Category Archives: Geopolitics

Islamophobia, one thing still made in the U.S.A.

The current U.S. electoral debate on Islamophobia ignores a foundational fact: The role of the U.S. in directly propagating the rise of violent Islamism.

Extremism is the product of extreme conditions, just as the rise of Nazi Party was directly produced by a Wall Street collapse. [If you want to play anyone for the rise of Third Reich, look no further than the board rooms of America’s unregulated big banks]. Sure, Germany had a hard core of fascists starting with the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI.

But it was the collapse that generated the anger the Nazis needed to channel as fuel for their rise.

And it was the U.S., either directly or through its crew of Usual Suspects in Europe and Down Under, which created the conditions for the rise of the violent Islamists, first through overt and covert State Department- and CIA-orchestrated organization of dissidents in oil rich and strategically positioned nations of the Mideast and North Africa, then by a wave to post-9/11 military campaigns, and followed by still more Washington-led political organization that created the conditions for the current wave of violence in the Mideast, Africa, Europe, and the U.S.

With the complicity of the mainstream media, all this context is ignored in the current electoral season, ensuring that the continuation of a set of policies that are very rewarding for the nation’s defense contractors and their plutocratic and institutional shareholders, always reliable sources of contributions and future jobs for the politicians who write the laws [or, more realisitically, who allow corporate lobbyists to write the laws].

And with that by way of preface, here’s the latest edition of The Empire Files, Abby Martin’s series for teleSUR English, featuring an interview with Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers. She also an author, most recently of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: The Most Dangerous Year for Muslims in America

Program notes:

Abby Martin interviews Dr. Deepa Kumar, professor of media studies at Rutgers University and author of *Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire*, about the roots of this alarming situation. From confronting right-wing arguments, to examining the reality behind Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims, to how Islamophobia is a reinforcement and basis for the structures of Empire, the first Empire Files episode of 2016 gives essential context to the wave of anti-Muslim hate in America and beyond.

New revelations about the overthrow of Gadaffi

During the lead-up to the West’s bombing campaign to force the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, we noted that, in our belief, a major reason for the eagerness of France, Britain, and the U.S. to force the overthrow was to gain control of Libya’s light sweet crude oil, the world’s cleanest.

Well, guess what.

We were right.

And there was yet another reason cited by Clinton, the would-be president: To gain control of Libya’s gold reserves, which Gadaffi intended to use as the basis of a new pan-African currency designed to end the domination of the continent by the American dollar.

And for proof we will turn to those Hillary Clinton emails.

But first, yet another revelation: Gadaffi himself warned former British Prime Minister that a direct result of his ouster would be a surge in Islamist violence which would invariably lead to attacks on the European continent itself.

The story, from RT:

‘Greater share of oil production’ Hillary Clinton emails reveal motives of Libya intervention

Program notes:

Newly declassified emails belonging to Hillary Clinton reveal some new possible motives behind the intervention in Libya.

Transcripts of phone conversations from 2011 between then-Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair have been made public. During the calls, the pair discussed the threat of jihadi and extremist attacks in Europe if Gaddafi’s regime collapsed. RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky takes a look at the dialogue.

Meanwhile, the violence in Libya continues, with armed contingents representing ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other radical Islamists battling it out for control.

On Thursday, at least two truck bombs claimed more than 50 lives in Libya, with the greatest number of casualties coming at a police training in Zliten, killing at least 47 and injuring score more.

That blood is on the hands of Hillary Clinton and Brack Obama.

The latest revelations, then, are simply validation of what Mark Twain wrote in 1916 in The Mysterious Stranger:

There has never been a just one, never an honorable one — on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful — as usual — will shout for the war. The pulpit will — warily and cautiously — object — at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, “It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.” Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers — as earlier — but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation — pulpit and all — will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Disaster capitalism: Reaping profit from misery

The this latest edition of The Laura Flanders Show, the British journalist interviews Australian journalist and author Anthony Lowenstein, whose most recent book is Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe.

Their discussion focuses on the transformation of international human catastrophes into profit centers exploited by multinational corporations, buttressed by the governments of major economic powers.

Among the disasters examined are those following the 2009 catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti, the parceling out of the national resources of Afghanistan, and the privatization of the Greek commons in the wake of the Wall Street collapse of 2007-2008.

And there’s more. . .

From teleSUR English:

Laura Flanders Show – Antony Loewenstein and M. Jacqui Alexander

Program notes:

Six years ago this week, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake. Billions of dollars in aid were pledged, but little made it to the people in need. Why did that happen? To find the answers to that question and more, Laura talks to Anthony Loewenstein about disaster capitalism, and M. Jacqui Alexander discusses anti-colonial movements. Antony Loewenstein is an Australian independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian and blogger. Among his books are My Israel Question, The Blogging Revolution, and Profits of Doom. His newest book is Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe. M. Jacqui Alexander is a writer, teacher, creator and founding director of the Tobago Center for the Study and Practice of Indigenous Spirituality. All that and a commentary from Laura on truth in labeling and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

When America’s proteges commit mass murder

In the latest edition of his TeleSUR English series, journalist and author Chris Hedges interviews a fellow member of the Fourth Estate about the murderous ways of America’s proteges in the Third World.

Allan Nairn, an independent and much-honored journalist, has reported on the violence perpetrated by American-taught death squads in Latin America, Indonesia, and the Mideast.

While covering a massacre by Indonesian death squads in East Timr in 1991, he was assaulted by soldiers, his skull fractured by the butts of American-supplied M16s.

In their discussion, Nairn and Hedges cover the bloody deeds of death squads as well as the inevitable blowback, most recently in the form of ISIS.

From TeleSUR English:

Days of Revolt: America’s Death Squads

Program notes:

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges sits down with investigative journalist Allan Nairn to discuss his experience covering wars across the globe, and the U.S.’s role in fueling such conflicts. The two discuss the mechanics of Western intervention, and the consequences that are still unraveling today.

Seymour Hersh: U.S. battles Mideast secularists

From RT, a must-see interview with America’s premiere investigative journalist on the insanity of the Bush/Obama wars on secular states in the Mideast and North Africa and support of violent Islamic fundamentalists.

It’s an eye-opening discussion and covers the real nature of the movements the U.S. supports, and notes the military and other aid supplied to ISIS fighters by both Israel and Turkey.

The interview was sparked by Hersh’s latest article in the London Review of Books, focusing on Pentagon dissent from Obama’s Syria strategy.

Hersh also comments on the woeful reluctance of his colleagues in the mainstream media to question Washington’s agenda.

From RT:

‘A game of cards’: Seymour Hersh nails Obama & Kerry’s take on Assad

Program notes:

RT Correspondent Anya Parampil talks with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh about his latest bombshell piece in the London Review of Books. The article, titled “Military to Military” alleges, based on sources within the military, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency advised President Obama against an “Assad must go” policy back in 2013, fearing if Assad fell the country would plunge into utter chaos or into the hands of extremists. When the Obama Administration seemed to ignore the advice, according to Hersh’s sources the Joint Chiefs began sharing intelligence with Russia, Germany, and Israel with the understanding it would be sent to the Assad regime and aide its fight against ISIS and other extremists groups. In the interview, Hersh discusses the implications of his story, the US’s relationship with Turkey, and why the mainstream media is quick to attack him.

Confronting Lebanon’s Syrian refugee crisis

Another fine documentary from Dutch national public broadcaster VPRO, this time following the activities of Sigrid Kaag, the UN’s go-to choice for tackling tough problems in the Middle East.

When the UN wanted someone to head the agency’s mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, Kaag got the nod.

And when the UN wanted someone to spearhead their efforts to tackle Lenbanon’s growing influx of Syrian refugees, again, Kaag got the job, just the latest difficult assignment in her 21 years with the international body.

As the spouse of Dr. Anis Al-Qaq, former head of the Palestinian National Authority’s health ministry and a one-time ambassador to Switzerland, Kaag brings a unique perspective to her job.

In this, the producers and camera crew follow her on the course of her daily rounds, offering a unique perspective on a remarkable woman tackling a thankless task.

From VPRO Backlight:

Documentary: Negotiator in Times of War

Program notes:

Dutch UN representative Sigrid Kaag is looking for solutions to the refugee problem in Lebanon

The civil war in Syria is entering its fifth year. The number of refugees leaving hearth and home is taking on unparalleled proportions. In Europe the call for closing the borders is heard and politicians are more and more calling for reception in the region, but what does this actually mean?

VPRO Backlight went to neighbouring Lebanon, where 1 in 4 inhabitants is refugee now. There we followed UN Special Representative for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, who is faced with an enormous challenge. How do the Lebanese deal with this influx of new inhabitants? And what impact does the large number of refugees have on the already precarious balance in the region?

“If Lebanon falls, because the burden becomes too heavy, says Kaag, then Europe has a far bigger problem. In this world everything is connected, everything is global. It’s all about shared opportunities and shared security and a better future for all. In the end that is also in Europe’s best interest”

“Negotiator in Times of War” shows the hectic life of Sigrid Kaag during her mission in Lebanon and follows her around from the Northern border with Syria to the most Southern border with Israel.

Director: Shuchen Tan
Producer: Jolanda Segers, Daisy Mohr
Commissioning editors: Doke Romeijn, Marije Meerman

Days of Revolt: Reviving gunboat diplomacy

Back in the days before intercontinental bombers, cruise missiles, and drones, international threats were deployed by exerting military power through formidable displays naval, giving rise to the phrase gunboat diplomacy — a term still used to describe international relations conducted by bullies.

And no nation practices more of it than the United States, and increasing so.

And that’s the topic of this latest edition of Chris Hedges’ weekly series Days of Revolt, produced for TeleSUR English by The Real News Network, featuring Vijay Prashad, author and George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College:

Days of Revolt: The Militarism of U.S. Diplomacy

From the transcript:

PRASHAD: This messianic view doesn’t start with George W. Bush’s administration. You know, we like to now look back at it and say, you know, Bush was the one who rode roughshod and invaded Iraq. Actually, this goes back to his father. I mean, the new world order language that comes to us is from George H. W. Bush.

HEDGES: Right after the first Gulf War.

PRASHAD: Right after the first Gulf War. He said, we now can reshape the world.

HEDGES: Right.

PRASHAD: And they begin to hammer an agenda through the United Nations. They begin to sideline the General Assembly with a great deal of robust pressure on the various, you know, institutions of the United Nations, focusing everything into the Security Council.

You know, if you look back at it, if you look before 1989, yes of course the Security Council was important. But the General Assembly had–was able to assert itself. You know, that is why when Moynihan is sent there his task–by the way, Moynihan’s memoir of the years in the, in the UN, is called A Dangerous Place. Why was it a dangerous place–because the United States government couldn’t force a policy through. It was constrained by the General Assembly. By the time Bill Clinton comes in the ’90s, they pushed an agenda against the General Assembly, brought power to the Security Council, you know, invented this idea of humanitarian intervention. After Rwanda.

HEDGES: Samantha Power.

PRASHAD: Samantha Power comes even later than this, because Rwanda, when Susan Rice was at the African section of the State Department, Rwanda was to their mind a great error. But Rwanda allowed them, after Rwanda, it allowed them to push this theory that we can intervene and should indeed intervene to so-called help civilians.

And from 1985-2005 when they passed the responsibility to protect directive of the UN, the idea of humanitarian intervention had narrowed so deeply from being help civilians to what serves U.S. interests.

HEDGES: To what extent do you think the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, which I think we both agree, it was ultimately going to have disastrous consequences, already has within the regions such as the Middle East that are visited by this indiscriminate lethal power, but also internally. But to what extent was it driven by the fact that the military as an institution within the United States became unassailable?

PRASHAD: So, now, the ground was prepared long before 1989 for this particular piece. And it’s, it’s so deep that it would be very hard to pull the roots out. How did this work? You know, it is now an established process in economics to know that even countries run through business cycles. There is an up cycle and then a down cycle. And Keynesianism’s, you know, John Maynard Keynes, his perhaps contribution was to say that at the time when the business cycle starts to go down, you have to have counter-cyclical spending. That means the government has to ratchet up spending in order to prevent the decline to deepen and then go out of control. What he was thinking of of course was the great depression and the, the collapse in Europe. So you need to have counter-cyclical spending.