Articles

DIA Docs: West Wants A “Salafist Principality In Eastern Syria” – Robert Barsocchini

May 29, 2015

Newly-declassified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents from 2012: In Syria: THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA. AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, which became ISIS: “ISIS, once called AQI”] SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA… …OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME… Now for some definitions: Read

Threat of ‘Inevitable’ War Looms Between US and China Over Pacific Island Row – Lauren McCauley

May 29, 2015

Tensions between China and United States continue to rise over the South China Sea as a Chinese government newspaper warns that war may be ‘inevitable’ if the U.S. and its allies do not back off from the heavily disputed territory. Last week, the Chinese government condemned the actions of the U.S. military after the P8-A Poseidon, the US’ most advanced surveillance aircraft, was caught spying on Chinese naval activities in the Fiery Cross Reef. The Chinese government has been accused of provoking its neighbors by actively building “artificial islands” in the Spratly archipelago, which is both a vital shipping corridor and an oil and gas rich territory, west of the Philippines. While China has claimed the right to most of the South China Sea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have competing interests in the highly-contested waters. An editorial published Sunday in China’s Global Times—which the Telegraph describes as “a tabloid owned by the Chinese Communist Party through another newspaper”—warns that U.S. actions have been “raising the risk of physical confrontation with China recently,” and that the two countries may soon reach a “tipping point” if they are unable to compromise on their strategic purposes. The Global Times says that it is “essential that both sides should

Stop Feeding the Troll: The Case for an ISIS Propaganda Blackout – Adam Johnson

May 29, 2015

The London Express (5/22/15) unsubtly juxtaposed ISIS militants with an atomic explosion. This past weekend, several media outlets ran a story about how ISIS is seeking a nuclear weapon: ISIS Claims It Could Buy Its First Nuclear Weapon From Pakistan Within a Year —International Business Times ISIS to Smuggle Its First Nuclear Weapon From Pakistan, Mulls Attack on US: Report —Economic Times ISIS Boasts It ‘Could Buy First Nuclear Weapon in Less Than 12 Months’ —Daily Mirror John Cantlie Claims ‘Infinitely’ Greater Threat of Nuclear Attack on US —The Telegraph These “reports” are based entirely on a throwaway line from hostage-cum-ISIS spokesperson John Cantlie in an “op-ed” in the  ISIS magazine Dabiq a few days ago. As IBTreported: “Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table,” [Cantile] continues. “The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilāyah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.” It admits that such a scenario is “far-fetched” but warns: “It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.” This “hypothetical operation” was a “far-fetched” scenario—but the meme, naturally, soon spread

The Worst of All Possible Worlds Did Market Leninism Win the Cold War? – John Feffer

May 29, 2015

Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism. From Siberia to Sioux City, we’d all be living in one giant Sweden. It sounds like either the paranoid nightmare of a John Bircher or the wildly optimistic dream of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, however, this was a rather conventional view, at least among influential thinkers like economist John Kenneth Galbraith who predicted that the United States and the Soviet Union would converge at some point in the future with the market tempered by planning and planning invigorated by the market. Like many an academic notion, it didn’t come to pass. The United States veered off in the direction of Reaganomics. And the Soviet Union eventually collapsed. So much for “convergence theory,” which like EST or cold fusion went the way of most crackpot ideas. Or did it? Take another look at our world in 2015 and tell me if, somehow we haven’t backed our way through the looking glass into that very alternative universe

The Student Loan Crisis and the Debtfare State – Susanne Soederberg

May 29, 2015

“Framing private educational lending as a consumer protection issue makes it seem as if the root cause of the student debt problem is the predatory practices of private educational lenders, distorting the role of the debtfare state,” writes Soederberg. In fact, federal government “has played a critical role in the construction and normalization of students’ increased reliance on loans—both public and private—to fund their higher education.” (Image: Dollars & Sense) Educational debt has become a ticking time bomb. With over $1 trillion in outstanding loan balances, the student loan industry has a lot in common with the sub-prime mortgage industry, which went into a devastating crisis in 2007-8. Both rely on a financial innovation called “asset-backed securitization” (see sidebar in original) to raise capital and to hedge risk—in other words, to raise money for loans and to reduce the likelihood that investors will lose their money. Student loans asset-backed securitization—or SLABS—means student loan agencies package student debts and sell them to investors who expect to get their money back, plus interest, as students pay back their loans. In theory, selling off nicely bundled packages of debt to investors allows these institutions to turn around more quickly and make new loans. For

Pacifica’s KPFA Bans Gary Null Interview on Vaccines 45 – James Tracy

May 29, 2015

On May 6th Gary Null was scheduled to appear on Bonnie Faulkner’s program Guns and Butter, regularly broadcast over the Pacifica Network’s flagship station KPFA in Berkeley CA. He was scheduled for the full hour to speak on vaccine efficacy and safety, and address issues concerning the California vaccine bills. The station censored Faulkner from doing the broadcast, Null’s producer and assistant Richard Gage reports. This is the first time Guns and Butter has been censored in 11 years. The program is syndicated and airs on other land stations around the nation, and is particularly popular in California. KPFA and other Pacifica stations pride themselves in being the last bastions of free-speech and commercial free broadcasting in the nation. In fact, Null himself has hosts a daily program, The Gary Null Show, on New York City Pacifica affiliate, WBAI. Yet the network has become increasingly controlled by ideologues with political agendas trumping the public interests it claims to champion. Anyone who wishes to file complaints to KPFA management and express the station’s disservice to California residents may do so by sending a brief email to either the general manager Quincy McCoy gm@kpfa.org or better yet the station manager Laura Prives who was responsible for

Popular Radio Host and Guest Censored by Radio Station Over Vaccines – Heather Callaghan

May 29, 2015

Gary Null has been a popular, longtime radio host with the longest running health talk show which airs on Progressive Radio Network. He has authored and directed dozens upon dozens of books and documentaries. A few weeks ago, he was asked as an honored guest on Bonnie Faulkner’s show, Guns and Butter which talks about the politics of economics and airs on Pacifica KPFA public radio stations. In the spirit of truth, Bonnie wanted listeners to hear the other side of the vaccine talk, not the “case closed” version.What you’re not being told about vaccines. And specifically SB277, the California bill to mandate vaccines for virtually all Californian school children. Who better to ask then Null, an alternative health expert, medical activist and Pacifica veteran? When it came time to air, however, they were told they weren’t allowed – or rather, they were outright censored and the show was cut – the first time for Guns and Butter in over 11 years. But Bonnie could not let this breach of truth rest… Bonnie went on the Gary Null Show and they did a “reverse interview.” Bonnie then interviewed Gary and they both shared the Sound Cloud file to their listeners. Listen to the banned talk with updated information on SB277

Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse – Chris Hedges

May 29, 2015

The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt. The yearning for positivism that pervades our corporate culture ignores human nature and human history. But to challenge it, to state the obvious fact that things are getting worse, and may soon get much worse, is to be tossed out of the circle of magical thinking that defines American and much of Western culture. The left is as infected with this mania for hope as the right. It is a mania that obscures reality even as global capitalism disintegrates and the ecosystem unravels, potentially dooming us all. The 19th century theorist Louis-Auguste Blanqui, unlike nearly all of his

ALLERGY SEASON MAY BE ‘WORST IN YEARS’

May 29, 2015

A long harsh winter is over and spring has arrived. But allergies, as well as flowers, are blooming. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Tao Zheng, chief of the allergy and immunology section at Yale University School of Medicine discussed what to expect from this allergy season and new advances in allergy treatments with university writer Ziba Kashef. WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2015 SPRING ALLERGY SEASON? HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS YEARS? In spring and summer, many people are vulnerable to tree pollen and grass allergies. Trees and flowers all seem to be blooming at once, and that means a sudden burst of different types of pollen at the same time. We are predicting that this allergy season may be one of the worst in years. In Connecticut and the Northeast, beginning in February and lasting until June, several types of trees—particularly birch, maple/box elder, oak, juniper/cedar, and pine trees—produce pollen that can trigger allergy symptoms. HOW ARE SEASONAL ALLERGIES TYPICALLY TREATED? Read

How Trade Agreements Amount to a Secret Corporate Takeover – Joseph Stiglitz

May 29, 2015

The United States and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called “free-trade agreements”; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the European Union. Today, such deals are more often referred to as “partnerships,”as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant. It is not hard to see why. These agreements go well beyond trade, governing investment and intellectual property as well, imposing fundamental changes to countries’ legal, judicial, and regulatory frameworks, without input or accountability through democratic institutions. Perhaps the most invidious – and most dishonest – part of such agreements concerns investor protection. Of course, investors have to be protected against the risk that rogue governments will seize their property. But that is not what these provisions are about. There have been very few expropriations in recent decades, and investors who want to protect themselves can buy insurance from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a World Bank affiliate (the US and other governments provide similar insurance). Nonetheless, the US is demanding such provisions in the TPP, even
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