps Two” Terror Plots Stopped by Spy Program. Here’s an excerpt:

The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.

Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

“One or perhaps two.” Or perhaps zero. The guy has the nerve to say “perhaps.” How do you not know? What a bunch of lying assholes. How the heck does 54 turn into “one or two,” and I’ll tell you something else, I don’t believe the one or two figure for a minute. I mean there’s no way he would say “zero” when he is fighting to keep his petty little Stasi state intact. Furthermore, how about some details here. What was the one plot the NSA foiled? Some teenager throwing firecrackers on the White House lawn? These guys need to get lost already. From the Washington Times:

As time has passed and the years have gone by, it has become increasingly clear that the phone records collection program hasn’t stopped a single terror attack. In fact, a recently published report by the Justice Department’s inspector general admitted as much. This takes on increased significance with parts of the Patriot Act set to automatically sunset on June 1st.

The Washington Times reports:

FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows government agents to compel businesses to turn over records and documents, and increasingly scooped up records of Americans who had no ties to official terrorism investigations.

Backers say the Patriot Act powers are critical and must be kept intact, particularly with the spread of the threat from terrorists. But opponents have doubted the efficacy of Section 215, particularly when it’s used to justify bulk data collection such as in the case of the National Security Agency’s phone metadata program, revealed in leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden.

“The agents we interviewed did not identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained in response to Section 215 orders,” the inspector general concluded — though he said agents did view the material they gathered as “valuable” in developing other leads or corroborating information. 

The report was heavily redacted, and key details were deleted. The entire chart showing the number of Section 215 requests made from 2007 through 2009 was blacked out, as was the breakdown of what types of investigations they stemmed from: counterintelligence, counterterrorism, cyber or foreign intelligence investigations.

Redacted indeed. This is what pages 16-20 look like, and the pages immediately after these are just as bad.

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Most transparent administration ever.

Moving along, the conclusion that Section 215 of the Patriot Act hasn’t stopped any terror attacks naturally won’t stop FBI director James Comey (and others) from fear-mongering. A favorite pastime of government officials and their lapdogs. As Politico reports:

Speaking at an American Law Institute event this week, FBI Director James Comey warned that a PATRIOT Act sunset would “severely” affect his agency. The FBI relies heavily on the soon-to-expire provisions of the law to obtain specific business records — from library records to gun ownership data — and wiretaps for multiple devices, he said.

“If I lose these tools, it’s a huge, huge problem,” Comey said. “We use [Section 215 to obtain specific records] fewer than 200 times per year, but when we use it, it matters tremendously.”

But not for terrorism, and the Patriot Act was specifically passed to deal with terrorism.

“ISIS is singing a siren song, calling people to their death to crash on the rocks — and it’s the rocks that ISIS will take credit for,” said Ron Hosko, president of Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former assistant director of the FBI. “They’re looking for those who are disaffected, disconnected and willing to commit murder. So if we’re willing to take away tools, OK, congressman, stand behind it [and] take the credit for putting the FBI in the dark.”

Can you believe people like this exist, and that their insane rhetoric actually speaks to some people? Scary.

While the current debate about Section 215 of the Patriot Act is encouraging and necessary, it is extremely important to understand that this is just a tiny, potentially meaningless tip of the iceberg when it comes to unconstitutional government surveillance. As The ACLU’s Chris Soghoian explains courtesy of Schneier.com:

There were 180 orders authorized last year by the FISA Court under Section 215 — 180 orders issued by this court. Only five of those orders relate to the telephony metadata program. There are 175 orders about completely separate things. In six weeks, Congress will either reauthorize this statute or let it expire, and we’re having a debate — to the extent we’re even having a debate — but the debate that’s taking place is focused on five of the 180, and there’s no debate at all about the other 175 orders.

Now, Senator Wyden has said there are other bulk collection programs targeted at Americans that the public would be shocked to learn about. We don’t know, for example, how the government collects records from Internet providers. We don’t know how they get bulk metadata from tech companies about Americans. We don’t know how the American government gets calling card records.

So the 215 program that has been disclosed publicly, the 215 program that is being debated publicly, is about records to major carriers like AT&T and Verizon. We have not had a debate about surveillance requests, bulk orders to calling card companies, to Skype, to voice over Internet protocol companies. Now, if NSA isn’t collecting those records, they’re not doing their job. I actually think that that’s where the most useful data is. But why are we having this debate about these records that don’t contain a lot of calls to Somalia when we should be having a debate about the records that do contain calls to Somalia and do contain records of e-mails and instant messages and searches and people posting inflammatory videos to YouTube?

Certainly the government is collecting that data, but we don’t know how they’re doing it, we don’t know at what scale they’re doing it, and we don’t know with which authority they’re doing it. And I think it is a farce to say that we’re having a debate about the surveillance authority when really, we’re just debating this very narrow usage of the statute.

The battle to push back the American Stasi is just beginning.

For related articles, see:

Congress is Attempting to Reauthorize Key Patriot Act Provisions by Sneaking it Into “USA Freedom Act”

How NSA Surveillance Was Birthed from the Drug War – The DEA Tracked Billions of Phone Calls Pre 9/11

Decoding the NSA: How the Agency Manipulates Language to Mislead the Public

Congressman: Did You Think This Program Could be Indefinitely Kept Secret from the American People? Government Attorney: “Well we Tried”

Manufactured Terrorism – U.S. Officials Claim Credit for Stopping Another Terror Attack Created by the FBI

Posted in Politics / World News | Leave a comment

DIA Docs: West Wants a “Salafist Principality in Eastern Syria”?

Newly-declassified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents from 2012:

In Syria:

THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, which became ISIS: “ISIS, once called AQI”] SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA…

OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS.

IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…

Now for some definitions:

Salafi Movement:

The Salafist movement, also known as the Salafi movement, is a movement within Sunni Islam that references the doctrine known as Salafism.

The Salafi movement is often described as being synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term “Wahhabi” derogatory.[1] At other times, Salafism has been described as a hybrid of Wahhabism and other post-1960s movements.[2] Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam – and, particularly in the West, with the Salafi Jihadis who espouse offensive jihad against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as a legitimate expression of Islam.

In recent years, Salafi methodology has come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians [though not all Salafists can be stereotyped under this umbrella].

Principality:

A principality (or princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince.

Thus, what the documents say the Western powers and their collaborators want, a “Salafist Principality” in Easter Syria, is an Islamic monarchical state.  It should be no surprise that the US/West want this, as they are allied with so many Islamic dictatorships (ie the Gulf States and Turkey, as noted above).

The strictest sect of Salafism:

Wahhabism (Saudi Arabia)

Wahhabism is a more strict, Saudi form of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.” Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree with the view that Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.

Saudi Government is funding to increase the Salafi Islam throughout the world. Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”, between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year [and US government/corporate propaganda budgets of many billions per year]),[92] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith“, throughout the Muslim World…

“Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[96] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[97] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew, and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”) to be perceived as the correct interpretation – or the “gold standard” of Islam – in many Muslims’ minds.

While the Western powers and their collaborators may want a Salafist Principality in Eastern Syria, they, mainly the US, are openly supporting the most extreme Salafist, missionary state in the world: Saudi Arabia.

The US has been supporting Saudi Arabia since oil was discovered there around the 1930s.

The US is the world’s biggest arms trafficker.  The biggest arms sale of the world’s biggest arms trafficker was to the Saudi dictatorship, approved by Obama in 2010:

The Guardian:

Barack Obama to authorise record $60bn Saudi arms sale

Biggest arms deal in US history…

The US is the world’s largest arms supplier…

Amnesty reported that, contrary to US gov and media propaganda, the Saudi regime got worse under the last dictator (who recently died), and is getting even worse now under new US-backed dictator Abdulaziz, with Saudi Arabia committing dozens and dozens of beheading/crucifixions, taking the lead in confirmed state executions worldwide.

2009 US documents leaked by Wikileaks revealed Hillary Clinton stating that Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups.

Abdulaziz himself, the top of the Saudi dictatorship, is said by al Qaeda to be one of their sources of funding and support.

Unlike Iran, which has parliamentary representatives and voting, Saudi Arabia is a straight despotism which maintains itself through terror, such as by lashing innocent civilians in public.

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia not only does not renounce nuclear weapons (US intelligence does not even say Iran is pursuing them; in fact far from it), but Saudi officials promise never to renounce nuclear weapons, or even negotiate about nuclear weapons, which Iran has agreed to do numerous times, with the US always cancelling the negotiations, as Obama has done before, and did again this week: “US Kills Nuclear Free Mid-East Conference“.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia just announced its intentions to go nuclear, a prospect that has long been known to all.

None of this prevents the US from making its biggest ever lethal arms sale to the dictatorship, or selling them almost a billion dollars worth of banned cluster bombs in 2013, which HRW reports are now being used in the US-coordinated/assisted Saudi aggressive war against Yemen, from which the US refuses to rescue its own civilian nationals, unlike eight other countries including Russia, China, and India, which have performed rescue missions.

To be fair, the US has performed rescue missions in Yemen… for Saudi bombers.

5/24/15 Update:

For those interested, here is a four page, point by point analysis of the declassified DIA docs.

@_DirtyTruths

Author’s research focuses on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  His articles have been noted by professors, scholars, student-groups, and other independent researchers.

Posted in General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | Leave a comment

Researchers Predicted In 1971 that Debit Cards Would Become the Ultimate Spy Tool

We noted in 2013:

The Wall Street Journal reported that the NSA spies on Americans’ credit card transactions. Senators Wyden and Udall – both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, with access to all of the top-secret information about the government’s spying programs – write:

Section 215 of the Patriot Act can be used to collect any type of records whatsoever … including information on credit card purchases, medical records, library records, firearm sales records, financial information and a range of other sensitive subjects.

Many other government agencies track your credit card purchases as well. In fact, all U.S. intelligence agencies – including the CIA and NSA – are going to spy on Americans’ finances.

The IRS will be spying on Americans’ shopping records, travel, social interactions, health records and files from other government investigators.

The Consumer Financial Protection Board will also spy on the finances of millions of Americans.

Various agencies are also tracking our debit card transactions.

Indeed, as Gizmodo’s Matt Novak notes, researchers predicted this in 1971:

In late October of 1971 a group of academics and technologists gathered at a conference at Georgetown. They were given the task of devising the most comprehensive (yet invisible) surveillance program imaginable. What they came up with sounds an awful lot like our current debit card system.

This was the question posed to the researchers in 1971:

Suppose you were an advisor to the head of the KGB, the Soviet Secret Police. Suppose you are given the assignment of designing a system for the surveillance of all citizens and visitors within the boundaries of the USSR. The system is not to be too obtrusive or obvious. What would be your decision?

What amazing, unobtrusive surveillance system did they come up with? It wasn’t a network of intercepting every phone call or placing cameras on every street corner. They imagined an electronic funds transfer system, or EFTS—a system that looks strikingly similar to the debit card system we all use today.

“Not only would it handle all the financial accounting and provide the statistics crucial to a centrally planned economy,” Paul Armer wrote in 1975 recounting the KGB-infused thought experiment. “It was the best surveillance system we could imagine within the constraint that it not be obtrusive.”

Armer was a computer scientist at RAND and an early advocate of digital privacy, long before people had debit cards, let alone access to the internet …. he thought that this cashless society actually posed the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans.

Think for a moment about the information that banks collect every time you swipe your card. They know precisely where, when, and how you’re spending your money. After just a few transactions, anyone with access to that information can start to paint a pretty detailed picture of how you live your life. And perhaps most importantly, that picture is being painted without you giving it much thought at all.

This is all the more ominous given that the powers-that-be are pushing a cashless society, so they can more easily spy on and control us.

In other words, if society becomes cashless, dissenters can’t hide cash.  All of their transactions would be trackable, and all of the financial holdings would be vulnerable to seizure or attack by the government.  This would be the ultimate form of control.

Get it?

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 3 Comments

Our Crazy-Making Economy’s Endgame: Festering Frustration Seeking an Outlet

The consequence of policies that exacerbate injustice, inequality and double-bind demands is a madness that will find a social and economic outlet somewhere, sometime.

We all know crazy-makers: people who make contradictory claims about reality, who say one thing and do another, who change their stories constantly to justify their own pursuit of self-interest, who demand the impossible of others while giving themselves unlimited excuses.

When they can’t change reality to suit their purposes, they change their accounts of reality, and stick with the revised stories even when they are contradictory.

This describes the entire financial structure of the U.S.: crazy-making.

We all know the U.S. economy is diseased, and the Powers That Be are attempting to mask the sickness with contradictory accounts of reality.

To get ahead, you need a 4-year college diploma. But oops, the student debt you’ll need to shoulder acts as a brake on getting ahead. And it turns out many of those who became debt-serfs to get a diploma actually end up in jobs that don’t require a college education.

One reality–soaring student loan debt and diminishing value of the product, a college diploma–and two contradictory stories.

Systems theorist/anthropologistGregory Bateson developed (with others) the concept of double bind, a psychological and social conflict in which contradictory demands generate a form of schizophrenia:

Unlike the usual no-win situation, the subject has difficulty in defining the exact nature of the paradoxical situation in which he or she is caught. The contradiction may be unexpressed in its immediate context and therefore invisible to external observers, only becoming evident when a prior communication is considered. Typically, a demand is imposed upon the subject by someone who they respect (such as a parent, teacher or doctor) but the demand itself is inherently impossible to fulfill because some broader context forbids it. For example, this situation arises when a person in a position of authority imposes two contradictory conditions but there exists an unspoken rule that one must never question authority.

Consider the schizophrenia-generating contradictions underpinning all U.S. economic policy.

We have to keep interest rates near-zero forever because the economy is weak, but the economy is strong–look at the low unemployment rate.

Well, which one is it? The official answer: both. The U.S. economy is both strong and weak at the same time. Interestingly, it’s strong in terms of official measures of employment and jobs, but weak in financial terms.

This means there’s nothing to be fixed for those working for a living, and everything to fix for financiers and banks, who are struggling due to weak financial fundamentals.

Meanwhile, corporate and financier profits are soaring to record levels and wages have stagnated for years. Wait a minute–weren’t we just told that the financial fundamentals are weak, hence the need for zero interest rates for ever, and that job growth was strong?

These are internally inconsistent accounts of reality, i.e. crazy-making. Here are corporate profits–to the moon, baby:

Here are wages/salaries: going nowhere for 15 years (or 40 years, if we go back to the 1970s):

Financialization has enriched the few with access to free money for financiers and those who own assets favored by the Fed and left everyone earning a living in the dust:

The Federal Reserve insists on maintaining this crazy-making double bind because the stock market depends on both conditions being true at the same time: the economy must be expanding so profits can loft ever higher, but the economy must also be weak and ill so the Fed will continue its policies of zero interest rates (ZIRP) and free money for financiers that have pumped trillions of dollars into “risk-on” assets like stocks.

If either of these contradictory conditions is erased, the stock market will tumble, as neither a weak economy nor zero interest rates (ZIRP) alone is sufficient to maintain the stock market’s current sky-high valuations: profits must continue rising and rates must stay zero to enable carry trades, stock buy-backs, and all the other financial finagling that has driven stocks into the stratosphere.

In effect, the Fed and all the other organs of propaganda are telling the American public: don’t you dare trust your lying eyes, ears, mind and awareness of rising insecurity–believe us.

Crazy-making contradictions generate free-floating anxiety, frustration and rage that then seek an outlet. The essence of official crazy-making is that dissent–protests that the official stories are patently false–is suppressed, marginalized or ridiculed. This is the purpose of a militarized Police State–to suppress anything that questions authority and that might undermine the schizophrenic policies and propaganda.

The endgame of crazy-making is that just about anything can suddenly become an outlet for the rage, frustration and anxiety that is the only possible output of schizophrenic policies. A minor civil disturbance morphs into a major riot; a limited melee at a sports event metastasizes into a destructive free-for-all, and a peaceful gathering turns ugly seemingly without cause.

These are expressions of the social and economic double-binds that are being imposed on the citizenry as the last-ditch method of retaining control of the nation’s wealth and power–both of which are flowing into the hands of the few at the expense of the many.

You can impose crazy-making policies and propagandize a schizophrenic economy, but you can’t bottle up the resulting frustration, anxiety and rage forever. Our oligarchic Elite reckons it can suppress anything and everything with Police State tactics, but the madness they have created will not be so easily controlled.

The consequence of policies that exacerbate injustice, inequality and double-bind demands is a madness that will find a social and economic outlet somewhere, sometime, and probably at a moment when few in the Power Elite expect it.


How to forge a career in a crazy-making economy:
Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
,
a mere $9.95 for the Kindle ebook edition and $18 for the print edition.

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Seizing an alternative: Integrity for the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (7 of 7)

The following is my paper for the Claremont Colleges’ conference, Seizing an Alternative Toward an Ecological Civilization, with open registration to the public on June 4-7, 2015.

Paper title:

‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ political collapse: Seizing an alternative to OBVIOUS unlawful wars, bankster looting, lying corporate media

I’ve divided the paper into sections:

Recognizing The Emperor’s New Clothes as THE STORY of today (1 of 7)

Obviously unlawful US/UK wars of the present (2 of 7)

Obviously unlawful Israel wars on Gaza (3 of 7)

War lies to hide obviously unlawful wars: propaganda as usual (4 of 7)

Bankster looting: fundamental fraud that “debt” is “money” (5 of 7)

Lying corporate media: required propaganda trying to hide naked empire (6 of 7)

Integrity for the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (7 of 7)

This section is: Integrity for the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (7 of 7)

**

Readers and writers in alternative media can explain, document, and prove that much of these “created realities” described by Karl Rove are “Big Lie” crimes, objectively not even close to the foundational principle of “limited government” within the US Constitution, and “created” with whatever Emperor’s New Clothes rhetoric their focus groups conclude most likely to sell.

“Constitutional governments and aristocracies are commonly overthrown owing to some deviation from justice…the rich, if the constitution gives them power, are apt to be insolent and avaricious… In all well-attempered governments there is nothing which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters; for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state, just as the constant recurrence of small expenses in time eats up a fortune.” – Aristotle, Politics, Book V. 350 B.C.E.

“The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.” –  “Abraham Lincoln, [September 16-17, 1859] (Notes for Speech in Kansas and Ohio),” Page 2.

Current humans empowered with the facts are actively engaged to shatter humanity’s collective Emperor’s New Clothes deceptions. The general public would never consent to what’s being done to them if empowered with accurate comprehensive information of their conditions. The informed are motivated to create a new future of peace, technological advance, and cooperative happiness.

This paper has provided objective, measurable, and independently verifiable facts that easily explain, document, and prove Earth’s history of:

The ongoing costs of Earth’s history controlled by a .01% group of literal psychopaths (and here), extending to our world of the present, are annual war and poverty murders of millions, harm to billions, and looting of  trillions.

Again, and importantly, these are facts that anyone with a basic education can easily verify with a few moments of attention as objective statements about Earth’s most vital conditions.

Res ipsa loquitur: these facts speak for themselves, for all who are ready to see, listen, and discuss with Enlightenment ideals won for humanity over 300 years ago:

  • Reject thoughtless obedience to authorities in government, religion, and a .01% privileged class connected to government.
  • Have EVERYONE educated enough to consider and discuss factual evidence in full freedom.
  • Have EVERYONE empowered with voice and vote of how the facts should be related with in policy (what to do) in order to ongoingly optimize unalienable rights of Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Please stop until you’ve fully embraced this point: the facts within this paper are independently verifiable, and to the knowledge of those of us communicating have never been refuted. Indeed, as you’ve heard from Gandhi and Simon Johnson, the .01% will do everything to avoid factual consideration because all the facts are on our side.

Our case is as clear as asserting a baseball pitch ten feet over everyone’s head is not even close to the definition of a “strike,” with video evidence for anyone’s independent review and analysis. Ironically, if we were discussing baseball rather than wars, money, and media, Americans would never allow their sacred game to suffer such Emperor’s New Clothes propaganda.

When enough people are willing to apply their educations to look, and exercise their integrity to state simple facts, humanity will be in position to seize the alternative of a brighter future for all Earth’s inhabitants:

**

Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.

**

Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

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The 16 Core Progressive Policies, Really?

Salvatore Babones’ proposals in Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America are not bad, assuming a progressive agenda can limit itself to one nation.

But these sorts of proposals tend to be — and this one is no exception — smart, compassionate takes on the topics that are in the corporate media. The topics that aren’t already on your television also aren’t in this book or others like it.

What should the U.S. public budget be? Is nearly double the 2001 level too much military spending, too little, or just right? Who knows. Babones doesn’t say.

Why not consult someone on “the other 54% of the budget” that all such literature ignores (the military’s 54% of discretionary spending, as calculated by the National Priorities Project)? Just a quick consultation with someone aware of the existence of the single largest public project of the United States would add something to all of these pseudo-electoral platforms.

Item number 14 in Babones’ list is “Stop torturing, stop assassinating, and close down the NSA.” He goes through the common pretense that Obama “banned torture,” as if it weren’t a felony that was simply going unpunished on Obama’s orders. He follows this up with the usual pretense that the limited “ban” on torture opened up loopholes for torturing “legally.” Babones does a bit better on drone murders. But what about manned-aircraft murders? Tank murders? Gun murders? What about war? Is war “progressive”? Who knows!

Should we, as the other 15 points propose, create jobs, build America’s infrastructure, support public education, extend Medicare to everyone, raise taxes on top incomes, refinance social security, take down Wall Street, make it easy to join a union, set a living minimum wage, upgrade to 10-10-10, put an end to the prison state, pass a national abortion law, let people vote, suffer the refugee children, and save the earth? Of course, we should.

But if you’re willing to end the prison state (and as the text expands on that, to end the militarization of local police) then you are willing to make significant change, and you are aware of the problem of militarization. So how does that little item that takes up 54% of the budget go AWOL from all of these projects?

If U.S. military spending were merely returned to 2001 levels, the savings of $213 billion per year could fund education, a new justice system, aid for refugees, an open and fair and verifiable election system, and the saving of the earth — with a good bit of change left over.

Whence the nearly unanimous decision to avoid the topic? The Institute for Policy Studies, which published this book, does not ignore the topic elsewhere. Why does it not manage to infiltrate these progressive platforms? Perhaps peace is just not progressive.

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On the U.S. Killing of Two Children in Syria

The U.S. military admitted on Thursday to killing two girls in Syria.

If a target of U.S. aggression can be alleged to have killed children, especially with the wrong kind of weapon, that is used as grounds for war. War is supposed to be the cure for that.

This was the case in 2013 with the White House’s false claims to knowledge that the Syrian government had killed children with chemical weapons. President Obama told us to watch videos of dead children and either support a bombing campaign against Syria or support killing children.

But that’s a Catch-22, because it’s telling you to either support killing children or support killing children.

In recent days I’ve been watching videos of children killed in Yemen by Saudi Arabia with U.S. missiles and support. Missiles are in fact not any more precise in their actual use than chemical weapons, not any less deadly, not any less guilty of killing children, including the hundreds of children the U.S. has killed with missiles from drones in just a few countries it doesn’t even admit to being at war with.

The Pentagon doesn’t admit to any of this; it sometimes admits to isolated incidents that have been widely reported.

But imagine if missiles were considered the wrong kind of weapon, and imagine if the Syrian government and its friends were considered “the international community” — one could imagine the international community demanding the humanitarian bombing of Washington, D.C., as revenge for the brutal murder of two little girls by U.S. missile in Syria.

We in the United States view the domestic bombing of 4 little black girls in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 as barbaric, and we view racism as something we’ve overcome, but imagine if the little girls whom President Obama murdered in Syria in November had been white, Christian, English-speaking Americans. One cannot in that situation suppose the response would have been the same.

It is not possible to avoid civilian casualties in war. They are the majority of the casualties — of the dead, of the injured, of those rendered homeless, and of the traumatized — in virtually every war of the past half century. Often they are an enormous majority. The idea that war can be a tool to remedy something worse than war, or that genocide is truly distinct from war is not supported by facts.

The Pentagon admitting to killing civilians is rare but not unprecedented. In fact it is a small nod in the direction of a policy that President Obama created and then quickly abandoned under which he claimed that all such casualties would be reported.

Does it matter? Will people care?

For that, I think there has to be video, it has to be widely shown and the killings morally condemned, and people have to find their way to the media outlets willing to show it and condemn it.

That is, if we’re talking about people in the United States.

Of course the people of Western Asia will protest the United States all the more fervently whether the general public in the United States knows what its government is doing or not.

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations!

What if not just our civil liberties but our budget got a little bit of 2001 back?

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015. These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

Military spending is now 54% of U.S. federal discretionary spending according to the National Priorities Project. Everything else — and the entire debate in which liberals want more spending and conservatives want less! — is contained within the other 46% of the budget.

U.S. military spending, according to SIPRI, is 35% of the world total. U.S. and Europe make 56% of the world. The U.S. and its allies around the globe (it has troops in 175 countries, and most countries are armed in great part by U.S. companies) make up the bulk of world spending.

Iran spends 0.65% of world military spending (as of 2012, the last year available). China’s military spending has been rising for years and has soared since 2008 and the U.S. pivot to Asia, from $107 billion in 2008 to now $216 billion. But that’s still just 12% of world spending.

Per capita the U.S. now spends $1,891 current U.S. dollars for each person in the United States, as compared with $242 per capita worldwide, or $165 per capita in the world outside the U.S., or $155 per capita in China.

The dramatically increased U.S. military spending has not made the U.S. or the world safer. Early on in the “war on terror” the U.S. government ceased reporting on terrorism, as it increased. The Global Terrorism Index records a steady increase in terrorist attacks from 2001 to the present. A Gallup poll in 65 nations at the end of 2013 found the United States overwhelmingly viewed as the greatest threat to peace in the world. Iraq has been turned into hell, with Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia close behind. Newly embittered terrorist groups have arisen in direct response to U.S. terrorism and the devastation it’s left behind. And arms races have been sparked that benefit only the arms dealers.

But the spending has had other consequences. The U.S. has risen into the top five nations in the world for disparity of wealth. The 10th wealthiest country on earth per capita doesn’t look wealthy when you drive through it. And you do have to drive, with 0 miles of high-speed rail built; but local U.S. police have weapons of war now. And you have to be careful when you drive. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure a D+. Areas of cities like Detroit have become wasteland. Residential areas lack water or are poisoned by environmental pollution — most often from military operations. The U.S. now ranks 35th in freedom to choose what to do with your life, 36th in life expectancy, 47th in preventing infant mortality, 57th in employment, and trails in education by various measures.

If U.S. military spending were merely returned to 2001 levels, the savings of $213 billion per year could meet the following needs:

End hunger and starvation worldwide — $30 billion per year.
Provide clean drinking water worldwide — $11 billion per year.
Provide free college in the United States — $70 billion per year (according to Senate legislation).
Double U.S. foreign aid — $23 billion per year.
Build and maintain a high-speed rail system in the U.S. — $30 billion per year.
Invest in solar and renewable energy as never before — $20 billion per year.
Fund peace initiatives as never before — $10 billion per year.

That would leave $19 billion left over per year with which to pay down debt.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but this is life and death. War kills more by how the money isn’t spent than by how it is spent.<--break->

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