Monday, March 30, 2015

An interview snippit with Osama Bin Laden from 28th September 2001


Interview taken from the Pakistani newspaper Ummat and translated by the BBC. The interview was printed on Friday the 28th September 2001.
 ---snip

 UMMAT: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

 OSAMA BIN LADEN:
There are intelligence agencies in the U.S., which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This [funding issue] was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger. They needed an enemy.

So, they first started propaganda against Osama and Taleban and then this incident (9/11) happened. You see, the Bush Administration approved a budget of 40 billion dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the U.S. secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget.

 General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other U.S. President, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who carried out the attacks.*

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Leave the Houthis Alone!




The Riyadh regime’s blatant invasion of Yemen’s sovereignty comes against a backdrop of total silence on the part of international bodies, especially the United Nations. The world body has so far failed to show any reaction to the Saudi violation of Yemen’s sovereignty.

 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait issued a joint statement saying that they “decided to repel Houthi militias, Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State) in the country.” The Gulf states said they were responding to a “major threat” to the stability of the region, saying that their cause is to “repel Houthi aggression” in Yemen.

 An unnamed US official confirmed to Reuters that the Saudis consulted with Washington about the military operation at the “highest levels” before proceeding with the attack, adding that US President Barack Obama knew of Riyadh’s plans to invade Yemen.

 The Iranians are taking care of ISIS for us, precluding US "boots on the ground," much to disappointment of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. It doesn’t count as a war in their book unless American blood is being spilled.

The same irony abounds in Yemen, where the Shi’ite Houthis are viscerally hostile to Al Qaeda, and are, indeed, the only indigenous force capable of defeating them and rooting them out. Yet that would preclude a Saudi-US intervention – and we can’t have that!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bernie Dreaming and the Hillary Money Machine

The Violin Model
The late and formerly Left provocateur Christopher Hitchens once usefully described “the essence of American politics” as “the manipulation of populism by elitism”: the cloaking of plutocratic agendas, of service to the rich and powerful, in the false rebels’ clothing of popular rebellion; the hidden and “unelected dictatorship of money” (Edward S. Herman and David Peterson) masquerading in the false rebels’ clothes of the common people.

“That elite is most successful,” Hitchens added in his study of the classically neoliberal Clinton presidency, “which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most ‘in touch’ with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently ‘elitist.’

It is no great distance from Huey Long’s robust cry of ‘Every man a king’ to the insipid ‘inclusiveness’ of [Bill Clinton’s slogan] ‘Putting People First,’ but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve’ tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers.”


The Democrats have no monopoly on such manipulation in the two-party system. The Republicans have long practiced their own noxious version. Still, the division of labor between the two dominant corporate and imperial political entities in the US party system assigns the greater role to the Democrats when it comes to posing as the political arm of the working class majority, the poor, women, and minorities at the bottom of the nation’s steep and interrelated hierarchies of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and nationality.

 For the system-serving task of shutting down, containing, and co-opting popular social movements and channeling popular energies into the nation’s corporate-managed, narrow-spectrum, major-party, big money, and candidate centered electoral system, the Democrats are by far and away “the more effective evil” (Glen Ford’s phrase). For the last century, the Marxist political analyst Lance Selfa notes, it has been their job to play “the role of shock absorber, trying to head off and co-opt restive segments of the electorate” by masquerading as “the party of the people.”

The Democratic Party has been most adept at ruling in accord with what David Rothkopf (a former Clinton administration official) in November 2008 called (commenting on then President Elect Obama’s corporatist and militarist transition team and cabinet appointments) “the violin model.”

Under the “violin model,” Rothkopf said, “you hold power with the left hand and you play the music with the right.” In other words, “you” gain and hold office with populace-pleasing progressive-sounding rhetoric even as you govern in standard service to existing dominant corporate and military institutions and class hierarchies.

The Obama administration has been an especially revolting but instructive violin lesson to say the last. Compare the 2008 Obama campaign’s progressive-sounding “hope” and “change” rhetoric and imagery/branding with the Obama administration’s predictably ugly corporate and imperial record, including such highlights:
* The bail out and protection of the Wall Street financial institutions and chieftains who collapsed the US and global economy.
* The passage of a Republican-inspired version of health insurance reform (the absurdly named “Affordable Care Act”) that only the big insurance and drug companies could love.
* The undermining of urgent global efforts to impose binding limits on world carbon emissions and its related approval and encouragement of the United States’ emergence as the world’s leading producer of gas and oil.
* Obama’s embrace of the expanding US-totalitarian national security and surveillance state and his related and unprecedented repression of leakers, whistleblowers, and journalists.
* Obama’s relentless and reckless military imperialism within and beyond the Muslim world – something that has fueled the dramatic expansion of extremist Islamic jihad and sparked a dangerous new confrontation with Russia.
An Unworthy Endeavor
In recent months, “Progressive Democrats” have been hoping to breathe new life into the United States’ hopelessly 1%-dominated “two party system” by running the nominally socialist, technically Independent, and genuinely populist and domestically progressive US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to challenge the Clinton-Obama arch-neoliberal and imperial corporate Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Iowa 2016 Democratic Presidential Caucus and the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary. Leaving aside Sanders’ terrible record on Israel-Palestine and U.S. imperial policy more broadly and focusing just on domestic policy, it is a complete waste of time – not a worthy endeavor. Both of the nation’s dominant political “parties” now stand well to the right of majority public opinion and in accord
with the views of the elite political “donor class” on numerous key policy issues.
Basic candor requires acknowledgement that the Democratic Party has in recent decades become an ever more full-fledged and unabashed rich folks’ party, not to mention a longstanding party of war and empire.

As such, it will never allow a candidate sincerely committed to progressive and populist domestic policy goals – much less, one who calls himself (however vaguely) a socialist – become its standard-bearer. It will nominate either Hillary Clinton or (in the chance of highly unlikely developments) some other corporate Democrat in the summer of 2016. Why help the dismal dollar Dems disguise their oligarchic essence?

Why abet their attempt to seem to have had a full and open debate over the issues that concern ordinary Americans? Why assist any effort to make either of the two dominant political organizations that Upton Sinclair all-too accurately described as “two wings of the same [Big Business-dominated] bird of prey” seem more progressive than they really are? Why lend a hand to the corporate-captive Democrats’ efforts to manipulate populism in service to elitism?

“Not Emblematic of a Democracy”
Thankfully, perhaps, the ever-escalating hyper-plutocratic cost of presidential campaigning seems to be turning Sanders against making a run for the White House either outside or inside the Democratic Party. Sanders has become increasingly reticent about the effort. It’s not because he thinks that Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic candidates are likely to advance anything remotely like a progressive agenda to tackle the issues of poverty, inequality, and climate change (issues that Sanders sincerely holds dear, I think).

As Sanders;’ adviser Tad Devine recently told Salon’s Luke Brinker, “We have not really raised money…He [Sanders] has absolutely no rapport with the people giving him money…As a matter of fact, he’s spending most of his time trashing them.” By Brinker’s calculation, Sanders’ Senate campaign committee possessed a modes $4.5 million while his political action committee, Progressive Voters of America, raised just over $535,000. “Meanwhile,” Blinker noted:
“ Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton each aim to raise well north of a cool billion for their campaigns; Bush’s financial juggernaut is already on track to collect $50 million to $100 million for the first three months of this year, and while his party’s base is decidedly skeptical of him, his cash cow of a campaign may ultimately be too much for his rivals to overcome.

As for Clinton, there’s no doubt that much of her strength in early polls reflects goodwill among Democratic voters — of course, 2008 attests that such sentiment can be fickle — but is that what’s really behind the recent spate of headlines that for all her flaws, Democrats have no other alternative? 

Hardly. Above all else, the party apparatus is loyal to Clinton because, in the unlikely event that she doesn’t run, they don’t see any other candidate who could build anything like her money machine, and in the near-certain case that she does enter the race, strategists don’t see how any potential rival would compete against it. So why alienate a potential president by backing someone else” (emphasis added).
Also significant, the corporate media is highly unlikely to treat Sanders as a “serious” and “viable” candidate – an additional and related death blow to his chances.
Never mind that much of what Sanders advocates – genuinely progressive taxation, restoration of union organizing and collective bargaining rights, single-payer health insurance, strong financial regulation, public financing of elections, large-scale green jobs programs to put millions to decently paid work on socially and ecologically necessary tasks and more – is popular with the US working class majority of citizens.

That’s technically irrelevant under “our” current system of 1% elections, 1% lobbying, and 1% media, etc As Blinker notes, “the question of who counts as [a] ‘serious’ [presidential candidate] cannot be separated from the question of money. What we’re witnessing is a vicious circle whereby candidates struggle to raise money and therefore struggle to get their messages out and rise in the polls, and because said candidates’ polling numbers are nothing to write home about, it’s difficult to get donors to pay up…The implications of such an order are nothing if not pernicious….Economic inequality and political inequality, it turns out, are indelibly linked….Call it what you will — a plutocracy, an oligarchy, a corporatocracy — but this state of affairs is not emblematic of a democracy.”
Gee, you don’t say. A saving grace for a Sanders run would if he were to drop in advance all hopes of winning and using the presidential campaign stage as an educational platform. He could exploit the process to relentlessly expose the authoritarian and dollar-drenched absurdity of the nation’s oligarchic 1% elections and party system. He could advocate for a powerful new popular sociopolitical movement beneath and beyond the big money-big media-major party-mass-marketed candidate-centered quadrennial electoral spectacles that are staged for as yet another method for marginalizing and containing the populace ever four years – a movement that would include in its list of demands the creation of a political party and elections systems worthy of passionate citizen engagement.

Imagine a Democratic Society
Sanders or other potential electoral “saviors” aside, backing a “progressive” (whatever that term means anymore) candidate in Democratic presidential Caucus and primary race is not the only way to oppose Hillary and other corporate-imperial fake-progressive Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. “Progressives” in those states could simply ignore or more actively resist Democratic campaign events.

They could disrupt and protest those events, making statements against the plutocratic and militarist nature of the Democratic Party today and against the farcical, corporate-crafted charade that the US elections process has become. (It’s a charade that is featured for an absurdly long period of time, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire – the “first in the nation” caucus and primary states). Alternately, and more positively, they could do something along the lines of what Noam Chomsky suggested to Occupy Boston activists in October of 2011 – hold local people’s caucuses and primaries based on issues, not candidates and their marketing entourage:

“We’re coming up to the presidential election’s primary season. Suppose we had a functioning democratic society (laughter). Let’s just imagine that. What would a primary look like, say, in New Hampshire? … The people in a town would get together and discuss, talk about, and argue about what they want policy to be. Sort of like what’s happening here in the Occupy movement. They would formulate a conception of what the policy should be.

Then if a candidate comes along and says, ‘I want to talk to you,’ the people in the town ought to say, ‘Well, you can come listen to us if you want…we’ll tell you what you want, and you can try to persuade us that you’ll do it; then, maybe we will vote for you…What happens in our society? The candidate comes to town with his public relations agents and the rest of them. He gives some talks, and says, ‘Look how great I am. This is what I’m going to do for you.’ Anybody with a grey cell functioning doesn’t believe a word he or she says. And then maybe people for him, maybe they don’t. That’s very different from a democratic society.”

With the first $5 billion presidential campaign contest coming around corner, an “electoral extravaganza” (Chomsky) very possibly pitting two dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes have together have held the White House for 20 of the last 26 years) against one another in an ever more openly oligarchic New Gilded Age, now seems as good a time as ever to embrace a different, genuinely popular type of politics from the bottom up. The top-down method has failed miserably and not incidentally threatens to wipe out life on Earth in the not so distant future.
Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation?


by Paul Craig Roberts
Colleagues,

What I propose to you is that the current difficulties in the international order are unrelated to Yalta and its consequences, but have their origin in the rise of the neoconservative ideology in the post-Soviet era and its influence on Washington’s foreign policy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad. At that time China’s rise was estimated to require a half century. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the “world’s only superpower.” Neoconservatives proclaimed “the end of history.”

By the “end of history” neoconservatives mean that the competition between socio-economic-political systems is at an end. History has chosen “American Democratic-Capitalism.” It is Washington’s responsibility to exercise the hegemony over the world given to Washington by History and to bring the world in line with History’s choice of American democratic-capitalism.
In other words, Marx has been proven wrong. The future does not belong to the proletariat but to Washington.

The neoconservative ideology raises the United States to the unique status of being “the exceptional country,” and the American people acquire exalted status as “the indispensable people.”
If a country is “the exceptional country,” it means that all other countries are unexceptional. If a people are “indispensable,” it means other peoples are dispensable. We have seen this attitude at work in Washington’s 14 years of wars of aggression in the Middle East.


 These wars have left countries destroyed and millions of people dead, maimed, and displaced. Yet Washington continues to speak of its commitment to protect smaller countries from the aggression of larger countries. The explanation for this hypocrisy is that Washington does not regard Washington’s aggression as aggression, but as History’s purpose.

We have also seen this attitude at work in Washington’s disdain for Russia’s national interests and in Washington’s propagandistic response to Russian diplomacy.
The neoconservative ideology requires that Washington maintain its Uni-power status, because this status is necessary for Washington’s hegemony and History’s purpose.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world supremacy is most clearly and concisely stated by Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative who has held many high positions: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Director of Policy Planning US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Indonesia, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank.

In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz stated the neoconservative doctrine of American world supremacy:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

For clarification, a “hostile power” is a country with an independent policy (Russia, China, Iran, and formerly Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad).
This bold statement struck the traditional American foreign policy establishment as a declaration of American Imperialism. The document was rewritten in order to soften and disguise the blatant assertion of supremacy without changing the intent. These documents are available online, and you can examine them at your convenience.


Softening the language allowed the neoconservatives to rise to foreign policy dominance. The neoconservatives are responsible for the Clinton regime’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neoconservatives, especially Paul Wolfowitz, are responsible for the George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq.

The neoconservatives are responsible for the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in Libya, the assault on Syria, the propaganda against Iran, the drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, the color revolutions in former Soviet Republics, the attempted “Green Revolution” in Iran, the coup in Ukraine, and the demonization of Vladimir Putin.

A number of thoughtful Americans suspect that the neoconservatives are responsible for 9/11, as that event gave the neoconservatives the “New Pearl Harbor” that their position papers said was necessary in order to launch their wars for hegemony in the Middle East. 9/11 led directly and instantly to the invasion of Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting since 2001.

Neoconservatives controlled all the important government positions necessary for a “false flag” attack.
Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is married to another neoconservative, Robert Kagan, implemented and oversaw Washington’s coup in Ukraine and chose the new government.
The neoconservatives are highly organized and networked, well-financed, supported by the print and TV media, and backed by the US military/security complex and the Israel Lobby. There is no countervailing power to their influence on US foreign power.


The neoconservative doctrine goes beyond the Brzezinski doctrine, which dissented from Detente and provocatively supported dissidents inside the Soviet empire. Despite its provocative character, the Brzezinski doctrine remained a doctrine of Great Power politics and containment. It is not a doctrine of US world hegemony.


While the neoconservatives were preoccupied for a decade with their wars in the Middle East, creating a US Africa Command, organizing color revolutions, exiting disarmament treaties, surrounding Russia with military bases, and “pivoting to Asia” to surround China with new air and naval bases, Vladimir Putin led Russia back to economic and military competence and successfully asserted an independent Russian foreign policy.

When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and Washington’s planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed the “first objective” of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and had allowed “the re-emergence of a new rival . . . on the territory of the former Soviet Union” with the power to block unilateral action by Washington.
The attack on Russia began. Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians. The NGOs were called into the streets. The extreme nationalists or nazi elements were used to introduce violence, and the elected democratic government was overthrown. The intercepted conversation between Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, in which the two Washington operatives choose the members of the new Ukrainian government, is well known.

If the information that has recently come to me from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is correct, Washington has financed NGOs and is cultivating politicians in Armenia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. If the information is correct, Russia can expect more “color revolutions” or coups in other former territories of the Soviet Union. Perhaps China faces a similar threat in Uyghurstan.

The conflict in Ukraine is often called a “civil war.” This is incorrect. A civil war is when two sides fight for the control of the government. The break-away republics in eastern and southern Ukraine are fighting a war of secession.

Washington would have been happy to use its coup in Ukraine to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base as this would have been a strategic military achievement. However, Washington is pleased that the “Ukraine crisis” that Washington orchestrated has resulted in the demonization of Vladimir Putin, thus permitting economic sanctions that have disrupted Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. The sanctions have kept Europe in Washington’s orbit.

Washington has no interest in resolving the Ukrainian situation. The situation can be resolved diplomatically only if Europe can achieve sufficient sovereignty over its foreign policy to act in Europe’s interest instead of Washington’s interest.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony is a threat to the sovereignty of every country. The doctrine requires subservience to Washington’s leadership and to Washington’s purposes. Independent governments are targeted for destabilization. The Obama regime overthrew the reformist government in Honduras and currently is at work destabilizing Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina, and most likely also Armenia and the former Central Asian Soviet Republics.

Yalta and its consequences have to do with Great Power rivalries. But in the neoconservative doctrine, there is only one Great Power–the Uni-power. There are no others, and no others are to be permitted
Therefore, unless a modern foreign policy arises in Washington and displaces the neoconservatives, the future is one of conflict.
It would be a strategic error to dismiss the neoconservative ideology as unrealistic. The doctrine is unrealistic, but it is also the guiding force of US foreign policy and is capable of producing a world war.

In their conflict with Washington’s hegemony, Russia and China are disadvantaged. The success of American propaganda during the Cold War, the large differences between living standards in the US and those in communist lands, overt communist political oppression, at times brutal, and the Soviet collapse created in the minds of many people nonexistent virtues for the United States.

 As English is the world language and the Western media is cooperative, Washington is able to control explanations regardless of the facts. The ability of Washington to be the aggressor and to blame the victim encourages Washington’s march to more aggression.

This concludes my remarks. Tomorrow I will address whether there are domestic political restraints or economic restraints on the neoconservative ideology.

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