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Popular Articles

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Fixin' for War with China: Winding Up the Media Wurlitzer

Did “China” Really Say “War” With the United States is “Inevitable”?
by Peter Lee - CounterPunch
Spoiler: No.
 
It would seem a certain amount of foreign affairs reporting starts out as pabulum fed by the government and its loyal allies to available journos, who further if incompletely digest it and then crap it out on the digital pages of various newspapers, magazines, and think tank white papers for the delectation of a somewhat undiscriminating public.
 
In other words, the media is often just the messenger, and there’s no point in getting aggravated about crappy coverage and blaming the messenger when the real problem is crappy policy.
 
But sometimes, especially in the runup to a big foreign policy show—which the U.S. South China Sea gambit certainly has become—the evolution and devolution of media coverage provides useful insights into who’s pushing what and why.
 
I currently have a piece up at Asia Times, “China Hawks crosshair Obama on South China Sea” on a rather important example.
 

Logging Plan for Walbran Promises Another "War in the Woods" on Vancouver Island

War in the Woods could return as logging company targets Walbran Valley
by Wilderness Committee

VICTORIAOne of Canada's most important old-growth rainforests is under direct threat of clearcut logging. New maps obtained by the Wilderness Committee show logging company Teal Jones has laid out eight new cutblocks in the central Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island, a focal point of the War in the Woods for decades.

In recent years, Teal Jones' logging operations have been targeting old-growth and edging closer to the iconic Castle Grove, the finest stand of monumental cedar trees in the Walbran Valley. The new proposed cutblocks surround Castle Grove in an unprotected area on the north side of the Walbran River, near the boundary of Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park.

"Intact old-growth forests of this size are incredibly rare and endangered – so much has been cut, and we have a moral responsibility to protect the little that's left," said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.
"The north side of the Walbran River should be completely off-limits to industrial logging."
"This area has been ground zero for the War in the Woods in the past, and that's exactly the level of conflict Teal Jones is choosing by moving into this area now," Coste added.

The Wilderness Committee contacted Teal Jones last fall, after finding new surveying tape in the Walbran Valley.
 

21C Politics of Decline: America v China

The Geopolitics of American Global Decline: Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century
by Alfred W. McCoy  - TomDispatch

policing americas empireFor even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

A glance at what passes for insider “wisdom” in Washington these days reveals a worldview of stunning insularity. Take Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye, Jr., known for his concept of “soft power,” as an example.
 
Offering a simple list of ways in which he believes U.S. military, economic, and cultural power remains singular and superior, he recently argued that there was no force, internal or global, capable of eclipsing America’s future as the world’s premier power.

For those pointing to Beijing’s surging economy and proclaiming this “the Chinese century,” Nye offered up a roster of negatives: China’s per capita income “will take decades to catch up (if ever)” with America’s; it has myopically “focused its policies primarily on its region”; and it has “not developed any significant capabilities for global force projection.” Above all, Nye claimed, China suffers “geopolitical disadvantages in the internal Asian balance of power, compared to America.”

Or put it this way (and in this Nye is typical of a whole world of Washington thinking): with more allies, ships, fighters, missiles, money, patents, and blockbuster movies than any other power, Washington wins hands down.
 

Congrats Tony! Blair New Voice of European Tolerance and Reconciliation

Congratulations Tony Blair
by Gilad Atzmon

The Guardian reports this morning [June 4, 2015] that Tony Blair is to take on a new role leading the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation.

This is no doubt great news. The 21st century’s greatest war criminal is called to lead the campaign against ‘extremism’ which he himself instigated. Truth be told, it only makes sense to appoint a mass murderer to such a delicate job because only a genocidal character could be intimately familiar with the nitty gritty of institutional hatred and intolerance.

The British former prime minister who launched an immoral interventionist war has been appointed as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance following his spectacular success as a Peace Envoy to the Middle East introducing reconciliation and new harmony to the entire region.

In a joint article (paywall) with Moshe Kantor, the president of the council of the European Jewish Congress, Blair recently expressed his devotion to the Jews and the primacy of their suffering.

“Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem, but one infecting the whole of society and needs to be tackled for the sake of us all.”

The penny dropped. Blair, seemingly understands his contribution to Jew hatred. Next time when he launches a global criminal war with no end he must make sure that rather than using Lord Cash Point Levy as his chief fund raiser he should consider using someone else, preferably a ‘gentile’ (If he finds one). Even Blair must have grasped by now that the clear association between his Ziocon war and a Jewish financier is ‘not just a Jewish problem.’ With 5 million people dead in the region it infects the whole universe.

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Blind Destruction: America's Samson Moment in Syria

Sleepwalking to Another Mideast Disaster
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

June 4, 2015
 
If sanity ruled U.S. foreign policy, American diplomats would be pushing frantically for serious power-sharing negotiations between Syria’s secular government and whatever rational people remain in the opposition – and then hope that the combination could turn back the military advances of the Islamic State and/or Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
 
But sanity doesn’t rule. Instead, the ever-influential neocons and their liberal-hawk allies can’t get beyond the idea of a U.S. military campaign to destroy President Bashar al-Assad’s army and force “regime change” – even if the almost certain outcome would be the black flag of Islamic nihilism flying over Damascus.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Aug. 30,
2013, claims to have proof that the Syrian
government responsible for chemical weapons
attack Aug. 21, but that evidence failed to
materialize or was later discredited.
[State Department photo]

Anatomy of Austerity: Dissecting Zombie Economics

Reviewing Austerity - The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy
by Jim Miles - Foreign Policy Journal
Of the many works on economics and finance available over the last several years, Austerity is by far the clearest and most concise presentation on how the concept of austerity operates. Essentially it is nothing but corporate takeover of the governance of the world.

The results of the rising corporate governance are rising inequality within nations, loss of freedoms, civil liberties and human rights. It includes political manipulations denigrating immigrants, the working poor and others requiring social assistance, ethnic and religious intolerance, all to be blamed for why the economy is no longer working well when it is really the neoliberal policies that are to blame.

The focus of the book is the United Kingdom. It clearly outlines how the National Health Service and the education sector have been seriously affected by the corporatization (privatization or outsourcing) of many formerly public functions have led to increased costs, corruption, fraud, and gross inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in service.

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The Hangman of Cairo Touches Down: Smiles and Red Carpets for Al-Sisi in Germany

Al-Sisi in Berlin: Red carpet for the hangman of Cairo
by Johannes Stern - WSWS
 
5 June 2015

No other event could have better exposed the human rights pretenses of the German ruling class than the official reception of Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Berlin.
 
If the term “mass murderer” can be applied to any international head of state, it certainly applies to him.
 
The Egyptian despot is not a murderer on a par with the Nazis. But he is without a doubt comparable to General Augusto Pinochet, the former leader of the Chilean military junta, under whose rule (1973-1990) tens of thousands of regime opponents were imprisoned, tortured and killed.
 
 

Palestine's Status After 67 Years of Occupation

Status of Palestine in 2015
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance
Some of this information is from a summary issued by the Negotiations Affairs Department (an independent group advising Palestinian negotiators):
 
- It has been 67 years since the occupation of 78% of Palestine in 1948.
 
- It has been 48 years since the occupation of the other 22% of Palestine (WB and Gaza) that started 1967.
 
- Today there are 12.5 million Palestinians 7.2 million of us are refugees/displaced people (six million from the ethnic cleansing of 1948-1950, 843,737 from 1967 Naksa, and 345,217 internal displacement within the green line, 57,669 internally displaced in 1967 areas.
 
- UNRWA has 5.4 million registered refugees and has established and operates in 59 official refugee camps (17 unofficial camps).
 
-Camps are unstable. As an example 162,000 used to inhabit Yarmuk Camp in Syria, most of them were displaced in the last three years and 1093 were killed or died of starvation in the besieged camp. A camp Imam gave a fatwa allowing the consumption of dog, cat, and donkey meet. Desperate Palestinians are also drowining in the Mediterranean Sea and dying in places like Gaza and Syria, when they run out of options. Malnutrition, birth defects, cancer, and other health issues are skyrocketing.
 

Oil Weaponized: Evolution of Economic Warfare

The Evolution of the Oil Weapon
by John Manfreda - Oilprice.com
In the age of derivatives, swaps, and electronic money transfers, a new form of warfare has emerged: financial warfare. Recently, the US has passed sanctions on countries such as Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea , but the majority of energy related sanctions passed have been targeted at Iran and Russia.
 
An estimated 68 percent of Russia's government revenue is derived from oil and gas exports, while 80 percent of Iran's revenue comes from oil exports. That presents a very large target for the use of financial weapons.
 
To understand why financial warfare is now so commonplace, one must understand how it came into existence and what has been achieved taking such an approach.
 

Oligarch Kyiv Coup Leader Appoints Georgian-on-the-Lam to Run Province

Neocon Fugitive Given Ukraine Province
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

June 2, 2015

Bush and Saakashvili
The latest political move by the U.S.-backed “pro-democracy” regime in Ukraine was to foist on the people of Odessa the autocratic Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, a neoconservative favorite and currently a fugitive from his own country which is seeking him on charges of human rights violations and embezzlement.

New York Times correspondent David M. Herszenhorn justified this imposition of a newly minted Ukrainian citizen on the largely Russian-speaking population of Odessa by saying that “the Ukrainian public’s general willingness to accept the appointment of foreigners to high-level positions underscores the deep lack of trust in any government after nearly a quarter-century of mismanagement and corruption.”
 
 
Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia
and U.S. President George Bush at a NATO
meeting. (Photo: NATO)

But Herszenhorn made no apparent effort to gauge how willing the people of Odessa are to accept this choice of a controversial foreign politician to govern them. The pick was made by President Petro Poroshenko and is just the latest questionable appointment by the post-coup regime in Kiev.

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The "Freedom" and Other Theatrical Acts

US Senate approves extension of NSA spying
by Patrick Martin - WSWS

3 June 2015

The US Senate voted by a top-heavy bipartisan majority Tuesday to approve legislation that extends several key spying programs of the National Security Agency.

President Obama declared his intention to sign the bill into law “as soon as I get it” in order to allow the NSA to resume the collection of telephone metadata and several other surveillance efforts that had nominally been suspended with the expiration of authorization under the Patriot Act Sunday night.
 
While the White House, congressional leaders of both parties and the American media are all portraying the so-called USA Freedom Act as a significant restriction on NSA spying, an effort to “strike a balance” between security and civil liberties, it is nothing of the kind.
 

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