All posts filed under: empire watch

Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire

by David William Pear, July 20, 2017, The Real News Network It is all about the oil. Whatever else one hears about Venezuela, it is all about the oil. That is what one needs to know first about why the U.S. Empire has Venezuela under siege. It is about the oil. When President Trump says, “Venezuela is a mess; Venezuela is a mess, we will see what happens”, it is all about the oil. When the U.S. Empire imposes sanctions on Venezuela, it is all about the oil. When the mainstream corporate media (i.e. Fake News) cries crocodile tears about democracy, human rights and political prisoners in Venezuela, it is about the oil. When the U.S. calls into session emergency meeting of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, it is about oil. Venezuela has the largest known reserve of oil in the world, and Venezuela controls its own oil, not international corporations; and it uses its oil for the benefit of its people. The U.S. Empire instead wants to control that oil and …

Venezuelan opposition “consultation”: playing alone and losing

by Ricardo Vaz from InvestigAction.net Sunday, July 16, was a significant day in Venezuela’s political history. The right-wing opposition MUD, backed by the United States, threw all its weight behind a “consultation” that they hoped would show that their (coup) attempts had a formidable public backing and trigger the “zero hour” of a new phase that would lead to the removal of the Bolivarian government. In the end the stunt backfired, leaving the opposition more or less stranded. The real surprise was the show of force from chavismo, which went out on the streets to rebuke the opposition’s stunt and take part in a dry-run for the July 30 Constituent Assembly elections. The opposition “plebiscite”, or “referendum”, which in reality was nothing more than a non-binding “consultation” without any legal status, was predicted as a major political earthquake that would instantly change the country’s landscape. Maria Corina Machado, one of the most extreme opposition leaders, likened it to the destruction of the Berlin wall, Mandela being elected or the toppling of Saddam Hussein (no subtlety …

‘Inclusive Capitalism’, Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet

by Paul Street, July 21, 2017, via CounterPunch A recent Washington Post and ABC poll finds that just 37 percent of Americans think that the Democratic Party “stands for something.”  Fifty two percent say it’s about nothing more than opposing Trump. The 37 percent is right. The Democratic Party stands for something, alright.  It stands for the socio-pathological system of class rule and environmental ruin called capitalism – and for capitalism’s evil Siamese twin imperialism. So does the far more openly right-wing Republican Party, of course, but that’s fairly common knowledge.  It’s more complicated with the Democrats, who like to pose as being “on the left” while carrying water for Big Business. It’s nothing new. Long before the rise of dismal, dollar-drenched neoliberal era Dems and Robert Rubin associates like Bill Clinton and Barack Hamilton Project Obama, the Democrats stood in the lead of the profits regime. This goes all the way back to that savage Indian-killer Andrew Jackson and up through that quintessential corporate liberal Woodrow Wilson, New Deal hero Franklin Roosevelt (who boasted about having saved the …

Trillions of Dollars in U.S. Military Spending Is Unaccounted-For

Now, and for many decades past, the American public has displayed far higher confidence and trust in “The Military” than in any other “Institution” (including than churches, schools, the Presidency, the police, courts — any). And yet — according to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense — many billions, and sometimes even trillions, of dollars, in the Department’s periodic financial reports, are not documented.

Is history a new NATO weapon against Russia?

by Adomas Abromaitis On Wednesday (July 11th) NATO and Russia have got a new reason to argue and make claims to each other. NATO posted an 8-minute online documentary feature video, glorifying activity of the Baltic partisan movement “Forests Brothers” (see above). The matter is for the Baltic States WWII did not end in 1945, as well as for the Soviet army soldiers who faced unexpected violent resistance from national partisans. The Forest Brothers actively fought the Soviet army from 1948 until the late 1950s or early 60s. It should be noted that the Forests Brothers’ activity is little known and controversial piece of history of the Baltic States. There are two radically opposite points of view. From one point of view the Forest Brothers were partisans who continued armed resistance to the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after the end of the Second World War. From the second point of view such treatment of their activity is very contradictory, because there are facts that many of the Forest Brothers were former Nazi …

The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence

by Stephen Gowans, July 11, 2017 A barbed criticism aimed at the International Socialist Organization, shown [in our cover illustration], under the heading “If the ISO Existed in 1865” encompasses a truth about the orientation of large parts of the Western Left to the Arab nationalist government in Damascus.  The truth revealed in the graphic is that the ISO and its cognates will leave no stone unturned in their search for an indigenous Syrian force to support that has taken up arms against Damascus, even to the point of insisting that a group worthy of support must surely exist, even if it can’t be identified. Of course, Washington lends a hand, helpfully denominating its proxies in the most laudatory terms.  Islamist insurgents in Syria, mainly Al Qaeda, were not too many years ago celebrated as a pro-democracy movement, and when that deception proved no longer tenable, as moderates.  Now that the so-called moderates have been exposed as the very opposite, many Leftists cling to the hope that amid the Islamist opponents of Syria’s secular, Arab …

Russia: a target, not a superpower

by Sara Flounders, via Workers.org The corporate media’s constant use of Cold War terminology to describe the meeting of the U.S. and Russian presidents as a meeting of the “two superpowers” masks the present relationship of forces. U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin met at the Group of 20 summit on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany. Old preconceptions and terms must be challenged in order to have an accurate view of the present international situation. Russia today, as a capitalist country, is not even a fifth-rate economic power. The Russian economy is smaller than the economy of Brazil, south Korea or Canada. According to World Bank and International Monetary Fund measurements, Russia now ranks 12th globally in its gross domestic product. This measurement is the market value of goods and services. Today’s Russian Federation is a vastly different state — socially, politically, economically and militarily — from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of even 27 years ago. It is important to understand what Russia is today in order to understand …

CNN Hires Top al-Qaeda Propagandist for Documentary

by Jay Syrmopoulos, July 12, 2017, Free Thought Project Bilal Abdul Kareem, of On the Ground News, was contracted by CNN to film a documentary called Undercover in Syria.  Kareem is a self-proclaimed media activist living in rebel-held Syria and is considered “one of the top English-language propagandists for al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabat al-Nusra,” according to an Alternet expose on Abdul Kareem and his connections to terrorism and CNN. On June 16 Abdul Kareem went public with his intimate connection to CNN, and its documentary “Undercover in Syria”.  He relayed his frustration with the network, having essentially whitewashed him out of his credit for a documentary he had a large hand in creating for CNN, which won a prestigious Peabody Award. Abdul Kareem explained how CNN contracted him and his online news outlet, On the Ground News, to film the award-winning documentary. “This was with CNN and their correspondent Clarissa Ward, which I have big-time respect for, big-time respect as a journalist, as a person,” Abdul Kareem said. “This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it — it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and …

The Destructiveness of America’s Alliances

byEric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Alliances between nations are military. Without being military, they would be nothing. Trade agreements don’t require any alliances at all. World War I wouldn’t have occurred if there had not been alliances — it was built upon alliances. It was not built on trade agreements. It wasn’t even built on trading-blocs. In fact, as the WTO (World Trade Organization) has said: In the two decades prior to World War I, a number of tariff wars broke out, usually provoked by the establishment of a new, more protectionist tariff, or in the course of renegotiation of bilateral treaties.17 After the expiry of a treaty, tariffs were often raised temporarily as a means of improving negotiating leverage. … Despite the widespread increase of protectionist measures before World War I in continental Europe, the United States19, Argentina and other countries, world trade continued to expand rapidly. It goes on to observe: Even though the contention that trade and peace dovetail is still very present today,119 it is not uncontested on theoretical and …

Palestine is Still the Issue

When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them. One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter. “Arabs”, they said, “nomads”. The words were almost spat out. Israel, they said, meaning Palestine, had been mostly wasteland and one of the great feats of the Zionist enterprise was to turn the desert green. They gave as an example their crop of Jaffa oranges, which was exported to the rest of the world. What a triumph against the odds of nature and humanity’s neglect.

The Economic Motive for America’s Current Wars

Russia has long been the chief seller of energy — mainly gas and oil — in the world’s largest energy-market: the EU, or Europe. This means that U.S.-based energy companies, such as Exxon and Halliburton, aren’t the ones who dominate in supplying oil, gas, pipelines, and other energy-supplying needs, to the consumers and businesses in the world’s largest energy-market: Europe.

Enclosure of Gaza as a “Prison Territory”

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, via Global Research Construction of New High Tech Surveillance Wall to Separate Gaza from Israel Israeli media reports confirm the construction of a new high tech 65 km security and surveillance wall equipped with cameras and sensors “to separate Gaza from Israel” thereby reinforcing the enclosure of Gaza as a de facto “prison territory” with a population of more than 1.85 million. This initiative constitutes the latest stage of a process started in 1994 with the establishment of the so-called Israel Gaza security barrier. As we recall the barrier was in part torn down during the Second Intifada in 2000 and was then rebuilt. There has been virtually no coverage or analysis of this latest project. “The ambitious project, budgeted to cost 3 billion shekhels ($850 million), will see an integrated wire fence, 6 to eight metres high, equipped with sensors and cameras built above the ground, over the 65-kilometre Gazan border, while heavy concrete slabs strengthened with iron rods will be built dozens of metres underground.” The Jerusalem Post (June …

US, UAE operate network of torture chambers in Yemen

by Niles Niemuth , 27 June 2017, WSWS  The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE), in coordination with Yemeni proxy forces, are operating a network of torture chambers in the war-torn country into which hundreds of men have been disappeared. As revealed by an Associated Press (AP) report published last week, the US and UAE have established a network of at least 18 secret prisons in Yemen used for torturing and interrogating men who are suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The brutal torture regime began under the Obama administration and continues under President Donald Trump. According to the AP report, the US operates with a mostly hands-off approach in which it provides lists of names of men to be detained and then provides the torturers with lists of questions to be asked to detainees. After tormenting and interrogating detainees, the UAE transmits transcripts and videos of confessions to US officials. However, a Yemeni officer reported to the AP that he witnessed at least two detainees brought to ships …

Why the West Will Not and Cannot Let Syria Live in Peace

For all those who have become awake and conscious or have escaped the Western media pit of lies and brainwashing, the six-year-long resistance of the Syrian people in the face of the Anglo-Zionist empire and its terrorist proxy troops ISIS, Al Qaeda et al has been a deeply tragic but historically heroic inspiration. They survived four years almost totally alone until Russia entered to fight the US, EU, and Israeli proxy terrorist fighters that were gaining ground on government held territory in Syria.

Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

by Ray McGovern, via Information Clearing House The mainstream media is so hostile to challenges to its groupthinks that famed journalist Seymour Hersh had to take his take-down of President Trump’s April 6 attack on Syria to Germany, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. June 26, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is challenging the Trump administration’s version of events surrounding the April 4 “chemical weapons attack” on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun – though Hersh had to find a publisher in Germany to get his information out. In the Sunday edition of Die Welt, Hersh reports that his national security sources offered a distinctly different account, revealing President Trump rashly deciding to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase on April 6 despite the absence of intelligence supporting his conclusion that the Syrian military was guilty. Hersh draws on the kind of inside sources from whom he has earned longstanding trust to dispute that there ever was a “chemical weapons attack” and to assert that Trump was told …

Trump Has Been Continuing Obama’s Syria-Policy

by Eric Zuesse U.S. President Donald Trump, who during the election-campaign ferociously condemned Barack Obama’s foreign policies, while asserting nothing concrete of his own, has, as the U.S. President, committed himself quite clearly to continuing Obama’s publicly stated policy on Syria, which policy was to place, as the first priority, the elimination of ISIS, and as the policy to follow that, the elimination and replacement of Syria’s government. I have previously indicated that on June 19th “Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria — War Against U.S. There”, and that the early indications are that Trump has changed his Syria-policy to accommodate Russia’s demands there; but, prior to June 19th, Trump was actually following Obama’s publicly stated Syria-policy. As also will be shown here, Obama’s publicly stated policy — to destroy ISIS and then to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad — was actually less extreme than his real policy, which was to overthrow Assad and to use the jihadist forces in Syria (especially Al Qaeda in Syria) to achieve that objective. Trump, at least until 19 …

Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States

by John Staunton, via Global Research The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) under the brand UNICORE operates approximately 52 factories (prisons) across the United States. Prisoners manufacture or assemble a number of products for the US military, homeland security,and federal agencies according to the UNICORE/FPI website. They produce furniture, clothing and circuit boards in addition to providing computer aided design services and call center support for private companies. UNICORE/FPI makes its pitch for employing call center support personnel to firms thinking about off-shoring their call center functions. The logic is that, hey!, they may be prisoners, but it’s keeping the jobs in the USA that matters. Fair enough. That approach cuts out the middleman though, those Americans desperate for any kind of work but, through no fault of their own, are not behind prison bars and employable by UNICORE/FPI. Sure, it seems a heartless statement and there are any number of angles to take on why the USA is the world’s number one incarcerator: Capitalism, racism, social and political injustice, a pay-as-you-go legal system, bone-headed policy …

Washington’s Dangerous Middle East Agenda

from New Eastern Outlook It’s clear at this point that the recent visit of US President Trump to Saudi Arabia and Israel was about setting events into motion in order to fundamentally alter the present balance of power in the entire Middle East to the greater advantage of the United States and US energy geopolitics. As with most everything that Washington tries to do to rebuild its rapidly declining global dominance, this latest move by Washington to incite the Saudi Kingdom to ignite regime change in Qatar and escalate a form of oil war disguised as a Sunni-Shi’ite power conflict already looks in serious trouble. I share with you a recent interview with an Arabic-language Middle East magazine in question and answer format. Q: What can you say about the conflict between Qatar Gulf at this moment after the Arabic-Islamic-American summit at Riyadh? WE: In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate …