Sunday, December 22, 2013

Turkey's Erdogan Alleges International Plot

Parliamentarians contemplate action before Obama puppet Erdogan destroys Turkey

DAILY STAR LEBANON
12/21/2013

ISTANBUL:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed a huge graft probe in which the sons of two ministers were charged Saturday was an international conspiracy.
 
 
The case that erupted on Tuesday and targeted 89 people, including some of Erdogan's closest allies, has triggered a crescendo of reactions from Turkey's strongman.

Rattled by the worst scandal of his 11-year rule and with crucial polls three months away, Erdogan has already purged the police command for cooperating with the investigation and on Saturday took it out on foreign ambassadors.

 
He described the probe into widespread bribery by members of his moderately Islamist regime as "smear campaign" with international ramifications.
 
 
Karzai, Ghadaffi, and now Erdogan will be thrown under the bus
"Some ambassadors are engaged in provocative actions... Do your job," Erdogan said in televised remarks in the Black Sea city of Samsun. "We don't have to keep you in our country."

Erdogan's remarks were considered a veiled threat to US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, after he was reported to have commented on the unfolding bribery scandal.

 
The US envoy however denied the media claims and said on Twitter: "The United States has nothing to do with the ongoing corruption investigation".
 
 
Observers have interpreted the raids as a result of tensions between Erdogan's government and Fethullah Gulen, a hugely influential Muslim cleric who lives in the United States.
 
Judges in Istanbul on Saturday charged the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler and Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan with acting as intermediaries in order to give and take bribes, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Among the scores detained in pre-dawn raids on December 17 were also the chief executive of state-owned bank Halkbank, Suleyman Aslan, and the Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab.

 
Zarrab was charged with forming a ring that bribed officials to disguise illegal gold sales to sanctions-hit Iran via Halkbank and Aslan was charged with taking bribes, Hurriyet said.
 
 
The son of Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar was also held. He was released on Friday as were the mayor of Istanbul's conservative Fatih municipality, Mustafa Demir, and construction tycoon Ali Agaoglu.

The Istanbul prosecutor's office placed a ban preventing those who were released from travelling abroad, local media reported.

 
"This is a dirty plot against the national will," Erdogan said.
 
The prime minister, who faced an unprecedented wave of protests six months ago, has responded with a deep purge of the police, a force he once bolstered to counter the army's influence.
 
 
War would see Turkey turned into a province of Russia or Syria
He sacked the Istanbul police and dozens of unit chiefs, essentially accusing them of not warning him that some of his closest aides were being investigated.

The appointment of Selami Altinok, a provincial official with no police career, as Istanbul's new police chief was seen by critics as a bid to shut down the investigation.

 
Altinok raised eyebrows when he landed in Istanbul on Thursday in the premier's private jet.

Erdogan and Gulen have been embroiled in a bitter dispute since government plans to shut down a network of private schools run by Gulen's Hizmet (Service) movement.

Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania but his organisation wields considerable influence in several arms of Turkey's state apparatus including the police, secret services and the judiciary.
 
 
In a video posted on Friday, Gulen hit back at those responsible for the police purge.

Gulen lashed out at the "assault" aimed at finishing off the Hizmet movement, calling on his followers to stand firm and trust in God.

The graft probe has exposed bitter fault lines in Erdogan's traditional power base and drawn calls for the government's resignation from both his own party and the opposition.

The government's allegation of a plot echoed Erdogan's claim that "foreign powers" were behind the nationwide May-June demonstrations, which had exposed a more tenuous grip on power than previously thought.

At least six people died and 8,000 were hurt in three weeks of protests against what demonstrators saw as an Islamisation of society and an increasingly dictatorial ruler.

"We will also spoil this game the same as we did during Gezi," Erdogan said.




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



The Changing Contours Of US Imperial Intervention In World Conflicts

Obama criminal regime now attempts to antagonize, provoke China and Russia to divert attention from ongoing Snowden revelations

GLOBAL RESEARCH
By Prof. James Petras
12/21/2013

Following the Vietnam War, US imperial intervention passed through several phases: In the immediate aftermath, the US government faced a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese liberation forces and was under pressure from an American public sick and tired of war.Imperial military interventions, domestic espionage against opponents and usual practice of fomenting coups d’├ętat (regime change) declined. 
 
 
Slowly, under President Gerald Ford and, especially President ‘Jimmy’ Carter, an imperial revival emerged in the form of clandestine support for armed surrogates in Southern Africa – Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau— and neo-liberal military dictatorships in Latin America. The first large-scale imperial intervention was launched during the second half of the Carter Presidency .It involved massive support for the Islamist uprising against the secular government of Afghanistan and a mercenary jihadist invasion sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the US (1979). This was followed by direct US invasions in Grenada (1983) under President Reagan; Panama (1989) and Iraq (1991) under President Bush Sr. and Yugoslavia (1995 and 1999) under President Clinton.

In the beginning, the imperial revival involved low cost wars of brief duration with few casualties. As a result there were very few voices of dissent, far diminished from the massive anti-war, anti-imperial movements of the early 1970’s. The restoration of direct US imperial interventions, unhindered by Congressional and popular opposition, was gradual in the period 1973-1990. It started to accelerate in the 1990’s and then really took off after September 11, 2001.

The imperial military and ideological apparatus for direct intervention was firmly in place by 2000. It led to a prolonged series of wars in multiple geographical locations, involving long-term, large-scale commitments of economic resources, and military personnel and was completely unhampered by congressional or large-scale public opposition – at least in the beginning. The ‘objectives’ of these serial wars were defined by their principal Zionist and militarist architects as the following:

(1) destroying regimes and states (as well as their military, police and civil governing bureaucracies) which had opposed Israel’s annexation of Palestine;

(2) deposing regimes which promoted independent nationalist policies, opposing or threatening the Gulf puppet monarchist regimes and supporting anti-imperialist, secular or nationalist-Islamic movements around the world.

Blinded by their imperial hubris (or naked racism) neither the Zionists nor the civilian militarists within the US Administrations anticipated prolonged national resistance from the targeted countries, the regrouping of armed opposition and the spread of violent attacks (including terrorism) to the imperial countries. Having utterly destroyed the Afghan and Iraqi state structures, as well as the regime in power, and having devastated the economy as well as any central military or police capacity, the imperial state was faced with endless armed civilian ethno-religious and tribal resistance (including suicide bombings), mounting US troop casualties and spiraling costs to the domestic economy without any “exit strategy”. The imperial powers were unable to set up a stable and loyal client regime, backed by a unified state apparatus with a monopoly of force and violence, after having deliberately shredded these structures (police, bureaucracy, civil service, etc) during the invasion and early occupation. The creation of this “political vacuum” was never a problem for the Zionists embedded in the US Administrations since their ultimate goal was to devastate Israel ’s enemies . As a result of the US invasions, the regional power of Israel was greatly enhanced without the loss of a single Israeli soldier or shekel. The Zionists within the Bush Administration successfully blamed the ensuing problems of the occupation, especially the growing armed resistance, on their ‘militarist’ colleagues and the Pentagon ‘Brass’. ‘Mission Accomplished’, the Bush Administration Zionists left the government , moving on to lucrative careers in the private financial sector.

Under President Obama, a new ‘cast’ of embedded Zionists have emerged to target Iran and prepare the US for a new war on Israel ’s behalf. However, by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, when Barak Obama was elected president, the political, economic and military situation had changed. The contrast in circumstances between the earlyBush (Jr.) years and the current administration is striking.

The 20-year period (1980-2000) before the launching of the ‘serial war’ agenda was characterized by short, inexpensive, low-casualty wars in Grenada , Panama and Yugoslavia , and a proxy war in Afghanistan . Israeli invasions and attacks against Lebanon , the occupied West Bank and Syria .One major US war of short duration and limited casualties against Iraq (the First Gulf War). The First Gulf War succeeded in weakening the government of Saddam Hussein, fragmenting the country via ‘no fly zones’, establishing a Kurdish client ‘state’ in the north while ‘policing’ was left to the remnants of the Iraqi state – all without having to occupy the country.

Meanwhile, the US economy was relatively stable and trade deficits were manageable. The real economic crisis was still to come. Military expenditures appeared under control. US public opinion, initially hostile to the First Gulf War was “pacified” by its short duration and the withdrawal of US troops. Iraq remained under aerial surveillance with frequent US bombing and missile strikes whenever the government attempted to regain control of the north. During this period, Israel was forced to fight its own wars and maintain an expensive occupation of southern Lebanon – losing its own soldiers.

By the second decade of the 21st century everything had changed. The US was bogged down in a prolonged thirteen year war and occupation in Afghanistan with little hope for a stable client regime in Kabul . The seven-year war against Iraq (Second Gulf War) with the massive occupation, armed civilian insurgency and the resurgence of ethno-religious conflict resulted in casualties and a crippling growth in US military expenditures. Budget and trade deficits expanded exponentially while the US share of the world market declined. China displaced the US as the principle trading partner in Latin America, Asia and Africa . A series of new ‘low intensity’ wars were launched in Somalia , Yemen and Pakistan which show no prospect of ending the drain on the military and the US Treasury.

The vast majority of the US public has experienced a decline in living standards and now believes the cost of overseas wars are a significant factor contributing to their relative impoverishment and insecurity. The multi-trillion-dollar bailout of the Wall Street banks during the economic crash of 2008-09 has eroded public support for the financial elite as well as the militarist-Zionist elite, which continue to push for more imperial wars.

The capacity of the US imperial elite to launch new wars on Israel ’s behalf has been greatly undermined since the economic crash of 2008-09. The gap between the rulers and ruled has widened. Domestic economic issues, not the threat of external terrorists, have become the central concern. The public sees the Middle East as a region of unending costly wars – with no benefit to the domestic economy. Asia has become the center of trade, growth, investment and a major source of US jobs. While Washington continues to ignore the citizens’ views, accumulated grievances are beginning to have an impact.

A Pew Research report, released in late 2013, confirms the wide gap between elite and public opinion. The Pew Foundation is an establishment polling operation, which presents its questions in a way that avoids the larger political questions. Nevertheless, the responses presented in the report are significant: By a vast margin (52% to 38%) the public agree that the US “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own”. This represents a major increase in public opposition to armed US imperialist intervention and the 52% response in 2013 contrasts sharply with 30% polled 2002.

A companion poll of elite policy advisors, members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), highlights the gap between the US public and the ruling class. The elite are described by the Pew Report as having a ‘decidedly internationalist (imperialist-interventionist) outlook’.

The American public clearly distinguishes between ‘trade’ and ‘globalization’ (imperialism.): 81% of the public favor ‘trade’ as a source of job creation while 73% oppose ‘globalization’ which they see as US companies relocating jobs overseas to low wage regions. The US public rejects imperial economic expansion and wars for the harm done to the domestic economy, middle and working class income and job security. The members of the Council on Foreign Relations, in contrast, are overwhelmingly in favor of ‘globalization’ (and imperial interventions). While 81% of the public believe the principle goal of US foreign policy should be the protection of American jobs, only 29% of the CFR rate US jobs as a priority.

The elite is conscious of the growing gap in interests, values and priorities between the public and the imperial state; they know that endless costly wars have led to a mass rejection of new imperial wars and a growing demand for domestic job programs.

This gap between the imperial policy elite and the majority of the public is one of the leading factors now influencing US foreign policy. Together with the general discredit of the Congress (only 9% favorable), the public’s rejection of President Obama’s militarist foreign policy has seriously weakened the empire’s capacity to begin new large-scale ground wars at multiple sites.

Meanwhile, Israel ( Washington ’s foreign patron), the Gulf State clients and European and Japanese allies have been pushing the US to intervene and confront ‘their adversaries’. To this end, Israel and the Zionist Power Configuration within the US government have been undermining peace negotiations between the US and Iran . Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, as well as Turkey are urging the US to attack Syria . The French had successfully pushed the US into a war against the Gaddafi government in Libya and have their sights on their former colony in Syria . The US has given only limited backing to the French military intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic .

The US public is aware that none of Washington’s ‘militarist’ patrons, clients and allies has paid such a high price in terms of blood and treasure as the US in the recent wars. The Saudi, Israeli and French “publics” have not experienced the socio-economic dislocations confronting the US public. For these ‘allied’ regimes, the cheapest way to resolve their own regional conflicts and promote their own ambitions is to convince, coerce or pressure the US to “exercise its global leadership”.

Washington ’s imperial policymakers, by background, history, ideology and past experience, are sensitive to these appeals – especially those from the Israelis. But they also recognize the growing “intervention fatigue” among the American public, the CFR’s euphemism for rising anti-imperialist feelings among the American majority, which is saying ‘no’ to further imperial military interventions.

Faced with choice of acting as an unfettered imperial power with global interests and facing rising domestic discontent, Washington has been forced to revise its foreign policy and strategies. It is adopting a more nuanced approach, one less vulnerable to external pressures and manipulations.

Imperial Foreign Policy in a Time of Domestic Constraints and External Pressures

US empire builders, with increasingly limited military options and declining domestic support, have begun to (1) prioritize their choice of places of engagement, (2) diversify their diplomatic, political and economic instruments of coercion and (3) limit large-scale, long-term military intervention to regions where US strategic interests are involved. Washington is not shedding its militarist polices by any means, but it is looking for ways to avoid costly long-term wars which further undermine the domestic economy and intensify domestic political opposition.

In order to decipher US imperial policy in this new context, it is useful to first (1) identify the regions of conflict, (2) estimate the significance of these countries and conflicts to the empire and, (3) analyze the particular interventions and their impact on US empire building. Our purpose is to show how the interplay between domestic and external countervailing pressures affects imperial policy.

Conflicts which Engage US Empire Builders

There are at least eleven major or minor conflicts today engaging US empire builders to a greater or lesser extent. A major premise of our approach is that US empire builders are more selective in their aggression, more conscious of the economic consequences, less reckless in their commitments and have a greater concern for domestic political impact. Current conflicts of interest to Washington include those taking place in the Ukraine , Thailand , Honduras , China-Japan-South Korea, Iran-Gulf States/Israel, Syria , Venezuela , Palestine-Israel , Libya , Afghanistan and Egypt .

These conflicts can be classified according to whether they involve major or minor US interests and whether they involve major or minor allies or adversaries. Among the conflicts where the US has strategic interests and which involve major actors, one would have to include the territorial and maritime dispute between Japan , South Korea and China . On the surface the dispute appears to be over economically insignificant pile of rocks claimed by the Japanese as the Senkaku Islands and by the Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands . In essence, the conflict involves the US plan to militarily encircle China by provoking its Japanese and Korean allies to confront the Chinese over the islands. Washington ’s treaties with Japan will be used to come to the ‘aid’ of its most important ally in the region. The US support of Japan ’s expansionist claims is part of a strategic shift in US policy from military commitments in the Middle East to military and economic pacts in Asia, which exclude and provoke China .

The Obama Regime has announced its ‘Pivot to Asia ’ in an attempt to deal with its largest economic competitor. China , the second biggest economy in the world, has displaced the US as the principle trading partner in Latin America and Asia . It is advancing rapidly as the principal investor in developing Africa ’s natural resources. In response, the US has (1) openly backed Japan’s claims, (2) defied China’s strategic interests in the East China Sea by flying B52 bombers within China’s Air Defense Identification Zone and (3) encouraged South Korea to expand its ‘air defense’ zones to overlap with those of the Chinese. History teaches us that inflexible assertions of dominance by established imperial powers against rising dynamic economies will lead to conflicts, and even disastrous wars.

Imperial advisers believe that US naval and air superiority and Chinese dependence on foreign trade give the US a strategic advantage in any armed confrontation. Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” is clearly designed to encircle and degrade China ’s capacity to outcompete and displace the US from world markets. Washington’s militarists, however, fail to take account of China’s strategic levers – especially the over two trillion dollars of US Treasury notes (debt) held by China, which, if dumped on the market, would lead to a major devaluation of the US currency, panic on Wall Street and a deeper economic depression. China could respond to US military threats by (1) seizing the assets of the 500 biggest US MNCs located in the country which would crash the stock market and (2) cutting off the source for major supply chains, further disrupting the US and world economy.

Imperialist ambitions and resentment over the loss of markets, status, and supremacy is pushing Washington to raise the stakes and confront China . Opposing the militarists, Washington ’s economic realists believe the US is too exposed and too dependent on credit, overseas earnings and financial revenues to engage in new military interventions in Asia, especially after the disastrous consequences of wars in the Middle East . Current US policy reflects an ongoing struggle between the militarist imperialists and the defenders of imperial economic interests. For the market-oriented policy advisers, it makes no sense to confront China , when mutual gains from rising trade and economic inter-dependence have proven far superior to any marginal territorial gains offshore. These conflicting outlooks find expression in the alternating bellicose and conciliatory rhetoric of Vice President Biden during his December visit to Japan , China and South Korea .

The second area involving major actors and interests is the Persian Gulf, especially Israel – Iran – Saudi Arabia and the US . Having gone through costly and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and fully aware that US intelligence agencies have found no evidence of an Iran nuclear weapons program, the Obama Administration is eager to reach an agreement with Iran. Nevertheless, US strategists are pursuing an agreement that would (1) weaken Iran ’s defense capability, (2) undermine Iranian support for popular revolts among Shiite populations living in the Gulf Monarchies, (3) isolate President Bashar Assad in Syria and (4) facilitate a long-term US presence in Afghanistan by destroying Al Qaeda operations throughout the region. In addition a US – Iran agreement would lift the harsh economic sanctions and (1) allow US oil companies to exploit Iran’s richest oil fields, (2) lower the cost of energy and (3) reduce US trade deficits.

A major stumbling block to any US-Iran agreement is from the well-entrenched Zionist strategists and advisers among policy-makers, especially in the Executive Branch, including such Department heads and Secretaries as Treasury Undersecretary (for ‘Terrorism’) David Cohen, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, ‘Special Adviser for the Persian Gulf’ Dennis Ross among others. An even greater obstacle to the agreement comes from the Zionist-controlled US Congress, which acts more on behalf of Israel ’s regional ambitions than for US interests. Israel ’s megalomaniacal rulers seek military, political and economic supremacy throughout the Middle East (from Sinai to the Gulf) and have so far successfully used the US military to destroy and weaken its adversaries at no cost to Israeli soldiers or economy.

Israel has taken a direct hand in setting the terms, which the US will demand from Iran . According to the Financial Times (12/8/13, p. 4), “A team of senior Israeli officials led by Yossi Cohen, national security adviser, is due to visit Washington … to begin detailed discussions with the Obama Administration to use its influence in shaping the negotiating agenda.”

Secretary of State John Kerry has already caved in to Israeli pressure stating, “We will be stepping up on enforcement (of existing sanctions) through the Treasury Department,” (FT 12/18/13, p. 4). Israel and its top Zionist agent within the Obama Administration, Dennis Ross, are pushing for a joint Israeli-US “working group” to discuss tightening sanctions on Iran and punishing any government or business which tries to do business with Iran during the “interim agreement”, a position pursued by David Cohen and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (FT 12/ 13/13). Israel is behind the US demand that Iran convert its Arak Facilities from a heavy water into a light-water reactor and reduce its centrifuges by 95% from 19,000 to 1,000.

In other words, Israel dictates terms to the US negotiators that will effectively sabotage any possible agreement and put the US on a course toward another war for Israel . Surprisingly, Israel ’s hardliners and its agents within the US Administration have an important and unlikely ally – Iran ’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javid Zarif, the chief negotiator in Geneva , who has downplayed Iran ’s military capabilities and exaggerated US military capabilities and seems quite willing to dismantle Iran ’s peaceful nuclear program. In justifying his far-reaching concessions and meager returns, Foreign Minister Zarif publicly declared that ‘the US could destroy the country’s ( Iran ’s) defense system with one bomb!” (FT, 12/10/13, p. 2) Zarif, in effect, is preparing to sell out Iran ’s nuclear industry, in advance, without any objective consideration of Iran ’s military power or recognition of US strategic weaknesses.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers influence US policy through their contracts with the military – industrial complex – amounting to over $20 billion dollar arms purchase in 2013. In addition, the Saudi Monarch has allowed the construction of US military bases on its territory and maintains close ties with Wall Street investment houses. Saudi opposition to any US – Iran rapprochement arises from Riyadh ’s fear of Iranian influence over its oppressed Shia minority and Tehran ’s critique of the absolutist monarchy.

The positive gains, in terms of US strategic military and economic interests from an agreement with the liberal Iranian regime, are offset by the negative pressures from Saudi and Israeli-Zionists interests. As a result, Washington ’s policy oscillates between peaceful, diplomatic overtures to Iran and bellicose threats to appease Israel and Saudi Arabia . Washington is desperate to avoid being dragged into another “war for Israel ”, in order to secure its hegemony in the Persian Gulf region and avoid a major domestic political and economic crisis. The Obama Administration has yet to exhibit the high degree of statesmanship necessary to restrain and neutralize the deeply embedded Zionist Power Configuration, within its ranks and in the Congress, which places Israeli interests over those of the US .

Regional Conflicts: Minor Interests and Major Actors


The Ukraine – European Union (EU) – Russian conflict involves minor US economic interests but potentially major military interests. The US supports the EU’s policy of incorporating the Ukraine into its economic and trade system. The EU will be the major beneficiary in the plunder of Ukraine ’s economy, penetrating its market and reaping mega financial returns. The US is content to watch the EU play the major role in stoking Ukrainian civil unrest. If and when Ukraine joins the EU, it will become another client regime subject to the dictates of the bankers and bureaucrats in Brussels , just like Spain , Greece , Portugal and Italy ). The US is mainly interested in bringing the Ukraine into NATO as part of its policy of surrounding Russia .

Syria, like Libya , Mali , Central African Republic and Egypt , are of secondary interest for the US . Washington has let the European Union, especially France, England and their allies, lead and direct military operations directly and through proxies. The Obama Administration already faced intense “intervention fatigue” – widespread popular opposition to war – when it joined the EU in bombing Tripoli to rubble, but it refused to commit ground forces and left Libya a broken country without a viable economy, stable society or functioning state! So much for ‘humanitarian intervention’! Intervention in Syria has faced even greater domestic opposition from Congress and the US public – except for the Israeli and Saudi lobbies.

Obama was clearly not willing to act as ‘Al Qaeda’s Air Force’ by bombing Damascus and facilitating a jihadist takeover. It chose diplomatic solution and accepted the Russian proposal to dismantle Syria ’s chemical weapons. It appears to support a Geneva-based negotiated solution. Another war, this time with Syria , would inflame US domestic discontent and further erode the economy, with no positive gain for US imperialism. In fact, US military victory over Damascus would expand the territory of operation for Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant . It was US public opinion that overcame the massive pro-Israel media barrage and pressure from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations that had been actively pushing the Obama Administration into a ‘Syrian Quagmire’.

French President Francoise Hollande is the new face of imperial militarism and interventionism in Africa with its massive bombing in Libya and invasion and occupation in Mali and the Central African Republic . The US is content to play a ‘supporting role’ to France . It has no strategic involvement in Africa apart from its proxy wars in Somalia .

With public opinion strongly against any more major direct military intervention Washington has turned to military proxies for conflicts in ‘strategic’ and marginal countries and regions. Even where significant imperial interests may be involved, Washington increasingly relies on local elites to act on its behalf in conflicts in countries as diverse as Yemen , Thailand , Honduras , Venezuela , Pakistan , Afghanistan and Egypt . Sending drones and dispatching teams of Special Forces in clandestine operations have been the US Administration’s intervention of choice in Yemen , Somalia and Pakistan . In Afghanistan, Special Forces combine with the US military, NATO troops and local client military proxies, as well as drones.

In Honduras, the US-backed military coup, which unleashed death squads with the killing of over 200 dissident activists in a two year period was followed by a fraudulent election which reclaimed ‘power’ for a US client regime. In Venezuela , the US continues to finance opposition parties who support violent street mobs, the sabotage of public services like electricity, while relying on local business elites to hoard basic goods and inflate prices. So far, these efforts to undermine the Venezuelan government have failed.

Conclusion

US Empire builders have relied on a wider variety of interventions than their predecessor under President George W. Bush. They are much less prone to launch large-scale ground operations and more likely to turn to local client elites. They have shown a far greater sense of priorities in selecting targets for direct intervention.

Washington relies more on its imperial European allies, especially the French, to take the lead in Africa, without relinquishing its key interest in maintaining Egypt tightly under US-Israeli control. There is a shift in priority toward the Far East, especially the countries bordering China , like Japan and South Korea , as part of the long-term US strategy to encircle and limit China ’s economic expansion. The US ‘Pivot to Asia ’, under the Obama Administration, is characterized by alternating economic negotiations with growing military encirclement.

Controlling the Persian Gulf and undermining Iran continues to be a high priority for US Empire builders, but the costly and disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq under George W. Bush and its adverse domestic fallout, has led Washington to rely less on military confrontation with Tehran and more on economic sanctions, military encirclement and now diplomatic negotiations to secure collaboration from the new Rouhani regime.

The principle strategic weakness in US empire building policy lies in the absence of domestic support. There is a growing demand for better paying jobs to reverse the decline of US living standards and greater protection for social services and livelihoods. The second strategic weakness is found in the incapacity of the US to create a viable economic “co-prosperity sphere”, which would win allies in Asia and Latin America . The so-called “Pivot to Asia” is overly and overtly reliant on military(mostly naval) power, which functions in times of ‘territorial conflicts’ with China, but does not create stable, structural links with local productive elites – who rely on China for trade.

In the end the most serious obstacle to effectively adapting US foreign policy to the current realities is the influential Israel-linked-Zionist Power Configuration embedded in the Congress, the Administration and the mass media. Zionists are deeply committed to pushing the US into more wars for Israel . Nevertheless the shift to negotiations with Iran, the refusal to bomb Syria and the reluctance to get involved in the Ukraine are all indications that Washington is less inclined to launch more large-scale military intervention and more receptive to the public opinion constraints on the exercise of imperial power.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Poll : Two Thirds Of Americans Say Afghan War Not Worth Fighting

MSM poll skewed:  Numbers are in reality near 90%

LA TIMES
By Carol J. Williams
12/20/2013

Two thirds of Americans questioned in a recent poll said the 12-year war fought in Afghanistan to cleanse the country of terrorists hasn't been worth the price paid in lives and dollars.
 
 
Nevertheless, a majority still favors keeping some U.S. forces in the troubled country even after the military mission ends a year from now, the ABC News/Washington Post poll found.

The survey conducted for the media by Langer Research Associates of New York found that disillusionment with the U.S.-led war was expressed by a majority of all political leanings. Overall, 66% of respondents said the war hasn't been worth it
 
 
Those who identified themselves as liberals were most unhappy with the military investment: 78% said the war was a mistake. 

 
Independent voters were also highly critical of the war, with 71% expressing regret, followed by 67% of Democrats, 61% of conservatives and 54% of Republicans.

In its report on the poll, ABC News said the latest results match the peak of U.S. public criticism of the 2003-2011 war in Iraq. 
 
 
The United States completed its withdrawal from Iraq two years ago, and sectarian fighting has gradually escalated. 
 
 
The private iCasualties website reports that 4,486 U.S. troops died in Iraq during the U.S. presence.

The U.S. death toll in Afghanistan stood at 2,300 on Friday, according to iCasualties.

The size of any U.S. contingent in Afghanistan to assist with training and counterinsurgency after the combat mission ends next year has yet to be fixed, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement negotiated by Washington and Kabul. 
 
 
 
 
U.S. officials have been pushing Karzai to sign the agreement by the end of this year so that the Pentagon can plan and budget accordingly for post-2014 deployments, although President Obama is willing to extend the deadline, according to aids.

The agreement defining the U.S. military presence after next year was approved last month by a 2,500-member national council of elders, called a loya jirga. 
 
 
But Karzai has been insisting that the final signature be made by the next president, to be elected in April. 
 
 
Despite the lack of clarity on troop strength in 2015 and beyond, 55% of the 1,005 adults polled by Langer said they support keeping some military presence in Afghanistan. At 65%, political moderates were the most supportive of keeping some noncombat troops stationed in the country. Conservatives and liberals were both less enthusiastic, with 52% and 46% backing, respectively, for the post-2014 contingent.

 
The poll was conducted Dec. 12-15 and had a 3.5% margin of error, Langer said.
 
 
The real question for the polls is when Americans will put and end to this criminal slaughter
 
 




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Latest Snowden Revelations Expose Obama’s Lies On NSA Spy Programs

American hero Edward Snowden continues to administer death of a thousand cuts to Obama criminal regime

WORLD SOCIALIST WEBSITE
By Bill Van Auken
12/21/2013

Just hours after receiving a report from his hand-picked advisory panel on National Security Agency surveillance operations, President Barack Obama used his end of the year press conference Friday to deliver an Orwellian defense of unrestrained US spying both at home and abroad. 
 
 
“I have confidence that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance and snooping around,” Obama said, despite the cascade of revelations proving just the opposite. These revelations, including the latest from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have established that the agency is collecting and storing billions of files recording the phone calls, text messages, emails, Internet searches and even the daily movements of virtually ever US citizen, not to mention those of hundreds of millions of people abroad.

 
“The United States is a country that abides by rule of law, that cares deeply about privacy, that cares deeply about civil liberties,” he added. Who, at this late juncture, does the American president think he’s fooling? One only has to read the ruling by a Washington, DC Federal District Court judge—which was then stayed in the interest of “national security”—finding the surveillance methods of the NSA to be “almost Orwellian,” and its activities unconstitutional, i.e., criminal.
 
 
Ongoing Snowden revelations spell doom for Obama criminals
On Snowden, without whose courageous actions the NSA’s illegal activities would still be concealed from the public, Obama refused to address calls to grant him amnesty, insisting, falsely, that he has been indicted, and that his fate is in the hands of the US attorney general and the courts.

 
 
 
 
Nonetheless, he charged that Snowden’s revelations had given a “pretty distorted view of what’s going on out there,” by which he meant that they cut through Washington’s propaganda about the US representing a beacon of freedom and democracy, exposing the infrastructure of a police state at the heart of the government. 
 

Headed for prison:  U.S. traitors Clapper, Alexander
Declaring that the furor unleashed by Snowden’s disclosures represented an “important conversation we needed to have,” Obama added, “the way in which these disclosures happened have been damaging to the United States, damaging to our intelligence capabilities. And I think that there was a way for us to have this conversation without that damage.”

 
What way that was the US president did not specify. Undoubtedly within the intelligence apparatus, the preferred method would have been to assassinate Snowden before he could leak a single document. The fact is that there would have been no “conversation” without the actions taken by Snowden, because neither the NSA, nor the president, nor the Congress was about to expose to the American people and the people of the world the massive conspiracy being mounted against their fundamental democratic rights.
 
 
On one question, Obama remained silent. The decision handed down by Judge Richard Leon in Washington on Monday referred to “the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist attack has ever been prevented” through the dragnet surveillance being carried out by the NSA.” 
 
 
 
Similarly, the report issued by Obama’s own advisory panel three days later concluded that “the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of . . . telephony metadata was not essential to preventing attacks.” In other words, the pretext provided repeatedly by Obama and US intelligence officials—that the massive spying was required to keep the American people “safe”—was a lie.
 
Asked point blank whether he could “identify any specific examples” in which the NSA spying program had contributed to the foiling of an act of terrorism, Obama failed to provide any.
 
 
Given that the sweeping domestic and international spying operation has not proved useful in this regard, the obvious question is what interests is it intended to serve?

One answer to this question was indicated in secret documents leaked by Snowden and reported on by the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel on Friday, showing that among 1,000 targets of the NSA and its British partner, the General Communications Headquarters, were Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s competition commissioner and current European Commission vice president. Almunia was involved in pursuing charges of commercial and financial abuse against US corporations such as Google, Microsoft, the pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and financial giants such as Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase. 
 
 
Other targets included the French defense contractor Thales, the Paris-based energy giant Total, European telecom companies and the heads of oil and finance ministries. This is in line with earlier revelations of NSA spying on Brazil’s state-owned energy firm, Petrobras.

In the face of outraged denunciations of industrial espionage by the European Union and others, the NSA attempted to deny the obvious. 
 
 
 
 
“We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of—or give intelligence we collect to—U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” said an agency spokeswoman Friday. 
 
 
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff victim of Obama spying
She quickly added, however, that economic spying is essential “to providing policy makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security.” 
 
In other words, if the NSA doesn’t directly pass intelligence to Citigroup, Google, Exxon Mobil and others, it is giving it to other government officials who do.
 
 
 
 
What emerges is a state intelligence apparatus of genuine totalitarian dimensions that acts as a direct partner of giant corporations—that in turn willingly cooperate with the NSA’s illegal operations—while spying relentlessly on the masses of people. 
 
 
Underlying this development is social structure that has turned increasingly aristocratic in character, with a narrow financial and corporate oligarchy having amassed an unprecedented share of the country’s wealth, while living in fear that the glaring levels of social inequality will spark a revolt from below. There exists within this ruling layer, and the Democratic and Republican parties that defend its interests, no constituency for democratic rights. Rather it strongly supports authoritarian methods to suppress growing opposition among working people.


Under the phony cover of the “war on terror”—and in the real context of endless war abroad—the US government under Obama has arrogated to itself vast powers to spy on the entire population, subject its perceived enemies to indefinite military detention and even summarily kill anyone, including US citizens, without due process. 
 
 
Merry Christmas, TRAITOR
The threat of police state dictatorship emerges more clearly with each passing day. The struggle against this threat is fundamentally a class question. The only social force that has a life-and-death interest in democratic rights is the working class, which historically has secured these rights through mass struggles.

 
 
Today these rights cannot be defended through the courts, the Democratic Party or any section of the government and its auxiliary agencies. Rather the working class must mobilize its own independent political strength, based upon a socialist program, to put an end to the capitalist profit system, the source of the drive to a police state. This means, above all, building the Socialist Equality Party.




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Obamas Hit Hawaii For Holiday Vacation

While the homeless, Seniors, disabled, Veterans starve and die from lack of medical care on the streets of the United States - Merry Christmas, America

PRESS TV
12/21/2013

U.S. President Barack Obama and his family have arrived for their annual holiday vacation in Hawaii. The island paradise hosts thousands of national and international vacationers yearly.


Obama lives it up in style on stolen taxpayer money
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, her mother and their two daughters left Washington for the 16-day trip on Friday evening. They arrived in Honolulu early on Saturday morning.

The Obamas will spend the holidays at a rental home in Kailua, on the eastern shore of the island of Oahu. The neighborhood is adjacent to the Marine Corps base in Hawaii.

It will be the fifth year in a row the president and his family have spent their vacation in Hawaii, Obama's childhood home.


According to the White House, Obama is not planning to attend any public events through Sunday, Jan. 5.


While homeless children starve and die on the streets
He will have plenty of reading to do, however. Obama has said he will review the contents of a 300-page report outlining recommendations to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) and other surveillance plans.

The president is scheduled to announce which of the proposals he supports in January.


Before leaving town, Obama took questions from the White House press corps for about an hour.


In his year-end presser, he defended the controversial NSA data gathering programs and repeated his pledge not to negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit. In reviewing the year, he acknowledged that many of his largest legislative priorities, including passing gun laws and immigration reform, had failed to gain traction in Congress. 


The rocky rollout of Obamacare, he said, was his biggest mistake. 




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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