Trolling Russia

The edifice of the post-1991 world order is collapsing right before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as she stayed the course. Not anymore. Russia broke the rules.

Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of the East European small-timers alike. But something broke there. The lad does not want to belong anymore; he picked up his stuff and went home. Just when they needed him to kneel in Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz gathering is an annual Canossa of the Western leaders where they bewail their failure to protect the Jews and swear their perennial obedience to them. This is a more important religious rite in our days, the One Ring to rule them all, established in 2001, when the Judeo-American empire reached the pinnacle of its power. The Russian leader duly attended the events. This year, they will have to do without him. Israeli ministers already have expressed their deep dissatisfaction for this although it was Russia’s Red Army that saved the Jews in Auschwitz. Absence of Russia turns the Holocaust memorial day into a parochial, West-only, event. Worse, Russia’s place will be taken by Ukraine, with its Nazi-glorifying regime.

This comes after the French Charlie demo, also spurned by Russia. The West hinted that Russia’s sins would be forgiven, up to a point, if she joined, first the demo, and later, the planned anti-terrorist coalition, but Russia did not take the bait. This was a visible change, for previously, Russian leaders eagerly participated in such events and voted for West-sponsored resolutions. In 2001, Putin fully supported George Bush’s War on Terrorism in the UN and on the ground. As recently as 2011, Russiaagreed with sanctions against North Korea and Iran. As for coming to a demonstration, the Russianscould always be relied upon. This time, the Russians did not come, excepting the token presence of the foreign minister Mr. Lavrov. This indomitable successor of Mr. Nyet had left the event almost immediately and went – to pray in the Russian church, in a counter-demonstration, of sorts, against Charlie. By going to the church, he declared that he is not Charlie.

For the Charlie Hebdo magazine was (and probably is) explicitly anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim. One finds there some most obnoxious cartoons offending the Virgin and Christ, as well as the pope and the Church. (They never offended Jews, somehow). A Russian blogger who’s been exposed to this magazine for the first time, wrote on his page: I am ashamed that the bastards were dealt with by Muslims, not by Christians. This was quite a common feeling in Moscow these days. The Russians could not believe that such smut could be published and defended as a right of free speech. People planned a demo against that Charlie, but City Hall forbade it.

Remember, a few years ago, that Pussy Riot profaned the St Saviour of Moscow in the way that Femen had profaned some great European cathedrals, from Notre Dame de Paris to Strasbourg. The Russian government did not wait for vigilante justice being meted upon the viragos, but had given them up to two years of prison. At the same time, the Russian criminal law has been changed to include ‘sacrilege’ among ordinary crimes, by general consent. The Russians do feel about their faith more strongly than what EC rulers prescribe.

In Charlie’s France, Hollande’s regime frogmarched the unwilling people into a quite unnecessary gay marriage law, notwithstanding one-million-strong demonstrations of Catholics. The Femen despoiling the churches were never punished; but a church warden who tried to prevent that, was heavily fined. France has a long anti-Christian tradition, usually described as “laic”, and its grand anti-Church coalition of Atheists, Huguenots and Jews coalesced in the Dreyfus Affair days. Thus Lavrov’s escape to the church was a counter-demonstration, saying: Russia is for Christ, and Russia is not against Muslims.

While the present western regime is anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, it is pro-Jewish to an extent that defies a rational explanation. France had sent thousands of soldiers and policemen to defend Jewish institutions, though this defence antagonises their neighbours. While Charlie are glorified for insulting Christians and Muslims, Dieudonné has been sent to jail for annoying Jews. Actually, Charlie Hebdodismissed a journalist for one sentence allegedly disrespectful for Jews. This unfairness is a source of aggravation: Muslims were laughed out of court when they complained against particularly vile Charlie’s cartoons, but Jews almost always win when they go to the court against their denigrators. (Full disclosure: I was also sued by LICRA, the French Jewish body, while my French publisher was devastated by their legal attacks).

The Russians don’t comprehend the Western infatuation with Jews, for Russian Jews are well assimilated and integrated in general society. The narrative of Holocaust is not popular in Russia for a simple reason: so many Russians of every ethnic background lost their lives in the war, that there is no reason to single out Jews as supreme victims. Millions died at the siege of Leningrad; Belarus lost a quarter of its population. More importantly, Russians feel no guilt regarding Jews: they treated them fairly and saved them from the Nazis. For them, the Holocaust is a Western narrative, as foreign as JeSuisCharlie. With drifting of Russia out of Western consensus, there is no reason to maintain it.

 

This does not mean the Jews are discriminated against. The Jews of Russia are doing very well, thank you, without Holocaust worship: they occupy highest positions in the Forbes list of Russia’s rich, with a capital of $122 billion, while all rich ethnic Russians own $165 billion, according to the Jewish-owned resource. Jews run the most celebrated media shows in prime time on the state TV; they publish newspapers; they have full and unlimited access to Putin and his ministers; they usually have their way when they want to get a plot of land for their communal purposes. And anti-Semitic propaganda is punishable by law – like anti-Christian or anti-Muslim abuse, but even more severely. Still, it is impossible to imagine a Russian journalist getting sack like CNN anchor Jim Clancy or BBC’s Tim Willcox for upsetting a Jew or speaking against Israel.

Russia preserves its plurality, diversity and freedom of opinions. The Pro-Western Russian media – Novaya Gazeta of oligarch Lebedev, the owner of the British newspaper Independent – carries the JeSuis slogan and speaks of Holocaust, as well as demands to restore Crimea to the Ukraine. But the vast majority of Russians do support their President, and his civilizational choice. He expressed it when he went to midnight Christmas mass in a small village church in far-away province, together with orphans and refugees from the Ukraine. And he expressed it by refusing to go to Auschwitz.

Neither willingly nor easily did Russia break the ranks. Putin tried to take Western baiting in his stride: be it Olympic games, Syria confrontation, gender politics, Georgian border, even Crimea-related sanctions. The open economic warfare was a game changer. Russia felt attacked by falling oil prices, by rouble trouble, by rating downgrades. These developments were considered acts of hostility, rather than the result of “the hidden hand of the market”.

Russians love conspiracies, as James Bond used to say. They do not believe in chance, coincidence nor natural occurrences, and are likely to consider a falling meteorite or an earthquake – a result of hostile American action, let alone a fall in the rouble/dollar exchange rate. They could be right, too, though it is hard to prove.

Regarding oil price fall, the jury is out. Some say this is an action by the Saudis aimed at Americanfracking companies, or alternatively a Saudi-American plot against Russia. However, the price of oil is not formed by supply-and-demand, but by financial instruments, futures and derivatives. This virtual demand-and-supply is much bigger than the real one. When hedge funds stopped buying oil futures, the price downturn became unavoidable, but were the funds directed by politicians, or did they act so because Quantitative Easing ended?

The steep fall of the rouble could be connected to the oil price downturn, but not necessarily so. The Rouble is not involved in forming oil prices. It could be an action by a very big financial institution. Soros broke the back of the British pound in 1991; the Korean won, Thai bhat and Malaysian ringgit suffered similar fates in 1998. In each case, the attacked country lost about 40% of its GDP. It is possible that Russia was attacked by financial weapons directed from New York.

The European punitive sanctions forbade long-term cheap credit to Russian companies. The Russian state does not need loans, but Russian companies do. The combination of these factors put a squeeze on Russian pockets. The rating agencies kept downgrading the Russian rating almost to junk level, for political reasons, I was told. As they were deprived of credit, state companies began to hoard dollars to later pay their debts, and they refrained from converting their huge profits to roubles, as they had done until now. The rouble fell dramatically, probably to levels much lower than necessary.

This is not pinpoint sanctions aimed at Putin’s friends. This is a full-blown war. If the initiators expected Russians will be mad at Putin, they miscalculated. The Russian public is angry with the American organisers of this economic warfare, not with its own government. The pro-Western opposition tried to demonstrate against Putin, but very few people joined them.

Ordinary Russians kept a stiff upper lip. They did not notice the sanctions until the rouble staggered, and even then they rather shopped like mad than protested. In face of shrinking money, they did not buy salt and sugar, as their grandparents would. Their battle cry against hogging was “Do not take more than two Lexus cars per family, leave something for others!”

Perhaps, the invisible financiers went too far. Instead of being cowed, the Russians are preparing for a real long war, as they and their ancestors fought – and won. It is not that they have a choice: though Americans insist Russia should join their War-on-Terrorism-II, they do not intend to relinquish their sanctions.

The Russians do not know how to deal with the financial attack. Without capital restrictions, Russia will be cleaned out. The Russian Central Bank and Treasury people are strict monetarists, capital restrictions are anathema for them. Putin, being a liberal himself, apparently trusts them. Capital flight took huge proportions. Unless Russia will use the measures successfully tried by Mohammad Mahathir of Malaysia, it will continue. Meanwhile, we do not see signs for change.

This could be the incentive for Putin to deal with Ukraine. If the Russians do not know how to shuffle futures and derivatives, they are expert in armour movements and tank battles. The Kiev regime is also spoiling for a fight, apparently pushed by the American neocons. It is possible that the US will get more than what it bargained for in the Ukraine.

One can be certain that Russians will not support the Middle Eastern crusade of NATO, as this military action was prepared at the Charlie demo in Paris. It is far from clear who killed the cartoonists, but Paris and Washington intend to use it for reigniting war in the Middle East. This time, Russia will be in opposition, and probably will use it as an opportunity to change the uncomfortable standoff in the Ukraine. Thus supporters of peace in the Middle East have a reason to back Russia.

The New World Order est mort. Vive the Future!


About the author:

Israel Shamir works in Moscow and Jaffa; he can be reached on adam@israelshamir.net

Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/23/trolling-russia/

Separatism In Kosovo And The Caucasus: Similarities And Differences

After February 2008 when Kosovo Albanian-dominated Parliament proclaimed Kosovo independence (without organizing referendum) with obvious US diplomatic support (unilateral recognition) with explanation that the Kosovo case is unique in the World (i.e., it will be not repeated again) one can ask the question: is the problem of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo-Metochia really unique and surely unrepeatable in some other parts of the World as the US administration was trying to convince the rest of the international community?[1]

Domino effect in international relations

The consequences of recognition of Kosovo independence by bigger part of the international community are already (and going to be in the future) visible primarily in the Caucasus because there are some similarities in these two regions. At the Caucasus region (where about 50 different ethnolinguistic groups are living together) a self-proclaimed state independence is already done by Abkhazia and South Ossetia only several months after the self-proclaimed independence of Albanian “Republic of Kosova”, following the pattern of both the Nagorno-Karabakh (formally a province in Azerbaijan) in 1991 and Kosovo in 2008. The experts from the German Ministry of the Foreign Affairs expressed already in 2007 their real fear that in the case of the US and EU unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence the same unilateral diplomatic act could be implied by Moscow by recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a matter of diplomatic compensation and as a result of domino effect in international relations. It is also known and from the official OSCE sources that Russian delegates in this pan-European security organization have been constantly warning the West before 2008 that such scenario is quite possible, but with one peculiarity: from 2007 they stopped to mention possibility of the Russian recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-proclaimed independence (on September 2nd, 1991). It is most probably for the reason that Moscow does not want (up to now) to deteriorate good relations with Azerbaijan – a country with huge reserves of natural gas and oil.

Why the South Ossetia could be different?

On the first glance it can be said that the Orthodox South Ossetians are equally separatist as the Muslim Albanians from Kosovo. However, the South Ossetians are having sympathies towards the Serbs (not for the reason that both of them are the Orthodox Christians), but not towards, as we could expect, separatist Kosovo Albanians. The real reason of such sympathies is similar legal state rights applied by both the Serbs in Kosovo and the South Ossetians.[2]

Historically, South Ossetia was never really integral and authentic part of sovereign Georgian state, in contrast to Kosovo-Metochia which was not only integral, but culturally and politically the most important region of the medieval Serbian state (called as the Ancient Serbia or Serbia proper) till the mid-15th century when Kosovo-Metochia became occupied by the Ottomans. The territory of present-day Georgia historically was never before it became part of Russia politically firmly united around its capital Tbilisi in contrast to Serbia which before it lost independence in 1459 was having a long period of experience of the unified state territory with Kosovo-Metochia as its center. When Serbia gained the autonomy status within the Ottoman Empire in 1830/1833 and was later recognized by the European Great Powers at the Berlin Congress in 1878 as an independent state it was known for her rulers and politicians which historical territories belonged to her: Kosovo-Metochia was on the first place. The present day territory of Georgia entered the Russian Empire in parts – segment by segment. Ossetia as united territory (i.e., not divided into the Northern and the Southern Ossetia as today situation is) became (according to the Russian historiography) voluntarily part of the Russian Empire in 1774. In the other words, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great (1762−1796), in order to be surely convinced that the Ossetians are really independent, before incorporation of this province into the Russian Empire sent a special commission which informed St. Petersburg that “the Ossetians are free people subordinated to no one” (On history of Georgia, see: R. G. Suny, The Making of The Georgian Nation (Indiana University Press, 1994); D. Rayfield, Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia (London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2012); S. F. Jones, Georgia: A Political History Since Independence (I. B. Tauris, 2014)).

Georgia itself became part of the Russian Empire in 1804 (27 years later then Ossetia). This fact is the most important argument used by the South Ossetians in their dispute with the Georgian authorities. The Southern part of Ossetia was given to be administered by Georgia only in the USSR by decision of three Georgian Communists – J. V. Stalin, Sergei Ordzonikidze and Avelj Enukidze. It has to be also stressed that the border between two parts of Ossetia (the Northern and the Southern) never existed before 1994.

What concerns the Kosovo Albanian case, it is known that the Albanians started to settle themselves in the region of Kosovo-Metochia from the present-day Northern Albania only after the First Serbian Great Migration (or Exodus) from the region in 1690. In the other words, before the Ottoman occupation of Serbia there were no Albanians in Kosovo-Metochia in any significant number (only 2% according to the Ottoman census in 1455). According to several Byzantine and Arab historical sources, the Balkan Albanians are originating from the Caucasus Albania – in the 9th century they left the Caucasus and have been settled by the Arabs in the Western Sicily (and the South Italy) which they left in 1043 and came to the Balkans. The borders of the present-day territory of Kosovo-Metochia are fixed by the Yugoslav Communist authorities in 1945,[3] who in fact separated this province from the rest of Serbia together with the Province of Vojvodina. In addition, the Yugoslav Communist People’s Assembly issued the decree according to which it was forbidden for about 100.000 expelled Serbs from Kosovo-Metochia during the Second World War by the Albanian authorities to return back to the province. This decesion was followed by migration of up to 200.000 Kosovo-Metochia Serbs during the period of the Socialist Yugoslavia from the province to the Central Serbia. In addition, during the Socialist Yugoslavia it is estimated that up to 300.000 Albanians from Albania migrated to Kosovo-Metochia. Together with enormously high birth-rate of the Kosovo Albanian population, these are the main reasons for drastically altered demographic picture of the province in Albanian favor during the time of the Socialist Yugoslavia thus making legal case for Serbs stronger to challenge Albanian thrive for Kosovo independence (and inclusion into Albania).

The people of the South Ossetia on the referendum about the future of the USSR on March 17th, 1991 voted for existence of the Soviet Union (like the Serbs upon Yugoslavia, but and Kosovo Albanians on referendum to become an independent from Serbia like the Georgians from the USSR). The referendum on March 17th, 1991 was organized two months after Georgian army started the war against the South Ossetia in which till September of the same year 86 Ossetian villages have been burned. It is calculated that more than 1.000 Ossetians lost their lives and around 12.000 Ossetians emigrated from the South to the North (Russia’s) Ossetia. This is the point of similarity with expelled at least 200.000 Serbs from Kosovo-Metochia by the Albanian the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army after the NATO peace-keeping troops entered and de facto occupied this province in June 1999.

A state’s independence of the Republic of South Ossetia from the Republic of Georgia was formally proclaimed on May 29th, 1992. However, this legal act can not been understood as a “separatist” one for the reason that at that time Georgia was not recognized by no one state in the world as an independent political subject and Georgia was not a member of the United Nations. However, in contrast to the case of the South Ossetia, the unilateral proclamation of the state independence of Kosovo by the Albanians on February 18th, 2008 cannot be treated by the international community as a legitimate act (without permission by Belgrade) as Kosovo by the international law and agreements is an integral part of Serbia (the same legal reason was applied by the international community to the case of self-proclaimed the Republic of Serbian Krayina in 1991 from Croatia). Differently from the case of Georgia, when the South Ossetia proclaimed the state independence in May 1992, Serbia in 2008, when the Albanian dominated Parliament of Kosovo proclaimed the state independence, was an internationally recognized independent state and a member of the United Nations. This is a common point of similarity between the Ossetians and the Serbs as the nations: both of them are fighting against separation of one part of their national body and the land from the motherland. However, Tbilisi is doing the same like Belgrade, from this point of view, i.e. claiming that the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) is historical and state’s part of Georgia. From that point of view, there is a similarity between political claims of both states – Serbia and Georgia with one significant difference: historical rights of Serbia over Kosovo-Metochia are much more stronger in comparison with the same rights of Georgia over the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia). In the other words, Kosovo-Metochia was all the time, from historical, cultural, state’s and identity point of views, a central/proper part of Serbia, while both the South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been just borderland provinces of Georgia.

International system of governing and separation

The main argument for the western politicians upon the case of Kosovo self-proclaimed independence, as “unique case” in global perspective, is the fact that according to the “Kumanovo Agreement” between Serbia and the NATO, signed on June 10th, 1999, and the UN Resolution of 1244 (following this agreement), Kosovo-Metochia is put under the UN protectorate with imposed international system of governing and security. However, such “argument” does not work in the case of the South Ossetia as the Ossetians are governing their land by themselves and much more successfully in comparison with the “internationally” (i.e., the NATO) protected Kosovo-Metochia. It was quite visible in March 2004 when the international organizations and military troops could not (i.e., did not want to) protect the ethnic Serbs in Kosovo-Metochia from violent attacks organized by the local Albanians when during three days (March 17−19th) 4.000 Serbs exiled, more than 800 Serbian houses are set on fire and 35 Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and cultural monuments were destroyed or being severely damaged. The “March Pogrom” of 2004 revealed the real situation in the region of Kosovo-Metochia. The position of the South Ossetians in independent Georgia from 1991 to August 2008 could be compared with position of the Serbs in Kosovo-Metochia after June 1999 which is under the total Albanian domination. The fact is that the South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Pridnestrovje showed much more political-legal bases and capabilities to be recognized as an independent for the reason that they showed real ability to govern themselves by only themselves, but not by the international organizations as it is in the case of the Albanian-governed Kosovo (the “Republic of Kosova” from February 2008) after June 1999 up today. They also proved much more democracy and respect for human and minority rights in comparison with the Muslim Albanian-ruled Kosovo.

The Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo-Metochia

There are several similarities, but also dissimilarities between conflicts in the Nagorno-Karabakh province and Kosovo-Metochia. In both cases the international community is dealing with autonomy of a compact national minority who is making a majority on the land in question and having its own national independent state out of this territory. Both the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and the Kosovo Albanians do not want to accept any other solution except separation and internationally recognized independence (and later unification with their motherlands). Both conflicts are in fact continuations of old historic struggles between two different civilizations: the Muslim Turkish and the Christian Byzantine. In both conflicts the international organizations are included as the mediators. Some of them are the same – France, the USA and Russia as the members of both Contact Groups for ex-Yugoslavia and the Minsk Group under the OSCE umbrella for Azerbaijan. Serbia and Azerbaijan were against that their cases (Kosovo-Metochia and the Nagorno-Karabakh) will be proclaimed as the “unique” as therefore it would be a green light to both Albanian and Armenian separatists to secede their territories from Serbia and Azerbaijan without permissions given by Belgrade and Baku (what in reality already happened).

However, there are differences between Kosovo-Metochia and the Nagorno-Karabakh cases. Firstly, Kosovo-Metochia was internal conflict within Serbia (which is after June 1999 internationalized), but in the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh there is external military aggression (by Armenia). Secondly, in difference to Armenia in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh, Albania formally never accepted any legal act in which Kosovo was called as integral part of a state territory of Albania (with historical exception during the Second World War when Kosovo-Metochia, the Eastern Montenegro and the Western Macedonia have been included into Mussolini’s the so-called “Greater Albania” with the capital in Tirana). Delegation from Albania did not take any participation in the talks and negotiations upon the “final” status of Kosovo-Metochia between Prishina and Belgrade in 2007−2013, while Armenia has official status of “interested side” in the conflict in regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh such status did not obtain. While the Armenian army (i.e. from the Republic of Armenia) was directly involved in the military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh, officially part of an independent state of Azerbaijan, in the Kosovo-Metochia conflict of 1998−1999 the official regular army of the Republic of Albania was not involved (differently from a great number of the volunteers from Albania). As a result, Armenia occupied 1/5 of Azerbaijan territory and the victims of ethnic cleansing are mainly the Azerbaijani. A military weaker Azerbaijan side in comparison to Armenia, which was supported by Russia in arms and other war material, did not apply to the NATO for the military help, but military weaker Kosovo Albanian side in comparison to Serbia’s police and the Yugoslav army forces did it during the Kosovo conflict of 1998−1999.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the Albanian unilaterally proclaimed Kosovo independence in February 2008 is not “unique” case in the world without direct consequences to similar separatist cases following the “domino effect” (the South Ossetia, the South Sudan, the Crimean Peninsula, the Eastern Ukraine, Scotland, Catalonia, Bask region…). That is the real reason why, for instance, the government of Cyprus is not supporting “Kosovo Albanian rights to self-determination” as the next “unique” case can be easily the northern (Turkish) part of Cyprus which is, by the way, recognized only by the Republic of Turkey and under de facto Ankara’s protection and the occupation by the regular army of the Republic of Turkey from 1974 onward.[4] Finally, that Kosovo “domino effect” well works in the practice showed the Russian authorities in the spring 2014 when Moscow recognized separation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine based on the self-determination of the local inhabitants and clearly referring to the 2008 Kosovo case.

Prof. dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2015

Notes:

[1] The region of Kosovo (under such name known in the western politics and science) is traditionally and historically called by the Serbs as Kosovo-Metochia, while by the Albanians as Kosova or Kosovë. The western portion of the region is Metochia and the eastern one is Kosovo.
[2] There is a claim that the Ossetians are only European nation in the Caucasus, but this claim is up to now not scientifically proved. The Ossetians themselves believe to originate from the Sarmatian tribe of Alans. The Ossetians speak a language that is remotely related to the Persian.
[3] Before 1945 it was hardly known what the exact borders of this province have been as it historically depended on the power of the local feudal lords (ex. the Branković’s) or foreign power (ex. the Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire) which was administering the province.
[4] The author of this article has strong belief that the USA and the Russian administrations simply decided in 2008 to recognize at the moment de facto situation upon the Balkans and the Caucasus affairs: Kosovo-Metochia will be recognized as the USA domain, while the South Ossetia and Abkhazia as the Russian one. By now, and of course, such a “secret diplomacy” deal cannot be proved by any document.


Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/11/separatism-in-kosovo-and-the-caucasus-similarities-and-differences/

Belgium’s Multicultural Society of “Federalism Laboratory”

The Kingdom of Belgium as a multilingual and multucultural society is today a federal type of the experimental laboratory of the European integration within the framework of the European Union (the EU). This is also a country in which the capital of the European Union is located and a country as one of the original six establishing countries of the present day the EU. The question of destiny of the Belgian multicultural federalism is of the crucial importance for the future process of European integration or disintegration.

The Belgian multicultural society: Long united and long divided

The population of the Kingdom of Belgium is 10 million and it is divided into two main linguistic groups: the northern Dutch speakers (the Flemish/Flanders) – 6 million and the southern French speaking population (the Walloons) – 4 million. The main third speaking group are the Germans (67,000) living on the German border. The capital Brussels upsets this neat division as its is mainly French-speaking city within the Dutch-speaking Flemish part of Belgium on the north. For the matter of comparison, the whole country is a quarter size of the United Kingdom, fitting into France 18 times and having 70% of the population number of the Netherlands (16 million).

Belgium not so often attracts outside attention. Yet the country is more than fine chocolates, delicious beers or Tintin. Usually, the others celebrate Belgium as a federal, post-nationalist country, which combines cultural pragmatism with a rather solid social consensus. The historians present the country without a critical vision of the origins of the Belgian independence in 1830 as a part of a game between the great European powers. Belgium as well as illustrates how the deep-seated tradition of local autonomy and suspicion towards state authority go hand in hand with a strong sense of individual tolerance and solidarity, with a rejection of violent confrontation and a continuous search for consensus between the Flemish and the Walloon parts of the country. Belgian history from the very beginning in 1830 up to the present is a history of linguistic diversity, cultural plurality and a search for a kind of a “Belgian” common identity of its all citizens who are constantly living between state’s integration and its territorial disintegration.

Belgium is an example of the ambivalent relation between history, national myths, and the “lasagne” identity of most Belgians for whom the King, as a political institution, is de facto the only factor of the national unity. The Belgian case of multicultural federalism can be at the same time and a model but also and a warning for the rest of Europe. Its history addresses questions of identity and security, of a sense of cohesion and common purpose – or the lack thereof. Like for the rest of Europe as well.

Any history of the Belgians from 1830 onward has to describe the traditions and transitions that have developed on the territory of the present-day Belgium in a sense of shared identity, common government, and a centralized nation-state – and then over a few

recent decades paved the way for Flemish-Walloon schism that now threatens to break up Belgium. However, it has to respond to the crucial question: Why does a government, unified for more than 150 years, no longer seem capable of holding together a linguistically divided country? If Belgium, as a symbol of the west European successful policy of multiculturalism and multilingual cohabitation, can not function anymore as a united political system and a country based on it, what other parts of Europe with the same structure and problems as Belgium can expect in the post-Cold War future of Europe which basically already started in 2014 in the multilingual and multicultural Ukraine?

In historically tracing the evolution of the governance of Belgium, one have to describe why and how the dominance of the French-speaking propertied elite eroded after having monopolized the land’s governance for centuries. The extension of suffrage, combined with the rise of literacy and schooling enabled labor and the Flemish movement to gather sufficient power to fracture the Belgian polity, splitting its parties and frustrating its politics. The presence of the European Union (the EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (the NATO) has, in a tangential way, enable the Belgian separatists to discount the merit of a national government that is no longer needed to defend the country militarily and economically.

Therefore, for example, in 2008, after 196 days after parliamentary elections Belgium finally got a new government. This new Belgian record in not having state government is achieved due to the main historical disputes between two major ethnolinguistic groups – the French speaking Walloons at the south and the Flemish/Dutch speakers (the Flanders) at the north (both of them are Roman-Catholics). Previous record in not having government was from the year of 1988 – 148 days. The winner of the spring 2007 parliamentary elections – Ive Leterm – Flemish nationalist could not form a new Belgian government even after several rounds of negotiations and interventions by the King. Ive Leterm, ironically a politician with a French name, was accusing at that time the Walloons for obstruction, while at the same time, the French speakers were accusing him for uniform nationalistic mind. At such a way, Belgium, as one of the central protagonists of the pan-European integration, is in the stage of real disunity and possible territorial dismemberment in the recent future.

Historical disputes

The struggle between the Walloons and the Flanders (the Flemish/Dutch speakers are 60% of the Belgium population) at linguistic, political, national and cultural levels is not novelty in Belgium as they are historically rooted from the very beginning of common political life – from 1830 when the Kingdom of Belgium was established. Belgium’s federal structure is established on the principles of two ethnolinguistic regions (northern Flanders and southern Wallonia) and Brussels with special bilingual status (the Flemish dialect of Dutch language was recognized as an equal official language in 1922). Two federal units are governing one parts of their regional economies, transport, education, while the federal power has jurisdiction over foreign politics, defense, justice and social insurance. However, the Flemish winning coalition in 2007 was requiring more federal rights: higher level of taxation policy independence, regionalization of social insurance, autonomy in traffic regulations, separate car-plates, and even „constitution autonomy“. On the other hand, the Walloons are in a real fear that such requirements will finally end with disappearance of the common state (which economic weight buttressed the industrial domination of the French-speaking Walloon south over the Flemish/Dutch-speaking majority in the north, whose wealth derived from agriculture and commerce). What concerns economy, we have to remember that Belgium was the first industrialized continental European state (second one in geographical Europe, i.e. after the United Kingdom or better to say – England).

 

The Belgium’s political life historically had always the same main problem: the Flemish north was wishing more power and separation, while the French-speaking south was for preservation of Belgium as one state. Thus, for instance, after the Second World War the Belgian society was in unpleasant debate upon collaboration with the Nazi-Germans which left deep scars in the Belgian political life, as the population of Wallonia accused many Flemish/Dutch-speaking Belgians of symphatizing with the occupiers and even helping them for the reason of hope to get independence (like, for instance, the Ukrainians did during the Second World War).

Economic differences

As the Belgians became from the 1950s emphatically European, their own national identity was under question, which has and economic background as well. Namely, the structural difficulties of heavy industry, which had been the backbone of Wallonia’s prosperity, gradually shifted the economic advantage to the Flemish north of the common country. Flanders continued to prosper through trade and commerce, and was a favored location for the new industries owing to its ready access to the sea. Similarly to the case of the North Itally (Lombardia region), the reach regions of Flanders are propagating to stop to „feed“ any more poor Wallon south which is arrogant towards the Flemish language and culture. For instance, the Walloons consider the Flemish language as „underdeveloped“ to be used as the official university language in Belgium. Basically, one of the main Flemish political complains is of economic nature: financial capital of „developed“ north is directed to „underdeveloped“ south by the ruling Walloon politicians in Brussels for the matter of economic help to Wallonia. For the Flemish population of Flanders that is economic exploitation by the Walloons as the Flemish north is much more participating in the central budget than lesser developed Wallonia (the same complains of economic nature started Yugoslav crisis when at the end of the 1980s Slovenia and Croatia advocated policy of non-supporting any more underdeveloped Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro). The most fervent critics of current financial policy on relations Flanders-Wallonia are the big Flemish capital owners and managers who in 2005 openly advocated division of the country as Flanders is overburdened by taxation in the favor of Wallonia. Such Belgian financial politics, originally introduced to form and maintain state unity and Belgian nation, was later implemented within the framework of the European Community/Union. In addition to this pure economic problem, the Walloon politicians are accused by their Flemish colleagues for deliberate settlement of Francophone immigrants to Brussels in order to “Francophonize” this once upon a time biggest Flemish city.

Political instability

The growing economic, social, and emotional gulf between the two ethnolinguistic parts in Belgium led to political instability, firstly heightened in the 1970s and secondly today. In addition to the emergence of a number of regional parties, the Flemish and the Walloon sections of the main parties (the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, and the Liberals) split to form separate regional parties.

In en effort to address its growing divisions, the country was built into a federal state in three stages (in 1980, 1988, and 1993). By 1993, there were parliaments for the Walloon region, the Flemish region, and the bilingual city of Brussels (three parliaments – one state!). The federal regions were given authority over around 40% of the public expenditure for matters in their purview (education, culture, health, economic and the labor policy). In these areas, Flanders and Wallonia are also empowered to conclude international treaties (similarly with „Muslim-Croat Federation“ and „Serbian Republic“ in Bosnia-Herzegovina). Further powers to the regions in matters of agriculture, transport, and foreign aid were granted in 2001. The contrast between the Flemish part and Wallonia was exacerbated by the growth, in the Flemish part, of separatist and xenophobic parties from the mid-1990s, most notably the Vlaams Blok (the Flemish bloc). Advocating the Flemish independence (like northern parts of ex-Yugoslavia – Slovenia and Croatia) and racist immigration policies, it polled over 20% of the vote in Belgium’s second city – Antwerp in 2000. In federal politics, a major political shift occurred in 1999, when the Christian Democrats lost the leading role in the politics which they had occupied throughout the century, owing to a series of corruption scandals. From that time, the Liberals became the biggest party bloc in the parliament.

The Belgian Pandora Box

During the last political crisis in Belgium it became obvious that the Walloons are making all kinds of obstacles for the creation of a new functional government in Brussels what gives an argument to the Flanders to claim that basically the southern Walloons are the main „separatists“. The crisis was a quite serious with unpredictable consequences for territorial integrity of Belgium in the future, but also and what concerns the everyday political activities. For instance, it was at that time in question could Belgium sign a new European agreement in Lisbon without the government. The Flemish political parties, frustrated because of the Wallooon obstructions, are threatening the south to unilaterally proclaim the city of Brussels as their own with the Flemish/Dutch language as the only official one. As a response, the Francophone parties proclaimed they will stop any further negotiations if the Flemish north will realize its threat concerning Brussels. It can be said that the roots of the

Belgian governmental-political crisis are so historically deep that the territorial decomposition of the state is becoming more and more realistic. When the Belgian Pandora Box will be open is probably only the question of time. However, the Belgian Pandora Box can have quite negative consequences for further European unification as in the case of its decomposition the Belgian experiment of multiethnolinguistic integration is going to be definitely put to the archives. In this case, Belgium as a „laboratory of European integration“ (definition given by one Belgian Prime Minister) would have a great influence to numerous European separatist movements and to the remapping of the European political reality. For instance, according to one public research, 54% of interviewed French citizens expressed wish to incorporate Wallonia into France in the case of the Belgian dismemberment as a state. The boomerang of „self-determination rights“ sent to the ethnolinguistic nations of ex-Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union from Brussels at the beginning of the 1990s is via Kosovo today returning back to Brussels with 87% of Flemish/Dutch speakers from Belgium supporting separation and with 77% of their linguistic-historic cross-border compatriots from the Netherlands wishing to include Flanders into the „motherland“ as historic region of the Netherlands (till 1830). At such a way, the supraethnolinguistic „Belgian“ nation could experience the same destiny of its „Yugoslav“ counterpart, however, with a lesser chances to finish its existence by the civil war and ethnic cleansing as it was in the case of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1999. Finally, indication that the Belgian „laboratory of European integration“ is collapsing have been and dramatic appeals in 2007 to the Belgians by their King Albert II to preserve national unity as „anachronic and catastrophic separatism“ could „erode international role of Brussels“ (and deprived him from the throne in the case of constitution of two republics instead of one Kingdom).

Notes:

Antony Mason, Xenophobe’s Guide to the Belgians, Kind Edition, 2009

Benno Barnard, Martine van Berlo, Geert van Istendael, Tony Judt, Marc Reynebeau, How Can One Not Be Interested in Belgian History: War, Language and Consensus in Belgium Since 1830, Academia Scienic, 2005

David Nicholas, Medieval Flanders, Routledge, 2014

Dean Amory (compiled), The Flemish: Origins, History, Culture, Influence and Migrations of the Flemings, Edgard Adriaens, 2014

Els Witte, Jan Craevbeckx, Alain Meynen, Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards, Academic & Scientific Publishers, 2010

Émile Cammaerts, A History of Belgium from the Roman Invasion to the Present Day, A Public Domain Book, 2011

Guy Vanthemshe, Belgium and the Congo 1885−1980, Cambridge University Press, 2012

Joseph Ernest Morris, Beautiful Europe: Belgium, Kind Edition, 2014

Karen Shelby, Flemish Nationalism and The Great War: The Politics of Memory, Visual Culture and Commemoration, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

Léon van der Essen, A Short History of Belgium, Nabu Press, 2010

Manfred Kohler, Language Politics in Belgium and the Flemish-Walloon Conflict: Reason for a State to Fail or Driving Force Behind Federalism and Conciliation, VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2010

Mark Elliot, CultureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette: Belgium, Marshal Cavendish Corporation, 2011

Marleen Brans, Lieven De Winter, Wilfried Swenden, The Politics of Belgium: Institutions and Policy Under Bipolar and Centrifugal Federalism, Routledge, 2009

Michel Seymour, Alian G. Gagnon, Multinational Federalism: Problems and Prospects, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Samuel Humes, Belgium: Long United, Long Divided, Hurst, 2014

Stef Feyen, Beyond Federal Dogmatics: The Influence of European Union Law on Belgian Constitutional Case Law Regarding Federalism, Leuven University Press, 2013

Stephen B. Wickman, Belgium: A Country Study, Washington, 1985

Theo Hermans, Louis Vos, Lode Wils, The Flemish Movement: A Documentary History, 1780−1990, Athlone Pr, 1992

William Elliot Griffis, Belgium: The Land of Arts, Its History, Legends, Industry, and Modern Expansion, Forgotten Books, 2012


Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2014

22-11-2014

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/belgiums-multicultural-society-federalism-laboratory-of-european-integration/5415466

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Does Not Prosecute War Criminals

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute culpable individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.

Its mandate calls for “end(ing) impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern.”

US and Israeli officials are guilty of the highest of high crimes. Yet none of their officials ever were held accountable – not by their own courts or the ICC.

The international body operates on the principle of complementarity. It can only prosecute when governments won’t or can’t – even against officials of non ICC-member countries like America and Israel.

On December 31, 2000, Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute of the ICC. Over 130 other countries are members. Clinton lied saying “(t)he US has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability…and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

America commits these crimes and others against one country after another, as well as persecuting its own most disadvantaged people in violation of international and constitutional laws.

It partners with the high crimes of key allies like Israel. When Bush succeeded Clinton, his Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton stripped off the mask of US accountability by unsigning the Rome Statute – an unprecedented political act.

More followed, including enactment of the American Service-Members Protection Act (the so-called Hague Invasion Act).

It prohibits providing funds to the ICC and authorized the president to use “all necessary measures (including force) to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.”

At the same time, over 100 other nations were pressured to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements assuring they’d never surrender a US official or soldier to the ICC.

The court functions as an imperial tool. It targets officials of Western designated states like Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir, former Libya leader Muammar and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Or special Western tribunals are established to accomplish the same thing – against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, and Liberia’s Charles Taylor among others.

The principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore – including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Under UJ, nations nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t or hasn’t for any reason.

Israel used it to prosecute, convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. A US court sentenced Charles Taylor’s son, Chuckie, to 97 years in prison.

Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, hold him under house arrest for 18 months, and set a precedent, making other heads of state and top officials potentially vulnerable.

Pinochet’s bogus ill health claim sent him home – damaged, disgraced but unaccountable. No one deserve impunity for high crimes demanding accountability. Article 7 of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal states:

“The official position of defendants, whether as Head of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.”

Following through is another matter entirely – never against Western or Israeli officials so don’t expect justice now.

On April 1, Palestine joined the ICC. Months earlier, a court prosecutor began a preliminary investigation of violations “in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014″ – focusing on Israel’s 2014 summer Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge).

It’s strictly procedural with no commitment for further action. Palestine intends filing crimes of war and against humanity charges against Israel at the ICC on or about June 25 – over last summer’s Gaza war and illegal settlements.

ICC investigators are working to determine if Israeli crimes were committed warranting prosecution. A court statement said:

“As part of its preliminary examination activities, the Office of the Prosecutor conducts field visits as it has done in the past with other situations under preliminary examinations.”

“From the outset, the prosecutor has consistently made clear that the situation in Palestine will not be treated any differently from the others.”

“Therefore, the office as per normal practice, is considering a visit to the region during the course of its preliminary examination. Contrary to media reports, no date has been confirmed and further planning is required.”

UN Security Council members can delay ICC action up to two years. Russia and China indicated they’ll veto efforts to do so.

The Monday released UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report and earlier independent investigations clearly proved grave Israeli high crimes against peace during last summer’s Gaza war.

It bears repeating. The ICC is a notorious imperial tool. Expect Palestinians denied justice like always. Expect no Israeli officials convicted of high crimes they committed demanding accountability.


About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Original source of the article: http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/

The Illegitimacy Of Israel’s Colonisation Of Land In Arab East Jerusalem, The Palestinian West Bank And The Syrian Golan Heights

‘If you buy fruit from Israel you deprive another human being of water and life’

Israel’s comparative economic success is essentially based on water stolen, since 1967, from Syria’s eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee – that provides Israel’s current primary source of fresh water. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment area feeds into the River Jordan to provide about 30% of Israel’s current water supply.

Without this stolen water there would be no citrus fruit, melons, avocados or dates available for export under the label of ‘Produce of Israel’. And that is why the Netanyahu government is determined – with help from the U.S. Republican congress – to retain its illegally occupied land for as long as is possible.

Without the 400,000 illegal settlers in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, Israel’s export economy would collapse unless it were able to cultivate the Negev desert that it currently utilises to develop and test its extensive, undeclared nuclear weapons program at Dimona, south of Beer Sheva.

The entire economic infrastructure of Israel is an illegitimate and unsustainable facade based on the illegal expropriation of land from the indigenous peoples of the region which is why it is increasingly condemned by the international community as a global threat to peace and a primary cause of instability in the Middle East.

Until such time as the Israeli state is compelled by the international community to return all land, and water, to its rightful owners, there will be a continuing threat of a regional nuclear war that would likely spread to Europe and around the world. Then there would be no oranges or dates and no one to eat them – even if there were some survivors still alive under the mushroom-shaped radiation cloud initiated by a Likud government operative …

The first step is for Jerusalem to now be declared an international city in accordance with UN GA resolution 181 with free access to all faiths – as confirmed, last week, by the U.S. Supreme Court. And then the return of all occupied land to its hereditary owners and the repatriation of all illegal settlers back to their homes in an Israeli state within its pre-1967 borders.

A nation state that exists only by the hijacking of essential water resources from its indigenous neighbours who now number over five million souls, is a national entity without integrity, honour or a sustainable future.


By Anthony Bellchambers

2015-06-14

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-illegitimacy-of-israels-colonisation-of-land-in-arab-east-jerusalem-the-palestinian-west-bank-and-the-syrian-golan-heights/5455524

The US Independence Day

The 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States of America and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for America, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately American racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception and has invaded a total of about 50 countries since 1945.

Andrew Gavin Marshall: “The Imperial Anatomy Of Al-Qaeda”

The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”

Part I

Introduction

As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.

The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan.

The myth sweeps aside the facts and complex nature of terror, al-Qaeda, the American empire and literally defies the laws of physics. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The greatest enemy of the truth is not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, pervasive, and unrealistic.”

This three-part series on “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda” examines the geopolitical historical origins and nature of what we today know as al-Qaeda, which is in fact an Anglo-American intelligence network of terrorist assets used to advance American and NATO imperial objectives in various regions around the world.

Part 1 examines the origins of the intelligence network known as the Safari Club, which financed and organized an international conglomerate of terrorists, the CIA’s role in the global drug trade, the emergence of the Taliban and the origins of al-Qaeda.

The Safari Club

Following Nixon’s resignation as President, Gerald Ford became the new US President in 1974. Henry Kissinger remained as Secretary of State and Ford brought into his administration two names that would come to play important roles in the future of the American Empire: Donald Rumsfeld as Ford’s Chief of Staff, and Dick Cheney, as Deputy Assistant to the President. The Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s brother. When Donald Rumsfeld was promoted to Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney was promoted to Chief of Staff. Ford had also appointed a man named George H.W. Bush as CIA Director.

In 1976, a coalition of intelligence agencies was formed, which was called the Safari Club. This marked the discreet and highly covert coordination among various intelligence agencies, which would last for decades. It formed at a time when the CIA was embroiled in domestic scrutiny over the Watergate scandal and a Congressional investigation into covert CIA activities, forcing the CIA to become more covert in its activities.

In 2002, the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal gave a speech in which he stated that in response to the CIA’s need for more discretion, “a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran [under the Shah].”[1] However, “The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George H.W. Bush as the head of the CIA,” Saudi intelligence chief, Kamal Adham, “transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.”[2]

As CIA director, George H.W. Bush “cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adham, the head of Saudi intelligence, brother-in-law of King Faisal and an early BCCI insider.” Adham had previously acted as a “channel between [Henry] Kissinger and [Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat” in 1972. In 1976, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia formed the Safari Club “to conduct through their own intelligence agencies operations that were now difficult for the CIA,” which was largely organized by the head of French intelligence, Alexandre de Marenches.[3]

The “Arc of Crisis” and the Iranian Revolution

When Jimmy Carter became President in 1977, he appointed over two-dozen members of the Trilateral Commission to his administration, which was an international think tank formed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller in 1973. Brzezinski had invited Carter to join the Trilateral Commission, and when Carter became President, Brzezinski became National Security Adviser; Cyrus Vance, also a member of the Commission, became Secretary of State; and Samuel Huntington, another Commission member, became Coordinator of National Security and Deputy to Brzezinski. Author and researcher Peter Dale Scott deserves much credit for his comprehensive analysis of the events leading up to and during the Iranian Revolution in his book, “The Road to 9/11”,* which provides much of the information below.

Samuel Huntington and Zbigniew Brzezinski were to determine the US policy position in the Cold War, and the US-Soviet policy they created was termed, “Cooperation and Competition,” in which Brzezinski would press for “Cooperation” when talking to the press, yet, privately push for “competition.” So, while Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was pursuing détente with the Soviet Union, Brzezinski was pushing for American supremacy over the Soviet Union. Brzezinski and Vance would come to disagree on almost every issue.[4]

In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.” The Arc of Crisis stretched from Indochina to southern Africa, although, more specifically, the particular area of focus was “the nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer and for more than two decades a citadel of U.S. military and economic strength in the Middle East. Now it appears that the 37-year reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi is almost over, ended by months of rising civil unrest and revolution.”[5]

With rising discontent in the region, “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.”[6] A month prior to Brzezinski’s speech, in November of 1978, “President Carter named the Bilderberg group’s George Ball, another member of the Trilateral Commission, to head a special White House Iran task force under the National Security Council’s Brzezinski.” Further, “Ball recommended that Washington drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the fundamentalist Islamic opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini.”[7] George Ball’s visit to Iran was a secret mission.[8]

Throughout 1978, the Shah was under the impression that “the Carter administration was plotting to topple his regime.” In 1978, the Queen and Shah’s wife, told Manouchehr Ganji, a minister in the Shah’s government, that, “I wanted to tell you that the Americans are maneuvering to bring down the Shah,” and she continued saying that she believed “they even want to topple the regime.”[9] The US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, thought that the revolution would succeed, and told this to Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General under the Johnson administration, as well as professor Richard Falk, when they were visiting Sullivan in Iran in 1978. Clark and Falk then went from Iran to Paris, to visit Khomeini, who was there in exile. James Bill, a Carter adviser, felt that, “a religious movement brought about with the United States’ assistance would be a natural friend of the United States.”[10]

Also interesting is the fact that the British BBC broadcast pro-Khomeini Persian-language programs daily in Iran, as a subtle form of propaganda, which “gave credibility to the perception of United States and British support of Khomeini.”[11] The BBC refused to give the Shah a platform to respond, and “[r]epeated personal appeals from the Shah to the BBC yielded no result.”[12]

In the May 1979 meeting of the Bilderberg Group, Bernard Lewis, a British historian of great influence (hence, the Bilderberg membership), presented a British-American strategy which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.”[13] Further, it would prevent Soviet influence from entering the Middle East, as the Soviet Union was viewed as an empire of atheism and godlessness: essentially a secular and immoral empire, which would seek to impose secularism across Muslim countries. So supporting radical Islamic groups would mean that the Soviet Union would be less likely to have any influence or relations with Middle Eastern countries, making the US a more acceptable candidate for developing relations.

A 1979 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, described the Arc of Crisis, saying that, “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It went on to explain that post-war US policy in the region was focused on “containment” of the Soviet Union, as well as access to the regions oil.[14] The article continued, explaining that the most “obvious division” within the Middle East is, “that which separates the Northern Tier (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan) from the Arab core,” and that, “After World War II, Turkey and Iran were the two countries most immediately threatened by Soviet territorial expansionism and political subversion.”[15] Ultimately, “the Northern Tier was assured of a serious and sustained American commitment to save it from sharing the fate of Eastern Europe.”[16]

While Khomeini was in Paris prior to the Revolution, a representative of the French President organized a meeting between Khomeini and “current world powers,” in which Khomeini made certain demands, such as, “the shah’s removal from Iran and help in avoiding a coup d’état by the Iranian Army.” The Western powers, however, “were worried about the Soviet Union’s empowerment and penetration and a disruption in Iran’s oil supply to the west. Khomeini gave the necessary guarantees. These meetings and contacts were taking place in January of 1979, just a few days before the Islamic Revolution in February 1979.”[17] In February of 1979, Khomeini was flown out of Paris on an Air France flight, to return to Iran, “with the blessing of Jimmy Carter.”[18] Ayatollah Khomeini named Mehdi Bazargan as prime minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government on February 4, 1979. As Khomeini had demanded during his Paris meeting in January 1979, that western powers must help in avoiding a coup by the Iranian Army; in that same month, the Carter administration, under the direction of Brzezinski, had begun planning a military coup.[19]

Could this have been planned in the event that Khomeini was overthrown, the US would quickly reinstate order, perhaps even place Khomeini back in power? Interestingly, in January of 1979, “as the Shah was about to leave the country, the American Deputy Commander in NATO, General Huyser, arrived and over a period of a month conferred constantly with Iranian military leaders. His influence may have been substantial on the military’s decision not to attempt a coup and eventually to yield to the Khomeini forces, especially if press reports are accurate that he or others threatened to withhold military supplies if a coup were attempted.”[20] No coup was subsequently undertaken, and Khomeini came to power as the Ayatollah of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As tensions increased among the population within Iran, the US sent “security advisers” to Iran to pressure the Shah’s SAVAK (secret police) to implement “a policy of ever more brutal repression, in a manner calculated to maximize popular antipathy to the Shah.” The Carter administration also began publicly criticizing the Shah’s human rights abuses.[21] On September 6, 1978, the Shah banned demonstrations, and the following day, between 700 and 2000 demonstrators were gunned down, following “advice from Brzezinski to be firm.”[22]

The US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, a Trilateral Commission member, said that, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint,” and the US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure,” while Carter’s adviser, James Bill, said that Khomeini was a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty.”[23]

The Shah was also very sick in late 1978 and early 1979. So the Shah fled Iran in January of 1979 to the Bahamas, allowing for the revolution to take place. It is especially interesting to understand the relationship between David Rockefeller and the Shah of Iran. David Rockefeller’s personal assistant, Joseph V. Reed, had been “assigned to handle the shah’s finances and his personal needs;” Robert Armao, who worked for Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was sent to “act as the shah’s public relations agent and lobbyist;” and Benjamin H. Kean, “a longtime associate of Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller,” and David Rockefeller’s “personal physician,” who was sent to Mexico when the shah was there, and advised that he “be treated at an American hospital.”[24]

It is important to note that Rockefeller interests “had directed U.S. policy in Iran since the CIA coup of 1953.”[25] Following the Shah’s flight from Iran, there were increased pressures within the United States by a handful of powerful people to have the Shah admitted to the United States. These individuals were Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, John J. McCloy, former statesman and senior member of the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, who was also a lawyer for Chase Manhattan, and of course, David Rockefeller.[26]

Chase Manhattan Bank had more interests in Iran than any other US bank. In fact, the Shah had “ordered that all his government’s major operating accounts be held at Chase and that letters of credit for the purchase of oil be handled exclusively through Chase. The bank also became the agent and lead manager for many of the loans to Iran. In short, Iran became the crown jewel of Chase’s international banking portfolio.”[27]

The Iranian interim government, headed by Prime Minister Bazargan, collapsed in November of 1979, when Iranian hostages seized the US Embassy in Teheran. However, there is much more to this event than meets the eye. During the time of the interim government (February, 1979 to November, 1979), several actions were undertaken which threatened some very powerful interests who had helped the Ayatollah into power.

Chase Manhattan Bank faced a liquidity crisis as there had been billions in questionable loans to Iran funneled through Chase.[28] Several of Chase’s loans were “possibly illegal under the Iranian constitution.”[29] Further, in February of 1979, once the interim government was put in power, it began to take “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors.” Also, the interim government “wanted Chase Manhattan to return Iranian assets, which Rockefeller put at more than $1 billion in 1978, although some estimates ran much higher,” which could have “created a liquidity crisis for the bank which already was coping with financial troubles.”[30]

With the seizure of the American Embassy in Iran, President Carter took moves to freeze Iranian financial assets. As David Rockefeller wrote in his book, “Carter’s ‘freeze’ of official Iranian assets protected our [Chase Manhattan’s] position, but no one at Chase played a role in convincing the administration to institute it.”[31]

In February of 1979, Iran had been taking “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors. In 1979, as in 1953, a freeze of Iranian assets made this action more difficult.”[32] This was significant for Chase Manhattan not simply because of the close interlocking of the board with those of oil companies, not to mention Rockefeller himself, who is patriarch of the family whose name is synonymous with oil, but also because Chase exclusively handled all the letters of credit for the purchase of Iranian oil.[33]

The Shah being accepted into the United States, under public pressure from Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller, precipitated the hostage crisis, which occurred on November 4. Ten days later, Carter froze all Iranian assets in US banks, on the advice of his Treasury Secretary, William Miller. Miller just happened to have ties to Chase Manhattan Bank.[34]

Although Chase Manhattan directly benefited from the seizure of Iranian assets, the reasoning behind the seizure as well as the events leading up to it, such as a hidden role for the Anglo-Americans behind the Iranian Revolution, bringing the Shah to America, which precipitated the hostage crisis, cannot simply be relegated to personal benefit for Chase. There were larger designs behind this crisis. So the 1979 crises in Iran cannot simply be pawned off as a spur of the moment undertaking, but rather should be seen as quick actions taken upon a perceived opportunity. The opportunity was the rising discontent within Iran at the Shah; the quick actions were in covertly pushing the country into Revolution.

In 1979, “effectively restricting the access of Iran to the global oil market, the Iranian assets freeze became a major factor in the huge oil price increases of 1979 and 1981.”[35] Added to this, in 1979, British Petroleum cancelled major oil contracts for oil supply, which along with cancellations taken by Royal Dutch Shell, drove the price of oil up higher.[36] With the first major oil price rises in 1973 (urged on by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger), the Third World was forced to borrow heavily from US and European banks to finance development. With the second oil price shocks of 1979, the US Federal Reserve, with Paul Volcker as its new Chairman, (himself having served a career under David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan), dramatically raised interest rates from 2% in the late 70s to 18% in the early 80s. Developing nations could not afford to pay such interest on their loans, and thus the 1980s debt crisis spread throughout the Third World, with the IMF and World Bank coming to the “rescue” with their Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), which ensured western control over the developing world’s economies.[37]

Covertly, the United States helped a radical Islamist government come to power in Iran, “the center of the Arc of Crisis,” and then immediately stirred up conflict and war in the region. Five months before Iraq invaded Iran, in April of 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski openly declared the willingness of the US to work closely with Iraq. Two months before the war, Brzezinski met with Saddam Hussein in Jordan, where he gave support for the destabilization of Iran.[38] While Saddam was in Jordan, he also met with three senior CIA agents, which was arranged by King Hussein of Jordan. He then went to meet with King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, informing him of his plans to invade Iran, and then met with the King of Kuwait to inform him of the same thing. He gained support from America, and financial and arms support from the Arab oil producing countries. Arms to Iraq were funneled through Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.[39] The war lasted until 1988 and resulted in over a million deaths.

This was the emergence of the “strategy of tension” in the “Arc of Crisis,” in particular, the covert support (whether in arming, training, or financing) of radical Islamic elements to foment violence and conflict in a region. It was the old imperial tactic of ‘divide and conquer’: pit the people against each other so that they cannot join forces against the imperial power. This violence and radical Islamism would further provide the pretext for which the US and its imperial allies could then engage in war and occupation within the region, all the while securing its vast economic and strategic interests.

The “Arc of Crisis” in Afghanistan: The Safari Club in Action

In 1978, the progressive Taraki government in Afghanistan managed to incur the anger of the United States due to “its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies.”[40] The Afghan government was widely portrayed in the West as “Communist” and thus, a threat to US national security. The government, did, however, undertake friendly policies and engagement with the Soviet Union, but was not a Communist government.

In 1978, as the new government came to power, almost immediately the US began covertly funding rebel groups through the CIA.[41] In 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski worked closely with his aid from the CIA, Robert Gates (who is currently Secretary of Defense), in shifting President Carter’s Islamic policy. As Brzezinski said in a 1998 interview with a French publication:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.[42]

Brzezinski elaborated, saying he “Knowingly increased the probability that [the Soviets] would invade,” and he recalled writing to Carter on the day of the Soviet invasion that, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.” When asked about the repercussions for such support in fostering the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski responded, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”[43]

As author Peter Dale Scott pointed out in, The Road to 9/11:*

For generations in both Afghanistan and the Soviet Muslim Republics the dominant form of Islam had been local and largely Sufi. The decision to work with the Saudi and Pakistani secret services meant that billions of CIA and Saudi dollars would ultimately be spent in programs that would help enhance the globalistic and Wahhabistic jihadism that are associated today with al Qaeda.[44]

Hafizullah Amin, a top official in Taraki’s government, who many believed to be a CIA asset, orchestrated a coup in September of 1979, and “executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.”[45] The Soviets also intervened in order to replace Amin, who was seen as “unpredictable and extremist” with “the more moderate Barbak Karmal.”[46]

The Soviet invasion thus prompted the US national security establishment to undertake the largest covert operation in history. When Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter in 1981, the covert assistance to the Afghan Mujahideen not only continued on the path set by Brzezinski but it rapidly accelerated, as did the overall strategy in the “Arc of Crisis.” When Reagan became President, his Vice President became George H.W. Bush, who, as CIA director during the Ford administration, had helped establish the Safari Club intelligence network and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in Pakistan. In the “campaign to aid the Afghan rebels … BCCI clearly emerged as a U.S. intelligence asset,” and CIA Director “Casey began to use the outside – the Saudis, the Pakistanis, BCCI – to run what they couldn’t get through Congress. [BCCI president] Abedi had the money to help,” and the CIA director had “met repeatedly” with the president of BCCI.[47]

Thus, in 1981, Director Casey of the CIA worked with Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal who ran the Saudi intelligence agency GID, and the Pakistani ISI “to create a foreign legion of jihadi Muslims or so-called Arab Afghans.” This idea had “originated in the elite Safari Club that had been created by French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches.”[48]

In 1986, the CIA backed a plan by the Pakistani ISI “to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad.” Subsequently:

More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1986 and 1992, in camps overseen by CIA and MI6, with the SAS [British Special Forces] training future al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts. Their leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called Operation Cyclone and continued long after the Soviets had withdrawn in 1989.[49]

CIA funding for the operations “was funneled through General Zia and the ISI in Pakistan.”[50] Interestingly, Robert Gates, who previously served as assistant to Brzezinski in the National Security Council, stayed on in the Reagan-Bush administration as executive assistant to CIA director Casey, and who is currently Secretary of Defense.

The Global Drug Trade and the CIA

As a central facet of the covert financing and training of the Afghan Mujahideen, the role of the drug trade became invaluable. The global drug trade has long been used by empires for fuelling and financing conflict with the aim of facilitating imperial domination.

In 1773, the British colonial governor in Bengal “established a colonial monopoly on the sale of opium.” As Alfred W. McCoy explained in his masterful book, The Politics of Heroin:

As the East India Company expanded production, opium became India’s main export. [. . . ] Over the next 130 years, Britain actively promoted the export of Indian opium to China, defying Chinese drug laws and fighting two wars to open China’s opium market for its merchants. Using its military and mercantile power, Britain played a central role in making China a vast drug market and in accelerating opium cultivation throughout China. By 1900 China had 13.5 million addicts consuming 39,000 tons of opium.[51]

In Indochina in the 1940s and 50s, the French intelligence services “enabled the opium trade to survive government suppression efforts,” and subsequently, “CIA activities in Burma helped transform the Shan states from a relatively minor poppy-cultivating area into the largest opium-growing region in the world.”[52] The CIA did this by supporting the Kuomintang (KMT) army in Burma for an invasion of China, and facilitated its monopolization and expansion of the opium trade, allowing the KMT to remain in Burma until a coup in 1961, when they were driven into Laos and Thailand.[53] The CIA subsequently played a very large role in the facilitation of the drugs trade in Laos and Vietnam throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s.[54]

It was during the 1980s that “the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan transformed Central Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin for the world market,” as:

Until the late 1970s, tribal farmers in the highlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan grew limited quantities of opium and sold it to merchant caravans bound west for Iran and east to India. In its decade of covert warfare against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA’s operations provided the political protection and logistics linkages that joined Afghanistan’s poppy fields to heroin markets in Europe and America.[55]

In 1977, General Zia Ul Haq in Pakistan launched a military coup, “imposed a harsh martial-law regime,” and executed former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (father to Benazir Bhutto). When Zia came to power, the Pakistani ISI was a “minor military intelligence unit,” but, under the “advice and assistance of the CIA,” General Zia transformed the ISI “into a powerful covert unit and made it the strong arm of his martial-law regime.”[56]

The CIA and Saudi money flowed not only to weapons and training for the Mujahideen, but also into the drug trade. Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq appointed General Fazle Haq as the military governor of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), who would “consult with Brzezinski on developing an Afghan resistance program,” and who became a CIA asset. When CIA Director Casey or Vice President George H.W. Bush reviewed the CIA Afghan operation, they went to see Haq; who by 1982, was considered by Interpol to be an international narcotics trafficker. Haq moved much of the narcotics money through the BCCI.[57]

In May of 1979, prior to the December invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, a CIA envoy met with Afghan resistance leaders in a meeting organized by the ISI. The ISI “offered the CIA envoy an alliance with its own Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,” who led a small guerilla group. The CIA accepted, and over the following decade, half of the CIA’s aid went to Hekmatyar’s guerillas.[58] Hekmatyar became Afghanistan’s leading mujahideen drug lord, and developed a “complex of six heroin labs in an ISI-controlled area of Baluchistan (Pakistan).”[59]

The US subsequently, through the 1980s, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, gave Hekmatyar more than $1 billion in armaments. Immediately, heroin began flowing from Afghanistan to America. By 1980, drug-related deaths in New York City rose 77% since 1979.[60] By 1981, the drug lords in Pakistan and Afghanistan supplied 60% of America’s heroin. Trucks going into Afghanistan with CIA arms from Pakistan would return with heroin “protected by ISI papers from police search.”[61]

Haq, the CIA asset in Pakistan, “was also running the drug trade,” of which the bank BCCI “was completely involved.” In the 1980s, the CIA insisted that the ISI create “a special cell for the use of heroin for covert actions.” Elaborating:

This cell promoted the cultivation of opium and the extraction of heroin in Pakistani territory as well as in the Afghan territory under Mujahideen control for being smuggled into Soviet controlled areas in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts.[62]

This plan apparently originated at the suggestion of French intelligence chief and founder of the Safari Club, Alexandre de Marenches, who recommended it to CIA Director Casey.[63]

In the 1980s, one program undertaken by the United States was to finance Mujahideen propaganda in textbooks for Afghan schools. The US gave the Mujahideen $43 million in “non-lethal” aid for the textbook project alone, which was given by USAID: “The U.S. Agency for International Development, [USAID] coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program,” and “The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks.”[64]

The textbooks were “filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings,” and “were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines.” Even since the covert war of the 1980s, the textbooks “have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books.” The books were developed through a USAID grant to the “University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies,” and when the books were smuggled into Afghanistan through regional military leaders, “Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines.” USAID stopped this funding in 1994.[65]

The Rise of the Taliban

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the fighting continued between the Afghan government backed by the USSR and the Mujahideen backed by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so too did its aid to the Afghan government, which itself was overthrown in 1992. However, fighting almost immediately broke out between rival factions vying for power, including Hekmatyar.

In the early 1990s, an obscure group of “Pashtun country folk” had become a powerful military and political force in Afghanistan, known as the Taliban.[66] The Taliban “surfaced as a small militia force operating near Kandahar city during the spring and summer of 1994, carrying out vigilante attacks against minor warlords.” As growing discontent with the warlords grew, so too did the reputation of the Taliban.[67]

The Taliban acquired an alliance with the ISI in 1994, and throughout 1995, the relationship between the Taliban and the ISI accelerated and “became more and more of a direct military alliance.” The Taliban ultimately became “an asset of the ISI” and “a client of the Pakistan army.”[68] Further, “Between 1994 and 1996, the USA supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia, and pro-Western.”[69]

Selig Harrison, a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and “a leading US expert on South Asia,” said at a conference in India that the CIA worked with Pakistan to create the Taliban. Harrison has “extensive contact” with the CIA, as “he had meetings with CIA leaders at the time when Islamic forces were being strengthened in Afghanistan,” while he was a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. As he further revealed in 2001, “The CIA still has close links with the ISI.”[70] By 1996, the Taliban had control of Kandahar, but still fighting and instability continued in the country.

Osama and Al-Qaeda

Between 1980 and 1989, roughly $600 million was passed through Osama bin Laden’s charity front organizations, specifically the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), also known as Al-Kifah. The money mostly originated with wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Persian Gulf, and was funneled through his charity fronts to arm and fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan.[71]

In the 1980s, the British Special Forces (SAS) were training mujahideen in Afghanistan, as well as in secret camps in Scotland, and the SAS is largely taking orders from the CIA. The CIA also indirectly begins to arm Osama bin Laden.[72] Osama bin Laden’s front charity, the MAK, “was nurtured” by the Pakistani ISI.[73]

Osama bin Laden was reported to have been personally recruited by the CIA in 1979 in Istanbul. He had the close support of Prince Turki bin Faisal, his friend and head of Saudi intelligence, and also developed ties with Hekmatyar in Afghanistan,[74] both of whom were pivotal figures in the CIA-Safari Club network. General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, the head of the Pakistani ISI from 1980 to 1987, would meet regularly with Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and they formed a partnership in demanding a tax on the opium trade from warlords so that by 1985, bin Laden and the ISI were splitting the profits of over $100 million per year.[75] In 1985, Osama bin Laden’s brother, Salem, stated that Osama was “the liaison between the US, the Saudi government, and the Afghan rebels.”[76]

In 1988, Bin Laden discussed “the establishment of a new military group,” which would come to be known as Al-Qaeda.[77] Osama bin Laden’s charity front, the MAK, (eventually to form Al-Qaeda) founded the al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, New York, to recruit Muslims for the jihad against the Soviets. The al-Kifah Center was founded in the late 1980s with the support of the U.S. government, which provided visas for known terrorists associated with the organization, including Ali Mohamed, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman and possibly the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta.[78]

This coincided with the creation of Al-Qaeda, of which the al-Kifah Center was a recruiting front. Foot soldiers for Al-Qaeda were “admitted to the United States for training under a special visa program.” The FBI had been surveilling the training of terrorists, however, “it terminated this surveillance in the fall of 1989.” In 1990, the CIA granted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman a visa to come run the al-Kifah Center, who was considered an “untouchable” as he was “being protected by no fewer than three agencies,” including the State Department, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.[79]

Robin Cook, a former British MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote that Al-Qaeda, “literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.”[80] Thus, “Al-Qaeda” was born as an instrument of western intelligence agencies. This account of al-Qaeda was further corroborated by a former French military intelligence agent, who stated that, “In the mid-1980s, Al Qaida was a database,” and that it remained as such into the 1990s. He contended that, “Al Qaida was neither a terrorist group nor Osama bin Laden’s personal property,” and further:

The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the ‘TV watcher’ to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money.[81]

The creation of Al-Qaeda was thus facilitated by the CIA and allied intelligence networks, the purpose of which was to maintain this “database” of Mujahideen to be used as intelligence assets to achieve US foreign policy objectives, throughout both the Cold War, and into the post-Cold War era of the ‘new world order’.

Part 2 of “The Imperial Anatomy of al-Qaeda” takes the reader through an examination of the new imperial strategy laid out by American geopolitical strategists at the end of the Cold War, designed for America to maintain control over the world’s resources and prevent the rise of competitive powers. Covertly, the “database” (al-Qaeda) became central to this process, being used to advance imperial aims in various regions, such as in the dismantling of Yugoslavia. Part 2 further examines the exact nature of ‘al-Qaeda’, its origins, terms, training, arming, financing, and expansion. In particular, the roles of western intelligence agencies in the evolution and expansion of al-Qaeda is a central focus. Finally, an analysis of the preparations for the war in Afghanistan is undertaken to shed light on the geopolitical ambitions behind the conflict that has now been waging for nearly nine years.

* [Note on the research: For a comprehensive analysis of the history, origins and nature of al-Qaeda, see: Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America, which provided much of the research in the above article.]

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is co-editor, with Michel Chossudovsky, of the recent book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century”

[1] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 62

[2] Ibid, page 63.

[3] Ibid, page 62.

[4] Ibid, page 66-67.

[5] HP-Time, The Crescent of Crisis. Time Magazine: January 15, 1979:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919995-1,00.html

[6] Peter Dale Scott, op. cit., page 67.

[7] F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 171

[8] Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 41

[9] Ibid, page 39.

[10] Ibid, page 41.

[11] Ibid.

[12] F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 172

[13] Ibid, page 171.

[14] George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 796

[15] Ibid, page 797.

[16] Ibid, page 798.

[17] IPS, Q&A: Iran’s Islamic Revolution Had Western Blessing. Inter-Press Service: July 26, 2008:

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43328

[18] Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813077590&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[19] Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 89.

[20] George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 810

[21] F. William Engdahl, op cit., page 172.

[22] Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 81.

[23] Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813077590&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[24] Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 83.

[25] Ibid, page 84.

[26] Ibid, page 81.

[27] Ibid, pages 85-86.

[28] Ibid, page 87.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid, pages 88-89.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid, pages 87-88.

[33] Ibid, page 85.

[34] Ibid, page 86.

[35] Ibid, page 88.

[36] F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 173

[37] Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14614

[38] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 89

[39] PBS, Secrets of His Life and Leadership: An Interview with Said K. Aburish. PBS Frontline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saddam/interviews/aburish.html

[40] Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11279

[41] Oleg Kalugin, How We Invaded Afghanistan. Foreign Policy: December 11, 2009:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/12/11/how_we_invaded_afghanistan

[42] ‘’Le Nouvel Observateur’ (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76:

http://www.ucc.ie/acad/appsoc/tmp_store/mia/Library/history/afghanistan/archive/brzezinski/1998/interview.htm

[43] Ibid.

[44] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[45] Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11279

[46] Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 78.

[47] Ibid, page 116.

[48] Ibid, page 122.

[49] Ibid, page 123.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. (Lawrence Hill Books: Chicago, 2003), page 80

[52] Ibid, page 162.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid, pages 283-386.

[55] Ibid, page 466.

[56] Ibid, page 474.

[57] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[58] Alfred W. McCoy, op cit., page 475.

[59] Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 74.

[60] Ibid, pages 75-76.

[61] Ibid, page 124

[62] Ibid, pages 75-76.

[63] Ibid, page 124.

[64] Carol Off, Back to school in Afghanistan. CBC: May 6, 2002:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/schools.html

[65] Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway, From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad. The Washington Post: March 23, 2002:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A5339-2002Mar22?language=printer

[66] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Books, New York, 2004: Page 328

[67] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001. (London: Penguin, 2005), page 285

[68] Steve Coll, “Steve Coll” Interview with PBS Frontline. PBS Frontline: October 3, 2006:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/coll.html

[69] Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), page 326

[70] ToI, “CIA worked in tandem with Pak to create Taliban”. The Times of India: March 7, 2001:

http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/taliban.htm

[71] Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), pages 279-280

[72] Simon Reeve, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and the Future of Terrorism. (London: André Deutsch Ltd, 1999), page 168

[73] Michael Moran, Bin Laden comes home to roost. MSNBC: August 24, 1998:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3340101/

[74] Veronique Maurus and Marc Rock, The Most Dreaded Man of the United States, Controlled a Long Time by the CIA. Le Monde Diplomatique: September 14, 2001:

http://www.wanttoknow.info/010914lemonde

[75] Gerald Posner, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11. (New York: Random House, 2003), page 29

[76] Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens. (New York: Penguin, 2008), pages 7-9

[77] AP, Al Qaeda Financing Documents Turn Up in Bosnia Raid. Fox News: February 19, 2003:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,78937,00.html

[78] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: pages 140-141

[79] Ibid, page 141.

[80] Robin Cook, The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means. The Guardian: July 8, 2005:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jul/08/july7.development

[81] Pierre-Henri Bunel, Al Qaeda — the Database. Global Research: Nov. 20, 2005:

(Global Research, September 5, 2010)


Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BUN20051120&articleId=1291

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The Harvesting Of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?

With the recent failed bid by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League at the UN security council, to try and end Israelis’ occupation of Palestinian land and to create a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, it seems an appropriate moment to review the situation for Palestinians since 1915.

What is the background to the demonization and brutalization of Palestinians? Most of all, why is the international community was assisting properly and why has it not assisted the Palestinians in protecting or restoring their inalienable rights over decades? Why is their situation so brutally upside-down almost a century after they were supposed to be independent and determining their own state affairs?

Some of my previous historical work and publications have explored aspects of the Weimar Republic, Hitler’s Germany and the Nazis’ prison and camp system from 1933 onwards, and also the Holocaust in some depth. Palestine and the Palestinians had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust; yet, the Israelis have been, and are treating them as if they had, and are using certain Nazi methods against them, including ghettoization in bantustans, random collective punishment and brutalization (such as “breaking the bones” strategy introduced by Yitzak Rabin in 1987), arbitrary detention without trial or charge, also against children. And of course, targeted assassinations and massacres. Why?

What are the key impulses, decision-making policies and legislation which have led to the destructive and poisonous harvesting of Palestine, and which has led to the appalling conditions for the indigenous population of today; to its brutally contained dots of existence? Of particular significance, is a reassessment of decisions and events leading to the “Balfour-Rothschild Letter” of 2 November 1917. This so-called agreement is not what the public at large have been led to believe.

Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, and whose portrait I was proudly shown in the Tel Aviv home of a well-known Israeli TV personality in February 2002, is the starting point for my recent publication ‘The Harvesting of Palestine’. In 2002, I had not concerned myself with Zionism or with the role of Theodor Herzl and his idea of the “restoration of the Jewish State” published in 1896. At the time of Herzl’s idea there were about 30,000 Jews in Palestine, and his idea, promoted early on by Chaim Weizmann (first President of the State of Israelis in 1948), completely ignored the 500,000 or so Palestinians whose forefathers had been living there for centuries. Herzl and Zionism continue to frame (directly or indirectly) current events in the Middle East and especially in Palestine.

The “Balfour-Rothschild Letter” is extremely unreliable and does not reflect minimum statutory requirements, let alone those of international law, no matter how many ‘legal public cloaks’ surround and adorn it. Yet it has continued to be referred to over the decades as if it does and as if it were a ‘fait accompli’, a “commitment”, albeit a very contradictory one (even as late as 1979 in a comprehensive United Nations’ study of Palestine in its historical perspective (Part II, p.1)).

This has deliberately distracted from the illegitimate and deceptive essence of “Balfour’s” conception, birth and being. Furthermore, the letter of 2 November 1917, produced after the conception (and which came to be referred to as the “Balfour Declaration”), was no legally-binding “Declaration” but rather a “declaration of sympathy” with “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”; and His Majesty’s Government “view(ed) with favour” such a development, but it did not go so far as to use the word “support” or to suggest a “reconstitution” of the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Nevertheless, monumental efforts have been sustained, bribes readily offered and threats made, to bend public law to support it.

It was the events that led up to this document, and its subsequent interpretations, that sowed the seeds for the tragedy that is the Middle East, and especially the Palestine of today. Leonard Stein, renowned historian on Zionism, former barrister, and director of the Jewish Agency in the 1920s, declared that “the real purpose of the Zionist movement was to detach Palestine from Turkey and turn it into a Jewish State” (The Balfour Declaration, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1961, p. 64).

The people deserve better; a lot better. The situation for Palestinians is something that the international community could easily solve by exposing this century-old fraud and stab in the back of the Palestinians which has been majestically and craftily cloaked in legal gobbeldy-gook. I believe one of the reasons why that has not happened, is because it was actually the arch-Zionist Lionel Brandeis, first Jewish US Supreme court Judge, who was secretly involved not only in the drafting of the text of the “Balfour letter” but also of the Mandate in the summer of 1917, and when he had absolutely no legal right or constitutional authority to do so. This was misuse of power and office for a private cause.

And, it is a massive abuse of power with continuing ramifications that was never, and has never been contested or rectified for the Palestinians; the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. Thus, all legal entities after this date are actually not what they appear to be. The cart was put before the horse in 1917. This “Balfour-Rothschild letter” does not constitute unbiased “public law” endorsement; a consistent desired aim of the Zionists since they first began to “work on” various key figures for their territorial and nationalist ambitions.

The British realized that they had connived with an impossible situation for the indigenous population as early as 1921 (the US remained and have remained silent on their connivance), and a secret Government review of the matter, constituted in 1923, confirmed this. But it was only at the end of World War II, and as Zionist violence was erupting in a savage way against the Palestinians and against the British forces and personnel in Palestine, that they decided to entrust all matters with the newly formed (soon to be US-dominated) United Nations from February 1947 onwards. Eventually, in the face of fierce violence, the British withdrew on 14 May 1948, and three months before the negotiated date of 1 August 1948.

When Palestinians, with the support of the Arab States, rejected the United Nations’ grossly unfair partition and apartheid plans for Palestine of November 1947, the greatest tragedy in Palestinian history occurred: it is known as al-Nakbah (the Catastrophe): the catastrophic harvesting of all that the Palestinians possessed; the terrorization and ethnic cleansing of whole villages; and the massacres of babies, children, women and men, and also livestock.

Thus, the Zionists brutally and knowingly violated the British Mandate, the League of Nations Covenant, and the negotiations and the (albeit controversial) resolution of the international community for two (at that time, unnamed) independent states; they also breached their own promises. Instead of the United Nations holding the Israelis (as they became called) to account for their actions, they were granted the “State of Israel” in 1949 and after it was known that they had committed unprovoked massacres against men, women, children and elderly, such as at Deir Yassin, and had seized 80% of Palestine in total contravention of the United Nations’ resolution for the partition. This has set the trend for their subsequent non-compliant conduct towards the United Nations and their aggressive and pre-emptive actions and wars in the Middle East, and of course against Palestinians. This is the “Palestine problem”; this is why there is no peace in the Middle East. This is why the Palestinians were treated badly before 1946 (Lieutenant-Colonel Williams-Thompson’s assessment of the “Palestine Problem” in 1946). This is why the Palestinians have continued to be treated so badly for decades.

The fellahin (farming) families have very little, but are incredibly welcoming and generous. This would prove to be their downfall in the thirties and forties when they were infiltrated and betrayed ahead of the Zionists’ Plan Dalet, and when detailed records were kept on them in the “Village Files”.

The penultimate verses of Palestine’s fate appear like a Greek Chorus and a tragic farce: successive political leaders (propped up by so-called academics and their research) strut upon the world stage armed with their plans, maps and strategies, chant lip-service to peace and proclaim platitudes of appeasement, whilst allowing the Israelis to conduct a relentless and excessively prolonged campaign of aggression, brutalization, ethnic cleansing and land and property-grabbing against the Palestinians; the indigenous population, and a campaign of destruction, dismemberment and destabilization of countries in the Middle East in order to have a “clean break strategy” to “secure the realm” (Perle et al, 1996).

The harvesting of Palestine has taken on new twists, as the diminishing dots of fragile existence have become even more fragmented by the Israeli annexation wall (on 9 July 2004, it was declared illegal by the International Court, but the Israelis continued building), and as the actual plans and hidden agendas for the region begin to surface. The Entente’s assurances of almost a century ago, and carried personally by Commander David George Hogarth to Sherif Husein on 4 January 1918, continue to be remorselessly violated: “the Entente Powers are determined that the Arab race shall be given full opportunity of once again forming a nation in the world … So far as Palestine is concerned, we are determined that no people shall be subject to another”.


By Joanne Maria McNally

01-01-2015

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-harvesting-of-palestine-the-zionist-project-prevails/5422247