Towards the end of a town hall meeting in Philadelphia broadcast last Monday night over MSNBC, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declared his support for the Obama administration’s program of assassination by drone-fired missiles and its steady build-up of US troop strength in Syria and Iraq. These statements underscore the unity across the bourgeois political spectrum, among all the presidential candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties, in favor of stepped-up military intervention in the Middle East, including the use of drones that have killed thousands of civilians. The discussion was initiated by a 29-year-old Sanders supporter, not by MSNBC host Chris Hayes, the moderator of the town hall—a significant fact, since no journalist for the corporate-controlled media has pressed any of the candidates about drone missile assassinations or other lawless actions by the Obama administration. Read
Today on the "Progressive Commentary Hour" Gary continues his great series, Conversations With Remarkable Minds.
Tonight from Australia we have John Pilger discussing "The rise of the world’s new ruling elite and the misery left in the wake of their climb to the top."
First we played this You Tube clip of John from 2009 and then spoke to John for about 30 minutes: Here is John's bio and a link to the video. Enjoy.
VIDEO: John Pilger - Obama & Empire
John Pilger is one of the world’s most renowned investigative journalists and documentary filmmakers. Originally from Australia, John started his career with Reuters and the London Daily Mail, becoming its chief foreign correspondent and reporting from all over the world, notably Vietnam. He is the youngest journalist to receive the UK’s highest Journalist of the Year Award. He has reported on the civil rights movement in the US, marched to Washington following the assassination of Martin Luther King, reported from many war zones including Indonesia, Cambodia and the Middle East and conducted a 4 year investigation into the damage caused by the drug Thalidomide. John’s documentary films include coverage about the catastrophe in Cambodia, the genocide in East Timor, and several about the history of Australia and human rights abuses against Australia’s original Aboriginal population. His books have covered Iraq, Kosovo, and critiques of liberal media. Recently, one of John’s most important books -- “The New Rulers of the World” -- that exposes the underpinnings and motives of modern imperialism and the global economy has been updated and released. It is regarded by many as one of the most important investigations about postmodern power. John’s website is JohnPilger.com
Opium poppies in Helmand Photo credit: U.S. Marines / Wikimedia Introduction by Russ Baker: More musings from Peter Dale Scott, the “father of Deep State analysis.” It’s heady and sometimes difficult material, but no one has gone as deeply as he has in trying to understand the nature of power in America, and ties between the state, the Underworld, and the criminal elements of the wealthy, or the Overworld. In Part 3, we learn of the covert — but benign-sounding — government Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which formally institutionalized off-the-books financing of criminal activities. Its purpose was to engage in “subversion against hostile states.” But it went further than that. Much further. This is Part 3 of a 5-part series. Please go here to see Part 1, and here to see Part 2. Excerpt from American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014), Introduction. Deep History and the Global Drug Connection: Deep Events and Illegally Sanctioned Violence Read
After a Russian commercial airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai last October, Western media reported that the Islamic State bombing was retaliation against Russian airstrikes in Syria. The killing of 224 people, mostly Russian tourists on holiday, was matter-of-factly treated as an act of war by a fanatical group without an air force resorting to terrorism as a way to strike back. Yet, Western militaries have killed infinitely more innocent civilians in the Middle East than Russia has. Then why won’t Western officials and media cite retaliation for that Western violence as a cause of terrorist attacks on New York, Paris and Brussels? Instead, there’s a fierce determination not to make the same kinds of linkages that the press made so easily when it was Russia on the receiving end of terror. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Obama Ignores Russian Terror Victims.”] Read
BALTIMORE—When Rory Fanning, a burly veteran who served in the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion and was deployed in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2004, appeared at the Donald Trump rallyin Chicago last month he was wearing the top half of his combat fatigues. As he moved through the crowd, dozens of Trump supporters shouted greetings such as “Welcome home, brother” and “Thank you for your service.” Then came the protest that shut down the rally. Fanning, one of the demonstrators, pulled out a flag that read “Vets Against Racism, War and Empire.” “Immediately someone threw a drink on me,” he said when I interviewed him on my teleSUR show, “Days of Revolt.” “I got hit from behind in the head three or four times. It was quite the switch, quite the pivot on me. Questioning the narrative, questioning Donald Trump’s narrative, and I was suddenly out of their good graces.” Nationalists do not venerate veterans. They venerate veterans who read from the approved patriotic script. America is the greatest and most powerful country on earth. Those we fight are depraved barbarians. Our enemies deserve death. God is on our side. Victory is assured. Our soldiers and Marines are heroes.Deviate from this cant, no
If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. More than that, it was a landmark for civilisation, the birth of a city that would quickly become the cultural lodestar of the world. Contrary to popular belief, Baghdad is old but not ancient. Founded in AD762 by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur “The Victorious” as the new seat of his Islamic empire, in Mesopotamian terms it is more arriviste than grande dame – an upstart compared to Nineveh, Ur and Babylon (seventh, fourth and third millennium BC respectively). Baghdad is a mere baby, too, when compared with Uruk, another ancient Mesopotamian urban settlement, which lays claim to being one of the world’s earliest cities and which was, sometime around 3,200BC, the largest urban centre on earth with a population estimated at up to 80,000. Some think the Arabic title for Babylonia, al-Iraq, is derived from its name. Read
Prof. Joseph Hickman is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and a senior research fellow at its Center for Policy and Research. Joe is also a former Marine and army sergeant who has worked on a variety of sensitive operations worldwide, including security at Guantanamo prison in Cuba. His revelations about the abuse of prisoners at the facility resulted in his award winning story in Harper’s magazine and his book “Murder at Camp Delta.” Prof. Hickman’s most recent book “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers” investigates the Department of Defense’s and its private contractors’ negligence and subsequent denial about the human health and environmental dangers of “burn pits” in Afghanistan and Iraq, which exposed tens of 1000s of soldiers to life threatening toxins. The book has been banned by the Defense Department, and Joe is donating his royalties to the non-profit advocacy organization, BurnPit360.org, that is fighting on behalf of 1000s of soldiers suffering from a wide range of diseases, including autoimmune disorders, untreatable respiratory illnesses, and a variety of cancers due to burn pit exposure.
When United States President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he said: “Perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars.” Obama meant the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, although this is a modest answer. The U.S. had been involved in far more than two wars. In 2001, George W. Bush had committed the U.S. to a Global War on Terror at any time and at any place. U.S. Special Forces and drone aircraft had been involved in combat operations in far more than two countries. No other country has as expansive a footprint as the U.S. There are 800 U.S. military bases in 80 countries, sentry posts around the planet for U.S. interests. Neither China nor Russia is not anywhere near the U.S. in terms of military reach. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. had no competitor on the global stage. It prosecuted war without worry or challenge. This was evident in Iraq in 1991. Lack of effective constraint on U.S. ambitions forced the leadership of the United Nations
A tragedy is just waiting to happen in one of the largest cities in the Middle East, engineers warn. The Iraqis who built the dam structure for the Mosul dam warn that the structure is “increasingly precarious” and threatens to kill 1 million people. They also said the government’s answer has been ridiculous. The Mosul Dam is the largest dam in Iraq, providing electricity for the 1.7 million residents of Mosul. However, it has a long record of instability. Built in an unstable geological setting, the earthen embankment dam is located on top ofgypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves in contact with water – a recipe for disaster. Leaks began right after the dam was built in 1986, with 24 machines continuously pumping grout into the dam base. More than than 50,000 tonnes of material have been injected, but did little to stabilize the structure. A September 2006 report by the United States Army Corps of Engineers noted, “In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world.” Read
The ISIL terrorist group is using organ harvesting as a way to finance its operations and save the lives of injured members, media reports said on Tuesday. The Spanish daily El Mondo reported that facing the increased number of wounded members in the Syrian army and popular forces’ attacks, the ISIL is using the body organs of its captives for transplantation. According to the report, the ISIL also forces the prisoners in Mosul jails to donate blood and postpones the execution of those sentenced to death to use their blood as much as possible. The ISIL doesn’t merely use the organs of its captives and prisoners’ bodies for transplantation to its members but it sells them to other countries as a lucrative business, it added. Medical sources told El Mondo that the personnel in one of hospitals in Mosul have seen corpses of at least 183 people whose organs had been taken out of their bodies. Read