Sep 16 2017

Off the Radar

There are a few events in US foreign policy that have not been covered in US Mainstream Media or have not been highlighted in their true context.   So, I’ll briefly list them below.

US Weapons going into Syria.

Dilyana Gaydhzandiev first wrote about the Silk Ways transport of weapons out of Bulgaria to the Middle East and North Africa with US military contractors involved.  The flights are under diplomatic immunity so their cargo is not inspected, and they generally make unscheduled stops to unload in secret.  I brought in Dilyana’s article as she has been fired from her job and I was concerned that it might not stay posted for long.  You can read it HERE along with a link to the original.   However, Al Jazeera covered the story a few weeks after it was released, and now another Bulgarian outlet has taken the story further in Balkan Arms Trade, Making a Killing where they delve deeply into two different US  pipelines moving weapons from Eastern Europe into the Middle East.    They make the point that these pipelines are  directly associated with the Pentagon AND they are not shutting down with what appears to be the victory of the Government forces in Syria.

If you would like to see peace in the Middle East, these articles are very disturbing.   However, I started thinking about the peace process that Russia has facilitated in Astana.   Turkey has been brought in from the beginning. The Saudis were invited to the last meeting and plans were made to begin defusing the situation in Idlib.  The US proxies (SDF/YPG) have been invited to the next meeting.    Numerous groups who have fought the Syrian Army have attended.  And they continue to negotiate cease fires and to separate the peace lovers from al Qaeda and it’s various representations in the country.   Tens of thousands of lives have been saved by these negotiations and the de-escalation zones they produce.

I was thinking about this and I had a vision of where they are going.   The real win is when there is no one left who is willing to carry those weapons the US is pumping into  Syria.   Of course, like the ISIS fighters airlifted from Eastern Syria by the Americans, the weapons are certain to show up somewhere else.   But, this is a proof of concept.   Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister of Reconciliation, told us that the reconciliation initiative is open and adaptive.   Peace and unity are the goal.  Diplomacy and rewards for peaceful behaviors are the methodology.    They focus on whatever path seems to be working.  Lets pray for the people of Syria and all the peoples targeted by terrorism and the divisive policies of  post colonial imperialism, that this will work, not just in isolated instances, but as a path towards a larger peace in the Middle East and beyond

Drone Strikes Have Doubled since Trump Presidency

Drone strikes have doubled since Trump came to power.  His recent  threat to refurbish the Afghan War and expand it into Pakistan is related to this increase in Drone strikes, most of which are in that region.   The news of civilian Drone strike victims is itself a victim of the new bipartisan, across the board censorship of media.  Drones allow the US to kill people without taking responsibility and without risking the lives of service personnel.    Essentially, the program is one that relies on the cold blooded execution of suspects and anyone who happens to be nearby at the time.   Reprieve: Drones and Assassinations

President Trump has named Michael D’Andrea, the man who invented the ‘signature strike’, in charge of intelligence related to Iran.   A signature strike is a drone strike against an unknown person or persons because, from the viewpoint of a drone a mile high in the sky, the target appears to be behaving suspiciously.   For instance, a caravan of cars that stops for lunch, and then prays before moving.   It was a family returning from a wedding.  An other signature strike targeted a group of men who went into the same building every day and came out midday for a while, then left in the evening.   Turns out they were workers in a factory.     Now D’Andrea who, like Denis Ross, President Obama’s original advisor on Iranian affairs, is hostile to Iran and not allowed to enter the country, will advise President Trump on what the Iranians are doing and thinking. **Trump Sending A Murderer to do a Diplomat’s Job

An Appeals Court upheld a decision against the case of the family of some innocent victims of targeted killing by Drone.  The decision upheld was that the courts do not have jurisdiction to question military decisions.   This is absolutely not consistent with earlier US decisions influenced by international law.     It is direct opposition to the constitution and undermines the famous checks and balances we learned about in school.   The decision was based on a prior decision during the Bush Administration.  The legal decisions of the last century were not referenced.  ** Yemeni Drone Victims Sues US Government

Not only is the MSM focused on building the big lie that the government wants you to believe but now Google and Facebook are censoring popular alternative news and discussion sites, while the Washington Post and Harvard Library give credence to this practice by shaming these sites and those who publish there as purveyors of ‘Fake News’ and ‘Conspiracy Theories’.

The Current Heroin Crisis Originates in the Afghan War

There is a huge heroin crisis in the US and globally as well.   Young people are more likely to die of a heroin overdose than of a disease.   When the US went to war with Afghanistan their opium imports were negligible.   The Taliban had forbidden growing poppies and rewarded growing food.   Today, opium/heroin is Afghanistan’s only profitable crop and the primary export from Afghanistan.   Eight Five percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan.   The people survive while US affiliated warlords make huge profits off the drug trade.    Our leaders don’t want to offend them so they don’t lay down the law like they did for the Taliban.   Of course the Taliban will not soon be cooperative again.   They have learned that there is no way to appease  the West.   So why try?

Meanwhile, the US ‘War on Drugs’ facilitates the incarceration of black men and boys while the drug itself results in the deaths of thousands of addicts of all races and social classes  across the country.    Rehab centers are big business and draw a large percentage of social welfare monies, at least in NY.   Without that investment even more addicts would be homeless, dead or incarcerated.   But it’s a control on the epidemic, not a cure.

In South America, US Proxies are Rolling Back the Gains of Popular Socialist Governments

In Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and dismissed by a cabal of corrupt opposition politicians on the basis that she allowed some corruption to occur during her Presidency.   Lula, the most popular President Brazil has ever had, decided to run in the next election.   He has now been convicted corruption in a kangaroo court and sentenced to 16 years in prison.   He is appealing but the important thing is that he is not eligible to run for President as a convicted felon.   Dilma Rouseff has been targeted again and is now being accused directly of corruption.

The people who are running these prosecutions are the very people that planned, carried out and profited from the criminal offenses that Rousseff was originally impeached for ‘allowing’.     The current President Temer, was a key player in the siphoning off of money from Brazil’s oil profits for personal gain and was himself under investigation when the soft coup that brought him to power began.   He has taken the stance that as President, he cannot be prosecuted and his buddies in the parliament have supported him.   Hypocrisy reigns.

In Argentina, following the end of Cristina Fernandez Kirchner’s terms as President, a right wing neoliberal technocrat was elected through a well funded campaign.   The Kirchners had taken Argentina out of the international banking system to allow it to recover from debt that it could never pay.   Under the Kirchners Argentina’s people prospered under a socialist regimen and the economy blossomed.   They were then able to begin negotiating a restoration of the country to the global economy.

Unfortunately, a previous president in Argentina had placed Argentina’s debt under the governance of the US judiciary.   Argentina’s restoration to its rightful place in the global economy was stalled by a US judge who ruled that Argentina would have to pay in full a vulture fund that had bought some of Argentina’s debt for pennies on the dollar BEFORE they would be allowed to pay of their direct creditors with whom they had negotiated debt reductions.     The new President of Argentina has agreed to austerity measures for ordinary people to borrow money from the IMF to pay of the vulture fund so wealthy investors would be back in business at their expense.

Venezuela is in crisis due to a revolt of the bourgeois.    Well off businessmen are deliberately undermining the currency.    Violent protesters have killed police and counter protesters.   President Maduro is just the President, not the charismatic Chavez.   Even so, the poor people whose lives have been overwhelmingly improved by the Bolivarian revolution remain faithful to the government they elected.     The new constitutional parliament stands to strengthen his hand.  The protesters are crying foul, but they chose to boycott the election.   Now they are not represented.   Since they are not a majority, the election stands.  US Sanctions compound the troubles of the people of Venezuela.   The situation there is dire, but the Chavistas continue to support their president and to believe in democratic action.

The US has actually sanctioned Nicaragua , another poor socialist country, for violating the sanctions against Venezuela.   The Sandinistas are in power there.   The same socialist government  that the US death squads tried to squelch in the 80s now governs.   So many deaths, for what purpose?

Sadly, when I consider the situation in South America, and also when I look at our own government, I have a concern that it seems to easy for big money to co-opt a working democracy and destroy a republic.   The transition from one president to the next provides people with choices between unknown entities, often misrepresented in the press because there is little continuity.    Big changes like the ones occurring in the countries I discuss above are ‘revolutionary’ or, in most cases ‘counter-revolutionary’ but not evolutionary.   How do we get a situation where orderly progress is possible.   I don’t know.   Instead of revolutionary change, here in the US the system has brought us stasis and a powerful unelected group of men who make all the real decisions.     So it really doesn’t matter who wins the election, at least not at the Presidential level.

How do we make a real democracy work?   Making rules to limit terms might help, but it doesn’t.   It just makes popular and well functioning governments insecure.   On the other hand, lack of term limits can allow a dictator to take hold and refuse to leave.   What matters is whether the spirit of the people is acknowledged.     I don’t know how to make that happen in a world organized by advertising and a powerful cabal of information corporations that use a combination of propaganda and censorship to block the flow of information and undermine public discourse.  I don’t know how to make it happen when corporations have more rights than humans.   I don’t know how to make it happen in a world where money, raw money unaffiliated with useful goods, is equivalent to speech – considered discourse among interested parties.

 

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