All posts tagged: Empire Watch

Jakarta – Filming the most depressing city on Earth

In Indonesia, you are not really ‘poor’, not necessarily, if you or your children are shitting into a canal, and that canal is literally toxic from chemical, medical or other waste, and if, just a few meters ‘down the stream’, someone is washing clothes, or even brushing teeth, getting bit of your excrement. You are not ‘poor’ if you have no access to clean water, or to a decent electricity supply (almost nobody does in Jakarta, as the voltage fluctuates and destroys almost all electric appliances in no time). You are not poor if your children cannot afford to eat milk products and become physically or mentally ill from a lack of vitamins, minerals, or out rightly suffering from malnutrition. You are not poor if you are ‘functionally illiterate’, cannot compare and know close to nothing about the world.

In Indonesia, you are poor if your income is below Rp.400.000 per month (the definition applied since March, 2018). That is, as I write this essay, the equivalent of US$26 per month. Even the most cynical ‘absolute poverty’ line stands at U$1.25.

The biggest threat to U.S. national security is the U.S. Government

Eric Zuesse A dictatorship does not represent the public but only the aristocracy that, behind the scenes, controls the government. Jonathan H. Adler, Professor at Case Western University School of Law, noted, regarding George W. Bush’s secret policy for the NSA to access everyone’s phone-records, that “The metadata collection program is constitutional (at least according to Judge Kavanaugh),” and he presented Judge Kavanaugh’s entire published opinion on that. Kavanaugh’s opinion stated that the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution could be shoved aside because he thinks that the ‘national security’ of the United States is more important than the Constitution. Kavanaugh wrote: The Government’s program for bulk collection of 2 telephony metadata serves a critically important special need – preventing terrorist attacks on the United States…In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program…. The Fourth Amendment allows governmental searches and seizures without individualized suspicion when the Government demonstrates a sufficient “special need” – that is, a need beyond the normal need for law enforcement – that …

Jeremy Hunt and his war against ‘fake news’

Kevin Smith INTRODUCTION I thought it would be helpful to explain my general perspective on the media and the endless warmongering by our governments. One of my observations about many independent news sites is that while you can see much of the readership is enlightened and knowledgeable on these matters, sometimes people feeling vindicated for their beliefs retreat back to their comfort zones. For example, this site may include many discerning ex-Guardian readers who’ve seen the light and are content they are reading articles which represent their views. But what’s next? My thinking is we need to reach out to others and the way to do that is appeal to the ‘lurkers’ reading this site. In my experience on a site like this the majority of readers are lurkers and never comment because they are slightly behind the curve and don’t feel knowledgeable or confident enough to join the debate. So my take on this is that to some degree we now need to take the next step, gather what we know and put this …

P is for Phosphorus and for Projection

Hope K On Thursday September 6th, US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran that the US will act if chemical weapons are used against Syrian civilians. On Saturday September 8th, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that US jets shelled the Syrian city of Hajin with white phosphorus. White phosphorus is a gnarly chemical weapon that can burn human flesh down to the bone. So, does that mean that the US is going to “act” on itself? Probably not. The Pentagon denies the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim. Somebody’s lying. Who could it be? Well, I don’t know about you, but my mind immediately goes back to June of 2017, when the US military got caught using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria after they said they didn’t. Then they claimed they just used it for smokescreens. The US signed a treaty in 2009 with the promise they would never again use the chemical weapon white phosphorus, except when they need to for smokescreen purposes. That’s an interesting exception. It sounds …

Where’s the Rest of our Country?

Phillip A Farruggio In the 1942 epic film King’s Row actor Ronald Reagan ( of all people ) played a down and out working stiff (Drake McHugh) who just had his legs amputated due to an accident. He was under anesthesia and did not know this. Thus, when he came to, he uttered that famous line: Where’s the rest of me!?” This is a very appropriate query for all of us working stiffs as to the nature of this current economic state of affairs. For decades this Military Industrial Empire has been whittling away at our safety net…from ALL sides! Funding for so many necessary services has been continually cut to the bone, while the empire keeps funding that militarism beast to the tune of over half of our federal tax revenue. No one or rather so few seem to care. At least Drake McHugh’s friends did when he screamed that famous scream. We have a Two Party/ One Party system that equally kneels at the altar of empire. Wall Street, Big Banking and the …

Donald Trump Comes Out in Support of Islamic Terrorists

Eric Zuesse On September 4th, U.S. President Donald Trump came out publicly in support of Islamic terrorists. He clearly stated that he is against eliminating the people who live in, and who have sought refuge in, the region of Syria that has the highest concentration — almost 100% of the people there — either supporting or being Islamic terrorists. This region has what is virtually certain to be the highest percentage of jihadists and of their supporters, anywhere in the world. No other locale on the planet has been shown to be even close to 100% supporting Islamic terrorism, jihadists, but this one has. Idlib Governate, in Syria, is by far the most-pro-jihadist region in Syria, and has increasingly been collecting jihadists from abroad, for jihadists globally to overthrow and replace Syria’s secular Government. Syria is the nation that, for seven years, has experienced an influx of jihadists from not only the Arab world, and not only from Muslim-majority countries, but from everywhere, including Europe and the United States, who have come into Syria to …

How Corrupt America’s Dictators Are

Eric Zuesse Yet another poll confirms that America’s dictatorial clique take advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of the average person so that the clique’s politicians can win votes no matter how much these politicians block passage and enforcement of any proposed laws that the dictators don’t want to pass or to be enforced. In this latest case, the owners of the insurance companies refuse to allow single-payer (i.e., tax-financed, as opposed to for-profit) health insurance, though three-quarters of the American people, in the latest poll, want it, and though past polls (which likewise were hidden from the public) also overwhelmingly indicate that the public want it. For decades now, the owners have blocked it, though the public have overwhelmingly wanted it. This is an excellent example of the consistent finding in the empirical political-science literature, that the U.S. is a dictatorship by the richest against the public, and not actually a democracy at all. This particular poll-finding was a poll taken by Ipsos for the Reuters ’news’-agency and was made public by Reuters on …

Recolonising India: Gross Maladministration and the Illegal Entry of GMOs

Colin Todhunter Despite five high-level reports (listed here) in India advising against the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops, the drive to get GM mustard commercialised (which would be India’s first officially-approved GM food crop) has been relentless. Although the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has given it the nod, GM mustard remains held up in the Supreme Court mainly due to a public interest litigation by environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues. Rodrigues argues that GM mustard is being undemocratically forced through with flawed tests (or no testing) and a lack of public scrutiny and that unremitting scientific fraud and outright regulatory delinquency has taken place. She is seeking a moratorium on the environmental releasee of any genetically modified organism (GMO) in the absence of: comprehensive, transparent and rigorous biosafety protocols; biosafety studies conducted by independent expert bodies; and access to biosafety protocols and data in the public domain. On Friday 24 August 2018 and in relation to the ongoing court proceedings surrounding GM mustard, Rodrigues filed an additional court application concerning the ongoing illegal imports of GM seed, GM soy cultivation in Gujarat and the presence …

How a Free Market Inevitably Produces Dictatorship

Eric Zuesse Who rules the land? A deeper and truer version of this question is: What rules the land? Is it the money (the aristocracy), or is it the people (the public, the residents on that land)? (For the interest of paleoconservatives, the issue of residents’ citizenship will come later here, as “immigrants” instead of as “citizenship”; but our basic focus is not ethnicity/nationality; it’s class: the money, versus the voters; not the natives, versus the foreigners.) In a democracy, the public rule — the people do — and it’s on authentically a one-person-one-vote basis, and anyone who is a resident in that land can easily vote, just like anyone else who lives there, because only the residents there, during the specific time-period of the voting, are the ultimate decision-makers, over that land, and over its laws. This is what a democracy is: it’s one-person-one-vote, and, in the political sense, it’s total equality-of-rights and total equality-of-obligations — real and total equality-by-law: equal rights, and equal obligations, for all residents. A democracy applies the same requirements to everyone. This does not mean …

The Welsh Orchestra Defying the Ukrainian Coup Regime

A Welsh brass band has been touring Crimean venues this month. This is totally unacceptable, according to the Kiev-based government of Ukraine – installed after the 2014 coup. Quite why these ten individuals playing traditional music in theatres around Crimean cities is so distasteful remains a mystery. For our part, it seems an innocent enough exercise, and perhaps a nice way to celebrate a peculiarity of history that ties Wales to that part of the world. The Ukrainian government felt strongly enough about it to “take steps”. First, the Ukrainian ambassador to Britain wrote to the organization, requesting they cancel the tour: They also tweeted about it: …and wrote to the Foreign Office, who in turn wrote to Symphoninc Brass Wales: Quite why two different national governments felt the need to pressure a small group of people from travelling to a perfectly safe part of the world, we do not know. Certainly it was nothing to do with risk. And what kind of PR coup does a small orchestra – only 10 pieces – really …

They lied to you about Iran

Have you ever considered the possibility that almost everything that you have been told about the world by the Western mass media is a lie and fabrication?

I am sure you have, at least lately, when the insanity of Western propaganda is becoming very clear and obvious. But what about the extent of indoctrination you were subjected to?

If you live in Europe or North America, how poisoned are you by the lies about Cuba and Venezuela, Russia and China, North Korea and yes – about Iran? Are you beyond recovery? If you see the truth, if you were confronted by reality, would you still be able to recognize it, or would you perceive it as propaganda and lies?

Why the Neocons Hate Russia (even more than they hate everyone else)

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Neoconservatism started in 1953 with Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the Democratic Party U.S. Senator from the state of Washington (1953-1983), who became known as a ‘defense’ hawk, and as “the Senator from Boeing,”because Boeing practically owned him. The UK’s Henry Jackson Society was founded in 2005 in order to carry forward Senator Jackson’s unwavering and passionate endorsement of growing the American empire so that the U.S.-UK alliance will control the entire world (and U.S. weapons-makers will dominate in every market). Later, during the 1990s, neoconservatism became taken over by the Mossad and the lobbyists for Israel and came to be publicly identified as a ‘Jewish’ ideology, despite its having — and having long had — many champions who were ‘anti-communist’ or ‘pro-democracy’ or simply even anti-Russian, but who were neither Jewish nor even focused at all on the Middle East. Republicans Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and John McCain; and the Democrat, CIA Director James Woolsey — the latter of whom was one of the patrons of Britain’s Henry Jackson Society — were especially prominent neoconservatives, who came to …

IRAN: US Regime Change Project is Immoral and Illegal

Contemptuous of international law, the US makes no secret of its plots to overthrow the leaders of internationally recognized governments that reject the neoliberal New World Order. Iran is at the top of the US enemies list. The US has been at it since the 1979 Iran Revolution, when the Iranian people overthrew the US’s “our boy”, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah had become the US’s “our boy” as CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt referred to him in 1953, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower overthrew the popular democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Overthrowing governments is illegal according to US law and international law. It is also immoral if one believes in democracy, self-determination, and the sovereignty of nations, respect for human life, and the rule of law.

How the U.S. Government Lies About Syria & Ukraine

Eric Zuesse From the moment it took power in the U.S. in 2009, the Barack Obama Administration was angling to overthrow Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad. And then, by the time of December of 2012, Obama’s team were relying mainly on Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch to lead the tens of thousands of the U.S.-Saudi alliance’s boots-on-the ground ‘moderate rebels’ in this overthrow-Assad war, fighters who have actually been fundamentalist Sunnis recruited from all over the world to come to Syria in order to replace the secular President of Syria, the Alawite Shiite, Assad. Propaganda in the U.S. portrays U.S. Government policy as being driven by a concern for the welfare of the Syrian people: to ‘protect their human rights’ — not to overthrow a government that refuses to cooperate with U.S. oil companies and other corporate interests in the U.S. But even with the anti-Obama Donald Trump in the White House, there has been nothing really new about any of this U.S. Government scam, any of this attempted-but-never-publicly-acknowledged conquest against the Syrian people. The U.S. Government …

America is one-dollar-one-vote, not one-person-one vote

Eric Zuesse The only comprehensive and scientific study which has ever been done of whether the U.S. is a democracy or instead a dictatorship, was published in 2014. It studied the period during 1981 through 2002, and it found that:  In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.” And this is quoting now directly from the study itself: The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” A study published two years later (in 2016) reviewed the entire relevant scientific literature and found that “responsiveness [to the American public’s preferences] seems to have declined during the late twentieth century” and might be getting worse yet than that: The picture appears to be even more ominous — that is, opinion and policy are negatively related — on highly salient issues that attract media attention.” Consequently: the more media-attention, the less that the Government’s policy will reflect the public’s preferences on the given issue. …

“Trumpet to War”: Spectators and Pragmatists…at Their Own Execution

Phillip Farruggio The Military Industrial Empire has succeeded, ever since WW2. Our education system has incrementally been ‘dumbed down’ over these past decades. Our mainstream media is now a colorful prism of those terrible times during the Nazi and Stalinist eras. The use of ‘fake news’ then and now is the vogue. Truth has become hostage along with our cherished flag. Too many lies and disinformation have built this ‘House of Cards’ that the empire’s masters operate within. Yet, the mere handful of we truth seekers and truth tellers keep on ‘ keeping on’ despite the major obstacles in our way. This writer’s baby boomer generation remembers well the ‘so called’ Vietnam War. It was never really a war between us and the Commies. No, it was a civil war that our empire decided to enter into, at such a great cost of both lives and national treasure. Too many of my fellow citizens either responded to the spin and hype, or simply couldn’t give a shit. The latter group were spectators to the demise …

Has new Australian foreign agent law been safely neutered?

Tony kevin The Australian parliament is about to pass a complex package of national security laws aimed at strengthening Australia’s protections against espionage, sabotage, (covert) foreign interference and (overt) harmful foreign influence on Australian political life. The real target is China, but Russia makes a convenient public scapegoat drawing on current US/UK precedents. The draft laws which now appear to have bipartisan support are significantly improved from the first government drafts released for public comment in December 2017. Nevertheless they take Australia in an illiberal direction. The legislation is a defensive McCarthyist response by Australia’s security and mainstream media elites to the erosion of United States power and will to protect Australia. These groups cannot bear the thought that as Chinese and Russian global power grows, Australia must now radically review its great power and Asia-Pacific region relationships. Instead, Australia’s elites seek to intimidate Australia’s richly diverse plural society into docile obedience to the national security dogma of the day, whatever the cost to Australians’ traditional rights to free speech and free association with anybody …

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.

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.

Gina Haspel and Pinocchio from Rome

by Edward Curtin Being in Rome, Italy and thinking of Gina Haspel, the CIA nominee and admitted torturer who says her “moral conscience” has changed after the fact, seems most fitting. Wherever you go in central Rome, you can hear the screams and smell the blood of those tortured and killed by the Roman Empire and those who ably followed in their stead. And you can see the crumbled stones and the pathetic architectural remains of those who thought they had triumphed. Their triumph turned to dust, and their belated mea culpas, if and when they ever came, always rang as hollow as Gina Haspel’s, Lt. William Calley’s, and Adolph Eichmann’s excuses that they were only doing their jobs and following orders. Throughout Rome there are hawkers dangling Pinocchio trinkets in your face, constant reminders of the cost of lying. Or perhaps more aptly, the fame that ensues from lying followed by a childish semi-apology, even when it’s as obvious as the nose on your face that you are lying still. So in the Senate …