Category Archives: Geopolitics

Headline of the day: Ever-predictable Obama


From the Intercept:

Obama Went From Condemning Saudis for Abuses to Arming Them to the Teeth

Obama once called for “the arms merchants in our own country [to] stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.” Now he enables them.

Abby Martin vividly dissects Hillary Clinton


Abby Martin, by esnl‘s light the best television journalist to come out of the San Francisco Bay Area, conducted the finest dissection of the diabolical nature of the candidate that is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

War-monger, corporateer par excellence, friend of Wall Street, and enemy of the environment. . .Clinton is all of these, and more.

From teleSUR English:

Empire Files: Abby Martin Exposes What Hillary Clinton Really Represents 

Program notes:

Digging deep into Hillary’s connections to Wall Street, Abby Martin reveals how the Clinton’s multi-million-dollar political machine operates.

This episode chronicles the Clinton’s rise to power in the 90s on a right-wing agenda, the Clinton Foundation’s revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world’s biggest financial institutions, and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive “Hillary Doctrine” while Secretary of State. Learn the essential facts about the great danger she poses, and why she’s the US Empire’s choice for its next CEO.

Japanese public rejects TPP, reactor restarts


And they also have great doubts about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Obama-pushed plan to turn their country into a regional military power.

Those are among the findings in a new poll reported by the government’s NHK television network, as reported by NHK WORLD.

When asked if they favored laws backing Abe’s security agenda, 48 percent disapproved and 42 percent approved.

Asked about restarting the reactors that had been producing about a third of the nation’s electricity, 18 percent of poll respondents said yes, 43 percent said no, and 33 percent said they’re uncertain.

But the lowest numbers came when they were asked if they supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade agreement pushed by Washington, Abe, and the governments of ten other Pacific Rim nations, only one if twenty five gave it a thumbs up.

Democratic Republic of Congo, a story of tragedy


For five centuries, Western nations and empires viewed the Congo as the source of vital raw materials: First slaves, then rubber, and now minerals, including those needed to keep the American war machine running.

Before the mass murders of European Jews, the 20th Century witnessed another genocide, the slaughter of slaves under Belgian King Leopold II, who held the country as his personal property and whose regime as estimated 10 million Congolese perished in a ruthless drive to produce rubber at the dawn of the automobile age — a story told with brilliant and compassionate precision in King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild, a scholar now on the faculty at the Graduate School of Journalism here in Berkeley.

The West has maintained its oppressive grasp on the Congo, though now through puppets who make deals with the new empires of the age, multinational corporations back by American military might and the dark doings of its intelligence agencies.

The tragic plight of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] is the subject of the latest episode of The Empire Files, the superb series on teleSUR English hosted by Abby Martin, a fine journalist who began her television journalism on Berkeley Community Cable.

Her interview subject is Kambale Musavuli, a native of the DRC who studied engineering at North Carolina A&T University and now serves as a human rights advocate and  Student Coordinator and National Spokesperson for the Friends of the Congo.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Empires Feed on Congo’s Treasure

Program notes:

Every drone flown by the U.S. military has inside a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo–a valuable mineral, of which the DRC has trillions of dollars worth buried underground.

For five centuries, the continent of Africa has been ravaged by the world’s Empires for its vast untapped treasure. Today, the U.S. Empire is increasing it’s military role through their massive command network, AFRICOM, carrying out several missions a day.

With the Congo being arguably the biggest prize for imperialist powers, Abby Martin is joined by Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to look at Empire’s role in their history and current catastrophe.

Quote of the day: The TPP, worst-ever trade deal


Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz slams the Trans-Pacific Partnership as the worst trade deal ever in an interview with Canada’s CBC News:

I think the worst part is the investors agreement, which allows investors to sue the Canadian government. It’s similar to the provision in NAFTA that resulted in a number of suits against Canada lost, unfortunately. But the TPP is in most respects worse — opens the door, changes the basic legal framework. For instance, it used to be that, and it’s the basic principle in most countries, that the polluter pays. If you damage the environment you have to pay. Now, if you draft a regulation that restricts the ability to pollute, that does something about climate change, you could be sued and pay billions of dollars.

For instance, a Canadian company is suing the United States now under NAFTA for the decision by Obama not to allow the Keystone project to go forward. Canada’s been sued for environmental impact statements. There have been suits around the world for minimum wages.

There are worries that the expanse of TPP to certain financial regulations means that if you try to restrict usury or predatory lending, the abusive practices of banks that keep coming to light you can be sued.

>snip<

[In the area of trade benefits] there are indications that benefits for the Canadian economy are relatively small. For the United States, the largest economy, it’s effects on U.S. growth is somewhere between 0.0 percent from one of the government to a study by Tufts University showing that it would actually be negative for the United States.

Clearly the Trans-Pacific Partnership so enthusiastically endorsed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is not in the interests of American voters, the environment, and the organized labor movement that has been the backbone of the Democratic Party.

Who, then, benefits? Well, how about multinational corporations and bankers, for openers. The very same people who are pouring on the cash that will make this year’s presidential race the first billion-dollar contest, not to mention the cash spent to control Congress, governorships, and state legislatures, control exercised by blowing dog whistles of racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance.

Days of Revolt: America’s brutalizing ways of war


The latest edition of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges’ weekly series for teleSUR English, features a joint interview of two American combat veterans who have seen first hand the brutalization and depersonalization integral to Uncle Sam’s imperial adventures’

Featured are Michael Hanes, a ten-year veteran of the US Marines Corps who served in Iraq as a member of the elite 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, the top echolon the the service’s special forces detachment, and Rory Fanning who served in Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion, that service’s original special warriors.

Both men have become peace activists and work on behalf of military veterans, and both see the brutality of America’s military engagements as the most essential recruiting tool for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

From teleSUR English via The Real News Network:

Days of Revolt: Why the Brutalized Become Brutal

From the transcript:

FANNING: Right, right. So we’d land in there. We’d put a bag over every military aged person?s head, whether they were a member of the Taliban or not, give the person who identified that person money, and then that person would also get that neighbor?s property.

So in a country with as much desperation and poverty as Afghanistan at the time, you’d do anything to put money or food on your family’s table and essentially that?s what we were doing. But we were also bringing people who had absolutely no stake in the fight into the war. And, so we were creating enemies, you know? I signed up after 9/11 to prevent another 9/11 from happening, but soon after arriving in Afghanistan I realized I was only creating the conditions for more terrorist attacks and it was a hard pill to swallow. I mean, we were essentially a bully, you know?

HEDGES: I mean worse than a bully, I mean, you know, we murder.

FANNING: Well we’d have a rocket land in our camp and we wouldn?t necessarily know where it came from. It came from that general direction over there. We’d call in a five-hundred pound bomb and it would land on a village. I mean, we know [because of] the International Physicians Against the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, that a million people have been killed around the world since 9/11. You know, we know, conservatively, that at least 80 percent of those people have been innocent civilians. So, I think to understand Brussels you have to get to the root of some of this stuff.

HEDGES: Yeah, and maybe Michael you can talk a little about some of your experience in Iraq.

HANES: Yes, well I mean, you know, the same thing with me, really. I was in the Iraq invasion and we pushed up into Baghdad and things [became], really, very real for me when we began to kick in doors, place charges in doors and rush into these homes and terrorize these people.

You know, I would say probably about 50 percent or more of the intel that we got was just dead wrong. Busting in these doors you come into a family?s house and there’s elderly women, young little girls, three, four years old, just screaming and horrific, just terrified to where they literally soil themselves. They pee their pants. And then, you know, you’re taking grandma and throwing her up against the wall and interrogating her. And that, you know, hits you right here. It hits you really hard.

And that’s when I began to ask myself, what the hell am I doing? You know? And then if you happen to be a young man in there, in your early twenties or anywhere in that range where you can carry a weapon, then just by mere association of being a young male, a possible insurgent, Saddam Fedayeen loyalist, whatever the case may be, you were taken out of the home and taken somewhere to be interrogated.

American politics seen from outside the border


First, from Al Jazeera, a two-part series reported by Robert Abeshouse on the state of American democracy.

Given that the network is run by the ruling family of a monarchy which has ruthlessly suppressed any criticism of itself, jailing critics who dare to treat the royals to the respect which they feel is their divine right, the network’s critical series on the lessening of democracy in the U.S. is, at the very least, ironic.

Nonetheless, the series is a decent effort, and worth your time.

The first part examines the breakdown of the political process as court decisions and a clever cast of Republican Party fixers has transformed politics into a game of money pure and simple:

People & Power: What’s Happening to American Democracy?

Program note:

We investigate how the erosion of democracy in the US is being revealed by the 2016 presidential campaign.

The second part focuses on the game of race and class played by rich Republicans and ideological zealots to strip the voting ranks of people of color.

Voters’ Rights: What’s Happening to American Democracy? — People and Power

Program notes:

In the second episode of this People & Power special report into the increasing polarisation of the US electoral process, Bob Abeshouse finds out how demographic changes are dramatically changing the American political landscape and investigates claims that parties – the Republicans in particular – have been actively seeking to make it more difficult for opposing supporters to vote.

Our third video comes from north of the border, and focuses on the rise of one candidate, the political epiphenomenon that is The Donald.

CBC News journalist Bob McKeown does a better job at parsing Trump and the nature of his racist, embittered campaign than anything we’ve seen that’s been done by a mainstream network on this side of the border,

The 43-minute episode of CBC’s news documentary series the fifth estate is a must-watch.

From CBC News:

The Fire Breather : The Rise and Rage of Donald Trump — the fifth estate

Program notes:

He has launched often vitriolic attacks on minorities, Muslims, women and pretty much anyone else he wants – and yet Donald Trump’s popularity just keeps on climbing. He is leading the race to win the Republican nomination and his next victory, he hopes, will be the White House. Bob McKeown joins the campaign trail for a disturbing look at an ugly side of America and why Trump may be winning.