All posts filed under: United States

Why I Don’t Speak of 9/11 Anymore

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a non-teaching day for me. I was home when the phone rang at 9 A.M. It was my daughter, who was on a week’s vacation with her future husband. “Turn on the TV,” she said. “Why?” I asked. “Haven’t you heard? A plane hit the World Trade Tower.” I turned the TV on and watched a plane crash into the Tower. I said, “They just showed a replay.” She quickly corrected me, “No, that’s another plane.” And we talked as we watched in horror, learning that it was the South Tower this time. Sitting next to my daughter was my future son-in-law; he had not had a day off from work in a year. He had finally taken a week’s vacation so they could go to Cape Cod. He worked on the 100th floor of the South Tower. By chance, he had escaped the death that claimed 176 of his co-workers. That was my introduction to the attacks. Sixteen years have disappeared behind us, yet it seems like yesterday. And yet again, it seems like long, long ago.

From previously unpublished pages of Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman”

by Vladimir Golstein From recently found and previously unpublished pages of Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman.” Day 1. Woke up late today.  Read NYT.  There are a lot of things that bother me.  There are Russian spies and Nazis everywhere.  And all they do is plotting something against our democracy.  What a disgrace. Went to a coffee shop.  On the way there, saw a dog carrying a newspaper.  A Chinese Chow-Chow dog.  Oh, those are crafty.  Followed it.  Found where it lived.  As I was getting close to it, I’ve heard it grumbled something.  But it was in Chinese, so I didn’t quite get it.  I wonder, how they make it in this country without English. Returned home and listened to the NPR.  Our president bothers me.  He wants to keep foreigners out.  If he does that, who will cut my grass? Had my quinoa salad and went to bed. Day 2. The NYT wasn’t at its usual place on the porch. Somebody must have read it already.  Must be one of those dogs.  They …

The story of Charlottesville was written in blood in the Ukraine

by Ajamu Baraka, August 16, 2017, via Black Agenda Report Some of the neo-Nazis President Obama helped put in power in Ukraine carried Confederate flags. U.S. society has been moving rightward for decades — and pulling much of Europe with it. What is the character of racist right-wing politics today?  Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”?  What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias?  Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern?  And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add …

Venezuela elections: resurgent chavismo and “unrecognised” democracy

After weeks of imperialist threats and opposition violence, the elections for the Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela took place on July 30th. The result was a massive turnout of over 8 million voters, around 41% of the electorate, which gave chavismo a much-needed shot in the arm. The western media reacted by trying to dispute the number and sticking even closer to the narrative being pushed by the opposition and the US State Department. With the opposition scrambling and US authorities bringing more sanctions and threats, it is now chavismo that has the political initiative. The Constituent Assembly will not solve everything by itself, but it is a tremendous opportunity to push the Bolivarian Revolution forward.

America Declares Economic War Against Europe

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On Friday night, July 28th, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he would sign into law the increased economic sanctions (passed by 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House) against any business that is declared to have “knowingly provided goods or services … for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines.” Russia is the largest energy-supplier to the world’s largest energy-market, which is Europe, or the EU. The biggest proportion of that trade is in Europe’s main source of energy, which is gas, which is pipelined into Europe from Russia. So: those pipelines are vitally important not only to Russia’s economy but to Europe’s. President Trump had gotten Congress to agree to limit the application of this provision only to “The President, in coordination with allies of the United States, may impose five or more of the sanctions described in section 235 with respect to a person if the President determines that the person knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this …

The Guardian’s propaganda on Venezuela: all you need to know

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

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.

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 Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord

By Ray McGovern via Information Clearing House The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists? Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by bringing the U.S. military and intelligence bureaucracies into line behind a cease-fire rather than allowing insubordination to win out? These are truly life-or-death questions for the Syrian people and could have profound repercussions across Europe, which has been destabilized by the flood of refugees fleeing the horrific violence in the six-year proxy war that has ripped Syria apart. But you would have little inkling of this important priority from the large page-one headlines …

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.

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 …

Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria

Late on Monday the 19th, was reported by Russia’s Sputnik: “In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying ojects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets” — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.

Nuclear Weapons Ban? What Needs to be Banned Is U.S. Arrogance

by Diana Johnstone, from Global Research In a context of almost total indifference, marked by outright hostility, representatives of over a hundred of the world’s least powerful countries are currently opening another three-week session of United Nations talks aimed at achieving a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. Very few people even know this is happening. Ban nuclear weapons? Ho hum… Let’s change the subject. Let’s talk about Russian hacking instead, or the rights of trans-sexuals to use the toilet of their choice, or even about something really important: climate change. But wait a minute. The damage to human society, and to “the planet”, from the projected rise of a few degrees of global temperature, while commonly described as apocalyptic, would be minor compared to the results of all-out nuclear war. More to the point, the degree of human responsibility in climate change is more disputed among serious scientists than the public is aware, due to the role of such contributing factors as solar variations. But the degree of human responsibility for nuclear weapons is …

The US takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda off Terror Watch-lists

by Nauman Sadiq According to a recent report [1] by CBC Canada, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front and then Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) since July 2016, has been removed from the terror watch-lists of the US and Canada after it merged with fighters from Zenki Brigade and hardline jihadists from Ahrar al-Sham and rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January this year. The US State Department is hesitant to label Tahrir al-Sham a terror group, despite the group’s link to al-Qaeda, as the US government has directly funded and armed the Zenki Brigade, one of the constituents of Tahrir al-Sham, with sophisticated weaponry including the US-made antitank TOW missiles. The overall military commander of Tahrir al-Sham continues to be Abu Mohammad al-Julani, whom the US has branded a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million bounty. But for the US to designate Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons to terrorists, and draw attention to the fact that …

What Did John Brennan and Anonymous Sources Really Say?

by Philip Giraldi from UNZ Review The Washington Post and a number of other mainstream media outlets are sensing blood in the water in the wake of former CIA Director John Brennan’s public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The Post headlined a front page featured article with: Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump. The article states that Brennan during the 2016 campaign: reviewed intelligence that showed ‘contacts and interaction’ between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign.” Politico was also in on the chase in an article entitled Brennan: “Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides”. The precise money quote by Brennan that the two articles chiefly rely on is: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the …

Watergate Redux or ‘Deep State’ Coup?

The whole Comey/Russophobia issue continues to spiral past propaganda, past delusion and into total madness. Social media is boiling with neoliberals telling each other Trump is a “new Nixon” for sacking Comey. The WaPo suggests a Russian photographer smuggled a bug into the Oval Office. Fox TV host Julie Roginsky tells viewers Russia is invading countries and “forcing” the inhabitants to speak Russian, and will soon be America’s “new overlords.” Ex-Tory MP Louise Mensch thinks the only way to stop that happening is to do “precision bombing raids” (on Moscow presumably). What is the root of this dangerous folie en masse? In an article at Defend Democracy, Robert Parry posits this as evidence the intelligence agencies are now de facto kingmakers, who have created the Russia-gate and Comey issues in a bid to both discredit and manipulate Trump, just as they promoted the investigation of Clinton’s email irregularities to destroy her chance of the Presidency. President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday reflected a growing concern inside the White House that the …

“The regime will be there” – U.S. Concedes Raqqa…and the Syrian East?

from Moon of Alabama A new Wall Street Journal piece, primarily about the ISIS held city of Raqqa on the Euphrates, casts doubt on long term U.S. plans for such an occupation. Its core quote: “We won’t be in Raqqa in 2020, but the regime will be there.” There were already doubts that a big U.S. move in east-Syria was really going to happen. Jordan opposes any such move. While the U.S. and Jordan have trained, equipped and paid Syrian “rebels” to hold a zone of control in south-west Syria, little preparations have been seen for a large move in the south-east. The U.S. has so far vetted and trained at most 2,000 local Arab fighters in the area. Fewer are ready to go. Even with U.S. special forces embedded with them these forces are way too small to take an ISIS defended city or to capture or to hold a significant area. At least ten to twenty thousand troops would be needed (likely more) for such an endeavor. The current force is probably only …