Tag Archives: USA

Financial Warfare, Geopolitics and Macro-Economic Agendas. What Happens Behind the Scenes

By Bill Holter
February 24, 2015
Global Research

 

money5So much is happening behind the scenes it’s mindboggling.  This past week we of course ended with “deal or no deal” over Greece.  The “deal” the markets were hoping for really was no deal at all, the markets were only hoping for more time and ONLY more time.  You see, Greece is broke.  They only have enough money for about another week, they don’t even have enough to make their early March debt payment.  The only possible “deal” from here on is to postpone reality.  Greece cannot be allowed to make any deal other than one that puts THE deal out into the future.  They cannot accept more “aid” because the markets will see through this.  They also cannot be allowed to exit because this would then be the thread which unravels the Eurozone.  The only deal acceptable to the markets will be one where THE deal is not “dealt with”.

Friday afternoon this very scenario was announced and of course the equity markets short squeezed higher in response.  A bit prematurely in my estimation because the newly elected Greek parliament will need to ratify any agreement.  A ratification will be in direct conflict with the election results of last month, what do you suppose the populace might do?  In my opinion, the Greek people are about to explode onto the streets no matter what deal is arranged and agreed to.  Broke is broke and no deal and no amount of newly borrowed money will fix this.  As my title suggested, I believe only something from “behind the scenes” will fix their problem.

The “fix” itself may end up being a geopolitical event that turns today’s perverted world on its head.  In my opinion, the very best fix for Greece is obvious and I believe is probably already in the works.  Before getting to this, it is important to understand how “gangs” are broken up.  “Gangs” can be broken in two ways.  You can either confront the leader and emerge victorious or, you can pick away at the weak sisters one by one.  Greece is obviously a weak sister but one very strategically located geographically and politically.  Greece is also a natural “bridge” from the Russia and the Middle East to Europe.  It is also part of the “old silk road” to China and will be part of trade in the new silk road.

It is my belief that negotiations have been going on behind the scenes between Greece and the Sino-Russian alliance.  Would it not make sense for Russia and China to try to woo Greece?  Greece could be offered a pipeline deal.  This would put people to work and Greece would actually receive an income royalty flow.  From a financial standpoint, this is the very best avenue for Greece because of the income aspect, they will actually get something rather than owe more.  For Russia and China not to be offering Greece a deal would be plain dumb in my estimation.  Think about it, if Russia does build a pipeline through Turkey, “someone” has to build a pipeline through Greece.  Why wouldn’t Russia want to be “the good guy” and to their own benefit?

Additionally, think about the benefits in relation to the costs in Russia and China “picking off” Greece?  In one single and inexpensive deal, they pull the thread on NATO and the Eurozone simultaneously.  This would obviously be problematic for the Eurozone financially as debt, derivatives, banks and central banks are all wobbled.  This would then expose all of the West including the U.S..  The U.S., should Greece turn to Eastern partners, will be seen as powerless!  So you see, the catch 22 is this, no real deal can be done by the West because Greece has already been bankrupted.  They cannot be allowed to default, they cannot be forced to take on more debt AND they cannot be allowed to do what is in their own best interest, form a new partnership Eastward.  The “offers” behind the scenes must truly be unbelievable!

One thing I believe is being totally missed here is the relations between Germany and the U.S..  What must Germany and Angela Merkel be thinking?  After she was spied on and hearing Victoria Nuland ‘s comment of “screw them”, how strong are the remaining bonds?  Wouldn’t it be easier …more profitable ,,,not to mention “warmer” if Germany were to pivot toward Russia and thus the Chinese?  They obviously know our credit line is nearly completely used up, doing business with Russia and the deep pocketed China only makes sense.  Any move like this will split the Euro yes, but there will be a point in time where nations will do what is best for them.  Moving away from hegemon and moving toward free commerce makes sense, will Germany remain silent as Greece does what is best for them?  A move Eastward may even be safer for Germany as she watches NATO hardware being moved into Ukraine.  Would it benefit Germany to aid in the fracture of NATO?  I think yes but time will tell.

Elsewhere behind the scenes, Ukraine is a basket case.  The cease fire never was and the U.S. began shipping hardware including “tank busting” planes.  Ukranian troops dropped their arms and folded by the hundreds and it looks like pro Russian forces will soon, probably this week attain two goals.  They will more than likely control a corridor all the way from their own border to Crimea.  More importantly, they will probably have proof, either dead or alive of Western, non Ukranian boots on the ground.  This is important because of the rhetoric war.  Mr. Putin will be able to point at direct proof showing possibly even U.S. mercenaries as being part of the fight.  This will be a very ugly back eye for Western propaganda(ists).  All the while, the U.S. response is …more sanctions  See NYT

Now for the stuff behind the scenes that has gotten almost no media attention whatsoever.  Individually, many of these could be huge on their own, collectively, could they somehow be connected?  What is really up with Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress?  Is he trying to garner support versus Iran, or Syria?  President Obama is refusing to meet with him, how does this look?  Never mind Mr. Obama claiming that U.S. presidents do not meet with ”candidates”, why would Mr. Netanyahu not have cancelled his trip before it was even announced?  Wouldn’t he have been told through back channels, “don’t come”?  But he is coming anyway?  Does this not show a split or at least “weakness” in our alliance?

Another area is the west coast port problems. tankers are lining up day by day with nothing being offloaded.  Is this really because of the unions?  Or is it because of the port owners and operators?  What will this do to our economy and distribution chain which has run so long on “just in time” inventories?  Are the Chinese somehow behind this?  Is this a way to ”stealth” pressure our economy and financial system?  They are actually scrapping some of their tankers, do they know something we don’t know…yet?  Other than alternative media, this has gotten virtually zero coverage, why?  Is this not huge news on its own?

A very strange one this past week was seeing Langley on lockdown.  What is up with this?  I don’t even care what the official story may or may not be, because of the source.  How is it they were locked down?  Has this ever happened before?  Were they after one guy?  Re there “factions” involved?  Infighting?  Who knows, but this is very strange indeed.

Then, there was 60 the nation “terrorist summit” in Washington, I could not find any U.S. coverage of this other than this link.  What was the outcome?  They apparently discussed ISIL among other terrorist groups.  Who is really funding them?  It is believed they were a creation of the CIA now run amok.  And what about 21 Christians being beheaded?  How much media coverage did this get?  Or is it not newsworthy or something our president should condemn.Speaking of the president, his immigration “stroke of the pen” was shot down in court, has he now been rendered completely lame?  Will he now be prevented from doing further damage?

Here is how I see all of this, the pot is boiling and the warring factions are making stands, everywhere.  When I say “warring factions”, I am talking about everything from hawks and doves in the military and in the financial markets to as grand as the East versus the West.  So many people have been conditioned that the can will always get kicked down the road and nothing bad will ever be allowed to happen.  I disagree.  There are just too many flash points in multiple areas for this to continue.  Markets have priced in nothing bad from here to as far as the eye can see.  Compensation for “risk” does not exist anywhere.

I stick to my guns and warn you as sternly as possible, the markets are about to “gap”.  Something is going to break very soon and when it does, we will go into a complete lockdown of everything.  You will not be able to alter anything or any position you own.  You will not be able to “trade around” what is coming.

Whatever you own going into this is all you will own.  You will not be allowed to “change” investments as very likely the banking system itself goes on a holiday.

It is what’s going on behind the scenes which is oh so important, but, we cannot be privy to it.  We can however put enough data points together to see that financial, economic and currency “war” has already begun.  Do not wait until the media announces this, by then it will be far too late even if timely and reported the following day!

 

 

Greece, the US and the Neo-Liberal Coup

We Are All Greeks Now

By Rob Urie
January 31, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Since the onset of economic calamity in the West beginning around 2007 ‘official’ response has been framed as modest successes with a few policy errors while the reality is of remote elites and their agents enacting punitive policies under the guise of material economic constraints. In this context the election of Alexis Tsipras and Syriza in Greece appears a radical left turn while the actual economic proposals under discussion appear to be the middle-of-the-road textbook economics that preceded the neo-liberal coup of the 1970s in the U.S. And while Mr. Tsipras has greater understanding of this economics and strategies of economic resolution than do the European and American leadership classes, the levers of resolution remain firmly with this (mis)leadership.

Put differently, the economic suffering of so many is largely gratuitous, economic predation carried out under the pretense of material constraints. As with Argentina in the early 2000s, Greece has an ‘internal’ kleptocracy with ‘external’ alliance to international bankers through the economic lever of external debt. While the U.S. leadership could have conjured the funds ‘out of thin air’ to put the unemployed in the U.S. to work and chose not to, Greece’s membership in the E.U. precludes this potential solution. As was largely the case with the mortgage relief and Federal Reserve asset buying programs in the U.S., subsequent European loans to Greece went to rebuild European bank coffers on the backs of the Greek people.

uriegreece1

Graph (1) above: as of December, 2014 over six million potential workers in the U.S., people who want to work but have given up looking because of the weak job market, are estimated to exist. The Economic Policy Institute compared baseline estimates of job market growth to actual growth and the missing six million workers are the difference. Because this method already took into account expected retirees and others likely to exit the job market the state of the economy is mainly left to explain the missing workers. As FDR showed with the New Deal work programs in the 1930s, the U.S. government can create jobs for these people if the U.S. (mis)leadership cared to. Much as with the predominant German view of Greece, the view among American elites is that the unemployed simply lack the motivation to find work. Units are missing workers. Source: EPI.

The rise of Syriza in Greece is a welcomed development if Mr. Tsipras and his colleagues understand what they are up against and act accordingly. Whether the commitment to stay with the E.U. project is sincere or tactical, the currency union precludes much constructive action other than internal reorganization of the Greek economy. Internal reorganization, reigning in the kleptocracy and making it pay its way and using the gains in public resources to fund social spending, runs head on into the policies of extraction being inflicted on Greece by the Troika. What is framed by Western liberals as bad economics, ‘austerity,’ can otherwise be seen through the experience of the last half-century of austerity policies enacted by the I.M.F. (International Monetary Fund) to assure that banks are paid no matter the social catastrophe that results.

This longer history gives context to the policies inflicted on Greece. The American ‘model’ in South and Central America was / is to install ‘pro-business’ despots, internal kleptocrats, supported by the C.I.A., to loot ‘their’ countries while keeping order for U.S. business interests. Nominally leftist neo-liberal tool Carlos Menem led Argentina in the run-up to the Argentine crisis of the early 2000s. At the IMF’s behest, Mr. Menem implemented austerity policies that led to the collapse of the Argentine economy and ultimately to the collapse of the (subsequent) Argentinian government. It wasn’t until the Argentinian people rebelled and refused I.M.F. imposed austerity that economic resolution was possible.

Likewise, the I.M.F. led much of East Asia and Russia to economic ruin in the 1990s with nominal ‘development’ policies premised in neo-liberal dogma backed by austerity policies when things inevitably went wrong. While there were no doubt true believers amongst the bankers promoting the neo-liberal program then, much as there are in the E.C.B. today, the actual policies being implemented were banker ‘workouts,’ programs of debt repayment inflicted on delinquent ‘debtors’ without regard to their public policy implications. This is to say that the economic theories claimed to support I.M.F. policies tended to be ‘theoretical,’ requiring that several centuries of imperial history be overlooked, rather than based in reasoned examination of ‘the facts.’

In Argentina in the early 2000s there was little confusion as to whose interests the I.M.F. served. The ‘public’ debt the I.M.F. was working to get repaid was formerly private debts that were socialized, bank and corporate liabilities converted to obligations of the Argentine people, not unlike the trillions in bank ‘assets’ dumped by the (George W) Bush and Obama administrations into Federal government agencies to save Wall Street in 2008. This conflation of private with public debt is a primary component of neo-liberal extraction. And the ‘privatization’ of Greek ‘assets’ now being repudiated by Syriza was used to loot Argentina by this international kleptocracy as a core I.M.F. policy. This is to suggest that the Troika’s austerity programs for Greece have little to do with theoretical economics and everything to do with Western imperial ambitions. The policies may have ‘logic’ as economic theory, but the logic emerged from several centuries of imperial practice.

Another way to see the issues is to ask where the U.S. Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, found the $4 trillion to buy financial assets through its QE (Quantitative Easing) programs? The money was conjured ‘out of thin air,’ by making digital entries against the assets being purchased. The E.C.B. similarly has fiat currency; it can conjure money at will. If an asset is needed to be booked to balance the Central Bank’s books, a nominal asset like the trillion dollar coin being proposed a while back in the U.S. would work just fine. The point is that the E.C.B. could technically, if not politically, resolve Greece’s public debt with a few keystroke entries. The debt is being used as a political and economic lever by the Troika, much as was the case in Argentina in the early 2000s and is currently the case in the U.S. The budget ‘deficit’ being used to sell austerity in the U.S. is a contrived fiction. It isn’t that the accounting isn’t ‘real,’ it is that it misrepresents for political purposes how government spending is really financed.

uriegreece2

Graph (2) above: much as imperial facts are framed by economists and political theorists as theoretical disputes, as ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ policy choices, it is put forward as ‘coincidence’ that fiscal policies that would benefit the poor and middle classes are ‘impossible’ because of budget constraints but finding $4.5 trillion for the Federal Reserve to buy assets to benefit the very rich is possible. In recent decades capital gains from rising financial asset prices courtesy of the Fed have gone almost exclusively to the very rich. The Troika now pits German taxpayers against ‘profligate’ Greeks when the battle lines are between bankers served by the E.C.B. and the people of Greece. Source: Emmanuel Saez.

The point in uniting the victims of an engineered Great Depression in Greece with the plight of Argentinians in the early 2000s to that of the growing poor underclass in the U.S. is that the problems are social— class warfare, not a function of material limitations. Each of these circumstances represents a struggle for social resources; the differences are over economic distribution, not ‘natural’ limitations. E.C.B. bankers might really believe that ‘expansionary austerity’ policies would allow the Greeks to pay un-repayable debts. But by implementing policies that have long history as imperial plunder, they have that history to answer for. The serial capitulation by the so-called European left to these neo-imperialist policies only makes sense if Party leaders see themselves on the ‘inside’ of the imperial divide. Mr. Tsipras and Syriza can either forego such illusions or they will take the Greek people down with them.

The thinly veiled racist drivel coming from the European North claiming that Greece’s problem are the product of a ‘national character’ finds its twin in American elite views of the economic problems besetting the growing poor underclass in the U.S. Mitt Romney’s ‘makers versus takers’ frame is the received wisdom in banker and corporate executive ghettoes across the U.S. An effort is being pushed to audit Greek debt to understand how, and for what purposes, it was undertaken. As social services in Greece were being cut arms from German and French arms manufacturers continued to be purchased on the Greek people’s dime. When an audit of Argentina’s debt was conducted some 70% of it was found to be fraudulent, private debt undertaken by private interests for their own benefit that was turned into public debt to rob the Argentinian people.

The economic policies forced on Greece are being imposed by degree across the West. School systems in major U.S. cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit are being systematically looted by neo-liberal ideologues and self-serving ‘managers’ for their own benefit. The idea of economic ‘efficiency’ being pushed is operational efficiency— efficiency in terms of providing the least service at the highest level of revenues. Public and private pensions are being cut under claims of material scarcity when the taxes and pay that were intended to fund them have been cut to benefit the wealthy. And the Obama administration left millions of families who were defrauded by predatory mortgage loans with debts greater than the value of their houses while the banks that made the loans were restored on the public dime.

In Greece Mr. Tsipras is so far saying the right things (top link). And what he is saying is only ‘radical’ within the frame of the hard-right turn of neo-liberalism of the last forty years. The economic policies forced on Greece are more draconian than in the U.S. and European core, but be degree, not by type. Wall Street, which includes major German and French banks, has used manufactured crises to affect ‘soft’ coups around the globe for decades. Debt is used as a weapon. The Greek people have a very difficult battle to fight. But the neo-liberal coup is international. Americans and Northern Europeans who think they are on the ‘winning’ side just haven’t had their jobs and life savings stolen yet. To one degree or another, we are all Greeks now.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is written and awaiting publication. A sampling of Rob’s art can be found here.

 

 

 

The ‘Empire of Chaos’ in the House of Saud

By Pepe Escobar
January 30, 2015
RT

 

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman (R) at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015 (Reuters / Jim Bourg)

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (R) at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015 (Reuters / Jim Bourg)

 

No one in Western corporate media will tell you why US President Barack Obama is hitting Riyadh with a high-powered delegation to “pay his respects” to the new House of Saud potentate, King Salman.

Talk about a who’s who – including CIA head John Brennan; General Lloyd Austin, head of US Centcom; Secretary of State John Kerry; leading House Democrat Nancy Pelosi; and even senile Senator John “Bomb Iran” McCain.

It must have been heart wrenching for most in this crowd to skip a visit to the Taj Mahal in India so they would be part of the last-minute, “unscheduled” stop in Riyadh.

This is how the astonishing mediocrity that doubles as US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, spun it; “Principally, I think this is to mark this transition in leadership and to pay respects to the family and to the people of Saudi Arabia, but I’m sure that while we’re there they’ll touch on some of the leading issues where we cooperate very closely with Saudi Arabia.”

The White House and the Pentagon did not bother to “pay their respects” in person to the people of France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The House of Saud – “our” top bastards in the Persian Gulf – is of course much more valuable.

And yet, Air Force One, we got a problem. High-level US financial sources assure this correspondent the trip is all about Obama shoring up the new King’s support for their financial/economic war on Russia as the House of Saud is starting to have second thoughts. The Saudi role in this war has been to come up with the oil price shock – which is hurting not only Russia but also Iran and Venezuela, among others. Besides, the US puppet theoretically in charge in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has just visited Saudi Arabia.

Russia is not Iran – with all due respect to Iran. If the House of Saud really believes they are talking to the head of a superpower rather than a ventriloquist’s puppet – which is Obama’s role – they are effectively doomed. Nothing Obama says means a thing. The real ‘Masters of the Universe’ who run the ‘Empire of Chaos’ want the House of Saud to do most of their dirty work against Russia; and in a later stage they will take care of the “towel heads” – as the saying goes in Washington – over their development of nuclear missiles with Pakistan. And especially because the Saudi-launched oil price war is bound to destroy the US oil industry – against US national interests.

The House of Saud has absolutely nothing to gain from this undeclared financial/economic war on Russia. The Saudis have already “lost” Yemen and Iraq. Bahrain is held by mercenary troops containing the alienation of the Shia majority. They are freaking out with the possibility of ultimate “enemy” Iran reaching a nuclear deal with His Master’s Voice. They are desperate that “Assad won’t go”. They want every Muslim Brotherhood in sight – or the vicinity – jailed or beheaded. They fear any Arab Spring-style stirrings as worse than the plague. And then there’s the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh threatening to go all the way to Mecca and Medina. The House of Saud is effectively surrounded.

U.S. President Barack Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Salman (R) look on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015 (Reuters / Jim Bourg)

U.S. President Barack Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (R) look on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015 (Reuters / Jim Bourg)

The suicide roadmap

Meanwhile, as the tempest approaches, all is smiles – amid a silent family bloodbath. The powerful Sudairi clan has exacted their “revenge” as King Abdullah’s corpse was still warm. King Salman, almost 80, and with Alzheimer’s about to turn him into mush, took no time to appoint his nephew Mohammed bin Naif as deputy crown prince. And just in case nepotism was not evident enough, he also appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as defense minister. Mohammed bin Naif is a Pentagon/CIA darling; the House of Saud’s head of counterterrorism.

So yes, this is a desert version of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s classic The Leopard; Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com’è bisogna che tutto cambi (“things must change, in order that they can stay the same”.) But the juicier bit is that this seems to apply much more to the House of Saud nowadays than to the ‘Empire of Chaos’.

Apparently, the game of thrones at “our” bastard’s abode leads to everything staying the same; they remain “our” privileged bastard. The Pentagon even came up with the lovely idea of having the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsor an essay competition to honor late King Abdullah.

So shell out your essays lavishing the King for the no holds barred repression of the Shia minority in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia. Praise him for the sentencing of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr – a popular Shia cleric and outspoken political dissident; he should be beheaded, Daesh-style, just because he led a non-violent movement committed to promoting Shia rights, women’s rights, and democratic reform in Saudi Arabia (even Human Rights Watch has admitted that Saudi Arabian Shias “face systematic discrimination in religion, education, justice, and employment.”)

Honor the late King for the thousands of political prisoners; “terrorism” charges against women who dare to drive; the 25 percent of the population living under the poverty line; and last but not least, for facilitating the expansion of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who turned into ISIS. The Pentagon will love you for that.

All that desert storm of Saudi cash spent on global Wahhabi proselytizing and indoctrinating – and I’ve seen this from the Maghreb to Java – has been such a powerful legacy; a medieval, toxic “religion” (nothing to do with legitimate Islam) that will keep destroying lives and communities and breeding fanatics till Kingdom Come. Hail the King for that – on behalf of the Pentagon. And forget about reading any of this on Arab corporate media – which is totally controlled by the House of Saud.

The House of Saud “reforming”? Away from that nefarious, barbarian Salafi religious establishment? That’s the joke of the millennium. Everything will stay the same.

But playing the ‘Empire of Chaos’ game – financial/economic war on Russia – is a game-changer, as in playing with fire. US/EU sanctions, attacks on the oil price and the ruble by giant derivative players as agents, are something way above the Saudi pay grade. The House of Saud swore that they didn’t change their production quota during 2014. But there was an excess supply – and it was brought into the market to help cause the oil price crash, alongside the manipulation by derivatives speculators.

Scores of oil analysts still can’t figure out why the House of Saud went after Russia; all reasons are political, not economical (Russian support for Syria and Iran, the Americans agreeing with the strategy, etc.). The fact is Moscow did perceive it as a declaration of economic war by Saudi Arabia. Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, cautiously, has already hinted it may get much worse, as in “potential for disruption in Mideast Gulf monarchies.”

Beware of an Emperor bearing gifts – or mourning a late King. The ‘Empire of Chaos’ is essentially asking the House of Saud to keep going kamikaze all the way against Russia. Sooner or later someone in Riyadh will realize this is the roadmap to House suicide.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is Empire of Chaos. Follow him on Facebook.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia

War on a Global Scale. The First Manmade Extinction on Planet Earth: The Endgame’s “Final Solution?”

By Joachim Hagopian
January 28, 2015
Global Research

nuclear-warIt’s difficult not to see war on a global scale fast approaching. All the signs are here. From the vantage point of looking at the recent past in view of the present world conditions and developments, World War III appears inevitable. US Congress last month handed Obama authorization to wage war against Russia. US-NATO forces in Europe are scrambling for war readiness. So is the Russian military. In recent months Russian and Indian military forces have been busy training in joint operations. This year Russia and China are holding joint naval exercises in both the Mediterranean and the Pacific Ocean. Each side is preparing for nuclear war.

Many factors that have been dangerously at play are rapidly converging now in 2015. The global debtor economy is absolutely unsustainable. Despite all the lies from our government and mainstream media, most of us are recognizing that the existing money paradigm based on infinite growth clashes with the bottom line reality of earth’s dwindling finite resources. The strategy of the private Western banking cabal in the US operating as the Federal Reserve to simply keep printing more fiat money as IOU’s is clearly not working. You can’t make money out of thin air without a consequence at some point down the road. The oligarchs that designed this flawed, broken system of Ponzi scam theft, maintaining its predatory practice of placing people and nations in insurmountable debt, have known full well that you can’t keep borrowing from Peter to pay Paul because in the end, the bill collector will demand payment due. Long past the tipping point, we’re now reaching that moment when payment’s due.

All the propaganda lies with the bogus number crunching are a mere sleight of hand to trick the public from realizing the ultimate truth – that the day of reckoning is drawing ever closer. More than one in four working age Americans is permanently out of work or underemployed. Over half of young people under age 25 do not have jobs in the US. More than three out of four Americans say they’re living from paycheck to paycheck.

The banking industry is currently in a state of crisis as world bankers all around the globe have been mysteriously “committing suicide” in droves at an unprecedented rate – 36 last year alone. Some are known execution-style murders. Prominent banksters handling the finances and gold belonging to the world’s wealthy elite and national governments are disappearing fast.

Recently increasing debates over how much gold the Swiss National Bank should hold in its repository have sprung up. Central banks in such allied nations as the Netherlands and Germany have made motions to collect on its due from the US Federal Reserve in anticipation of Greece going completely belly up and dragging down the European Union economy. No one really knows how much gold the Federal Reserve even holds as no audit’s been conducted in over half a century. But then as former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan once arrogantly quipped, the Fed’s not accountable to anyone [except their oligarch masters.]

While bankruptcy is in the air throughout the West, clearly a global shift in the balance of economic power is in full sway according to the consensus of global economic experts. After all, these shifts have been cyclical throughout history. In addition to US European allies repatriating their gold from the US, nations from the East like Russia, China and India are busily hoarding enormous gold stockpiles as a bracing strategy in anticipation of the economic collapse of the United States and Europe. Russia and China are actively leading the way as the pied pipers trading in gold and their own currencies rather than the US petrodollar and US dollar as the thoroughly doomed standard international currency.

US-NATO aggression wreaking havoc around the world has set up this impending downfall, pushing nations like Brazil, India, and South Africa to join Russia and China in the economic BRICS alliance as other smaller nations will soon be rushing to jump the sinking US Empire ship. Numerous smaller nations that through IMF and World Bank extortion have been exploited and plundered by US Empire will be turning against their longtime world bully. Even US global chessboard allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey are covertly seeking to make trade agreements off the US dollar with other nations. Unfortunately the American people stand to most suffer, but by oligarch design its treasonous government has directly caused this current dire circumstances. The US is forced to now reckon with its brutal past as its karmic lesson unfolds – what goes around comes around.

Because of the recently failing economies worldwide, the global demand for oil consumption has forced the price of oil to drop to near $45 per barrel. The US also convinced Saudi Arabia to flood the oil supply as a strategy against Russia. Though the earth’s oil supply actually peaked in 2005, the most refined oil produced out of the ground by the Saudis and OPEC nations is nearing depletion. With America’s disastrous fracking at all cost for crude oil, the US has just surged ahead as the world’s largest oil producer. But now that the price of oil has drastically fallen, many of the recently booming US energy companies have been caught off guard with the spiraling price, soon making it unsustainable for them to continue meeting their high operating costs for its cruder shale. The exorbitant cost of the crudest oil extracted from Canada’s tar sands will even fare worse. The energy corporations up till recently flourishing in both North Dakota and northern Alberta will soon go bust even when oil prices begin to once again rise. The same reason they fell in recent months, national economies floundering and creating oil demand destruction will only be replicated in the near future, in effect sealing the doomed fate of the US and European economies.

Meanwhile, Russia as a huge oil and gas producer while also presently strained by lowered oil prices will continue to suffer. But unlike North America, its reserves largely consolidated to its two vast giants Gazprom (#2 oil and gas producer in the world) and Rosneft (#15), the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum company, stand a far better chance of surviving the current storm in the long run. The primary reason is Russia has been busily making deals with oil and natural gas pipelines to China – a massive $400 billion deal over the coming years. Putin is in a position to trade Russian natural gas and oil for other nation’s needed goods and services, completely bypassing US petrodollars. In response to the West’s latest re-installment of the next cold war, Putin has sought to secure and strengthen its alliance with China. The US’s fatal foreign policy renewing hostilities with rival Russia is producing grave consequences for both Europe and North America. Russia’s has been supplying 34% of the European Union’s natural gas supply, and 70% of Ukraine and Germany’s. With the ongoing friction over crisis in Ukraine, Russia exporting its natural gas to Europe is no longer deemed a Putin priority, much to Europe’s chagrin.

The pipeline running through Ukraine that largely supplied Western Europe has been turned off in the aftermath of the US led aggressive coup a year ago in Kiev and the West’s continued propaganda lies and false flags demonizing Putin in its desperate attempts to bait Russia into war in Ukraine. As punishment for Ukraine allegedly siphoning off gas from the pipeline running through its country to Europe, Gazprom has cut its supply off to Ukraine and six southern European countries, decreasing its supply to the continent by 60%. Putin has recently decided to forgo the planned South Stream pipeline through Bulgaria to Europe and made a deal with US ally Turkey to run the pipeline through that nation all the way to Greece.

In an exclusive Global Research radio interview this week, according to Russian emigrated engineer, respected author and geopolitical analyst Dimitry Orlov, Russia stands to outlast the eminent global economy collapse with longer growing seasons for self-sufficient food supplies over a larger area due to global thermal warming. Having already survived their own economic collapse in 1991, Orlov sees Russia fairly well prepared for the upcoming economic downturn. In contrast, he believes North America and Europe will soon be undergoing much more upheaval and destruction than that of the Soviet Empire’s dissolution.

Reagan gloating over how the “evil Soviet Empire” with its Communist ideology was soundly defeated in the cold war by the triumphant United States through its Western “free market” capitalism has now come home to bite America squarely in the ass. Seems a telling reminder that “he who laughs last, laughs the longest.”

Considered an expert on the Soviet collapse, Orlov cites a number of commonalities and distinctions between the Soviet downfall and North America’s now impending collapse. Both the Soviet and the US Empires made the identical mistake of allowing runaway military spending to overextend its brute Empire forces in costly humiliating defeats vis-à-vis the already noted Afghan graveyard of empires as well for the US Iraq, Libya and Syria by proxy. Fact – despite spending more dollars than the next eight nations combined on its most powerful military on the planet, the United States of America has not won a single war in 70 years. The US “might makes right” bullying belligerence around the globe has clearly boomeranged on the Empire. The feds’ decision to prioritize its military power at the expense of its own national economy and its large, once vibrant middle class as well as its much needed investment in infrastructure will go down in history as the primary reason for the US downfall. Outsourcing its own manufacturing base to cheap labor abroad is another fatal flaw in US priorities. In the end, it was corporate profit and greed over its own people’s well-being that is about to bring down the sole global superpower.

Another shared reality that present day America has in common with the fallen Soviet Union is that each government is/was oppressively totalitarian in nature run by ironfisted, morally decaying elitists possessing corrupted ideologies that colossally failed and never really worked. Bottom line – the privileged ruling class of the Soviet oligarchy and the US oligarchy in their self-serving need for military empire expansion failed to adequately take care of its own people. This has especially been true of the middle class and the poor in the US and this unfortunately will only become more self-evident as US Empire continues to crumble. Though the trend toward impoverishment has been growing progressively more austere worldwide, when the US collapse hits bottom, the dependent welfare state created in America will abandon its poor, cutting off millions from all forms of assistance.

Still another commonality between the Soviet fall and America’s is both empires remained totally dependent and addicted to affordable oil. As of late the anemic US economy has played a major contributing factor to the current global oil demand destruction that has driven the plummeting oil prices.

Finally Orlov notes that the post-Soviet recovery, though difficult and rocky, proved not nearly as tumultuous as what awaits America’s collapse. The cost of living here in the US, the deep debt Americans are trapped in, the comparative high medical and educational costs and the near total lack of self-resourceful food supply that’s dependent so much on oil will cause US citizens especially in urban areas to suffer the most severe hardships the likes of which few Americans have ever known. The Soviet Union’s government continued even after its collapse to provide free medical and educational services to its people and the cost of living was far lower than in the US. Plus its citizens were not nearly as dependent on large corporate conglomerates in absolute control over virtually all food production, distribution, processing, packaging and supply as North Americans. Lastly, the present droughts that have plagued the agricultural heartland of the Midwest as well as California where the most produce in America is grown have dealt a crushing blow to US food production and will likely only continue.

By design the US Empire has possessed the King Midas touch in reverse, destabilizing and impoverishing every nation it has intervened in through war, invasion and occupation, producing failed states throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Despite its devastation of the second largest oil-producing nation on earth in Iraq, murdering a million and a half of its people, and this comes after the damage the US inflicted from the first Gulf War, the Iraq government is still less in control of its territory than when US troops were withdrawn over three years ago. With the US created Islamic State in control of most of the country now, the US Empire’s ongoing imperialistic blood-for-oil endgame has backfired, only generating limited oil extraction from its dozen years of sheer destruction.

The US-NATO bombed the current failed state of Libya into oblivion, unleashing its al Qaeda proxy mercenaries on the ground to remove Gaddafi from power because he had the bold audacity to switch to his own currency, defiantly eliminating dependence on the US petrodollar as its trade currency. The US has subsequently left Libya a failed state mired in perpetual civil war with various corrupt militant factions vying for control.

The US puppet government of Yemen is currently on the verge of collapse as another ruthless, anti-West, militant al Qaeda faction is ready to seize power. With two coups in Egypt it still is struggling politically and economically under a highly oppressive military general in power. After four years the extreme costs and efforts of trying to oust Bashir al Assad from power in Syria has also failed, creating a quagmire of untold human suffering in that ravaged, war torn nation.

And now where the US has fought its longest war in American history in Afghanistan, with just an advisory contingent of about 10,000 US-NATO military forces still stationed in the country, without coalition air support, the Taliban enemy is again surging to once again retake control of the Kabul government and similar to Iraq, defeat looms on the horizon despite 14 long years of failed US intervention. Similar to the Soviet Union just prior to its epic fall near a quarter century ago, the US never learned from history, disastrously invading and occupying the nation known as the graveyard of empires. The over six trillion dollars of taxpayer money and still rising that’s been totally wasted in the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan has only weakened and decimated America’s middle class tax base. And just like the Soviet Empire, defeat in Afghanistan signifies an identical precursor leading to the collapse of the US Empire.

The Western oligarchs know they are on the losing end of this impending collapse as the oligarchs from the East in Russia and China in a strengthening alliance have been coalescing its financial reserves into a growing formidable US adversary. Of course what always happens in the face of stagnant and collapsing economies is the notion that more war can pulls us out of economic lethargy when in fact war is always bad for the economy. The global transnational corporations President Eisenhower astutely referred to as the “military industrial complex” that are the greedy war profiteers always make a killing from war, and due to their neocon 9/11 gift inventing and waging its forever war of terror around the globe, the enormously gluttonous private defense contractors like Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrup and GE have never had it so good. The banking cabal and arms manufacturers owned and controlled by the same murdering oligarchs for centuries have loved war, of course always at humanity’s bloody expense.

Look at all the hotspots that have been recently heating up, now ready to boil over into a staged global conflict with the US-NATO-Israel forces of the West ready to go to war with the East’s Russia-China-Iran. After using NGO’s through the US State Department along with snipers and neo-Nazis to fuel the overthrow, the US created the coup that deposed another sovereign nation’s democratically elected leader last February. The feds in Washington poured $5 billion planting its neo-Nazi puppets into power in Kiev. The US-NATO are sending large shipments of arms into the country to incite and wage civil war with the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine, engaging in ethnic cleansing in both Donetsk and Lugansk. The West has created relentless false flag propaganda to no avail with the Malaysian MH17 airliner that the Kiev government shot down killing nearly 300 passengers, then of course blaming Putin and the eastern Ukrainian Russians. Obama still refuses to even release evidence showing it was all just another Western false flag not unlike the recently staged one in France. For a year the US aggression in Ukraine has been prodding and baiting Putin’s Russia to react with all-out war. Ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are fighting off and defending their turf from the young, inexperienced, poorly trained Ukrainian soldiers used by Kiev as eastern warfront cannon fodder. Once again the US has been repeatedly frustrated over its malicious, failed strategies in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, conflict is rising in the Asian Pacific with Obama’s so called “pivot to Asia” stoking the fire between its nervous allies Japan and South Korea and its nuclear adversaries North Korea and China. Even the former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is now admitting he fears the US is dragging Australia into an inevitable war fighting China in Asia.

Every region on earth is likely to be hopelessly embroiled in global war, even unpopulated regions like the Arctic Circle. With the polar ice caps estimated to be completely melted by next year, the power drilling oil grab and military posturing has the US-NATO forces preparing for an Arctic showdown with Russia legitimately claiming most of the Arctic Circle waters as its own. In the meantime, with no more solid ice to trap and prevent the deadly methane gas from leaking into earth’s atmosphere, untold disaster awaits us from that catastrophe-in-the-making as well.

Meanwhile, it’s full eugenics speed ahead with Bill Gates, Monsanto and Big Pharma’s toxic vaccines and killer drugs. With last year’s US staged Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa still spreading, and fresh new US government patents procured on the most deadly killer virus classified as bio-warfare ever, at any time it’s likely to become unleashed globally “accidentally on purpose” as one more lethal weapon in the eugenics arsenal. And with it transmittable as an airborne bioterror WMD killing 70% of infected human victims, it could make fast order of reducing the global population down much quicker than the US made AIDS virus. Where war and impoverishment don’t cull the human herd soon enough, the flesh eating virus will.

Also spiking at never before seen levels worldwide are fluoridemercury, and the heavy metal chemtrail cocktail accompanied by unchecked, continuous Fukushima radiation spewing forth for nearly four years now, all are soft kill poisoning the entire food chain causing increasing toxicity to lethal levels for human populations to perish particularly in northern latitudes. Across-the-boards the world stage has been set to purge the earth of billions of its current inhabitants.

A growing army of scientists are pointing to the 200 animal and plant species dying off each day as the pre-marker for the approaching sixth mass extinction of life on planet earth, and the very first caused by a handful of destructively defective, psychopathic humans reigning absolute power and terror over the earth’s dominion.

The 2017 planned microchip implants (as broadcast by NBC) issued by the one world government as the New World Order trademark and the global war against humanity all brought to you by demonically possessed oligarchs is coming soon to a borderless country and an un-gated community near you. The breakdown in national economies will be driving inflation sky high where basic food stuffs becomes unaffordable after grocery shelves get emptied overnight. Panic, looting and violence in the streets will immediately follow, bringing on martial law to quell all the civil unrest the feds have been militarizing and prepping its police force for years to wage the second American civil war against its own people. As of late they’ve been merely warming up with murdering US citizens at will, especially of color. As soon as Obama declares martial law, we know the FEMA roundups will be next and all those waiting empty privatized prisons won’t be waiting to be filled any longer.

By then the longtime oligarch eugenics plan will be fully operational. Human genocide reducing the global population by 90% will firmly be in their grasp. As frightening and alarming as all this sounds, the doomsday scenario can no longer be ignored. The mounting daily evidence shows that this is not just some farfetched conspiracy nutcase ranting on a local street corner that the sky is falling. Global Research and other independent news sources have been doing their best to inform and alert our fellow earthlings about what’s been transpiring so that we citizens of the world can at least band together locally to literally roll with the punches that will soon be coming our way. Every day overwhelming warning signs are blasting red alert signals, ushering in an unprecedented apocalyptic era that’s now dawning in our human history.

The only rational conclusion is that the oligarchs have the human race in free fall heading toward mass extinction. No doubt the elite has its emergency survival contingency plans well in place to keep it safe and healthy while the rest of us are left to suffer and perish. But their diabolical grand plan risks overkill destruction on the earth’s surface especially from nuclear annihilation where even a small docile class of dumbed down slaves may not be left standing above ground to serve them. So unless they’ve secretly built hidden black ops underground cities or science (non)fiction colonies somewhere in outer space to migrate to in the final hour, their grand plan may just backfire on them, turning the entire earth into one huge crime scene where a mass scale homicide-suicide of the entire human species has destroyed all life on the planet.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.

Genocides, Not Wars

Western Wars, Not Really Wars

By Andre Vltchek
January 24, 2015
Counter Punch

 

In ancient times, even the greatest bandits such as kings and conquerors, deranged knights and simple arch-brigands, used to lead their armies into battle. It would be unthinkable for them to hide behind; it would be so shameful!

The Queen or a lady of his heart would embrace the warrior, or throw her scarf at his feet, or collapse in real or staged grief. And the warrior, often a nitwit and idiot, but a warrior nevertheless, would saddle his horse, salute his wife and his people, and go to battle, proudly leading his troops. And the chances were he would die during the battle. Therefore, he would think twice before leading his country to a war.

There used to be great pathos in all this, and also, great unpronounced rule: you want to murder, rape and steal, then be prepared to spill your own blood and brains!

Of course the priests and preachers hardly went to battles. While Christianity was behind most of the outrageous conquests and crimes against humanity, its leaders were living a safe life in tremendous palaces and villas. Only those who enjoyed the actual acts of torture and rape went to the field. But the Christian clergy almost always consisted of liars and cowards, and torture was done in safety, far from the trenches.

But the kings, their marshals and generals went, and often died, like soldiers, in a bath full of blood, puss and shit! At least they died properly, like their soldiers. They were brigands, but many of them were brave brigands, nevertheless.

***

Look at these cowards of nowadays, those modern-day crusaders, the leaders of the Empire! Where are their horses, their armor and where is their courage?

They don’t even think twice about whom to fight. They can lead dozens of conflicts, simultaneously. Because today’s wars are totally safe for them – they are like video games. Only those who are ‘targeted’ are at great risk. Attackers are akin to what Christians always thought God is: punishing, scary, spreading fear and demanding obedience, unpredictable.

So they turned themselves into gods, or demigods, along with their chosen race, culture and religion… and their self-proclaimed right to control and to punish others, those who want to believe in something else, and to live their own lives as they choose.

Yes, the Empire’s leaders really believe that they have become gods. And now we only hear their twisted propaganda slogans, and their self-glorifying lies. They have become like those preachers and priests of the bygone eras: sadistic but constantly frightened, brutal and suspicious.

***

Mr. Obama, it is pity that we will never meet: that I will never have the chance to show you what your ‘smart bombs’ are doing near Mosul in Iraq, or what crimes the NATO-financed and trained ISIL are committing all over the Middle East.

But you have an inkling of everything that I would be showing you, anyway, at least theoretically, just as your predecessors were aware about all those millions of men, women and children, massacred all over Indochina, as well as in Indonesia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa.

But you are, forgive me for saying this, a fundamentalist, a Christian Western supremacist, as all your predecessors were. And a fundamentalist has extremely thick skin, and he is incapable of feeling compassion. A fundamentalist has to impose his will and his beliefs on others. He may suspect something, he may even ‘know’, but he is unable to convert this knowledge into respect and support for other people and for other opinions.

This is also actually what Western Christian fundamentalists converted Islam into – they kidnapped it and re-created it into a reflection of their own image. The reason was to have some worthy enemy to fight against, and to have some justification for those war games. And, most importantly, to have an ally in its most important war: against Communism, against Socialism, against social justice and against real progress!

A fundamentalist can easily become a killing machine, if he is not stopped.

***

The Second World War was really the last war in which Western troops were fully engaged, where they actually fought, although even then, whenever civilians could have been bombed, they were. Millions of women and children died during the carpet-bombing of Tokyo, Dresden, as well as the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The bombing of civilians is the true Western way of conducting war! Even the Japanese, I was told in Oceania, would always evacuate the civilians before getting engaged in the terrible ‘final battles’ against the US troops! Not to speak of the fact that Pearl Harbor was a ‘surgical strike’ against the US Navy, in which no civilian object was bombed by the Japanese, and as the old people who can still remember told me, repeatedly, the only civilian casualties there, were those inflicted by the Japanese planes that were shot down and crashed into the ground.

What followed WWII were not really true wars, anymore, but genocides; holocausts. All perpetrated mainly through carpet-bombing, through poisonous chemicals, later by enlisting corrupt foreign military, US-trained and financed death-squads, and most recently by using ‘smart bombs’, stealth fighters, cruise missiles and drones, as well as ‘Muslim terrorists’ (created in NATO camps).

Obama's War Room

Obama In The White House Moments Before He Personally Shot Bin Laden In The Head In Pakistan

In this way, new-era crusaders sit in their comfortable offices and war-rooms, and play games that are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives. After they are done murdering, they drive home, eat their burgers and watch sports on television. Long distance wars, as well as long distance killing, are like any other job: it is like selling insurance policies or cutting someone’s hair.

Except that countless human beings get torn to pieces.

***

There is no ideology in all this, no risk, and no pathos. It is all extremely pragmatic. The Empire wants to control the world, therefore it murders, surgically, quietly and mainly without witnesses.

Those of us, who go to the places where all this is happening, now face countless obstacles, intimidation, or at the least, red tape. There is an almost complete media black-out. We go without any backup, without any cover, or support. We are out on our own. If we fall, then we fall – we have no organization to call, nobody to pick us up off the ground. We die, regularly. Selena, my colleague from Press TV died, covering the same story as I was: ISIL, and how NATO manufactured them. I survived. After that, someone called me ‘an armchair revolutionary’ and a coward… because I ‘only’ stayed in the Mosul area for two days…

Sometimes, we get humiliated, insulted by our own readers whom we serve faithfully, or even by those whom we considered to be the closest people on Earth.

Just as in ancient times, those few of us, are at the forefront, like Don Quixote, or like the scribe of Saladin.

We document all that is done to the world and to those poor people of the planet. We often work 8 days a week, 25 hours a day. Because there are fewer and fewer of us… Because what we do, has to be done, somehow; by someone…

***

And the Empire keeps on killing. And the citizens of the Empire have mostly no clue how it is done, or how a dead body really looks like. Or how the village bombed to the ground looks like. Or how it feels when some country loses all hope after being overrun by those button-pushing invincible boys sitting several thousands of miles away.

What cowardice it is to kill defenseless children and women, what a shame!

***

But it is not just children and women the Empire kills: it kills everything that stands in its way.

A few months ago I was almost killed by a unbalanced preacher in Surabaya, Indonesia. He said that he would, and he tried to liquidate me. These dudes are particularly malicious, as they or their ancestors, had already betrayed China after the revolution, and then they betrayed again, this time Indonesia, during and after the 1965 massacres. They have been serving foreign interests, they have been brainwashing people, and now many of them are going back to China, obeying orders from their foreign handlers to implant the ‘prosperity gospel’ and all sort of deranged Protestant crap.

Killing with bombs is not the only way that the Empire destroys entire countries. It also kills through religion, propaganda and ideology.

Its Pentecostal and Protestant implants have already caused great damage all over Africa, in Asia and all over Latin America, spreading corruption, ignorance and gloom. Only the strongest countries like Vietnam, China and Eritrea have stood firm and defined those religious inserts as weapons of imperialism and fundamentalist capitalism.

Entire nations have been ruined by the anti-Communist and anti-socialist propaganda, by dark nihilism and commercialism, by pop culture and by the manufactured ‘opposition movements’, those that are serving directly or indirectly the interests of the Empire.

All this has been done ‘remotely’ – entire parts of the world have collapsed without almost any Western lives being lost or even risked.

***

I have already survived several attempts on my life, by those ‘proxy’ fanatics. The latest try being by above-mentioned deranged Surabaya preacher and a businessman (‘two in one’ human projectile), and much earlier, by Indonesian intelligence, while being savagely tortured in occupied East Timor. I had been condemned to death by Peruvian military, camouflaged as Shining Path guerillas in 1992. I was captured and almost killed by that modern-day Ustaše during the Yugoslav War. I survived the Israeli shelling of Gaza during the Intifada, and all sorts of sniper and artillery barrages. And more recently, I survived the depths of an intelligence bunker in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as a Kenyan jail. Of all of this, the Surabayan preacher was the most toxic, the vilest… But even him, I survived.

Press TV correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim

All these were proxy attacks – proxy operations, all conducted by traitors, by the lackeys of the Empire and of its ideologies, and religions.

I survived, but others didn’t. But at least those of us, who didn’t, including Selena Shim (covering ISIL for Press TV) or Hiroyuki Muramoto (covering a murderous attack by the Thai military against ‘Red Shirt’ protesters in 2010 Bangkok), received some recognition. Millions, tens of millions of ordinary, mostly ‘local’ people, slaughtered like cattle, have never even been mentioned by their names in any mainstream reports.

***

President Obama was certainly perfectly aware of all those ‘proxy wars’ and maneuvers, for years and decades before he became the President of the United States. His father, a Kenyan economist, was recruited by ‘Tom Mboya’ (Thomas Joseph Odhiambo), then flown to Hawaii, indoctrinated/educated there, and finally sent back to Kenya, in order to steer his country away from the possibility of a socialist path.

His mother’s second husband, Obama’s stepfather, and an Indonesian officer, Lolo Soetoro was yet, another recruit and a traitor/collaborator, serving the West. When he met Obama’s mother, he was undergoing training in Hawaii. Then, after the horrid 1965 US-sponsored coup took place, he was flown back to Indonesia (1966), and Obama and his mother followed him just one year later. They lived in the upscale Menteng neighborhood of Jakarta, where Obama is still remembered ‘with love’ by the children of other Indonesian anti-Communist cadres, as ‘our Barry from Menteng’.

I have lived in both countries – Kenya and Indonesia – and can testify that both of them have thoroughly collapsed, socially and morally, as they have pioneered some of the most shameful models of corruption and unbridled capitalism in the world. Not one Western soldier has died destroying them. They were conquered, plundered and made into submissive client-states thanks to great planning by the Empire, and because of the tremendous cynicism and greed of local collaborators: the military, the religious clergy, the ‘educators’ and the business ‘leaders’.

***

drone_strike_victims_in_pakistan_children

After one of the 381 US-drone strikes in Pakistan

And so the drones are flying, stealth fighters are bombing, cruise missiles are crashing into cities and villages, and the collaborators with Western fascism are helping to oppress their own people, keeping them in darkness and in constant fear.

It has all been effective until now, but will not be, forever.

This system will not survive for long, because the arrangement is simply too appalling, and even the massive propaganda in the ‘client’ states, by corporate media and by private schools, that manufactures unanimity, cannot keep people from noticing, that something has gone terribly wrong, that they had been robbed, humiliated and fooled.

In stark contrast to the cowards sitting in their gated communities or in their ‘war rooms’, all great leaders of progress and resistance, from Che, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel, Chavez, Morales, to Al-Sadr or Nasrallah, always stood at the forefront, leading their people in the fight against oppression, for independence and justice. They never hid behind civilians, behind women and children. That is what people expect; this is what is demanded.

President Salvador Allende of Chile tried it the peaceful way. But when, on 9-11-1973, the military junta provoked by the war criminal Henry Kissinger, by ITT, by Chase Manhattan and the Chicago School of Economics, as well as by several other institutions, sent its jets and combat helicopters against the Presidential Palace ‘La Moneda’, he did not run away to Havana or Moscow. Allende stood up, and marched towards the rockets and the explosion, towards his certain death. It is because President Salvador Allende was not a traitor or a coward. He was a Chilean man, a patriot, a socialist. And if his country, his beloved Chile, was going to die, to go up in flames that day, so was he.

Ask in the villages of West Bengal or in towns in Amazonia, whether the people want to be controlled by cowardly and greedy corporate tycoons and by the governments in Washington or Europe, governments that are simply serving those corporate interests, while hiding behind cordons of armed guards and security apparatchiks. We all know what the answer would be!

***

The world has almost forgotten what a real war is. But let us recall something: it is when two armies fight against each other, bravely or mostly stupidly, but fight. In a real war, each man in those trenches, rightly or wrongly, thinks about his city or his village, about his dear ones, about his girlfriend, wife, mom, children. Behind their backs are rivers and forests, beaches, mountains and meadows. For them, they are ready to die for, defending them.

But this, what we have now? The aggressor is defending nothing. There is just the hard back of a chair behind his back, and perhaps a few communication modules.

And those victims! How could they defend anything if they don’t even know what, and when, it is going to fall on them? One second, and entire blocks of houses go up in flames. There is no warning.

These are not wars, but genocides! These are persistent, constant genocides perpetrated by the market, Christian, Western fundamentalists.

***

On 1st May 2004, when it appeared that the United States might once again attack Cuba, President Castro spoke in Havana, addressing then President G.W. Bush:

“You have neither the morality nor the right, none whatsoever, to speak of freedom, democracy and human rights when you hold enough power to destroy humanity and are attempting to install a world tyranny, side-stepping and destroying the United Nations Organization, violating the human rights of any and every country, waging wars of conquest to take over world markets and resources and installing decadent and anachronistic political and social systems which are leading the human race into the abyss.”

At the end, Fidel declared that if Cuba is attacked, he would do what he was expected to do, and what he already had done on several previous occasions – he would go and fight! And none of us had any doubt that he would. But he had one regret, in regard to President Bush:

“My only regret is that I would not even see your face because in that case you would be thousands of miles away while I shall be on the frontline to die fighting in defense of my homeland.”

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: Fighting Against Western Imperialism‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

 

Capitalism and the global plutocracy

By Andre Damon
21 January 21, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The international charity Oxfam has issued a new report on social inequality showing that the gap between the super-rich and the majority of society is not only not shrinking—it is growing at an ever-faster pace.

In 2013, according to updated figures, the 92 richest multi-billionaires had as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of society. In 2014, this figure dropped to 80 billionaires. In other words, a group of people who can fit into a double-decker bus control more wealth than 3.5 billion people, equivalent to the combined populations of China, India, the United States and the European Union.

Inequality is growing at such a rapid pace that the richest 1 percent will control more wealth than the bottom 99 percent of society by next year. It is in fact quite possible that, on a global scale, society has never been so unequal through thousands of years of human history as it is today.

Oxfam timed the release of its report to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which will be attended by some 2,500 billionaires, corporate executives, heads of state and their various hangers-on.

Oxfam Director Winnie Byanyima has been invited to co-chair the event, and the organization said in a statement that she will “use her position to call for urgent action to stem the rising tide of inequality.”

Byanyima will be directing her appeal, ironically enough, to the largest annual gathering of the global plutocracy whose enrichment the report decries. Many of the hundred or so billionaires—and countless hundreds of multi-millionaires—in attendance, have seen their wealth double over the past five years. Meanwhile, as the report demonstrates, the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population was lower in 2014 than it was in 2009.

Over the past year, a series of public figures, from US Treasury Secretary turned multi-millionaire Hedge Fund manager Lawrence Summers, to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, to US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, have publicly voiced their concerns over the growth of inequality.

The enormous chasm between the super-rich and the vast majority of the population, the working class, is the undeniable defining feature of life throughout the world. There is a concern among some of those responsible for this state of affairs that capitalism is, as Marx and Engels put it, producing its own gravediggers in the form of an increasingly restive and hostile working class.

Yet conspicuously absent from any of these statements is any consideration of the class and political dynamics that gave rise to the growing gap between the rich and the majority of society. These commentators all proceed as though the growth of social inequality were merely the product of impartial processes, outside of the actions of governments and social classes.

In fact, the unending accumulation of wealth by the super-rich is the product of the single-minded policy of the ruling class since the 2008 financial crisis, itself resulting from the criminal activities of the financial elite. The US government alone has funneled nearly $7 trillion into the financial system, which was used to prop up over $30 trillion in financial assets. Central banks throughout the world followed suit.

Global corporations used the mass unemployment arising from the economic downturn to slash wages and impose speedups on their workers, while governments around the world used the economic crisis as an opportunity to impose deep austerity measures.

Nearly seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the policies undertaken in the aftermath of the crash are leading to a new stage in the global crisis. The Chinese stock market bubble, which minted dozens of new billionaires this year, appears to be collapsing, having suffered its biggest loss since 2008 on Monday. Europe is in deflation, and analysts predict the Russian economy will shrink five percent this year.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its estimate for economic growth this year. And yet the only response the ruling class has to the crisis of its system is to funnel even more cash into the coffers of the rich. “Monetary policy must… stay accommodative,” it declared, “including through other means if policy rates cannot be reduced further,” a veiled reference to quantitative easing programs.

Parasitism is the social cloth from which the global plutocracy is cut. It makes its wealth not through production, but through cheating, speculation and plunder. They use their immense resources to dominate political life, and pursue policies aimed at their own enrichment and aggrandizement at the expense of the great mass of mankind.

The global plutocracy is a cancer on the human race. In the relentless defense of its own wealth and the capitalist profit system upon which this wealth rests, the ruling classes of the world have brought humanity to the brink of ruin. The major imperialist powers are engaged in a re-division of the world. Over the past year, the danger of world war, one hundred years after the First World War, emerged as a clear and present danger.

The response of the plutocracy to the growth of social tensions is not reform, but repression. Massive intelligence, police and military apparatuses have been erected, directed ever more openly at the population at home. The noxious political ideologies of the last century—fascism, chauvinism, authoritarianism—are being resurrected again, to be turned against any challenge to the domination of wealth.

It is hopelessly naive to believe that any of the great problems confronting society can be resolved without breaking the stranglehold of the financial oligarchy. Their ill-begotten wealth must be expropriated; the corporations they control must be nationalized under the democratic control of the working class, to be run in the interest of social needs, not private gain.

For this, a political movement must be built, one that aims at unifying the international working class—the vast majority of the world’s population—on the basis of a revolutionary program to overturn the bankrupt capitalist system. This is the task of the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International. We call on workers and young people throughout the world to make the decision to join the SEP and take up the fight for socialism.

Did a Russian Parliamentarian Just Commit Treason?

PowerPoint given by Russian opposition leader blueprints US-backed violent overthrow of Russian government.

By Eric Draitser
January 20, 2015
Land Destroyer, January 19, 2015

 

Image: Ilya Ponomarev prepared an entire PowerPoint detailing his contempt for Russia and his best advice for its ruination. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

An interesting thing happened in Washington recently, and it had nothing to do with Beltway politics, Democrats vs. Republicans, or any of the other standard fare for the middle of the week in mid-January. Rather, a relatively small, little publicized event took place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a prominent liberal-leaning think tank in Washington.

The event, “Russia’s Opposition in a Time of War and Crisis,” featured prominent Russian liberal opposition parliamentarian (member of the Russian Duma) Ilya Ponomarev, a noted critic of Russian President Putin, providing a detailed presentation regarding the current political climate in Russia, and the potential for the ousting or overthrow of the Russian government. Yes, you heard that right. A Russian elected official came to the United States to give a talk about how best to effect regime change in his own country.
At this point, the question is not so much whether what Ponomarev did was improper. The much more pressing issue is whether or not, by making this presentation in Washington precisely at the moment of heightened tensions between the US and Russia, Ponomarev has committed treason. While this may seem a rather extreme characterization, it is in fact quite appropriate.
What Is Treason and Does It Apply?

If we define treason as “the offense of acting to overthrow one’s government or to kill or harm its sovereign,” then Ponomarev’s actions seem to tread very close to the threshold for treason. Moreover, the fact that such a presentation was delivered at CSIS – a think tank rife with “strategic planners” and proponents of the use of “soft power” to expand US hegemony – is instructive as it provides a window into both Ponomarev’s thinking and, perhaps more importantly, that of the political establishment in the US.

During his presentation, Ponomarev touched on a number of critical issues related to Russia’s domestic political situation, trying to illustrate for the attendees that the political reality in Russia, despite the simplicity of the western corporate media narrative, is rather complex. Though he described the Putin-led government as “Bonapartist,” he noted that “Putin is Russia’s only reliably working institution.” While the veracity of that statement is debatable, it does seem interesting that an elected Russian lawmaker would go to a foreign country under the auspices of wanting to help his country move forward, and then proceed to advocate the overthrow of the “only reliable institution.” Would this not be a thinly veiled attempt to advocate for destabilization, putsch, or something similar?
The most significant portion of Ponomarev’s presentation centered on a slide titled “Conditions for the Change of Power in Russia,” which laid out essentially a roadmap or blueprint for regime change in Russia. Ponomarev’s slide outlined what he believes to be the essential elements for successful overthrow of the democratically elected government. These include:

 

  • Organized street protest (versus spontaneous one)
  • Appealing vision of the future presented to the majority of Russians
  • Leader, acceptable for all protesters and the elites
  • Access to some financial resources
  • Part of the elites should support the revolution
  • Trigger event

Examining these points, it is clear that Ponomarev is not merely “informing” the assembled policymakers, journalists, and guests about what should happen, but rather is making a case for what must be made to happen. This is no educational exercise, but a thoughtfully crafted appeal to the political establishment of the US to support Ponomarev and his faction both financially and politically.

Of course the prescription above is nothing new to keen political observers who have followed the development of the crisis in Ukraine, and who have knowledge of how “soft power” works, and the concept of the “color revolution.” What Ponomarev is describing has happened more than a few times before. What is particularly troubling this time is that a sitting parliamentarian, himself a beneficiary of the democratic electoral process, is openly advocating an anti-democratic, unconstitutional overthrow of his own government.
And Ponomarev is perfectly aware of this fact. Indeed, he included in the slide entitled “Conditions for the change of power in Russia” the following points:

 

 

  • Unlikely – elections
  • Likely – revolution (non-violent or violent)
  • Compromise with the current elites increases probability of non-violent changes, but decreases the probability of successful reforms in the future

 
Here, Ponomarev is openly acknowledging a number of critical points. First, that regime change is unlikely to come through elections. This is a blatant admission that not only is Putin democratically elected and wildly popular, but that the opposition will never have anything close to enough popular support to defeat him. In other words, Ponomarev is tacitly saying that Putin must be overthrown precisely because the Russian people support him, and will likely continue to do so. Imagine: a democratically elected politician from a country supposedly run by an “authoritarian dictator” comes to the US – allegedly the world’s great champion of democracy – to advocate an anti-democratic regime change scenario. The hypocrisy is beyond words.
Imagine: a democratically elected politician from a country supposedly run by an “authoritarian dictator” comes to the US – allegedly the world’s great champion of democracy – to advocate an anti-democratic regime change scenario. The hypocrisy is beyond words. 

Second, and this is crucial to the question of treason, is the fact that Ponomarev is advocating “non-violent or violent revolution” in collaboration with a foreign power. Here the propagandists and assorted mouthpieces for the Empire might argue that CSIS is a private institution that is not affiliated with the US Government. One would have to painfully naïve about the nature of power in the US and how it functions to believe such a line of argument.

CSIS, with its long association with individuals such as Zbigniew Brzezinski who come from the uppermost echelons of power, is one of a small number of hugely influential think tanks that directly impact US foreign policy. CSIS, along with the Rand Corporation, Council on Foreign Relations, and a handful of other groups, are a useful barometer for measuring the pulse of the US establishment, and for individuals such as Ponomarev to get close to the levers of US power.

Therefore, it could be argued that Ponomarev is openly collaborating with a foreign government – in this case through the nominal intermediary of CSIS – to bring about the overthrow of his own government. I would refer readers back to the above-referenced definition of treason.

Third, and perhaps most telling about Ponomarev, is the fact that he openly warns against any form of compromise with the government, or the elites with influence in the government. Such a preemptively hostile, and inherently adversarial, relationship with the government precludes any possibility for dialogue or even negotiation. Considering the fact that, at best, Ponomarev and the liberal opposition represent a relatively small proportion of the Russian people (primarily the western-oriented business, finance, and media community, and the young liberals they can mobilize on the streets), the net effect of what he is advocating is that a small, foreign-backed minority with deep pockets seize control of the government in a quite possibly violent putsch. Ukraine anyone? Treason anyone?

While such open treason might come as a shock to many outside Russia, those who follow the country closely are all too aware of the insidious role of the United States in fomenting unrest and bankrolling the liberal opposition. It is an open secret in Russia that many, if not most, of the opposition liberals are either directly or indirectly collaborating with the US against their own country.

Liberal Opposition or Agents of a Foreign Power?

It would be an extreme oversimplification, and not entirely honest, to characterize all Russian liberals as foreign agents. Some are simply socially liberal people who see in the West a political, economic, social and cultural template for their own society. Needless to say, such a view is a small minority in Russia where traditional values and social/cultural conservatism have been on the rise since the end of the Soviet Union, and especially since Putin came to power.

However, when one examines key figures and institutions of the liberal establishment in Russia – both in politics and civil society – it becomes clear that some of the most influential are in fact collaborating with foreign powers (especially the US) to undermine the Russian government.

Boris Nemtsov is not only one of the leading liberal opposition figures in Russia, he is also a notoriously corrupt and oligarch-friendly politician who, in recent years, has fashioned for himself the public persona of an anti-corruption, anti-oligarch crusader. Of course, he doesn’t care to mention his notorious, and politically and financially lucrative, relationship with disgraced Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky. Nor does he advertise his deep commitment to aiding the US further its own agenda, as evidenced by his appearance at the now infamous 2012 gathering at the US Embassy of liberal leaders with then newly appointed Ambassador, and self-described “expert” in regime change, Michael McFaul.

Similarly, Nemtsov’s ally Vladimir Ryzhkov, according to various accounts, “formed a Committee…in 2003 to ‘draw’ funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally ‘democratic’ forces against Putin.” The anti-corruption campaigner seemed to have little qualms with being financed by the most corrupt forces in the country.

Gary Kasparov, the outspoken opposition figure, former chess champion and darling of the US neocon establishment, has his own questions to answer. As F. William Engdahl has written:

 

In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of [the] Center for Security Policy, a “non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security.” Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president.
Can one really doubt the true intentions of a Russian “activist” and “leader” who happily sits on the board of a US think tank that focuses on “American security” (coded language for US foreign policy objectives)? Rather than being interested in progress in Russia, Kasparov is motivated only by his desire to gain power and prestige.

Beyond just the individuals, a number of influential “civil society” organizations deeply tied to the US establishment figure prominently in the liberal opposition. These organizations (Strategy 31, the Moscow-Helsinki Group, Levada Center, GOLOS, and many others) are either directly or indirectly funded by the United States through its myriad soft power organs, the most infamous among them being the National Endowment for Democracy. That these organizations knowingly take money from the US Government, and then present themselves as objective, disinterested civil society organizations is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy. What does one call such an organization if not an “agent of a foreign power”? I would again refer readers to the above-cited definition of “treason.”

Whether or not Ponomarev’s presentation fits the legal definition of treason would be for lawyers and legal scholars to decide. What is clear however is that Ponomarev, and indeed the vast bulk of the Russian liberal establishment, is a de facto appendage of US soft power in Russia. They act not in the interests of the Russian people, but of themselves and their patrons in the West. As such, it is up to the people of Russia to address this sort of treacherous behavior in their elected (and unelected) officials. And it is up to those of us around the world – those who refuse to go along with western imperialism in its many forms – to expose these individuals and organizations wherever they rear their ugly heads.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT and frequent contributor to “New Eastern Outlook.” 

Sharp market falls over euro and oil price slump

By Nick Beams
January 6, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Stock Market DropEuropean and US equity markets fell sharply yesterday as a result of another drop in oil prices, fears of financial instability in Europe over Greek debt and the signs that global deflationary pressures are increasing.

In the US, the Dow Jones index finished the day 331 points down, a fall of 1.86 percent, while the S&P 500 was down by 1.83 percent. The Vix, a measure of market volatility, jumped by 12 percent. Earlier in the day, European markets fell by around 3 percent.

Currency markets also exhibited instability. The US dollar hit a nine-year high against a basket of currencies, while the euro touched a nine-year low, amid concerns over whether the Greek election, to be held on January 25, would spark political instability if the opposition SYRIZA coalition were to win.

The first issue before the incoming Greek government will be to sign off on a new debt agreement. The country was given a two-month extension, to the end of February, on the present bailout plan.

The main factor in the fall in US markets appears to have been the further sharp decline in oil prices, continuing the downward trend that started in June, which was accelerated by the Saudi-led OPEC oil cartel’s decision not to cut production levels.

West Texas intermediate crude yesterday fell below $50 a barrel, its lowest level for five years, while Brent crude, regarded as the global benchmark, dropped by more than 6 percent to under $53 per barrel. The price of oil is now heading down to the levels reached in 2008-2009, when the global financial crisis saw it plummet from $100 per barrel to around $40.

The falling oil price is indicative of the deflationary pressures in the world economy as a result of continuing stagnation in Europe and clear signs that the Chinese economy is slowing.

The drop in the euro was set off by a comment by European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi during an interview published last Friday. Draghi said the risk of deflation in Europe was higher than six months ago, indicating that the ECB is getting ready to extend its so-called quantitative easing when its governing council next meets on January 22.

The euro fell further on a report published over the weekend in the leading German news magazine Der Spiegel that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had reached the conclusion that it was no longer necessary to keep Greece within the euro zone at any price and that a Greek exit would not create a financial crisis, as it threatened to do in 2012.

“The danger of contagion is limited because Portugal and Ireland are considered rehabilitated,” Der Spiegel quoted an unnamed government source as saying. Thus, Germany regarded a Greek exit as “bearable.”

Following the article, the Merkel government said it was working on the assumption that no matter if SYRIZA won the election, the next Greek government would continue to abide by agreements reached with EU institutions.

Under the austerity program dictated by the “troika”—the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission—the Greek economy has contracted by 25 percent over the past six years. Even assuming a growth rate of 2 percent per year, the Greek economy would not attain the levels it reached in 2007 until after 2027.

SYRIZA, the “Coalition of the Radical Left,” has abandoned any commitment to repudiate international debts, or restore previous cuts. It now talks of debt “renegotiation,” while insisting that Greece remain within the euro zone.

The financial markets have taken SYRIZA’s measure and recognise that a SYRIZA government of itself is no danger. There is the underlying fear, however, that any election victory could spark a movement from below that could begin to break out of the political straitjacket that has so far contained the working class.

One of the factors that may have led German authorities to consider a Greek exit “bearable” is that Greece’s debt has largely been transferred to public institutions. Consequently, German banks would not be as heavily impacted as they would have been three years ago.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of Greece’s debt is now held by official creditors, including the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism, which functions as the euro zone’s rescue fund.

While the prevailing view in financial circles, at least to this point, is that the euro zone would be able to “handle” a Greek exit, other powerful forces, in the form of deflation and the prospect of a third recession since the financial crisis, are stretching the monetary union.

Inflation figures will be published tomorrow and there are indications that they may record a negative result for the year, after an increase of just 0.3 percent for the year to November. Fears of a negative outcome were increased following yesterday’s news that German inflation had fallen to a five-year low.

Draghi is insisting that the threat of deflation, which increases the level of real debt and interest payments for banks and financial institutions, must be countered by further quantitative easing, involving, in some form, ECB purchases of sovereign debt. However, German Bundesbank president Jens Weidman, who sits on the ECB’s governing council, strenuously opposes the purchase of government debt.

According to former German foreign minister and Green Party leader Joschka Fischer, the policy differences threaten to turn “politically explosive” because they are “becoming a conflict between Germany and Italy.”

Those conflicts are set to intensify. This time last year, the official view was that Europe was starting to recover. But after a brief upturn, growth began to fall, most significantly in the so-called core countries, France, Italy and Germany.

Economic stagnation brings rising debt levels. Despite the imposition of austerity measures, Italy’s debt ratio has increased from 116 percent to 133 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the past three years because GDP is not rising fast enough to keep pace with interest costs.

As an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal noted, 2014 was supposed to have been the year when the euro zone exited the debt crisis, as growth returned to the region. Instead, “the eurozone is arguably now in greater peril of breaking up than ever before.”

China is Ready to Support Russia

By Dmitry Mosyakov
January 4, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

765674443At the most tense period of currency turbulence in Russia when its enemies were noting with satisfaction that “the country is falling uncontrollably into the abyss of economic crisis and recession”, against Western rating agencies’ statements that they were going to review Russia’s ratings to the downside and declare them near to “trash”, in other words prohibited for foreign investors, the official representatives of the Chinese government made important statements in support of Moscow.

On December 22, the Minister of foreign affairs of China Wang Yi declared that Beijing was ready to assist Russia in surmounting its economic difficulties. “If the Russian side so requires, we shall provide the necessary assistance, within the framework of our performance capabilities”, the Minister said. He added that “in the PRC, we believe that Russia has both aptitude and wisdom needed to surmount the existing difficulties in its economic situation”.

According to the Chinese experts, support may be provided to Russia through such mechanisms as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS. In addition, the support from China may be realized within the framework of the agreement concluded between the Bank of Russia and the People’s Bank of China this October. It is a cross currency swap agreement. It provides for the possibility of export settlements between the parties in roubles and yuans without using the dollars. The swap line volume is 150 bn yuans (about USD 24.5 bn). The agreement is concluded for three years and may be prolonged subject to both parties’ consent.
There is no doubt that the declarations of the Chinese politicians as regards their willingness to help Russia to overcome the existing difficulties in the present-day international situation have a strategic character and imply certain risks for the Chinese side. Evidently, Washington, being China’s major trading partner, will be extremely displeased with this step made by the Chinese authorities. American officials repeatedly expressed the hope that China would join the anti-Russian sanctions. However this brought no reaction from China. And if today Russia is able to come out of the crisis with minimal losses, thanks to China’s support, it threatens to worsen seriously the relations between Washington and Beijing.

At the same time, it is evident that recently Beijing’s stakes in its relations with Moscow have become very high, and the joint infrastructure projects with Russia, the agreements for implementation of which were signed in 2014, have proved to be so important for the PRC that they are even ready to allow certain cooling in their relations with the USA. Many Russian and Western analysts refused to believe in such outcome of the events pointing out that China’s policy is built in the first turn on its own interests, where its relations with the USA have a very special place. But the Chinese authorities’ decisive gesture once again stresses that recently the Sino-Russian relations have risen to a new level of trust and cooperation. The two countries are bound by very serious and large-scale projects, in the first turn the Europe – West China transport corridor and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which are important not only to Russia but to China as well. And their success directly depends on the processes going on in Russia.

Today, Beijing is maximally interested in stable development of the Russian economy and the bilateral relations between China and Russia, thus forming a reliable basis for successful implementation of the largest energy projects. The Chinese authorities are well aware that the economic crisis in Russia, in case it gains force, will be able to create serious difficulties delaying the implementation of the projects, and this is what Beijing does not want in any case. Therefore, it may be said that the declaration made by the Chinese Minister of foreign affairs is a well-planned step in order to provide assistance just in the sphere of funding of these projects having crucial importance for the PRC’s future, providing credit facilities for their implementation to ensure the best progress of construction. And, apart from all the rest, it is also a very convenient pretext to demonstrate China’s independent and pragmatic policy.

Dmitry Mosyakov – Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.

 

First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/01/04/rus-kitaj-gotov-podderzhat-rossiyu/

Oliver Stone: Ukrainians are suffering from US ‘ideological crusade’ against Russia

By RT
January 04, 2015
RT

 

American film director Oliver Stone (RIA Novosti/Grigoriy Sisoev)

American film director Oliver Stone (RIA Novosti/Grigoriy Sisoev)

 

In response to those who took exception with his claims that the Ukrainian crisis involved “outside agitators,” Oliver Stone took to social media to advance his argument, saying that Ukrainians are the victims of a US strategy akin to Cold War 2.0.

This week, Stone stirred a political firestorm with his views on what he believed sparked the Ukrainian crisis, following a private interview with Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian president who was ousted in the February 2014 coup.

“It seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 policemen, wounded some 85 and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside, third-party agitators,” Stone said, following his four-hour conversation with Yanukovich in Moscow. “Many witnesses, including Yanukovich and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions – with CIA fingerprints on it.”

According to the American-born filmmaker and writer, Ukraine is just the latest country in a long list to fall prey to “America’s soft power technique called ‘Regime Change 101.’”

Stone’s comments reverberated like an earthquake on both sides of the Ukrainian divide, prompting him to elaborate on his original statement. Stone’s follow-up post began with him explaining that he has no particular sympathy for Yanukovich.

“For those of you angry with my analysis of Ukraine yesterday, please try to understand the bigger picture I’m offering,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have no brief for Viktor Yanukovich, he may well be the most corrupt president Ukraine’s ever had. Ukraine has a dramatic history of corruption. That is not my point.”

However, he went on to argue that there is “ample evidence of pro-Western, third-party interference” in Ukraine, specifically mentioning Victoria Nuland and John McCain, two high-ranking American officials who appeared on the streets of central Kiev at the height of the Maidan showdown between police and protesters.

He also mentioned specific US government organizations, such as USAID, which has been operating in Ukraine since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the National Endowment for Democracy, which he remarked“apparently organize very well on Facebook and Twitter,”suggesting a possible method of organizing the protesters for an anti-government rally.

Supporters of European integration of Ukraine clash with the police in the center of Kiev January 25, 2014 (RIA Novosti)

Supporters of European integration of Ukraine clash with the police in the center of Kiev January 25, 2014 (RIA Novosti)

READ MORE: ‘CIA fingerprints’ all over Kiev massacre – Oliver Stone

Stone asked the question why so many Ukrainian policemen were killed and wounded during the occasionally violent rallies, “Yet no one has investigated this in the new government?”

Indeed, there has been much speculation that the so-called Maidan snipers were working in the pay of those who were trying to orchestrate the protests, and it was their aim to shoot members from both sides to trigger deeper social unrest.

To emphasize his point that the US has been playing games in Ukraine for a long time, Stone made a historical reference to 1949, when Defense Secretary James Forrestal, together with the cooperation of the CIA, created a guerrilla force codenamed ‘Nightingale’ that was comprised of ultra-nationalist Ukrainians.

For five years, according to Stone, the CIA was parachuting Ukrainian infiltrators into the country.

Stone implored his audience to see the “big picture,” which is that the United States “has never given up on using Ukraine as a launching pad to the underbelly of the Soviet Union, now a reduced Russia.”

“This Cold War 2.0 policy continues in a most deadly fashion, and whether they know it or not, the Ukrainian civilian population in the middle has suffered greatly from this ideological crusade,” Stone said.