We all know how the story goes. The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. It was then controversially annexed in 1981, despite the UN calling the efforts “null”, “void” and “without international legal effect”. Today it is still internationally and legally recognised as Syrian land, but Israel persists with its possession.
Of course, such persistence can prove to be quite lucrative when the land is abundant in resources – especially land as fertile as the Syrian Golan – a generous source of gushing waters and game changing oil reserves.
In fact, the Golan Heights contributes a quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply. Its catchments leading to the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret – Israel’s main water source – receive long bouts of heavy rainfall, particularly during the colder months and occasionally during stormy season in the summer.
But the Golan Heights does more than just fill Israel’s many swimming pools. It also provides snow for Israel’s one and only skiing destination, the Mount Hermon Ski Resort. The mountain’s peak reaches 9232 feet above sea level and is Syria’s highest point – an altitude Syrians no longer get to enjoy.
The remunerative resort attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year; many of them, foreigners, who are conveniently unaware of the land’s disputation. For most, the irony of supporting Israeli tourism on Syrian soil is lost on them.
Then there’s the contentious matter of oil. The Golan Heights has long been speculated to be sitting on serious amounts of hydrocarbon, and recent discoveries have confirmed these theories. US company, Genie Energy, along with its Israeli subsidiary, Afek Oil and Gas, are currently in the process of drilling for what Israel’s Channel 2 headlined as “an amazing discovery in the Golan Heights”.
An “amazing discovery” it surely is. One that will profoundly benefit Israel for many years to come, as well as Genie Energy shareholders, Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and Lord Jacob Rothschild.
And in light of recent discoveries, the government of Netanyahu continues attempts to annex the Syrian land. The US backs the UN in its polite requests for Israel to comply with international law, while at the same time, US companies like Genie Energy, use the occupied land for their own ventures, emphasising the notion that the Pentagon is run by corporations.
Israel’s ‘oasis’ in the desert continues to develop at the expense of Syria and the Syrian people. And despite international indignation for Israel’s unlawful actions, nothing of any real substance is done about it. Over the years, this inactivity has encouraged Israel to presume it is above the law.
But while it may seem insignificant, considering Israel’s track-record of getting away with murder (so to speak), it is important to keep in mind that ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ never actually was one.
The Golan Heights was and still is Syrian territory.
The Bankers’ India Gold Grab: An Update
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/09/2016 14:30 -0500
In previous commentaries , readers were warned that Western bankers were once again targeting the gold market of India with more of their fiendish plans. This time, they convinced (bribed?) India’s new, corrupt government – the Modi regime – into orchestrating a scheme to steal the gold from its own people.
The nexus of this scam was what was announced as “the gold deposit scheme.” Even the Conspirators themselves were unable to come up with a name to make this naked fraud sound legitimate. The fraud itself is simple, indeed utterly simplistic.
Indians “deposit” their gold into the clutches of their thieving government and are paid (paper) “interest” on those deposits. The fact that this was a naked fraud was immediately apparent. As the bankers tell us all the time, “gold generates no income.” How could India’s government pay the interest on the gold coins/bars/jewelry sitting in its vault supposedly held in trust for its depositors?
There was no immediate answer to that question, because there could be no (legitimate) answer to the question. Indeed, inlegitimate bullion storage arrangements, depositors pay a fee to have their bullion safely stored for them, because while the gold generates no income, the costs of storing such gold are significantly greater than zero.
Finally, reluctantly, the Conspirators made explicit what was already totally obvious:
The deposited gold will be auctioned off from time to time to meet domestic demand for jewellery and coins. [emphasis mine]
The scam was now completely exposed.
- a) Indians “deposit” their gold.
- b) Indians receive (paper) “interest” on their gold while their deposited gold is sold off.
- c) Indians end up with the paper interest – and no gold.
- d) India’s jewellers and coin-makers then sell the gold they purchased at these auctions back to the same Chumps who originally deposited that gold.
In the eyes of Western bankers, it was the perfect “scheme” – hence their label for the plan. In the eyes of any sane, rational, human being, it was/is the most naked, clumsy fraud that one could possibly imagine. But the corporate media assured us there was considerable enthusiasm amongst India’s population for this scam.
With enormous media and government fanfare, the “scheme” was officially launched at the beginning of November. However, these same media and government mouthpieces were much, much quieter a couple of weeks later when they released details on the initial response to this obvious fraud.
A gold deposit scheme launched amid fanfare by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago has so far attracted only 400 grammes, an industry official said on Thursday, out of a national hoard estimated at 20,000 tonnes.
For those readers still less-than-comfortable with the metric system, let’s convert these numbers to the Imperial system of measurement. In two weeks, out of a population of more than one billion people, holding an estimated 40 million pounds of gold, the Conspirators only managed to net roughly one pound of gold from their intended victims.
Expressing these results in percentage terms, the Conspirators managed to steal less than 0.000002% of India’s privately held gold. At that rate, it would take India’s government (and the bankers) more than one million years to steal all of India’s gold.
The thieves were not daunted, at least not publicly. The media offered assorted excuses for the “slow” initial response to the scam. India’s government immediately added new inducements for the scam and pledged a “high-level meeting” to plot even more changes.
Last week, the government announced several steps to make the scheme more attractive for consumers, including measures such as eliminating capital gains and income taxes on the interest earned. The meeting on Tuesday is expected to focus on incentives for banks.
“Capital gains and income taxes”? Indians are having their gold stolen from them. They receive paper interest equal to a fraction of the value of that gold in return. And the media/government liars have the audacity to call this interest a “gain” or “income”? How magnanimous of India’s government to announce that it wouldn’t tax those “profits.”
With these new inducements in place, the Conspirators sat back and waited for the gold to start flowing into their vaults. Two weeks later, we got our next update :
The scheme has only attracted about one kilogramme [two pounds] in a month, prompting the government to nudge temples through banks to hand over their treasures …
First we get news that the thieves managed to net another, whole pound of gold during the second half of the month, and were still on-pace to steal all of India’s gold in 1,000,000+ years. Then the language (and imagery) descends to surreal comedy.
We’re now told that India’s government sees “temple gold” as its best/easiest target for stealing. But then we’re told that India’s government isn’t going to approach the temples directly, despite its boasts of what a “great opportunity” the gold-deposit scam represented. Instead, we’re told that India’s government plans on sending in bankers to “nudge” the temples to “hand over their treasures.” Why?
Once upon a time, those individuals who could liberate the most wealth from institutions in the least amount of time were known as “bank robbers.” But those days are ancient history. This is the 21 st century, or as the corporate media likes to call it, all the time, “the New Normal.”
In the New Normal , the world’s premier wealth liberators are no longer bank robbers but rather bank er robbers. These wealth liberators of the 21 st century make the bank robbers of the 19 th and 20th century appear as nothing but rank amateurs.
Observe. First a banker (and bank) is given custody of (someone else’s) financial assets in order to “manage” those assets. Then, a blink of an eye later, the bank/banker proudly proclaims that the bank now owns those assets. The bankers call this method of wealth liberation “a bail-in.”
However, in this case, India’s new government was not calling upon its friends, the bankers, to engage in any direct wealth liberation. Rather, they were being sent in to engage in persuasion. Presumably the “bankers” assigned to that task had names like Butch and Knuckles, and instead of carrying briefcases, they were brandishing “implements of persuasion.”
A mere three days after India’s government sent in the bankers, the following announcement appeared:
Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak temple to deposit 40 kg of gold in monetization scheme
Here’s what is interesting about that announcement. First of all, the bankers had already invested many years of time and effort looking for some means to “gather” some of the thousands of tonnes of gold held by India’s temples – and failed. Meanwhile, just three days earlier, we had been told the following.
But Mumbai’s Shree Siddhivinayak temple, which is devoted to the Hindu elephant god Ganesha, said it remained unconvinced about the benefits.
What could have been said to (or done to) the leaders of this temple in order to get them to suddenly reverse themselves after years of resisting all efforts by the bankers to “gather” their gold? Only Butch and Knuckles can answer that question – but they probably won’t.
The strategy in strong-arming at least one of India’s temples out of a small portion of its gold is obvious. “Look!” hiss the bankers, “Your religious leaders are giving us their gold. That means that it must be a good idea.” Including the 40 kg of gold liberated from the Shree Siddhivinayak temple, this brings the total haul in the gold-deposit scam to 41 kg to date. Put in different terms, the total amount stolen has now risen from 0.000002% of the gold of India’s people all the way to 0.00008%.
Will the scheme by the One Bank and India’s government to steal some/most/all of the 20,000 tonnes of privately held gold in India be successful? If so, Butch and Knuckles will have to engage in a lot more persuading.
The US Helped Destroy Libya In 2011. Here’s What’s Happening There Now, With the Help of ISIS…
“We are helpless and not being able to do anything against this deliberate destruction to the oil installations. NOC urges all faithful and honorable people of this homeland to hurry to rescue what is left from our resources before it is too late.”
That’s from Libya’s National Oil Corp and as you might have guessed, it references the seizure of state oil assets by Islamic State, whose influence in the country has grown over the past year amid the power vacuum the West created by engineering the demise of Muamar Gaddafi.
The latest attacks occurred in Es Sider, a large oil port that’s been closed for at least a year.
Seven guards were killed on Monday in suicide bombings while two more lost their lives on Tuesday as ISIS attacked checkpoints some 20 miles from the port. “Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, Libya’s biggest oil ports, have been closed since December 2014,” Reuters notes. “They are located between the city of Sirte, which is controlled by Islamic State, and the eastern city of Benghazi.”
ISIS also set fire to oil tanks holding hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude. “Four tanks in Es Sider caught fire on Tuesday, and a fifth one in Ras Lanuf the day before,” Ali al-Hassi, a spokesman for the the Petroleum Facilities Guard told Bloomberg over the phone.
A fire at Ras Lanuf
A smoking storage tank in Es Sider
Ludovico Carlino, senior analyst at IHS Country Risk says the attacks are “likely diversionary operations” during Islamic State’s takeover of the town of Bin Jawad, a seizure that may enable the group to expand and connect “its controlled territory around Sirte to the ‘oil crescent.’”
Islamic State is pushing east from Sirte in an effort to seize control of the country’s oil infrastructure, much as the group has done in Syria and Iraq. As Middle East Eye wrote last summer, “the desert region to the south of the oil ports has been strategically cleared in a series of attacks by IS militants on security personnel and oil fields, where employees have been killed and kidnapped, and vehicles and equipment seized.”
“I expect they will try and take Sidra and Ras Lanuf and the oil fields on the west side of the oil crescent,” one oil worker said. “There are few people left to protect the oil fields apart from local security from isolated towns.”
Efforts to protect Libya’s oil are complicated immeasurably by the fractious (and that’s putting it nicely) political environment.
In short: the country is a modern day Wild West and a strong central government is now a distant memory. This makes administering the country’s resources nearly impossible. Oil production is now just a quarter of what it was under Qaddafi. Essentially, both of Libya’s two governments have what they call a National Oil Corp. The eastern NOC is run by the exiled government in Tobruk (which is internationally recognized), where the House of Representatives was exiled in 2014 after elections produced an outcome that wasn’t agreeable to Islamist elements in Tripoli.
Unfortunately, large foreign oil companies won’t work with Tobruk’s NOC which sets up the following ridiculous scenario: the internationally recognized government in Tobruk has an NOC no one wants to work with, while Tripoli’s NOC (which foreign oil companies will do business with) is run by a government that the world doesn’t deem legitimate.
To top it all off, there’s every reason to believe that neither Tobruk nor Tripoli actually control the country’s oil. Here’s Foreign Policy:
On the ground, the conflict involves far more than just the two bickering governments. Libya is composed of dozens of tribes, each with its own shifting interests and allegiances.
“There’s a question about the extent to which the political forces actually have control over the important militias on the ground,” said Chivvis. “I think all this comes down to who controls the oil; it comes down to alliances on the ground. Which political forces control which sites within Libya.”
Ibrahim Jadhran is a perfect — and crucial — example. The 35-year-old was a militia leader during the 2011 revolution, and was appointed commander of the Petroleum Defense Guards by the still-unified transitional government in 2012. Originally from the eastern city of Ajdabiya, the rogue militia leader is an outspoken advocate of a federal system for Libya and frequently uses his power to open or close oil ports, shutting off oil exports — and therefore salaries — when he disagrees with either government.
“One of the initial causes for the plummeting of Libyan oil production was the blockade imposed by Ibrahim Jadhran in August of 2013,” said Porter. The commander has continued the tactic of stoppages in defiance of both regimes, even trying to steal a tanker full of crude to sell on the black market. The ship was finally stopped by the U.S. Navy off the coast of Cyprus.
Jadhran’s power is not to be underestimated. In fact, according to local media reports, it was actually him, and not the Tobruk government, that closed the Zuetina port. As Porter points out, it is Jadhran — not Tripoli or Tobruk — who truly controls exports.
Got that? There are two governments and two NOCs, but that doesn’t really matter because the whole show is run by a militia leader. “Jadhran is a mystery even to us. We have not yet understood what he really is, apart from an oil thief,” Misrata Military Council head Ibrahim Beitemal told Middle East Eye last year.
Ali al-Hassi (quoted above) is a spokesperson for Jadhran’s forces.
Islamic State then, is apparently at war with Jadhran which is interesting for a number of reasons.
First, Jadhran’s brother is in ISIS. “ISIS’ Libya branch released an online statement earlier in the week claiming to have taken control of the coastal city of Bin Jawed, about 120 miles east of Sirte,” CBS reported on Monday. “Bin Jawed is the last city before the oil town of Sidra and the huge oil port of Ras Lanouf, both currently witnessing fierce clashes between ISIS and al-Jadhran’s men.” And more: “ISIS fighters were reportedly attacking Siddra from three directions, aided by al-Jadhran’s own brother, who apparently joined the ISIS camp.”
Additionally, some say Jadhran once tried to broker a deal with the group and it’s not entirely clear what, if any, relationship he has with the militants. “We have been told that Jadhran proposed some reinforcements to ISIS but on the condition that he kept control of the oil ports and fields, but this was rejected,” a source told Middle East Eye.
So Libya’s vast oil wealth is effectively up for grabs and the person guarding it has a brother who not only joined ISIS, but is actually participating in the battle for key ports and facilities. Now, Britain is apparently on the verge of sending in thousands of troops to halt the ISIS advance in yet another example of the West engineering regime change only to go back in later in a futile attempt to clean up the mess.”Crack SAS troops are in Libya preparing for the arrival of around 1,000 British infantrymen to be sent against ISIS there in early 2016,” The Mirror reports. “The operation will involve around 6,000 American and European soldiers and marines – led by Italian forces and supported mainly by Britain and France.”
Of course that wouldn’t be necessary if the West hadn’t thrown out the government in Tripoli back in 2011. Now, the stepped up ISIS attacks threaten to derail the formation of a unitary governing body.
“In December, representatives of Libya’s two rival powers signed a United Nations-brokered power-sharing pact that called for the formation of a national unity government by mid-January,” WSJ notes, adding that the violence could “undermine the financial viability of a peace agreement by destroying the country’s main source of revenue.”
“I urge the swift formation of a national unity government and the establishment of a unified force structure capable of bringing peace to this country and protecting its natural resources,” Mustafa Sanallah, chairman of National Oil Co., said, in a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.
Now that Russia has begun to dismantle Islamic State’s oil operation in Syria and now that the link with the Turks has been revealed, it might very well be that ISIS is turning to Libya as an alternative source of financing. Taking control of the country’s oil crescent would be a good start.
Will the country’s rival governments unite in time to stop the assault? Will Jadhran resort to some manner of negotiated settlement with ISIS if it means retaining his influence over Libya’s oil riches? How will ISIS get its captured crude to market without a cross-border state sponsor?
All good questions that will be answered soon enough. For now, we close with one final quote from Jadhran’s spokesperson:
“Pray for us.”
“Miss me yet?”
It is by now standard for U.S. liberals and Democrats to blame former Republican United States president George W. Bush and the top 9/11-exploiting neocon champions of aggressive, regime-changing American imperialism (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz et al.) for the rise of the barbaric Islamic State (IS) and the remarkable spread of extremist Islamist jihad in recent years. There is obvious justice in the charge. The monumental devastation caused by Bush’s arch-criminal and deceptively sold invasion of Iraq contributed significantly to those developments.
Still, recalling that it was a Democratic U.S. president (Jimmy Carter) who first provided the resources that made Osama bin Laden a force to be reckoned with and that leading Democrat Hillary Clinton voted (as a U.S. Senator) for Bush’s invasion, responsible observers of U.S. policy need to give the current Democratic president, Barack Obama, and the next one, his former Secretary of State, Hillary, equal credit for growing deadly Sunni extremism. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have pursued aggressive policies of regime change that have opened the door for jihadist expansion. They have done so over and against the opposition and warnings not just of peace activists but also of top U.S. military analysts and officials.
A recent London Review of Books report from the brilliant, Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh shows that Obama’s aggressive pursuit of regime change in Syria sparked criticism and pushback from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). By Hersh’s account, Obama’s determination to unseat Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his related false claim that “moderate” rebels were in place to do the job disturbed key military thinkers and officeholders who understood that moderates were weakly represented among Syria’s rebel movement and that the president’s obsession with removing Assad served jihadist forces leading the Syrian resistance:
“Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff…The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups.”
The administration refused to heed the DIA and JSC’s prescient warnings, rooted in solid intelligence. Massive CIA arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting Assad continued, helping fuel the rise of the IS. The arms travelled from Libya to Syria through the leading IS sponsor and U.S. ally Turkey in the wake of the killing of former Libyan head of state Muammar Gadaffi by Islamist extremists who screamed “God is Great” while sodomizing Gadaffi with bayonets. “The operation,” Hersh notes:
“was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the ambassador’s schedule in the building’s ruins. It showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA’s annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, [a JCS official told Hersh], was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments.”
Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi to oversee the CIA’s technically illegal arms smuggling operation there. The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, attacked by jihadist extremists who roamed the city’s streets, was part of the U.S. effort to bring down Assad. The White House concocted a story claiming that the Benghazi attack had emerged from a “spontaneous demonstration” sparked by an Internet video that had mocked the founding Muslim prophet Mohammed. Obama instructed Secretary Clinton to play along with the fairy tale and she complied. Late in the evening of September 11, 2012, she released a statement connecting the attack to “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” and “deplor[ing] any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” The message said that America’s “commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.” (Thus was an incident that emerged from criminal and blood-soaked U.S. imperialism wrapped in the flag of America’s supposed noble commitment to tolerance and diversity in its liberal struggle with religious fanatics.)
Libya became a chaotic jihadist stronghold and an incubator of extremist Islamist violence across North Africa thanks to Gadaffi’s U.S.-led removal from power in Tripoli. The regime destruction was implemented through mass bombings undertaken by the U.S., France, England and other NATO nations with the explicit intent of unseating Gadaffi in the spring and summer of 2011. Here again the Obama administration’s aggressive imperial policy was carried out over and against misgivings and warnings from the JSC and DIA, who were less than impressed by the administration’s claims that failure to intervene would lead to humanitarian disaster, even genocide. As Gareth Porter notes at Middle East Eye:
“In 2011, the JCS had been strongly opposed to the effort to depose the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya…When the Obama administration began its effort to overthrow Gaddafi, it did not call publicly for regime change and instead asserted that it was merely seeking to avert mass killings that administration officials had suggested might approach genocidal levels. But the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which had been given the lead role in assessing the situation in Libya, found no evidence to support such fears and concluded that it was based on nothing more than ‘speculative arguments’…The JCS warned that overthrowing the Gaddafi regime would serve no US security interest, but would instead open the way for forces aligned with al-Qaeda to take over the country.’”
The nightmare the DIA warned against came to pass, with disastrous consequences both within and beyond Libya. None should the coldly indifferent psychosis of Hillary Clinton’s comment on the U.S. operation in Libya: “We came, we saw, he died.”
In the cases of both Libya and Syria, Mrs. Clinton – recently dubbed “Queen of Chaos” by the veteran journalist and commentator Diana Johnstone – contributed significantly to the horrific outcomes in her role as Obama’s Secretary of State. Hillary led the political and public relations campaign to depose Gadaffi under the misleading guise of preventing atrocity and even genocide. Mrs. Clinton even worked to nix a U.S. military proposal to prevent the complete destruction of Libyan government by negotiating for Gadaffi’s resignation and the retention of the Libyan armed forces’ capacity to keep jihadists at bay. Once again, with Syria, Hillary, the Iraq invasion enthusiast, led the public relations and propaganda charge in calling for regime change against another Muslim head of state The Washington- and largely Hillary-led campaign against the Assad regime in Syria created the basic context for a second revival of jihadism in Iraq and the rise and expansion of IS across vast swaths of both Syria and Iraq.
The likely outcomes were foreseen in both cases by top U.S. military analysts and officials whose calls for caution were ignored and over-ridden by the “humanitarian” admonitions and directives the current and next Democratic U.S. president. Rand Paul calls Hillary Clinton a “neocon” in the foreign policy realm with no small justice.
“She Talks About Me Being Dangerous”
Meanwhile, Obama’s multinational drone assassination program (justly described by Noam Chomsky as “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times” and endorsed by Bernie Sanders) has done more to spread the geographical scope of extremist Islamic jihadism than George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion. As the Clinton money and empire machine gears up for a return to the White House, however, Hillary’s murderous imperialism takes on greater relevance for the future. Liberals and Democrats (two overlapping but non-identical categories) are justly aghast at Donald Trump’s chilling and idiotic call for a ban on Muslim immigration “until we can figure out” why so many Muslims are angry at the U.S. Still, considering the millions of Muslims killed, maimed, and displaced by the U.S. imperial regime-changing madness that Mrs. Clinton has played such a key and leading role in advancing, “The Donald” pales before the “Queen of Chaos” as an actual and proven threat to Muslim people. Many of the migrants Trump proposes to block from U.S. shores are fleeing turmoil that Hillary has played no small role in inflicting. Another difference is that Trump has little chance of becoming the next U.S. president while the smart money is on Hillary’s return to the White House.
Which reminds me, here are two interesting quotes from Trump on the campaign trail last month
“Look at what she [Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State] did with Libya, what she did with Syria…a total mess…. She talks about me being dangerous [for proposing an immigration ban on Muslims]. She’s killed hundreds of thousands of people …The Middle East is a total disaster under her” (no small part of the answer to The Donald’s question on the sources of Islamist rage at the U.S.)
“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”
Trump has a well-deserved reputation among U.S. media operatives for outrageous bluster, insult, and inaccuracy. In the case of these two statements, as with Trump’s “surprisingly honest” (ABC News) observation that the American political system is “broken” by the corrupting influence of big campaign donations, however, Trump’s verbiage contains considerably more fact than fiction.
The curiosity extends beyond the contrast with the “liberal” Hillary. As the Canadian activist and thinker Gabriel Alan recently commented to me: “Trump, the avowed racist, is the only elite national politician right now who actually is willing to take issue with the mass slaughter of Arabs for regime change! Talk about political irony…”
Please do not think that this commentary is intended to bolster the Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. It is not because I concur with the following reflections of fellow CounterPuncher Shamus Cooke:
“Some Sanders supporters might respond; ‘at least his foreign policy is better than Hillary’s.’ But Sanders himself has been unable to provide a real argument to support this claim during the ongoing debates. When Sanders attempted to frame Hillary as ‘pro-regime change’ in relation to the catastrophe she created in Libya, Hillary pointed out that Sanders voted ‘yes’ to support that regime change. As the war machine rolled into Libya Sanders wasn’t a speed bump; he was a lubricant. Clinton and Sanders both have Libyan blood on their hands.”
“Sanders has Afghan blood on his hands too, having voted for the invasion of the now-endless Afghan war that triggered the beginning of the flurry of Middle East wars. And while Sanders brags about voting ‘no’ for the 2003 Iraq war, his vote soon morphed into a ‘yes,’ by his several votes for the ongoing funding of the war/occupation.”
“Sanders also voted ‘yes’ for the U.S.-led NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, and supports the brutal Israeli military regime that uses U.S. weapons to slaughter Palestinians.”
“When it was announced that Obama was choosing sides and funneling guns to the Syrian rebels — thus exacerbating and artificially extending the conflict — Bernie was completely silent; a silence that helped destroy Syria and lead to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.”
“Sanders is consistently on the wrong side of history; he’s also been a direct accomplice to a series of massive war crimes”
All sad but true. Dare we add that Sanders has voiced his determination to continue Obama’s drone war and that (as Cooke suggests), Sanders’ underlying commitment to the U.S. imperial project and military Keynesian (google up Bernie and the F-35 fighter jet) renders mute his call for progressive, social-democratic, and Scandinavia-inspired change inside the United States? The costs, public-private investment pattern, and largely media-manufactured culture of America’s giant military empire and permanent war of/on terror cancel out social-democratic welfare-state Keynesianism in the “homeland.” But I’ve said and written that before, more than once.