Archive for February, 2010

It’s time for We The People to write a new True Story …

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Our  Fundamental Truth about …

As I was about to begin writing this piece, the melody of the unforgettable theme song of that classic movie ‘Casablanca’ drifted up from my memory and mingled with the subject of what I was about to write: ‘It’s now an old, old story, a love for profit’s glory, a case of do or die; the fundamental truth of life … in USA … ’  (‘As Time Goes By.’)

As you may remember, the movie theme dealt with the reality of “woman needs man, and man must have his mate, that no one can deny….” All of which made perfect sense to me for dealing with truth in the topic of this article.

Every month, some American businesses move their operations and jobs out of the US to some low wage country.  Why do they do this?   It’s easy to understand.

When employers face unrelenting competition from foreign companies who are able to market equivalent goods or services using their native workers to do the same work in ten, twelve or more hours per day, six days per week, without US job safety regulations, worker compensation, pensions, and spend only a small fraction of the wages that US employers pay American workers to do the same work; then US based employers are faced with a sink or swim dilemma.  US law allows foreign companies to export many goods and services to the US consumer market without imposing any import tariffs.

Foreign-made products can be sold in the US for a lower price than equivalent products produced in the US.  A US-based company faces two options to survive,  – move and setup their operations to produce goods or services outside of the US; then export their products to the US and sell them to US customers, or go out of business.  The result is a loss of jobs either way for US workers.  It is workers, who create America’s potential.

When the wages of unemployed workers disappear, the incomes of merchants disappear.  In a money economy, it is absolutely important to maintain the circle of income for workers, whose wages are spent to purchase goods and services they need.  Those purchases provide the incomes that businesses use to pay the costs and wages of other workers, who produce yet other goods and services that other workers and businesses need to continue their pursuit of life.   It is not difficult to understand that relationship.

Because we need a solution to the immanent collapse of the US economy, let’s consider the essence of what we suggested in an Open Letter to President Obama, shortly after he was inaugurated.  The letter is listed below.

————————————

“February 12, 2009

“President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

“Congratulations, Mr. President

“Please read this suggestion.  It could solve what you are trying to do.

“The rejuvenation of the economy would be possible if Congress enabled the federal government, instead of employers, to assume the responsibility to pay the wages of all workers nationwide.

“Doing this would enable employers to invest in upgrading workers’ skills to use efficient cutting-edge technology and research to make US employers the foremost providers of quality goods and services.  The employers of industries and businesses would be happy to focus those savings on optimizing their processes.

“The government would be able to recover the cost of paying the wages of all workers in the US by taxing the profits of employers, but would allow employers to deduct the costs of adopting appropriate technologies and research efforts that enhance their operations.

“Workers would again be spending their wages to purchase the goods and services from industry and business.

“The government would also be able to tax the income of all workers, but would allow their appropriate deductions.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the total wages paid to all US workers during the years 2002 through 2007 ranged from $1,182 trillion to $1.532 trillion dollars per year.

“The 2009 bank bailouts will exceed the total wages paid in 2007.

“If the federal government were to pay the 2009 wages of all workers; it would be less than what is spent for the bailouts of failed loans by banks.

When workers can become customers, they spur continuing improvement in the production and distribution of goods and services.

“The government would secure our unalienable Rights, as described so well in the second paragraph of the Declaration.

“God bless your wishes,

“Wilfred Mische”

—————————————–

Now, let’s look at a very important portion of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be elf-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This tells us that governments are instituted by people to secure those unalienable Rights.  That means that the purpose of our federal and state governments is to secure what makes it possible for the people of the United States to have the liberty to pursue their life in happiness.  What is required for the American people to secure their pursuit of happiness and other unalienable Rights?

In our money-based system, people need to be employed to earn the financial income with which they purchase the goods and services that they consume to satisfy their standard of living.

Merchants and farmers depend on those purchases for an income to pay their costs to produce and distribute goods and services for their customers and also to maintain their personal lively-hoods.

In the times past and the present, merchants of all types employed workers to do the work of producing and distributing the goods and services that consumers purchase.  Since most of the consumers are workers or are related to workers, the survival of industry and business depends on the consumption of workers who earn wages that enable them to purchase the goods and services of an appropriate standard of living.  The generator of prosperity, in a money-based society, is the opportunity and ability of workers to earn a wage that can purchase an appropriate standard of living.  If workers are unable to purchase goods and services, merchants are unable to sell goods and services.

In the USA, our federal government has allowed the products and services of foreign businesses to enter the US consumer market without tariffs and to be sold in competition with US made goods and services.  The competition impels US manufacturers to produce or service goods that excel in quality at the most cost efficient and appropriate design.  But, foreign manufacturers can employ workers at a fraction of US production costs to do the same thing with an advantage, because foreign manufacturers are free of the labor and regulation costs required of US manufacturers.  Foreign manufacturers can thereby afford to offer their product at a significantly lower sale price that cannot be matched or beat by an equivalent product offered by US manufacturers on the US consumer market.

Our suggestion to President Obama can enable a true solution and genuine stimulus for US-based manufacturers and service businesses that choose to remain in the USA. The Declaration of Independence said in its second paragraph, that the purpose of our federal government is to secure the rights of American people; which includes those who are involved in the processes of US-based industry and business.  The proposal urges Congress and the President to pass legislation to authorize and appropriate the funds for the federal government to assume the responsibility of paying the wages of all employees of US-based business and industry.  Such a law will enable US employers to produce, distribute and market their goods and services for sale in the US consumer market without incurring the cost of labor.  With that law, we the people of the United States will be able to preserve and improve our industrial and business prosperity.

Might other nations adopt a similar process for their markets?  Yes, but America has a huge and sophisticated consumer market, which has been lost to foreign manufacturers.   By having our government assume the role of paying the wages of all US-based employers, we will recover the loss of our US consumer market and enable American industry, business and formal education to concentrate our attention on innovating cutting edge technology in the production and distribution of goods and services for Americans.

If you have questions, take a look at the letter we sent to President Obama.  We did receive a letter from his office, which thanked us for sending the letter.  If you agree with the proposal, write him; we can’t afford to lose the blessing of our consumer market, its industry and jobs, and needlessly go down the drain as a nation.

May God help us.

What Is The Answer … ?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Joe Stack, that 54 year old software engineer wrote a detailed explanation on his website why he chose to catch our attention by flying and crashing his airplane into an office of the Internal Revenue Service.  He knew, that if he chose to do that, he would need to be willing to die in the process.

What was Joe’s reason for doing that?  Why would he sacrifice his own life to tell us that?   Evidently, he wanted to warn us that our America is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Why did he think we, the people of the United States don’t realize that we no longer rule ourselves?  Did he hope that we might somehow secure our inalienable Rights with a government that derives “its just powers from the consent of the governed” rather than the influence of money from lobbyists?

Take a look at his own words, exactly as expressed from his web site:

“If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head.  Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

“We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers.  Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation” I have spent the total years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

“While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

“Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich = cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

“And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

“How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

“How did I get here?

“My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t stealing from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

“The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

“That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

“Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

“On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

“The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

“In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

“Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

“For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).”

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

“Note:
· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

“Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave.  Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

“During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity.  This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was losing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

“After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

“Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

“Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

“Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

“By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done.  I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

“To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need.  The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

“So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

“When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

“This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

“I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

“As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

“I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

“I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

“The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

“The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

Whose turn Is It Now … ?

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Recently, the world heard that one of its most celebrated and admired athletes was exposed as an adulterer.   This paragon of esteem has been a record breaker and achiever beyond the greatest performers of all time in his specific sport.  He was a combination of cordial and favored features and skills, which millions of people admire.

He became an extraordinary perfectionist in learning the precise techniques that enabled him to successfully contend with many of the momentary vagaries that the wisps of weather and terrain imposed on his accepted task of assigning a tiny, dimpled, white ball to obediently soar and land in a distant temporary grave, and be resurrected in triumph.

Once hailed as the king of the sport with fame and fortune, the shock of his sin mounted against him and emerged as an opportunity for empty souls to denigrate his charm and demolish his godlike elevation.  Wishes of adversity were extended to him by haters who despised his origins.  But the real God blessed him with the nobility of his parents, to honestly respect his people and apologize for his Achilles heel and promise his restitution of the admiration that he admittedly owed to his fans.

What a wonderful example for all of us, to see a Tiger recognize the faults of his weaknesses.  “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” The great basketball star, Magic Johnson, found a similar weakness, and in his midlife crisis he was similarly blessed by his Almighty.

Will the leaders, who lied to create the war and terror that killed or wounded millions of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, the USA and Palestine, apologize to the people of the world?  Will they confess why they overthrew the unalienable Rights of their victims and the American people?  Might George Bush 41, Bill Clinton, George Bush 43, Dick Cheney and his swarm of neo-cons, and the members of Congress who approved the war and terror; will the people of the world soon or ever see them confess and apologize for their international war crimes?

Will Barack Obama continue to fall into the sins of his predecessors and continue to violate the unalienable Rights of those same and other victims, or will he stop the wars that are now his and prove to be a champion that deserved to receive the Peace Prize?

None of the political crooks were champions.  None of them could hold a stick in comparison to Tiger Woods.  Millions of young people admire public figures in sports and entertainment, but only a few stars get through the eye of a needle and save their lives and reputations.  Tiger has taught his young admirers a lesson they will never forget or follow his mistake.  He saved a generation and possibly will truly be a legend.

Is the future built on the lessons we learn?   If that is true, then most of us are probably still in school, learning our lessons, as well.   Will we be tested?  The wise ones would probably tell us – yes, life in this world is our lesson.  May God be with all of us!

– WJ Anthony

A Brilliant ‘must read’ … ?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
(Thank you. Michel. for this brilliant article.)

Somalia: How Colonial Powers drove a Country into Chaos.

February 10, 2010

INTERVIEW OF MOHAMED HASSAN
BY GREGOIRE LALIEU & MICHEL COLLON

Somalia had every reason to succeed: an advantageous geographical situation, oil, ores and only one religion and one language for the whole territory; a rare phenomenon in Africa.  Somalia could have been a great power in the region. But the reality is completely different: famine, wars, lootings, piracy, bomb attacks. How did this country sink? Why has there been no Somali government   for approximately twenty years? Which scandals stand behind those pirates who hijack our ships? In this new chapter of our series “Understanding the Muslim World”, Mohamed Hassan explains for us why and how imperialist forces have applied in Somalia a chaos theory.

How did piracy develop in Somalia? Who are those pirates?

Since 1990, there has been no government in Somalia. The country is in the hands of warlords. European and Asiatic ships took advantage of this chaotic situation and fished along the Somali coast without a license or respect for elementary rules. They did not observe the quotas in force in their own country to protect the species and they used fishing techniques –even bombs!- that created huge damages to the wealth of the Somali seas.

That’s not all! Taking also advantage of this lack of any political authority, European companies, with the help of the mafia, dumped nuclear wastes offshore Somali coasts. Europe knew of this but turned a blind eye as that solution presented a practical and economical advantage for the nuclear waste management. Yet, the 2005 Tsunami brought a big part of these wastes into the Somali lands. Unfamiliar diseases appeared for the first time among the population. This is the context in which the piracy mainly developed. Somali fishermen, who had primitive fishing techniques, were no more able to work. So they decided to protect themselves and their seas. This is exactly what the United States did during the civilian war against the British (1756-1763): with no naval forces, President George Washington made a deal with pirates to protect the wealth of the American seas.

No Somali state for almost twenty years! How is that possible?

This is the result of an American strategy. In 1990, the country was bruised by conflicts, famine and lootings; the state collapsed. Facing this situation, the United States, who discovered oil in Somalia a few years ago, launched Operation Restore Hope in 1992. For the first time, US marines intervened in Africa to take control of a country. It was also the first time that a military invasion was launched in the name of humanitarian interference.

The famous rice bag exhibited on a Somali beach by Bernard Kouchner?

Yes, everybody remembers those pictures carefully showcased. But the real reasons were strategic. An US State Department report recommended indeed that the United States must stay the lonely global superpower after the Soviet Bloc collapse. To reach that goal, the report advocated to occupy a hegemonic position in Africa, which enjoys a vast amount of raw materials.

However, Restore Hope will be a failure. There was even that Hollywood movie “Black Hawk Down”, with those poor G.I.’s “attacked by the bad Somali rebels”…

US soldiers were indeed defeated by a Somali nationalist resistance. Since then, American policy was to keep Somalia without any real government, even to balkanize it. This is the old British strategy, already applied in many places: setting weak and divided states in order to better rule them. That is why there has been no Somali state for almost twenty years. The United States has implemented a chaos theory in order to stop any Somali reconciliation and keep the country divided.

In Sudan, due to the civilian war, Exxon has had to leave the country after having discovered oil. So isn’t letting Somalia plunge into chaos contrary to American interests, which cannot exploit the discovered oil?

Oil exploitation is not their priority. The United States know that the reserves are there but doesn’t need it immediately. Two elements are much more important in its strategy. First, prevent the competitors from negotiating with a rich and powerful Somali state. If you consider Sudan, the comparison is interesting. The oil that the American companies discovered there thirty years ago, Sudan is selling it today to China. The same thing could happen in Somalia. When he was president of the transition government, Abdullah Yusuf went to China although he was supported by the United States. US mass media had strongly criticized that visit. The fact is that United States have no guarantee on that point: if a Somali government is established tomorrow, whatever is its political color, it could probably adopt a strategy independent of United States and trade with China. Western imperialists do not want a strong and unified Somali state. The second goal pursued by this chaos theory is linked to the geographical location of Somalia, which is strategic for both European and American imperialists.


Why is it strategic?

The issue is the control of the Indian Ocean. Look at the map. As mentioned, western powers have an important share of the responsibility in the Somali piracy development. But instead of telling the truth and paying compensation for what they did, those powers criminalize the phenomena in order to justify their position in the region. Under the pretext of fighting the piracy, NATO is positioning its navy in the Indian Ocean.

What is the real goal?

To control the economic development of the emerging powers, mainly India and China. Half of the world’s container traffic and 70% of the total traffic of petroleum products passes through the Indian Ocean. From that strategic point of view, Somalia is a very important place: the country has the longest coast of Africa (3.300 km) and faces the Arabian Gulf and the Straight of Hormuz, two key points of the region economy. Moreover, if a pacific response is brought to the Somali problem, relations between African in one hand, and India and China on the other hand, could develop through the Indian Ocean. Those American competitors could then have influence in that African area. Mozambique, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa etc. All those countries connected to the Indian Ocean could gain easy access to the Asian market and develop fruitful economic relationship. Nelson Mandela, when he was president of South Africa, had  mentioned the need of an Indian Ocean revolution, with new economic relationships. The United States and Europe do not want this project. That is why they prefer to keep Somalia unstable..

You say that the United States does not want Somali reconciliation. But what are the roots of the Somali divisions?

In order to understand this chaotic situation, we must delve into Somali history. This country had been divided by colonial powers. In 1959, Somalia gained independence through the fusion of the Italian colony in the South, and the British colony in the North. But Somalis were also living in some parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The new Somali state adopted a star on its flag, each branch representing one part of the historical Somalia. The message behind that symbol: “Two Somalias have been united, but three are still colonized”.

Facing the legitimacy of those claims, the British – who controlled Kenya-, organized a referendum in the Kenyan area claimed by Somalia. 87% of the population, composed mainly of Somali ethnics, voted for the Somali unity. When the results were published, Jomo Kenyatta, a Kenyan nationalist leader, threatened the British to throw the colonists out if they gave a part of the territory up to Somalia. So Great Britain decided not to take the referendum into account, and today an important Somali community is still living in Kenya. You must understand that those colonial borders were a real disaster in the Somali case. The border issue was besides the object of an important debate among the African continent.

What was the issue of that debate?

In the sixties, as many African countries became independent, there was a debate between what we called the Monrovia and the Casablanca groups. This later, including among others Morocco and Somalia, resolved that the borders inherited from colonialism be discussed. For them, those boundaries had no legitimacy. But most of the African countries and their borders are colonialism products. Finally, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the ancestor of the current African Union, closed the debate by decreeing that the borders were indisputable: going back over those boundaries would provoke civilian wars everywhere on the continent. Later, one of the OAU architects, the Tanzanian Julius Nyerere, confessed that this decision was the best but that he regretted the Somali outcome.

What will be the impact of the colonial divisions on Somalia?

They will create strains with neighboring countries. During those years when Somalia advocated for revising the borders, Ethiopia became a US imperialism bastion. The United States had also military bases in Kenya and Eritrea. At this moment, Somalia, a young pastoral democracy, wished to build its own army. The goal was to not appear weak in front of the armed neighbors, to support Somali movements in Ethiopia and even to regain by force, if necessary, some territories. But the western forces were opposed to the creation of a Somali army.

So Somalia had tense relations with its neighbors. Was it not reasonable to be opposed to this Somali army project? It would have provoked wars, wouldn’t it?

The West did not care about conflicts between Africans but its own interests. The United States and Great Britain were providing and training militaries in Ethiopia, Kenya and Eritrea. Those countries were still under the yoke of very repressive feudal systems. But they were also neocolonial regimes devoted to Western interests. On the other hand, the power in place in Somalia was more democratic and independent. So the West had no interest in providing for a country that could escape its control.

As a consequence, Somalia decided to turn to the Soviet Union. This frightened the Western forces that feared Soviet influence stretching in to Africa. Those fears became more important with the 1969 putsch.

What do you mean?

Socialist ideas were spread in the country. An important Somali community was indeed living in Aden in South Yemen. However, this is where Britain used to exile persons it considered dangerous in India: communists, nationalists and so on. They used to be arrested and sent to Aden where nationalist and revolutionary ideas quickly developed and affected later both Yemenites and Somalis. Under the influence of civilians with Marxist ideas, a coup d’état was led by officers in 1969 and Siad Barre took power in Somalia.

What were the reasons of that coup d’état?

The Somali government was corrupted. He had however the cards in hand to erect the country to the great regional power rank: a strategic position, only one language, one religion and many common cultural elements. This is fairly rare in Africa. But, by missing the economical development of the country, this government has created a context favorable to divisions among clans. Under the pretext of doing politics, Somali elites become divided. Everyone created his own political party, without any real program, and recruited voters among the existing clans. This increased the divisions and turned out to be totally useless. A democracy in a liberal type was in fact unsuitable for Somalia: there were at once 63 political parties for a three million population country! And the government was even not able to adopt an official script, which was creating serious troubles in the administration. Education was weak. Bureaucracy, police and army were, however, established. This later will play a key role in the progressive coup d’état.

“Progressive”! With the army?

The army was the only organized institution in Somalia. As a repressive apparatus, it was supposed to protect the so-called civilian government and the elite. But for many Somalis coming from different families and areas, the army was also an exchange place where there were no borders, no tribalism, no clan divisions. This is how Marxist ideas from Aden circulated among the army.  So the coup d’état was led by officers who were most of all nationalist. They did not have a good knowledge of socialism but they had sympathy for those ideas. Moreover, they knew what was happening in Vietnam, and that fed anti-imperialist feelings. The civilians, who knew Marx and Lenin’s teachings lacked a mass political party, supported the coup d’état and become the advisers of the officers who took power.

What changes did the Somali coup d’état bring about?

One important positive aspect: the new government quickly adopted an official script. Likewise, the Soviet Union and China were helping Somalia. The students and the population mobilized themselves. Education and social conditions were enhanced. The years that followed the coup d’état were in fact the best ones that Somalia never knew. That is, until 1977.

What happened?

Somalia, which has been divided by colonial forces, attacked Ethiopia to get the territory of Ogaden back. Ogaden was mainly populated by Somalis. At this time however, Ethiopia was itself a socialist state supported by the Soviets. This country had been led for a long time by  Emperor Selassie. But in the seventies, there was an important mobilization to overthrow him. The students’ movement, in which I personally participated, made four major demands. First, to nonviolently and democratically resolve tensions with Eritrea. Secondly, to establish a land reform that would distribute the lands to the peasants.  Thirdly, to establish the principle of equality among the nationalities; Ethiopia was a multinational country led by elite who did not represent the diversity. Fourthly, to abolish the feudal system and to establish a democratic state. As in Somalia, the army was the only organized institution in Ethiopia and the civilians joined the officers to overthrow Selassie in 1974.

How did two socialist states, each supported by the Soviet Union, enter conflict?

After the Ethiopian revolution, a delegation including Soviet Union, Cuba and South Yemen organized a round table with Ethiopia and Somalia in order to resolve their contradiction. Castro went to Addis Abeba and Mogadishu. To him, Somali claims were justified. Finally, the Ethiopian delegation agreed to  seriously seriously its Somali neighbor’s demands. The two countries made an agreement stipulating that no provocation should happen as long as no decision has been taken. Things seemed to start well but Somalia did not honor the agreement…

Two days after the Ethiopian delegation returned to its country, Henry Kissinger, a former Nixon Secretary of State, turned up to Mogadishu. Kissinger was representing an unofficial organization: the Safari Club that was among others including Shah’s Iran, Mobutu’s Congo, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and French and Pakistani intelligence services. The objective of that organization was to fight against the Soviet infiltration in the Gulf and in Africa. Under the Safari Club pressures and help promises, Siad Barre committed a disastrous strategic mistake of attacking Ethiopia.

What were the consequences of that war?

Soviets left the region. Somalia, still led by Siad Barre, integrated the neocolonial network of the imperialist forces. The country had been seriously damaged by the conflict and the World Bank and the IFM were in charge of “rebuilding” it. This has aggravated infighting among Somali bourgeoisie. Each regional elite wanted to have its own market. They made the divisions among the clans’ worst and contributed to the progressive dislocation of their country up to Siad Barre’s fall in 1990. Since that, any head of state succeeded to him.

But, thirty years after the Ogaden war, the opposite scenario happened: Ethiopia was supported by the United States to attack Somalia…

Yes, as I said, since the Restore Hope failure, United States has preferred to keep Somalia in chaos. However, in 2006, a spontaneous movement developed under the Islamic courts to fight against the local warlords and bring unity to the country. It was a kind of Intifada. In order to stop this movement from rebuilding Somalia, United States decided suddenly to support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) after having refused to recognize it before. In fact, they realized that their project of a Somalia without effective state was no more possible: a movement – furthermore Islamic!- was about to lead to a national reconciliation. In order to sabotage the Somali unity, United States decided to support the TFG. But this later was lacking any social basis and an army. So the Ethiopian troops, commanded by Washington, attacked Mogadishu to overthrow the Islamic courts.

Did it work?

No, the Ethiopian army was defeated and had to leave Somalia. On their side, the Islamic courts were dispersed in several movements that still control a big part of the country today. As for Abdulla Yusuf’s transitional government, he collapsed and United States replaced it by Sheik Sharif, the former Islamic Court spokesman.

So Sheik Sharif has passed to “the other camp”?

He used to be the Islamic courts spokesman because he is a good orator. But he has no political knowledge. He has no idea what imperialism or nationalism are. That is why western powers took him back. He was the Islamic court’s weak link. Today he chairs a fake government, created in Djibouti. This government has no social base or authority in Somalia. It only exists on the international level because the imperialist forces support it.

In Afghanistan, the United States said they were ready to negotiate with Taliban. Why don’t they look for discussing with the Islamic groups in Somalia?

Because those groups want to take the foreign occupier over and to allow a national reconciliation for the Somali people. As a result, the United States wants to break those groups: a reconciliation, through the Islamic movement or through the TFG, is not in the interests of the imperialist forces. They just want chaos. The problem is that today, this chaos reached Ethiopia too, which is very weak since the 2007 aggression. A nationalist resistance movement came to the light over there to fight against the pro-imperialist government of Addis Ababa. With their chaos theory, United States had in fact created troubles in the whole region. And now, they took it out on Eritrea.

Why?

This little country leads an independent national policy. Eritrea also has a vision for the whole region: the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia) do not need foreign powers’ interference; its wealth should allow it to establish new economical relationship on the basis of mutual respect. According to Eritrea, the region must get it together and its members must be able to discuss about their problems. Of course, this policy frightens United States that fears that other countries follow that example. So they accuse Eritrea of sending weapons to Somalia and instigating troubles in Ethiopia.

Isn’t Eritrea sending weapons in Somalia?

Not even a bullet! This is a pure propaganda as they did against Syria about the Iraqi resistance. Eritrea’s vision catches up with the project of Indian Ocean revolution that we spoke about before. The western powers do not want of that and wish to bring Eritrea back to the circle of the neocolonial states under control, such as Kenya, Ethiopia or Uganda.

Are there no terrorist in Somalia?

Imperialist powers have always labeled as terrorists the people who fight for their right. Irishmen were terrorists until they signed an agreement. Abbas was a terrorist. Now, he is a friend.

But we heard about Al Qaeda in Somalia?

Al Qaeda is everywhere, from Belgium to Australia! That invisible Al Qaeda is a logo designed to justify to the public opinion military operations. If United States say to their citizens and soldiers: “We are going to send our troops into the Indian Ocean in order to probably fight against China”, people would be afraid of course. But if you tell them that it is just about fighting piracy and Al Qaeda, it won’t be a problem. The real goal is however different. It consists in setting forces in the Indian Ocean region that will be the theater of major conflicts in the coming years. This is what we will analyze in the next chapter…

Mohamed Hassan is a geopolitics and Arab world specialist. Born in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), he participated in student movements on the occasion of the socialist revolution of 1974 in his country. He studied political science in Egypt before specializing in public administration in Brussels. As a diplomat for his country of origin, he worked in Washington, Beijing and Brussels. Co-writer of L’Irak sous occupation (EPO, 2003), he has also contributed to books about Arab nationalism, Islamic movements and Flemish nationalism. He is one of the best contemporary experts on the Arab and Muslim world.

Understanding the Muslim World with Mohamed Hassan – Previous chapters:

Yemen: USA are fighting against democracy, not against Al-Qaeda

What should Ahmadinejad do to get the Nobel Price?

Afghanistan – Pakistan: the black hole of the empire

The Darfur crisis: blood, hunger and oil

“Gaza is a normal place with normal people”

How can we explain the success of Hamas ?

To visit the subject in depth, Mohamed Hassan recommends the following publications:

– Mohamed Omar, The Road to Zero: Somalia’s Self-Destruction, Haan Publishing,1993

– Babu, Abdul, Rahman Mohamed. African Socialism or Socialist Africa? Londres, Zed Press,

1981, 190 p.

– Hersi, Ali Abdirahman, The Arab factor in Somali history : the origins and the development of Arab enterprise and cultural influences in the Somali Peninsula, Thesis–University of California, Los Angeles, 1977

– Michel Caraël, La ruine du pansomalisme, in Le Monde diplomatique, octobre 1982

– Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror,

– John K. Cooley, Unholy wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, Pluto Press, 2000

– John Drysdale, Whatever Happened to Somalia?, Haan Publishing, 1994

Proofread by Saja, Tlaxcala

Is our Time running out to … ?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

(Thanks to the great website, Opinion Maker, for this excellent article.)

AFGHAN LEADERS CALL SURGE, “IMBECILIC AND TRAGIC”

14
Feb, 2010

Gordon Duff

WRONG REGION, WRONG ENEMY, WRONG TACTICS, BAD ADVICE

AMERICA RECRUITING 10,000 TERRORISTS A DAY IN AFGHANISTAN

Last year a number of contractors were thrown out of Afghanistan over the infamous “but-crack” video showing nude imbeciles involved in an unsanitary ceremony.  Little did we know that these must have been the people who planned the American “Surge” meant to stabilize Afghanistan, supplied the intelligence for General McChrystal, may actually have written his report.  Top leaders of the Afghan people weighed in on our operation in Helmand province with American Marines and British troops.  They call it “imbecilic” and “tragic,” faulting nearly every aspect as uninformed, misinformed or simply wrong.

Tribal “Jirgas” (councils) of the real government of Afghanistan, the actual rulers of that fractured state are behind one thing now, getting America out of Afghanistan and getting rid of Karzai, who they see is, not only an American puppet but one of the most useless human beings ever born.  Why mince words.  Actually, I am, their real words are much worse than anything that could be printed, their rage, their words and their tears.

A MASSIVE BLUNDER

Word has been pouring out of Afghanistan.  Every move America makes is hitting blogs around the world through a network of Afghani ex-patriots who are in continual communication.  The word is out:  Our “invasion” that combined Afghani forces with American and British has not gone after Taliban strongholds at all but rather attacked areas controlled by Karzai opponents who were ready to negotiate a legitimate government.

To the people of Afghanistan, the Karzai government was put in place out of utter idiocy in the first place, a failure of the Bush administration to understand that Afghanistan was not going to be ruled by brutal warlords from the “Northern Alliance” who are the ethnic enemies of the majority of the population of Afghanistan.  Placing weakling Mohammed Karzai in as president and supporting him thru a rigged election has only made things worse.

USING “COUNTER-INSURGENCY” TO RECRUIT TERRORSTS

American, Britain and the “Afghani Army” simply aren’t very good at many things, Afghanistan has proven this.  We don’t seem to be able to tell a poppy plant from wheat, we can’t find Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, and we don’t know the Taliban from our own “butt-crack.”  Reports on operations are clear.  We are managing to frighten, brutalize and anger hundreds of thousands of people who have nothing to do with the Taliban, not before anyway.

Now, “they” are rethinking this.  This is the message being received around the world.

Tribal leaders are saying:

We have millions of young men coming of age, America doesn’t realize this.  Each one will become a fighter with one purpose in life, to free their country and drive out foreign invaders.  Each child you see will be a trained soldier with a Kalashnikov.  We will fight for a century if we have to.  Ask Britain, ask Russia, they know.

Why did America have to come here, join with criminal elements, brutal drug lords, mass murderers, people whose only history is brutality toward their own, why was America so stupid as to think we would respect them when they and their stooges rain bombs down on our children?

THE FAILED SURGE IN IRAQ, THE REAL TRUTH

America calls it “the surge” or the “Sunni awakening.”  Either way, it was all a con.  General Petraeus paid millions in bribes to war lords, mostly Sunni and put the militia members who were fighting the United States on the payroll.  The fighting died down, most American troops withdrew to safe areas and we claimed a victory.  What did we really accomplish?

Well, years later, we are still there and Iraq is becoming less stable every day.  The “leaders” we paid rebuilt the old Baathist party, now, without Saddam to lead it, it is simply a massive crime organization involved in daily murders, kidnappings and racketeering.  We created a country plagued by a Mafia we built, now nobody is asking us to leave anymore, everyone is scared to death.

Thank you General Petraeus.  As with General Westmoreland in Vietnam, we “managed the news” and “stayed on message” but our strategy was a sham, it was simply a way to admit failure and lie about it.  We are planning the exact same thing in Afghanistan but it simply didn’t need to be that way.

WHAT A COMPETENT AND WELL INFORMED MILITARY LEADER MIGHT HAVE DONE

Sitting in Kabul or Washington, surrounded by drug dealers and thieves, even worse people in Kabul, it is hard to get good information and make good decisions.  Everyone you talk to has an agenda, everyone is lying.  Who are our advisors?  Well, first of all, the entire world knows that Karzai’s family is helping run the largest drug cartel in the world.  In fact, the biggest civil project America has done in Afghanistan was to repair a dam producing electricity for Kandahar, a dam that also provides irrigation for most of Afghanistan’s opium crop, one Americans are dying to keep secure today.

“Don’t worry, no poppy plants will be injured in the making of this picture.”

America had the chance to sit down with Pakistan and other regional powers, some that we don’t talk to and come up with an economic solution that could provide lasting stability for the tribal regions which are primarily inside Pakistan.  We failed to realize that 25 million Pashtuns live just the other side of the border in Pakistan.  With the right help for Pakistan, the right economic programs and leadership, both countries could be helped and lives, perhaps millions, could be saved without pouring billions of useless dollars into the pockets of defense contractors infesting the halls of Congress, some with the arrogance and blatant insensibility of our actual elected leaders.

IMRAN KHAN OF PAKISTAN, THE REGION’S ONLY RESPECTED LEADER

Combine Michael Jordan, Antonio Banderas and John F. Kennedy and you have Imran Khan, or that is how many in Afghanistan and Pakistan see him.  Cricket is “the” sport in Pakistan and he is the most famous player in the historyof that game.  He is also a political leader, outspoken, charismatic and in a country where most other leaders are Punjabi or Sindhi, Khan is a Pashtun.

Khan is known for his outspoken commentaries warning the west of Islamic extremism and advocating economic development over military solutions that Khan says only fuel terrorism.  Khan says:

My Generation grew up at a time when colonial hang up was at its peak. Our older generation had been slaves and had a huge inferiority complex of the British. The school I went to was a similar to all elite schools in Pakistan, despite becoming independent, they were, and still are, producing replicas of public school boys rather than Pakistanis. I read Shakespeare which was fine, but no Alama Iqbal.

The Islamic class was not considered to be serious, and when I left the school I was considered amongst the elite of the country because I could speak English and wore western clothes. Despite periodically shouting Pakistan Zindabad at school functions, I considered my own culture backward and Islam an outdated religion.

Amongst our group if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah. Because of the power of the Western Media, all our heroes were western movie or pop stars.

In University not just Islam but all religions were considered anachronism. Science had replaced religion and if something couldn’t be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies…Moreover, the European history had an awful experience with religion, The horrors committed by the Christian clergy in the name of God during the Inquisition had left a powerful impact on the western mind.

To understand why the west is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see torture apparatus used during Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy and convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive.

However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practised by most of its preachers. In other words, there was a huge difference between what they practised and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an over emphasis on rituals.

I feel that humans are different; to animals whereas the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Quran constantly appeals to reason. The worst of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups.

Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence wielded by my mother on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.

Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited, gradually went as I developed into a world class athlete. Secondly, I had the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both the societies.

In western societies, institutions were strong while they were collapsing in our country. However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life. I used to notice the loneliness of the old-age pensioners at Hove Cricket ground (during my Sussex years). Imagine sending your parents to Old Peoples’ Homes!

Even the children there never had the sort of love and warmth that we grew up with here. They completely miss out on the security blanket that a joint family system provides. However, I began to realise that the biggest loss to the western society and that in trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives.

KHAN’S ROLE

With civil government in Pakistan collapsed under scandal and the Afghani government in Kabul ruling little of the country and mistrusted by the vast majority of its citizens, and NATO, led by the United States fearful of terrorism and Islamic extremism, Khan is the only well known individual with the trust and respect of Islam and the United States yet known for his outspoken independence.  Khan has not been a friend to the United States, quite the opposite.  He has been one of America’s greatest critics at a time known for America’s greatest failures.

His tough role of standing up to the west and to corrupt forces in his own country and his strong ties to Afghanistan make him the vital key to ending the cycle of terrorism and extremism in the region, a region whose potentials for conflict can be far more threatening than the current war in Afghanistan.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been increasing daily with each accusing the other sponsoring terrorist group.  Terror attacks, shootings, bombings, occur daily in Pakistan and India and are on the increase.  The two regional nucear powers, both allies of the United States, are on a continual “war readiness” footing.

FINDING THE RIGHT ENEMY

Currently, no respected leader in Afghanistan will talk to any American, military leader or diplomat under any circumstances.  America believes it is negotiating with the Taliban and is moving forward with a “plan” but is operating under a series of misconceptions.  No non-Islamic forces will ever be allowed to operate in Afghanistan.  They will only cause tribal uprisings, creating terrorism, not ending it.  Why leaders like General McChrystal who knows this very well would purposefully ignore this fact is strange indeed.

The border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan are areas of lawlessness that can provide safe harbor foreign terrorists and have, in limited numbers, how limited, we will never know.  The same region is also home to millions of people who can be armed insurgents and radicalized “Jihadists” or live in relative peace, largely depending on factors now controlled by the United States.

LIVING WITH THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST

In the 80s, when the pro-Soviet government in Kabul called for Russian help against tribal opposition, America weighed in, arming Mujahideen insurgents, the exact same people we are fighting today, same people, same leaders, same beliefs, only a generation later.  When we had the chance to come into Afghanistan as a friend after the withdrawal of Russian forces and build a new economy there for pennies, we didn’t care.  The Soviet Union had collapsed and we lost interest.  We are now paying for those mistakes.

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Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, grunt and 100% disabled vet. He has been a UN Diplomat, defense contractor and is a widely published expert on military and defense issues. He is active in the financial industry and is a specialist on global trade. Gordon Duff acts as political and economic advisor to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East.

He writes regularly for Veterans Today and Opinion Maker.

Readers Comments

Will we be ready for … ?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

(Thanks to the great work and website – Opinion Maker)

The rise of ‘Chimerica’

11
Feb, 2010


Humayun Gauhar

We are in the throes of that rare seminal change that is caused by the collapse of a World Order. The transition period turns order into disorder, particularly economic and political. The catalyst is almost always acute financial strain caused by military misadventures that throw up internal contradictions long hidden beneath the surface. Stability returns only when a new order has been painfully forged with regional or global power shifting wholly or partially elsewhere, only to go again with the next great flux. Such is the ebb and flow of world power.

Today’s flux is greater than the one caused by the two World Wars with the Great Depression thrown in between, when power shifted from Europe to the United States and the late unlamented Soviet Union. It led to that ‘Great Rivalry’ between the two, famously known as the ‘Cold War’, and the raising of the so-called ‘Iran Curtain’ by the Soviets. The US became a new kind of superpower, largely without conquest and direct control but acquiring hegemony through, as far as possible, consensual rather than coercive domination. Instead of conquering and occupying territory (until Afghanistan and Iraq) like the European colonizers did, it won world market shares and influence mostly via economic domination and the threat of being left out in the cold (sanctions) – the redoubtable Carrot and Stick policy rather than the European Divide and Rule doctrine.
The Cold War was also a World War, with the world largely divided between the US and the Soviet Blocs. And just as WWI became a new kind of war with the use of aerial power for the first time and WWII with the ultimate use of nuclear bombs, the Cold War was a new kind of war fought neither by conventional nor nuclear weapons but by the threat of the use of them. Like all wars, it too was about the control of world market shares and access to cheap labour, raw materials and markets, largely Third World, made captive by systematic dependence and the seduction of interest bearing loans with often inhuman conditions attached masquerading as ‘aid’. Proof lies in the fact that not one developing country has come out of the pejorative Third World category because of the Bretton Woods institutions or any other form of ‘aid’. Instead, most have got more dependent. The Cold War ended with the demise of the Soviet Union and the US acquiring the mantle of sole superpower.
From 1990, we saw the dawn of a unipolar world. It had to be brief. Now it’s over. It couldn’t last. Why?  The US has yet to learn to function outside an adversarial framework. When there was no adversary left, it made enemies where there were none instead of becoming honest broker. Now with another acute economic downturn the short-lived unipolar world gives way to a multi-polar world and power shifts from West to East, from the US to China. The US was unable to consolidate its unipolar position because only by giving benefit without conditions and strings attached can it be done. Instead, it chose to act like the global bully led for eight years by the global idiot – not unlike a village idiot. Having failed, it is now giving way to sharing global power with China, and in the not-too-distant future with Russia and perhaps with Germany as well.
Only one country remained outside the two main superpower blocs during the Cold War, its strength coming from its strong ideology. That was China. And it is China and only China that is emerging as the new superpower, to share global power and influence with a diminished United States. Whether it leads to another US-China Cold War remains to be seen, but if it does it will be a war America cannot win. Thus I believe (hope?) that America realizes that it can extract greater mileage if it works with China. That will require an extraordinary of leap of maturity on its part, something that has been lacking since it acquired superpower status. It may be forced to learn now, since I find it difficult to accept that it won’t realize that in an adversarial relationship with China it will be the ultimate loser. It will have to have a cooperative relationship with China, because right now both are dangerously dependent on the other. Andreas Lorenz calls this new possible relationship ‘The Rise of Chimerica’. Let’s see.
Essentially, the rousing plank of world wars is ideology by exploiting the lowest common denominator to get public support – fascism versus democracy, secularism versus religion, capitalism versus communism – all to do with dominance and maximizing economic advantage. They bubble and boil in the cauldron of power unseen for long. Then one day some incident leads to the lethal brew spilling over the world war becomes hot. Just as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia and Heir Presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne) in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, triggered off World War I; the bombing of Pearl Harbor turned Hitler’s European war into World War II; the US-Soviet standoff of the Cold War was World War III (fought mostly by intelligence and, when unavoidable, by proxy), and the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan triggered off its demise and the advent of the unipolar world; the tragic events of September 11, 2001, triggered off World War IV, popularly known as the ‘War Against Terror’, fought again with a new and most potent kind of weapon yet – the human bomb – and against a new kind of enemy – ‘Shadows’ cast, not by the British music group of the Sixties but Frankenstein’s monsters of America’s own creation – Non-State Actors. What next?
The defeat of the US and its allies, particularly in Afghanistan, and the huge amount of money borrowed and wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan triggered the demise of the unipolar and the advent of a multi-polar world, even if it doesn’t signal the end of World War IV just yet. For that we will have to wait for the second great economic downturn, which may be upon us faster than we imagine. Because World War IV it is led by the US on one side and non-Muslim militants on the other, some believe it to be a war between secularism and Islam or even the recent Judeo-Christian Combine versus Islam. Yet others would like to believe that it is the coming of Armageddon, when Christians and Jews will fight the forces of the anti-Christ (which Christian fascists consider Islam to be) until the latter are decimated and Israel truly comes into being, unchallenged and unbothered. As you can see, the world may have changed many a time but the high incidence of fruitcakes in it remains undiminished. It is a war that America is losing. And it is a war that has triggered off its economic collapse because it brought its economic contradictions to the fore.
The US brought this upon itself by getting involved in two unnecessary wars, one contrived. It exposed the structural weaknesses in its economy, its sorry economic condition brought on by reckless borrowing and the acute state of bankruptcy of its financial institutions due to reckless management and weak regulation driven by greed and avarice. While we blame greedy bankers for taking huge salaries and even bigger bonuses, we forget that what they did was entirely legal, though immoral. The laws and the system allowed them to be both greedy and immoral. It was this same greed and immorality, duality and megalomania driven by the hegemony drive that informed America’s relations with other states, especially of the Third World. It could not last. It had to implode. It did.
All claims of having “got over the hump”, “green shoots”, “turnaround” and “recovery” are so much poppycock. They just cannot help misleading their own people and the world, like its genetic, underlining the amorality of capitalism. They have done nothing to correct the acute fundamental and structural flaws in their economy and their financial institutions. All their bailouts were throwing bad money after worse. America’s total indebtedness is even worse than it was in October 2008, when the downslide started. Many of its states, particularly its richest, California, are bankrupt. The dollar has lost value and is continuing to lose value. Unemployment is at a long-time high. Manufacturing is receding. Banks are not lending and people are not borrowing. This does not portend well for a consumption-based economy. Credit Default Swaps of between $50-60 trillion overhang, like dark, ominous clouds threatening a mega storm. The commercial real estate bust is neigh. No, the fundamentals, already terrible, have got worse.
The only thing that has saved the American economy so far from utter collapse is China, because it too would suffer woefully were America to go belly up. America is its biggest customer. How people with the wisdom of the Chinese could put most of their eggs in one basket and make their economy so dependent on the health of someone else’s economy mystifies me. They should have started boosting domestic consumption years ago in order to weather just such an eventuality. They could easily have done this since their domestic consumption is very low and savings very high, and thus gradually reduced their dependence on exporting to America, which they are beginning to do now. I can only put it down to the rapid drive for economic development. It has been so rapid that it has left the world breathless. Perhaps it was high-speed economic progress that caused a temporary suspension of the fabled Chinese wisdom and their genetic long-term thinking. The backlash had to come.
This does not mean that China will not wrest maximum advantage out of this flux, but at a pace that doesn’t adversely impact its economy. As you see the Yuan revalue you will also see the mighty dollar recede. Soon, oil will not be traded in US dollars alone and new oil bourses will start coming up, ending the dollar’s monopoly in oil. As to the over $4 trillion debt the US owes China, plus some of the Chinese surplus of $2 trillion lying in dollars, the only way out that I can see is debt-equity swaps, which means that China will end up owning a lot of America’s prime family silver. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s the swing of the pendulum.
But don’t simply write America off so fast. Whatever happens, it will retain the most precious asset of all that makes a country primus inter pares. It has the world’s largest and most advanced knowledge bank. No one else comes close in comparison. As long as they have that and they start seeing sense – which can only come with the end of juvenile recklessness and the advent of some wisdom – America will remain a power to contend with. Wisdom is not new to America. Its founding fathers had it by the bucketful, more than collectively seen at any one time. It was this wisdom that led America to become the world’s first (largely) consensual hegemon rather than the usual coercive hegemon, as the European colonialists had been.
Actually, we are a very lucky people, living in times that are fast changing with history being made by the minute. I am following the growing tensions between China and India, China and America’s cyber wars, China and the US… I might be wrong, but I see another, bigger, financial setback for the US economy this year when commercial real estate loans default. This will be much bigger than the home loans, which led to the Crash of 2008. This one will be too big to bail out. Already you can see that the US Congress regards the two bailouts of AIG and the favoritism shown to Goldman Sachs as mistakes. I followed the questioning of the US Treasury Secretary in the Senate Committee and he was most unconvincing.

The Euro could collapse too, for it is highly overvalued. However, it is a currency without a father – or many fathers, to be precise. They need to devalue but if they do, it could accelerate the economic collapse of Spain, Greece, the UK and Portugal, to name but four hidden ‘giants’, not to mention ‘Bankrupt Britain’. We mind find the Euro inch further towards the drain, along with the dollar, before the end of this year. The British Pound has already become marginalized.

“Seek the truth and … “

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

February 6th, 2010
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org

“In America you can say anything you want — as long as it doesn’t have any effect.” – Paul Goodman

Progressive activists and writers continually bemoan the fact that the news they generate and the opinions they express are consistently ignored by the mainstream media, and thus kept from the masses of the American people. This disregard of progressive thought is tantamount to a definition of the mainstream media. It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy; it’s a matter of who owns the mainstream media and the type of journalists they hire — men and women who would like to keep their jobs; so it’s more insidious than a conspiracy, it’s what’s built into the system, it’s how the system works. The disregard of the progressive world is of course not total; at times some of that world makes too good copy to ignore, and, on rare occasions, progressive ideas, when they threaten to become very popular, have to be countered.

So it was with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Here’s Barry Gewen an editor at the New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2005 writing of Zinn’s book and others like it:

There was a unifying vision, but it was simplistic. Since the victims and losers were good, it followed that the winners were bad. From the point of view of downtrodden blacks, America was racist; from the point of view of oppressed workers, it was exploitative; from the point of view of conquered Hispanics and Indians, it was imperialistic. There was much to condemn in American history, little or nothing to praise. … Whereas the Europeans who arrived in the New World were genocidal predators, the Indians who were already there believed in sharing and hospitality (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed among them), and raped Africa was a continent overflowing with kindness and communalism (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed there).

One has to wonder whether Mr. Gewen thought that all the victims of the Holocaust were saintly and without profound cultural differences.

Prominent American historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. once said of Zinn: “I know he regards me as a dangerous reactionary. And I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.”

In the obituaries that followed Zinn’s death, this particular defamation was picked up around the world, from the New York Times, Washington Post, and the leading American wire services to the New Zealand Herald and Korea Times.

Regarding reactionaries and polemicists, it is worth noting that Mr. Schlesinger, as a top advisor to President John F. Kennedy, played a key role in the overthrow of Cheddi Jagan, the democratically-elected progressive prime minister of British Guiana (now Guyana). In 1990, at a conference in New York City, Schlesinger publicly apologized to Jagan, saying: “I felt badly about my role thirty years ago. I think a great injustice was done to Cheddi Jagan.” 1 This is to Schlesinger’s credit, although the fact that Jagan was present at the conference may have awakened his conscience after 30 years. Like virtually all the American historians of the period who were granted attention and respect by the mainstream media, Schlesinger was a cold warrior. Those like Zinn who questioned the basic suppositions of the Cold War abroad, and capitalism at home, were regarded as polemicists.

One of my favorite Howard Zinn quotes: “The chief problem in historical honesty is not outright lying. It is omission or de-emphasis of important data. The definition of ‘important’, of course, depends on one’s values.” 2 A People’s History and his other writings can be seen as an attempt to make up for the omissions and under-emphases of America’s dark side in American history books and media.

Haiti, Aristide, and ideology

It’s a good thing the Haitian government did virtually nothing to help its people following the earthquake; otherwise it would have been condemned as “socialist” by Fox News, Sarah Palin, the teabaggers, and other right-thinking Americans. The last/only Haitian leader strongly committed to putting the welfare of the Haitian people before that of the domestic and international financial mafia was President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Being of a socialist persuasion, Aristide was, naturally, kept from power by the United States — twice; first by Bill Clinton, then by George W. Bush, the two men appointed by President Obama to head the earthquake relief effort. Naturally.

Aristide, a reformist priest, was elected to the presidency, then ousted in a military coup eight months later in 1991 by men on the CIA payroll. Ironically, the ousted president wound up in exile in the United States. In 1994 the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend — because of all their rhetoric about “democracy” — that they supported the democratically-elected Aristide’s return to power. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that after his term ended he would not remain in office to make up the time lost because of the coup; that he would not seek to help the poor at the expense of the rich, literally; and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving starvation wages, literally. If Aristide had thoughts about breaking the agreement forced upon him, he had only to look out his window — US troops were stationed in Haiti for the remainder of his term. 3

On February 28, 2004, during the Bush administration, American military and diplomatic personnel arrived at the home of Aristide, who had been elected to the presidency once again in 2002, to inform him that his private American security agents must either leave immediately to return to the United States or fight and die; that the remaining 25 of the American security agents hired by the Haitian government, who were to arrive the next day, had been blocked by the United States from coming; that foreign and Haitian rebels were nearby, heavily armed, determined and ready to kill thousands of people in a bloodbath. Aristide was then pressured into signing a “letter of resignation” before being kidnaped and flown to exile in Africa by the United States. 4 The leaders and politicians of the world who pontificate endlessly about “democracy” and “self-determination” had virtually nothing to say about this breathtaking act of international thuggery. Indeed, France and Canada were active allies of the United States in pressing Aristide to leave. 5

And then US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the sincerest voice he could muster, told the world that Aristide “was not kidnaped. We did not force him onto the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly. And that’s the truth.” 6 Powell sounded as sincere as he had sounded a year earlier when he gave the UN his now-famous detailed inventory of the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that Saddam Hussein was preparing to use.

Howard Zinn is quoted above saying “The chief problem in historical honesty is not outright lying. It is omission or de-emphasis of important data.” However, that doesn’t mean the American mainstream media don’t create or perpetuate myths. Here’s the New York Times two months ago: “Mr. Aristide, who was overthrown during a 2004 rebellion …” 7 Now what image does the word “rebellion” conjure up in your mind? The Haitian people rising up to throw off the shackles put on them by a dictatorship? Or something staged by the United States?

Aristide has stated that he was able to determine at that crucial moment that the “rebels” were white and foreign. 8 But even if they had been natives, why did Colin Powell not explain why the United States disbanded Aristide’s personal security forces? Why did he not explain why the United States was not protecting Aristide from the rebels, which the US could have done with the greatest of ease, without so much as firing a single shot? Nor did he explain why Aristide would “willingly” give up his presidency.

The massive US military deployment to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake has been criticized in various quarters as more of an occupation than a relief mission, with the airport in the capital city now an American military base, and with American forces blocking various aid missions from entering the country in order, apparently, to serve Washington’s own logistical agenda. But the large military presence can also serve to facilitate two items on Washington’s political agenda — preventing Haitians from trying to emigrate by sea to the United States and keeping a lid on the numerous supporters of Aristide lest they threaten to take power once again.

That which can not be spoken

“The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction,” writes Fareed Zakaria, a leading American foreign-policy pundit, editor of Newsweek magazine’s international edition, and Washington Post columnist, referring to the “underwear bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his failed attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas day. “Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn’t work. Alas, this one worked very well.” 9

Is that not odd? That an individual would try to take the lives of hundreds of people, including his own, primarily to “provoke an overreaction”, or to “sow fear”? Was there not any kind of deep-seated grievance or resentment with anything or anyone American being expressed? No perceived wrong he wished to make right? Nothing he sought to obtain revenge for? Why is the United States the most common target of terrorists? Such questions were not even hinted at in Zakaria’s article.

At a White House press briefing concerning the same failed terrorist attack, conducted by Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, veteran reporter Helen Thomas raised a question:

Thomas: “What is really lacking always for us is you don’t give the motivation of why they want to do us harm. … What is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”

Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. … [They] attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that [they’re] able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”

Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

Thomas: “Why?”

Brennan: “I think … this is a long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.” 10

American officials rarely even make the attempt to explain why. And American journalists rarely press them to explain why; certainly not like Helen Thomas does.

And just what is it that has such difficulty crossing the lips of these officials? It is the idea that anti-American terrorists become anti-American terrorists to retaliate for what the United States has done to countries or people close to them or what Israel has done to them with unequivocal American support.

Osama bin Laden, in an audiotape, also commented about Abdulmutallab: “The message we wanted you to receive through him is that America shall not dream about security until we witness it in Palestine.” 11

We have as well the recent case of Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor-turned-suicide bomber, who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan December 30. His widow later declared: “I am proud of him. … My husband did this against the U.S. invasion.” Balawi himself had written on the Internet: “I have never wished to be in Gaza, but now I wish to be a … car bomb that takes the lives of the biggest number of Jews to hell.” 12

It should be noted that the CIA base attacked by Balawi was heavily involved in the selection of targets for the Agency’s remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a program that killed more than 300 people in the previous year. 13

There are numerous examples of terrorists citing American policies as the prime motivation behind their acts 14, so many that American officials, when discussing the newest terrorist attack, have to tread carefully to avoid mentioning the role of US foreign policy; and journalists typically fail to bring this point home to their reader’s consciousness.

It works the same all over the world. In the period of the 1950s to the 1980s in Latin America, in response to a long string of hateful Washington policies, there were countless acts of terrorism against US diplomatic and military targets as well as the offices of US corporations.

The US bombing, invasion, occupation and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombing of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and the continuing Israeli-US genocide against the Palestinians have created an army of new anti-American terrorists. We’ll be hearing from them for a terribly long time. And we’ll be hearing American officials twist themselves into intellectual and moral knots as they try to avoid confronting these facts.

In his “State of the Union” address on January 27, President Obama said: “But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.” Well, ending America’s many wars would free up enough money to do anything a rational, humane society would want to do. Eliminating the military budget would pay for free medical care for everyone. Free university education for everyone. Creating a government public works project that could provide millions of decently-paid jobs, like repairing the decrepit infrastructure and healing the environment to the best of our ability. You can add your own favorite projects. All covered, just by ending the damn wars. Imagine that.

Notes

  1. The Nation, June 4, 1990, pp.763-4
  2. “Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian” (1993), p.30
  3. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/haiti2.htm
  4. Statement of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, March 5, 2004, from exile in the Central African Republic, Pacific News Service (San Francisco); David Swanson, “What Bush Did to Haiti“, January 18, 2010; William Blum, “Rogue State”, pp.219-20)
  5. Miami Herald, March 1, 2004
  6. CNN, March 1, 2004
  7. New York Times, November 27, 2009
  8. Aristide statement, op. cit.
  9. Newsweek, January 18, 2010, online January 9
  10. White House press briefing, January 7, 2010
  11. ABC News, January 25, 2010
  12. Associated Press, January 7, 2010
  13. Washington Post, January 1, 2010
  14. Rogue State, chapter 1, “Why do terrorists keep picking on the United States?”; this chapter ends in 2005; some later examples can be provided by the author.

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

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What is your thought on this ?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Who owns God’s gift to Haiti ?

If American people hold the truth

that our Creator gave all people unalienable Rights,

does that include the people of Haiti?

Did the Creator give Haiti to the people of Haiti?

Did the Creator give France to the people of France?

What do we Americans know about Haiti?

Do we know the truth, and the reason…

why are our troops in Haiti?

Take a look at the website, Global Research.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17287

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl

Global Research, January 30, 2010

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President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.