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Is The United States Going To Go To War With Syria Over A Natural...

Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the...

Obama’s Waging War on Humanity

Obama's Waging War on Humanity by Stephen Lendman He's done it since day one in office. It rages nonstop. War on Afghanistan could continue for another...

‘Impeach Obama’ Ad to Run in Washington Times

Group planned to deliver copies of newspaper to Congress members today Adan Salazar A coalition of black citizens united under the banner of the National Black...

With Obama on the War Path, Syria Disaster Set to Get Worse

The situation in Syria is about to go from bad to worse as the Obama administration outrageously suggests it will defy the Constitution and...

Maduro urges Obama not to attack Syria

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) and US President Barack Obama (file photo)Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has appealed to US President Barack Obama to end...

John Kerry’s Dinner with Bashar

Kurt NimmoInfowars.comSeptember 3, 2013 On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry compared Bashar al-Assad to Adolph...

The Troodos Conundrum: Syria and the Cyprus US-UK Intelligence Monitoring Station

 The GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation. The communications intercept...

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad: “Power Lies in your Ability to Prevent Wars, not in...

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to the French daily Le Figaro. Following is the full text: Le Figaro: Mr. President, the Americans and the...

Obama Backs Down, A Little

On President Obama’s proposed hit and run intervention into the Syrian civil war, there are, as Donald Rumsfeld might say, “the known knowns; …things...

Letter to a Syrian Friend

Dear Friend: You are in Syria, somewhere in Damascus. You have been involved in various protests to fight for more democratic space in Syria, and...

No War for Bernard Henri Lévy

The American people do not want US armed forces to get involved in the civil war in Syria. The United Nations will not back...

How the U.S. Left is Failing Over Syria

It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero...

Obama Decides It’s Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It Alone

While still claiming dictatorial powers to start a war on his own authority, Obama put his unilateral attack on Syria on hold when he...

Who Really Crossed the Red Line?

The momentum for war seems to have slowed down as President Obama turns to Congress to get the go-ahead for military action against Syria....

Why Was Syria Attacked?

Why Was Syria Attacked? by Stephen Lendman On April 6, 2009, Seymour Hersh headlined "Syria Calling," saying: When Israel's December 2008/January 2009 Cast Lead war on Gaza...

Obama 'left' alone in Syria attack

Military action against Syria is different from what happened in Libya in 2011 because US President Barack Obama Å“is pretty much left to his...

SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?

Note to Readers:  Remember to bookmark this page for future reference. Please Forward the GR I-Book far and wide. Post it on Facebook. scroll down for I-BOOK Table...

Russia Has Equipped Syria With Their Most Advanced Anti-Ship Missiles

Russia has sold Syria highly advanced rocket launchers, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-ship missiles. In fact, the P-800 Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Russia has equipped...

What Happens if the British Parliament Votes No to America’s War on Syria?

by Lesley Docksey There has been an epidemic of outrage in the United Kingdom over the last few days, most of it coming from the...

Obama Asks Congress, but Claims Power to Launch Syria War Anyway

Despite absurdly claiming to have the authority to wage war on Syria without so much as a semblance of congressional authorization, President Obama, under...

Massive Naval Deployment: US and Allied Warships Deployed to Syrian Coastline “Before” the August...

A massive US and allied naval deployment is occurring in the Red Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. While this display of military...

Syria and the geopolitics of oil

Al-JazeeraSeptember 2, 2013 The global energy market is ruled by geopolitics. With tensions continuing in Egypt,...

Syria: Socialists Love War

Kurt NimmoInfowars.comSeptember 2, 2013 French president Francois Hollande has called for bombing Syria. Photo: Guillaume Paumier Socialists...

How “Progressives” and the American “Left” are Failing Over Syria

It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero...

Around 50 escape in Tunisia prison break

Around 50 inmates have escaped from a prison in southern Tunisian city of Gabes after attacking the guards overnight. The incident took place on Sunday...

Caveman Credibility and its Costs: Bombing in the Name of Democracy. Triggering a Humanitarian...

Sending a bunch of $3 million missiles into Syria to blow stuff up will kill a great many men, women, and children directly. It...

Caveman Credibility and its Costs

Sending a bunch of $3 million missiles into Syria to blow stuff up will kill a great many men, women, and children directly. It...

Unilateral Attack on Syria: Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress...

While still claiming dictatorial powers to start a war on his own authority, Obama put his unilateral attack on Syria on hold when he...

America’s Covert War against Christians in the Middle East

A possible US intervention into Syria against the background of chaos and bloody turmoil reigning in the country for over two years could become...

Yes, the Syrian Rebels DO Have Access to Chemical Weapons

One of the U.S. government’s main justifications for its claim that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack is that the rebels...

In Syria, It’s a Case of All or Nothing

The discredited justifications that preceded the invasion of Iraq still dominate British and American perception of military intervention in Syria. In a similar way...

The Human Rights Hypocrisy of the West

“…while the undermining of the rule of law, the normalization of war to advance national interests and the hollowing out of the human rights...

A Short History of Bio-Chemical Weapons

The U.S. and its allies have long been complicit in the manufacturing and use of biological and chemical weapons, yet has targeted other countries...

The Banality of Empire

You have to ask: does Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have a death wish, launching a chemical attack within miles of a U.N. chemical inspection...

How the U.S. Left is Failing Over Syria

It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero evidence has been put forth that proves the Syrian government used chemical weapons. On the contrary, evidence has been recorded that suggests the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels are responsible for the attack. […]

Demonstrations in Germany against Syria war drive

  By ...

Obama, Congress and Syria

President Obama held Situation Room meeting Friday with his national security team to discuss Syria.It's a potent sign of how low the American political...

Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It...

Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It Alone Paul Craig Roberts While still claiming dictatorial powers to start a...

Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It...

Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It Alone Paul Craig Roberts While still claiming dictatorial powers to start a war on his own authority, Obama put his unilateral attack on Syria on hold when he received a letter from more than 160 members of the House of Representatives…

The post Obama Has Decided That It Is Safer To Buy Congress Than To Go It Alone — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Cooked Up Evidence. Trying to Fool the Public over Syria

“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new...

Truthdiggers of the Week: Skeptics of Obama’s Syrian Weapons Claims

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/truthdiggers_of_the_week_skeptics_of_obamas_syrian_weapons_claim_20130901/ Posted on Sep 1, 2013 ...

US Foreign Policy “Script” on Syria, Who Wrote It?

While the US has been stepping up its war rhetoric over the past few days, German media has been focusing on matters of international...

People’s Uprising for World Peace: Obama and the “Global Intifada”

It is not difficult to understand the power-game being played in Syria and no decent human being should stand on the sideline in a...

A Century of Lies: The Rationales for Engaging in Foreign Wars, A Century-old White...

Woodrow Wilson: Sinking of the Lusitania—World War I, 1917-1918 “It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in...

Lies, Damn Lies and John Kerry Lies

Lies, Damn Lies and John Kerry Lies by Stephen Lendman Once wasn't enough for Kerry. He came. He saw. He lied. He did  twice. Friday was...

Egypt cleric slams peer over conduct

An Egyptian Muslim cleric has lashed out at his Qatar-based peer Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, describing him as Ëœa mufti of the Pentagon.â„¢ Sheikh Ibrahim Reza,...

An Appeal to General Dempsey on Syria

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, has spoken soberly about the dangers from any military strike on Syria, but press reports indicate President Obama is still set on...

The Stampede of Lies That’s Pushing the West Towards War in Syria

Low-empathy political leaders and media propagandists have abandoned principle in the 21st century. “It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most...

Obama Reveals His Dictatorship – Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Reveals His Dictatorship the isolation of America Paul Craig Roberts Washington preens itself on being “the world’s greatest democracy.” Washington uses the claim that it is...

Obama Reveals His Dictatorship – Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Reveals His Dictatorship the isolation of America Paul Craig Roberts Washington preens itself on being “the world’s greatest democracy.” Washington uses the claim that it is spreading democracy as a justification for its naked aggression–a clear and unambiguous war crime–against other countries. Washington cloaks its illegality in democratic rhetoric despite the obvious fact that…

The post Obama Reveals His Dictatorship — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Kucinich: Strike on Syria Makes U.S. "Al-Qaeda Air Force"

As the beat of the war drums reaches its crescendo, one former lawmaker warns that any attack on Syrian government forces will make the...

Who benefits from US war on Syria?

US President Barack Obama receives a gift of gold necklace from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, June 3, 2009.Someone wants to get the...

Obama's America: Gangsterism Writ Large

Obama's America: Gangsterism Writ Large by Stephen Lendman Obama's America is an out-of-control rogue state. It's nuclear armed and dangerous. It maintains large stockpiles of hugely...

The Lie of “Limited” War Against Syria

The rats are jumping ship. Obama’s strongest allies can’t stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria. Even England, whose entire foreign policy is reduced to asking “how high?” when the U.S. says “jump,” opted to stay grounded for Obama’s war drive.  The Arab League, too, having long been […]

Who Really Is Behind The Syrian Chemical Attacks?

 As we showed mere days ago, it appears the truth of who the real puppet-master in the Middle-East is becoming plainer to see. The...

The Lie of “Limited” War Against Syria

The rats are jumping ship. Obama’s strongest allies can’t stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria....

America Totally Discredited: If Americans keep believing the Government’s lies, they have no Future

A foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic defeat in history and destroyed...

Who Benefits From A War Between The United States And Syria?

Someone wants to get the United States into a war with Syria very, very badly. Cui bono is an old Latin phrase that is...

America Totally Discredited – Paul Craig Roberts

America Totally Discredited Paul Craig Roberts A foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic...

America Totally Discredited – Paul Craig Roberts

America Totally Discredited Paul Craig Roberts A foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic defeat in history and destroyed the credibility of the Office of the President, the Department of State, and the entire executive branch. All are exposed as a collection of third-rate…

The post America Totally Discredited — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

A message to the environmental movement

A message to the environmental movement Libya, Syria and the Road to World War III – Paul Craig Roberts on The...

Cruise Missile Law Enforcement

The White House is treating the Syrian government like a potential drone strike victim. President Barack Obama's preferred method for dealing with targeted individuals is...

Amid Syria Uproar, CIA Files Show U.S. Helped Saddam Gas Iranians

As the Western establishment bangs the war drums over a chemical weapons attack the Obama administration implausibly claims was perpetrated by Syrian dictator Bashar...

As Kerry Makes Obama's Flimsy Case for War, Where Is Congress?

Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 30, 2013. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)U.S. Secretary...

Obama May Be Walking Into an Impeachment Trap

By Kevin Zeese,  This article originated with PopularResistance.org. The irony of the Obama presidency may hinge on whether he attacks Syria. He began his presidency prematurely...

'Syria attack could turn conflict global'

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino has warned that a military attack on Syria will risk escalating into Å“a global conflagration,” saying that diplomacy is...

EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

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Invasion of Iraq, The Secret Downing Street Memo: “Intelligence and Facts were being Fixed”

In assessing the manipulation of the evidence pertaining to the alleged Syria WMD, let us reflect on an earlier WMD pretext which was used...

Marching Toward Syria and Beyond

With Syria firmly in the cross hairs, Washington’s war cries are nearing a crescendo. Playing the tried and true chemical weapons card–played each time the U.S. has moved...

The Weight on Obama’s Shoulders

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_weight_on_obamas_shoulders_20130830/ Posted on Aug 30, 2013 ...

Nobel Peace Laureate Obama Plans War on Syria Based on Lies

Nobel Peace Laureate Obama Plans War on Syria Based on Lies by Stephen Lendman In awarding its 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, Committee members turned truth on...

Anti-war activists to protest over Syria

Anti-war campaigners to protest against Syria attack.Thousands of British anti-war campaigners are to demonstrate against the Western war rhetoric against Syria. The demonstration titled Å“No...

’Bomb blast kills 2 in Benghazi’

Benghazi residents and Libyan security forces gather around a burning car after an explosion killed the military prosecutor for Western Libya Yussef Ali al-Asseifar,...

'Tunisia to set up buffer zones'

Tunisian soldiers patrol in the Mount Chaambi area near the Algerian border on June 11, 2013.Tunisiaâ„¢s defense minister says the country will set up...

US prepared to attack Syria alone

American officials say the Obama administration is ready for unilateral military action in Syria, after British lawmakers rejected a government motion in support of...

Dangerous Crossroads. A War on Syria, Prelude to a World War III Scenario?

“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, …a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. … be accomplished...

U.S. Has No Moral Standing to Condemn Assad

Whether or not Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, President Obama has no legitimate grounds to intervene. U.S. airstrikes, intended to punish and deter...

Syria Attack: NY Times Advocates Violating International Law

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Brzezinski: ‘Global Political Awakening’ Making Syrian War Difficult

Mikael Thalen Storyleak August 29, 2013 During a short interview with Germany’s DW News last Monday, former US National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski...

252 Documented Examples of Barack Obama’s Lying, Lawbreaking, Corruption, Cronyism, etc.

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Obama’s War on Syria Based on Lies

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100 Reasons To Impeach Barack Obama

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50 Years Later — West Defiles Martin Luther King’s Memory

Tony CartalucciInfowars.comAugust 29, 2013 The differences between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and current US President...

Red Lines Drawn with Syrian Blood

It doesn’t matter whether or not Bashar al-Asad used chemical weapons. The US and its allies are likely to carry out an attack on...

Once Again, the Answer Is Bombing

Here we go again. Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following...

Obama's War on Syria Based on Lies

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Germany: All-party coalition supports Syria war

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‘US war on Syria not constitutional’

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Fooling The Public Over Syria

Photo by Narciso Contreras 


Countercurrents 28/8/2013 and Global Research 1/9/2013

"Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa." Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

Despite the stance expressed by Lukashevich, Russia has been depicted by various prominent Western politicians as an obstacle to ‘humanitarian' military intervention in Syria. As hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries continue to mount as a result of US-led wars in the world, such humanitarian concerns ring hollow.

What these politicians are doing is called trying to take the public for fools.  

‘Their’ politicians

But this is what ‘their' politicians do: the taxpayer-salaried ‘public servants', who do the bidding of the powerful corporations, with the situation over Syria being a case in point (1).

In Britain, ‘public servants', like PM Cameron and Foreign Secretary Hague, dutifully obey their corporate-financier masters and their political bosses in Washington and were keen to lead Britain into a war, at first seemingly with or without the backing of the UN Security Council, with or without evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

Cameron said the world should not stand idly by as the Syrian government attacks its own people with chemical weapons. ‘Their' man in the Labour Party, leader Ed Miliband, seemed to be on board too. That was before MPs began to voice dissent and parliament then put a block on the plans for Britain’s involvement in any military intervention – for the time being at least.

Before any independently verified evidence was available, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel was already convinced of the Syrian government’s guilt. US State Department spokesperson Marie Haff also parroted this line on the BBC by saying: “Let there be no question about who is responsible for this.”

She also spoke about the Assad ‘regime' being intent on spreading chaos throughout the region.

Anyone who has been following this conflict (and the one in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq) will note the rank hypocrisy of this Washington propagandist Haff. She should look very close to home if she wants to talk about spreading chaos (and death and destruction).   

After interviewing Chuck Hagel on TV, the BBC presented a range of military options and asked what would be the objective. Then we were told of the official line coming out of Washington, that the objective is not about regime change and not about intervening in a civil war, when quite clearly it is about both (2,3). The US and its allies fueled conflict and intervened in Libya and then helped bomb a path into Tripoli for the rebels to bring about regime change. And the US and its client states have been helping to stoke conflict in Syria for many months (4).

What Hagel, Cameron and Hague say about this conflict and how the issue of chemical weapons is being presented by much of the media is all based the same type of lie that has taken Britain to war in the recent past. And it is all being cheered on in the British press by the totally discredited Tony Blair, who urges military intervention in Syria on the basis of his foregone conclusion about the Assad government having used chemical weapons.

We should expect no better from such a man, though. The more naive might ask did Blair learn nothing from leading the country into an illegal war with Iraq? But Blair is not in the habit of learning lessons from actions that ended up in the mass killing of Iraqis - because Blair, as with Cameron and Hague, is ‘their' man too. And as ‘their' man, after leaving office, Blair has done very well indeed.

In 2012, The Telegraph newspaper in the UK discussed Tony Blair's jet set lifestyle and his UK property portfolio of seven homes worth £14 million (5). Blair is paid in the region of £3 million a year to advise both JP Morgan, the US investment bank, and also Zurich International, the global insurer based in Switzerland. On top of that he runs his own consultancy firm, which advises the oil and gas rich governments of Kuwait and Kazakhstan.  

Criminality

If we take what happened in Libya as a starting point for the type of events that may now unfold in Syria, we should turn to University of Johannesburg professor Chris Landsberg. He stated that, regarding Libya, the UN was misused to militarise policy, legalise military action and effect regime change (6). He subsequently challenged the International Criminal Court to investigate NATO for “violating international law.” Little if any talk of such matters, or of the 200 prominent African figures who accused Western nations subverting international law, by the gung ho mainstream media at the time though, which merely peddled with the pious narrative that NATO was essentially a civilising force in a barbaric world. It's the same narrative that we now witness over Syria. 

And this moral tone underpins the rhetoric about ‘protecting civilians' (by bombing them from afar – they then conveniently become ‘collateral damage’, not civilians; and that's okay because 'we' are doing it, not 'them'). It also underpins attempts to justify plans that have been in place for years to topple governments, including Assad's. US Vice-President Joe Biden has said there is "no doubt" that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and that it must be held accountable. The situation has been prejudged by the world's self appointed policeman in order to pursue its well-documented wider geo-political agenda (7).

Washington hopes the public will be reeled in by its red-line-in-the-sand ‘look he used them’ ploy. Unfortunately for Washington, the public in the US or Britain has not been yelling for retribution. The public are tired of wars and don’t trust governments or intelligence agencies that cried wolf over Iraq and were found to be liars.

It’s not a case of who will save people from Assad, but who will save us from the lies that fuel the type of terror and instability we have seen in places such as Libya, Iraq or Syria? Who will save us from the depleted uranium or the drones? Who will save us from the aggression and militarism? Who will save us from the suffering brought about by the economic neo-liberalism of the corporate cartels and the financial institutions that dictate policy, whether military or non-military, and salt away profits in tax havens while expecting ordinary people to bear the brunt of their criminality, wars and deceptions?

The arrogance of people like US State Department spokesperson Marie Haff is breathtaking. People like Haff should think very hard before attempting to take the British public for gullible idiots. The public is not ready to accept at face value the deceit from her mouth, or some cooked up PR strategy designed to brow beat people into line. The ghost of Tony Blair’s wrongdoings haunts many British MPs, who have as a result successfully reined in Cameron and Hague, and is a constant reminder to a public that is unwilling to be fooled again.

No public appetite for war

With polls indicating very little appetite from the British public for military intervention in Syria, politicians and their PR people have their work cut to try to convince people that this is a cause worth backing (8). But at least they have a compliant media.

The BBC's depiction of NATO's attack on Libya was woefully one-sided and anti-Gadaffi (9). And thus far its track record on Syria fares little better. Take BBC world news editor Jon Williams over last year's Houla massacre incident. As noted by Chris Marsden (10), Williams admitted that the coverage of the May 2012 massacre in Syria by the world's media and the BBC was dodgy to say the least. Early in June, on his personal blog, Williams explained that, despite the claims by the BBC, there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the massacre of 100 people. Indeed, leading German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which had been largely supportive of Assad.

Williams said that the facts turned out to be few and that it was not clear who ordered the killings or why.

But why let facts get in the way of a good story? Kerry, Hagel and Haff certainly don’t. Why let the actual evidence (implicating the rebels) about a chemicals weapons incident (11) or the wider narrative (that disguises deceit and chicanery) about Syria (12) get in the way of a good fairytale? Push ahead regardless. The cooked up evidence will eventually be made to fit the preconceived policy… they hope.  

Cheer-leading from the sidelines, Tony Blair knows about that (13).


Notes














Syrians Scramble to Hide From Obama’s Humanitarian Love Bombs

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Wall Street Journal: Whack al-Assad and His Family

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The Obama Regime’s Military Dogma Rejects Diplomatic Opportunities

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Syria War Will Empower Future Global Government

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Pretext to Wage War on Syria: Another False Flag Operation, history repeating itself

On Wednesday 21st of August the world received the news that a chemical attack had been launched in Damascus countryside with, numbers and facts...

US Claims Against Syria: Fabrications Spun Up from the West’s own dubious Intelligence Agencies

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CONFIRMED: US Claims Against Syria — There is no Evidence

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Law and Not War in Syria

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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Progressives Discussing Syria

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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Progressives Discussing Syria

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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Progressives Discussing Syria

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Borders Without Scruples

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John Kerry's Colin Powell Moment

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US prepares military onslaught against Syria

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22 Reasons Why Starting World War 3 In The Middle East Is A Really...

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Obama Believes Following Constitution Counterproductive to Syria Attack Plan

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An Attack On Syria Would Be the Most Unpopular War Ever

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Here Comes Obama & Co, with Guns and Missiles About to Be Blazing in...

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The post Syria: Another Western War Crime In The Making — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

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AP Photo/Narciso Contreras
Countercurrents 26/8/2013

And here we go again. In Syria, things were getting desperate for Washington. It needed a major made-for-TV, cross-the-red-line incident involving chemical weapons. Unsurprisingly, by hook or by crook – probably crook (1) – it got it. The BBC, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and a multitude of other media outlets and politicians now clamour, or at least strongly imply the need, for direct military action to bolster the illegal ‘indirect’ military intervention from the West and its allies that has already been taking place for a long time.


The story being peddled goes that the (axis of) evil Syrian regime has used a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ to help win a war it was already winning, thereby incurring the wrath of the US. Strange logic indeed.


It’s a case of déjà vu. British MP George Galloway in front of a US senate hearing back in 2005 exposed the ‘pack of lies’ that the US-led invasion of Iraq was built on. Similar forms of deceit have been the foundations for shaping public opinion regarding attacking LibyaAfghanistanPakistan and numerous other countries. The presence of WMDs was used to justify attacking Iraq, while ‘humanitarianism’ or ‘fighting terror’ was the excuse used elsewhere.


But what is it about the term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that provokes a knee jerk reaction from media people and politicians who foam with rage and let seep from their mouths high minded platitudes about morality?


“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.” Oscar Wilde in ‘An Ideal Husband’.

If in the above quote from Wilde, we replace ‘people’ with ‘regimes’, we may appreciate the nature of the West playing fast and lose with its notions of morality. Supply arms, including chemical weapons, to dictatorial regimes throughout West Asia with atrocious human rights records because, notwithstanding the fact it is great business, they are ‘good friends of ours’ (to coin a highly apt mafia term).  Yes, all friends and good ones at that, as long as they remain loyal to the  ‘Project for the New American Century’ (2).


The PNAC, or the project for world domination, is partly built on gullible, easily led public opinion, which is (often) fanned by the emotionally laden letters ‘W-M-D’. A Pavlov’s dog public and media, which respond on cue to the moralistic bleatings of condescending criminals that masquerade as respectable politicians and who rely on the public’s ignorance to fuel their barbarity in the name of ‘protecting civilians’ from an impending bloodbath, while going on to cause one in Libya, to ‘defeat terror’, while funding it in Syria, or to ‘support democracy’, while undermining it in Egypt.


These politicians and much of the mainstream media confine the narrative about WMD to a military battlefield, or a threat of outright violent destruction. The term is never to be associated with the US dropping atom bombs on Japan, the West using mini-nukes in the form of depleted uranium or the use of white phosphorous to kill and maim (3). From the cancers caused to the environmental contamination, where is Hague’s, the BBC’s or any other number of media outlets’ moral indignation about this type of mass destruction?


Where too is their condemnation of treacherous economic, trade, food or agriculture policies that blight hundreds of millions across the globe? Where is their condemnation over the criminal manipulation of currency markets, commodities, interest rates and derivatives, or the neo-liberalism and the corporate-financial cartels that conspire to shape trade via the WTO, IMF or the World Bank (4,5,6,7,8)?


That’s right, condemnation of these economic and political weapons of mass destruction and suffering are nowhere to be seen or heard simply because such political figures and media institutions with their skin-deep morality are in place merely to serve the interests of fraudulent capital and its fraudulent policies.


This type of mass destruction and mass misery does not involve headline-grabbing, eye-catching episodes of carnage and death. This violence is structural in form, is arguably ultimately just as destructive and is ongoing and all pervasive (9). In Western countries, this is disguised as a need for ‘austerity’. In poorer countries, it is called ‘development’.


Under the ‘structural adjustment’ policies imposed on poor countries, it has become a case of export or be damned, embrace corporate agriculture or be damned, borrow and build dams or be damned. And, in the process, elites – both foreign and indigenous – prosper, while the people and the environment end up being damned anyhow (10). It’s almost becoming a cliché to mention the hundreds of thousands of farmers in India who ‘embraced’ it all and died. It’s no cliché though, it happened.


It’s no cliché that the petrochemical-backed, corporate-driven ‘Green Revolution’ is raping the environment (11). It’s no cliché to say that genetic engineering is a highly financially lucrative ‘experiment’ that is jeopardising our health and the future of humanity (12). Neither is it a cliché that millions, from Egypt to the US, are bearing the brunt of economic policies that result in misery for the many and record profits for the few.


Perhaps we should look at Hague and his ilk and assess whether they actually do care about the plight of ordinary folk in the manner they claim to. Do they really care about the plight of Syrians? Perhaps we might care to ponder that they clearly do not, given the back door deals and wars they have sanctioned for the benefit of powerful corporations (13,14).


Why should they care so much about people in far off places when they show little for those in their own countries? The post-war Keynesian consensus has been gradually dismantled, leading to the offshoring of much of their own economies and leaving millions in debt, in poverty, thrown onto the scrapheap or used as fodder to fight wars for the rich under the banner of ‘humanitarianism’ or ‘protecting our freedoms’. And, as far as ‘protecting our freedom’ is concerned, look to Edward Snowden and especially Hague’s squirming reaction to the revelations to see how hollow this rings.    


Moral outrage within certain influential quarters about the latest happenings in Syria might be enough to fool some of the public, but let the record show that this fake outrage runs skin deep and is extremely selective.

Notes

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From Postmodernism to Postsecularism– A Review



In January of 2012, I reviewed Eric Walberg's book, Post-Modern Imperialism (Clarity Press, 2011). I enthusiastically concluded that:

Walberg has offered a welcome taxonomy of imperialism from its nineteenth-century genesis until today; he has given a plausible explanation of imperialism’s contours since the exit of the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialism from the world stage; and he has convincingly described Israel’s unique role in the continuing reshaping of imperialism’s grasp for world domination.

Further, Walberg gave a needed response to misguided leftists who were quick to label Islamic resistance to US and Israeli predation as “Islamo-fascist.” Much of the US and European left took a smug, chauvinistic posture--a posture that coincided with the interests of imperialism-- toward fighters in the Muslim world daring to defy Western intervention and interference. They ignorantly announced that religious “fundamentalism” fatally tainted their resistance. Walberg struck a powerful blow against these immature conclusions.

Now Walberg has undertaken a more ambitious project in his new book, From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization(Clarity Press, 2013). His argument can be summarized-- without too much violence to its nuances-- as:

1. The last great secular social justice project-- socialism-- has failed with the demise of the Soviet Union.
2. Islam and its attendant political-social-economic doctrines are viable alternative routes to social justice.
3. Islam is the only alternative that can deliver social justice. Therefore, Islam is the universal way to social justice.

Of course Walberg goes to great lengths to shore this argument with a detailed, fascinating history of Islam and its currents that, alone, is worth the price of admission. He explores the relative shortcomings of other religions, a brief that is factually accurate, but, like the account of Islam, tellingly selective.

Hints of this thesis were embedded in the earlier book, Post-Modern Imperialism. I noted in my review: 

In the same vein, it is an exaggeration to portray Islam (or any other religion) as inherently anti-imperialist: in his words, “The unyielding anti-imperialist nature of Islam, its rejection of the fundamental principles of capitalism concerning money, its refusal to be sidelined from economic and hence political life…”
Unfortunately, Islam has the same tortured relationship with imperialism as have all the major religions. Precisely because they possess no robust doctrinal opposition to imperialism in general, all major religions have stood on both sides of the barricades.
The Islamist movement, Hamas, for example, stands as an important component of today's anti-imperialist front.

But it was not always this way. US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, speaking in Jerusalem on December 20, 2001, affirmed that the rise of Hamas coincided with “the promotion of the Islamic movement as a counter to the Palestinian nationalist movement... with the tacit support of Israel” as reported by Dean Andromidas in Global Outlook (Summer 2002). Andromidas quoted Kurtzer: “Israel perceived it as better to have people turn towards religion than toward a nationalistic cause [like the PLO].” PLO leader Yasser Arafat is quoted from the Italian press:

But Hamas is a creature of Israel which gave Hamas money, and more than 700 institutions, among them schools, universities and mosques. Even Rabin ended up admitting it, when I charged him with it, in the presence of Mubarek.
And

Hamas was constituted with the support of Israel. The aim was to create an organization antagonistic to the PLO. They received financing and training from Israel. They have continued to benefit from permits and authorizations.
In the same issue of Global Outlook, author Hassane Zerrouky (Hamas is a Creature of Mossad) outlines how “Hamas was allowed to reinforce its presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Arafat's Fatah movement for National Liberation as well as the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal repression and intimidation.” (reprinted in Global Outlook from L'Humanité).

Thus, while honest revolutionaries must recognize Hamas’s role in defending Palestinians from imperialism today, honesty equally demands acknowledgment of its sordid role in collaborating with Israel in the destruction of secular nationalism and the Palestinian left. It's difficult to find an “unyielding anti-imperialist nature” in this treachery.

Egyptian Communists acknowledge this vulnerability to imperialist manipulation in the August 3 statement of their Central Committee:

One of the objectives of the projects of imperialism in the Middle East is the establishment of states on religious grounds, which serves mainly Zionist plan to declare Israel a Jewish state for all Jews in the world, as well as the important results of  pushing these religious countries to inevitably get caught up in sectarian conflict. And it necessarily creates strategic divisions and fragmentations of the Arab countries and brings the conflict between Sunni - Shiite, Muslim - Christian, Muslim - Jewish to replace the Arab-Israeli national liberation conflict, to replace the social class struggle among the peoples of the Arab countries, and to replace the struggle against authoritarian regimes  allied with the imperialist global and international monopolies.
Most Arab socialists and Communists have sought unity with organized Islamic anti-imperialist organizations, sometimes successfully, as with Hizbullah and Lebanese Communists. But on other occasions that trust has been brutally betrayed, as with the slaughter of the Tudeh (Communists) in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


For Marxists, the major religions are a sometime ally in the struggle against imperialism.
Insofar as they welcome cooperation and reject collaboration with the class enemy, Islam and the other major religions will find consistent friends in Marxist-Leninists. Thus, we welcome and support the current shift in the leadership of the Catholic Church toward the cause of the poor and against the ravages of capitalism, just as we regretted the alienation of past Popes from the fate of the Catholic masses.

Contrary to Walberg's premise number two-- the centerpiece of the above argument-- Islam and the other major religions fall far short of offering an adequate ethics of social justice for today's world. The Quran, like the doctrines of the Catholic Church, forbids usury, the collecting of interest on debt. Absent usury, Walberg believes that a comprehensive practice of charity will provide Islam with a complete program of social justice for today and tomorrow.

Aside from the fact that religious practitioners and their leaders conveniently find ways to sidestep or obscure the prohibition of the collecting of interest, “usury” fails to even remotely capture the prevalence and depth of modern-day labor exploitation. The Catholic Church's condemnation of “excess” profits fails for the same reasons. To suggest that charity alone can solve the incredible poverty, unemployment, and economic inequality of, say, a country like Mali seems patently improbable. And the solution of charity seems dangerously close to the answer advocated by the apologists for unfettered capitalism.

Likewise, the Hebrew concept of “Jubilee,” as an admirable moral prescription of debt removal and property restoration and an answer to the inequities of antiquity, will not put a moral dent in contemporary capitalism. That said, the vital principles of economic justice found in the Torah, the Gospels, and the Quran suggest a posture toward the ravages of capitalism. A casual reader of the texts held sacred by the respective religions will find much encouragement for a condemnation of the process of capitalist accumulation. Should believers read those texts with earnestness, they would undoubtedly become Communists as well as believers!

My own-- perhaps eccentric-- view is that the major religions cannot escape the charge of hypocrisy unless they embrace socialism, the contemporary embodiment of the moral codes of their founders. Unfortunately, most religious leaders in our time choose to accommodate capitalism.

Walberg is not insensitive to the alternative vision of Marx and Communism. He devotes a full chapter to “Postsecularism: Marx and Muhammad,” going to great lengths to show that Islam answers the questions posed by Marxism while avoiding its “shortcomings.” 

Destructive to his argument, he misunderstands the Marxist theory of value as follows:

Kapital's weakness-- the labor theory of value-- is a materialist reductio ad absurdum, denying the 'value' of 'unproductive' labor (the elements brought to bear by the capitalist related to securing markets, research, innovations, factor management)...
This is fatally confused. Marx recognizes a value contribution in ALL necessary labor culminating in the production of a commodity, including the research, innovation, essential organizational management, etc. Further, he sees a necessary value deduction in the labor essential for a commodity's circulation. What he does not recognize is any value created or socially necessary from the mere fact of ownership. And this contradiction between ownership and labor is precisely the element missing in all of the social doctrines of traditional religions including Islam.

Walberg's confusion about Marx's value theory leads him away from the resolution of the contradiction between value created by labor and the ownership of that value by the capitalist, a contradiction only resolved by class struggle.

This error dooms his well-meant, but naive  synthesis of Islam and Marxism:

The ijtihad-jihad process is in a sense just a more comprehensive version of Marxist praxis [by] emphasizing:
social unity rather than class struggle
the family and spiritual life rather than material production
evolution rather than revolution
While the sentiment is noble, it is irreconcilable with Marxism. Capitalism's rapaciousness-- acknowledged by Walberg-- cannot be eliminated by a retreat to mere spirituality, an unconditional appeal to unity or a common destiny, or the virtue of patience. These are simple facts that religions cannot escape.

I would propose a counter synthesis:

class struggle as the path to social unity
the family and spiritual life AND material production
revolution leading to the realization of these values

which could readily open the road to a Marxist-Islamic understanding and cooperation.

Walberg's book is timely, coming in the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring.” One feels a veritable joy in his writings bursting from the optimism generated by the risings in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, that optimism proved short-lived. 

The Islamic governments established in Tunisia and Egypt generated great social rifts culminating in overthrow in one and growing tensions in the other. Open opposition in Libya and Syria drew the intervention of outside forces that swiftly transformed the struggle into imperialist regime change, destabilization of the regions, and enormous human and infrastructure destruction. Grievances were quickly appropriated by US and NATO meddlers who seized an opportunity to shape the outcomes.

In a little over a year, the rise of Islamic civilization that Walberg foresaw was dashed on the rocks of divisiveness and foreign intervention, just as it has in other times and places.

For the Marxist left, the Arab Spring provoked reservations and guarded sympathy, even apart from nefarious outside interference. On one hand, the rising against entrenched, reactionary authority was a welcome expression of popular will. On the other hand, the risings appeared to be more rebellions than revolutions. That is, the goals of the insurgents were neither united nor well-formed.

As events unfolded, these fears were borne out. Rather than challenge the structures of privilege and exploitation, sides were drawn around different attitudes toward tradition and “modernity,” secularism and spiritualism. While real and not fanciful, these differences do not touch the deeper relations of oppression. As with modern-day Western liberals who are occupied with lifestyle decisions and personal choices, the battles contested in the Arab Spring guaranteed that the poverty and exploitation of the masses would remain untouched.

One hopes are for the revival of a vibrant Marxist-Leninist movement in these countries to nurture these developments from rebellion to revolution.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com


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On September 9th millions of Americans will gather in Washington D.C. to let their Congressmen and Senators know that they are sick and tired of the crimes being committed by the Obama administration, that they have had enough of the coverups, lies, and scandals that are endemic in the Executive Branch, and that they want their elected Representatives to take immediate action to Impeach - and imprison - Barack Hussein Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder.

The People are not satisfied with the efforts being made in Congress to get to the bottom of the various scandals. High Crimes and Misdemeanors have been committed against the People of the United States - including the extra-judicial murders of American citizens who had never even been charged with a crime - and they demand that Congress take more forceful action, issuing subpoenas and warrants for the arrest of those individuals who refuse to tell Congress the truth about their involvement.

It has been almost a year since the American mission in Benghazi was attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists, the same terrorists Obama unleashed on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, and the State Department has refused to allow the victims of the attack to testify before Congress; even threatening those who do wish to testify with jail should they tell Congressional investigators the truth.

This is beyond unacceptable. The People are so angry that a recent poll shows that 29% of them see a violent revolution as the only way Americans will be able to regain their freedom. Bobby Powell, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Truth Is Viral, has a plan that just might wake up those members of Congress and the Senate who live in a bubble, insulated from their constituents, who are either unaware - or are complicit in Treason with Obama - that their actions are leading to a bloodbath.

There are several groups of Patriots, and the number of groups increases every day, that are planning to descend on Washington D.C. throughout the month of September. Each has an agenda that may or may not coincide with the plans of The Truth Is Viral; but we are unconcerned with the plans of others. We have a plan of our own.

I will be making a packet of information available to the viewers of this program which will include a 200 point affidavit presented to the Alabama Supreme Court by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Cold Case Posse proving - using the President's own expert -  that Barack Obama never has been eligible to hold the office of President of the United States, and that the document published by the White House that is purported to be Obama's birth certificate is indeed an utter forgery.

I intend to personally present this packet of information to Dan Beneshek, my elected Representative in Congress, and to my Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. I am encouraging everyone who reads this to do the same. While I am there I also intend to point out to Senator Levin, one of the architects of the NDAA, that every single State Representative and State Senator in Michigan has voted to nullify the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA.

I am going to ask Senator Levin how he can support the NDAA when the People of the State of Michigan, through the UNANIMOUS vote of their state-level representatives, have told him to shove it. More than two dozen other states also have legislation nullifying the NDAA, or portions thereof, on the books or pending approval. That means that many others will be able to make the exact same argument to their Congressmen and Senators. Hopefully enough of them will see the light that the NDAA can be repealed and the threat of indefinite detention without benefit of counsel will be no more.

After I have thoroughly shamed my own representatives I am going to take a stroll to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Anyone wishing to walk with me is welcome to do so, but I am not calling this a "march," "demonstration," or "protest" because permits are not needed for American citizens simply wishing to visit the nation's Capitol.

I am probably going to have to get a permit to set up my sound system in front of the White House, but that's just me. Once I set up I am going to speak Truth to Power, cranking up the volume as high as it can go to make sure that Barack Obama hears me when I call him out. He is NOT going to be happy with what I have to say.

In order to get to Washington D.C. though, I need your help. The $2,200 it is going to cost me to rent a vehicle and get to D.C. and back with my gear is equal to more than 2 months of my Social Security Disability income. I will gladly throw my own body on the gears to ensure a future for my children and grandchildren, but I need you to get me to the machine.

If you want to watch me take it to those in Washington D.C. that are purposely trying to destroy this country, click one of the Paypal buttons at the top right of this page and give until it hurts. I have given everything I own to keep TTiV on the air, even taking a cut in my disability income, food stamps, and completely losing my Medicaid.

I have nothing left to give but my body, and I will gladly put that on the line if it means I can save my children, and yours, from having to live in a totalitarian, Islamophilic, Communist dictatorship. I believe that Father saved me for this final battle, and that He is using me - and you - to save lives and win souls for Him before Christ returns to put an end to this BS once and for all.

My friends, I leave you with this from the Book of Ephesians, Chapter 6, verses 11-20:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind
be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

God bless and Semper Fi,
Bob Powell
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
The Truth Is Viral

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“Middle Class Revolution”: A New End of History?


The US is notoriously unkind to “intellectuals.” Popular culture portrays intellectuals as absent-minded, divorced from the everyday world, and obsessed with spinning useless, but harmless abstractions. They are good to keep contained in universities where they can give future cogs in the capitalist machine a taste, but not a passion for, impractical thought. Regrettably, those posing as intellectuals have gone far to earn contempt, favoring arcane, specialized languages and scholastic debates.

That's not to say that there is no room for thinkers in the US, but they are dubbed “pundits,” “experts,” “researchers” or “consultants,” words that ring with practicality and single-mindedness; they are purveyors of small, easily digested ideas and not the “big” ideas associated with intellectuals.

In the US, we are taught to distrust big ideas unless they are linked to religions. But then religion has been compartmentalized, shunted off to Sunday mornings or weddings and funerals. All the big ideas we need were decided with the ratification of the US Constitution.

We can thank corporate marketers and their masters for our continuing alienation from big ideas and taste for small ones. They prefer ideas that are easily and flashily packaged, readily digested, and quickly obsolesced. They select for us ideas that can go “viral,” grabbing the attention of not thousands, but millions. They select ideas that easily fit in a two-minute TV commentary or on 6 or 8 column inches of news print. Intellectuals didn't invent the term “sound bite.” Nor did they invent “twitter.” Corporate taste makers did. So what we get in the market place of ideas are small ideas, commodified ideas with shiny packages.

Thus, it may be hard to understand how Francis Fukuyama fits into the world of ideas. We know him for his celebrated 1992 book, The End ofHistory and the Last Man, an ambitious intellectual tome designed to place triumphant capitalism and its attendant bourgeois democracy at the pinnacle of a long historical, dialectical process. A big idea indeed!

Of course it wasn't that difficult to conjure a motive for this rising star of the Right. On the heels of the fall of the Soviet Union and the European socialist countries, Fukuyama saw the opportunity to mark "paid” to the theoretical foundations of Marxism by co-opting the Hegelian “dialectics” that Marx was schooled in and replacing the socialist ideal with something that looked remarkably like the socio-economic system of late twentieth-century US capitalism. Moreover, since Fukuyama had discovered the “end of history,” we needn't worry about any serious future military conflagrations or rebellions because we were entering the blissful era of market justice, parliamentary democracy, and human rights.

Fukuyama's big ideas can take small credit for the pious military crusades led by the US ruling class in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and recently in Libya and Syria, as well as the meddling in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. Those who failed to accept the end of history soon felt the wrath of history's enforcer. At the same time, the resistance to Fukuyama's vision of history's end challenged his big idea. The intense confrontation between the US and peoples in the Middle East and Latin America shattered the idea that with the demise of the Soviet Union the world would rush to embrace the values of the US and Europe.

With the “end of history” forestalled by unforeseen events, Fukuyama knocked around the research institute/think tank/academic circuit, writing books and resisting the temptation to join the courtiers of the mass media trading in small, nasty ideas. He passed on the enormous earnings available to the likes of the O'Reilly's, Limbaugh's, or the other aristocrats of wind-baggery. Instead, he scoured the landscape to find new opportunities to float big ideas.

And now he's back with a new big idea.

Fukuyama won a think-piece in the June 28/29 weekend Wall StreetJournal entitled “The Middle Class Revolution.” He argues that “All over the world, today's political turmoil has a common theme: the failure of governments to meet the rising expectations of the newly prosperous and educated.” Cognizant of the worldwide mass risings of recent years, Fukuyama chooses this moment to offer an explanation, a theoretical explanation for those risings, an explanation palatable and comforting to US elites.

He rightly understands that linking the most recent mass upsurges requires sizable ideas. While there are many similarities, there are many differences as well. Successful exposition of their common features would tell us much about the underlying processes and likely offer a glimpse into the future. In short, it would give us a theory of contemporary social change, a decidedly big idea.

Unfortunately, he gets it all wrong.

He builds his case around reflections on events in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Brazil, and Turkey, a mixed collection neither reflective of all of the mass activity of our time nor sharing many common features. Seduced by recent headlines and sensationalist accounts, Fukuyama finds the “middle class” as the revolutionary agent in all cases. Besides the elusiveness of the term, he offers no evidence beyond youth, cell phones, and the presence of a vaguely sensed entrepreneurial spirit to justify the assignment of this role. And he is equally slippery in explaining what constitutes a “middle class.” Instead, he considers a series of candidates: income ($6,000-30,000 year), relative income (the middle of a country’s income distribution), and relative level of consumption (greater than the subsistence level of the poor). Rejecting these, he settles on “education, occupation, and the ownership of assets,” none of which is produced as evidence regarding any of the particular countries under review. In fact, the demographics of the four “revolutions” fail to show common attributes; nor do they demonstrate a rising of the “middle class.”

When Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vender in Tunisia, set himself afire in December of 2010, he became the symbol for the uprisings that pundits have dubbed “the Arab Spring.” Tunisia, under Ben Ali, was one of the success stories of neo-liberalism, a poster child for corporate-friendly “competitiveness” and foreign investment. Its industrial and service economies were relatively well developed. 

While the neo-liberal regimen delivered growth, modest GDP/capita, some social benefits (education and welfare), it was rocked by the economic crisis and the scourge of high unemployment. The youth (constituting nearly half of the population) endured one of the world's highest unemployment rates: 30.7%. As in the US, Tunisian youth are relatively well educated, but denied access to meaningful employment. The relative affluence of Tunisian elites enjoying the fruits of a growing economy and the lack of opportunity for a youthful population spurred the overthrow of Ben Ali.

Egyptpresents a different picture. While Sadat and Mubarak also embraced the tenets of neo-liberalism, they did so in the shadow of Nasser's legacy of anti-imperialism, public ownership and social welfare. Moreover, free market capitalism fared far worse in this country. Despite a large industrial base and due, in part, to a relatively large agricultural sector (56.5% of Egyptians live outside of urban areas), Egypt achieved a GDP/capita roughly only 2/3 of that of Tunisia. 

But Egypt shares with Tunisia an extremely youthful population with massive un- and underemployment. With little government educational expenditure, it is no surprise that Egyptians have a relatively low participation in higher education.

Egyptian professionals-- the social base for the Muslim Brotherhood-- could count as a “middle strata,” though they are a small part of the population. Most Egyptians, however, enjoy an income only marginally above poverty, marking membership in what would properly be considered the working class.

The global economic downturn only brought the plight of young Egyptians to the fore and prompted mass action and the deposing of Mubarak. The subsequent Morsi presidency brought a further disintegration of the economy and a spike in unemployment and poverty. The Muslim Brotherhood failed to attempt an exit from neo-liberalism and restored the foreign policy of Mubarak, even betraying the Syrian government to imperialism.

The people have again taken to the streets. In the words of Salah Adly, General Secretary of the Egyptian Communist Party, Egyptian Communists believe “that what happenedon 30thJune is asecond waveof theEgyptian revolutionthat is strongerand deeper than the first wavein 2011.It has taken placeto correctthe path ofthe revolution andseize it back from the forces ofthe extreme religious right...”

The street demonstrations in Turkey, a country that has one historic foot in the Arab world and a tentative one in Europe, is more a political struggle than an explosion of economic discontent. Turkey's demographics are similar to a European country, a poorer European country like Portugal or Poland, but with a much higher percentage of youth in the population. The Islamist president Erdogan represents cultural traditions that conflict with that of more secular youth. Of course others, including workers, who have economic demands, support the demonstrations, as do unemployed youth. But they do not challenge the structures of bourgeois democracy or monopoly capitalism. Turkish Communists recognize this fact. As Kemal Okuyan, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkey, states “... this is an outburst of a huge social energy. It is powerful in extent and effect. But there are some Marxist criteria for defining a situation as a revolutionary crisis. We are far from that. At least for now...”

Brazil, Fukuyama's final example of a “middle class” revolution, demonstrates its own unique demographics and weaknesses. Despite showing exceptional economic growth, Brazil counts as one of the most economically unequal countries in the world. Highly urbanized, Brazil's poverty is concentrated in city neighborhoods, with all of the attendant social problems of poverty intensified. The large and growing service sector affords enough jobs to contain unemployment below crisis levels. But grinding poverty and the contrasting extreme concentration of wealth produce a persisting tinderbox.

Brazil's social democratic government has shown occasional anti-imperialist spunk, standing up to US arrogance at different times. This, along with the government's competent management of the capitalist economy, and some social welfare initiatives, has spawned national pride. At the same time, support for the government is fragile because of its inability to dent the massive economic and social inequalities suffered by working people. This contradiction between national sentiment and contempt toward the working class was brought home by the mass objection to new soccer stadia, in a soccer-crazed country, expressed by the mass demonstrations.

Clearly what all of these countries do share is a popular response to the failure of leaders, institutions, and political parties to overcome the legacy and reality of colonialism, imperialism, and global capitalism. Fukuyama hides this failing behind the mythology of middle class dissatisfaction with the level of consumerism and cultural expression: they rebel because they want to be like us in Europe and the US. One would never guess that an almost unprecedented and persistent economic calumny has shaken the social and political foundations of nearly every country over the last five years. One would never guess that all four of the countries under discussion suffer from severe economic and political problems unsolved by their past and current leaders.

In Tunisia, Ben Ali's embrace of neo-liberal fundamentalism was a bankrupt answer to youth unemployment. In Egypt, corrupted leaders brazenly counted on the accommodation with imperialism to prop up their aloof rule over an abused people. Turkey's leader, like politico-theological leaders of other persuasions, overstepped the limits of governance and opened the door to airing the many grievances of the opposition, formerly trumped by religious commitment. And Brazil's social-democratic government learned the folly of attempting to manage capitalism while promising to rectify its inequities.

From the Indignados to the Occupy movement, from the revival of the Latin American left to the Arab Spring, authentic popular up-risings have emerged from the failure of capitalism to deliver the future and security so seemingly assured before the great crisis of 2008. Millions have been failed by the institutions, parties, and leaders that they formerly trusted. It's not as though they have been dealt a bad hand, but it is as though there is no good hand to be found in the deck.

Spinning theories based on such a corrupted sociological idea as the “middle class” guarantees failure. Of course one can't blame Fukuyama entirely for buying in on one of the great intellectual frauds of our time. Everyone, from the Chamber of Commerce to the misleaders of labor, likes to remind us that we are all members of a vast collection of people located economically between the rich and the poor. Within this distorted picture there is something for everyone. We all share home ownership, a good job, vacations, family, and comforting values, so the fantasy goes. The unfortunate poor are with us because they have failed, though they deserve our compassion and, perhaps, our charity. The rich are with us because they are successful and merit our respect. This harmonious picture is only disrupted when the rich get too greedy or the poor get rebellious.

This myth serves the ruling class, their political flunkies, and labor's class collaborationists in maintaining class peace and stability. But most importantly, it obscures the real class divide between employers and employees.

The divisions that spark genuine revolution are not between some muddy notion of a middle class at odds with an equally obscure specter of government, but between the power and dominance of capitalist corporations and the diverse and largely unrepresented workers who enrich them. This sharply drawn class division accounts for the fundamentally economic, but also cultural and spiritual alienation of youth. Whether conscious or not, this division generates discontent and outrage. Expressed in many ways, the conflict between the employers and their employees stands behind the conflicts of the twenty-first century. And only its resolution in favor of the employee class – the working class-- will bring these conflicts to a close.

It's not a new idea; it's a big, but not too big of an idea; and it’s an idea that promises an escape from the failure of capitalism: Socialism.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com

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“If you are a law-abiding citizen of this country, going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague, responding to the revelations of mass surveillance in the US and the UK (BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on 9 June). 
What does William Hague take the British public for? This bureaucrat politician stands in front of the cameras time and again setting out to mislead with his self righteous platitudes. He did it over Libya and tens of thousands lost their lives. His is doing it over Syria with similar results. And he is doing it over mass surveillance by the state.

Do not believe we have nothing to fear. We have much to fear. Take the case of Stephen Lawrence, for example, who was lawfully ‘going about his business’ in April 1993, when white racists murdered him while he was waiting for a bus. It has now emerged that, after the murder, four London Metropolitan police officers were deployed to spy on the Lawrence family and Stephen’s friends.

The Lawrences were just ‘law-abiding citizens going about their business’. But undercover police were used to smear the Lawrence family’s fight for justice (1). One of those the spies says he job was to hunt for disinformation and dirt in order to stop the Lawrence’s justice campaign in its tracks. Nothing to fear from the state Mr Hague?

And then there are the numerous well-documented cases of the police and/or intelligence agencies infiltrating legitimate campaign and protest groups (2) and ‘investigating’ political parties or prominent figures (3)(4) in order to subvert or discredit them. Let us not forget too (how could we?) the massive police cover ups, none more prominent than the Hillsborough case (5). Still nothing to fear Mr Hague?

But let’s not be too harsh on Hague. The same ‘terror threat/nothing to fear’ script is being read out to the public in the US. Politicians elsewhere are using ‘terror’ as an excuse for spying on the public at large as well. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that Germany has to protect itself against potential terrorist attacks by using mass surveillance:

“We are dependent on being able to act and not being entirely at the mercy of the terrorists. And today, it’s on the Internet that communication takes place.” (6)
Alexander Dix, data protection commissioner for the city of Berlin, is a lot more sceptical. He calls for more restraint in the collection of data:

“You don’t have to follow conspiracy theories in order to suspect that data collected for fighting terrorism will also be used in other areas.” (6)
It’s all very convenient for politicians to pull out the magic phrase ‘war on terror’ in a futile attempt to stop any discussion on surveillance in its tracks. If the US-led alliance really wanted to stop or drastically reduce terrorism, it should listen to journalist Nir Rosen’s advice: stop committing it (7).


We need more monitoring and surveillance


The likes of Obama, Kerry, Hague or Cameron have become experts in churning out their fear-mongering platitudes by using some abstract notion of ‘we’ to imply ‘the nation’ or the ‘national interest’. But ‘we’ – the ordinary folk – need to hold power to account, to question its legitimacy and to challenge it when it is illegitimate.

We need to do this to help guarantee our safety, our common interests, our freedoms and threats to democracy. How about more but bottom-up monitoring and surveillance in terms of transparency within government and accountability to ensure decisions are properly scrutinized and genuinely open to pubic debate. In the absence of this, we have corruption, profiteering and the revolving door between government and big business, which all ensure that the powerful and wealthy get away with murder, quite literally when it comes to their illegal wars and mass killing.


In the absence of real democracy, we have food safety/regulation authorities being hijacked by corporate interests in order to feather their own nests. We have armaments companies using politicians as their sales lackeys.

We have police and intelligence agencies infiltrating, harassing or subverting legitimate groups that have every right to protest, dissent and oppose. We have a wide range of powerful corporate players that lobby, threaten or buy their way towards casting the world in their own self-serving nuclear, retail, biotech, petro-chemical or pharmaceutical image. And we have banks, industries and whole economies that are undemocratically owned and controlled.

We also have ‘stuff’ being sprayed onto us without our consent (or very often knowledge) and have no power to stop ‘stuff’ from being sprayed onto us (8).

But we are told all this top-down surveillance and all of the increasing unfreedoms are for our own good. We are told that public servants serve us by bowing down to elite interests. We are told that an incredible mass media is credible even though it serves a corporate agenda.


Based on his research for the book Who Killed Diana?, the late journalist Simon Regan stated that it is (paraphrased):


Whitehall that really runs the country with a close-knit Mafia-like clique… made up of a handful of powerful, but low-key, City brokers and financiers; the top brains at the Foreign Office, the Treasury, the Ministry of Defence and the Trade Department. Key figures in the security forces… and…at least one key member of the prime minister’s secretariat… the police and judiciary… through the Home Office… can certainly be manipulated. The Super-Establishment’s power is based upon its ability to manipulate the level below it – the individuals that most people believe are governing our country. The elected government is almost irrelevant… The world in which the Super-Establishment exists is a grey and murky world in which sensitive matters of state are planned and executed in gentlemen’s clubs. It is where manipulation plots are hatched, whether it is manipulation of a certain minister towards a certain viewpoint, or the wholesale orchestration of a Foreign Office ploy to bring down a foreign government… It is almost the divine "mission of the secret services to protect the status quo, and hitherto it has been their full intention to thwart anyone who tried to disrupt it. The actual existence of the Super-Establishment is not a flight of fancy. It is entirely manipulative and exercises a great deal of power behind the scenes. (9)


The elite, the oligarchs, the ruling class, the one percent – call it how you will. Yet it is we, the people, who are spied on and monitored by them for their good, to serve their interests and to feather their highly privileged and secretive world, a world built on the stolen wealth of both past and present deeds.


But don’t worry about any of this. There is no need. If that nice Mr Hague says we’ve nothing to fear, he must be right.


Notes



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