Tag Archives: Middle East

Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Results and Perspectives

By James Petras
March 2, 2015
Dissident Voice

 

unclesam_lind_pdOver the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted. The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States. Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power. The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism” in the past to “anti-terrorism” today.

Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy mercenary armies and military coups; financing political parties, NGO’s and street mobs to overthrow duly constituted governments. The driving forces in the imperial state , behind the quest for world power, vary with the geographic location and social economic composition of the targeted countries.

What is clear from an analysis of US empire building over the last half century is the relative decline of economic interests, and the rise of politico-military considerations. In part this is because of the demise of the collectivist regimes (the USSR and Eastern Europe) and the conversion of China and the leftist Asian, African and Latin American regimes to capitalism. The decline of economic forces as the driving force of imperialism is a result of the advent of global neoliberalism. Most US and EU multi-nationals are not threatened by nationalizations or expropriations, which might trigger imperial state political intervention. In fact, MNCs are invited to invest,trade and exploit natural resources even by post-neoliberal regimes. Economic interests come into play in formulating imperial state policies, if and when nationalist regimes emerge and challenge US MNCs as is the case in Venezuela under President Chavez.

The key to US empire building over the past half-century is found in the political, military and ideological power configurations which have come to control the levers of the imperial state. The recent history of US imperial wars has demonstrated that strategic military priorities – military bases, budgets and bureaucracy – have expanded far beyond any localized economic interests of MNCs. Moreover, the vast expenditures and long term and expensive military interventions of the US imperial state in the Middle East has been at the behest of Israel. The take-over of strategic political positions in the Executive branch and Congress by the powerful Zionist power configuration within the US has reinforced the centrality of military over economic interests

The ‘privatization’ of imperial wars – the vast growth and use of mercenaries contracted by the Pentagon- has led to the vast pillage of tens of billions of dollars from the US Treasury. Large scale corporations which supply mercenary military combatants have become a very ‘influential’ force shaping the nature and consequences of US empire building.

Military strategists, defenders of Israeli colonial interests in the Middle East, mercenary military and intelligence corporations are central actors in the imperial state and it is their decision-making influence which explains why US imperial wars do not result in a politically stable, economic prosperous empire. Instead their policies have resulted in unstable, ravaged economies, in perpetual rebellion..

We will proceed by identifying the changing areas and regions of US empire building from the mid 1970’s to the present. We then examine the methods, driving forces and outcomes of imperial expansion. We will then turn to describe the current ‘geo-political map of empire building and the varied nature of the anti-imperialist resistance. We will conclude by examining the why and how of empire building and more particularly, the consequences, and results of a half century of US imperial expansion.

Imperialism in the post Vietnam Period: Proxy Wars in Central America, Afghanistan, and Southern Africa

The US imperialist defeat in Indo-China marks the end of one phase of empire building and the beginning of another: a shift from territorial invasions to proxy wars. Hostile domestic opinion precluded large scale ground wars. Beginning during the presidencies of Gerald Ford and James Carter, the US imperialist state increasingly relied on proxy clients. It recruited, financed and armed proxy military forces to destroy a variety of nationalist and social revolutionary regimes and movements in three continents. Washington financed and armed extremist Islamic forces world-wide to invade and destroy the secular, modernizing, Soviet backed regime in Afghanistan, with logistical support from the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies, and financial backing from Saudi Arabia.

The second proxy intervention was in Southern Africa, where the US imperial state financed and armed proxy forces against anti-imperialist regimes in Angola and Mozambique, in alliance with South Africa.

The third proxy intervention took place in Central America, where the US financed, armed, and trained murderous death squad regimes in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to decimate popular movements and armed insurgencies resulting in over 300,000 civilian deaths.

The US imperial state’s ‘proxy strategy’ extended to South America: CIA and Pentagon backed military coups took place in Uruguay (General Alvarez), Chile (General Pinochet) Argentina (General Videla), Bolivia (General Banzer) and Peru (General Morales). Empire building by proxy, was largely at the behest of US MNCs which were the principal actors in setting priorities in the imperial state throughout this period.

Accompanying proxy wars, were direct military invasions: the tiny island of Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989) under Presidents’ Reagan and Bush, Sr. Easy targets, with few casualties and low cost military expenditures: dress rehearsals for re-launching major military operations in the near future.

What is striking about the ‘proxy wars’ are the mixed results.The outcomes in Central America, Afghanistan and Africa did not lead to prosperous neo-colonies or prove lucrative to US multi-national corporations. In contrast the proxy coups in South America led to large scale privatization and profits for US MNCs.

The Afghan proxy war led to the rise and consolidation of the Taliban “Islamic regime” which opposed both Soviet influence and US imperial expansion. The rise and consolidation of Islamic nationalism in turn challenged US allies in South Asia and the Gulf region and subsequently led to a US military invasion in 2001 and a prolonged (15 year) war (which has yet to conclude), and most probably to a military retreat and defeat. The main economic beneficiaries were Afghan political clients, US mercenary military “contractors”, military procurement officers and civilian colonial administrators who pillaged hundreds of billions from the US Treasury in illegal and fraudulent transactions.

Pillage of the US Treasury in no way benefited the non-military MNCs. In fact the war and resistance movement undermined any large scale, long-term entry of US private capital in Afghanistan and adjoining border regions of Pakistan.

The proxy war in Southern Africa devastated the local economies, especially the domestic agricultural economy, uprooted millions of laborers and farmers and curtailed US corporate oil penetration for over two decades. The ‘positive’ outcome was the de-radicalization of the former revolutionary nationalist elite. However, the political conversion of the Southern African “revolutionaries” to neoliberalism did not benefit the US MNCs as much as the rulers turned kleptocratic oligarchs who organized patrimonial regimes in association with a diversified collection of MNCs, especially from Asia and Europe.

The proxy wars in Central America had mixed results. In Nicaragua the Sandinista revolution defeated the US-Israeli backed Somoza regime but immediately confronted a US financed, armed and trained counter-revolutionary mercenary army (the “Contras”) based in Honduras. The US war destroyed many of the progressive economic projects, undermined the economy, and eventually led to an electoral victory by the US backed political client Violeta Chamorro. Two decades later the US proxies were defeated by a de-radicalized Sandinista led political coalition.

In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the US proxy wars led to the consolidation of client regimes presiding over the destruction of the productive economy,and the flight of millions of war refugees to the United States. US imperial dominance eroded the bases for a productive labor market which spawned the growth of murderous drug gangs.

In summary, the US proxy wars succeeded, in most, cases in preventing the rise of nationalist-leftist regimes, but also led to the destructive of the economic and political bases of a stable and prosperous empire of neo-colonies.

US Imperialism in Latin America: Changing Structure, External and Internal Contingencies, Shifting Priorities and Global Constraints

To understand the operations, structure and performance of US imperialism in Latin America, it is necessary to recognize the specific constellation of competing forces which shaped imperial state policies. Unlike the Middle East where the militarist-Zionist faction has established hegemony, in Latin America the MNCs have played a leading role in directing imperial state policy. In Latin America, the militarists played a lesser role, constrained by (1) the power of the MNC, (2) the shifts in political power in Latin America from right to center-left, (3) the impact of economic crises and the commodity boom.

In contrast to the Middle East, the Zionist power configuration has little influence over imperial state policy, as Israel’s interests are focused on the Middle East and, with the possible exception of Argentina, Latin America is not a priority.

For over a century and a half, the US MNCs and banks dominated and dictated US imperial policy toward Latin America. The US armed forces and CIA were instruments of economic imperialism via direct intervention (invasions), proxy ‘military coups’, or a combination of both.

US imperial economic power in Latin America ‘peaked’ between 1975-1999. Vassal states and client rulers were imposed via proxy military coups, direct military invasions (Dominican Republic, Panama, and Grenada) and military-civilian controlled elections.

The results were the dismantling of the welfare state and the imposition of neoliberal policies. The MNC-led imperial state and its international financial appendages (IMF, WB, IDB) privatized lucrative strategic economic sectors, dominated trade and projected a regional integration scheme which would codify US imperial dominance.

Imperial economic expansion in Latin America was not simply a result of the internal dynamics and structures of the MNC but depended on (1) the receptivity of the ‘host’ country or more precisely the internal correlation of class forces in Latin America which in turn revolved around (2) the performance of the economy – its growth or susceptibility to crises.

Latin America demonstrates that contingencies such as the demise of client regimes and collaborator classes can have a profound negative impact on the dynamics of imperialism, undermining the power of the imperial state and reversing the economic advance of the MNCs.

The advance of US economic imperialism during the 1975-2000 period was manifest in the adoption of neoliberal policies, the pillage of national resources, the increase of illicit debts and the overseas transfer of billions of dollars However, the concentration of wealth and property, precipitated a deep socio-economic crises throughout the region which eventually led to the overthrow or ouster of the imperial collaborators in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Nicaragua. Powerful anti-imperialist social movements especially in the countryside emerged in Brazil and the Andean countries. Urban unemployed workers movements and public employees unions in Argentina and Uruguay spearheaded electoral changes, bringing to power center-left regimes which ‘re-negotiated’ relations with the US imperial state.

US MNC influence in Latin America waned. They could not count on the full battery of military resources of the imperial state to intervene and re-impose neoliberal clients because of its military priorities elsewhere: the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Unlike the past, the US MNCs in Latin America lacked two essential props of power: the full backing of the US armed forces and powerful civilian-military clients in Latin America.

The US MNCs’ plan for US centered integration was rejected by the center-left regimes. The imperial state turned to bilateral free trade agreements with Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru. As a result of the economic crises and collapse of most Latin American economies, “neoliberalism,” the ideology of imperial economic penetration, was discredited. Neoliberal advocates marginalized.

Changes in the world economy had a profound impact on US-Latin America trade and investment relations. The dynamic growth of China and the subsequent boom in demand and the rising prices of commodities, led to a sharp decline of US dominance of Latin American markets.

Latin American states diversified trade, sought and gained new overseas markets, especially in China. The increase in export revenues created greater capacity for self-financing. The IMF, WB and IDB, economic instruments for leveraging US financial impositions (“conditionality”), were sidelined

The US imperial state faced Latin American regimes who embraced diverse economic options, markets and sources of financing. With powerful domestic popular support and unified civilian-military command, Latin America moved tentatively out of the US sphere of imperialist domination.

The imperial state and its MNCs, deeply influenced by their “success” in the 1990s, responded to the decline of influence by proceeding by ‘trial and error,’ in the face of the negative constraints of the 21st century. The MNCs backed policymakers in the imperial state continued to back the collapsing neoliberal regimes, losing all credibility in Latin America. The imperial-state failed to accommodate changes – deepening popular and center-left regime opposition to “free markets” and the deregulation of banks. No large scale economic aid programs, like President Kennedy’s effort to counter the revolutionary appeal of the Cuban revolution by promoting social reforms via the ‘Alliance for Progress”, were fashioned to win over the center-left,probably because of budget constraints resulting from costly wars elsewhere.

The demise of neoliberal regimes, the glue that held the different factions of the imperial state together, led to competing proposals of how to regain dominance. The ‘militarist faction’ resorted to and revived the military coup formula for restoration: coups were organized in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras and Paraguay … all were defeated, except the latter two. The defeat of US proxies led to the consolidation of the independent, anti-imperialist center-left regimes.Even the “success”of the US coup in Honduras resulted in a major diplomatic defeat,as every Latin American government condemned it and the US role,further isolating Washington in the region.

The defeat of the militarist strategy strengthened the political-diplomatic faction of the imperial state. With positive overtures toward ostensibly ‘center-left regimes’, this faction gained diplomatic leverage, retained military ties and deepened the expansion of MNCs in Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Peru. With the latter two countries the economic imperialist faction of the imperial state secured bilateral free trade agreements.

A third MNC-military faction, overlapping with the previous two, combined diplomatic-political accommodations toward Cuba, with an aggressive political destabilization strategy aimed at “regime change” (coup) in Venezuela.

The heterogeneity of imperial state factions and their competing orientations, reflects the complexity of interests engaged in empire building in Latin America and results in seemingly contradictory policies, a phenomenon less evident in the Middle East where the militarist-Zionist power configuration dominates imperial policy-making.

For example the promotion of military bases and counter-insurgency operations in Colombia (a priority of the militarist faction) is accompanied by bilateral free market agreements and peace negotiations between the Santos regime and the FARC armed insurgency (a priority of the MNC faction).

Regaining imperial dominance in Argentina involves: (1) promoting the electoral fortunes of the neoliberal governor of Buenos Aires Macri; (2) backing the pro-imperialist media conglomerate Clarin, facing legislation breaking up its monopoly; (3) exploiting the death of prosecutor and CIA-Mossad collaborator Alberto Nisman to discredit the Kirchner-Fernandez regime; (4) backing New York speculators’ (vulture) investment fund attempting to extract exorbitant interest payments and, with the aid of a dubious judicial ruling, blocking Argentina’s access to financial markets.

Both the militarist and MNC factions of the imperial state converge in backing a multi-pronged electoral and coup approach, which seeks to restore a US controlled neoliberal regimes to power.

The contingencies which forestalled the recovery of imperial power over the past decade are now acting in reverse. The drop in commodity prices has weakened post neoliberal regimes in Venezuela, Argentina, and Ecuador. The ebbing of anti-imperialist movements resulting from center-left co-optation tactics has strengthened imperial state backed right-wing movements and street demonstrators. The decline in Chinese growth has weakened the Latin American market diversification strategies. The internal balance of class forces has shifted to the Right, toward US backed political clients in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Paraguay.

Theoretical Reflections on Empire Building in Latin America

US empire building in Latin America is a cyclical process, reflecting the structural shifts in political power, and the restructuring of the world economy – forces and factors which ‘override’ the imperial state and capital’s drive to accumulate.Capital accumulation and expansion does not depend merely on the impersonal forces of “the market” – because the social relations under which the “market” functions, operate under the constraints of the class struggle.

The centerpiece of imperial state activities-namely the prolonged territorial wars in the Middle East – are absent in Latin America. The driving force of US imperial state policy is the pursuit of resources (agro-mining), labor power ( low paid autoworkers), markets (size and purchasing power of 600 million consumers). The economic interests of the MNCs are the motives for imperial expansion.

Even as, from a geo-strategic vantage point, the Caribbean, Central America as well as South America are located most proximate to the US, economic not military objectives predominate.

However, the militarist-Zionist faction in the imperial state, ignore these traditional economic motives and deliberately choose to act on other priorities – control over oil producing regions, destruction of Islamic nations or movements or simply to destroy anti-imperialist adversaries. The militarists-Zionist faction counted the “benefits” to Israel, its Middle East military supremacy, more important than the US securing economic supremacy in Latin America. This is clearly the case if we measure imperial priorities by state resources expended in pursuit of political goals.

Even if we take the goal of “national security”, interpreted in the broadest sense, of securing the safety of the territorial homeland of the empire, the US military assault of Islamic countries driven by accompanying Islamophobic ideology and the resulting mass killings and uprooting a millions of Islamic people, has led to “blowback”: reciprocal terrorism. US “total wars” against civilians has provoked Islamic assaults against the citizens of the West.

Latin America countries targeted by economic imperialism are less belligerent than Middle Eastern countries targeted by US militarists. A cost/benefits analysis would demonstrate the totally “irrational” nature of militarist strategy. However,if we take account of the specific composition and interests that motivate particularly imperial state policymakers, there is a kind of perverse “rationality”. The militarists defend the “rationality” of costly and unending wars by citing the advantages of seizing the ‘gateways to oil’ and the Zionists cite their success in enhancing Israel’s regional power.

Whereas Latin America, for over a century was a priority region of imperial economic conquest, by the 21st century it lost primacy to the Middle East.

The Demise of the USSR and China’s conversion to Capitalism

The greatest impetus to successful US imperial expansion did not take place via proxy wars or military invasions. Rather, the US empire achieved its greatest growth and conquest, with the aid of client political leaders, organizations and vassal states throughout the USSR, Eastern Europe, the Baltic States the Balkans and the Caucuses. Long term, large scale US and EU political penetration and funding succeeded in overthrowing the hegemonic collectivist regimes in Russia and the USSR, and installing vassal states. They would soon serve NATO and be incorporated in the European Union. Bonn annexed East Germany and dominated the markets of Poland, the Czech Republic, and other Central European states. US and London bankers collaborated with Russian-Israeli gangster-oligarchs in joint ventures plundering resources, industries, real estate, and pension funds. The European Union exploited tens of millions of highly trained scientists, technicians, and workers – by importing them or stripping them of their welfare benefits and labor rights and exploiting them as cheap labor reserves in their own country.

“Imperialism by invitation” hosted by the vassal Yeltsin regime, easily appropriated Russian wealth. The ex-Warsaw Pact military forces were incorporated into a foreign legion for US imperial wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Their military installations were converted into military bases and missile sites encircling Russia.

US imperial conquest of the East, created a “unipolar world” in which Washington decision-makers and strategists believed that, as the world’s supreme power, they could intervene in every region with impunity.

The scope and depth of the US world empire was enhanced by China’s embrace of capitalism and its ruler’s invitation to US and EU MNCs to enter and exploit cheap Chinese labor. The global expansion of the US empire, led to a sense of unlimited power, encouraging its rulers to exercise power against any adversary or competitor.

Between 1990 and 2000, the US expanded its military bases to the borders of Russia. US MNCs expanded into China and Indo-China. US backed client regimes throughout Latin America dismantled the national economies, privatizing and denationalizing over five thousand lucrative strategic firms. Every sector was affected: natural resources, transport, telecommunications, and finance.

The US proceeded throughout the 1990s to expand via political penetration and military force. President George H. W. Bush launched a war against Iraq. Clinton bombed Yugoslavia and Germany and the EU joined the US in dividing Yugoslavia into ‘mini states’

The Pivotal Year 2000: the Pinnacle and Decline of Empire

The very rapid and extensive imperial expansion, between 1989-1999, the easy conquests and the accompanying plunder, created the conditions for the decline of the US empire.

The pillage and impoverishment of Russia led to the rise of a new leadership under President Putin intent on reconstructing the state and economy and ending vassalage.

The Chinese leadership harnessed its dependence on the West for capital investments and technology, into instruments for creating a powerful export economy and the growth of a dynamic national public-private manufacturing complex. The imperial centers of finance which flourished under lax regulation crashed. The domestic foundations of empire were severely strained. The imperial war machine competed with the financial sector for federal budgetary expenditures and subsidies.

The easy growth of empire, led to its over-extension. Multiple areas of conflict, reflected world-wide resentment and hostility at the destruction wrought by bombings and invasions. Collaborative imperial client rulers were weakened. The world-wide empire exceeded the capacity of the US to successfully police its new vassal states. The colonial outposts demanded new infusions of troops, arms and funds at a time when countervailing domestic pressures were demanding retrenchment and retreat.

All the recent conquests – outside of Europe – were costly. The sense of invincibility and impunity led imperial planners to overestimate their capacity to expand, retain, control and contain the inevitable anti-imperialist resistance.

The crises and collapse of the neoliberal vassal states in Latin America accelerated. Anti-imperialist uprisings spread from Venezuela (1999), to Argentina (2001), Ecuador (2000-2005) and Bolivia (2003-2005). Center-left regimes emerged in Brazil, Uruguay and Honduras. Mass movements, in rural regions,among Indian and mining communities gained momentum. Imperial plans formulated to secure US centered integration were rejected. Instead multiple regional pacts excluding the US proliferated-ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC. Latin America’s domestic rebellion coincided with the economic rise of China. A prolonged commodity boom severely weakened US imperial supremacy. The US had few local allies in Latin America and over ambitious commitments to control the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Washington lost its automatic majority in Latin America: its backing of coups in Honduras and Paraguay and its intervention in Venezuela (2002) and blockade of Cuba was repudiated by every regime, even by conservative allies.

Having easily established a global empire, Washington found it was not so easy to defend it. Imperial strategists in Washington viewed the Middle East wars through the prism of the Israeli military priorities, ignoring the global economic interests of the MNC.

Imperial military strategists overestimated the military capacity of vassals and clients, ill-prepared by Washington to rule in countries with growing armed national resistance movements. Wars, invasions and military occupations were launched in multiple sites. Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Pakistan were added to Afghanistan and Iraq. US imperial state expenditures far exceeded any transfer of wealth from the occupied countries.

A vast civilian-military-mercenary bureaucracy pillaged hundreds of billions of dollars from the US Treasury.

The centrality of wars of conquest, destroyed the economic foundations and institutional infrastructure necessary for MNC entry and profit.

Once entrenched in strategic military conceptions of empire, the military-political leadership of the imperial state fashioned a global ideology to justify and motivate a policy of permanent and multiple warfare. The doctrine of the ‘war on terror’ justified war everywhere and nowhere. The doctrine was ‘elastic’ – adapted to every region of conflict and inviting new military engagements: Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and Lebanon were all designated as war zones. The ‘terror doctrine’, global in scope, provided a justification for multiple wars and the massive destruction (not exploitation) of societies and economic resources. Above all the “war on terrorism” justified torture (Abu Gharib) and concentration camps (Guantanamo), and civilian targets (via drones)anywhere. Troops were withdrawn and returned to Afghanistan and Iraq as the nationalist resistance advanced. Thousands of Special Forces in scores of countries were active, purveying death and mayhem.

Moreover, the violent uprooting, degradation and stigmatization of entire Islamic people led to the spread of violence in the imperial centers of Paris, New York, London, Madrid, and Copenhagen. The globalization of imperial state terror led to individual terror.

Imperial terror evoked domestic terror: the former on a massive, sustained scale encompassing entire civilizations and conducted and justified by elected political officials and military authorities. The latter by a cross section of ‘internationalists’ who directly identified with the victims of imperial state terror.

Contemporary Imperialism: Present and Future Perspectives

To understand the future of US imperialism it is important to sum up and evaluate the experience and policies of the past quarter of a century.

If we compare, US empire building between 1990 and 2015, it is clearly in decline economically, politically and even militarily in most regions of the world, though the process of decline is not linear and probably not irreversible.

Despite talk in Washington of reconfiguring imperial priorities to take account of MNC economic interests, little has been accomplished. Obama’s so-called “pivot to Asia” has resulted in new military base agreements with Japan, Australia, and the Philippines surrounding China and reflects an inability to fashion free trade agreements that exclude China. Meantime, the US has militarily re-started the war and reentered Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to launching new wars in Syria and the Ukraine. It is clear that the primacy of the militarist faction is still the determinant factor in shaping imperial state policies.

The imperial military drive is most evident in the US intervention in support of the coup in the Ukraine and subsequent financing and arming of the Kiev junta. The imperial takeover of the Ukraine and plans to incorporate it into the EU and NATO, represents military aggression in its most blatant form: The expansion of US military bases and installations and military maneuvers on Russia’s borders and the US initiated economic sanctions, have severely damaged EU trade and investment with Russia. US empire building continues to prioritize military expansion even at the cost of Western imperial economic interests in Europe.

The US-EU bombing of Libya destroyed the burgeoning trade and investment agreements between imperial oil and gas MNCs and the Gaddafi government. NATO air assaults destroyed the economy, society, and political order, converting Libya into a territory overrun by warring clans, gangs, terrorists and armed thuggery.

Over the past half century, the political leadership and strategies of the imperial state have changed dramatically. During the period between 1975-1990, MNCs played a central role in defining the direction of imperial state policy: leveraging markets in Asia; negotiating market openings with China; promoting and backing neoliberal military and civilian regimes in Latin America; installing and financing pro-capitalist regimes in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkan states. Even in the cases where the imperial state resorted to military intervention, Yugoslavia and Iraq, the bombings led to favorable economic opportunities for US MNCs. The Bush Sr regime promoted US oil interests via an oil for food agreement with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Clinton promoted free market regimes in the mini-states resulting from the break-up of socialist Yugoslavia .

However, the imperial state’s leadership and policies shifted dramatically during the late 1990’s onward. President Clinton’s imperial state was composed of long-standing MNC representatives, Wall Street bankers, and newly ascending militarist Zionist officials.

The result was a hybrid policy in which the imperial state actively promoted MNC opportunities under neoliberal regimes in the ex-Communist countries of Europe and Latin America, and expanded MNC ties with China and Viet Nam while launching destructive military interventions in Somalia, Yugoslavia, and Iraq.

The ‘balance of forces’ within the imperialist state shifted dramatically in favor the militarist-Zionist faction with 9/11: the terrorist attack of dubious origins and false flag demolitions in New York and Washington served to entrench the militarists in control of a vastly expanded imperial state apparatus. As a consequence of 9/11, the militarist-Zionist faction of the imperial state subordinated the interests of the MNCs to its strategy of total wars. This in turn led to the invasion, occupation and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan (instead of harnessing it to MNC expansion). The US colonial regime dismantled the Iraqi state (instead of re-ordering it to serve the MNC). The assassination and forced out-migration of millions of skilled professionals, administrators, police and military officials crippled any economic recovery (instead of their incorporation as servants of the colonial state and MNC).

The militarist-Zionist ascendancy in the imperial state introduced major changes in policy, orientation , priorities and the modus operandi of US imperialism. The ideology of the “global war on terror” replaced the MNC doctrine of promoting “economic globalization”.

Perpetual wars (“terrorists” were not confined to place and time) replaced limited wars or interventions directed at opening markets or changing regimes which would implement neoliberal policies benefiting US MNCs.

The locus of imperial state activity shifted from exploiting economic opportunities, in Asia, Latin America and the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe to wars in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa – targeting Muslim countries which opposed Israel’s colonial expansion in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

The new militarist-power configuration’s conception of empire building required vast – trillion dollar – expenditures, without care or thought of returns to private capital. In contrast, under the hegemony of the MNCs, the imperial state, intervened to secure concessions of oil, gas and minerals in Latin America and the Middle East. The costs of military conquest were more than compensated by the returns to the MNC. The militarist imperial state configuration pillaged the US Treasury to finance its occupations, financing a vast army of corrupt colonial collaborators, private mercenary ‘military contractors’ and, soon to be millionaire, US military procurement (sic) officials.

Previously, MNCs directed overseas exploitation led to healthy returns to the US Treasury both in terms of direct tax payments and via the revenues generated from trade and the processing of raw materials.

Over the past decade and a half, the biggest and most stable returns to the MNC take place in regions and countries where the militarized imperial state is least involved: China, Latin America, and Europe. The MNCs have profited least and have lost most in areas of greatest imperial state involvement.

The ‘war zones’ that extend from Libya, Somalia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the regions where imperial MNCs have suffered the biggest decline and exodus.

The main “beneficiaries” of the current imperial state policies are the war contractors and the security-military-industrial complex in the US. Overseas the state beneficiaries include Israel and Saudi Arabia. In addition Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani client rulers have squirreled away tens of billions in off-shore private bank accounts.

The “non-state” beneficiaries include mercenary, proxy armies. In Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Ukraine tens of thousands of collaborators in self-styled “non-governmental” organizations have also profited.

The Lost-Benefit Calculus or Empire-Building under the Aegis of the Militarist-Zionist Imperial State

Sufficient time has passed over the past decade and a half of militarist-Zionist dominance of the imperial state to evaluate their performance.

The US and its Western European allies, especially Germany successfully expanded their empire in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic regions without firing a shot. These countries were converted into EU vassal states. Their markets dominated and industries denationalized. Their armed forces were recruited as NATO mercenaries. West Germany annexed the East. Cheap educated labor, as immigrants and as a labor reserve, increased profits for EU and US MNCs. Russia was temporarily reduced to a vassal state between 1991-2001. Living standards plunged and welfare programs were reduced. Mortality rates increased. Class inequalities widened. Millionaires and billionaires seized public resources and joined with the imperial MNCs in plundering the economy. Socialist and Communist leaders and parties were repressed or co-opted. In contrast, imperial military expansion of the 21st century was a costly failure. The ‘war in Afghanistan’ was costly in lives and expenditures and led to an ignominious retreat. What remained was a fragile puppet regime and an unreliable mercenary military. The US-Afghanistan war was the longest war in US history and one of the biggest failures. In the end the nationalist-Islamist resistance movements – the so-called “Taliban” and allied ethno-religious and nationalist anti-imperialist resistance groups – dominate the countryside, repeatedly penetrate and attack urban centers and prepare to take power.

The Iraq war and the imperial state’s invasion and decade long occupation decimated the economy. The occupation fomented ethno-religious warfare. The secular Ba’thist officers and military professionals joined with Islamist nationalists and subsequently formed a powerful resistance movement (ISIS) which defeated the imperial backed Shia mercenary army during the second decade of the war. The imperial state was condemned to re-enter and engage directly in a prolonged war. The cost of war spiraled to over a trillion dollars. Oil exploitation was hampered and the US Treasury poured tens of billions to sustain a “war without end’.

The US imperial state and the EU, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey financed armed Islamic mercenary militias to invade Syria and overthrow the secular, nationalist, anti-Zionist Bashar Assad regime. The imperial war opened the door for the expansion of the Islamic-Ba’thist forces-ISIS into Syria. The Kurds and other armed groups seized territory, fragmenting the country. After nearly five years of warfare and rising military costs the US and EU MNCs have been cut off from the Syrian market.

US support for Israeli aggression against Lebanon has led to the growth in power of the anti-imperialist Hezbollah armed resistance. Lebanon, Syria, and Iran now represent a serious alternative to the US, EU, Saudi Arabia, Israeli axis.

The US sanctions policy toward Iran has failed to undermine the nationalist regime and has totally undercut the economic opportunities of all the major US and EU oil and gas MNCs as well as US manufacturing exporters. China has replaced them.

The US-EU invasion of Libya led to the destruction of the economy and the flight of billions in MNC investments and the disruption of exports.

The US imperial states’ seizure of power via a proxy coup in Kiev, provoked a powerful anti-imperialist rebellion led by armed militia in the East (Donetsk and Luhansk) and the decimation of the Ukraine economy.

In summary, the military-Zionist takeover of the imperial state has led to prolonged, unwinnable costly wars which have undermined markets and investment sites for US MNCs. Imperial militarism has undermined the imperial economic presence and provoked long-term, growing anti-imperialist resistance movements, as well as chaotic, unstable and unviable countries out of imperial control.

Economic imperialism has continued to profit in parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa despite the imperial wars and economic sanctions pursued by the highly militarized imperial state elsewhere.

However, the US militarists’ seizure of power in the Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia have eroded EU’S profitable trade and investments in Russia. The Ukraine under IMF-EU-US tutelage has become a heavily indebted, broken economy run by kleptocrats who are totally dependent on foreign loans and military intervention.

Because the militarized imperial state prioritizes conflict and sanctions with Russia, Iran, and Syria, it has failed to deepen and expand its economic ties with Asia, Latin America and Africa. The political and economic conquest of East Europe and parts of the USSR has lost significance. The perpetual, lost wars in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucuses have weakened the imperial state’s capacity for empire building in Asia and Latin America.

The outflow of wealth, the domestic cost of perpetual wars has eroded the electoral foundations of empire building. Only a fundamental change in the composition of the imperial state and a reorientation of priorities toward centering on economic expansion can alter the current decline of empire. The danger is that as the militarist Zionist imperialist state pursues losing wars, it may escalate and raise the ante, and move toward a major nuclear confrontation: an empire amidst nuclear ashes!

James Petras was Director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies in Athens (1981-1984) and adviser to Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou (1981-84). He resigned in protest over the PM expulsion of leading trade unionists from PASOK for organizing a general strike against his ‘stabilization program’. Petras is co-author of Mediterranean Paradoxes: The Politics and Social Structure of Southern Europe. His latest books include Extractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer) and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East. Read other articles by James, or visit James’s website.

Reagan, Iran and the Descent into Darkness

By Gordon Duff
February 9, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

R5646322Last week, the government of Pakistan presented proof to US Secretary of State John Kerry that America was financing ISIS operations. Account numbers were given, tracing back to conservative political donors and shady financial groups aligned with PJ Media, the Jamestown Foundation and a number of former military flag officers, several of whom regularly appear on Fox News and Alex Jones, the same names that popped up as planning the Benghazi attack.

The organization isn’t a new one, the basis for the Islamic State come from the Reagan presidency, the banking mechanisms used during Iran Contra when 123 Reagan appointees were convicted of crimes from Treason to Obstruction of Justice. ISIS is also a descendant of Gladio, the “stay behind” terror worldwide terror network controlled by Freemasons responsible for attacks across Europe and Latin America for over 3 decades.

Reagan’s real goal was taking down two enemies, the Soviets and Iran. His personal war on Iran, both economic and military nearly sent him to prison were he not able to prove he was mentally unfit for office while serving as president, as evidence in his testimony at the Iran Contra hearings.

Terror Funding Origins

The financial network used to back the terror organizations, Gladio, Al Qaeda and their current incarnations along with dozens of contrived “national fronts began with the moves against world banking.

In the US it began with the deregulation of “thrifts,” locally owned Savings and Loans quickly bankrupted through fraud, a move led by the Bush family and Senator John McCain but set up by the Reagan Treasury Department. 1.5 trillion US dollars were stolen from these financial organizations with only Charles Keating, close friend of Senator John McCain, and 40 low level operatives to go to prison.

McCain escaped prison and suffered only minor rebukes for his part in the Keating scandals.

Reagan’s domestic agenda rocked America, destroying unions, sent millions of skilled jobs overseas, ran up trillions in debt and destroyed America’s middle class. Reagan’s restructuring of the US economy eliminated over 5 million skilled labor and management jobs and millions of American families were set adrift, living in automobiles, sleeping under bridges and in makeshift “communities” much as during the Great Depression.

The closing of mental hospitals send nearly 500,000 patients into communities unprepared to deal with the influx. When you combined this population with the burgeoning “crack cocaine” epidemic begun by the Reagan White House operatives and CIA, America had become a festering hell hole.

The response was to begin a massive campaign of building prisons and a restructuring of the legal system with longer sentences for drug offenses and life imprisonment for petty crimes making America the most imprisoned society in the world. Reagan did this.

With cutbacks in aid to education, the typical American home became multi-generational and home ownership was no longer considered the “norm” for an American family.

Many remember iconic issues, one in particular when school lunch programs needed to be cut to finance a tax cut for the wealthiest 1%. Rules were changed to change dietary requirements and condiments such as catsup and mustard were allowed to replace fresh vegetables and salads.

What wasn’t mentioned is that orange juice was replaced by colored water with corn sweetener and carcinogenic food coloring. Food safety became a thing of the past as a massive influx of undocumented workers from Mexico were allowed to enter the US, part of Reagan’s plan to kill labor unions. They took over food processing jobs first, particularly slaughterhouse and meat packing jobs. E.coli outbreaks began sweeping the nation.

More Progress

Dangerous untested pharmaceuticals were released, killing thousands, industrial pollution of water and air was legalized and workplace safety measures were overturned. Reagan was a champion of “big agriculture,” and GMO became a national cause.

Thousands of other examples of government cruelty and corruption were buried beneath the trials and hearings over drug running and fraud.

Defenders of the Reagan government have blinders on and very short memories. Lauding the destruction of the Soviet Union, it was really America that died under Reagan. Paul Craig Roberts, champion of America’s right, speaks glowingly of Reagan.

He cites “liberals” as criticizing Reagan’s divisive policies and “trickle down” economics. I worked for the Carter administration and stayed on when Reagan took office.

The CIA and Organized Crime

A parallel version of the CIA was set up under Lt. Colonel Oliver North and members of the Bush family, and ratlines were created from the cocaine centers of Colombia, through Noriega’s Panama to the secret landing fields in Costa Rica and ending in America’s cities.

An epidemic of crack cocaine, aimed at America’s African-American population, as reported by Gary Webb and Mike Ruppert, financed Reagan initiatives, done in partnership with Israel, key Saudi figures and American organized crime.

Wanted members of the drug cartels bought up luxury condominiums in Miami and openly used CIA safehouses for meetings. CIA personnel were quietly “made aware” that things had changed, that a new administration had come to power and that drug cartels had become the close allies of the administration in Washington. Anyone that objected was threatened or worse.

Drug running was the “go to” solution for any black money shortfall during Reagan’s rule. Increasingly, financial institutions beginning with the breakaway Mormon communities of the South West, all “Red States” today. A “marriage” was consummated, tying these states, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and regions of Texas to the drug cartel run regions of Mexico. Over the next 3 decades, county by county, town by town, state by state, drug cartels took control of government operations and financial institutions, eventually controlling several US Senators, state governors, prosecutors, sheriffs and countless judges. Those who failed to play along were killed.

Middle East Policy

I55533333Reagan represented an end to efforts to seek justice for the Palestinian people and stability in the Middle East. Reagan’s real focus was on Iraq and their war against Iran, a keystone to his foreign policy.

The Reagan administration’s goal was control of not just narcotics but world oil markets. The aftermath of the 1973 war had shown the power oil pricing had on the world economy. Oil could be used as a tool of war as much as any army and Reagan’s economic advisors pushed for seizure of Iran’s oil field as a lynchpin to that policy. To do that, Iran had to be destroyed. From Wikipedia:

“Starting in 1982 with Iranian success on the battlefield, the United States made its backing of Iraq more pronounced, normalizing relations with the government, supplying it with economic aid, counter-insurgency training, operational intelligence on the battlefield, and weapons.

President Ronald Reagan initiated a strategic opening to Iraq, signing National Security Study Directive (NSSD) 4-82 and selecting Donald Rumsfeld as his emissary to Hussein, whom he visited in December 1983 and March 1984. According to U.S. ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, far from winning the conflict, “the Reagan administration was afraid Iraq might actually lose.”

To think America would go to war to eliminate weapons of mass destruction given to Iraq by the United States is no secret. From the 1970s onward, the partnership between Israel, South Africa and Libya, fostered by the Reagan CIA, would develop and test, in Angola and elsewhere, new biological and chemical weapons later to be used by Saddam against Iran.

The Reagan administration, in order to facilitate the destruction of Iran, made it possible to supply Iraq with anything imaginable.

In 1982, Iraq was removed from a list of State Sponsors of Terrorism to ease the transfer of dual-use technology to that country. According to investigative journalist Alan Friedman, Secretary of State Alexander Haig was “upset at the fact that the decision had been made at the White House, even though the State Department was responsible for the list. I was not consulted,” Haig is said to have complained.

The Intel Partnership

What Wikipedia fails to tell of the 1983 Teicher/Rumsfeld meeting with Aziz in Baghdad is that they were sent there by the Israeli government, not America. Teicher presented a letter from Shamir to Saddam which was refused by Tarik Aziz, Iraq’s Foreign Minister.

Howard Teicher served on the National Security Council as director of Political-Military Affairs. He accompanied Rumsfeld to Baghdad in 1983. According to his 1995 affidavit and separate interviews with former Reagan and Bush administration officials, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly directed armaments and hi-tech components to Iraq through false fronts and friendly third parties such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait, and they quietly encouraged rogue arms dealers and other private military companies to do the same:

Wikipedia also fails to mention the “ratline” for not just poison gas but biological agents as well, the German companies represented by Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush’s older brother, Prescott, nominally an “insurance executive,” in reality the largest arms trader in the world, and their role in arming Saddam against Iran.

Donald Rumsfeld meets Saddām on 19–20 December 1983. Rumsfeld visited again on 24 March 1984, the day the UN reported that Iraq had used mustard gas and tabun nerve agent against Iranian troops. The NY Times reported from Baghdad on 29 March 1984, that “American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with Iraq and the U.S., and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been established in all but name.”

Conclusion

Torturing history is perhaps one of the greatest failings of our era. The abuses of wartime propaganda or the ideological struggles of the Cold War now permeate every aspect of our lives, creating a mythological unreality sustained only through considerable effort. It has gone far beyond repeating past mistakes but has become an organic movement of contrived entropy fueled through systematic denialism.

The Reagan era in the United States is cited for a reason. An actor was elected president, someone who played president and in some ways did so better than anyone in the past, with tremendous success, were reality a “play.”

Political theatricality had always been with us. However, it was once assumed that ideology and men of conscience would engage in meaningful conflicts, guns or ideas, but moving, once believed inexorably, toward human advancement. This is a failed hypothesis.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

It’s Not about Islam – It Never Was

War Begets War

by Ramzy Baroud
January 15, 2015
Dissident Voice, January 13, 2015

 

US Flag Around the EarthIt is still not about Islam, even if the media and militants attacking western targets say so. Actually, it never was. But it was important for many to conflate politics with religion; partly because it is convenient and self-validating.

First, let’s be clear on some points. Islam has set in motion a system to abolish slavery over 1,200 years before the slave trade reached its peak in the western world.

Freeing the slaves, who were owned by pagan Arab tribes, was a recurring theme in the Koran, always linked to the most basic signs of piety and virtue:

“The charities are to go to the poor, and the needy, and those who work to collect them, and those whose hearts have been united, and to free the slaves, and those in debt, and in the cause of God, and the traveler. A duty from God, and God is Knowledgeable, Wise.” [Al-Koran. 9:60]

It is unfortunate that such reminders would have to be regularly restated, thanks to constant anti-Islam propaganda in many western countries. The outlandish and often barbaric behavior of the so-called Islamic State (IS) has given greater impetus to existing prejudices and propaganda.

Second, gender equality in Islam has been enshrined in the language of the Koran and the legacy of the Prophet Mohammed.

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for patient men and women, for humble men and women, for charitable men and women, for fasting men and women, for chaste men and women, and for men and women who remember God often – for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.” [33:35]

Third, the sanctity of life is paramount in Islam to the extent that “…if any one slew a person (..) it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [5:32]

Still, this is not about Islam. This is about why Islam is the subject of this discussion in the first place, when we should be addressing the real roots of violence.

When Islam was introduced to Arabia many centuries ago, it was, and, in fact, remains, a revolutionary religion. It was and remains radical, certainly the kind of radicalism that, if viewed objectively, would be considered a real challenge to classism in society, to inequality in all of its forms, and more importantly, to capitalism and its embedded insatiability, greed and callousness.

To avoid a rational discussion about real issues, many make non-issues the crux of the debate. So Islam is discussed alongside IS, Nigerian tribal and sectarian conflicts, Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, immigration issues in Europe and much more.

While much violence happens across the world in the name of Christianity, Judaism, even Buddhism in Burma and Sri Lanka, rarely do entire collectives get stigmatized by the media. Yet, all Muslims are held directly or otherwise accountable by many, even if a criminal who happened to be a Muslim went out on a violent rampage. Yes, he may still be designated as a “lone wolf”, but one can be almost certain that Muslims and Islam somehow become relevant to the media debate afterwards.

In their desperate attempt to fend off accusations, many Muslims, often led by credible intellectuals and journalists have, for nearly two decades staged a counter effort to distance Islam from violence and to fight the persisting stereotype. With time, these efforts culminated into a constant stream of collective apologies on behalf of Islam.

When a Muslim in Brazil or Libya reacts to a hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia, condemning violence on behalf of Islam, and frantically attempting to defend Islam and disown militancy, and so on, the question is, why? Why does the media make Muslims feel accountable for anything carried out in the name of Islam even by some deranged person? Why are members of other religions not held to the same standards? Why aren’t Swedish Christians asked to explain and apologize for the behavior of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or Argentinean Jews to explain the daily, systematic violence and terror carried out by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem and the West Bank?

Since Francis Fukuyama declared the “End of History” in 1992 – reveling that free markets and “liberal democracies” will reign supreme forever – followed by Samuel Huntington’s supposed contrasting, but still equally conceited, view of the “Clash of Civilizations and the need to “remake the world order”, a whole new intellectual industry has embroiled many in Washington, London and elsewhere. Once the Cold War had triumphantly ended with an inflated sense of political validation, the Middle East became the new playground for ideas about dominion and military hardware.

Since then, it has been an all-out war, either instigated by or involving various western powers. It was a protracted, multi-dimensional war: a destructive war on the ground, an economic war (blockades on the one hand and globalization and free market exploitation on the other), cultural invasion (that made westernisation of society equivalent to modernity); topped with a massive propaganda war targeting the Middle East’s leading religion: Islam.

The war on Islam was particularly vital, as it seemed to unify a large range of western intellectuals, conservative, liberal, religious and secular alike. All done for good reasons:

– Islam is not just a religion, but a way of life. By demonizing Islam, you demonize everything associated with it, including, of course, Muslims.

– The vilification of Islam which morphed into massive western-led Islamophobia helped validate the actions of western governments, however violent and abusive. The dehumanization of Muslims became an essential weapon in war.

– It was also strategic: hating Islam and all Muslims is a very flexible tool that would make military intervention and economic sanctions possible anywhere where the West has political and economic interests. Hating Islam became a unifying rally-cry from advocates of sanctions on Sudan to anti-immigrant neo-Nazi groups in Germany, and everywhere else. The issue is no longer the violent means used to achieve political domination and control of natural resources, but, magically, it all was reduced to one single word: Islam; or, at best, Islam and something else: freedom of expression, women rights, and so forth.

Thus, it was no surprise to see the likes of Ian Black commenting in the Guardian, hours after gunmen carried out a lethal attack in Paris against a French Magazine on Wednesday, 7 January with the starting line: “Satire and Islam do not sit well together…”

Not a word on the French military and other forms of intervention in the Middle East; its destructive role in Syria; its leadership role in the war in Libya; its war in Mali, and so on. Not even a word on François Holland’s recent statement about being “ready” to bomb Libyan rebels, although it was made only few days earlier.

Sure, the pornographic satire of Charlie Hebdo and its targeting of Prophet Mohammed was mentioned, but little was said, by Black, or the many others who were quick to link the subject to “7th century Islam”, to the hideous wars and their horrible, pornographic manifestations of torture, rape and other unspeakable acts; acts that victimized millions of people; Muslim people. Instead, it is about western art and Muslim intolerance. The subtle line was: yes, indeed, it is a “clash of civilizations”.

Did any of these “intellectuals” pause to think that maybe, just maybe, the violent responses to demeaning Islamic symbols reflect a real political sentiment, say for example, a collective feeling of humiliation, hurt, pain and racism that extend to every corner of the globe?

And that it is natural that war which is constantly exported from the West to the rest of the world, could ultimately be exported back to western cities?

Is it not possible that Muslims are angered by something much more subtle and profound than Charlie Hebdo’s tasteless art?

Avoiding the answer is likely to delay a serious attempt at finding a solution, which must start with the end of western interventionism in the Middle East.

Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. His latest volume is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com. Read other articles by Ramzy.

How to Stop Terrorism: 7 Ways to Drain the Swamp

By WashingtonsBlog
January 11, 2015
Washington’s Blog, January 10, 2015

 

The 7 Ways to Stop Terrorism

In the wake of the barbaric Paris terror attack, everyone is debating how to stop further terrorism.

Some say we need more war against Islamic countries … or more spying … or more crackdowns on our liberties.

But – despite what the talking heads may say – the methods for stopping future attacks are well known …

We’ve got to drain the swamp.

I. Stop Supporting the Dictators Who Fund Terrorists

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor of radical Islamic terrorists.

The Saudis have backed ISIS and many other brutal terrorist groups.  According to sworn declarations from a 9/11 Commissioner and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11, the Saudi government backed the 9/11 hijackers (see section VII for details).

Saudi Arabia is the hotbed of the most radical Muslim terrorists in the world: the Salafis (both ISIS and Al Qaeda are Salafis).

And the Saudis – with U.S. support – back the radical “madrassas” in which Islamic radicalism was spread.

And yet the U.S. has been supporting the Saudis militarily, with NSA intelligence and in every other way possible for 70 years.

In addition, top American terrorism experts say that U.S. support for brutal and tyrannical countries in the Middle east – like Saudi Arabia – is one of the top motivators for Arab terrorists.

So if we stop supporting the House of Saud and other Arab tyrannies, we’ll get a two-fold reduction in terror:

(1) We’ll undermine the main terrorism supporters

And …

(2) We’ll take away one of the main motivations driving terrorists: our support for the most repressive, brutal Arab tyrannies

II. Stop Arming Terrorists

We’re arming the most violent terrorists in the Middle East, as part of a geopolitical strategy to overthrow leaders we don’t like (see section III for more details).   And see this, this, this, this and this.

Previously-leaked documents showed that the CIA warned Obama that funding extremist rebels doesn’t work … but Obama decided to fund the Syrian rebels anyway for cynical political gain.

Indeed, the French terrorists who just murdered the cartoonists in Paris apparently just returned from waging war against the Syrian government, where they may – directly or indirectly – have obtained U.S. weapons and training.

And – strangely – we’re overthrowing the more moderate Arabs who stabilized the region and denied jihadis a foothold.

If we want to stop terrorism, we need to stop supporting the terrorists.

III. Stop Imperial Conquests for Arab Oil

The U.S. has undertaken regime change against Arab leaders we don’t like for six decades. We overthrew the leader of Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Iraq twice, Afghanistan twice, Turkey, Libya … and other oil-rich countries.

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa yet again in 1991.

Top American politicians admit that the Iraq oil was about oil, not stopping terrorism (documents from Britain show the same thing).    Much of the war on terror is really a fight for natural gas.  Or to force the last few hold-outs into dollars and private central banking.

And the U.S. military described terror attacks on the U.S. as a “small price to pay for being a superpower“:

A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.

Security experts – including both conservatives and liberals – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

For example, James K. Feldman – former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies – and other experts say that foreign occupation is the main cause of terrorism. University of Chicago professor Robert A. Pape – who specializes in international security affairs – agrees.

We’ve fought the longest and most expensive wars in American history … but we’re less secure than before, and there are more terror attacks than ever.

Remember, Al Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until the U.S. invaded that country.

If we want to stop terrorism, we have to stop overthrowing Arab leaders and invading Arab countries to grab their oil.

IV. Stop Mass Surveillance

Top security experts agree that mass surveillance makes us MORE vulnerable to terrorists.

V.  Stop Torture

Top terrorism and interrogation experts agree that torture creates more terrorists.

Indeed, the leaders of ISIS were motivated by U.S. torture.

Once again, we have a very current example:  Paris terrorist Cherif Kouchi told a court in 2005 that he wasn’t radical until he learned about U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

If we want to stop creating new terrorists, we have to stop torturing … permanently.

VI.  Stop Drone Assassinations of Innocent Civilians

Top CIA officers say that drone strikes increase terrorism (and see this).

The CIA – the agency in charge of drone strikes – even told Obama that drone kills can increase terrorism.

If we want to stop creating new terrorists, we have to stop the drone strikes.

VII. Stop Covering Up 9/11

Government officials agree that 9/11 was state-sponsored terrorism … they just disagree on which state was responsible.

Because 9/11 was the largest terror attack on the U.S. in history – and all of our national security strategies are based on 9/11 – we can’t stop terror until we get to the bottom of what really happened, and which state was behind it.

Many high-level American officials – including military leaders, intelligence officials and 9/11 commissioners – are dissatisfied with the 9/11 investigations to date.

The Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – and 9/11 Commissioner and former Senator Bob Kerrey are calling for either a “permanent 9/11 commission” or a new 9/11 investigation to get to the bottom of it.

The Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Bob Graham) said that the Paris terror attack, ISIS, and other terrorist developments are a result of failing to stand up to Saudi Arabia and declassify the 9/11 investigation’s report about Saudi involvement in 9/11:

The 9/11 chairs, Ron Paul, and numerous other American politicians have called for declassification, as well.

Again, others have different ideas about who was behind 9/11. But until we get to the bottom of it, terror attacks will continue.

Stop Throwing Bodies In the River

Defenders of current government policy say: “we have to do something to stop terrorists!”

Yes, we do …

But we must also stop doing the 7 things above which increase terrorism.  We have to stop “throwing new bodies in the river.”

But the powers-that-be don’t want to change course … they gain tremendous power and influence through our current war on terror strategies.

For example, the military-complex grows rich through war … so endless war is a feature – not a bug – of our foreign policy.

Torture was about building a false justification for war.

Mass surveillance is about economic and diplomatic advantage and crushing dissent.

Supporting the most radical Muslim leaders is about oil and power … “a small price to pay” to try to dominate the world.

A leading advisor to the U.S. military – the Rand Corporation – released a study in 2008 called “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida“.  The report confirms what experts have been saying for years: the war on terror is actually weakening national security (see this, this and this).

As a press release about the study states:

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

We, the People, have to stand up and demand that our power-hungry leaders stop doing the things which give them more power … but are guaranteed to increase terrorism against us, the civilian population.

Five “Not-so-Peaceful” Obama Actions since Nabbing the Nobel Prize

By RT
December 10, 2014
RT

 

U.S. President Barack Obama.(Reuters / Larry Downing )

U.S. President Barack Obama.(Reuters / Larry Downing )

 

Five years on from President Barack Obama scooping a Nobel Peace Prize, and the White House has taken anything but a Zen approach to foreign policy under his watch. Here are the top 5 not-so-peaceful moves the laureate has made in the past half-decade.

1. Afghan Surge

Obama didn’t start the war in Afghanistan, but he certainly took a page from his predecessors playbook in trying to finish it. He recognized his precarious position at prize time.

US President Barack Obama holds his Noble Peace Prize during the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo on December 10, 2009.(AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

US President Barack Obama holds his Noble Peace Prize during the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo on December 10, 2009.(AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

“But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the commander-in-chief of a nation in the midst of two wars,” he said after accepting the Nobel Prize in Oslo, Norway, on December 9, 2009.

While he said the war in Iraq was “winding down,” things in Afghanistan were just starting to heat up. A week before accepting the prize, Obama announced he was sending 33,000 more troops to Afghanistan as part of his “surge policy,” intended to beat back the Taliban and train Afghan security forces to take the country into their own hands. The following years would become the deadliest for both US troops and Afghan civilians. Again, it wasn’t Obama’s war. But then came…

Reuters / Mark Wilson

Reuters / Mark Wilson

2. Military strikes in Libya

Following UN Resolution 1973 on March 17, 2011, which called for “an immediate ceasefire” in Libya and authorized the international community to set up a no-fly zone to protect civilians, Obama, along with his NATO allies, would soon launch military strikes to turn the tide of the 2011 Civil War in the North African state. NATO conducted 9,700 strike sorties and dropped over 7,700 precision bombs. A Human Rights Watch report would go on to detail eight incidents where at least 72 Libyan civilians died as a result of the aerial campaign.

A building used by Gaddafi troops to service vehicles is seen in rubble following a NATO airstrike in the town of Bir al-Ghanam in western Libya, August 8, 2011.(Reuters / Bob Strong)

A building used by Gaddafi troops to service vehicles is seen in rubble following a NATO airstrike in the town of Bir al-Ghanam in western Libya, August 8, 2011.(Reuters / Bob Strong)

But the real damage to overthrowing the Gaddafi regime came in the ensuing years, with the country descending into a civil war between Islamist forces and the weak post-revolutionary government. In August, Obama admitted his Libyan policy was a failure, but not because he chose to intervene militarily. Rather, he says the problem was that America and its European partners did not “come in full force” to take Gaddafi out. Although his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to rejoice in his death, wryly noting “We came, we saw, he died.”

A building used by Gaddafi troops to service vehicles is seen in rubble following a NATO airstrike in the town of Bir al-Ghanam in western Libya, August 8, 2011.(Reuters / Bob Strong)

A building used by Gaddafi troops to service vehicles is seen in rubble following a NATO airstrike in the town of Bir al-Ghanam in western Libya, August 8, 2011.(Reuters / Bob Strong)

3. Drone Wars in Yemen, Pakistan

Since the US first started targeting Yemeni militants in 2002, Obama has launched all but one of the 15 airstrikes and 101 drone strikes in the country. According to the web portal New America.net, which has meticulously complied data on the strikes, up to 1,073 people have been killed in the strikes. An estimated 81-87 of those killed were civilians, while the identity of another 31-50 remains unknown. But Yemen was just one prong in Obama’s so-called Drone War, though, as we shall see, it was the site of a game-changing incident.

Image from newamerica.net showing location of drone strikes in Yemen.

Image from newamerica.net showing location of drone strikes in Yemen.

Unlike in Yemen, drone strikes in Pakistan were in favor long before Obama came to power. A report conducted by Stanford and New York Universities’ Law schools found that between 2,562 and 3,325 people were killed by drone strikes in Pakistan between June 2004 and mid-September 2012. Anywhere between 474 and 881 of those were civilians, and 176 were children. While Obama didn’t start the Pakistani drone war, he aggressively expanded it.

Image from newamerica.net showing location of drone strikes in Pakistan.

Image from newamerica.net showing location of drone strikes in Pakistan.

Between 2004 and 2007, only 10 drone strikes were launched in Pakistan. The following year saw 36 such strikes, and 54 were launched in 2009.

People gather at the site of a drone strike on the road between Yafe and Radfan districts of the southern Yemeni province of Lahj August 11, 2013.(Reuters / Stringer)

People gather at the site of a drone strike on the road between Yafe and Radfan districts of the southern Yemeni province of Lahj August 11, 2013.(Reuters / Stringer)

But 2010 would be the deadliest year by far, with 122 strikes launched and 849 people killed. He would go on to authorize 73 and 46 strikes in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Pakistani Islamic students gather at a destroyed religious seminary belonging to the Haqqani network after US drone strike in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on November 21, 2013.(AFP Photo / SB Shah)

Pakistani Islamic students gather at a destroyed religious seminary belonging to the Haqqani network after US drone strike in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on November 21, 2013.(AFP Photo / SB Shah)

Following widespread opposition at home and abroad, in May 2013, Obama promised a new era of transparency to protect civilians, saying control of the program would be transferred from the CIA to the Pentagon. But…

4. Obama has a secret kill list

In February 2013, the Obama administration’s internal legal justification for assassinating US citizens abroad came to light for the first time. According to the Justice Department document, the White House has the legal authority to kill Americans who are “senior operational leaders,” of Al-Qaeda or “an associated force” even if they are not actively engaged in any active plot to attack the US.

In September 2011, a US drone strike in Yemen killed two American citizens: Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. The following month, a drone strike killed al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was born in Colorado.

The concept of the US president exercising the right to kill US citizens without the benefit of a trial has resonated throughout American culture.

U.S. President Barack Obama.(Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama.(Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

In the comic-book-inspired film ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, the issue of targeted killings and “kill lists” features prominently in the plot.

5. Redrawing red lines

President Barack Obama drew a red line around Syria’s use of chemical weapons, pushing the international community to punish Damascus with military strikes following the August 21 Ghouta Attack.

People, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, are treated at a hospital in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. (Reuters)

People, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, are treated at a hospital in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. (Reuters)

After the UK balked at airstrikes, Moscow and Washington took the diplomatic route, resulting in a historic deal that has seen Damascus abandon its chemical weapons stockpiles.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gesture, following meetings regarding Syria, at a news conference in Geneva September 14, 2013.( Reuters / Larry Downing)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gesture, following meetings regarding Syria, at a news conference in Geneva September 14, 2013.( Reuters / Larry Downing)

But US-led airstrikes on Syria were only postponed. On August 8, 2014, the United States started bombing so-called Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq to protect embattled Kurds. The following month, the US would launch airstrikes against IS militants in Syria as well. Of all the US military interventions in recent years, the battle against the IS has been met with widespread approval. Still, Syria was the seventh country Obama has bombed in six years.

An explosion following an air-strike is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, in Sanliurfa province, October 29, 2014.(Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

An explosion following an air-strike is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, in Sanliurfa province, October 29, 2014.(Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

Quite a feat for a Nobel Peace Prize-winner.

U.S. President Barack Obama (Mark Wilson / Getty Images / AFP)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Mark Wilson / Getty Images / AFP)

 

The U.S. Seeks the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East

By Matt Peppe
December 8th, 2014
Dissident Voice

 

When Condoleeza Rice argued for a U.S. invasion of Iraq by claiming that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” she touched on a real threat of the nuclear war that could wipe out entire countries and destroy civilization as we know it. Rice and the rest of the Bush administration knew that Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons and never presented such a threat. They also knew that there was one country in the Middle East who did: a nuclear-armed rogue nation who has proven throughout its history to be possibly the most lawless and bellicose country of modern times.

That country, of course, is Israel. Since at least the early 1980s, Israel has had nuclear weapons. Instead of waging a war to get rid of them, as the Bush administration argued was necessary with Iraq, the U.S. has done everything it can to help Israel continue and grow its nuclear program and keep the Middle East from becoming a nuclear-free zone.

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly sought to counter “the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” with a resolution recognizing that this “would pose a serious threat to international peace and security.” This threat necessitates “the immediate need for placing all nuclear facilities in the region of the Middle East under full-scope safeguards of the Agency.”

The resolution passed by a margin of 151-4. Only the United States, Israel, Canada and Micronesia voted against it. In a separate resolution, the U.S. and Israel stood alone against 177 other countries who supported further efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That resolution calls for a “prohibition on the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons.”

In March 2003, George W. Bush proclaimed that he was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 687 to use force against Iraq to rid the country of WMD. Iraq presented such an existential threat that an immediate war was the only conceivable means of dealing with the situation. After Bush did invade Iraq and kill 500,000 Iraqis and create millions of widows, orphans and refugees, what was obvious all along was proven: the administration’s claims about Iraqi WMD were nothing more than lies and distortions.

The administration knew full well that Israel, however, did have a large-scale, rogue WMD program when Bush cited UNSC Resolution 687 as his legal justification for invading Iraq. Four U.S. Presidents have all ignored the actual text in Resolution 687 which declares “the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons.”

The only country to ever have used nuclear weapons – by dropping two on a country that had been trying for weeks to surrender – has consistently provided Israel with a diplomatic shield in the United Nations. On top of guaranteeing their right to violate international law with impunity, the U.S. has showered Israel with over $140 billion in military aid that amounts to more than $3 billion per year.

Even without its WMD, Israel would pose a grave threat to peace with its army and conventional weapons alone. Israel has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of its neighboring countries, the most flagrant example being the aggressive invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982 which killed 20,000 people. Unlike Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Israel has even attacked the United States itself. In 1967, Israeli warplanes bombarded the USS Liberty, killing 34 American servicemen. Israel’s possession of WMD only compounds their destructive capacity.

Israel is one of only four countries in the world (India, Pakistan and South Sudan) that has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This landmark treaty, in force since 1970, binds signing nations to work together stop the spread of nuclear weapons and work towards disarmament.

Robert Wood, the U.S. lackey who defended Israel’s right to maintain nuclear weapons recently in the UN, claimed the UN resolution demanding Israel to renounce nuclear arms “fails to meet the fundamental tests of fairness and balance. It confines itself to expressions of concern about the activities of a single country.”

As Ali Abunimah noted in the Electronic Intifada: “The fact that Israel is indeed the single country with nuclear weapons in the region, and the single country that has not signed the NPT, apparently escaped his notice.”

Israel has not only amassed its own nuclear arsenal, but they have exported nuclear technology and capabilities abroad. Not to just any country, but to the racist, pariah state of apartheid South Africa, the most despicable regime of the last century, other than possibly Israel itself.

While it was long understood that the two ethnic exclusivist regimes maintained close military ties, the first concrete evidence that Israel tried to sell South Africa nuclear warheads emerged several years ago when American scholar Sasha Polakow-Suransky obtained declassified documents from the South African archives.

“South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states,” reported the Guardian.

The paper goes on to note that “the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.”

South Africa easily could have followed through with potential nuclear strikes against its neighbors. In 1988, the SADF were being chased out of Angola by Cuban troops assisting the Angolan government. South Africa was illegally occupying the Southeastern part of Angola in a bid to topple that country’s government and install a puppet government friendly to the apartheid regime. Years later, Fidel Castro recounted the potential danger of nuclear strikes Cubans faced as their forces pushed forward to repel the aggression of the South African troops.

“The main problem was the fact that the racist South Africans possessed, according to our calculations, between 10 and 12 nuclear arms,” Castro wrote. “They had carried out tests in oceans or frozen areas to the South. President Ronald Reagan had authorized such tests, and the device necessary for blasting the nuclear charge was among the equipment delivered by Israel.”

Since it developed and used the first nuclear weapons, the United States government has supported weapons of mass destruction on principle. They also refuse the concept of nuclear weapons solely as self-defense, never having accepted a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons as the Soviet Union had.

The U.S. has never had any moral or legal inhibitions about countries it chooses having a right to WMD. For countries that support the U.S. government’s self-professed right to rule the world, there is no danger to peace or to the survival of civilization itself that Washington will not tolerate and enable.

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy, and Latin America. You can follow him on twitter. Read other articles by Matt, or visit Matt’s website.

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