All posts filed under: empire watch

‘Exorbitant Privilege’ Under Siege

Frank Lee It was the French politician Valery Giscard D’Estaing who first coined the phrase ‘Exorbitant Privilege’ – a reference to the many advantages enjoyed by the US ownership and control of the world’s reserve currency. This was a situation dating back to the agreement reached in 1944 between the allied powers and established in Bretton Woods a town in New Hampshire; it was to become known as the Bretton Woods Agreement. During the conference key negotiators, most famously John Maynard Keynes for Britain, and Harry Dexter White chief US delegate, hammered out a blueprint for a new global and currency and trading system. Keynes was not entirely satisfied with the outcome and White mostly got his own way despite JMK’s misgivings about possible problems further down the road. But then the UK in the shape of Keynes, was also angling for a sizeable US loan in the not too distant future which circumscribed Keynes’ room for manoeuvre; and the loan of course came with strings – viz., the ending of British imperial preferential trading …

Joining some dots on the Skripal case: Part 1: An Official Story That Doesn’t Hold Water

I have asked a lot of questions in relation to the Skripal case and many, if not most, are still unanswered. However, I want in this piece to go further than asking questions, and to start to join a few dots together. There is much to say, and rather than doing it in one long piece, which only three people will have the attention span to sit through, I want to do it over a number of articles. Probably four or five. We shall see.

Public Barred from NDAA Senate Committee Markup

Renee Parsons It appears to have been no coincidence that when President John F. Kennedy’s spoke to the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27,1961, ten days after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, he tacitly referred to the Joint Chiefs and the CIA who had orchestrated the Cuban invasion and then lied to gain his approval for military action. In that speech, Kennedy expressed what became a quintessential JFK quote: the very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it.” On May 24th, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) met behind closed doors and approved the massive 1140 page National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA S 2987 ) of 2019 by a 25-2 vote which authorizes ‘funding and provides activities for the US military.’ At the same time, …

Why Venezuela and Syria Cannot Fall

True. Both nations, Venezuela and Syria, are separated by a tremendous geographical distance, but they are united by the same fate, same determination and courage. During the Spanish Civil War, Czech anti-fascist fighters, volunteers in the International Brigades, used to say: “In Madrid we are fighting for Prague”. Madrid fell to Franco’s fascists in October 1939. Prague had been occupied by German troops several months earlier, in March 1939. It was the blindness and cowardice of the European leaders, as well as the support which the murderous fascist hordes received from populations of all corners of the continent, which led to one of the greatest tragedies in modern history – a tragedy which only ended on May 9, 1945, when the Soviet troops liberated Prague, defeating Nazi Germany and de facto saving the world.

AUDIO: Academic Propaganda Protecting US Financial Imperialism

Australia’s Renegade Economists radio show interviews US economist Michael Hudson (June 7, 2018). Prof Michael Hudson joins to review his critique of US financial imperialism in light of recent events. From the World Bank, IMF through to deep state strategy, Hudson is the best in the business at tying the economic pressures in our lives to the geo-political forces at work.

Forever AUMF Stalls at Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Renee Parsons As the Forever AUMF 2018 (SJRes 59) (Authority for the Use of Military Force) continues to await action by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one can only imagine the extent of the behind-the-scene efforts underway to sway those few wavering Senators who may be reluctant to go down in American history as voting to eliminate Congress’ sole, inviolate Constitutional authority ‘to declare war’. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11. The law would remove Congress from its statutory authority as it transfers “uninterrupted” authority on “the use of all necessary and appropriate force” to one individual, allowing the President of the United States to pursue the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and other ‘associated forces” including a proverbial too little-too late report to Congress 48 hours after the use of military force in a “new foreign country,” presumably in the Middle East (other than Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya). In addition to pressure within the Committee itself, it can be expected that those who will benefit most from a Forever State of War …

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

by James Coga, via WSWS June 6 will mark 10 weeks since the Ecuadorian government blocked all communication by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange with the outside world, including personal visitors. Assange has been trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when Quito granted him asylum in the face of a legal witch-hunt by the governments of the United States, Britain and Sweden. Britain was moving to extradite Assange to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual abuse as the first step in transferring him to the US to face charges of espionage, which carry a possible death sentence. Washington had vowed to punish Assange for having exposed before the world war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US intrigues against other countries. In remarks last Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno attempted to defend the silencing of Assange. He sought to deny—unconvincingly—that this action was the outcome of his government’s capitulation to pressure and threats by the United States. Moreno put forward an Orwellian conception of freedom of speech …

Why the Evidence Mueller Has for the Indicting 13 Russian Nationals is Fraudulent

It’s almost a shame that a headline like that won’t spark anything more than casual curiosity when you consider the charges Richard Mueller is looking into. The Russian company Concord Management decided to answer is charges in early May, which threw a wrench into Mueller’s strategy.

Pompeo Challenged at Senate Foreign Relations Committee

by Renee Parsons Newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had every reason to expect that his first official appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would be the usual slam-dunk as mostly obedient, respectful Senators aligned with his testimony. Instead of the typically gratuitous compliments and undeserved deference, there was a display (albeit a minority) of some moral courage with a rare slice of truth on Capitol Hill, epitomizing the real-time requirements of a Senator’s job: to be skeptical, provide oversight and demand accountability from every Federal government witness, no matter the rank – once referred to as ‘grilling the witness.” Besides fraternizing with America’s most privileged citizens, endless rounds of lavish Capitol Hill receptions, wide ranging international travel opportunities (aka junkets), a liberal vacation policy and exorbitant benefits out of step for the minimal accomplishments actually achieved, the current Senate paradigm has allowed too many Members to degenerate into a protuberance of greedy, sniveling, weak-minded buffoons with no genuine regard for their constituents or what was once the greatest democracy on the planet. …

VISA Payment Crash and the Dangers of a Cashless World

Yesterday, Visa’s payment system crashed in Europe. Millions of people were unable to complete purchases. Some found themselves trapped overseas. It was a small glitch, apparently, but could have caused a major panic.

This situation should be a special warning to the people of the UK, who on average carry only £17 in cash at any moment, and where 1/4 of us will leave a store if paying by card is not an option. I count myself among those people.

Open Source Investigation: The War on Cash

Following last nights shutdown of Visa’s payment system across large parts of Europe, we thought this would be good time to revisit the topic of money. Cold hard cash is on the way out, following a sustained global effort to undermine its usage. Is that a good thing? Does the Visa crash exemplify just how little power the consumer wields in a world of universally digital payments? James Corbett has been running his Open Source Investigation into the “War on Cash” since 2016, here we post some of the more concerning findings. Feel free to contribute BTL if there are any further developments, or get in touch with The Corbett Report directly here. The Cashless Society List ARGENTINA – Argentina’s currency crisis has been known for some time. In short, Argentinians don’t trust the peso and are willing to pay premium for any currency they perceive as “more stable,” especially US dollars which are traded on the black market as “blue dollars” at prices far exceeding the official exchange rate. That’s why Argentina has been …

Venezuelan elections: chavismo still in power, US still belligerent, media still dishonest

by Ricardo Vaz from InvestigAction In a climate of dire economic war/crisis and foreign aggression, Venezuelans took to the polls to elect their president and regional legislative councils. Chavismo won big in both contests, with president Maduro securing a second term until 2025. The international reaction from the US and its allies was already pre-scripted, and the dishonest coverage from the mainstream media was also to be expected. We take a look at the election, how the electoral system works, these reactions, and also share some observations after witnessing events on the ground. Incumbent president Nicolás Maduro won in a landslide, taking nearly 68% of the vote, while his closest rival Henry Falcón could only muster 21%. With all the votes tallied, Maduro totalled a little over 6.2M votes. Amidst a devastating economic crisis and increasing imperialist aggression this is a very significant victory, but it nevertheless falls very short of previous totals in chavista victories, and very short of the 10M votes that Maduro “demanded” during the campaign [1]. Falcón had distinguished himself by …

Saudi Wahabbism Serves Western Imperialism

by Andre Vltchek When the Saudi Crown Prince gave an interview to the Washington Post, declaring that it was actually the West that encouraged his country to spread Wahhabism to all corners of the world, there was a long silence in almost all the mass media outlets in the West, but also in countries such as Egypt and Indonesia. Those who read the statement, expected a determined rebuke from Riyadh. It did not come. The sky did not fall. Lightning did not strike the Prince or the Post. Clearly, not all that the Crown Prince declared appeared on the pages of the Washington Post, but what actually did, would be enough to bring down entire regimes in such places like Indonesia, Malaysia or Brunei. Or at least it would be enough under ‘normal circumstances’. That is, if the population there was not already hopelessly and thoroughly indoctrinated and programed, and if the rulers in those countries did not subscribe to, or tolerate, the most aggressive, chauvinistic and ritualistic (as opposed to the intellectual or spiritual) …

ANALYSIS: Signs of Compromise in Yulia Skripal’s Statement

by Tony Kevin Tony Kevin’s summary responses to the MoA view that Yulia’s statement is suspect, because it was allegedly written under duress of some kind, and from a prepared English script translated into Russian. There are at least two big questions here that need to be separately addressed. MoA and many of their correspondents segue from one to the other and back again , which is not conducive to a clear understanding and quickly leads one down unproductive, hypothetical blind alleys: leaving one in the end in a not useful position of general skepticism of everyone and everything involved in the Skripal affair. One of the classic forms of deception in naval warfare is to hide what you are trying to hide by laying dummy targets behind a lot of smoke. This letter is an effort to clear away smoke and help to see the real targets more clearly. The two big questions are: 1. What were the circumstances of Yulia’s videoed statement ? Was it made under duress, Stockholm Syndrome, or coached ? …

MH17: “New evidence”, same issues

Nearly four years since the incident, and over two years since they last reported any progress, the MH17 Joint Investigative Team (JIT) have held a press conference. To underline their previous position – they still think Russia did it. The timing of this statement could be seen as very politically convenient for the NATO allies and the Kiev regime. The West would have you believe that the proximity to the World Cup is purely coincidental. Whilst those suggesting that this is a great cover for Ukraine’s renewed shelling of separatists regions in the Donbass will surely be dismissed as “apologists” or “cynics”. None of that is really the issue though. Whether they truly have “new evidence”, or whether this is just a rehash of discredited Bellingcat nonsense, is immaterial. If the politically convenient timing is a coincidence or a stunt does not matter. The most important point is that the JIT is fatally and irredeemably flawed. The JIT, made up of investigators from Australia, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Ukraine…but not Russia, has obvious credibility problems …

AUMF 2018 and the “forever war” in the Middle East

by Renee Parsons The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on May 16th regarding the authorization of a new Authority for the Use of Military Force 2018 (AUMF). Despite a current lack of unanimity on the committee, the draft authorization (SJ Res 59) has been brought forward as a working document despite the lack of successful back-room negotiations in recent weeks. The hearing was conducted with no quorum present, the lack of which denied the sponsors an easy vote of approval. The AUMF 2018 would replace AUMF’s 2001 and 2002 which proponents suggest would remove the onerous Constitutional responsibility from a self-proclaimed over-burdened Congress from voting to approve every single separate act of war. While final approval of the AUMF 2018 represents a “Forever Vote,” product of a low vibration consciousness, the ACLU, which should be leading a vigorous national campaign against the proposal, appears absent from the debate. Approval of a one-size-fits-all AUMF will greatly facilitate the Pentagon’s long held desire to ‘take out’ seven countries in five years – although somewhat behind …

Drugs: Threat to World and Factor of US Policy

Oil, weapons and drugs are among the products with the largest turnover in the world. According to the International Energy Agency, the world demand for oil is between 94 million barrels per day with the United States being the largest oil consumer in the world, 11,500,000 barrels of oil per day. Likewise, according to the International Institute of Studies for Peace in Stockholm, the United States is the leading producer and exporter of weapons worldwide, controlling 31% of the international market.

Special Service’s Agent: Attack On Russia is Being Prepared

While the Pentagon accuses Russia of fomenting false fears of a Daesh/ISIS threat in Central Asia – see Sputnik’s article on this — new reports of an American push to attack Russia militarily via Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and are now emerging.  We’re reposting here Catehon’s May 19 article on this topic by Andrey Afanasyev. Sources in the Russian law enforcement agencies, citing data from closed communication channels with the Defense Ministries of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, say that the operation to prepare a large-scale hybrid offensive against Russia through Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is in the final phase. Reports of this have been received earlier, in particular, this was mentioned at a recent security conference held in Tashkent. Then the head of the Tajik Foreign Ministry Sirodzhiddin Aslov openly announced the activation of terrorists in the region: The activation of terrorist groups, their advancement to the northern regions of Afghanistan, especially in the territories bordering Tajikistan, the increase in the number of ISIS supporters, as well as the participation of a certain number of citizens of …

What Would Sherlock Holmes Have Made of the Government’s Explanation of the Case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

by Rob Slane from The Blogmire In an article on 3rd May, the Guardian journalist, Luke Harding, made the following rather amusing observation: Since the Skripals were found stricken on a park bench, Downing Street has stuck to one version of events. Theresa May says it is ‘highly likely’ Moscow carried out the attack using a Soviet-made nerve agent. Only the Kremlin had the motive to kill its former officer, she argues.” The funny part, in case you didn’t spot it, was his claim that Downing Street has stuck to one version of events. He is of course correct, but what he doesn’t tell his readers is that this one version of events has had a plethora of sub-narratives attached to it, none of which have been able to remotely support the main thesis. Sticking to one version of events is reasonable only inasmuch as that version can be supported by facts. On the other hand, if the version of events being stuck to is not supported by the facts, or if the “facts” constantly …

Exclusive: The Complete Moral Collapse of Labour Friends of Israel

It is hard to imagine anything so nauseating as a group of affluent liberals defending the mass murder of poor colonized people in the name of democracy and security. Though a species of moral turpitude associated with 19th century colonial tropes, in 2018 it remains very much alive under the banner of the UK Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).