Archive for August, 2007

Cold War II by Noam Chomsky

August 30, 2007

Cold War II

by Noam Chomsky
August 27, 2007

 


These are exciting days in Washington, as the government directs its energies to the demanding task of “containing Iran” in what Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright, joining others, calls “Cold War II.”[1]

During Cold War I, the task was to contain two awesome forces.  The lesser and more moderate force was “an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost.” Hence “if the United States is to survive,” it will have to adopt a “repugnant philosophy” and reject “acceptable norms of human conduct” and the “long-standing American concepts of `fair play’” that had been exhibited with such searing clarity in the conquest of the national territory, the Philippines, Haiti and other beneficiaries of “the idealistic new world bent on ending inhumanity,” as the newspaper of record describes our noble mission.[2] The judgments about the nature of the super-Hitler and the necessary response are those of General Jimmy Doolittle, in a critical assessment of the CIA commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954.  They are quite consistent with those of the Truman administration liberals, the “wise men” who were “present at the creation,” notoriously in NSC 68 but in fact quite consistently.

 

In the face of the Kremlin’s unbridled aggression in every corner of the world, it is perhaps understandable that the US resisted in defense of human values with a savage display of torture, terror, subversion and violence while doing “everything in its power to alter or abolish any regime not openly allied with America,” as Tim Weiner summarizes the doctrine of the Eisenhower administration in his recent history of the CIA.[3]  And just as the Truman liberals easily matched their successors in fevered rhetoric about the implacable enemy and its campaign to rule the world, so did John F. Kennedy, who bitterly condemned the “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” and dismissed the proposal of its leader (Khrushchev) for sharp mutual cuts in offensive weaponry, then reacted to his unilateral implementation of these proposals with a huge military build-up.  The Kennedy brothers also quickly surpassed Eisenhower in violence and terror, as they “unleashed covert action with an unprecedented intensity” (Wiener), doubling Eisenhower’s annual record of major CIA covert operations, with horrendous consequences worldwide, even a close brush with terminal nuclear war.[4]

 

But at least it was possible to deal with Russia, unlike the fiercer enemy, China.  The more thoughtful scholars recognized that Russia was poised uneasily between civilization and barbarism.  As Henry Kissinger later explained in his academic essays, only the West has undergone the Newtonian revolution and is therefore “deeply committed to the notion that the real world is external to the observer,” while the rest still believe “that the real world is almost completely internal to the observer,” the “basic division” that is “the deepest problem of the contemporary international order.” But Russia, unlike third word peasants who think that rain and sun are inside their heads, was perhaps coming to the realization that the world is not just a dream, Kissinger felt.

 

Not so the still more savage and bloodthirsty enemy, China, which for liberal Democrat intellectuals at various times rampaged as a “a Slavic Manchukuo,” a blind puppet of its Kremlin master, or a monster utterly unconstrained as it pursued its crazed campaign to crush the world in its tentacles, or whatever else circumstances demanded.  The remarkable tale of doctrinal fanaticism from the 1940s to the ‘70s, which makes contemporary rhetoric seem rather moderate, is reviewed by James Peck in his highly revealing study of the national security culture, Washington’s China.

 

In later years, there were attempts to mimic the valiant deeds of the defenders of virtue from the two villainous global conquerors and their loyal slaves – for example, when the Gipper strapped on his cowboy boots and declared a National Emergency because Nicaraguan hordes were only two days from Harlingen Texas, though as he courageously informed the press, despite the tremendous odds “I refuse to give up. I remember a man named Winston Churchill who said, `Never give in. Never, never, never.’ So we won’t.” With consequences that need not be reviewed.

 

Even with the best of efforts, however, the attempts never were able to recapture the glorious days of Cold War I.  But now, at last, those heights might be within reach, as another implacable enemy bent on world conquest has arisen, which we must contain before it destroys us all: Iran.

 

Perhaps it’s a lift to the spirits to be able to recover those heady Cold War days when at least there was a legitimate force to contain, however dubious the pretexts and disgraceful the means.  But it is instructive to take a closer look at the contours of Cold War II as they are being designed by “the former Kremlinologists now running U.S. foreign policy, such as Rice and Gates” (Wright).

 

The task of containment is to establish “a bulwark against Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East,” Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper explain in the New York Times (July 31).  To contain Iran’s influence we must surround Iran with US and NATO ground forces, along with massive naval deployments in the Persian Gulf and of course incomparable air power and weapons of mass destruction.  And we must provide a huge flow of arms to what Condoleezza Rice calls “the forces of moderation and reform” in the region, the brutal tyrannies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia and, with particular munificence, Israel, by now virtually an adjunct of the militarized high-tech US economy.  All to contain Iran’s influence.  A daunting challenge indeed.

 

And daunting it is.  In Iraq, Iranian support is welcomed by much of the majority Shi’ite population.  In an August visit to Teheran, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, President Ahmadinejad and other senior officials, and thanked Tehran for its “positive and constructive” role in improving security in Iraq, eliciting a sharp reprimand from President Bush, who “declares Teheran a regional peril and asserts the Iraqi leader must understand,” to quote the headline of the Los Angeles Times report on al-Maliki’s intellectual deficiencies.  A few days before, also greatly to Bush’s discomfiture, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Washington’s favorite, described Iran as “a helper and a solution” in his country.[5]  Similar problems abound beyond Iran’s immediate neighbors.  In Lebanon, according to polls, most Lebanese see Iranian-backed Hezbollah “as a legitimate force defending their country from Israel,” Wright reports.  And in Palestine, Iranian-backed Hamas won a free election, eliciting savage punishment of the Palestinian population by the US and Israel for the crime of voting “the wrong way,” another episode in “democracy promotion.”

 

But no matter.  The aim of US militancy and the arms flow to the moderates is to counter “what everyone in the region believes is a flexing of muscles by a more aggressive Iran,” according to an unnamed senior U.S. government official – “everyone” being the technical term used to refer to Washington and its more loyal clients.[6]  Iran’s aggression consists in its being welcomed by many within the region, and allegedly supporting resistance to the US occupation of neighboring Iraq.

 

It’s likely, though little discussed, that a prime concern about Iran’s influence is to the East, where in mid-August “Russia and China today host Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a summit of a Central Asian security club designed to counter U.S. influence in the region,” the business press reports.[7] The “security club” is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has been slowly taking shape in recent years.  Its membership includes not only the two giants Russia and China, but also the energy-rich Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.  Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan was a guest of honor at the August meeting. “In another unwelcome development for the Americans, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov also accepted an invitation to attend the summit,” another step its improvement of relations with Russia, particularly in energy, reversing a long-standing policy of isolation from Russia.  “Russia in May secured a deal to build a new pipeline to import more gas from Turkmenistan, bolstering its dominant hold on supplies to Europe and heading off a competing U.S.-backed plan that would bypass Russian territory.”[8]

 

Along with Iran, there are three other official observer states: India, Pakistan and Mongolia. Washington’s request for similar status was denied.  In 2005 the SCO called for a timetable for termination of any US military presence in Central Asia.  The participants at the August meeting flew to the Urals to attend the first joint Russia-China military exercises on Russian soil.

 

Association of Iran with the SCO extends its inroads into the Middle East, where China has been increasing trade and other relations with the jewel in the crown, Saudi Arabia.  There is an oppressed Shi’ite population in Saudi Arabia that is also susceptible to Iran’s influence – and happens to sit on most of Saudi oil.  About 40% of Middle East oil is reported to be heading East, not West.[9] As the flow Eastward increases, US control declines over this lever of world domination, a “stupendous source of strategic power,” as the State Department described Saudi oil 60 years ago.

 

In Cold War I, the Kremlin had imposed an iron curtain and built the Berlin Wall to contain Western influence.  In Cold War II, Wright reports, the former Kremlinologists framing policy are imposing a “green curtain” to bar Iranian influence.   In short, government-media doctrine is that the Iranian threat is rather similar to the Western threat that the Kremlin sought to contain, and the US is eagerly taking on the Kremlin’s role in the thrilling “new Cold War.”

 

All of this is presented without noticeable concern.  Nevertheless, the recognition that the US government is modeling itself on Stalin and his successors in the new Cold War must be arousing at least some flickers of embarrassment.  Perhaps that is how we can explain the ferocious Washington Post editorial announcing that Iran has escalated its aggressiveness to a Hot War: “the Revolutionary Guard, a radical state within Iran’s Islamic state, is waging war against the United States and trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible.” The US must therefore “fight back,” the editors thunder, finding quite “puzzling…the murmurs of disapproval from European diplomats and others who say they favor using diplomacy and economic pressure, rather than military action, to rein in Iran,” even in the face of its outright aggression.  The evidence that Iran is waging war against the US is now conclusive.  After all, it comes from an administration that has never deceived the American people, even improving on the famous stellar honesty of its predecessors.

 

Suppose that for once Washington’s charges happen to be true, and Iran really is providing Shi’ite militias with roadside bombs that kill American forces, perhaps even making use of the some of the advanced weaponry lavishly provided to the Revolutionary Guard by Ronald Reagan in order to fund the illegal war against Nicaragua, under the pretext of arms for hostages (the number of hostages tripled during these endeavors).[10]  If the charges are true, then Iran could properly be charged with a minuscule fraction of the iniquity of the Reagan administration, which provided Stinger missiles and other high-tech military aid to the “insurgents” seeking to disrupt Soviet efforts to bring stability and justice to Afghanistan, as they saw it.  Perhaps Iran is even guilty of some of the crimes of the Roosevelt administration, which assisted terrorist partisans attacking peaceful and sovereign Vichy France in 1940-41, and had thus declared war on Germany even before Pearl Harbor.

 

One can pursue these questions further.  The CIA station chief in Pakistan in 1981, Howard Hart, reports that “I was the first chief of station ever sent abroad with this wonderful order: `Go kill Soviet soldiers’.  Imagine! I loved it.” Of course “the mission was not to liberate Afghanistan,” Tim Wiener writes in his history of the CIA, repeating the obvious.  But “it was a noble goal,” he writes.  Killing Russians with no concern for the fate of Afghans is a “noble goal.” But support for resistance to a US invasion and occupation would be a vile act and declaration of war.

 

Without irony, the Bush administration and the media charge that Iran is “meddling” in Iraq, otherwise presumably free from foreign interference. The evidence is partly technical. Do the serial numbers on the Improvised Explosive Devices really trace back to Iran? If so, does the leadership of Iran know about the IEDs, or only the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  Settling the debate, the White House plans to brand the Revolutionary Guard as a “specially designated global terrorist” force, an unprecedented action against a national military branch, authorizing Washington to undertake a wide range of punitive actions. Watching in disbelief, much of the world asks whether the US military, invading and occupying Iran’s neighbors, might better merit this charge — or its Israeli client, now about to receive a huge increase in military aid to commemorate 40 years of harsh occupation and illegal settlement, and its fifth invasion of Lebanon a year ago.

 

It is instructive that Washington’s propaganda framework is reflexively accepted, apparently without notice, in US and other Western commentary and reporting, apart from the marginal fringe of what is called ‘the loony left.” What is considered “criticism” is skepticism as to whether all of Washington’s charges about Iranian aggression in Iraq are true.  It might be an interesting research project to see how closely the propaganda of Russia, Nazi Germany, and other aggressors and occupiers matched the standards of today’s liberal press and commentators..

 

The comparisons are of course unfair.  Unlike German and Russian occupiers, American forces are in Iraq by right, on the principle, too obvious even to enunciate, that the US owns the world.  Therefore, as a matter of elementary logic, the US cannot invade and occupy another country.  The US can only defend and liberate others.  No other category exists.  Predecessors, including the most monstrous, have commonly sworn by the same principle, but again there is an obvious difference: they were Wrong, and we are Right.  QED.

 

Another comparison comes to mind, which is studiously ignored when we are sternly admonished of the ominous consequences that might follow withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.  The preferred analogy is Indochina, highlighted in a shameful speech by the President on August 22.  That analogy can perhaps pass muster among those who have succeeded in effacing from their minds the record of US actions in Indochina, including the destruction of much of Vietnam and the murderous bombing of Laos and Cambodia as the US began its withdrawal from the wreckage of South Vietnam.  In Cambodia, the bombing was in accord with Kissinger’s genocidal orders: “anything that flies on anything that moves” – actions that drove “an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency [the Khmer Rouge] that had enjoyed relatively little support before the Kissinger-Nixon bombing was inaugurated,” as Cambodia specialists Owen Taylor and Ben Kiernan observe in a highly important study that passed virtually without notice, in which they reveal that the bombing was five times the incredible level reported earlier, greater than all allied bombing in World War II.  Completely suppressing all relevant facts, it is then possible for the President and many commentators to present Khmer Rouge crimes as a justification for continuing to devastate Iraq.

 

But although the grotesque Indochina analogy receives much attention, the obvious analogy is ignored: the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, which, as Soviet analysts predicted, led to shocking violence and destruction as the country was taken over by Reagan’s favorites, who amused themselves by such acts as throwing acid in the faces of women in Kabul they regarded as too liberated, and then virtually destroyed the city and much else, creating such havoc and terror that the population actually welcomed the Taliban.  That analogy could indeed be invoked without utter absurdity by advocates of  “staying the course,” but evidently it is best forgotten.

 

Under the heading “Secretary Rice’s Mideast mission: contain Iran,” the press reports Rice’s warning that Iran is “the single most important single-country challenge to…US interests in the Middle East.” That is a reasonable judgment.  Given the long-standing principle that Washington must do “everything in its power to alter or abolish any regime not openly allied with America,” Iran does pose a unique challenge, and it is natural that the task of containing Iranian influence should be a high priority.

 

As elsewhere, Bush administration rhetoric is relatively mild in this case.  For the Kennedy administration, “Latin America was the most dangerous area in the world” when there was a threat that the progressive Cheddi Jagan might win a free election in British Guiana, overturned by CIA shenanigans that handed the country over to the thuggish racist Forbes Burnham.[11] A few years earlier, Iraq was “the most dangerous place in the world” (CIA director Allen Dulles) after General Abdel Karim Qassim broke the Anglo-American condominium over Middle East oil, overthrowing the pro-US monarchy, which had been heavily infiltrated by the CIA.[12]  A primary concern was that Qassim might join Nasser, then the supreme Middle East devil, in using the incomparable energy resources of the Middle East for the domestic.  The issue for Washington was not so much access as control.  At the time and for many years after, Washington was purposely exhausting domestic oil resources in the interests of “national security,” meaning security for the profits of Texas oil men, like the failed entrepreneur who now sits in the Oval Office.  But as high-level planner George Kennan had explained well before, we cannot relax our guard when there is any interference with “protection of our resources” (which accidentally happen to be somewhere else).

 

Unquestionably, Iran’s government merits harsh condemnation, though it has not engaged in worldwide terror, subversion, and aggression, following the US model – which extends to today’s Iran as well, if ABC news is correct in reporting that the US is supporting Pakistan-based Jundullah, which is carrying out terrorist acts inside Iran.[13]  The sole act of aggression attributed to Iran is the conquest of two small islands in the Gulf – under Washington’s close ally the Shah.  In addition to internal repression – heightened, as Iranian dissidents regularly protest, by US militancy — the prospect that Iran might develop nuclear weapons also is deeply troubling.  Though Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy, no one – including the majority of Iranians – wants it to have nuclear weapons.  That would add to the threat to survival posed much more seriously by its near neighbors Pakistan, India, and Israel, all nuclear armed with the blessing of the US, which most of the world regards as the leading threat to world peace, for evident reasons.

 

Iran rejects US control of the Middle East, challenging fundamental policy doctrine, but it hardly poses a military threat. On the contrary, it has been the victim of outside powers for years: in recent memory, when the US and Britain overthrew its parliamentary government and installed a brutal tyrant in 1953, and when the US supported Saddam Hussein’s murderous invasion, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Iranians, many with chemical weapons, without the “international community” lifting a finger – something that Iranians do not forget as easily as the perpetrators.  And then under severe sanctions as a punishment for disobedience.

 

Israel regards Iran as a threat. Israel seeks to dominate the region with no interference, and Iran might be some slight counterbalance, while also supporting domestic forces that do not bend to Israel’s will. It may, however, be useful to bear in mind that Hamas has accepted the international consensus on a two-state settlement on the international border, and Hezbollah, along with Iran, has made clear that it would accept any outcome approved by Palestinians, leaving the US and Israel isolated in their traditional rejectionism.[14]

 

But Iran is hardly a military threat to Israel. And whatever threat there might be could be overcome if the US would accept the view of the great majority of its own citizens and of Iranians and permit the Middle East to become a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel, and US forces deployed there.  One may also recall that UN Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991, to which Washington appeals when convenient, calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.”

 

It is widely recognized that use of military force in Iran would risk blowing up the entire region, with untold consequences beyond. We know from polls that in the surrounding countries, where the Iranian government is hardly popular — Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan — nevertheless large majorities prefer even a nuclear-armed Iran to any form of military action against it.

 

The rhetoric about Iran has escalated to the point where both political parties and practically the whole US press accept it as legitimate and, in fact, honorable, that “all options are on the table,” to quote Hillary Clinton and everybody else, possibly even nuclear weapons. “All options on the table” means that Washington threatens war.

 

The UN Charter outlaws “the threat or use of force.” The United States, which has chosen to become an outlaw state, disregards international laws and norms. We’re allowed to threaten anybody we want — and to attack anyone we choose.

 

Washington‘s feverish new Cold War “containment” policy has spread to Europe. Washington intends to install a “missile defense system” in the Czech Republic and Poland, marketed to Europe as a shield against Iranian missiles. Even if Iran had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the chances of its using them to attack Europe are perhaps on a par with the chances of Europe’s being hit by an asteroid, so perhaps Europe would do as well to invest in an asteroid defense system. Furthermore, if Iran were to indicate the slightest intention of aiming a missile at Europe or Israel, the country would be vaporized.

 

Of course, Russian planners are gravely upset by the shield proposal.  We can imagine how the US would respond if a Russian anti-missile system were erected in Canada.  The Russians have good reason to regard an anti-missile system as part of a first-strike weapon against them.  It is generally understood that such a system could never block a first strike, but it could conceivably impede a retaliatory strike. On all sides, “missile defense” is therefore understood to be a first-strike weapon, eliminating a deterrent to attack.  And a small initial installation in Eastern Europe could easily be a base for later expansion.  Even more obviously, the only military function of such a system with regard to Iran, the declared aim, would be to bar an Iranian deterrent to US or Israel aggression.

 

Not surprisingly, in reaction to the “missile defense” plans, Russia has resorted to its own dangerous gestures, including the recent decision to renew long-range patrols by nuclear-capable bombers after a 15-year hiatus, in one recent case near the US military base on Guam.  These actions reflect Russia’s anger “over what it has called American and NATO aggressiveness, including plans for a missile-defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland, analysts said” (Andrew Kramer, NYT).[15]

 

The shield ratchets the threat of war a few notches higher, in the Middle East and elsewhere, with incalculable consequences, and the potential for a terminal nuclear war. The immediate fear is that by accident or design, Washington’s war planners or their Israeli surrogate might decide to escalate their Cold War II into a hot one – in this case a real hot war.

 

 

 




[1] Wright, WP, July 29 07

[2] Correspondent Michael Wines, NYT, June 13, 1999.  Doolittle report, Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: the History of the CIA, Doubleday 2007

[3] Ibid., 77.

[4] Ibid., 180.

[5] Paul Richter, LAT, Aug. 10, 2007.  Karzai, CNN, Aug. 5, 2007.

[6] Robin Wright, “U.S. Plans New Arms Sales to Gulf Allies,” WP, July 28, 2007.

[7] Henry Meyer, Bloomberg, Aug. 16, 2007.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Hiro

[10] Weiner

[11] Schmitz, Weiner.

[12] Weiner.  Failed States.

[13] Brian Ross and Christopher Isham, “ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran,” April 3, 2007; Ross and Richard Esposito, ABC, “Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran,” May 22, 2007.

[14] On Iran, see Gilbert Achcar, Noam Chomsky, and Stephen Shalom, Perilous Power (Paradigm, 2007), and Ervand Abrahamian, in David Barsamian, ed., Targeting Iran (City Lights, 2007).  On Hamas, among many similar statements see the article by Hamas’s most militant leader, Khalid Mish’al, “Our unity can now pave the way for peace and justice,” Guardian, February 13, 2007.  Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly taken the same position.  See among others Irene Gendzier, Assaf Kfoury, and Fawwaz Traboulsi, eds., Inside Lebanon (Monthly Review, 2007).

[15] Kramer, “Recalling Cold War, Russia Resumes Long-Range Sorties,” Aug. 18,  2007.

War and the “New World Order” by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

August 30, 2007

War and the “New World Order” by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya


Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, August 29, 2007

“We are now at the year 1908, which was the year that the Carnegie Foundation began operations. And, in that year, the trustees meeting, for the first time, raised a specific question, which they discussed throughout the balance of the year, in a very learned fashion. And the question is this: Is there any means known more effective than war, assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people? And they conclude that, no more effective means to that end is known to humanity, than war. So then, in 1909, they raise the second question, and discuss it, namely, how do we involve the United States in a war?” -Norman Dobbs, U.S. Congressional Special Committee for the Investigate of Tax-Exempt Foundations (1982)

War is the ultimate means of attempting to change societies and reshape nations. It is through war that national economies and political structures can be forcibly restructured. War is, potentially, the ultimate economic shock therapy. The wars in the Middle East are stepping stones towards establishing a vision of global order that has been in the hearts and minds of the Anglo-American establishment for years. That vision is global ascendancy.

Towards the “New International Order” through the “Global War on Terror”

“There is a chance for the President of the United States [George W. Bush Jr.] to use this disaster [meaning the attacks of September 11, 2001] to carry out what his father…a phrase his father [George H. Bush Sr.] used I think only once, and it hasn’t been used since … and that is a new world order. Think about this. We already have the support of NATO in a remarkable historic departure.” -Gary Hart, National Security in the 21st Century: Findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission (September 14, 2001)

On January 18, 2005 Henry Kissinger appeared on Charlie Rose, a television program on PBS, and talked about a “New International Order” being created by George W. Bush and his administration. [1] Henry Kissinger stated that within the next few years that humanity will see the emergence of the beginning of a “New International Order.” Kissinger also stated that the Bush Jr. Administration could bring about this state; “and it could well be this president, [meaning President Bush Jr.] that is so reviled by intellectuals, will emerge as one of the seminal presidents of …of this…of this period…of American modern history.” [2]

When asked what George W. Bush Jr. has to do to bring about this “New International Order” by his interviewer Kissinger paused again and gave a vague answer that avoided mentioning the criminality of war. “He has to do some certain things and he has to have some luck,” Kissinger answered followed by “Luck is the residue of design.” [3] It should be noted that if luck is a residue of design then it is no longer chance, but a calculation of intent.

Briefly the role of the American public was talked about by Charlie Rose with Kissinger who paused to pick his words carefully. Kissinger told his interviewer, Rose, that the United States is a nation whose public has no clue about American foreign policy. [4] In regards to the American public, the war agenda cannot move forward if the U.S. maintains its multi-cultural characteristics. It was this multi-cultural characteristic that initially presented the U.S. a problem in declaring war on Germany in both World Wars until the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. [5]

Thus, an end to a liberal North American immigration regime that ensures a multi-cultural environment in North America is a prerequisite to expanded American war(s). Zbigniew Brzezinski has written that “as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues [amongst the American people], except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.” [6] The E.U. is also beginning to follow suit. This premise by Brzezinski, an individual from within the ruling establishment of America, can be used to explain the demonization of Muslims and several national and ethno-cultural groups such as Arabs, Turks, and Iranians.

It is also worth noting that Gary Hart, a former U.S. senator from Colorado, implied on September 14 of 2001 that the “Global War on Terror” sponsored by the Bush Jr. Adminstration was a pretext for establishing the so-called “New World Order.” [7] Gary Hart also implicated NATO’s role in shaping this “New World Order.” [8] The project is to be implemented by military might.

A Unipolar World: Pax Americana?

“However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.” -Vladimir Putin at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in Germany (February 11, 2007)

During his interview with Charlie Rose Henry Kissinger had referred to what George H. Bush Sr. identified as the “New World Order.” This was a term frequently used by the former American president that became famous during the Gulf War. With the end of the Cold War and the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War, Georgia H. Bush Sr. said that the World in 1991 was witness to the emergence of a “New World Order” that would be led by America. [9] The Gulf War was merely the beginning of this “New World Order.” The seeds had been planted in the Middle East for future wars and Eurasian expansion.

The Trilateral Commission, an organization founded in 1973 and consisting of the wealthiest and most powerful elites from the U.S., the E.U., and Japan, originally created the term that George H. Bush Sr. drew on. Their word was “New International Economic Order.” The Trilateral Commission’s terminology lays bare the economic fabric of this program. Military might is merely the enforcer of foreign policy, and foreign policy is based on economic interests.

An agenda of perpetual warfare and violence has been fueling the march towards global domination through economic means. In essence this war agenda has been an unbroken process watched over by the different presidential administrations of the United States.

Stepping forth from behind the Curtains: NATO’s Role in the Eurasian Roadmap

“The policies of the U.S., since the end of the Cold War are complicated and vast. They involve an intent to dominate and the use of international organizations to advance U.S. economic and geopolitical interests. They also include the conversion of NATO into a surrogate military police force for globalization and U.S. world economic domination.” -Ramsey Clark, 66th United States Attorney-General (October 6, 2000)

NATO has started replicating long-term American war tactics and strategy. NATO is creating a rapid response force, which involves a significant German role. The force is modeled on the U.S. Rapid Response Force, the forerunner of CENTCOM, and has a global reach. The transformation of the U.S. Rapid Deployment Force into CENTCOM was part of long-term Anglo-American war plans. The NATO force is projected to be able to deploy to any region in the world within five days and planned to be capable of self-sufficient, detached operations for approximately one month. The force will also have land, sea, and air components, including an aircraft carrier. [10]

It is apparent that control over Iraq was planned during the culmination of the Cold War by Anglo-American policy makers. The series of wars that have occurred since the Iraq-Iran War are debatably the products of a historical Anglo-American project in the Middle East— a project that was once a solely British project that predated the Cold War. The project to reshape and control the Middle East is part of the greater project to control Eurasia. Just as how this grand project was embraced by the U.S., as the inheritor of British strategy, the project has been embraced by the Franco-German entente and NATO. Zbigniew Brzezinski argued in 1997 that “Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia,” or an entry point towards dominating Eurasia. [11]

From the statements and goals of U.S. officials going back to the 1990s NATO was projected to expand across the Eurasian landmass and set to embrace Japan, South Korea, and Australia in what Zbigniew Brzezinski identfies as the “trans-Eurasian security system.” [12] The characteristics of prospective conflicts seem to be slated to become dominated by NATO as France and Germany expand their roles in the “long war.” NATO’s role in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, along with NATO’s thrust into the post-Soviet niche and inner Eurasia, are all precarious indications of this.

Making Europe the Partner of America in the “Long War:” Enter the Franco-German Entente

“The victory over Iraq [in the Gulf War] was not waged as ‘a war to end all wars.’ Even the ‘New World Order’ cannot guarantee an era of perpetual peace.” -George H. Bush Sr., 41st President of the United States (March 6, 1991)

Brzezinski explained that although Japan was important to American geo-strategy, Europe as a geopolitical entity (via the E.U. and NATO) consitututes America’s bridgehead into Eurasia. [13] “Unlike America’s links with Japan, NATO entrenches American political influence and military power on the Eurasian mainland,” and that “the allied European nations [were] still highly dependent on U.S. protection, any expansion of Europe’s political scope is automatically an expansion of U.S. influence,” Brzezinski explained in regards to Europe and Japan. [14] Brzezinski was paying more than just lip service to America’s allies in continental Europe; he was stressing that they were crucial, albeit as subordinates, to American global interests.

The strength of NATO would rest on the vitality of the European Union, an Anglo-American and Franco-German device. To emphasis this Brzezinski wrote that “the United States’ ability to project influence and power in Eurasia relies on close transatlantic ties.” [15] Brzezinski also added that France and Germany, the Franco-German entente, would be America’s vital partners in NATO expansion and securing Eurasia, but a united Europe was an essential prerequisite. In regards to the Franco-German entente, Brzezinski wrote in 1998 that “In the western periphery of Eurasia, the key players will continue to be France and Germany, and America’s central goal should be to continue to expand the democratic European bridgehead.” [16] This was essentially the forecast of the “E.U. expansion” that has gone hand-in-hand with earlier NATO expansion since the end of the Cold War. According to Brzezinski it would be up to the Franco-German entente to led Europe: “America cannot create a more united Europe on its own — that is a task for the Europeans, especially the French and the Germans.” [17]

None of the Pentagon’s geo-strategic plans can go forward without the E.U. and NATO. For this to happen it is essential that a strategic consensus between the Anglo-American alliance and the Franco-German entente be forged. The Anglo-American alliance has pursued this track and deeper integration with the Franco-German side, while also taking an adversarial stance against the Franco-German entente. Iraq is a symbolic testimony to this rivalry while Lebanon and NATO expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean is a parallel testimony to the strategic cooperation between the Anglo-American alliance and the Franco-German entente. A contradictory and confusing message is sent from these tracks, but there is always more to the picture. However, it is clear that Franco-German and Anglo-American interests must be synchronized for America to expand its global control.

The Endgame: A “Single Market” under One World Administration?

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer…” – Major-General Smedley D. Butler, U.S. Marine Corp Commander (War Is a Racket)

After the Second World War, it was believed that from the nucleolus of Britain and American that a “New World Order” would be formed. Britain and America even had a combined military staff and combined chiefs of military staff. Imaginings for a singular global polity have vividly been tied to the Anglo-American establishment. In 1966, Professor Carroll Quigley, a noted American economist, wrote in his book Hope and Tragedy: A History of the World in Our Time that economics and finance vis-à-vis banking conglomerates were the engine in this drive and the real forces controlling national policies. Carroll Quigley wrote in regards to the Anglo-American alliance that “I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” [18]

“For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia,” insists Zbigniew Brzezinski. He also contends, “Now a non-Eurasian power [i.e., the U.S.] is preeminent in Eurasia— and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.” [19] The former U.S. national security advisor has also stated, in 1997, that in order to co-opt the Franco-German entente a “Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement, already advocated by a number of prominent Atlantic leaders, could also mitigate the risk of growing economic rivalry between a more united E.U. and the United States.” [20]

There is opposition in North America to what is believed to be the emergence of a projected “North American Union.” This North American entity would further amalgamate Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but the mechanisms for a grander global confederacy have already been drawn. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the creation of the E.U. were stepping stones towards this aspiration. Economics is the key that fuses these polities.

A summit between the E.U. and U.S. has shed light on plans for economic amalgamation. [21] The term used at the summit was “single market” by “renewing the Trans-Atlantic partnership.” [22] This is the same term used to describe the “common market” as it intensified Western European integration, which eventually gave birth to the European Union. At the summit President Bush Jr. met with Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Federal Chancellor Merkel. Frau Merkel, while officially there on behalf of the E.U., represented the interests of the Franco-German entente while President Bush represented Anglo-American interests. Jose Manuel Barroso as the President of the European Commission represented both Anglo-American and Franco-German interests because the E.U. is a joint Anglo-American and Franco-German body. America is a de facto E.U. power due to its alliance with Britain, one of the three major E.U. powers along with France and Germany.

An agreement was reached between the E.U. and U.S. to integrate the markets and regulations of the America and Europe even further. This agreement was another layer to add to the strategic consensus that was reached at NATO’s Riga Summit. Both sides also stated that economics is the driving spirit in their relationship and that politics mattered very little. The liberal and conservative leaders of America and Europe are merely two sides of the same coin.

Decade after the end of the Cold War the globe is wrapped within a state of almost perpetual war dominated by the military might of America. The last lines in The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and the Geostrategic Imperatives reveal the ultimate objective of Anglo-American policy: “These efforts will have the added historical advantage of benefiting from the new web of global linkages that is growing exponentially outside the more traditional nation-state system. That web— woven by multinational corporations, NGOs (…) already creates an informal global system that is inherently congenial to more institutionalized and inclusive global cooperation [a reference to global government].” [23]

Brzezinski goes on to predict that “In the course of the next several decades, a functioning structure of global cooperation, based on geopolitical realities, could thus emerge and gradually assume the mantle of the world’s current ‘regent’[a reference to the U.S.],” and “Geostrategic success in that cause would represent a fitting legacy of America’s role as the first, only, and last truly global superpower.” [24] All around the globe nation-states are being absorbed into larger and larger political and socio-economic entities. This is part of the story of globalization, but it has its dark side. This is the globalization of the few and not of the many.

The Fight for Civilization and the Gathering Storm

“When all is said and done the conflict in Afghanistan will be to the war on terrorism what the North African campaign was to World War II: an essential beginning on the path to victory. But compared to what looms over the horizon— a wide-ranging war in locales from Central Asia to the Middle East and, unfortunately, back again to the United States— Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle.” -Robert Kagan and William Kristol, The Gathering Storm (The Weekly Standard, October 29, 2001)

One cannot help but remember what was elucidated in 2001 during the start of the “Global War on Terror” by two members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), stating that Afghanistan was only part of a “wide-ranging war.” [25] Both Robert Kagan and William Kristol are deeply linked to U.S. foreign and military policy extending from writing presidential speeches to having a former spouse as the U.S. ambassador to NATO. It is not coincidental that a portion of their editorial from October of 2001 in The Weekly Standard has actually materialized. These men should be taken for their words when they say that Afghanistan is merely the “opening battle” compared to what is waiting in the horizon.

Referring back to Robert Kagan and William Kristol: “this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid. And it is going to put enormous and perhaps unbearable strain on parts of an international coalition that basks in contented consensus.” [26] The “international coalition” being referred to is NATO and the international military network based around the U.S. and the “unbearable strain” is war, but of an unknown scale. On August 10, 2007 Lieutenant-General Douglas Lute, the “War Czar” overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and any expanded theatre, publicly talked about restoring a mandatory military draft. [27] The march to war is not waning, but driving the world towards the abyss.

Afghanistan was the first volley in an advance phase of the global conflict that was in its preparatory stages decades ago during the Iraq-Iran War, the Gulf War, and the Kosovo War. Where this global conflict, this “long war” will lead us is unknown, but all humanity is in this together. The American people will sooner or later feel the pain of war as their freedom is effected. Autocracy is a prerequisite to grand empires. Brzezinski has pointed out that “America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad,” and “never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy.” [28] Deviancy is being normalized all over the globe because of this global project. Those that are behind such projects must be reduced to social leprids, as outcasts, denounced by all societies.

Resistance in the Middle East: The Power of the People

“The Iraqi Resistance is by definition democratic as it is the spontaneous expression of a people who took its destiny into its hands, and is by definition progressive as it defends the interests of the people.” -Hana Al-Bayaty (March 18, 2007)

Anglo-American planners have underestimated the capacity of the power of ordinary people and the human spirit. In the Middle East it has been the resistance of ordinary people that has brought militant globalization to a standstill. Popular resistance movements have bogged down the military might of the remaining global superpower.

A nation is only as legitimate as the people(s) who live in it define it. America is not at war with individual nations, but with the people(s) of these nations. Nor are the American people at war with these nations, it is the American ruling establishment and elites that are at war with these people(s).

The forces of resistance are the forces of the will of the people, without the support of the people none of them could last or stand up to some of the most powerful war machines in human history.

The wars in the Middle East are as much about choice as they are about the right to live. What is at stake is self-determination and liberty. These wars represent the drive to impose an overall monopoly of controls over other nations by a few who have hijacked the foreign policies of America and Britain to serve their own goals.

The Iraqi Resistance and the other resistance movements of the Middle East are movements of the peoples and by nature egalitarian. Would anyone in the so-called West dare label the French, Czechoslovakian, Greek, Libyan, Chinese, Malaysian, and Soviet resistance movements against Germany, Italy, and Japan during the Second World War as terrorist movements? Did not France and the other areas occupied by Germany and the Axis Powers not have governments that said the Axis Powers were welcomed forces bringing stability as do Iraq and Afghanistan? For example in France there was the Vichy Government. When Germany was defeated the leaders of the Vichy Government in France was executed as a traitor.

The U.S. government misleadingly claims that it is bringing democracy to these lands, but since when was democracy forced from the top down to the bottom? Is this not what the opposite of democracy; things being forced down from the top to the bottom? Democracy is an expression of the masses that manifests its self upwards and not from the opposite direction.

No force on earth can defeat the popular will of the people; this is why domestic populations are manipulated into supporting wars. It is only division that allows small groups to take temporary reign over the people(s). However, for every scheme and plan to create division and anarchy amongst the people(s) of the world there is a plan to unite them and strengthen them. This is one of the greatest fears of many in positions of power. This is the fear of any awakening of large societal groups and populations.

There is no greater ally to the movements of resistance in the Middle East and beyond than unadulterated public opinion in the rest of the world. The people(s) of Britain, Israel, and the U.S. are also victims of their own governments who manipulate their fears and create animosity between them and other nations. This in itself is a great crime. What differences exist between nations are only a means to test the best of them.

Fear and hate are the weapons of the real terrorists, the masters of deception, and those who belittle others for profit and personal gain. These are the terrorists who give orders in positions of political leadership in the White House and elsewhere at the expense of their own people and the rest of humanity. The world is now embarking into the abyss of perpetual war and a period in which the contemplation of the use of nuclear weapons is being made. A stand must be made by individuals of good conscience and will. It seems possible that it will be a matter of time before the citizens of Europe, North America, and other lands will be compelled or necessitated to join the peoples of occupied lands in resistance.

War must be averted on two fronts; in the shorter-term (as differentiated from “short-term”) or near future, war must be averted from emerging in the Middle East and in Eurasia, the longer-term. Only the resistance of the people and public opinion can stop war from enveloping the globe. Public opinion must translate into public action if humanity it to spared from a massive war—a war that could prove to become a nuclear armageddon.

Countdown to 1984?

“In brief, the U.S policy goal must be unapologetically twofold: to perpetuate America’s own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer still; and to create a geopolitical framework that can absorb the inevitable shocks and strains of social-political change…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997)

In a twist of Orwellian fate, the earth seems closer to appearing like the rendition of the world in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. [29] However, the road ahead is not scripted. The future is only anticipated and planned, but never certain in a universe of infinite probabilities. Time will tell where the road ahead will guide us. Those that see themselves as masters of destiny have had their ideas proven wrong in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Lebanon. It may look as if opposition to a war agenda is like tiny raindrops beating against an unrelenting mountain, but mountains can be eventually eroded by those tiny raindrops. There exists a “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” commonly called the “butterfly effect,” whereas the flaps of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil may set off a tornado in Texas. Individual actions can offset the march to war that is unfolding on this planet.

NOTES

[1] Henry Kissinger, A conversation with Henry Kissinger, interview with Charles P. Rose Jr., Charlie Rose (show), January 18, 2005.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] The U.S. government was secretly arming Britain during the First World War and profiting off the war. In regards to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, a British passenger ship, unknown to the public at the time the ship was also carrying military supplies from the U.S. to Britain.

In the case of Pearl Harbour, the U.S. government was aware of a Japanese plan to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. American officials allowed the attack to take place to arouse public support for the entry of the U.S. in the Second World War. It should be noted that prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour the U.S. government had led a complete embargo of oil and materials to Japan and frozen all Japanese assets by July 25, 1941. Oil is needed to run economies and war and all strategists and military planners know this very well. Japan was baited into an inevitable war with the U.S. and decided to take the first shot. This benefited the U.S. government in mobilizing the American public to support the war effort in the Second World War just as the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 allowed the Bush Jr. Administration to launch the “Global War on Terror.” U.S. involvement in the Second World War was for economic purposes and had nothing to do with morality.

In the case of the RMS Lusitania the German embassy in Washington D.C. was trying to make clear to the Americans before it started sinking merchant ships helping Britain that it would engage in such activities. It should be noted that Britain was doing the same in both World Wars. U.S. officials are actually believed to have obstructed these attempts by the Germans in an attempt to involve the U.S. in the First World War.

[6] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and the Geostrategic Imperatives (NYC, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), p.211.

[7] Gary Hart, Transcript. National Security in the 21st Century: Findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), September 14, 2001.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/4049/national_security_in_the_21st_century.html

[8] Ibid.

[9] George Herbert Walker Bush Sr., Gulf War Victory Speech, (Address, Capitol Hill, Washington, District of Columbia, January 6, 1991) March 6, 1991.

[10] Bettina Berg, High readiness and global deployability, Federal Ministry of Defence (Germany), November 30, 2006.

[11] Zbigniew Brzezinski, A geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, vol. 76, no. 5 (September- October, 1997): p.50-64.

Note: The writings from Brzezinski’s paper for Foreign Affairs and the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) were also used for his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and the Geostrategic Imperatives that had its first edition published in 1997. Brzezinski’s 1997 Foreign Affairs journal entry is a condensed synopsis of his 1997 book. Points and quotes cited from are identical or almost identical to the writing from his 1997 book.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (NYC, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966), p.950.

[14] Brzezinski, A geostrategy for Eurasia, Op. cit.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, Op. cit., p.30.

[20] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, Op. cit., p.200.

[21] Desmond Butler, E.U., U.S. Agree on Iran, Russia Disputes, Associated Press, April 30, 2007.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6597779,00.html

[22] US and EU agree ‘single market,’ British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), April 30, 2007.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6607757.stm

[23] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, Op. cit., p.215.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Robert Kagan and William Kristol, The Gathering Storm, The Weekly Standard, October 29, 2002, p.13.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/Editorial-102901.pdf

[26] Ibid.

[27] Toby Harnden, ‘Return to conscription should be considered,’ The Telegraph (U.K.), August 11, 2007.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/11/wdraft111.xml

[28] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, Op. cit., p.35-36.

[29] Refer to the polity and geographic boundaries of Winston Smith’s fictional world, in Orwell’s novel. In the fictional state of Oceania (which includes America, the British Isles, and Australia) there is absolute control exercised over all aspects of the lives of all citizens by one single entity, the Party, which has three political mottos: WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 


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Excerpt from Neck Deep

August 30, 2007

Editor’s Note: Two years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the great American city of New Orleans and killed some 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast. With that tragedy, however, came a belated public awakening about how George W. Bush had put cronyism, ideology and partisanship ahead of competence, national unity and accountability.

In this excerpt from our new book, Neck Deep, that national turning point is recalled:

On Aug. 27, 2005, as a powerful hurricane named Katrina surged through the Gulf of Mexico and took aim at New Orleans, most Americans still had confidence in their government’s ability to respond to crises and natural disasters with efficiency and speed.

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The country prided itself on its ability to rescue people in danger, to dispatch resources, to rebuild after the worst was over.

Many Americans considered the United States unparalleled in its ability to fly disaster specialists to the far corners of the globe when catastrophe struck, to oversee the delivery of food, water, medicines and other necessities. It was part of America’s can-do spirit; it was part of the national self-image.

There was also a belief that technology had gone a long way in taming the threats of nature, that the types of disasters that had plagued the country in its earlier days were like yellowed newspaper articles. They were tales from grandparents, like the stories of World War II or the Great Depression, mildly interesting but no longer very relevant.

Modern catastrophes – at least as they affected most Americans – were confined to Hollywood disaster movies with big-budget special effects that brought the audience right into the middle of the danger but without any real threat of harm.

That was the frame of reference for many Americans as they concentrated on the news of Katrina’s approach to New Orleans. There was a fascination with the possibility of danger; there was awareness that many experts warned about flood waters breaching the levees and inundating the low-lying city; but there were few expectations that those alarms would prove true or that serious harm would befall New Orleans.

On another long vacation in Crawford, Texas, President Bush treated the gathering threat to New Orleans in a similar vein. He responded to the alarm among government weather experts with little more than cheerleading, praise for and confidence in the federal, state and local officials on the front lines.

Like many Americans watching on TV, Bush acted like a spectator expecting whatever damage did occur would be neatly cleared away and everything would quickly be put back in order.

Newsmen and network anchors also behaved with more excitement than trepidation. They flew to New Orleans expecting some dramatic scenes of themselves in rain gear leaning into the wind to shout live reports into a microphone. They would bemoan the property damage and some loss of life, before packing up and flying back to New York or on to another assignment.

But that wasn’t how Hurricane Katrina played out. Instead the storm and its devastation brought a national awakening – or at least the beginning of one – with large numbers of Americans finally catching on to the gap between Bush’s rhetoric and reality.

Before Katrina, the mix of Bush’s folksy charm, the lasting emotions from 9/11 and the powerful right-wing media/political apparatus had kept most Americans under the President’s spell.

In a way, Bush’s ability to mesmerize so many people fit with a different type of thriller movie, one in which a harrowing truth dawns slowly on a community although the recognition of danger may have come too late.

Ignored Warnings

There had been plenty of warnings about the precarious topographical situation facing New Orleans, one of the nation’s best-known and best-loved cities, the home of jazz, Cajun cooking and Mardi Gras.

Government experts and journalists knew that a severe hurricane could force a storm surge that would push the waters of Lake Pontchartrain over the levees and flood large sections of the city that sat below sea level. New Orleans was often compared to a saucer that would quickly fill if liquid began pouring over the edges.

In a report prior to the 9/11 attacks, the Federal Emergency Management Administration had listed a hurricane inundating New Orleans as one of the three most likely catastrophes hitting the United States, along with a terrorist assault on New York City and a San Francisco earthquake.

A series of articles in the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2004 had detailed the looming threat, which was made worse by budgetary neglect of the sinking levee system and an incomplete reconstruction.

“It appears that the money has been moved in the President’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay,” said Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. “Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

A possible breach of the levees also was a major topic of discussion on news and weather channels as Katrina churned through the Gulf. Yet, when Katrina crashed ashore, wreaking devastation along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, government officials – local, state and federal – seemed taken aback, at times almost paralyzed.

The flood broke through the levees protecting New Orleans Ninth Ward, filling block after block with muddy fetid water. Tens of thousands of residents were trapped; hundreds drowning in their homes; others seeking refuge in emergency shelters at the Superdome and at the Convention Center.

On Aug. 30, 2005, the Times-Picayune posted a story at its Web site saying “no one can say they didn’t see it coming.”

It took a while for the magnitude of the New Orleans disaster to become clear. The big-name newscasters who had pre-positioned themselves in the storm’s path – the likes of NBC’s Brian Williams and CNN’s Anderson Cooper – sounded more shocked at first than horrified.

After the storm passed, they looked out their hotel windows at the strange sight of city streets covered in water. Then, as the summer heat returned, the journalists moved out around the city, often by boat, to witness a scene more befitting the Third World than the world’s superpower.

Bloated bodies floated in the water or rotted in the hot sun. Hundreds of residents, trapped in their homes, frantically tore through attic ceilings to climb out onto roof tops and to wave their arms for help. Others drowned in steamy attics as the water kept rising.

The Superdome, which had hosted Super Bowl games and other national sporting events, quickly became infamous as a scene of unspeakable living conditions as New Orleans residents sweltered inside amid overflowing toilets and urine-soaked artificial turf.

The U.S. government along with local and state authorities appeared powerless to respond quickly. Instead, federal, state and local officials descended into rounds of acrimonious finger-pointing.

The Katrina crisis also brought to light some of Bush’s leadership weaknesses that had been hidden behind White House P.R. curtains during his first term.

In a retrospective on the Katrina disaster, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas reported that “it’s a standing joke among the President’s top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the President of the United States.”

On Aug. 30, after Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the New Orleans levees, the White House staff was in full cringe mode. Someone was going to have to tell Bush that he needed to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days.

Though Bush did agree to return to Washington, he remained in a protective bubble about how bad the Katrina news really was. Before devoting his attention to the catastrophe, he fulfilled speaking commitments in San Diego and Phoenix – even clowning with a gift guitar – before heading back to Washington.

Since Bush famously shuns reading newspapers or watching the news, his staff decided that the best way to clue Bush in on how bad things were was to burn a special DVD with TV footage of the flood so he could watch the DVD on Air Force One, Newsweek’s Thomas reported.

“How this could be – how the President of the United States could have even less ‘situational awareness,’ as they say in the military, than the average American about the worse natural disaster in a century – is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace,” Thomas wrote.

Progressive Media

The Katrina debacle also represented the first significant test of whether the marginal inroads that American progressives had made in talk radio and the Internet would have any measurable effect.

Certainly, pro-Bush right-wing talk radio was doing the best it could to divert blame from the Bush administration onto New Orleans’ black mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco and the mostly black survivors of New Orleans who had been trapped by the storm.

Some right-wing AM radio talkers said “able-bodied” people who lacked transportation should simply have walked out of New Orleans. In other words, if these folks weren’t so lazy and stupid, they would have used their own two feet.

But the idea of trying to out-walk a hurricane with 150-mile-per-hour winds would seem nutty to anyone who’s ever lived through even a milder storm. Still, the argument gave Bush’s base another reason not to blame the President or his team.

For once, however, there was another side of the story reaching listeners on the AM dial.

As the seriousness of the Katrina crisis sank in on Aug. 31, Robert Parry was driving north from Washington to Montreal for a previously scheduled meeting. He wrote at Consortiumnews.com that “while on the road, I also got a taste of how valuable progressive talk radio could be for arming American liberals with facts and for persuading Middle Americans that the nation needs new leadership.

“As I drove past New York City, I picked up an Air America Radio station where the hosts explained how Bush’s spending in Iraq had diverted money needed to strengthen New Orleans’ levees and how deployment of National Guard troops in Iraq had undermined the Guard’s ability to respond to the disaster.

“What was even more striking was the anger and passion in the voices of Air America listeners who called in from all over the country. They were furious over the national disgrace that was unfolding in New Orleans, as Bush vacationed in Texas and then responded haltingly to the crisis.

“But the radio signal of the New York City station faded as I reached upstate New York. The only AM talk radio I could get then was the far more pervasive conservative variety. On those stations, the New Orleans crisis either was treated as not that big a deal or as something to blame on anybody but Bush.”

Bush Visit

When Bush finally made his belated trip to the Gulf Coast on Sept. 2, the DVD strategy did not appear to have worked. He still seemed disconnected from the human tragedy and more interested in suggesting that the catastrophe was unforeseen.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees,” Bush told ABC’s Diane Sawyer, although the threat to the levees had been recognized for years.

As tens of thousands of mostly poor and black citizens endured squalor in flooded New Orleans, Bush slid into his role of peppy cheerleader and consoled friends like Sen. Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, who had lost one of his homes.

“Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house – he’s lost his entire house – there’s going to be a fantastic house,” Bush joshed. “And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”

Bush also had some encouraging words for his hapless FEMA director, Michael Brown. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” Bush said.

Before boarding a flight back to Washington, Bush continued to banter amid the suffering. Playing for laughs, Bush recalled his past hard partying in New Orleans, which he called “the town where I used to come … to enjoy myself, occasionally too much.”

That night during a televised fundraiser for hurricane relief, rapper Kanye West veered off script to criticize the media for its perceived bias against African-Americans and George Bush for his lackadaisical response to the disaster.

“I hate the way they portray us in the media,” West said. “If you see a black family it says they are looting [but] if you see a white family it says they are looking for food.”

Summing up the President’s attitude, West said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” The remark sent NBC executives into a panic that led them to censor West’s comments from the show’s rebroadcast in the Pacific time zone.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, driving back toward Washington, Robert Parry reported that “I reached the New York City area and again tuned in the Air America station. But I was disappointed to hear only the broadcast of pre-recorded ‘best-of’ content, some of it predating Hurricane Katrina.

“Air America appeared to lack the resources to dispatch correspondents to the scene and offer special live weekend coverage of the crisis. I did, however, find live right-wing talk radio, including more blame being heaped on the trapped New Orleans residents for not using their feet and walking out of the city before the hurricane hit.”

Cracked Image

For once, however, the right-wing media couldn’t dictate the terms of a national story. Not only had the New Orleans levees broken, but the dams protecting George W. Bush’s image were cracking, too.

This time when Bush fumbled a national crisis, many leading newscasters were on scene to witness the debacle and other journalists echoed their first-hand assessments of the chaos and ineptitude.

With New Orleans turned into a giant cesspool – and with bloated remains of American citizens left for days to rot in the sun – the nation was finally shaking itself alert and finding the nightmare all too real.

Facing a suddenly critical news media and a sharp decline in poll numbers, Bush revised his approach to the crisis. He ordered up more trips to the region; posed with more African-Americans; and vowed a vast rebuilding project on par with what he promised for Iraq.

But his mother stepped on Bush’s new compassion. During a visit to Katrina evacuees in Houston’s Astrodome, former First Lady Barbara Bush expressed her discomfort over “what I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. …

“So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this – this (she chuckles) is working very well for them.”

Bush, the ersatz populist, looked like a phony to many Americans when he gave a nationally televised speech in shirt sleeves in New Orleans’ Jackson Square with special generators and lighting that had been flown in to give him a dramatic backdrop.

“We will do what it takes; we will stay as long as it takes,” Bush declared on Sept. 15 in phrasing reminiscent of his pledges about Iraq.

But many prominent figures in the mainstream U.S. news media weren’t buying Bush’s P.R. offensive this time. New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote that the Katrina disaster had exposed, once and for all, Bush’s incompetence and phoniness.

“Once Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again,” Rich wrote. “He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum’s mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.

“The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this President because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of ‘compassionate conservatism,’ the lack of concern for the ‘underprivileged’ his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.”

Political moderates also were having second thoughts. Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who supported the Iraq War and other parts of Bush’s foreign policy, concluded that Katrina had left Bush’s ship of state adrift.

Friedman wrote: “Katrina deprived the Bush team of the energy source that propelled it forward for the last four years: 9/11 and the halo over the presidency that came with it. The events of 9/11 created a deference in the U.S. public, and media, for the administration, which exploited it to the hilt to push an uncompassionate conservative agenda on tax cuts and runaway spending, on which it never could have gotten elected. That deference is over.”

“There’s nothing more pathetic than watching someone who’s out of touch feign being in touch,” observed another New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd. “On his fifth sodden pilgrimage of penitence to the devastation he took so long to comprehend, W. desperately tried to show concern. He said he had spent some ‘quality time’ at a Chevron plant in Pascagoula and nattered about trash removal, infrastructure assessment teams and the ‘can-do spirit.’

“‘We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job,’ he said at a briefing in Gulfport, Mississippi. … The more the President echoes his dad’s ‘Message: I care,’ the more the world hears ‘Message: I can’t.’”

But the overriding question remained: Did this American awakening arrive too late? Was there still time to stop Bush and his allies from consolidating their political control over the federal government?

(Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush is available both at the publisher’s Web site, http://www.neckdeepbook.com, and at Amazon.com. If you buy the book through the publisher’s Web site, $5 will be rebated to Consortiumnews.com to help defray the costs of the site’s original news articles and investigative journalism.)

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Iran’s fuel consumption down 27 %

August 30, 2007

Iran’s fuel consumption down 27 %

30-07-07 Iran’s daily gasoline consumption has dropped by about 20 mm litres since the No. 2 OPEC oil producer started to ration motor fuel in June, Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh was quoted as saying. He did not specify how much fuel Iranian drivers were now using but officials had said Iran consumed 75 mm litres a day, 40 % of which was imported, before rationing was introduced on June 27.
“During this time 20 mm litres of gasoline were saved per day on average,” Vaziri-Hamaneh was quoted as saying.

The move in June to start rationing gasoline sparked protests by motorists used to cheap, abundant fuel. It aimed to curb consumption in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member, which does not have enough refining capacity to meet domestic gasoline needs.
Some Iranian officials had worried costly fuel imports were making the country increasingly vulnerable when world powers are considering ratcheting up United Nations sanctions against Iran over its atomic plans.

Iranian oil official Hojatollah Ghanimifard said on July 17 his country would cut its gasoline imports by at least 14 % from August.
Private drivers receive 100 litres of fuel a month at the heavily subsidised price of 1,000 rials (11 US cents). Many complain it is not enough and have urged the government to offer more, even if they have to pay a higher price. But the government fears this would send inflation, now running at about 16 % year-on-year, even higher.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com

Iran to maximise oil income in non-US currency

August 30, 2007

Iran to maximise oil income in non-US currency

16-07-07 Iran wants to maximise oil export revenue in non-dollar currencies while the dollar stays weak, a top Iranian oil official told. Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), also confirmed that Tehran has asked customers in Japan to pay for their crude oil in yen instead of dollars.
“As long as the dollar is weak, the best decision is for us to move away from it — and we will want as much revenue as possible in non-dollar currencies,” Ghanimifard said.

For the past 18 months — as the United States leads efforts to isolate Tehran for its nuclear programme — the world’s fourth biggest oil exporter has done just that.
“This is not a political gesture,” said the NIOC official. “We’re losing our purchasing power if we stick with the dollar.”

NIOC is now asking customers in Japan — all of whom previously bought Iranian oil in dollars — to open letters of credit in yen, the official said. The state oil company will also issue its invoices in the Japanese currency.
After Japan makes the switch, more than 70 % of the Islamic Republic’s oil revenue will be in currencies other than the dollar, said Ghanimifard.

Iran, OPEC’s second biggest producer, exports around 2.3 mm bpd of crude, with up to 65 % of that volume moving into Asia.
“Our Japanese clients will understand that what we’ve done is for the mutual interest of both sides,” said Ghanimifard. “We wanted to avoid any complications and make the payment process easier for them.” He said it would take about a month to calculate how much of Iran’s oil sales to Japan — more than 300,000 bpd — were being paid for in yen. Iran informally asked its Japanese buyers to switch to non-dollar payment several times since late last year.

NIOC’s recent move makes the policy official — at least until the dollar strengthens, a trend that may take a while to emerge said Ghanimifard.
“The weak dollar looks like it will stay for months to come,” he said.

Source: Iranian.ws / Persian Journal

Sex for Survival

August 30, 2007
Sex for survival

By Afif Sarhan in Baghdad

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/36B04283-E43F-4367-90BB-E6C60CB88F76.htm
 
 
 
 
 

The US invasion and the sectarian war have
created thousands of widows in Iraq [AFP]

When Rana Jalil, 38, lost her husband in an explosion in Baghdad last year, she could never have imagined becoming a prostitute in order to feed her children.

A mother of four, Jalil sought out employment, but job opportunities for women had decreased since the US invasion.

She begged shop owners, office workers and companies to hire her but was treated with what she calls chauvinistic discrimination.

 

Within weeks of her husband’s death, a doctor diagnosed her children with malnutrition.

 

Fighting tears, she recalled the desperation which led her to the oldest profession: “In the beginning these were the worst days in my life. My husband was the first man I met and slept with, but I didn’t have another option … my children were starving.”

 

She left the house in a daze, she recalled, and walked to the nearest market to find someone who would pay her for sex.

 

She said: “I’m a nice-looking woman and it wasn’t difficult to find a client. When we got to the bed I tried to run away … I just couldn’t do it, but he hit and raped me. When he paid me afterwards, it was finished for me.

 

“When I came home with some food I had bought from that money and saw my children screaming of happiness, I discovered that honour is insignificant compared to the hunger of my children.”

 

Iraqi widows desperate

 

Prior to the US invasion, Iraqi widows, particularly those who lost husbands during the Iran-Iraq war, were provided with compensation and free education for their children. In some cases, they were provided with free homes.

 

However, no such safety nets currently exist and widows have few resources at their disposal.

 

According to the non-governmental organisation Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), 15 per cent of Iraqi women widowed by the war have been desperately searching for temporary marriages or prostitution, either for financial support or protection in the midst of sectarian war.

 

Nuha Salim, the spokesperson for OWFI, told Al Jazeera: “Widows are one of our priorities but their situation is worsening and we are feeling ineffective to cope with this significant problem. Hundreds of women are searching for an easy way to support their loved ones as employers refuse to hire them for fear of extremists’ reprisals.”

 

She said the NGO has documented the disappearance of some 4000 women, 20 per cent of whom are under 18, since the March 2003 invasion.

 

OWFI believes most of the missing women were kidnapped and sold into prostitution outside Iraq.

 

Although few reliable statistics are available on the total number of widows in Iraq, the ministry of women’s affairs says that there are at least 350,000 in Baghdad alone, with more than eight million throughout the country.

 

Bitter trade

 

As Iraqi families continue to fall on hard times, some have been forced to make the most painful of decisions – selling their daughters.

 

Abu Ahmed, a handicapped father of five who is himself a widower, sold his daughter Lina to an Iraqi man who came to Iraq to “shop” for sex workers. Abu Ahmed said he could not afford to buy food for his other children.

 

He told Al Jazeera: “I’m sure that whatever she is, at least she is having food to eat. I have three other girls and a son and what they paid me for Lina is enough to raise the remaining ones.”

 

Abu Ahmed had been initially approached by Shada, the alias of a woman living in Baghdad, who sought young women for Iraqi gangs running prostitution rackets in neighbouring Arab countries.

 

She told Al Jazeera that her role was to convince young women from impoverished families that a better life awaited them beyond the country’s borders.

 

She said: “Families don’t want them and we are helping the girls to survive. We offer them food and housing and about $10 a day if they have had at least two clients.”

 

“Our priority is virgin girls; they can be sold at very expensive prices to Arab millionaires.”

 

Shada said she sleeps in a different house every few nights as armed groups have marked her for trial and assassination.

 

Escape from Jordan

 

OWFI’s Salim says cases like Lina’s have become very common as poverty is increasing in Iraq and desperate families sometimes sell their daughters for less than $500 to traffickers.

 

But increasingly, young Iraqi women arrive in neighbouring capitals to find that prostitution carries a heavy and dangerous price.

 

Suha Muhammad, 17, was sold to an Iraqi gang by her mother, herself a prostitute, after her father was killed.

 

When she arrived in Jordan, she was gang-raped by four men who told her they were teaching her the tricks of the trade.

 

She told Al Jazeera she had been sold to a gang that caters to VIPs in Syria and was often shuttled to Amman, the Jordanian capital, for high-profile clients.

 

After six months, she escaped: “I ran away and an Iraqi family helped me by driving me to the immigration department where they helped me get a passport to return to Iraq.

 

“My aunt is now taking care of me in Baghdad. She never imagined that my mother could sell me, but unfortunately women in Iraq are not important and respected.”

 

Traffic

 

Mayada Zuhair, a spokesperson for the Baghdad-based Women’s Rights Association (WRA), said Iraqi and Arab NGOs are trying to monitor the trafficking of young women from the war-ravaged country to neighbouring destinations.

 

She told Al Jazeera: “We are trying to find out the fate of many widows and teenager girls who were trafficked. Unfortunately it is not an easy process and without international support, funding, and resources, we fear more young Iraqi women will be taken abroad to work in the sex trade.”

 

In the meantime, however, prostitution remains the only option for Nirmeen Lattif, a 27-year-old widow who lost her husband in an attack on Shia pilgrims south of Baghdad.

 

When she turned to her husband’s relatives for financial support, they could not afford to help her.

 

She says she tries not to think of the gravity of what she does or the dishonour it carries in conservative Muslim society.

 

“I think of my children, only my children; without money we starve in the streets.”

 

Congressman: Stock Market Will Eventually Collapse

August 29, 2007

Congressman: Stock Market Will Eventually Collapse
Ron Paul says martial law provisions in place to deal with economic discord

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

reddit_url=’http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2007/290807_eventually_collapse.htm’ reddit_title=’Congressman: Stock Market Will Eventually Collapse’

digg_title = ‘Congressman: Stock Market Will Eventually Collapse’; digg_bodytext = ‘Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul says that attempts to rescue an ailing stock market last week, during which the Fed pumped in billions in liquidity, were merely a stop gap measure – and that an economic collapse is all but inevitable.’;

Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul says that attempts to rescue an ailing stock market last week, during which the Fed pumped in billions in liquidity, were merely a stop gap measure – and that an economic collapse is all but inevitable.

“They think that they can control it but eventually they can’t, as powerful as they are eventually the markets are more powerful,” the Congressman told the Alex Jones Show yesterday.

“The dollar can’t be kept in check because eventually it will come unwound,” he added. “But I think the most significant figure we’ve heard in the last few weeks is the measurement between 2000 – 2005, the clear cut admission that real income has gone down, which is a reflection of the dollar.”

Paul explained that recent attempts to pump liquidity into the markets are only a temporary fix and that the long-term effects of doing so spell disaster for the economy.

“The dollar is plunging no matter what you read and hear about and no matter how hard they work to keep the bubble going the only way they can do that is creating more money….causing the dollar to go down even faster, the market seems to be reassured – there’s a contrivance to try to hold this together….but it won’t last, eventually it’s going to collapse,” said Paul.

The Texas Congressman cited the repeal of the Insurrection Act as opening the door to a declaration of national emergency and martial law which could be instituted for any number of reasons, including civil disobedience in the event of an economic downturn and a run on the banks.

“If in 6 months or a year there is total chaos who knows what they might try to do,” said Paul.

The presidential candidate also slammed the abolition of Habeas Corpus as a “very dangerous sign” that plans were being laid for martial law.

“Why would they change them (the laws) if they didn’t plan to use them,” concluded Paul.

Suspicions were raised last week when a mystery trader risked billions of dollars after buying 245,000 put options on the Dow Jones Eurostoxx 50 index, in effect a speculation that the market would crash by a third before September 21st.

The price of a pizza in Iraq: an eye and a leg

August 29, 2007

The price of a pizza in Iraq: an eye and a leg

Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:39AM EDT

By Peter Graff

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Constantine Rodriguez had just fetched chilli peppers and was going out to get some onions when he heard the siren for an incoming rocket. All he remembers was a door blasting open and a loud explosion.

A quiet man from the former Portuguese colony of Goa in southwestern India, Rodriguez was working at a Pizza Hut restaurant at Taji, one of the main U.S. air bases in Iraq, when he was caught up in an attack.

He is lucky to be alive, said Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Martin, the surgeon who treated him earlier this month at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. Shrapnel took out an eye, pulverized one of his legs and damaged his torso. He lost a lot of blood, but surgeons were able to save him.

As he lay recovering in hospital, all he could think of was the new wife he had left in India when he went to Iraq last year, and the 7 1/2-month-old baby he had never met.

“I had gotten the capsicum. And I was going to get onions,” Rodriguez told Reuters from his hospital bed. “I heard the siren … What happened after I don’t know.

“I don’t blame anybody. Just take care of me and my family. One leg. One eye. What can I do with my family now?”

The Kuwaiti firm that employed Rodriguez, Al Homaizi, operates 11 Pizza Huts, 13 Burger Kings and five Taco Bells on American bases in Iraq, said Joe Petrusich, who runs the firm’s Iraq restaurants.

It employs about 300 workers, recruited in Kuwait but nearly all from poor countries in Asia: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines.

They are a small part of the vast army behind the army — the tens of thousands of “TCNs” — “third-country nationals” — hired to feed U.S. troops, wash their laundry, build their compounds and clean their toilets, for salaries of at most several hundred dollars a month.

The U.S. military says that by contracting out tasks like cooking and cleaning, it can provide its soldiers with a better environment at a lower cost.

CONTROVERSY BACK HOME

For poor countries, allowing their citizens to work in Iraq has been controversial and often politically sensitive.

India has told its citizens not to work in Iraq since 2004, when three Indian contractors were kidnapped and demonstrators took to the streets at home complaining the government did too little to protect them.

But there is little a country can do to prevent its citizens taking work that pays much better than jobs at home.

The Philippines now puts stamps in new passports saying they are not valid for travel to Iraq.

Petrusich said the firm still employed Filipino workers in Iraq, as long as they have old passports without the stamps.

Al Homaizi is Pizza Hut’s franchise in Kuwait, with 45 restaurants in that oil-rich Gulf state, where nearly all workers are recruited from poor Asian countries. The firm offers staff at its Kuwait restaurants double pay if they go to Iraq.

For Rodriguez, that was the equivalent of about $450 a month, enough finally to find a wife and start a family back in India after 10 years of working in Kuwait. The average per capita income in Goa is about $1,100 a year.

Petrusich said Rodriguez would receive free medical care in Kuwait, including physiotherapy and a prosthetic leg, and one-off payments totaling 18,333 Kuwaiti dinars, about $55,000, if he is finally deemed permanently disabled.

“I’m very close to these guys. I’ve known all of them. I know we do everything we can,” he told Reuters by telephone from Kuwait. “It’s just an unfortunate situation that has happened.”

(Additional reporting by Kamil Zaheer in New Delhi and Krittivas Mukherjee in Mumbai)

Ethnic cleansing

August 29, 2007

Growing Needs Amid Continuing Displacement

http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/iraq?page=intro
Incessant violence across much of Iraq’s central and southern regions has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes every month, presenting the international community with a humanitarian crisis even larger than the upheaval aid agencies had planned for during the 2003 war.

UNHCR estimates that more than 4.2 million Iraqis have left their homes. Of these, some 2.2 million Iraqis are displaced internally, while more than 2 million have fled to neighbouring states, particularly Syria and Jordan. Many were displaced prior to 2003, but an increasing number are fleeing now. In 2006, Iraqis had become the leading nationality seeking asylum in Europe.

Much of UNHCR’s work in Iraq since the fall in 2003 of the Saddam Hussein regime was based on the assumption that the domestic situation would stabilize and hundreds of thousands of previously displaced Iraqis would soon be able to go home. In 2006, however, spiralling violence led to increasing displacement, necessitating a reassessment of UNHCR’s work and its priorities throughout the region – from assisting returns and aiding some 50,000 non-Iraqi refugees in Iraq, to providing more help to the thousands who are fleeing every month.

Between 2003 and 2005, some 300,000 Iraqis did return home, including from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries. Now, however, the returns have stopped and many more people are fleeing, including large numbers of skilled professionals crucial to Iraq’s recovery.

In addition to those outside the country, more than 1 million Iraqis have fled their homes for other areas inside Iraq since early 2006, most of them following sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of an important Shia mosque in the central Iraqi city of Samarra in February of that year.

The displacement in Iraq is presenting an enormous humanitarian challenge and extreme hardship for both the displaced and the Iraqi families trying to help them in host communities. The enormous scale of the needs, the violence and the difficulties in reaching the displaced make it a problem that is practically beyond the capacity of humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR. And the longer it goes on, the more difficult it gets as both the internally displaced and their host communities in Iraq run out of resources.

Many uprooted Iraqis fleeing to surrounding countries do not initially seek UNHCR help, but rely instead on a social net of friends and relatives which UNHCR worries is rapidly wearing thin, bringing rising social problems among the exiles and occasional friction with host communities.

Since the beginning of 2007, UNHCR has expanded its operations in the region and now has some 300 staff working on the Iraq crisis from offices in the region and in Geneva. The UN refugee agency has registered more than 180,000 Iraqis in countries neighbouring Iraq, 15 percent of whom are in need of special assistance. These include victims of torture. In April 2007, the agency held a major international conference in Geneva to address the humanitarian needs of those displaced by the Iraq conflict and seek more international help for them.

UNHCR is providing support to host countries by rehabilitating and constructing schools, clinics and community centres and through the provision of counselling and special care for the most vulnerable. By mid-August 2007, UNHCR had referred some 12,000 cases of the most vulnerable Iraqis for resettlement in third countries.

The UN refugee agency, which has appealed for US$223 million for its Iraq operations in 2007, is also concerned about the welfare of an estimated 15,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq, including 1,500 stranded in two makeshift camps at the Iraq-Syria border. The Palestinians in Baghdad face threats on a daily basis but cannot leave Iraq. The country’s Christians and other minority communities are also under threat.

****************

Compare that [appeal for $223 million — which says nothing about how much they actually have had to work with so far] with this sentence from the NY Times:

“Israel and the United States signed a deal on Thursday to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade in what officials called a long-term investment in peace.”

*******

And here:

http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendoc.pdf?tbl=SUBSITES&id=461f7cb92

You can find a graph with stats on Iraqi refugees in other countries.  The U.S. has 6,000 or so.  That’s of an estimated 4 million that are displaced.

********

Making the world safe for democracy, for sure.

I pray every day for a revolution. 

On Market Predictions in the Current Chaotic Environment by Richard C. Cook

August 29, 2007

On Market Predictions in the Current Chaotic Environment by Richard C. Cook


Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, August 28, 2007

No one can predict how deep the decline in Western economies that is underway will go, because there is so little transparent information. Within the U.S., the government is hiding the severity of the crisis in order to prevent a collapse of consumer confidence.

Realize that the problem does not lie on the side of production. Global industry has the capacity to produce a huge quantity of goods and services. There is even a glut in some sectors, such as automobiles, textiles, IT, and other consumer products.

Rather the problem, as with the Great Depression, is that purchasing power at the consumer level is lacking. In the U.S., purchasing power, as measured by M1, is already in a recession-level decline. The causes are the high level of consumer debt, high cumulative levels of taxation on the dwindling middle class, and the tragic erosion of wages and salaries from job outsourcing.

In the absence of purchasing power, the Federal Reserve has chosen the strategy of trying to outrun collapse by creating inflation. This is the meaning of the bail-outs that are going on. It’s an attempt to devalue debt at the macro level. It’s a hidden tax on everyone but the super-rich. Everyone else is poorer today than they were yesterday.

How long this can go on is unpredictable. It’s another bubble following on the housing and asset bubbles that are already bursting on a daily basis before our eyes.

I don’t see any responsible analyst who foresees any better outcome than a recession that would see the DJIA at a level of 8000-8500 within a few months. Again, maybe the Fed’s printing presses can hold this level of decline at bay for a while longer, but I doubt it.

There are major players in the markets who see an even steeper decline coming even sooner. Some say as soon as a month.

There is also a real chance of an eventual depression-level contraction. How much of a chance, I don’t know. This conceivably could lead to a total collapse of consumer markets, economic paralysis, and widespread homelessness and starvation. Yes, even in the U.S. Agribusiness, bio-fuel conversion, seedless mega-farming, the disappearance of family farming, and the recent disastrous weather conditions place everyone at risk.

At some point, the federal government, at a minimum, has to step in with New Deal-type relief measures. Whether the Bush administration has that capability is doubtful. Look at New Orleans. They may even try to cover everything up by starting a war against Iran. Are they that crazy? Who can say?

There are also rumors going around that there are plans to allow the markets to be crashed by a terrorist event so as to divert blame. I have gotten no reliable confirmation of these rumors, though there are parties placing what people in the markets are calling “bin Laden”-type bets similar to, but bigger than, the “puts” that were placed before the original 9/11.

These types of bets have been placed in the U.S., European, and Japanese markets that assume a stock market crash of fifty percent within the next five weeks. A report was just carried, I’m told, on CNBC.

Some have said the culprit may be China, but it makes no sense for the Chinese to crash the markets while holding U.S. dollars. Others say it is hedge funds at work to try to drive down the markets in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But a fifty percent market decline? That’s just not conceivable. Even the hedge funds do not have that much power. The federal plunge protection team—known as the “men in black” by floor traders—would never allow them to do something so disastrous. This has caused some to speculate that the “men in black” are parties to the bets.

These remarks probably give some indication of the chaos going on right now in the U.S. and world economies. The only real solution is a new world financial system based on the concept of credit as a public utility. This is what should be implemented to replace the present system of institutionalized usury.


Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on monetary reform, economics, and space policy have appeared on Global Research, Economy in Crisis, Dissident Voice, Atlantic Free Press, and elsewhere. He is the author
of “Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.” His website is at www.richardccook.com.

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook