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GOP says Obama, Dems are undermining domestic energy production

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The Obama administration is undermining domestic fossil-fuel production, say Republican Party officials.

They point to comments by EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz, who resigned Sunday as agency administrator for the south-central region, suggesting that the agency’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” oil and gas companies as being symbolic of the administration’s attitude.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in a March 13, 2012 article that Obama Interior Department officials have intentionally “slow walked” drilling permits, reducing the number of annual permits by two-thirds from 157 before the 2010 drilling moratorium to 51 after. The GOP argues that small- to medium-sized businesses are the ones getting hurt, not “Big Oil” as Democrats like to argue.

As a result, half of all Gulf of Mexico businesses have laid-off workers and a further 39 percent have cut salaries and/or hours. A further 46 percent of affected businesses have moved their operations out of the gulf.

EPA regulations could result in a 11 percent drop in gas production and a 37 percent drop in domestic oil production.

The controversial practice of fracking, necessary to extract gas from a large portion of the nation’s gas wells, could be slashed by up to 52 percent, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

The same attitude carries over to coal, where the Washington Post reported that looming EPA regulations would end the construction of conventional coal-fired power plants nationwide. Thirteen percent of all coal-fired power plants are likely going to shut down because of EPA regulations.

This has hit too close to home for a traditional Democratic constituency – coal miners.

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts went to the extent of comparing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s actions against coal with the Navy SEALs’ takedown of Osama bin Laden.

By John Rossomando /// April 30, 2012

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Leaked: Bin Laden not buried at sea, body moved on CIA plane to US

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Osama bin Laden (Reuters / Stringer)

The body of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was not buried at sea, according to leaked emails of intelligence firm Stratfor, as revealed by WikiLeaks.

Stratfor’s vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, believes the body was “bound for Dover, [Delaware] on [a] CIA plane” and then “onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda [Maryland],” an email says.

The official version is that the body of Al-Qaeda’s top man, who was killed by a US raid in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, was buried at an undisclosed location at sea in a proper Muslim ceremony.

“If body dumped at sea, which I doubt, the touch is very Adolph Eichman like. The Tribe did the same thing with the Nazi’s ashes,” Burton commented in another email. Eichman was one of the masterminds of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. He was captured by Mossad agents in Argentina and, tried in Israel, found guilty and executed in 1962. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean.

“Eichmann was seen alive for many months on trial before being sentenced to death and executed. No one wanted a monument to him so they cremated him. But i dont know anyone who claimed he wasnt eicjhman [sic]. No comparison with suddenly burying him at sea without any chance to view him which i doubt happened [sic],” Stratfor CEO George Friedman replied.

“The US Govt needs to make body pics available like the MX’s do, with OBL’s pants pulled down, to shout down the lunatics like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck,” Burton says in another message.

In another missive Burton says Osama’s body “is a crime scene and I don’t see the FBI nor DOJ letting that happen.”

WikiLeaks began publishing Stratfor emails in late February. The archive was obtained by the hacker group Anonymous, which successfully attacked one of the firm’s servers. More than 5 million emails were apparently stolen.

Stratfor is a US-based intelligence firm called the “shadow CIA” by some media. Among its clients are several US agencies and many big companies. The company relies on paid tips from informants placed in high circles of business, government and security all around the world.

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2011 In Review – A Planet In Crisis

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Wolff Bachner

“The only world I know is drowning in rage.”  Al Jourgensen, Front man for the band Ministry.

There are no words I can think of that sum up 2011 better than Al Jourgensen’s. Our planet, our world, our home is on the verge of chaos.  It is hard to conceive of a year that has brought more mayhem and misery to humanity than the last 12 months. Governments are falling like dominoes in the Middle East and Sharia is rearing it’s head in country after country. Israel and the Palestinians are now in their 63rd year of hostilities with no end in sight. Iran is on the verge of building an atomic bomb and no one seems to have the will or the desire to understand the risks of a nuclear Iran; no less the guts to do something to prevent it. Japan was racked by a massive tsunami and the near meltdown of several nuclear reactors. In Russia and China, it is the same old fist in a new glove. In Africa, there is famine, disease and death for millions. Europe and America are in dire financial straits and the politicians are unable to put aside their political differences to solve the problems. Protesters rampage and rant in cities across the globe with little purpose and no clear goals in sight. Al Gore and his ilk are still trying to sell the pipe dream of carbon credits while touring the world in their Lear Jets and milking the global warming scare for all it is worth.  It certainly has been a year to inspire doubt and fear while chilling our hearts about the future.

It speaks volumes that to many in the Western World, May 2, 2011 was probably the high point of the year. That is the day that Osama Bin Ladin is supposed to have been killed by U.S Navy Seals. Of course, skeptics of American politics will be happy to remind us that no one in the public has ever seen any actual proof of Bin Ladin’s death. All we have is the word of Obama, who has not had the best record for honesty. Using the feeble excuse that he didn’t want to offend or incite Muslims by showing any evidence of Bin Ladin’s death, Obama sealed all the records of the raid and all the photos of Bin Ladin’s body. We should remember that Lyndon Johnson bombed North Vietnam into the stone age based on a previous government lie called the “Gulf Of Tonkin Incident.” Until proof is available to every single person who wants to see it, all we have is the word of a President who used the killing of Bin Ladin as part of his re-election strategy. Hopefully, Bin Ladin really is dead and buried but the way our leaders play so lose and easy with the truth, it is quite possible to believe that we will never know the entire story. Some people even think he was killed years ago and kept on ice until a convenient moment. Far fetched, but with politicians being what they are, anything is possible

On the economic front, the United States is now 15 trillion dollars in debt and there is no indication that anyone in political power is willing to do anything about it. The country is broke and yet the spending spree continues unabated. The only answers we hear from our leaders in Washington are laced with partisan political nonsense and outrageous attacks on the opposition. The Democrats and the Republicans have spent the nation into decades of debt and the only solution they have is to blame the other party or blame the rich and start a class war. The Republicans act like total cowards and instead of attacking the problem head on and calling the Democrats on their fiscal policies, they pull their punches and talk about working with the opposition. Democrats stick to their guns, blame Bush and continue to expand entitlement programs with no idea where the money will come from to pay for them. Conservatives, who are still the largest block of voters in America, are totally baffled as to why the Republicans will not stand up to Obama and his left wing cronies. It seems to them as if the Republican Party is determined to give Obama and the Democrats a pass and let everyone have free rein to spend America into oblivion. The Left wants to create a socialist state and turn what was once the world’s greatest economic miracle into a another failed European nation. Meanwhile many Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, their savings and their patience.

Politically in America, we are suffering under the non-leadership of President Obama, who may be on his way to becoming the worst President in American history. There is still a sizable percentage of voters who say they have no clear idea of who he really is or why he has a Connecticut Social Security Number. He continues to vacation, play golf and make one campaign speech after the other while we watch America’s AAA credit rating fly out the window. Meanwhile, the nation is experiencing the worst racial tensions since the 1960′s era of segregation and our society is on the verge of an Obama inspired class war. He has contributed to an atmosphere where people are looked upon as exploiters just for being successful or having personal wealth. Of course, if you are rich and contribute to the Democratic party, then you are forgiven. We have seen billions of Federal dollars given to questionable business ventures run by major fund raisers to the Obama campaign. Light Squared and Solyndra are just two examples of the new heights that political cronyism has reached on Obama’s watch. So much for what was promised to be the most honest, transparent, lobbyist free presidency in American history.

In the Democrat controlled U.S. Senate, party politics have taken over the functions of government. Bill after bill languishes on Harry Reid’s desk, never to be voted on, because they were sponsored and passed by the Republicans in the House. While the country is in dire need of effective governance to repair the damage that has been done by generations of political game playing, the Congress has ground to a virtual halt. Voters can barely remember the last bill that actually made its way through the Congress to end up on the President’s desk. The Republican controlled House is no better. The Republicans are caught up in a turf war between the old guard Rinos and the Tea Party. They can’t seem to decide if they would rather fight among themselves or attack Obama and the end result is a weakened Republican party that has no clear voice to present its plan for the future.

Out on the campaign trail, the Republicans candidates for the 2012 Presidential election have ignored every single opportunity to go after Obama on his record. Instead, they have engaged in an endless stream of ugly personal attacks on each other. When they were not clubbing Newt Gingrich over the head with the sordid details his divorce, they are busy making idiotic mistakes and political gaffes that would embarrass a ten year old. In 2008, it was Obama and the 57 states he visited. In 2011, it was the bad word that was written on a rock at a hunting camp that Rick Perry’s father acquired in the early 1980′s. If the current crop of Republican candidates doesn’t wake up and start to confront the real issues that plague America, we will see Obama re-elected. Maybe a Republican candidate of character and honor will surface before it is too late, but the time is getting late for a miracle.

The elephant in the room in the United States is illegal immigration. When the Democrats failed to pass the Dream Act, they decided to ignore the will of the people, 70% of whom are opposed to amnesty for illegals. The Democrats encouraged Obama to bypass the Constitution by Executive Order. In 2011, the Obama Administration issued one order after the other that reduced the number of illegal aliens who will be deported. Desperate to get re-elected and courting Latino voters, Obama has done everything he can think of to open our borders. Americans are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table. True unemployment is estimated to be between 15% to 20% and yet the country is being overrun by 400,000 illegals a year, who are taking jobs away from legal citizens. The vast majority of Americans are simply appalled that there are close to 15 million illegal aliens and there is no end in sight. The American people have demanded secure borders and all they have gotten in return is politics as usual. Most voters are blissfully unaware of the real goal of the Progressives and the Democrats, which is to subvert the Democratic process by flooding the nation with new voters who will strongly side with their policies. To quote Eliseo Medina, international executive vice-president of Service Employees International Union, or SEIU,  “We reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters…. Can you imagine if we have, even the same ratio, two out of three? Can you imagine 8 million new voters who care about our issues and will be voting? We will be creating a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”  Voters who were bribed to vote for destructive, Socialist programs by giving them easy access to the gift of citizenship, all at the expensive of close to 300 million of us, who were either born here or came here legally.

And then there was “Operation Fast and Furious.” In what many commentators felt was nothing more that attempt to undermine the 2nd Amendment, the ATF allowed thousands of guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican narco-terrorists, resulting in the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. No one will ever know how many innocent Mexican citizens died as a result of this debacle but the vast majority of the weapons still remain in the hands of violent criminals. Despite the fact that Attorney General Holder actually mentioned the operation by name in a speech 2 years earlier, he claimed ignorance when he testified before Congress on May 3, 2011, where he stated, “I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Documents released by CBS News in October, 2011 showed that Holder had been receiving briefings on the Operation as far back as July, 2010. Other documents released by CBS showed that ATF Officials had openly discussed using Fast and Furious to to make the case for stricter gun regulations. Many on the Right are calling for the resignation of Holder yet Obama has remained silent and refuses to comment further on the issue. Obama’s opponents wonder if this will be his “Watergate.”

Rounding out the year in America has been the dubious rise of the Occupy Movement aka OWS or Occupy Wall Street. There has never been an uglier, more dis-organized and destructive group of malcontents to raise their collective, unwashed heads. OWS has been praised by the political bigwigs of the Democratic party including Harry “This bill is dead on arrival” Reid, Nancy “Insider Trader” Pelosi and Community Organizer Obama. Financed by their well funded union buddies, the Occupy movement has caused havoc in every city they have appeared. The mainstream media, always looking for something demeaning and negative to spike their ratings, transformed a small handful of professional agitators, disgruntled outsiders and a sprinkling of the homeless into what they have portrayed as a mass movement out to change the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that no one in the movement could agree on anything, drug use, robbery and rape was rampant and everywhere they went, they turned once lovely public parks into disgusting open air toilets. What made it even more despicable was that the media tried to portray these vermin as no different than the protesters of the Tea Party, who worked their rear ends off to elect new, responsible leaders to office, cleaned up after themselves, went home at the end of the day and showed up for work in the morning. It is a sad commentary on the state of education in America that the Occupy movement does not know the difference between the right to lawfully gather to protest and taking over public property without permission. The fact that these bozos think they have a right to do what ever they want, when ever and where ever they wish, shows how far we have fallen in our once proud nation. GIMME is the new mantra and Immediate Gratification is the new way of life. They think smashing in the windows of banks will restore freedom in America. Never mind finding someone to pay to replace all the broken glass.

Across the Atlantic, things are not any better. The European Union has finally shown itself to be the bad idea every sane person knew it was. Spain, Portugal and Greece are bankrupt. Italy is on the verge and the rest of Europe is footing the bill. The Euro is on its last legs and Germany is tired of paying for bailout after bailout. The misguided experiment of multiculturalism is proving to be the final nail in the coffin of the once great countries of Europe. While rampant socialism put a strain on Europe’s finances, the endless invasion of immigrants has taken Europe from the pinnacle of prosperity to the pit of crime and poverty. The invading masses refuse to assimilate and demand special treatment based on their religion while draining the coffers of every European nation. Jews are becoming an endangered species in Europe thanks to the rampant, unchecked hostility of Muslim immigrants towards the few Jews who survived the holocaust. When someone is brave enough to speak out about the problem, as in the case of Geert Wilders, they are faced with intimidation, ridicule, arrest, and trial. Political correctness has been taken to the height of true insanity in the European Union and people are being threatened with lengthy jail terms, or even killed, for saying anything against Islam or immigrants. The truth is no longer matters. The left leaning governments of Europe are so intent on their atheism and multiculturalism that they are cutting their owns throats while Europe is invaded by millions of impoverished immigrants who will change the very nature of everything Europeans ever held dear.

No where are things more explosive than in the Middle East. Starting with fall of Mubarak in Egypt, we have seen one Arab nation after the other replace their government with a strict Muslim theocracy based on Sharia. The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt and is openly talking about canceling the peace treaty with Israel. Coptic Christians in Egypt are being murdered with impunity and their churches burned. Once the most modern country in the Arab world, 90% of all Egyptian women are now subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR YOU. 90% of all Egyptian women are now subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. Fifty years ago, hardly a woman in Egypt wore a headscarf. Today the majority of Egyptian women wear head scarfs and burqas are becoming a common sight. Egyptian Muslim clerics, some of whom are considered the highest authorities on Islam in the world, have come out in favor of wife beating, female genital mutilation, slavery, taxing infidels and openly called for the death of every single Jew on the planet. Yet Hillary Clinton and Obama talk to the Muslim Brotherhood like they are just another political party and plan to give billions to Egypt in aid and military assistance. Even sadder, not a word has been heard from the Woman’s Rights Movement on Female Genital Mutilation and the 2nd class treatment of Egyptian women.

Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Syria are in chaos. Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Kuwait and Oman are rumbling in protest. In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was killed and soon after Libya’s vast stockpile of modern weapons began to disappear into the hands of terrorists in Gaza and the Sinai. Iraq is about to plunge into anarchy as the American troops head home for good. Afghanistan has seen decades of war and this year was filled with one assassination after the other of ranking members of the U.S. backed government. Pakistan continues to beg for billions in aid from the U.S. while constantly undermining American policy in the region. In every single one of these countries, there are common factors. There is the crushing poverty that the vast majority live under and there is an oppressive government that rules over the masses. But more importantly, there is a rejection of liberal, democratic ideals and a total embrace of all things Islamic. Without exception, every government that has fallen has been replaced by an Islamic theocracy and without exception, in every country where the government is under attack, the prime movers are the Islamists. There is no majority in the Arab world for democracy. There is no majority in the Arab world for tolerance and freedom. There is no majority in the Arab world to ever accept non-Muslims as equals who are entitled to all the freedoms and privileges that are granted to Muslims. The real question is why can’t the Western World understand this simple truth and stop trying to force Democracy on people who have no interest in Democracy? When will the Western world stop living under its delusions and understand that Islam has a 1400 year, unbroken history of aggressive expansion at the expense of all other faiths and peoples? Do politicians like Obama, Sazorky and Ashton really believe that Islam is a religion of peace or do they just think we are all such idiots that we should be happy to have them constantly mislead us about the intentions of Islam?

March 11th, 2011 was the date of one of the ugliest acts of Muslim terrorism ever perpetrated on Israel. The murder of the Fogel Family by two Muslim teenagers aroused anger in Israel to new heights. “The victims were the father Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, the mother Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children—Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, the youngest, a three-month-old infant, who was decapitated.” As is typical of the leftist world media, these murders were barely mentioned outside of Israel, while the Jew hating, has been, Jimmy Carter, continued to place all the blame on Israel for every problem in the Middle East. Anti Israeli publications, like The New York Times and The Guardian in the U.K., were more interested in harping on the fact that the Fogel family lived in a Settlement. That a 3 month old child was decapitated in her bed, simply because she was a Jew, was not even considered. 63 years of agitation and hate towards any Israeli presence in the Middle East was not mentioned. The fact that Hamas has a charter that calls for the eventual death of every single Jew on earth was not mentioned. All the Israel haters in the mainstream media could do was to try to find a way to blame the Fogels for being butchered.

September saw the Israeli – Palestinian conflict taken to the heights of the absurd as a former terrorist, Abu Mazin aka Mahmoud Abbas, stood before the U.N. to demand statehood for Palestine, despite the continuous terror attacks and rocket attacks against Israel. The fact that the Palestinians are 100% dependent on foreign aid for every aspect of their so called nation’s budget made no difference to the corrupt minds of those who are determined to eliminate the one safe haven on earth for the Jewish people. For the moment, the Palestinian application for statehood has failed because of the threat of a U.S. veto in the Security Council. Obama was afraid of losing much needed Jewish financial support and votes for his re-election so he said he would veto any move for Palestinian statehood. If Obama gets re-elected, many fear that he will reveal his true beliefs and totally throw Israel under the bus by voting in favor of Palestinian statehood. It should be noted that Abbas, the so called “moderate” Palestinian leader, based his doctoral dissertation on denying the Jewish Holocaust of WWII, even accusing Jews of making a deal with the Nazis to allow the Holocaust to happen in order to gain sympathy for the re-establishment of the Jewish nation of Israel.

During the 12 months of 2011, hundreds of rockets were launched at Israeli citizens from Gaza. If the occupation or the settlements were really the cause of the conflict, then why are attacks coming, almost daily, from territory that Israel turned over to full Arab control several years ago. The truth is there are no distinct Palestinian people. There are Arabs who hate Jews and wish to destroy anything Jewish based on a religious agenda that dates back 1400 hundred years. Let’s remember the words spoken about Palestine by a leader of the PLO. The Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said: ‘The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our arab unity. In reality there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.” Let us also remember four of the points in the PLO’s charter: 1. Jews are the enemy of Allah. 2. Islam is fighting a continuous religious war against the Jews. 3. The killing of Jews is a religious obligation. 4. Palestinians are the vanguard in this war against the Jews, and all Islamic nations are obligated to assist in this war.  Finally let us remember the words of Mohammed himself who said, “The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew is hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’  Let us reply to this hate by saying ” Oh American, remember these words well the next time you hear someone say Jews are to blame for everything in the Middle East. It is the Jews who rebuilt Israel from rubble after 2000 years of exile and the death of the six million. Let the Jewish people have their own land, promised forever in the holy bible, by the G*d of Abraham. Let there be peace with their neighbors so that all nations may prosper”

Sadly, just like in the Middle East, Militant Islam is on the march in Africa. Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan have all seen death and destruction at the hands of Islamic supremacist groups like Boko Harum, al-Shabaab and AL Qaeda. Nigeria has borne the brunt of Boko Harum’s viciousness towards non-Muslims with hundreds of Christian civilians killed and dozens of churches burned or bombed. Millions face famine in Somalia, where the Islamic group al-Shabaab murders, kidnaps or expels foreign aid workers while the people starve. The influence of Islam has spread to Kenya where a new constitution based on Sharia is being proposed. Even the one bright spot, which was the recognition by the United Nations of the newly formed nation of South Sudan, is being marred by ruthless border violence and constant threats from Islamic Northern Sudan. The one never changing fact is that Islam is always at the root of the violence and the attacks are being made on predominately unarmed Christians. As usual, Islamic leaders in Africa responded to the bloodshed by denying it all as a plot to defame Islam. At a meeting in Istanbul in November, they “denounced the identification of violence with Muslims and Islam, stressing that Islam is a religion of peace, love and brotherhood and that associating it with terrorism cannot be accepted.” Islamic leaders continue to ignore the persecution of “infidels” and the beheading and church bombings while happily blaming everything but Islam for the last 1400 years of jihad against non-believers.

Then there is Iran; the hotbed of crazed mullahs who are waiting for the 12th Imam to re-appear from the well he has been hiding in since the Occultation in 869 CE. For those readers who don’t study Islam, the Occultation refers to when the 5 year old  Imam,  Muhammad ibn al-hasan al-Mahdi, disappeared into a well, where he has remained hidden without dying until he returns to usher in the Islamic end times. The Occultation or lack of Occultation is at the root of centuries of bloody fighting between the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam. Iran’s leaders are members of the Shia sect and are deeply devoted to the return of the 12th Imam. Now all this may seem like a great deal of religious silliness to some of you, but when you combine the desire to usher in the end of the world with Iran’s race to build an atomic bomb, things start to get scary. Really scary. Add into the mix the fact that the current Grand Ayatollah of Iran and supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, also claims to be the only human who is in direct contact with the 12th Imam and it is time to panic. Most experts on the Middle East and Islam, who are not apologists for Islam, will tell you in no uncertain terms, that keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons should be the world’s number one priority in the foreign policy arena. Meanwhile, Iran remains oblivious to any and all sanctions and continues its steamroller rush towards joining the world’s nuclear club. G*d help us all if the rest of the world allows it to happen.

Certainly, Russia and China have done their part in 2011 to compound the world’s problems. Russia continues its retreat back to the good old dictatorial days of heavy handed oppression under the rule of Vladimir Putin. They are merrily supplying Syria and Iran with weapons and technology while constantly obstructing any effective sanctions in the United Nations. It is rather ironic that Russia has more than its own share of problems with terrorists from parts of what used to be the U.S.S.R and surprise, surprise, once again the terrorists are Muslims. Blowing up airports and subways is par for the course but now woman who try to swim in the Caspian Sea in a bathing suit are being blown to bits by intolerant Muslim men. The situation has gotten so bad that the Russian State authorities opened the first Sharia compliant beach, where women swim while covered head to toe, in an attempt to stop the reign of terror against women.

China continues to build its economy on the sweat of its people and by releasing more poisons into the atmosphere than any other nation on earth. While the economy is booming and billionaires are starting to become common place, the iron fist of old guard communist oppression still wins the day in China. Dissidents routinely disappear into prisons for decades, foreign businesses are stolen from and spied upon, religious groups of any sort are ruthlessly stamped out and woman are arrested and sterilized for daring to become pregnant for a second time. At a time when the world is on the edge of a major explosion, China spent billions this year to vastly increase the size of its military arsenal. They continue to make threats to attack Taiwan and one Chinese General even went as far as to mention the possibility of using nukes on the United States if we tried to intervene. It seems with China, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I wish I could have written a glowing report on what a wonderful place the world became in 2011 but I am not given to fantasy. Surely there has been much to be happy about and proud of in 2011, but the world is teetering on the brink and people need to face reality. If we have any chance to change things for the better in 2012, we have to stop telling each other fairy tales and start to face the truth. The religious divisions that are creating such havoc in the world are real. It is time to stop making excuses for any religion that tries to impose itself on humanity. It is time to stop giving aid, treasure and support to nations or religions that oppress and brutalize non believers or outsiders of any sort. You may wish to deny that Islam is at the forefront of terror attacks, oppression of non-believers and persecution of women but it is the truth and it needs to be accepted before it can be changed for the better. Being politically correct and making more excuses for bad behavior will just encourage more bad behavior in the future. Do we really need to see signs like we saw from Muslim protesters in London on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Signs that said “DEMOCRACY GO TO HELL” and “BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM.” The very fact that the British police allowed the public display of death threats against non-Muslims within a few hundred feet of where the Prime Minister of England was making a memorial address shows just how far we have fallen in the name of the dual evils of multiculturalism and political correctness. While it is mainly militant fanatics who are at the forefront of the violence, the utter silence of so-called “Moderate Islam” is alarming. When the supposed majority of “Moderate Muslims” start to make their voices heard against Islamic expansion, oppression and supremacist beliefs, maybe non-Muslims will start to see Islam as a true “Religion of Peace.” At the moment, the silence is deafening and the body count continues to rise is the name of Allah.

While religion may lie at the root of many of our Foreign Policy problems, we should also remember that politics in the United States have become an absolute disgrace. Republicans and Democrats alike put party loyalty ahead of the welfare of the people who elected them. They have replaced honesty, morality and ethics with cleverly written loopholes that allow elected officials to ignore the law with impunity while vastly increasing their personal wealth. The influence that lobbyists and special interest groups have on our elected officials is a gross breech of trust that should make every member of Congress hang their head in shame. The political elite in America have become the new royalty of the ruling class; throwing the working peasants scraps while they gorge themselves.

The men and women who run the major corporations in America are no better. Companies lose billions and the bosses still take home millions in annual bonuses and stock options. Executives get caught stealing and instead of going to prison, they quietly retire with a 20 million dollar golden parachute. Companies that are making billions in profits will close a factory in the United States that employs 2000 people in order to be able to pay slave wages in a Third World country. 2000 hard working Americans out of work so a company that already made 10 billion in profits can make another 100 million. Hardly anyone in business or government gives a second thought to all the lives damaged by such behavior. No one will say a word about it unless someone thinks it will gain them more votes or make a good ad campaign. While there is nothing wrong with capitalism, there is plenty wrong with the sort of greed and lack of business ethics displayed by many large corporations.

Passing more useless laws will not solve the problem. False flag movements like the OWS movement that are nothing but fronts for political insiders will not solve the problem. Letting manipulators like George Soros play puppet master while throwing around billions to impose his ideas on society will not solve the problems. The problems will only be solved when we finally realize that we are all Americans and we start to demand that government leaders and elected officials behave in a responsible manner and represent the will of the voters or they will be replaced. The problems will only be solved when we make it clear to big business that if they wont put the needs of their customers and their workers ahead of pure profit and greed, then we will spend our hard earned money elsewhere. We do need a movement but not one that is based on race, religion, status or political philosophy. We need a movement that speaks as one to say that we demand change. We demand an end to greed and corruption. We demand that our elected officials do everything in their power to improve our lives; not by enslaving us with endless handouts but by balancing the budget, reducing the deficit and rebuilding our nation. We will use our voices, our minds, our vote and our wallets to make sure that we are heard in 2012. Ignore us at your own peril.

[The views expressed in this political commentary are the sole view of Wolff Bachner and do not express the views of Inquisitr.com or the Inquisitr.com writing staff.]

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Chomsky: US drone killings are state terror

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The U.S. policy of targeting terror suspects in foreign countries using unmanned aerial vehicles amounts to “state terror”, leading academic Professor Noam Chomsky has said.

“There is no justification for targeted assassination,” Chomsky said in an interview with PublicServiceEurope.com which was published on Friday.

“There were things going on before, under the last president, but the Obama administration has extended earlier procedures to a global assassination campaign directed at people suspected of encouraging others to carry out what the U.S. calls terrorist acts. What are called ‘terrorist acts’ also raises rather serious questions — and that’s an understatement,” he said.

Asked if he believed Obama’s foreign policy in relation to drone strikes had been worse than that of his predecessor George W Bush, Chomsky said: “In terms of state terror and that’s what I would call this, I have to say yes — and that has already been pointed out by military analysts.”

“The Bush administration policy was to kidnap suspects and send them to secret prisons where they were not treated very nicely, as we know. But the Obama administration has escalated that policy to you don’t kidnap them, but you kill them. Now remember, these are suspects — even in the case of Osama bin Laden.” defencemanagement.com

FACTS & FIGURES

Since 2001, the U.S. government is known to have used drones to mount lethal attacks in at least six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. commondreams.org

The Washington Post has reported that the Obama administration is building a constellation of secret drone bases in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, including one site in Ethiopia. Antiwar

Bombing raids by robotic unmanned U.S. aircraft dramatically increased under President Barack Obama. Dawn

Human rights groups have raised concerns that the use of drones by the CIA has allowed the conduct of a secret assassination campaign abroad without public scrutiny and little oversight by lawmakers in Congress. AFP

The U.S. drone campaign is deeply unpopular among anti-American Pakistani public and the government has publicly demanded an end to the attacks. AFP

Barack Obama’s administration authorized the assassination of the radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, a rare move against an American citizen. Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on October 14.

Source

The son of Africa claims a continent’s crown jewels

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On 14 October, President Barack Obama announced he was sending United States special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, U.S. combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only “engage” for “self-defense”, says Obama, satirically. With Libya secured, an American invasion of the African continent is under way.

Obama’s decision is described in the press as “highly unusual” and “surprising”, even “weird”. It is none of these things. It is the logic of American foreign policy since 1945. Take Vietnam. The priority was to halt the influence of China, an imperial rival, and “protect” Indonesia, which President Nixon called “the region’s richest hoard of natural resources …the greatest prize”. Vietnam merely got in the way; and the slaughter of more than three million Vietnamese and the devastation and poisoning of their land was the price of America achieving its goal. Like all America’s subsequent invasions, a trail of blood from Latin America to Afghanistan and Iraq, the rationale was usually “self defense” or “humanitarian”, words long emptied of their dictionary meaning.

In Africa, says Obama, the “humanitarian mission” is to assist the government of Uganda defeat the Lord’s resistance Army (LRA), which “has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa”. This is an accurate description of the LRA, evoking multiple atrocities administered by the United States, such as the bloodbath in the 1960s following the CIA-arranged murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader and first legally elected prime minister, and the CIA coup that installed Mobutu Sese Seko, regarded as Africa’s most venal tyrant.

Obama’s other justification also invites satire. This is the “national security of the United States”. The LRA has been doing its nasty work for 24 years, of minimal interest to the United States. Today, it has few than 400 fighters and has never been weaker. However, U.S. “national security” usually means buying a corrupt and thuggish regime that has something Washington wants. Uganda’s “president-for-life” Yoweri Museveni already receives the larger part of $45 million in U.S. military “aid” – including Obama’s favorite drones. This is his bribe to fight a proxy war against America’s latest phantom Islamic enemy, the rag-tag al Shabaab group based in Somalia. The RTA will play a public relations role, distracting western journalists with its perennial horror stories.

However, the main reason the U.S. is invading Africa is no different from that which ignited the Vietnam war. It is China. In the world of self-serving, institutionalized paranoia that justifies what General David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander and now CIA director, implies is a state of perpetual war, China is replacing al-Qaeda as the official American “threat”. When I interviewed Bryan Whitman, an assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon last year, I asked him to describe the current danger to America. Struggling visibly, he repeated, “Asymmetric threats … asymmetric threats”. These justify the money-laundering state-sponsored arms conglomerates and the biggest military and war budget in history. With Osama bin Laden airbrushed, China takes the mantle.

Africa is China’s success story. Where the Americans bring drones and destabilization, the Chinese bring roads, bridges and dams. What they want is resources, especially fossil fuels. With Africa’s greatest oil reserves, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi was one of China’s most important sources of fuel. When the civil war broke out and NATO backed the “rebels” with a fabricated story about Gaddafi planning “genocide” in Benghazi, China evacuated its 30,000 workers in Libya. The subsequent UN security council resolution that allowed the west’s “humanitarian intervention” was explained succinctly in a proposal to the French government by the “rebel” National Transitional Council, disclosed last month in the newspaper Liberation, in which France was offered 35 per cent of Libya’s gross national oil production “in exchange” (the term used) for “total and permanent” French support for the NTC. Running up the Stars and Stripes in “liberated” Tripoli last month, U.S. ambassador Gene Cretz blurted out: “We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources!”

The de facto conquest of Libya by the U.S. and its imperial partners heralds a modern version of the “scramble for Africa” at the end of the 19th century.

Like the “victory” in Iraq, journalists have played a critical role in dividing Libyans into worthy and unworthy victims. A recent Guardian front page carried a photograph of a terrified “pro-Gaddafi” fighter and his wild-eyed captors who, says the caption, “celebrate”. According to General Petraeus, there is now a war “of perception … conducted continuously through the news media”.

For more than a decade the U.S. has tried to establish a command on the continent of Africa, AFRICOM, but has been rebuffed by governments, fearful of the regional tensions this would cause. Libya, and now Uganda, South Sudan and Congo, provide the main chance. As WikiLeaks cables and the U.S. National Strategy for Counter-terrorism reveal, American plans for Africa are part of a global design in which 60,000 special forces, including death squads, already operate in 75 countries, soon to be 120. As Dick Cheney pointed out in his 1990s “defense strategy” plan, America simply wishes to rule the world.

That this is now the gift of Barack Obama, the “Son of Africa”, is supremely ironic. Or is it? As Frantz Fanon explained in Black Skin, White Masks, what matters is not so much the color of your skin as the power you serve and the millions you betray.

John Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker, based in London. He has twice won Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the U.S.

by John Pilger

(WWW.Johnpilger.com)

Source

On the world stage, Obama the idealist has taken fright

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Bin Laden’s killing aside, his foreign policy has all been waffle, dither and drift – with a trail of acts of dismaying expediency

Candidates run on hope. Incumbents run on their record. But Barack Obama, lining up for a second term at the White House next year, has little to offer on either score. The heady optimism of 2008 has dissipated. At home, Obama is primarily associated with hard times: only 34% of voters approve of his handling of the economy, according to a recent poll. Abroad, his presidency has come to stand for impotence and incompetence. He promised new beginnings; what he has delivered, for the most part, is waffle, dither and drift.

If this verdict seems harsh, take a quick tour round the globe. Everywhere the pillars of American superpower are crumbling. The old habit of hegemony, formed in the postwar decades and confirmed in 1989 as Soviet power imploded, is fading as fast as a Honolulu sunset.

Part of the explanation is faltering industrial and financial clout, reflecting the rapid rise of rivals like China and India. But that is compounded by another central element: Obama’s persistent failure to stand up, in practical, substantive ways, for the values, beliefs and interests he so eloquently espouses.

Obama’s early, anguished indecision over keeping his promise to close Guantánamo Bay now looks like a grim portent. So, too, does his administration’s failure to support the Iranian students whose “green revolution” was so cruelly suppressed in Tehran in 2009. When the Arab spring took hold this year, the man who in Cairo had preached the pre-eminence of the democratic ideal took fright. Tunisia did not matter much. But when he faced accusations of becoming the president who “lost” Egypt, Obama’s dither default setting was triggered anew.

In the event he achieved the worst of all worlds. Hosni Mubarak, that staunch, unlovely friend of the west, was deposed with Washington’s belated blessing – to the lasting mortification of another key American ally, Saudi Arabia. Now the army-led, supposedly caretaker regime that replaced him appears equally unappealing. Egypt may soon require a second revolution, and next time the Islamists may not act so coy. For its part, Riyadh absorbed the lesson of US unreliability and took matters into its own hands by crushing dissent in Bahrain.

In Libya, as elsewhere, Obama talked the good fight from the sidelines. Speaking about Syria in August, he condemned President Bashar al-Assad‘s “imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering” of pro-democracy demonstrators and demanded he step aside immediately. The call came after months of White House debate about the consequences of supporting change in Damascus. Assad, meanwhile, contemptuously ignores US mouthings, and a fracturing Syria accelerates towards the abyss.

Obama’s handling of his legacy wars – Afghanistan and Iraq – provides little to crow about on the stump. The Afghan troop surge has not brought about the looked-for breakthrough. Instead, casualties are up, while the Taliban, in contrast, have increasingly resorted to targeted terror tactics – such as last month’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president and head of the high peace council.

Any examination of whether Obama and his diplomats and commanders want a negotiated Afghan peace settlement finds President Dither at his most infuriating. Speaking at the end of Ramadan, Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, clearly signalled interest in pursuing talks to create a new political order acceptable to all Afghans. But Washington seems more intent on threatening Pakistan than ensuring a peaceful transition in Afghanistan after 2014. Much the same may be said of Iraq, where US concerns focus less on the stability of a country it so massively destabilised than on how Iran may exploit the US withdrawal.

Obama’s foreign policy under-achievement leaves a global trail. He spoke out forcefully in Prague about the necessary inevitability of a nuclear bomb-free world. But his carrots and sticks have had little impact on North Korea’s or Iran’s ambitions, while the Libyan war delivered a clear message: if Muammar Gaddafi had not abandoned his nuclear weapons programme in 2003 he might still be in power now.

As a candidate Obama condemned Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgian territory. But as president he offered Vladimir Putin’s regime a “reset” of relations amounting to a reward for bad behaviour. Along the Pacific rim, meanwhile, widely shared perceptions of a lack of political resolve in the face of China’s military expansionism are fuelling an arms race from Taiwan and Malaysia to Vietnam and Australia.

Amid multiple disappointments, one dismaying act of expediency stands out: Obama’s open-ended threat to veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state. After the three-year runaround handed out by Israel’s last-ditcher, “no surrender” prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama had the chance to deliver a symbolic blow for peace, something surely right up his street. But with a wary eye on the 2012 campaign, he just couldn’t do it. Under Obama, the empire does not strike back. It strikes out.

If Obama is re-elected it won’t be due to his international achievements – unless you think killing Osama bin Laden is worth another four years.

Simon Tisdall

 Original Article

The South American Arrangement

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September 10, 2011: The United States and most South American countries are having a growing problem with Islamic terrorists. The U.S. has identified an increasing number of individuals and groups in South America that are providing support (financial, media, recruiting) for Islamic terror groups. But South American governments refuse to prosecute these individuals, at least not for terrorism. The terrorist supporters can be prosecuted for more common criminal behavior. But South American governments like to point out that there have been very few Islamic terror attacks in their territory. That was also true for many European countries, for a long time, for the same reason; an unofficial truce with Islamic terrorists. The deal is simple. In return for no attacks within a particular country, Islamic terrorists would be given asylum, or otherwise allowed to set up shop as long as it was done quietly. Thus most South American countries don’t recognize the outlaw status of organizations considered international terrorist organizations in most of the world. The local governments will prosecute someone who is a notorious (easily identified and “very convictable”) Islamic terrorist, which is why Osama bin Laden didn’t head for South America. But a lot of lesser known Islamic terrorism supporters are hard at work down there. The few times, in the last two decades, that this truce was violated, the reaction was very costly to Islamic radicals, and countries like Iran, that sponsored them. This just reinforced the determination of the terrorists to observe the truce, and not spoil a good thing.

For years the U.S. has been monitoring South America for signs of Islamic terrorism. Most of action is non-terrorist criminality. Moslem criminal gangs in the region have provided some support services for al Qaeda, but otherwise there is not a lot of support for Islamic radicalism in South America. Moslems are a very small minority down there, and they don’t want to trigger an anti-Islamic attitude because of al Qaeda terrorism in the region.

But a more threatening new base area for Islamic radicals is developing in Venezuela. There, leftist president Hugo Chavez has not only established close diplomatic relations with Iran (and Cuba, North Korea and radical groups throughout the region), but has allowed Iran to set up terrorist operations in South America. Regular commercial flights from Iran to Venezuela (via Syria, to accommodate Hezbollah) carry people, cash and whatever else Iran wants to move. No questions asked, no visas required.

Several U.S. counter-terrorism organizations have gone to work, trying to find out what Iran is up to, and how to block any terrorist activity. For example, the U.S. Treasury Department‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control sought to block attempts by Iran and Hezbollah to get around banking restrictions placed on their terrorist activities, by opening bank branches in Venezuela. Hezbollah is using its new base in Venezuela to support its fund raising, and purely criminal activities, in South America. Iran is looking to support attacks against South American Jews, plus any other mischief it can pull off, without being blamed.

Hezbollah has long been involved in the drug business in South America. That gives these Iran backed Islamic terrorists access to the narcotics smuggling routes that Mexican gangs use to smuggle drugs and people into the United States. The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and people smuggling in South America’s tri-border (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) region. This area has long been a hotbed of illicit activity, and too many politicians and police commanders are on the take from gangsters to change this.

Thus, South America makes an excellent refuge and base. Particularly worrisome is the cooperation between leftist rebel movements there, and Islamic terrorist groups. So far, the United States says little of what it is doing down there to monitor, or cope, with Islamic terrorist activity. But something is up.

Original Article

Obama’s Arc of Instability: Destabilizing the World One Region at a Time

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By Nick Turse
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011

The “arc of instability” includes 97 countries. A startling number of these nations are in turmoil, and in every single one of them, Washington is militarily involved.

It’s a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the Bush years, used to be called “the arc of instability.”  It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet.  A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them — from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia — Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.

Garrisoning the planet is just part of it.  The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services are also running covert special forces and spy operations, launching drone attacks, building bases and secret prisons, training, arming, and funding local security forces, and engaging in a host of other militarized activities right up to full-scale war.  But while you consider this, keep one fact in mind: the odds are that there is no longer a single nation in the arc of instability in which the United States is in no way militarily involved.

Covenant of the Arc

“Freedom is on the march in the broader Middle East,” the president said in his speech.  “The hope of liberty now reaches from Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut and beyond. Slowly but surely, we’re helping to transform the broader Middle East from an arc of instability into an arc of freedom.”

An arc of freedom.  You could be forgiven if you thought that this was an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s Arab Spring speech, where he said “[I]t will be the policy of the United States to… support transitions to democracy.”  Those were, however, the words of his predecessor George W. Bush.  The giveaway is that phrase “arc of instability,” a core rhetorical concept of the former president’s global vision and that of his neoconservative supporters.

The dream of the Bush years was to militarily dominate that arc, which largely coincided with the area from North Africa to the Chinese border, also known as the Greater Middle East, but sometimes was said to stretch from Latin America to Southeast Asia.  While the phrase has been dropped in the Obama years, when it comes to projecting military power President Obama is in the process of trumping his predecessor.

In addition to waging more wars in “arc” nations, Obama has overseen the deployment of greater numbers of special operations forces to the region, has transferred or brokered the sale of substantial quantities of weapons there, while continuing to build and expand military bases at a torrid rate, as well as training and supplying large numbers of indigenous forces.  Pentagon documents and open source information indicate that there is not a single country in that arc in which U.S. military and intelligence agencies are not now active.  This raises questions about just how crucial the American role has been in the region’s increasing volatility and destabilization.

Flooding the Arc

Given the centrality of the arc of instability to Bush administration thinking, it was hardly surprising that it launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and carried out limited strikes in three other arc states — Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.  Nor should anyone have been shocked that it also deployed elite military forces and special operators from the Central Intelligence Agency elsewhere within the arc.

In his book The One Percent Doctrine, journalist Ron Suskind reported on CIA plans, unveiled in September 2001 and known as the “Worldwide Attack Matrix,” for “detailed operations against terrorists in 80 countries.”  At about the same time, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld proclaimed that the nation had embarked on “a large multi-headed effort that probably spans 60 countries.”  By the end of the Bush years, the Pentagon would indeed have special operations forces deployed in 60 countries around the world.

It has been the Obama administration, however, that has embraced the concept far more fully and engaged the region even more broadly.  Last year, the Washington Post reported that U.S. had deployed special operations forces in 75 countries, from South America to Central Asia.  Recently, however, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me that on any given day, America’s elite troops are working in about 70 countries, and that its country total by year’s end would be around 120.  These forces are engaged in a host of missions, from Army Rangers involved in conventional combat in Afghanistan to the team of Navy SEALs who assassinated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, to trainers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines within U.S. Special Operations Command working globally from the Dominican Republic to Yemen.

The United States is now involved in wars in six arc-of-instability nations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.  It has military personnel deployed in other arc states, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.  Of these countries, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all host U.S. military bases, while the CIA is reportedly building a secret base somewhere in the region for use in its expanded drone wars in Yemen and Somalia.  It is also using already existing facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates for the same purposes, and operating a clandestine base in Somalia where it runs indigenous agents and carries out counterterrorism training for local partners.

In addition to its own military efforts, the Obama administration has also arranged for the sale of weaponry to regimes in arc states across the Middle East, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.  It has been indoctrinating and schooling indigenous military partners through the State Department’s and Pentagon’s International Military Education and Training program.* (Emphasis added) Last year, it provided training to more than 7,000 students from 130 countries.  “The emphasis is on the Middle East and Africa because we know that terrorism will grow, and we know that vulnerable countries are the most targeted,” Kay Judkins, the program’s policy manager, recently told the American Forces Press Service.

According to Pentagon documents released earlier this year, the U.S. has personnel — some in token numbers, some in more sizeable contingents — deployed in 76 other nations sometimes counted in the arc of instability: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Syria, Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

While arrests of 30 members of an alleged CIA spy ring in Iran earlier this year may be, like earlier incarcerations of supposed American “spies”, pure theater for internal consumption or international bargaining, there is little doubt that the U.S. is conducting covert operations there, too.  Last year, reports surfaced that U.S. black ops teams had been authorized to run missions inside that country, and spies and local proxies are almost certainly at work there as well.  Just recently, the Wall Street Journal revealed a series of “secret operations on the Iran-Iraq border” by the U.S. military and a coming CIA campaign of covert operations aimed at halting the smuggling of Iranian arms into Iraq.

All of this suggests that there may, in fact, not be a single nation within the arc of instability, however defined, in which the United States is without a base or military or intelligence personnel, or where it is not running agents, sending weapons, conducting covert operations — or at war.

The Arc of History

Just after President Obama came into office in 2009, then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  Drawing special attention to the arc of instability, he summed up the global situation this way: “The large region from the Middle East to South Asia is the locus for many of the challenges facing the United States in the twenty-first century.”  Since then, as with the Bush-identified phrase “global war on terror,” the Obama administration and the U.S. military have largely avoided using “arc of instability,” preferring to refer to it using far vaguer formulations.

During a speech at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Symposium earlier this year, for example, Navy Admiral Eric Olson, then the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, pointed toward a composite satellite image of the world at night.  Before September 11, 2001, said Olson, the lit portion of the planet — the industrialized nations of the global north — were considered the key areas.  Since then, he told the audience, 51 countries, almost all of them in the arc of instability, have taken precedence.  “Our strategic focus,” he said, “has shifted largely to the south… certainly within the special operations community, as we deal with the emerging threats from the places where the lights aren’t.”

More recently, in remarks at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., John O. Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, outlined the president’s new National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which highlighted carrying out missions in the “Pakistan-Afghanistan region” and “a focus on specific regions, including what we might call the periphery — places like Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and the Maghreb [northern Africa].”

“This does not,” Brennan insisted, “require a ‘global’ war” — and indeed, despite the Bush-era terminology, it never has.  While, for instance, planning for the 9/11 attacks took place in Germany and would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid hailed from the United Kingdom, advanced, majority-white Western nations have never been American targets.  The “arc” has never arced out of the global south, whose countries are assumed to be fundamentally unstable by nature and their problems fixable through military intervention.

Building Instability

A decade’s evidence has made it clear that U.S. operations in the arc of instability are destabilizing.  For years, to take one example, Washington has wielded military aid, military actions, and diplomatic pressure in such a way as to undermine the government of Pakistan, promote factionalism within its military and intelligence services, and stoke anti-American sentiment to remarkable levels among the country’s population.  (According to a recent survey, just 12% of Pakistanis have a positive view of the United States.)

A semi-secret drone war in that nation’s tribal borderlands, involving hundreds of missile strikes and significant, if unknown levels, of civilian casualties, has been only the most polarizing of Washington’s many ham-handed efforts.  When it comes to that CIA-run effort, a recent Pew survey of Pakistanis found that 97% of respondents viewed it negatively, a figure almost impossible to achieve in any sort of polling.

In Yemen, long-time support — in the form of aid, military training, and weapons, as well as periodic air or drone strikes — for dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh led to a special relationship between the U.S. and elite Yemeni forces led by Saleh’s relatives.  This year, those units have been instrumental in cracking down on the freedom struggle there, killing protesters and arresting dissenting officers who refused orders to open fire on civilians.  It’s hardly surprising that, even before Yemen slid into a leaderless void (after Saleh was wounded in an assassination attempt), a survey of Yemenis found — again a jaw-dropping polling figure — 99% of respondents viewed the U.S. government’s relations with the Islamic world unfavorably, while just 4% “somewhat” or “strongly approved” of Saleh’s cooperation with Washington.

Instead of pulling back from operations in Yemen, however, the U.S. has doubled down. The CIA, with support from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, has been running local agents as well as a lethal drone campaign aimed at Islamic militants.  The U.S. military has been carrying out its own air strikes, as well as sending in more trainers to work with indigenous forces, while American black ops teams launch lethal missions, often alongside Yemeni allies.

These efforts have set the stage for further ill-will, political instability, and possible blowback.  Just last year, a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed Jabr al-Shabwani, the son of strongman Sheikh Ali al-Shabwani.  In an act of revenge, Ali repeatedly attacked one of Yemen’s largest oil pipelines, resulting in billions of dollars in lost revenue for the Yemeni government, and demanded Saleh stop cooperating with the U.S. strikes.

Earlier this year, in Egypt and Tunisia, long-time U.S. efforts to promote what it liked to call “regional stability” — through military alliances, aid, training, and weaponry — collapsed in the face of popular movements against the U.S.-supported dictators ruling those nations.   Similarly, in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, popular protests erupted against authoritarian regimes partnered with and armed courtesy of the U.S. military.  It’s hardly surprising that, when asked in a recent survey whether President Obama had met the expectations created by his 2009 speech in Cairo, where he called for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world,” only 4% of Egyptians answered yes.  (The same poll found only 6% of Jordanians thought so and just 1% of Lebanese.)

A recent Zogby poll of respondents in six Arab countries — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — found that, taking over from a president who had propelled anti-Americanism in the Muslim world to an all-time high, Obama managed to drive such attitudes even higher. Substantial majorities of Arabs in every country now view the U.S. as not contributing “to peace and stability in the Arab World.”

Increasing Instability Across the Globe

U.S. interference in the arc of instability is certainly nothing new.  Leaving aside current wars, over the last century, the United States has engaged in military interventions in the global south in Cambodia, Congo, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Egypt, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Panama, the Philippines, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Somalia, Thailand, and Vietnam, among other places.  The CIA has waged covert campaigns in many of the same countries, as well as Afghanistan, Algeria, Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, and Syria, to name just a few.

Like George W. Bush before him, Barack Obama evidently looks out on the “unlit world” and sees a source of global volatility and danger for the United States.  His answer has been to deploy U.S. military might to blunt instability, shore up allies, and protect American lives.

Despite the salient lesson of 9/11– interventions abroad beget blowback at home — he has waged wars in response to blowback that have, in turn, generated more of the same.  A recent Rasmussen poll indicates that most Americans differ with the president when it comes to his idea of how the U.S. should be involved abroad.  Seventy-five percent of voters, for example, agreed with this proposition in a recent poll: “The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.”  In addition, clear majorities of Americans are against defending Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and a host of other arc of instability countries, even if they are attacked by outside powers.

After decades of overt and covert U.S. interventions in arc states, including the last 10 years of constant warfare, most are still poor, underdeveloped, and seemingly even more unstable.  This year, in their annual failed state index — a ranking of the most volatile nations on the planet — Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace placed the two arc nations that have seen the largest military interventions by the U.S. — Iraq and Afghanistan — in their top ten. Pakistan and Yemen ranked 12th and 13th, respectively, while Somalia — the site of U.S. interventions under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, during the Bush presidency in the 2000s, and again under Obama — had the dubious honor of being number one.

For all the discussions here about (armed) “nation-building efforts” in the region, what we’ve clearly witnessed is a decade of nation unbuilding that ended only when the peoples of various Arab lands took their futures into their own hands and their bodies out into the streets.  As recent polling in arc nations indicates, people of the global south see the United States as promoting or sustaining, not preventing, instability, and objective measures bear out their claims.  The fact that numerous popular uprisings opposing authoritarian rulers allied with the U.S. have proliferated this year provides the strongest evidence yet of that.

With Americans balking at defending arc-of-instability nations, with clear indications that military interventions don’t promote stability, and with a budget crisis of epic proportions at home, it remains to be seen what pretexts the Obama administration will rely on to continue a failed policy — one that seems certain to make the world more volatile and put American citizens at greater risk.

Original Article

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