Bulletin N° 853
The Violent Death of ‘Representative Democracy’
The Spawning of ‘Direct Democracy’ against Reactionary Plutocrats
July 9, 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The now obsolete ideology of “Utilitarianism,” which was successfully introduced by Jeremy Bentham (1750-1830) in England at the end of the 18th century, during the first Industrial Revolution, is no longer à la mode. It seems to have briefly been given new life by neo-liberal forces around the world at the start of this new millenium but failed to attain a level approaching “cultural hegemony” before it collapsed into dust. “The greatest happiness for the greatest number” was the catchphrase that animated liberal Anglophone ideologues for the better part of two centuries. The young Karl Marx, in the mid-19th century, suggested the possibility of another political economy, governed by a different principle: "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need."
The failure of Bentham's pragmatic feel-good philosophy in its post-world-war-two reincarnation is nowhere better illustrated than in the Paul L. Williams’ history, Operation Gladio, The Unholy Alliance between The Vatican, The CIA, and The Mafia (New York, 2015 & 2018). In Chapter 6, of this unauthorized history of international banking and political covert actions to suppress egalitarian social movements during the cold-war and post-cold-war period, Williams discusses “The Rise of Michele Sindona,” an Italian banker and convicted felon, known in international banking circles as “The Shark”. Sindona (1920-1986) was 36 years old when he attended the mob gathering in Palermo, Italy to discuss the advantages of expanding drug trafficking in the United States.
In 1957, Michele Sindona attended a mob gathering at the Grand Hotel des Plames in Palermo with such criminal luminaries at Luchy Luciano, Joseph –“Joe Bananas”) Bonanno, Carmine Galante, Frank Costello, Don Giuseppe Genco Russo (the head boss of the Sicilian families), Salvatore Ciaschiteddu (“Little Bird”) Greco and the La Barbera brothers. The three-day event, which was held from October 3-5, resulted in the organization of a Sicilian Commission that would oversee all aspects of the multimillion dollar heroin trade. “The Sicilians,” according to FBN agent Martin F. Pera, “gave the Americans an ultimatum at Palermo. They knew there were a number of rebellious young hoods in America, so they told their bosses, ‘If you don’t deal with us, we’ll deal with them.’ Not having control over narcotics would have put all their other rackets at risk, so the Americans had no choice but to go along.”
Little Bird Greco emerged from the conference as primus inter pares (“first among equals”). The elevation of Greco was prompted by his pivotal role in the narcotics trade. He owned a fleet of ships that sailed under the Honduran flag and, through Frank Coppola, moved heroin to Santo Trafficante, Jr. in Cuba via food shipments. But no one benefited from the gathering more than Sindona, who gained complete control of the flow of cash from the mean streets of America’s inner cities to the Vatican Bank.(pp.79-80)
. . .
While Sindona was purchasing banks with the funding from the Mafia, the Vatican, and the CIA, Paul E. Hemmowell and Meyer Lansky were setting up Castle Bank & Trust in Miami and the Bahama. Unlike Sindona’s banks, which were used to mount attacks in Italy, Turkey and Western Europe, Castle Bank & Trust became “the conduit for millions of dollars earmarked by the CIA for the funding of clandestine operations directed at countries in Latin America and the Far East.”
The appearance of these firms testifies not only to the expanding covert activities of the CIA but also the enormous growth of the heroin industry. In 1967, the Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic in San Francisco opened a special section for heroin addicts. Of the addicts served by the clinic, about 25 percent (classed as “old-style junkies”) had first used heroin before January 1964; about 20 percent (classed as “transitional junkies”) first used heroin between then and January 1967; and the remaining 55 percent or so were “new junkies,” who began to use heroin after January 1967. Heroin was also the drug at the heart of the problem that President Nixon cited in 1969, when he laid out a ten-point plan for reducing illegal drug use – an effort for which New York was the proving ground. “New York City alone has records of some 40,000 heroin addicts, and the number rises between 7,000 and 9,000 a year,” Nixon wrote in his July 14, 1969, message to Congress. “These official statistics are only the tip of an iceberg whose dimensions we can only surmise.”(pp.85-86)
. . .
In June 1967, Internal Revenue Service agents became aware that Sindona was involved in the drug trafficking of the Gambino-Inzerillo-Spatola clan. The case came to center not on heroin but ‘the illicit movement of depressant, stimulant and hallucinogenic drugs between Italy, the United States and possibly other European countries?” But the investigation, thanks to the CIA’s intervention, came to a dead end.
. . .
1969 proved to be a banner year for Sindona. He stood as the most powerful financial figure in Italy. The “Gruppo Sindona” included six banks, the international CIGA hotel chain, and five hundred other companies. He controlled the stock market in Milan, where 40 percent of the shares traded on any given day were under his control. His ability to influence Italy’s financial condition was so profound that former Prime minister Giulio Andeootti, a former member of P2 [Propaganda Massonica Due], proclaimed him “the savior of the lira.”
In the spring of that year, Sindona was summoned late at night to the pope’s private study on the fourth floor of the Apostolic Palace. The short, slender, and well-spoken Mafia don wore a meticulously tailored navy blue suit, a white shirt with gold cuff links, and a gray silk tie. He appeared fresh and confident. The pope was seated in one of his satin-covered chairs. His body was best forward , and he appeared tired and ill. The Holy Father did not offer his ring for Michele to kiss; instead they greeted each other with the handshake of old friends.
“There is a terrible problem,” Paul VI told Sindona. He was referring to the collapse of the “first republic” and the long reign of the Christian Democratic Party. The new government had moved to discard the Larteran Treaty of 1929 and the tax-exempt status of Catholic holdings throughout the country. The measure spelled financial destitution for the Church and an annual tax bill in excess of $250 million. Even worse, the measure could prompt other countries to follow suit, leaving the Holy Mother Church stripped naked of her vast wealth. “No matter,” the pope said, “is of greater importance.”
Sindona replied by proposing a strategy to move Vatican resources out of Italy into the United States and the tax-free Eurodollar market through a network of offshore financial firms. This move would not only cloak the Vatican’s holdings in omertà – a quality the Holy See valued as much as the Mafia – but it would also demonstrate to other countries that the Roman Catholic Church as financially powerful and that any interference with the Vatican’s finances could produce dire consequences for national economies.
Upon hearing the proposal, Pope Paul handed Sindona an agreement he already had prepared. The agreement was even more than the Mafiosi could hope for or dare to suggest. It named Sindona Mercator Senesis Romanam Curiam, “the leading banker of the Roman Curia,” and granted him complete control over the Vatican’s foreign and domestic investment with Bishop Marcinkus, who now became secretary of the IOR, and Cardinal Sergio Guerri, governor of Vatican City. However, both clerics remained merely his advisors. The agreement placed the Vatican’s billions at Sindona’s disposal.
When the Mafia chieftain turned to the last page, he looked up at the Holy Rather and smiled. The pope already had signed and sealed the document. It was the highest display of trust anyone could hope to receive from the Vicar of Christ. Such trust, of course, was not blind. It was based on the pope’s awareness that Sindona remained in almost sole control of the billions of black funds that were flowing into the Holy See.
Before Sindona took control of its assets, the Vatican held major interests in the Rothschild Bank in France, the Chase Manhattan Bank with its fifty-seven branches in forty-five countries, Credit Swiss in Zurich and also in London, the Morgan Bank, the Bankers Trust, General Motors, General Electric, Shell Oil, Gulf Oil, the Bethlehem Steel, Vatican officials sat on the board of Finsider, which, with its capital of 195 million lire spread through twenty-four companies, produced 90 percent of Italian steel. The Holy See controlled two shipping lines and the Alfa Romeo car manufacturing company. What’s more, controlling shares of the Italian luxury hotels, including the Rope Hilton, were in the Vatican portfolio.
But the Vatican’s central holding was Società Generale Immobiliare, a construction company that had produced a fortune in earnings for the Holy See since it had been acquired in 1934. In 1969 Immobiliare shares were selling for 350 lire. Sindona purchased 143 million shares from the Vatican at double the market price – 700 lire per share – with money that had been illegally converted to his account from deposits at Banca Privata Finanziaria. Sindona was willing to pay double the market value. The money, after all, would be spent, in part, to bring about significant changes in the political order.
In the same way, Sindona purchased the Vatican’s majority ownership of Condotte d’Acqua, Italy’s water company, and Ceramica Pozzi, a chemical and porcelain company. To spare the pope any embarrassment, he also bought Serono, the Vatican’s pharmaceutical company that produced contraceptive pills.
These transactions were conducted with extreme secrecy in order to escape the attention of Italy’s tax collectors. The shares of Immobiliare were transferred first to Paribas Transcontinental of Luxembourg, a subsidiary of the Banque de Paris et des Pay-Bas, and next to Fasco AG in Liechtenstein. Paribas Transcontinental was closely linked with Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi businessman, who was later convicted of fraud in a $504 million corruption scandal that centered on the French oil company Elf Aquitaine. Auchi, like Sindona, possessed strong ties to the intelligence community and, for many years, served as the “bagman” for Saddam Hussein. In recent years, the Baghdad billionaire became a major contributor to the political campaign of Barack Obama. Along with Auchi, David Rockefeller, another financier and former US intelligence official, and members of Rockefeller’s family, were shareholders in Paribas.
Despite Sindona’s diversionary tactics, the press got word of the sales of the Vatican companies and pressured the Holy See for a response. Through a spokesman, Pope Paul said: “Our policy is to avoid maintaining control of our companies as in the past. We want to improve investment performance, balance, of course, against what must be a fundamentally conservative investment philosophy. It wouldn’t do for the Church to lose its principle in speculation.” When Sindona was asked about the sales, he refused to comment, saying that he was obliged to maintain the confidentiality of his client, Holy Mother Church.
Sindona proceeded to liquidate the Church’s remaining holdings in Italian companies to buyers , including Hambros Bank, Continental Illinois and the American conglomerate Gulf & Western. He invested much of the Vatican’s revenue from the sales in American companies, such as Chase Manhattan, Standard Oil, Westinghouse, Colgate, Proctor and Gamble, and Dan River. Several of these firms remained under the control of David Rockefeller.
The liquidation of the Vatican’s holdings, as engineered by Sindona, produced a disastrous effect on the Italian economy. The shares of the Italian companies in which the Holy See had invested plummeted to record low levels. The lira dropped precipitously in value. Unemployment rose. The cost of living increased. The savings of millions of families were wiped out almost overnight.(pp.88-92)
Toward the end of his book, Operation Gladio, in chapter 22, Williams discusses the “The Taliban Trouble” as perceived by US policy makers in January 2000, twenty months before 9/11/2001.
Heroin by the turn of the twenty-first century had become one of the world’s most valuable resources – a resource that could generate over $100,000 billion (sic) a year in revenue. [This figure provided in Williams' book is in dispute, and for more information on annual drug revenues please see: "Worldmeters" at: https://www.worldometers.info/drugs/ and the Global Research Report on "The Global Drud Trade" at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/cocaine-heroin-cannabis-ecstasy-how-big-is-the-global-drug-trade-2/5381210.] Without the white powder, there would be no black ops – no means of obtaining control of Eurasia – no way of molding the global economy and political relations. [Despite this possible typing error, the point made in here is valid, and annual world heroin revenues are today about one quarter that of annual oil revenues. This has caused the restructuring of the banking industry.]
On January 27, 2000, a catastrophe occurred for covert activity when Mullah Omar and other leaders of the Taliban announced their plans to ban poppy production within the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. This decision sent shock waves through the US intelligence community. From 1976 to 2000, the Afghan opium poppy harvest had grown nearly tenfold, climbing from 250 to 2,000 tons during the covert war of the 1990s. The country’s economy had transformed from a diverse agricultural system based on herding, orchids, and sixty-two varieties of field crops into the world’s first opium monocrop.
Thanks to the Taliban prohibition, the opium poppy harvest fell from 4,600 tons in 1999 to 81 tons in 2001. The situation had to be addressed by the military-industrial complex in a forceful way. With the outbreak of the “war on terror” and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the ban came to an immediate end. Within a year, the UN reported that the poppy crop had redounded to 3,400 tons. By October 2013, thanks to the US occupation, the opium harvest had climbed to an all-time high of 5,500 tons.
The days when heroin money could be laundered through a small circle of banks, including the IOR, were long past. By 2014, $500 billion to $1 trillion in proceeds from criminal activity and black ops were laundered through the world’s leading banks – half of which were located in the United States. Narcodollars became the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.(pp.279-280)
In the Epilogue to the 2018 edition of this important book, Williams sums up the new activities of gladio reincarnated since the debacle of the Soviet Union. The anti-communist raison d’être, he explains, has been replaced by neo-liberal schemes on the part of international financial cartels to amass great fortunes, particularly by means of drug trafficking and by manufacturing “the war against terror” for corporate investors in the arms industry.
The virtual inventor of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was Condoleezza Rice, the former chevron executive who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush. In 2006, she called upon the Sunni states to form a Sunni belt in the Middle East in response to Iran’s attempt to create a Shia belt. Responding to this summon, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council, formed al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with both al-Qaeda and ISIS to topple the Assad regime.
The US-NATO military aid to al-Nusra and ISIS was channeled covertly through America’s close allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In addition to arms and money, the two terror groups also received training in Guerilla warfare and religious indoctrination. To swell the ranks of ISIS, Saudi Arabia took the initiative of releasing prisoners on death row from the Saudi jails. The offer to the prisoners was clear-cut: stay and be executed by decapitation or fight against the government forces in Syria. The deal was sweetened by the Saudi’s offer to provide a monthly stipend for the prisoners’ families, who would be allowed to stay in the Sunni Arab kingdom. It was small wonder that the prisons emptied as thousands of inmates swelled the ranks of ISIS.
Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today, alleges that the ISIS terrorists were organized in Jordan and Syria by Senator John McCain, US Major General (retired), Paul E. Vallely, and other military consultants. Vallely is a Fox News military analyst and founder of the US Army Psychological Warfare Scholl. Support for Duff’s assertion comes from investigative journalist Aaron Klein, who has unearthed evidence that the ISIS forces are trained at a secret US military base in the Jordanian town of Safawi. This report has been corroborated by Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading news magazine. Additional confirmation comes from Edward Snowden, the NSA (National Security Agency) ,whistleblower, who has produced classified governmental documents that show that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is a CIA operative.
Leaders from the Muslim world uphold these finding. Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Party, appeared on the pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen to say that all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA. Mr. Na’eem could be imparting false information, but his claim is upheld by Baha al-Araji, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, and other leading Iraqi officials. Mr. Araji is a devout Shia, and Mr. Na’eem is a militant Sunni. The two men share little in common and have completely different political and religious agendas.(pp.317-318)
. . .
“The only thing that is constant is change,” so said Heraclitus 2,500 years ago. Gladio provides proof of this adage. Gladio began as a covert operation to that the spread of communism and evolved into an effort to advance the economic hegemony of an Anglo-American money cartel. It no longer sought to make the world safe for democracy but rather to subject humankind to the designs of a synarchy. Its activities were no longer confined to the borders of Western Europe but extended throughout Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and Central Asia.
From the time of its inception, Gladio was fueled by heroin. This reliance produced a plague that has spread throughout the civilized world. µThe Illicit gains of the CIA form trafficking were originally washed in the Holy See. But the Vatican Bank became incapable of handling the flood of revenue that poured into the Bastion of Nicholas V. New financial institutions were established to serve as laundries, including the castle Bank and Trust in Miami, the Nugan Hand Bank in Sydney, and the Bank of Commerce and Credit in Karachi. But even these banks proved insufficient to handle the billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains, and so the dirty money began to flow through major American banks, including Citibank, American Express of Beverly Hills, Manufacturers Bank, the Great American Bank, Chemical Bank, and Chase Manhattan.
The CIA’s reliance on La Cosa Nostra also changed and the agency, by creating Gladio II, became compelled to forge new alliances with Latin American cartels, the babas and Grey Wolves of Turkey, street gangs within American inner cities, and the Albanian Mafia who emerged almost overnight at “the leading crime outfit in the United States.”
And so Gladio goes on to advance the interests of an Anglo-American money cartel. It will persist on the winds of war as long as the affairs of men are governed by covetousness and greed. It maters no that a handful of people might draw back the curtain to reveal figures with bloody swords.(p.320)
We find throughout Paul L. Williams’ historical account of cold-war-and-post-cold-war US foreign policymaking a remarkably detailed catalogue of crimes committed in the name of world order and US hegemony. This past is, indeed, a prologue for things to come, for better or for worse, depending on whether or not necessary lessons have been learned.
The 15 + items below include essays and articles that contribute to our understanding of the crises we have entered and of the private profiteers who continue to manage these crises for their own exclusive gains.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
The IMF & World Bank: Partners In Backwardness
by Bonnie Faulkner and Michael Hudson
“The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it’s not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers.”
"Confessions Of An Economic Hitman"
with John Perkins
Andrew Gavin Marshall page
Weaponizing the Dollar
by Patrick Lawrence
The signs are mounting steadily now. As the Trump administration weaponizes the dollar in defense of American hegemony, it is prompting many other nations to find alternatives to the U.S. currency as the default medium of exchange. The long-term implications of this swiftly advancing trend, evident among allies as well as those Washington considers adversaries, cannot be overstated: At stake is the longevity of America’s global preeminence.
The just-concluded Group of 20 session in Osaka, Japan, was a dramatic demonstration of how quickly “de-dollarization” efforts are coalescing. And the pattern could not be clearer: The Trump administration’s incessant use of unilateral economic and financial sanctions against perceived enemies, which is almost certainly without precedent, is high among the reasons these efforts now gather momentum at a pace few in the financial markets or in official circles anticipated.
Deutsche Bank ‘couldn’t compete w/ the big boys’
with Steve Gill
(Published on July 8, 2019)
Former USTR official Steve Gill joins Scottie Nell Hughes to react to the news of Deutsche Bank’s laying off of thousands of workers. He argues these and other cost-cutting moves are the “inevitable conclusion” of fines and legal problems faced by Deutsche Bank for the past several years. But does this portend a new global financial crisis?
Future Resource Wars
"Who Are the masters of the
Pepe Escobar and Eddie Conway
(Posted July 08, 2019)
Has the fantasy of the USA becoming the first global empire in history, dissolved in the wake of the Iraq war. Pepe Escobar and Eddie Conway discuss the coming nexus of global competition and climate change
Trump & Putin will meet on Friday, during high stakes G20 summit
The Politics of Debt
Federal Reserve System
with Michael Hudson
An interview with Michael Hudson published on the Russian website Terra America (TA).
What is the place of the Federal Reserve System in the American financial and economic structure?
Prior to the Federal Reserve’s founding in 1913, U.S. monetary policy was conducted by the Treasury. Like the Fed, it had district sub-treasuries that performed nearly all the financial functions that the Fed later took over: providing credit to move the crops in autumn, managing government debt, and so forth.
But after the severe 1907 financial crisis, a National Monetary Commission was reformed. Under the then-Republican administration, it recognized a need for more active government intervention to prevent future financial crises. It also recognized the desirability of moving away from the Anglo-Dutch-American system of “merchant banking” based on short-term lending against collateral in place, or for shipping of goods already produced. The National Monetary Commission’s longest volumes were on the great German industrial banks, and Republican policy aimed at bringing banking into the industrial era, to provide long-term funding after the model of German and other Central European banks.
However, the leading bankers sought to use the crisis as an opportunity to grab power for Wall Street, away from the Treasury. In this sense, the Fed was founded in large part to take monetary control away from Washington’s elected officials and appointees, and privatize the supply of money and credit.
So its place in the U.S. financial and economic structure is to allocate credit, primarily to serve Wall Street financial interests. That explains the insistence on the financial class here and abroad in insisting on an “independent” central bank. It means that instead of serving the public interest, it serves the interests of the banking class. The hoped-for transformation of commercial banking into long-term industrial banking was not achieved.
Can we imagine the global economic system without Federal Reserve today? If yes/no, why?
As David Kinley’s book for the National Monetary Commission pointed out a century ago, nearly all the financial functions performed by the Fed already were performed by the national Treasury. In more recent times, Milton Friedman and his University of Chicago colleagues suggested that the entire Fed could be reduced to a single desk inside the Treasury. The “Chicago Plan” of the 1930s urged Treasury control, as does Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s current bank reform.
There is no inherent need for a monetary agency to exist outside of the national government, except to serve the interests of the financial class as distinct from those of government, industry and labor. And the banking sector’s business plan is to load down real estate, labor, industry and the government with as much interest-bearing debt as possible.
Who Owns the Federal Reserve?
by Helen Brown
Origins of the American Empire:
Revolution, World Wars and World Order
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
UK envoy to US worries ‘dysfunctional’ Trump is one twitch away from Iran war, leaked memos show
US President Donald Trump’s erratic policies regarding Iran could lead to war at the slightest provocation, the UK’s American envoy has been warning his London superiors in internal memos leaked to media.
‘Playing part in anti-Tehran policy?’ UK marines seize ship with alleged Iranian crude for Syria
Iran has summoned the British ambassador after the seizure of a supertanker that was allegedly carrying crude to fuel-starved Syria in defiance of EU sanctions. It comes as the US is trying to stifle Iranian oil trade to zero.
The MT Grace 1, a 300,000-ton Very Large Crude Carrier, was detained in a raid conducted by the British Royal Navy Marines and Gibraltar law enforcement on Thursday morning. The government of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, said the ship was detained for allegedly violating EU sanctions on Syria.
Dogs of War Howl for Blood in Iran
While Americans Cheer US Bombers on
by Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright
Last week's display was a chilling reminder of the horrific
deaths caused by successive administrations' propensity for war
President Trump’s order to the Pentagon to have an aerial parade of military aircraft over Washington, DC on July 4 provided a history lesson of America’s war mongering in the past two decades, and a terrifying view of what might appear in the skies of Iran if John Bolton gets his way.
The combat aircraft that were cheered by Trump’s supporters as they flew low over the monuments in the nation’s capital have not been cheered by people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Palestine as the same type of planes fly over their homes—terrifying and killing their children and wreaking havoc on their lives.
Over those countries, Air Force B-2 Spirit, Air Force F-22 Raptor, Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18 Hornet stealth fighters and bombers fly so high they are not seen or heard—until the massive explosions from their 500- to 2,000-pound bombs hit and obliterate everything and everyone in their radius. The blast radius of a 2,000-pound bomb is 82 feet, but the lethal fragmentation reaches 1,200 feet. In 2017, the Trump administration dropped the most massive non-nuclear bomb in its inventory—the 21,000 pound “mother of all bombs”—on a cave tunnel complex in Afghanistan.
While most Americans have probably forgotten we are still at war in Afghanistan, the Trump administration “eased” the rules of engagement, allowing the military to drop more bombs in 2018 than in any other year since the war began in 2001. The 7,632 bombs dropped by American aircraft in 2018 made U.S. weapons makers rich, but hit 1,015 Afghan civilians.
The Boeing-made combat attack Apache helicopters, a crowd pleaser on July 4, have been used by the U.S. Army to blow up homes and cars filled with civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Israeli military uses them to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the Saudi military has killed children in Yemen with these death machines.
"Pretty Please" - Trump Asked Iran To Allow Him To Bomb It
by Moon Of Alabama
On June 20 Iran shot down a U.S. spy drone. U.S. President Trump decided not to retaliate. The White House and the media claimed that Trump had ordered a strike on Iran but pulled it back at the last minute. We said that this was likely bullshit:
The whole storyline of "a strike was ordered but Trump
held back and saved the day" might well be fake.
A strike in retaliation for the downed drone may have never been on the table. An alternative interpretation is that the U.S. sought agreement for a symbolic 'strike' from Iran. It would hit some empty desert place to allow Trump to save face. Iran would have disagreed with that plan.
The British ambassador to the U.S., who's briefings to London leaked yesterday, agrees with that take:
[Sir Kim Darroch] questioned Trump's recent claim that he aborted a missile strike on Iran because it would have caused a predicted 150 casualties, saying it 'doesn't stand up'.
'It's more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020' – at the next Presidential election.
Elijah Magnier reported that Trump had asked Iran to allow him to strike back, but was rebuffed:
According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
A senior Iranian general has revealed that Washington, through diplomatic channels, recently asked Tehran to allow it to conduct a small-scale operation in the Iranian airspace in order to save its face following the IRGC’s shoot-down of a US spy drone.
Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the Head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organization, said Iran vehemently rejected the US request, saying that it will respond to any act of aggression.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran responded that it views any operation as a war and will give a crushing response to it. You may initiate a war but this is Iran which will finish it,” he said Sunday.
An hour with Chomsky on fascism, nuclear weapons, climate change and more . . .
Disgrace & insult to Holocaust victims: Noam Chomsky slams anti-Semitism accusations against Labour
Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
by Hagar Shezaf
How Israeli spies are flooding Facebook and Twitter
Facebook May Pose a Greater Danger Than Wall Street
by Ellen Brown
Facebook reportedly has high hopes that Libra will become the foundation for a new financial system free of control by Wall Street power brokers and central banks.
Very good interview of Paul Craig Roberts by the Herland Report
The Torture of Julian Assange
(6 min video concert)
with Cass McCombs
Is US Capitalism in Decline?
with Richard Wolff
Obama: Front Man for Washington’s Imperialism
by Paul Craig Roberts
Clarity Press is a good publisher for authors willing to provide real information in place of the officially sanctioned controlled explanations of our time. A current example is Jeremy Kuzmarov’s assessment of Obama, Obama’s Unending Wars. The forty-fourth president comes across as a successful front man for corporate rule and Washington’s imperialism.
Obama was the “drone king” whose regime bombed 7 Muslim countries, overthrew the democratic government in Hondurus, overthrew and murdered Gaddafi, tried to do the same thing to Assad in Syria, overthrew the democratic government in Ukraine and demonized Russia and the Russian president, tried to undermine and overthrow the democratically elected Latin American presidents Morales, Chavez, and Ortega, constantly lied through his teeth, and met with the approval of the military/security complex and global capitalists. Topping off these criminal events, Obama’s regime adopted the policy of murdering US citizens on suspicion alone without due process of law. Execution orders were issued every Tuesday as Obama with CIA director John Brennan at his side chose presumed terrorists from mug shots and biographies prepared by no one knows who. “Some were just teenagers like a young girl who looked ‘less than her seventeen years.’”
In the name of preventing atrocities, the Obama regime committed mass atrocities. One consequence was a massive flow of refugees into the US and its empire of peoples who have every reason to hate Americans, Europeans, Australians and Canadians for sending soldiers and bombs to destroy their homes and murder and maim their family members.
Obama was the perfect front man for a cruel empire. Being partly black, he could be presented as humanitarian and considerate of the dark-skinned peoples the George W. Bush regime had ground under the American boot. Being a one-term senator from Illinois, he had no following and no independent political base, and thus had no ability to stand up to powerful organized interest groups. Installed in office, he delivered the violence and mayhem that the ruling oligarchs wanted as they destroyed independent governments, controlled oil flows, and sought to establish Washington’s and Israel’s hegemony over the Middle East.
Kuzmarov’s report on Obama fits the model of Washington intervention that many have reported. For example, General Smedley Butler: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/27/something-to-think-about-on-memorial-day/ , John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers. The difference is that Obama was very much aware that he was fronting for the ruling establishment, whereas General Butler initially thought he was defending American interests rather than the interests of the New York banks and United Fruit Company. Perkins thought he was helping the countries targeted by the projects for which he worked, and the Dulles brothers operated independently of presidents. Obama knew who he was serving and suffered no self-deception.
Donald Trump attempted to reassert the independence of the presidency and found himself framed on Russiagate charges. It will be interesting to see if the authority of the office can be restored or whether henceforth the president will be a puppet of the Establishment.
US Foreign Policy Is A War On Disobedience
by Caitlin Johnstone
In an excellent new essay titled “We’re Not the Good Guys — Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?“, Tom Engelhardt criticizes the way western media outlets consistently describe the behavior of disobedient nations like Iran as “aggressions”, but never use that label for the (generally antecedent and far more egregious) aggressions of the United States.
“When it comes to Washington’s never-ending war on terror, I think I can say with reasonable confidence that, in the past, the present, and the future, the one phrase you’re not likely to find in such media coverage will be ‘American aggression,'” Engelhardt writes. He then asks a very fair question:
“So here’s the strange thing, on a planet on which, in 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 149 countries, or approximately 75% of all nations; on which the U.S. has perhaps 800 military garrisons outside its own territory; on which the U.S. Navy patrols most of its oceans and seas; on which U.S. unmanned aerial drones conduct assassination strikes across a surprising range of countries; and on which the U.S. has been fighting wars, as well as more minor conflicts, for years on end from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Niger in a century in which it chose to launch full-scale invasions of two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), is it truly reasonable never to identify the U.S. as an ‘aggressor’ anywhere?
In other words, does it really make sense for any nation to be able to take over the world and then look up with Bambi-eyed innocence saying “I was attacked! Completely out of the blue!” whenever any government pushes back on this? If you ask the empire’s narrative makers, the answer is a resounding yes.
The U.S. has military forces in over a hundred countries. So why won't the mainstream media call us an aggressor?
Despite military involvement in 75% of the world, mainstream news outlets always stop short of calling out American aggressions.
This important discrepancy is as close as we’ll ever get to an honest admission from the political/media class that they consider empire-building and endless war to be normal, and any opposition to it freakish. All nations are meant to submit to America’s use of military and economic force upon them, and if they don’t, that’s “aggression”. The official position of the political/media class is that the US is a normal nation with the same rights and status as any other, but the unofficial position is that this is an empire, and nations will either obey or be destroyed.