All posts tagged: Iraq

George and the ‘ISIS Bride’

Kevin Smith Two things I gave up in the New Year after many years were smoking and reading the London Evening Standard. I used to pick up the newspaper at the tube station on the journey from work back to the sticks. ​The newspaper over the last year has got worse in many ways, not least the reporting of Syria and foreign affairs. It’s that bad that there should be an Off-Evening Standard – set up by people who read it so Londoners don’t have to. The Evening Standard is one of those newspapers which is so inept or/and dishonest on these matters it always forces me to pick up my pen and write just to get it out of my system. So in a way it’s a source of negative inspiration for my writing and last year I wrote this for Off- Guardian, about an article Jeremy Hunt published in it. However my son who works in London brings it home and the other day, venturing out into my garden for a crafty vape …

The Year of the Pig is here…literally

Andre Vltchek Gong Xi Fa Cai: happy year of the Pig 2019! Congratulations, the Year of the Pig has arrived! According to the Chinese astrology, 2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life.” So, what is astrology actually saying? We will soon have some sort of ‘brotherhood of men’ year ahead of us; a year that could bring both peace and understanding between all the zodiac signs? We all wish that it could be possible. But we all have doubts that this is what is actually ahead of us! * So, where does the world stand, as the most populous nation on earth – China (but also Vietnam and several other countries) – celebrates the New Year? To be honest, the world does not ‘stand’ at all – it lies in the gutter. It appears to …

Oil, Agriculture and Imperialism: Averting the Fast-Track to Armageddon?

US global hegemony depends on Washington maintaining the dollar’s leading role. Engaging in petrodollar recycling and treasury-bond ‘super-imperialism’ are joined at the hip and have enabled the US to run up a huge balance of payments deficit (a free ride courtesy of the rest of the world) by using the (oil-backed) paper dollar as security in itself.

WATCH: Robert Newman’s History of Oil

Philip Roddis The best comedians are the cleverest people on the planet. I’m grateful to a BTL comment on OffGuardian, below a piece of mine on Venezuela, for linking to this forty-five minute video. It has Robert Newman saying exactly what I try to say, but with vastly greater wit and panache, on the history of oil and, more generally, a materialist perspective on history. Performed in 2006, it could have been yesterday given the clueless way we insist on viewing each “pro-democracy” intervention – Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Venezuela – on a case by case basis. Given too the criminal way ‘our’ media ignore the material drivers of war. In both my two posts this week on Venezuela, I described corporate media as having “abdicated a core duty in their refusal to explore motives that cast a very different light on Western interventions sold to us as humanitarian”. Newman treads the same ground but here too – damn the man – he does it better.

Lies and Damned Lies: Australia, the US and the “Syria Withdrawal”

Few of us would claim we never told a lie, but neither that we did so enthusiastically. Just the innocent deception of our own children with the Santa Claus fairy tale is a lie, even if told for the most altruistic of reasons. Perhaps that illustrates the conundrum, and need for some distinction between “innocent lies” and egregious ones, and those in between.

And That’s The Way It Is

The Essential U.S. Journalism Books of 2018 James McEnteer Two very different reporters dig deep beneath the mainstream media chatter to find the authentic, arrhythmic heart of America. Charlie LeDuff (Sh*t Show!: The Country’s Collapsing… and the Ratings are Great) and Chris Hedges ( America: The Farewell Tour), both former New York Times writers, are resourceful investigators who go their own ways to find stories. Beyond that instinct for truth, and independence from the media pack, they have radically different methods. Read together, their books complement and corroborate each other. LeDuff gathers anecdotal evidence from “the fringes” of the country, including minorities and the poor, who rarely have a voice or make an appearance in media until some tragedy befalls them. His made-for-TV antics are gutsy and amusing (a la Michael Moore) but his points are deadly serious. Hedges’ relentless jeremiad reveals the pathologies of America’s failed institutions, the impotence of our corporate political parties, the rise of the Christian fascism and infotainment that brought Trump to power and the concomitant cruelties of word and …

It is Time for George Versus the Dragon

David Lindsay At least once every week, the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, says something that would end the career of a Conservative, or of a Corbyn supporter, or of a man, or of anyone who was not Jess Phillips. Phillips supports the present Israeli Government. She has accused British Pakistanis of importing wives for their disabled sons. Her position on abortion, whatever one may think of that issue, is effectively a call for the full legal integration of Northern Ireland into Great Britain. She is rude and abusive towards Britain’s most prominent black politician, Diane Abbott. Or at least she claims to be; it is possible that she has built her reputation on lying about having used gutter language towards a woman who was old enough to be her mother. Phillips laughs at male suicides, at male cancers, at other men’s health issues, at violence against men, at problems in boys’ educational attainment, and at fathers denied access to their children. She has expressed the desire to stab Jeremy Corbyn. And …

The Nobel Peace Prize in Support of War

On December 10, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony will be held in Oslo, the capital of Norway. This analysis will try to look at how the prize fits in the bigger picture, but first, some general background is appropriate:

Norway is a member of NATO and has close ties to the United States and Great Britain. The political, economic and bureaucratic elites are firmly integrated in transatlantic networks, a nexus of economic connections, think tanks, international institutions, media and a thousand other ties that bind. They tend to identify with the liberal wing of the empire, (i.e. the Democrats, not the Republicans), but will work with any US administration. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are selected by the Norwegian parliament, and the Committee is nominally independent.

The Guardian’s Bush obituary plumbs new depths of sycophantic hypocrisy

We’re no longer supposed to examine the lives, characters or morals of our leaders. Only “honor their memory” and be “grateful for their service”. History is presented to us, not as a series of choices made by people in power, but as a collection of inevitibilities. Consequences are tragic, but unavoidable. Like long-dead family squabbles – To dwell on them is unseemly, and to assign blame unfair.

Against the Stream

So, when did the Trente Glorieuses (1945-1975) end, and the great counter-reformation begin exactly? Some would argue when Nixon took the dollar off of the gold standard in 1971, or perhaps with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, or again possibly during the late 70s early 80s when the Anglo-American duo, Regan and Thatcher, rewrote the political playbook. It seems probable that the inflexion point was reached when the interaction of these variables attained critical mass; but this exact moment cannot be known. What is known, however, is that an historical shift – probably irreversible – took place involving the demise of the social-democratic, welfare-capitalist, model in western Europe and New Dealism in the US.

The Emerging World Order

Eric Zuesse The Post-World-War-II world order was dominated by the one WWII major combatant that had only 0.32% of its population (the lowest percentage) killed by the war: the United States. The Soviet Union’s comparable number killed by the war was the highest — it was 13.7% — 42.8 times higher than America’s. The US was the main force that defeated Japan and so won WWII in Asia. The USSR, however, was the main force that defeated Germany and so won WWII in Europe. The USSR suffered vastly more than did the US to achieve its victory. In addition to suffering 42.8 times the number of war-deaths than did US, the USSR’s financial expenditures invested in the conflict, as calculated by Jan Ludvik, were 4.8 times higher than were America’s financial expenditures on the war. Thus, at the war’s end, the Soviet Union was exhausted and in a much weaker condition than it had been before the war. By contrast, the US, having had none of the war’s battles occurring on its territory, was (by …

The Meaning of a Multi-Polar World

Eric Zuesse Right now, we live in a mono-polar world. Here is how US President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014: The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future US military leaders that they are to fight for the US aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. …

I Propose Americans Wear Gas Pumps on Veteran’s Day

In the Commonwealth of Nations, the people get to wear poppies on Remembrance Day. I’m jealous. Poppies are beautiful.

In the United States, we get military glorification and propaganda. I don’t know how many marches and war stories we’ve endured over the years. This is not fair.

I think Americans need their own symbolic lapel pin for Veteran’s Day. I propose it be a gas pump.

WATCH: Who Are These Russians And Why Do We Hate Them?

In his film, Regis Tremblay examines the history of US-Russian relations, talks to ordinary Russian people, deconstructs propaganda and attempts to answer the question – Who are these Russians? And Why Do We Hate Them? The escalating downturn of US relations with Russia has made the world a more dangerous place than at any time during the Cold War, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This film explores the many reasons why the US foreign policy establishment since the end of World War II hates all things Russian. With the exception of John Kennedy who sought to end nuclear weapons and to seek peace with Russia, every president since has used Russia as a threat to American interests, security and Democracy. Is Putin a thug and an assassin? Or he is a great, patriotic leader of a country that was nearly destroyed by President George Herbert Walker Bush’s CIA good old boys, Bill Clinton and the CIA asset Boris Yeltsin? But, perhaps the greatest fear is that Russia has regained its superpower status and because …

The US-Led Genocide and Destruction of Yemen

“Only God can save our children”, say Yemeni fathers and mothers as they can do nothing but watch their children die, try to comfort them in their final agonizing hours, and pray for God to spare them from death. The fathers and mothers watch and pray, as one by another their children die from cholera, dehydration and starvation.

Your debt and mine to Julian Assange

Philip Roddis In a recent post I referred to the vile treatment of a man who brought us irrefutible evidence, and in screeds, that the widely cherished notion of the West being democratic is a fat lie. True, some of us knew this already, but Wikileaks shocked even the most hardened critics of liberal democracy by the extent and unprecedentedly fine granularity of that evidence. In view of its shabby betrayal of Julian Assange – and the fact its readership demography maps closely onto that of my own site – I, pace Media Lens, singled out the Guardian for particularly scathing treatment. Two examples were columnists Deborah Orr and Suzanne Moore. It should surprise no one that both are women. Though Assange’s character assassination has involved many a male journalist – not least Russia Cold Warrior Luke Harding, whose uniquely personal betrayal of trust marked an all time journalistic low [1] – shills and hacks who also happened to be female had a spearhead role to play, given the precise form the assassination assumed. Here’s what computer …

See what the two main American political parties have become

David Lindsay See what the two main American political parties have become. On any one or more of torture, Guantánamo Bay, mass surveillance, workers’ rights, consumer protection, environmental responsibility, treaties with Native Americans, healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions (that is, people like me), the President’s supposed immunity from indictment, and the President’s supposed power to pardon himself, Brett Kavanaugh could easily have been blocked by enough Republicans and all Democrats, plus Bernie Sanders. But instead, the useless Democratic Party made it about a #MeToo and #IBelieveHer story that it was impossible to prove. The party of Glass and Steagall repealed Glass-Steagall. The party that put a man on the Moon has become the party that puts a man in the ladies’ room. The eventual party of Civil Rights has regressed to being the party of the lynch mob. I am not going to do the line about the Democratic Party’s having gone “from a chicken in every pot, to a chicken on pot,” because the truth is even worse. Those who had cut their …

The NYT Whitewashes Haley

The decampment of Nikki Haley from Trump’s military regime is, or ought to be, a nonstory. The United States’ ambassador to the United Nations is a ceremonial position that serves no purpose. The very idea of it is absurd. The US is a law unto itself, readily violating the UN Charter whenever the latter’s principles get in the way of the former’s imperial agenda. Washington didn’t bother obtaining a Security Council resolution for its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; nor did it get one for its bombing of, and deployment of troops in, Syria; nor did it get one for its protracted bombardment of Yugoslavia; nor did it get one for its various military operations in Yemen.

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 …

Conspiracies Are Not All Theoretical

Alison Broinowski Before the 2016 election, candidate Donald Trump told voters he would ‘find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.’ His promise may turn out to be as empty as his predecessor’s undertaking to close down Guantánamo Bay. Or he may be prevented from keeping it by those who know the truth. Trump, an expert in false facts, questioned the version of events provided by the 9/11 Commission Report. More significantly, so did many scientists, engineers, and intelligence analysts. Experts from a wide range of countries at The Toronto Hearings on 9/11 in 2011 produced a DVD two years later, subtitled ‘Uncovering Ten Years of Deception’. The facts are presented in several books, including those by David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott, Paul Thompson and Nafeez Ahmed: but many still can’t believe them. When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked in 1996 if the deaths of half a million Arab children following Gulf War I was justified, she infamously replied, ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we …