Free - Beyond Collapse

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Energy Markets Are On The Brink Of Crisis

 Guest Post By Brandon Smith

The multitudes of people, especially Americans, who view U.S. government activity in a negative light often make the mistake of attributing all corruption to some covert battle for global oil fields. In fact, the average leftist seems to believe that everything the establishment does somehow revolves around oil. This is a very simplistic and naïve view.

Modern wars are rarely, if ever, fought over resources, despite what the mainstream gatekeepers might tell you. If a powerful nation wants oil, for instance, it lines the right pocketbooks, intimidates the right individuals, blackmails the right officials or swindles the right politicians. It has no need to go to war when politicians and nations are so easily bought. Modern wars, rather, are fought in order to affect psychological change within a particular country or population. Wars today are fought to cover up corrupt deals and create desperation. Oil is used as an all-encompassing excuse for war, but it is never the true cause of war.

In reality, oil demand has become static and is even falling in many parts of the world, while new oil and gas-producing fields are discovered on a yearly basis. Petroleum is not a rare resource — at least, not at the present. And the propaganda surrounding the “peak oil” Armageddon scenario is pure nonsense. Oil prices, unfortunately, do not rise and fall according to supply - instead they rise and fall according to market tensions and, most importantly, the value and perceived safety of the U.S. dollar. Supply and demand have little to do with commodity values in our age of fiat manipulation and false investor perception.

That said, certain political and regional events are currently in motion that could, in fact, change investor perception to the negative, and convince the world of a false fear of reduced supply. While supply is more than ample, the expectation of continued supply can be jilted, shocking commodities markets into running for the hills or rushing into mass speculation, generally resulting in a sharp spike in prices.

A very real danger within energy markets is the undeniable threat that the U.S. dollar may soon lose its petrodollar status and, thus, Americans may lose the advantage of relatively low gas prices they have come to expect.  That is to say, the coming market crisis will have far more to do with the health of the dollar than the readiness of supply.

In the span of only a few years, as the derivatives crisis took hold and the fed began its relentless bailout regime, petroleum costs have doubled. It wasn’t that long ago that someone could fill his vehicle's tank with a $20 bill. Those days are long gone, and they are not coming back. The expectation has always been that prices would recede as the overall economy began to heal. Of course, our economy will not be healed until it is allowed to crash, as it naturally should crash. And as it crashes, because of our currency's unique place in history, the price of oil will continue to climb.

The petrodollar has always been seen as invincible — a common denominator, a mathematical constant. This is a delusion propagated by a lack of knowledge and common sense amongst establishment economists.
As I have covered in great detail in numerous articles, the U.S. dollar’s world reserve status is nearing extinction. Multiple major economies now trade bilaterally without the use of the dollar; and with foreign conflicts on the rise, this trend is going to become the norm.

In the past week alone, Putin adviser Sergey Glazyev recommended to the Kremlin that a coalition of nations be formed to end the dollar's reserve status and initiate a form of economic warfare to stop "U.S. aggression".  Of course, anyone familiar with the escapades of international banking cartels knows that it is the money elite that dictate U.S. aggression, just as they dictate the policy initiatives of Russia.  I would note that there is only ONE currency exchange structure that could be used at this time to shift global forex reserves away from the dollar system, and that is the IMF's Special Drawing Rights.

The argument has always been that the IMF is a U.S. controlled institution, however, this is a faulty assumption.  The IMF is a GLOBAL BANKER controlled institution, a front organization for the Bank of International Settlements, which is why the recent refusal by the U.S. Congress to vote on new capital allocations for the IMF has resulted in the world's central bank threatening to remove U.S. veto power. Globalists have no loyalty to any single nation, and the reality is, the fall of the dollar actually benefits these financiers in the long term.

Russia’s historic oil and gas deal with China, just signed weeks ago, removes the dollar as the petroleum reserve currency.

Russia’s largest gas company, Gazprom, has all but excluded the dollar in all transactions with foreign nations. In fact, nine out of 10 of Gazprom’s foreign clients were more than happy to buy their products without using dollars.  This fact cripples the arguments of dollar cheerleaders who have always claimed that even if Russia broke from the dollar, no one else would go along.

Gazprom and the Russian government have followed through with their threats to cut off gas pipelines to Ukraine, and now, some analysts fear this strategy may extend to the EU, in which many countries are still 30% dependent on Russian energy.

China is currently striking oil deals not only with Russia but also with Iran. New oil deals are being signed even after a $2 billion agreement fell through this spring.  And, despite common misinformation, it was actually China that was reaping the greatest rewards through the reopening of Iraqi oil fields, not the U.S., all while U.S. military assets were essentially wasted in the region.

Now, any U.S. benefits are coming into question as Iraq disintegrates into chaos yet again. With the speed of the new Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgency growing, it is unclear whether America will have ANY access to Iraqi oil in the near future.  If ISIS is successful in overrunning Iraq, it is unlikely that Iraqi oil will ever be traded for dollars again. Unrest in Iraq has already caused substantial market spikes in oil prices, and I can say with considerable confidence that this trend is going to continue through the rest of the year.
Interestingly, mainstream news sources suggest that Saudi Arabia has been a primary funding source for the ISIS movement.  It is true that the Saudis have warned for years that they would fund and arm Sunni insurgents if America ever pulled out of the country.  But, I would point out that the U.S. has also been covertly supporting such extremist groups in the Mideast for quite some time, and this is not discussed at all in the MSM storyline. The mainstream narrative is painting a picture of betrayal by the Saudis against the U.S. through subversive groups designed to break the foundations of nations opposed to its policy views.  When, in fact, the destabilization of Iraq has been nurtured by money and weapons from both America and Saudi Arabia.

It was the CIA which trained ISIS insurgents secretly in Jordan in preparation for their subversive war in Syria.  It was an agreement signed by George W. Bush and delegated under Obama's watch that allowed ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to be set free in 2009.  Saudi Arabia has been openly arming the Sunni's for years with the full knowledge of the U.S. government.  So then, why is the narrative being created that America and Saudi Arabia are at odds over ISIS?

Such a development would place the U.S. squarely in conflict with the Saudi government, our only remaining toehold in the global oil market. Without Saudi Arabia’s patronage of the dollar, most OPEC nations will follow (including Kuwait), and the dollar WILL lose its petrodollar status. Period.
In the past few days, Saudi Arabia has demanded that the foreign interests refrain from any military intervention in Iraq.  While Barack Obama has repositioned an aircraft carrier, armed troops, and special forces in the area.

Now, my regular readers understand that this was going to happen eventually anyway. The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing bonanza has destroyed true dollar value and spread unknown trillions of dollars in fiat across the planet. The dollar’s death has been assured. It has been slated for execution. This is why half the world is positioning to dump the currency altogether. My regular readers also know that the destruction of the dollar is not an accident; it is part of a carefully engineered strategy leading to the centralization of all economic power under the umbrella of a new global currency basket system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

I believe Saudi Arabia may be a near term trigger in the next great shift in petroleum markets away from the dollar. Renewed U.S. involvement in Iraq, diplomatic tensions over ISIS, and more lucrative offers from Eastern partners have been edging Saudi Arabia away from strict petrodollar ties. This shift is also not limited to Saudi Arabia.

“Abu Dhabi, the most influential member of the United Arab Emirates,” has suddenly ended its long-standing exclusive relationship with Western oil companies and has signed a historic deal with China’s state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Russia has formed the new Eurasian Economic Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, two countries with freshly discovered oil fields.

On the surface, it appears as though the world is huddling itself around oil resources in an environment of East versus West conflict. However, these changes are not as much about petroleum as they are about the petrodollar. The reality is the dollar’s reserve-status days are numbered and this is all part of the plan.
What does this mean for us? It means much higher gas prices in the coming months and years. Is $4 to $5 per gallon gasoline a burden on your pocketbook? Try $10 to $11 per gallon, perhaps more. Do you think the economy is straining as it is under the weight of current gas prices? Imagine the earthquake within our freight-based system when the cost of trucking shipments triples. And guess who will end up paying for the increased costs? That’s right: you, the consumer. High energy prices affect everything, including shelf prices of retail goods. This is just the beginning of what I believe will be ever expanding inflation in oil prices, leading to the end of the dollar’s petroleum reserve status, then it's world reserve status by default, and the introduction of a basket currency system that will ultimately benefit a select few global financiers while diminishing the quality of living for millions, if not billions, of people.

You can contact Brandon Smith
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Clandestine Reasons for ISIS Taking Over Iraq

Guest Post By Brandon Turbeville

Recent news of the rapid advance of the Islamic Fundamentalist organization ISIS across a wide swath of Iraq may indeed have come as a shock to a large number of Americans. Indeed, to the general public who pay very little attention to the affairs of other countries or even their own, the fact that the ISIS now controls a large portion of Iraq as well as a portion of Syria not only conjures up images of American foreign policy failure but also of the possibility of re-invading Iraq in order to quell the fundamentalist forces.

The irony, of course, is that “al-Qaeda” and ISIS would never have been in Iraq to begin with had it not been for the United States nor would it have been in Syria if it were not for the fact that the United States, NATO, and the West in general organized, funded, trained, armed, and directed it.

Unfortunately, the Orwellian nature of the manner in which the “news” is presented to the American public almost absolves them of the blame for being utterly confused at the events transpiring overseas. From the constant fearmongering and propaganda after 9/11 over the dangers posed by Islamic terrorists to our “freedoms” to the subsequent open funding of al-Qaeda in other countries, the American people are constantly bounced back and forth between fear and support of the terrorist organization and networks now in control of such large portions of land in the Middle East.

Thirteen years after 9/11, extremists have gained more power in the region than they ever had before the “Global War On Terror” began. The only question is why they were allowed to seize so much territory, particularly inside a country that was seemingly so important to the United States.

Before going any further, it should be pointed out that any suggestion that the resurgence of ISIS and the march across Iraq caught the Western intelligence apparatus by surprise is entirely ludicrous. As Tony Cartalucci points out in his article, “NATO’s Terror Hordes In Iraq A Pretext For Syria Invasion,”

All roads lead to Baghdad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is following them all, north from Syria and Turkey to south. Reading Western headlines, two fact-deficient narratives have begun gaining traction. The first is that this constitutes a "failure" of US policy in the Middle East, an alibi as to how the US and its NATO partners should in no way be seen as complicit in the current coordinated, massive, immensely funded and heavily armed terror blitzkrieg toward Baghdad. The second is how ISIS appears to have "sprung" from the sand dunes and date trees as a nearly professional military traveling in convoys of matching Toyota trucks without explanation.

Of course, it is equally ludicrous to suggest that the only options available to the United States are reinvasion or allowing Iraq to fall to terrorist savages. There is indeed a third way out of the tragedy that has befallen the Iraqi people which lies within the very nature of ISIS. As Tony Cartalucci writes,
In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran's arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey's (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.
Thus, with ISIS being a creation of NATO and the GCC, the most realistic solution - if the United States was truly interested in stopping the progression of the terrorist organization and rolling back its recent gains - would be to stop funding and supporting it.

Indeed, it falls entirely on the shoulders of the United States that ISIS now controls the amount of territory that it does across Syria and Iraq not only because the American invasion caused Islamic fundamentalist fighters to enter the country as a result of a power vacuum but also because it was the American forces who funded and enabled the fighters to attack Sunni and Shia members of the Iraqi resistance for the purpose of breaking the resistance to the American occupation.

Even more important to recent events, however, is the fact that the United States continues to fund such fighters – ISIS specifically – on the Syrian front. The now famous report from Seymour Hersh entitled “The Redirection” eludes to as much when he wrote,
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
While Hersh’s report was written in 2007, knowledge of the plan to use death squads to target Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, had been reported on even as far back as 2005 by Michael Hirsh and John Barry for Newsweek in an article entitled “The Salvador Option.”

With millions of dollars having been openly funneled to Syrian “rebels” more aptly termed “death squads,” there is no debate that the United States, NATO, and its Gulf client states are funding ISIS and groups like it. As Tony Cartalucci points out,
Combined with reports from the US Army's West Point Countering Terrorism Center, "Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa'ida's Road In and Out of Iraq," and "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq," it is clear that Iraq's Al Qaeda/ISIS legions were created, funded, and armed by Persian Gulf states and are augmented with foreign fighters drawn from Libya's terror epicenter of Benghazi, and Saudi Arabia in particular. These legions have been in operation in one form or another since they were first created by the US CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistani intelligence during the 1980s to combat Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
Still, Cartalucci correctly notes that the Western media would have its audiences believe that the emergence of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq simply went unnoticed until the organization had conquered vast areas of Iraqi territory. Cartalucci writes,
The Western media and the governments providing them their talking points now expect the general public to believe that somehow "Twitter donations" and "bank robberies" have managed to outpace this unprecedented multinational logistical feat and give Al Qaeda the edge over the West's nonexistent "moderate" forces in Syria and give rise to phantom terrorist legions capable of seizing entire provinces across multiple national borders. The evidence simply doesn't add up.
For these reasons, informed observers must come to the conclusion that the United States, NATO, and the GCC are entirely in control of the situation on the ground in Iraq. Again, however, the question is “why?” There exists two further possibilities as to what purpose allowing or directing the movement of ISIS in this manner serves.

First, ISIS’ assault has not only allowed for the conquering of territory that will undoubtedly be used as a staging ground for further assaults against Syria by the terrorist organization but it also allows cover for ISIS to be armed with heavy military equipment such as tanks, Humvees, and possibly even helicopters as well as small arms and ammunition with which to harden its assault against the Assad government. Essentially, the recent forward march by ISIS allows NATO to arm the terrorist organization with such powerful military equipment without doing so openly in the eyes of the general public and the rest of the world.

Second, and most likely, is the possibility that the United States has allowed ISIS to conquer Iraqi territory so as to justify the eventual invasion of Syria in addition to the reinvasion of Iraq. Indeed, any deployment of American troops, airstrikes, or any other type of US military force, will necessitate a battle against ISIS inside Iraq as well as “cross-border” strikes against the organization in Syria. Such “cross-border” strikes would likely be met with apathetic support from the American people since any restraint regarding borders will be presented and then viewed as placing “handcuffs on the troops.”

Make no mistake, however, any military action taken across the border inside Syria will not be taken for the purposes of eliminating ISIS. The truth is that such military action will be nothing more than a backdoor attempt at establishing the “buffer zone” that NATO so ardently desired early on in the Syrian conflict. With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria.

In a truly interesting twist, the United States now claims to be considering an agreement between itself and Iran for the purposes of maintaining order in Iraq and the elimination of ISIS from its positions in the country. Iran, for its part, has already contributed a number of Quds forces to Iraq for purposes of maintaining security. Yet, despite the noble aims Iran may have in eliminating terrorism, Iranian leaders should remember that they too are on the Anglo-American target list. With this in mind, it would be wise to avoid spreading their own military too thin when the American war machine inevitably turns toward them.

In the end, blaming “American foreign policy failure” for the successful march of ISIS across Iraq only serves to obfuscate and cover up the true nature of terrorism as well as its historical and recent roots. Indeed, it is not foreign policy failure that is responsible for the growth and preponderance of terrorism in Iraq and Syria, it is foreign policy success.

The CIA’s arming, funding, training, and directing of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other so-called “moderate” terrorists is the only reason these organizations even exist in Iraq and Syria at all, much less the reason that these organizations have become so powerful so as to have the ability to launch full-scale war.

The way out, of course, is simple. Peace in Iraq and Syria does not require reinvading Iraq or invading Syria. It most certainly does not involve continuing to arm the Syrian death squads. It merely requires the United States, NATO, and the GCC to stop funding and directing ISIS as well as the other terrorist organizations under their purview.

Unfortunately, from the writings of various Anglo-American think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and from the behavior of Western governments, it is clear that peace is not on the menu.

We Cannot Have Our Political Surveillance and Our Democracy, Too

From the UK to the United States, law enforcement at all levels is conflating dissent with terrorism, threatening the possibility for open societies and democratic change.

In both countries, the war on terror—cast as an endless and border-less battle over ideology and religion—provides dangerous new latitude for governments to criminalize and monitor speech. But political surveillance today remains what it has always been: a way for governments to uphold the status quo in the face of demands for change.

Perhaps then it shouldn't come as a surprise to find that politicians who ally with activists are prime targets of state security spying, in both London and Boston.

New reports out of England confirm that London’s Metropolitan Police has been keeping track of politicians in a “extremists” database.
Vice reports:
Through the use of data protection laws, Jenny Jones, a London Green Party peer, and Ian Driver, a local councillor for the party, obtained files on themselves held in the database, which is supposedly used to monitor activists who use criminal means to push their ideas.

Jones, it was revealed, has been monitored over an 11 year period, including when she campaigned to be London's mayor. The sort of information gathered exists mostly in the public domain: tweets copied from her account, and descriptions of her appearances at protests against the Iraq war; it's all information related to her work as a politician, and nothing illegal.
Jones—a vocal critic of police surveillance—described the file on her as “pathetic” in an opinion piece published in the British newspaper.

The working definition of "domestic extremism" used by the Metropolitan Police states that it "relates to the actions of groups or individuals who commit or plan serious criminal activity motivated by a political or ideological viewpoint," according to a Freedom of Information Request by independent police watchdog Netpol.

As broad as this definition is, two politicians that have no record of criminal behaviour still don't fit into it. “Even if that is what you're saying [extremism] is, the people that you're gathering information on do not fit that criteria,” Netpol coordinator Kevin Blowe told me.
We discovered something similar here in Boston in May, when the Partnership for Civil Justice Funds published documents pertaining to law enforcement surveillance of Occupy protests. Members of the so-called counterterrorism fusion center in Boston, called the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), kept tabs on the political associations and speech of then-State Representative Marty Walsh, who’s now the Mayor of Boston.

The reaction to this news in Boston was surprisingly muted. Could it be that people have become accustomed to the idea that a spy center established to monitor and catch terrorists is keeping records of the perfectly legal political activities of a wide variety of organizers and groups, including elected officials? Or is it that people don’t see a problem with police officials keeping tabs on lawful political activity?
If it's the latter, we have a serious problem. Government surveillance of political speech chills democratic engagement and stymies social and political progress. It sends a message to ordinary people and politicians alike: “We are watching you.”

Police justifications for this behavior are nonsense, both here and across the pond. The UK police say they need to keep records of political speech in case some activists choose to use violence as a means to achieve their goals. In Boston, officials claimed Occupy records were maintained for “crowd control” and “traffic” purposes. But the UK police kept records on people who have demonstrated no propensity towards violence, and in Boston, police officers made note of details related to hundreds of events that had no bearing on crowd control or traffic. Both departments monitored the political activities of elected officials.
What's this political surveillance really about? Like most surveillance, it's about control.

Police in the UK and US have been keeping records of and tracking dissident speech and association for decades. The problem isn’t new. But it’s getting more and more dangerous in part because of the blurring of the lines—among officials—between behavior characterized as “terrorist” and that which is obviously pure expression of political dissent.

The blurring of these lines isn’t an accident, and it isn't even a product of the latest war. But today the stakes are higher than ever before. In a never-ending "war on terror", with the entire world cast as the battlefield, the conflation of the dissident with the terrorist has concrete ramifications for individuals that go beyond being smeared as a villain. As soon as the government identifies you as a terrorist, you are subject to an entirely different legal regime, one shrouded in secrecy, governed by vague "state secrets" and "national security" claims, and subject to indefinite detention or even extrajudicial assassination.
In domestic law enforcement, the collapsing of the boundary between terrorism and political speech is coming from the very top of the US government.

In the spring of 2014, White House national security advisor Lisa Monaco visited the Harvard Kennedy School and gave a speech that should chill the soul of every person who cares about freedom of expression and democracy. During her remarks, Monaco announced a Department of Homeland Security plan to place an envoy in Boston to tackle “homegrown violent extremism” among communities. As Mike German of the Brennan Center writes in a letter to the Deputy Secretary of DHS, to which the ACLU and the ACLU of Massachusetts are signatories,
Countering violent extremism (CVE) programs are controversial because several government and non-government entities have promoted unfounded and discredited theories of terrorist radicalization that improperly identify First Amendment-protected religious and political activities as precursors to, or predictive of terrorist attacks…
These reports posit virtually identical four-step processes to becoming a terrorist, and both identify First Amendment-protected activities, such as mosque attendance and activism within Muslim political or social groups, as “steps” or “indicators” of increasing radicalization toward violence. Many of the so-called “indicators” are common activities for large numbers of American Muslims, such as wearing religious attire or growing a beard, which increases the likelihood that all Muslims will be unfairly targeted for investigation and surveillance based on these reports. Indeed these reports appear to provide the policy justification for overbroad surveillance of Muslim communities conducted by the FBI and NYPD that have chilled the free exercise of American Muslims’ religious and political rights.
The civil liberties groups that signed on to German’s letter have good reason to be concerned about what the DHS envoy to Boston will be doing, given what Monaco told the audience at Harvard. As German writes, Monaco advised that parents, teachers, and other community members look for “subtle” signs of radicalization:

"For instance, parents might see sudden personality changes in their children at home—becoming confrontational," she said. "Religious leaders might notice unexpected clashes over ideological differences. Teachers might hear a student expressing an interest in traveling to a conflict zone overseas. Or friends might notice a new interest in watching or sharing violent material."
Anyone who has ever been a teenager knows that "becoming confrontational", questioning religious doctrine, possessing curiosity about the world far away from home, and watching or sharing violent material are fairly or extremely common behaviors, and not at all indicative of a predisposition for violence.
Thankfully, the First Amendment provides generally robust protections in the United States, making it difficult for law enforcement to put us in jail for expressing our thoughts and opinions. But the government has carved out a substantial Muslim exemption to the First Amendment, and police surveillance of free speech significantly chills expression—even if we don’t end up in jail for it.

Even worse, government surveillance of protected First Amendment speech doesn’t just threaten the character of an open society; it also imperils public safety. After all, when police officers are tasked to monitor antiwar protests, the political activities of state representatives and unions, and the religious practices of large groups of law-abiding people, they aren’t doing their jobs: solving crimes.
Programs like the "countering violent extremism" pilot in Boston must not operate from the assumption that dissent or religiosity are indicators of potential threats. Young people should never fear that they’ll be reported to the Department of Homeland Security for voicing unpopular views at home, at church, or in school.

Likewise, future Mayors should never have to worry that their support for unions will land them in a counterterrorism center’s spy database. These practices waste money, create a toxic environment of fear and hostility towards the police, and make it more likely that truly dangerous people will slip through the cracks. Perhaps most devastatingly, however, these practices send a clear message that any behavior or speech challenging the status-quo will be viewed as a potentially criminal threat.

Dissent isn’t terrorism, and being Muslim isn’t a crime. Surveillance isn't about whether you have "something to hide" or not. The kind of discriminatory surveillance happening across the world today, directed at people for their political and religious views, imperils democratic societies.

From the Pentagon to the FBI and all the way down to our state and local law enforcement, the message is clear: dissent is a threat that must be neutralized, and surveillance is the first step towards maintaining the status quo.

But keeping track of the religious and dissident activities of law-abiding people is something authoritarian regimes do, not democracies. The UK and the US want to be seen as inhabiting something called the "free world," but this kind of politically- and religiously-motivated surveillance erodes that reputation.
We cannot have our democracy and our domestic surveillance industrial complex, too.

We The Problem

Guest Post By Rebecca Mickley

Fear is the ultimate enemy of liberty.

Since 9/11 our “leaders”, the smiling wolves in sheep’s clothing, have capitalized on the fear of the people to lead us down the thorny path of slavery. Thirteen years after 9/11 we are less free, and less secure than we have ever been. This is not a result of the shooters, or the terrorists, but a result of the utter failure of the people to stand up for their essential liberties from those who seek to deny them to us.  In short, the problem is not in our constitution, but in ourselves.

It is a symptom of our failure as a people to honor our essential liberties that has led us to the sorry state that we find ourselves in. We take a knee jerk reaction to crisis; foolishly believing that denying our essential liberties will eliminate abuses by the few.  Nowhere is this logical fallacy more apparent than in the current assaults on the second amendment.
This is illogical on its face because no school shooter was ever acting under a second amendment protection. Rights come with the duty of respecting the rights of others. These shooters did not just commit an act of violence; they perpetrated an act of war against the people, fundamentally and illegally denying them their rights to life. Therefore, they did not operate under any form of constitutional protection but in contrivance of such rights and liberties.
These facts show clearly that the denial of rights will have no effect on safety. We cannot barter with what is inalienable and expect anything but slavery in return. By creating artificial barriers to liberty we poison the well, ultimately killing the freedom of all people that enjoy constitutional protection all the while ensuring our victimization by the powerful, the elite and the insane.
This path will lead us only to ruin. With the denial of rights and the ever-advancing chains of slavery comes madness. Further constitutional violations will ensure only that more people will suffer, that more blood will be spilled because with slavery comes insanity. As men are caged it damages them irrevocably leading to a repressed rage that simmers ever closer to the surface.  The recent shootings are more a symptom of a culture drunk with despair and rage at the abuses it has done to itself and as we walk this thorny path, as we surrender more and more of ourselves, the pain will only grow and eventually we will all be damaged, because we will all be enslaved by the grinning elite.
We, the people, must reject the false paradigms offered as easy panaceas by our leaders. Gun Control, Ubiquitous Surveillance, and free speech zones are snake oil, meant to poison and distract the people all the while we are tied down by oppressive laws and fatal memes that security only comes through slavery.

 Terrorists will not stop because we are being watched, extremists will not be silenced because the law abiding are crowded into free speech zones, and shooters will not stop the murder of our children because the law abiding are denied essential rights and protections. These problems will only grow as our liberties enter their twilight, and ultimately sunset because if we are not a free people than we are ready victims being led to the slaughter by those not only outside of our culture but by those we will beg to defend us.

Connecting Dots In The Global Mosaic

Guest Post By James Rickards

The relationship between geopolitics and global finance has rarely been more densely connected and complex as it is today. Knowing how to invest and allocate assets among various classes requires understanding the strategic drivers of valuation and volatility. Here is an around-the-world tour of flashpoints and their implications for investors.

The disintegration of Iraq is far from over. The situation will deteriorate further putting upward pressure on oil prices. The ISIS-Sunni drive to Baghdad has been temporarily slowed due to the Shiite call to arms, and Iranian intervention on the side of Shiites and the al-Maliki government. ISIS sensibly is regrouping and consolidating gains while awaiting further aid form its Saudi sponsors. All of this is a prelude to much larger battles to come.

The war in Iraq has the potential to become a regional war. Turkey may be drawn in by the emergence of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Iran has already been drawn in to support al-Maliki. Syria and Iraq have effectively been partly merged because the border has been erased. Jordan is relatively weak and will be hurt by refugees and spillovers. Jordanian territory is used by both ISIS and the United States for base operations. None of these developments will be resolved soon, so the regionalization of the conflict will proceed with negative implications for regional energy supplies.

The relaxed reaction from the White House to the situation in Iraq is easily explained by the fact that Obama reached a detente with Iran last December when he announced a framework for agreement on Iran’s nuclear programs and removed some economic sanctions. Obama’s foreign policy vision is one where the United States withdraws from the world but leaves behind regional “cops on the beat” who keep order in their neighborhoods. Iran is Obama’s preferred cop on the beat in the Middle East so the United States is relying on it to restore order in Iraq without quite saying so.

Détente with Iran is a betrayal of Saudi Arabia. Since 1974, the United States dollar has been propped up by the original “petrodollar” deal whereby the United States acted as a guarantor of the security of the House of Saud in exchange for Saudi agreement to price oil in dollars. This requires countries to maintain dollar reserves in order to secure oil supplies whether they like the dollar or not. Now that the United States is reneging on its half of the deal, Saudi Arabia can abandon the petrodollar especially in its new energy dealings with China. This points to United States dollar weakness ahead, even if the dollar gets a temporary lift on flight to safety momentum.

Nor has the Ukrainian crisis abated. Putin made large gains in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in the early going. United States and European economic sanctions were tame, but the pushback was enough to cause Putin temporarily to relax tensions. As soon as the ISIS attacks in Iraq became a distraction for the White House, Putin seized the opportunity to go on the move again by putting Russian tanks in parts of Ukraine and tolerating the shoot-down of a Ukrainian troop transport plane. Putin is proving himself to be patient, nimble and focused compared to the White House, which is reactive, clumsy and easily distracted. This crisis is also not going away soon and will put upward pressure on the prices of oil and gold.

In Europe, the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, recently lowered two interest rates, including the creation of a negative rate of interest for the first time. Draghi has proved once again that he is the only central banker who understands central banking. He says little and does less, but it is all quite effective because he keeps dry powder and does not try to do more than he actually can. His recent moves show his dedication to price stability by fighting deflation, but also show that he will not print money or engage in quantitative easing, “QE,” for the purpose of stimulating growth. Draghi knows that money printing doesn’t work to create growth, nor will he join the currency wars by cheapening the euro. The euro has nearly bottomed for now and will trend higher as it becomes clear than Draghi separates himself from the easy money crowds at the Fed, the Bank of England, the People’s Bank of China, and the Bank of Japan.
China is in the midst of a massive credit and property bubble. Many expected this bubble would burst in 2015; however, recent evidence is that the bubble is bursting faster and these problems may come to the fore in 2014. China has enough reserves to bailout its banking system, but not without consequences. Chinese growth will slow sharply and there will be spillovers in other markets as Chinese banks sell good assets in developed economies to raise cash to meet demands at home. Angry mobs will storm banks to demand repayment of the Ponzi scheme “wealth management products” that have been sold by the banks. These money riots will spread.

The global situation resembles the 1970s. The Fed engaged in easy money policies in 1971 and 1972, in part to facilitate the reelection of Richard Nixon. High inflation did not emerge immediately. Money illusion prevailed and behavior was slow to change. But a series of geopolitical events in 1972-1973 culminating in the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 led to an oil embargo and sharply higher oil prices. In turn, that raised inflationary expectations.

Economists ever since have blamed the “oil shock” for the inflation of the later 1970s. But a proper understanding is that easy money before the embargo created dry wood and the oil embargo was a spark that lit the fire. You need both the wood and the spark to have the fire of inflation. The same is true today. The Fed and other central banks have printed trillions of dollars of money in the past four years. So far, inflation has been relatively tame. But the printed money is only the wood; a spark is still required. Events in the Middle East, Ukraine and China today may provide the spark.

The result may actually be the worst of all possible worlds — higher inflation and weaker growth, called “stagflation.” The Fed is between a rock and a hard place. If they withdraw ease by tapering the money printing, they will puncture asset bubbles. If they keep printing, inflation will gather strength. As weak data emerges over the rest of this year, the Fed will realize it has tapered into weakness. This will cause them to launch new money printing, or QE4, in 2015.

By then, a geopolitical witches’ brew will have emerged, and act as a spark for inflation that will race past the Fed’s expectations. Stock and property bubbles will burst, banks will be in distress, and the safest assets will be energy, gold, land, natural resources, agriculture and other hard assets.

James Rickards is portfolio manager for the West Shore Real Return Income Fund and the author of The Death of Money, a New York Times best seller from Penguin Random House. Follow on twitter @JamesGRickards.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The US Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq


The Western media in chorus have described the unfolding conflict in Iraq as a “civil war” opposing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham against the Armed forces of the Al-Maliki government. 
(Also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS))

The conflict is casually described as “sectarian warfare” between Radical Sunni and Shia without addressing “who is behind the various factions”.  What is at stake is a carefully staged US military-intelligence agenda.

Known and documented, Al Qaeda affiliated entities have been used by US-NATO in numerous conflicts as “intelligence assets” since the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war. In Syria, the Al Nusrah and ISIS rebels are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, which oversees and controls the recruitment and training of paramilitary forces.

The Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) re-emerged in April 2013 with a different name and acronym, commonly referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The formation of a terrorist entity encompassing both Iraq and Syria was part of a US intelligence agenda. It responded to geopolitical objectives. It also coincided with the advances of Syrian government forces against the US sponsored insurgency in Syria and the failures of both the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its various “opposition” terror brigades.

The decision was taken by Washington to channel its support (covertly) in favor of a terrorist entity which operates in both Syria and Iraq and which has logistical bases in both countries. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s Sunni caliphate project coincides with a longstanding US agenda to carve up both Iraq and Syria into three separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, and a Republic of Kurdistan.

Whereas the (US proxy) government in Baghdad purchases advanced weapons systems from the US including F16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham –which is fighting Iraqi government forces– is supported covertly by Western intelligence. The objective is to engineer a civil war in Iraq, in which both sides are controlled indirectly by US-NATO.
The scenario is to arm and equip them, on both sides, finance them with advanced weapons systems and then “let them fight”.

US-NATO is involved in the recruitment, training and financing of ISIS death squads operating in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS operates through indirect channels in liaison with Western intelligence. In turn, corroborated by reports on Syria’s insurgency, Western special forces and mercenaries integrate the ranks of ISIS.
US-NATO support to ISIS is channeled covertly through America’s staunchest allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. According to London’s Daily Express “They had money and arms supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
“through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West [has] supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al‑Qaeda connected militias. ( Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)
While the media acknowledges that the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting ISIS, it invariably fails to mention that both Doha and Riyadh are acting on behalf and in close liaison with Washington.

Under the banner of a civil war, an undercover war of aggression is being fought which essentially contributes to further destroying an entire country, its institutions, its economy. The undercover operation is part of an intelligence agenda, an engineered process which consists in transforming Iraq into an open territory.
Meanwhile,  public opinion is led to believe that what is at stake is confrontation between Shia and Sunni.
America’s military occupation of Iraq has been replaced by non-conventional forms of warfare. Realities are blurred. In a bitter irony, the aggressor nation is portrayed as coming to the rescue of a “sovereign Iraq”.
An internal “civil war” between Shia and Sunni is fomented by US-NATO support to both the Al-Maliki government as well as to the Sunni ISIS rebels.

The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies. (See map of Middle East below)

“Supporting both Sides”

The “War on Terrorism” consists in creating Al Qaeda terrorist entities as part of an intelligence operation, as well as also coming to the rescue of governments which are the target of  the terrorist insurgency. This process is carried out under the banner of counter-terrorism. It creates the pretext to intervene.
ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which is broadly committed to secular forms of government. The caliphate project is part of a US intelligence agenda.

In response to the advance of the ISIS rebels, Washington is envisaging the use of aerial bombings as well as drone attacks in support of the Baghdad government as part of a counter-terrorism operation.  It is all for a good cause: to fight the terrorists, without of course acknowledging that these terrorists are the “foot soldiers” of the Western military alliance.

Needless to say, these developments contribute not only to destabilizing Iraq, but also to weakening the Iraqi resistance movement, which is one of the major objectives of US-NATO.

The Islamic caliphate is supported covertly by the CIA in liaison with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkish intelligence. Israel is also involved in channeling support to both Al Qaeda rebels in Syria (out of the Golan Heights) as well to the Kurdish separatist movement in Syria and Iraq.

More broadly, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) encompasses a consistent and diabolical logic: both sides –namely the terrorists and the government– are supported by the same military and intelligence actors, namely US-NATO.

While this pattern describes the current situation in Iraq, the structure of “supporting both sides” with a view to engineering sectarian conflict has been implemented time and again in numerous countries. Insurgencies integrated by Al Qaeda operatives (and supported by Western intelligence) prevail in a large number of countries including Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic, Pakistan. The endgame is to destabilize sovereign nation states and to transform countries into open territories (on behalf of so-called foreign investors).

The pretext to intervene on humanitarian grounds (e.g. in Mali, Nigeria or the Central African Republic) is predicated on the existence of terrorist forces. Yet these terrorist forces would not exist without covert US-NATO support.

The Capture of Mosul:  US-NATO Covert Support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Something unusual occurred in Mosul which cannot be explained in strictly military terms.
On June 10, the insurgent forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, with a population of over one million people.  While these developments were “unexpected” according to the Obama administration, they were known to the Pentagon and US intelligence, which were not only providing weapons, logistics and financial support to the ISIS rebels, they were also coordinating, behind the scenes, the ISIS attack on the city of Mosul.

While ISIS is a well equipped and disciplined rebel army when compared to other Al Qaeda affiliated formations, the capture of Mosul, did not hinge upon ISIS’s military capabilities. Quite the opposite: Iraqi forces which outnumbered the rebels by far, equipped with advanced weapons systems could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels.

There were 30,000 government forces in Mosul as opposed to 1000 ISIS rebels, according to reports. The Iraqi army chose not to intervene. The media reports explained without evidence that the decision of the Iraqi armed forces not to intervene was spontaneous characterized by mass defections.
Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting. (Guardian, June 12, 2014, emphasis added)
The reports point to the fact that Iraqi military commanders were sympathetic with the Sunni led ISIS insurgency intimating that they are largely Sunni:
Speaking from the Kurdish city of Erbil, the defectors accused their officers of cowardice and betrayal, saying generals in Mosul “handed over” the city over to Sunni insurgents, with whom they shared sectarian and historical ties. (Daily Telegraph,  13 June 2014)
The report is misleading. The senior commanders were largely hardline Shiite. The defections occurred de facto when the command structure collapsed and senior (Shiite) military commanders left the city.
What is important to understand, is that both sides, namely the regular Iraqi forces and the ISIS rebel army are supported by US-NATO. There were US military advisers and special forces including operatives from private security companies on location in Mosul working with Iraq’s regular armed forces. In turn, there are Western special forces or mercenaries within ISIS (acting on contract to the CIA or the Pentagon) who are in liaison with US-NATO (e.g. through satellite phones).

Under these circumstances, with US intelligence amply involved, there would have been routine communication, coordination, logistics and exchange of intelligence between a US-NATO military and intelligence command center, US-NATO military advisers forces or private military contractors on the ground assigned to the Iraqi Army in Mosul and Western special forces attached to the ISIS brigades. These Western special forces operating covertly within the ISIS could have been dispatched by a private security company on contract to US-NATO.

Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria
Yaser Al-Khodor/Courtesy Reuters
In this regard, the capture of Mosul appears to have been a carefully engineered operation, planned well in advance. With the exception of a few skirmishes, no fighting took place.
Entire divisions of the Iraqi National Army –trained by the US military with advanced weapons systems at their disposal– could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels. Reports suggest that they were ordered by their commanders not to intervene. According to witnesses, “Not a single shot was fired”.
The forces that had been in Mosul have fled — some of which abandoned their uniforms as well as their posts as the ISIS forces swarmed into the city.
Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the entire western bank of the city overnight after Iraqi soldiers and police apparently fled their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants.
A contingent of one thousand ISIS rebels takes over a city of more than one million? Without prior knowledge that the US controlled Iraqi Army (30,000 strong) would not intervene, the Mosul operation would have fallen flat, the rebels would have been decimated.
Who was behind the decision to let the ISIS terrorists take control of Mosul? Who gave them the “green light”

Had the senior Iraqi commanders been instructed by their Western military advisers to hand over the city to the ISIS terrorists? Were they co-opted?

Source: The Economist

Was the handing over of Mosul to ISIS part of a US intelligence agenda?
Were the Iraqi military commanders manipulated or paid off into allowing the city to fall into the hands of the ISIS rebels without “a single shot being fired”.
Shiite General Mehdi Sabih al-Gharawi who was in charge of the Mosul Army divisions “had left the city”. Al Gharawi had worked hand in glove with the US military. He took over the command of Mosul in September 2011, from US Col Scott McKean. Had he been co-opted, instructed by his US counterparts to abandon his command?
(image left) U.S. Army Col. Scott McKean, right, commander, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Armored Division, talks with Iraqi police Maj. Gen. Mahdi Sabih al-Gharawi following a transfer of authority ceremony on September 4, 2011
US forces could have intervened. They had been instructed to let it happen. It was part of a carefully planned agenda to facilitate the advance of the ISIS rebel forces and the installation of the ISIS caliphate.
The whole operation appears to have been carefully staged.

In Mosul, government buildings, police stations, schools, hospitals, etc are formally now under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In turn, ISIS has taken control of military hardware including helicopters and tanks which were abandoned by the Iraqi armed forces.

What is unfolding is the installation of a US sponsored Islamist ISIS caliphate alongside the rapid demise of the Baghdad government. Meanwhile, the Northern Kurdistan region has de facto declared its independence from Baghdad. Kurdish peshmerga rebel forces (which are supported by Israel) have taken control of the cities of Arbil and Kirkuk. (See map above)

UPDATE [June 17, 2014]

Since the completion of this article, information has emerged on the central role played by the Sunni Tribes and sections of the former Baathist movement (including the military) in the “liberation” of Mosul and other cities. The control of Mosul is in the hands of several Sunni opposition groups.
While these forces — which constitute an important component of the resistance movement directed against the al-Maliki government– are firmly opposed to ISIS, a de facto “relationship” has nonetheless emerged between the ISIS and the Sunni resistance movement.

The fact that the US is firmly behind ISIS does not seem to be a matter of concern to the Tribal Council:
Sheikh Zaydan al Jabiri, leader of the political wing of the Tribal Revolutionary Council, told Sky News his organisation viewed ISIS as dangerous terrorists, and that it was capable of taking them on.
“Even this blessed revolution that has taken place in Mosul, there may be jihadist movements involved in it, but the revolution represents all the Iraqi people – it has been brought about by the Sunni tribes, and some baathist elements, it certainly does not belong to ISIS,” he said.
But Mr Jabiri,  [based in Amman]… also made a clear threat that without Western help, the tribes and ISIS may be forced to combine efforts targeting their shared enemy – the Shia-dominated Iraqi government. (Sky News, emphasis added)
An exiled leader of the Iraqi resistance movement calling for “Western help” from the aggressor nation? From the above statement, one has the distinct impression that the Tribal Revolutionary Council has been co-opted and/or infiltrated.

Moreover, in a bitter irony, within sectors of the Sunni resistance movement, US-NATO which supports both the Al Maliki government and the ISIS terrorists– is no longer considered the main aggressor nation.
The Sunni resistance movement broadly considers Iran, which is providing military assistance to the al-Maliki government as well as special forces- as the aggressor alongside the US.

In turn, it would appear that Washington is creating conditions for sucking Iran more deeply into the conflict, under the pretext of joining hands in fighting ISIS terrorism. During talks in Vienna on June 16, US and Iranian officials agreed “to work together to halt ISIS’s momentum—though with no military coordination, the White House stressed”.(WSJ, June 16, 2014)

In chorus The US media applauds:  “The US and Iran have a mutual interest in stemming the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)” (Christian Science Monitor,  June 13 2014).  An absurd proposition knowing that the ISIS is a creature of US intelligence, financed by the Western military alliance, with Western special forces in its ranks.  Tehran is also using the ISIS pretext as an “opportunity” to intervene in Iraq: Iran’s intelligence is fully aware that ISIS is a terrorist proxy controlled by the CIA.
Concluding Remarks

There were no Al Qaeda rebels in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. Moreover, Al Qaeda was non-existent in Syria until the outset of the US-NATO-Israeli supported insurgency in March 2011.
The ISIS is not an independent entity. It is a creation of US intelligence. It is a US intelligence asset, an instrument of non-conventional warfare.

The ultimate objective of this ongoing US-NATO engineered conflict opposing the al-Maliki government forces to the ISIS insurgency is to destroy and destabilize Iraq as a Nation State. It is part of an intelligence operation, an engineered process of  transforming countries into territories. The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies.

The ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which historically has been committed to a secular system of government. The caliphate project is a US design. The advances of ISIS forces is intended to garnish broad support within the Sunni population directed against the al-Maliki government

Through its covert support of  the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Washington is overseeing the demise of own proxy regime in Baghdad. The issue, however, is not “regime change”,  nor is the “replacement” of the al-Maliki regime contemplated.

The division of Iraq along sectarian-ethnic lines has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than 10 years.

What is envisaged by Washington is the outright suppression of the Baghdad regime and the institutions of the central government, leading to a process of political fracturing and the elimination of Iraq as a country.
This process of political fracturing in Iraq along sectarian lines will inevitably have an impact on Syria, where the US-NATO sponsored terrorists have in large part been defeated.

Destabilization and political fragmentation in Syria is also contemplated: Washington’s intent is no longer to pursue the narrow objective of “regime change” in Damascus. What is contemplated is the break up of both Iraq and Syria along sectarian-ethnic lines.

The formation of the caliphate may be the first step towards a broader conflict in the Middle East, bearing in mind that Iran is supportive of the al-Maliki government and the US ploy may indeed be to encourage the intervention of Iran.

The proposed re-division of both Iraq and Syria is broadly modeled on that of the Federation of Yugoslavia which was split up into seven “independent states” (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia (FYRM), Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, the re division of Iraq into three separate states is part of a broader process of redrawing the Map of the Middle East.

The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers”. (See Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East” By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, November 2006)

The Most Destructive Presidencies in U.S. History: George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama

Guest Post By Charles Hugh Smith

Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back.

After 13.5 years, there is more than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most destructive in U.S. history.

When historians speak of failed presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency, abuses of executive power.

But weak or failed presidencies are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of powers and a free-market economy.

A destructive president weakens or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers, and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for further expansion.

The Bush and Obama presidencies have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of "national security:" we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret, i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.

How is this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?

This is absolutely contrary to basic civil liberties defined by the Constitution. Who benefits from this destruction of fundamental civil liberties? (Always start by asking cui bono--to whose benefit?)

The Big Lie is that this destruction of the foundations of the rule of law and civil liberties is for our own good: if the President and the National Security State don't grab all these powers and deprive you of your constitutional rights, bad guys will destroy the nation.

This is of course the same old tired justification used by dictators and despots everywhere, and it is always a lie. The truth that must be hidden is that this wholesale expansion of executive powers at the expense of civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and the balance of powers benefits the executive branch.

Every abuse of the law is now declared legal by executive order. Anyone questioning the legality of extra-legal abuses of power is told "this is legal because it was authorized by the President." In other words, executive power is now unquestioned and cannot be challenged.

For a variety of unsavory reasons, the Supreme Court has enabled this expansion of essentially unlimited executive power. Congress has also rubber-stamped it as part of The Global War on Terror (GWOT), the unlimited war that justifies unlimited executive powers, unlimited secrecy and unlimited expansion of the National Security State, the Deep State that is impervious to changes in electoral government.

Presidents Bush and Obama have directed this expansion of the National Security State because it greatly enhances the power of the Presidency. This is how we get a president who is delighted to discover that he's good at killing people remotely with drone strikes.

The expansion of secret programs and secret wars has engorged the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., not just with funding but more importantly, with new powers granted by the executive branch and rubber-stamped by an impotent Congress and supine Supreme Court.

The president's power is greatly enhanced by this expansion of the National Security State, and the self-serving "patriots" empowered by the essentially unlimited secrecy are free to do whatever they please under the umbrella of executive privilege.

True patriots attempting to defend basic constitutional rights are labeled terrorists by the phony patriots busy destroying the foundations of the nation. The Orwellian doublespeak is as unlimited as executive power: a citizen who releases unclassified material about the secret abuse of power can be accused of treason on the Kafkaesque basis that unclassified material can be considered classified if it exposes the abuse of executive power.

All of this is well-documented and has been in the public realm for years. There is nothing mysterious about the destruction of basic rights or the abrogation of the balance or power or the rule of law. It's visible and painfully obvious to anyone who cares to read or watch a few interviews of whistleblowers who have been hounded and harassed by the Obama Administration.

For two examples of hundreds of articles and interviews, please read:

Senior NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists in 2002... In Order to Make Sure They Didn’t Report On Mass Surveillance (; I recommend the entire series of interviews)
"To me, there’s a psychology that’s not often written about: What happens when you have this much reach and power, and constraints of law and even policy simply fade into the woodwork."

PBS Frontline Interview - Thomas Drake.

This destruction of the fundamental building blocks of the nation has been rubber-stamped by gutless Republicans and Democrats alike. Cowed by the threat of appearing "soft on terrorism," left and right alike have scrambled to appear "tough on terrorism" by approving the wholesale transfer of power to the National Security State and the executive branch.

Of the dozens of books published on the abuses of executive power and the uncontrolled expansion of the National Security State, here are two worthy starting points:

The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

This destruction of the fundamental building blocks of the nation has been rubber-stamped by gutless Republicans and Democrats alike. Cowed by the threat of appearing "soft on terrorism," left and right alike have scrambled to appear "tough on terrorism" by approving the wholesale transfer of power to the National Security State and the executive branch.

It is laughable to see so-called liberals and conservatives alike in Congress kow-tow to the National Security State while claiming they have effective oversight, even as the revelations of whistleblowers reveals them as clueless toadies with no real grasp of what is being done in the name of the American people they claim to represent.

Those abusing executive power in the Nixon administration knew they were breaking the law. Those abusing power in the Bush and Obama administrations simply declare their actions legal. In effect, any action taken by the president or the National Security State is legal in name if not in principle.

Powers once granted are almost impossible to take back. What president will give away essentially unlimited executive powers established as "law" by previous presidents? We don't elect saints as presidents, we elect infinitely ambitious people desiring power. We should not be surprised that such people not only consolidate the power they inherit but actively seek more.

We should also not be surprised that all these power grabs by the executive branch and the National Security State are cloaked in secrecy, and that anyone who dares to reveal the power grabs and abuses of power to the public is declared a traitor and crucified.

A traitor to what? It's a question every citizen should ask and answer for themselves.

Watch this Amazing Video

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Solution To Everything: Slavery To The State

Guest Post By Jon Rappoport

Let me clarify that. Slavery to the corporate State. Government and mega-corporations work hand in hand.
The incurably naïve believe the State is beneficent. The government is kind. The government knows what to do. The government will solve society’s ills if we let it.

Of course, the government, in the form of NSA, is spying on everybody all the time—but you see, that’s not really the government. It’s a rogue element.

Sure it is. And rainbows will appear at any moment and the people of Earth will experience a galactic frequency that eradicates all impulses toward conflict.

To put it another way, people see what they want to see.

“Ahem, when I say ‘government,’ I don’t mean the CIA or the Pentagon or the FDA or the President’s national security team, or fraudulent federal scientists, or the whole lot of venal people in Congress, or corrupt prosecutors and judges or invasive bureaucrats or paper-pushing money-sucking desk jockeys.”

Of course not. Government is an idea in the mind of God.

And when you think about it, the NSA watches over us to make sure we stay on the path of righteousness. It’s absurd to be suspicious of the State. The authors of the Constitution, who tried to limit central authority, were a bunch of paranoids.

We need more government, not less.

Here are quotes from George Orwell. In case there is any doubt, he is describing aspects of the State:
“As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life.” (The Lion and the Unicorn, 1941)

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.” (Notes on Nationalism, 1945)

“A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened. Then, again, every major change in policy demands a corresponding change of doctrine and a revaluation of prominent historical figures.” (The Prevention of Literature, 1946)

“But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version.” (1984, chapter 4)

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.” (1984, chapter 5)

But you see, these are all old Orwell remarks. Now we have a different kind of State. It’s…government. Yes. The State isn’t government. Aha. The State exists in places other than America. In America, we have government. Yes, that’s right. Two different animals. One is repressive, and the other is earnest. (More rainbows for the sentimentalists.)

Here are quotes about the State from Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World:
“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too—all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” (Chapter 2)

“Every one belongs to every one else.” (Chapter 3)

“Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable.” (Chapter 3)

“Everyone works for every one else.” (Chapter 5)

“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?”

“I don’t know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”

He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated. (Chapter 6)

But again, Huxley’s remarks are about the aspirations and victories of the State, which doesn’t exist in America. Never has. In America, we have a fluid and flexible government, which tries to respond to the people’s needs. Of course. Just ask Elizabeth Warren or Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W Bush, or the ghost of Richard Nixon. Ask the heads of Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, Dow, DuPont. Google, Facebook, Microsoft.

There are “repressive States” in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but that is a foreign phenomenon.
Rebelling against the State? Not here. Here we merge with the government and help it and encourage it. Besides, we’ve recently learned—and this is a revelation—that rebelling is very likely a terrorist act. Well, that settles that.

We’re all in this together. Even if the “we” and the “this” and the “together” seem to require some further clarification, rest assured it will be forthcoming. At the right time.

The government understands time (and also space). It arranges them. Someone has to.

The government is not the State, the government is not the State.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at