British Parliament Confirms Libya War Was Based On Lies … Turned Nation Into a “Shit Show” … Spread Terrorism

Parliamentary Report Confirms What the Alternative Media Has Been Saying for Years

The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.

by George Washington
September 22, 2016

Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.

The War Based On Bogus Intelligence … Like the Iraq War

Initially, the report finds that the threat to civilians from Libyan  government forces was dramatically overstated:

Former French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, who introduced Resolution 1973 [imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, and laying the groundwork for overthrowing the government], asserted in his speech to the Security Council that “the situation on the ground is more alarming than ever, marked by the violent re-conquest of cities”. He stressed the urgency of the situation, arguing that “We have very little time left—perhaps only a matter of hours.” Subsequent analysis suggested that the immediate threat to civilians was being publicly overstated and that the reconquest of cities had not resulted in mass civilian casualties.

 

***

 

The proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi  [which was the basis for the West’s war to overthrow Gaddafi] was not supported by the available evidence. The Gaddafi regime had retaken towns from the rebels without attacking civilians in early February 2011 …. Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. More widely, Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year record of appalling human rights abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians.

 

***

 

On 17 March 2011, Muammar Gaddafi announced to the rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.” Subsequent investigation revealed that when Gaddafi regime forces retook Ajdabiya in February 2011, they did not attack civilians. Muammar Gaddafi also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops.

 

***

 

An Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. The investigation concluded that

much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.

***

 

In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty. US intelligence officials reportedly described the intervention as “an intelligence-light decision”.

Just like the ginned up intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. And the “humanitarian wars” waged over the last couple of decades.

The Libyan Government Was Fighting Terrorists

The report also notes that the Libyan government really was – as Libyan dictator Gaddafi claimed at the time – fighting Islamic terrorists based in Benghazi:

Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate.

 

***

 

Abdelhakim Belhadj and other members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011.

Secret intelligence reports from 2011, written before and during the illegal US-led attack on Libya and recently obtained by the Washington Times, state:

There is a close link between al Qaeda, Jihadi organizations, and the opposition in Libya…

Indeed, the Libyan rebel commander admitted at the time that his fighters had links to Al Qaeda.  And see this.

We reported in 2012:

The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:

The Hindustan Times reported last year:

“There is no question that al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition,” Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and a leading expert on terrorism, told Hindustan Times.

 

It has always been Qaddafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi.

***

(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion.  But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)

The Daily Mail reported in 2014:

A self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

 

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

 

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

 

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

 

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

 

***

 

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

 

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

The West and Its Allies Directly Supported and Armed the Rebels

The UK report confirms that the West and its allies directly supported and armed the rebels:

The combat performance of rebel ground forces was enhanced by personnel and intelligence provided by states such as the UK, France, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. For example, Lord Richards told us that the UK “had a few people embedded” with the rebel forces.

 

Resolution 1973 called on United Nations member states to ensure the “strict implementation of the arms embargo”. However, we were told that the international community turned a blind eye to the supply of weapons to the rebels. Lord Richards highlighted “the degree to which the Emiratis and the Qataris … played a major role in the success of the ground operation.” For example, Qatar supplied French Milan anti­tank missiles to certain rebel groups. We were told that Qatar channelled its weapons to favoured militias rather than to the rebels as a whole.

The REAL Motivation for War

The real motivation for the war?  The Parliamentary report explains:

A further insight into French motivations was provided in a freedom of information disclosure by the United States State Department in December 2015. On 2 April 2011, Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence officers to the Secretary of State:

 

According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

 

  1. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
  2. Increase French influence in North Africa,
  3. Improve his internal political situation in France,
  4. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
  5. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

 

The sum of four of the five factors identified by Sidney Blumenthal equated to the French national interest. The fifth factor was President Sarkozy’s political self-interest.

Gaddafi Tried to Step Down … But the West Insisted On Violent Regime Change

Gaddafi had offered to hand over power, but the West instead wanted violent regime change. (The British report notes: “By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change.”)

The Parliamentary report notes that Gaddaffi may have been attempting to flee the country when he was killed:

Muammar Gaddafi might have been seeking an exit from Libya in February and March 2011. On 21 February 2011, for example, Lord Hague told reporters that he had seen credible information that Muammar Gaddafi was on his way to exile in Venezuela. Concerted action after the telephone calls conducted by Mr Blair might have led to Muammar Gaddafi’s abdication and to a negotiated solution in Libya. It was therefore important to keep the lines of communication open. However, we saw no evidence that the then Prime Minister David Cameron attempted to exploit Mr Blair’s contacts.

 

***

 

Political options were available if the UK Government had adhered to the spirit of Resolution 1973, implemented its original campaign plan and influenced its coalition allies to pause military action when Benghazi was secured in March 2011. Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at lesser cost to the UK and to Libya. If political engagement had been unsuccessful, the UK and its coalition allies would not have lost anything. Instead, the UK Government focused exclusively on military intervention. In particular, we saw no evidence that it tried to exploit former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s contacts and influence with the Gaddafi regime.

The U.S. and France were also hell-bent on regime change.  And the New York Times confirms that Hillary Clinton is largely responsible for the violent regime change in Libya.

Why Should We Care?

Why should we care?

Well, the House of Commons report confirms that the Libyan war has wrecked the country:

The Libyan economy generated some $75 billion of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010. This economy produced an average annual per capita income of approximately $12,250, which was comparable to the average income in some European countries. [The former Indian representative to the U.N. notes that, before the war, Libya had less of its population in poverty than the Netherlands.  Libyans had access to free health care, education, electricity and interest-free loans, and women had great freedoms that were applauded by the U.N. Human Rights Council]. Libyan Government revenue greatly exceeded expenditure in the 2000s. … The United Nations Human Development Report 2010—a United Nations aggregate measure of health, education and income—ranked Libya as the 53rd most advanced country in the world for human development and as the most advanced country in Africa.

 

***

 

In 2014, the most recent year for which reliable figures are available … the average Libyan’s annual income had decreased from $12,250 in 2010 to $7,820.  Since 2014, Libya’s economic predicament has reportedly deteriorated. Libya is likely to experience a budget deficit of some 60% of GDP in 2016. The requirement to finance that deficit is rapidly depleting net foreign reserves, which halved from $107 billion in 2013 to $56.8 billion by the end of 2015. Production of crude oil fell to its lowest recorded level in 2015, while oil prices collapsed in the second half of 2014. Inflation increased to 9.2% driven by a 13.7% increase in food prices including a fivefold increase in the price of flour. The United Nations ranked Libya as the world’s 94th most advanced country in its 2015 index of human development, a decline from 53rd place in 2010.

 

***

 

In 2016, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that out of a total Libyan population of 6.3 million, 3 million people have been impacted by the armed conflict and political instability, and that 2.4 million people require protection and some form of humanitarian assistance. In its World Report 2016, Human Rights Watch stated that Libya is

heading towards a humanitarian crisis, with almost 400,000 people internally displaced and increasing disruption to basic services, such as power and fuel supplies. Forces engaged in the conflict continued with impunity to arbitrarily detain, torture, unlawfully kill, indiscriminately attack, abduct and disappear, and forcefully displace people from their homes. The domestic criminal justice system collapsed in most parts of the country, exacerbating the human rights crisis

People-trafficking gangs exploited the lack of effective government after 2011, making Libya a key transit route for illegal migration into Europe and the location of a migrant crisis. In addition to other extremist militant groups, ISIL emerged in Libya in 2014, seizing control of territory around Sirte and setting up terrorist training centres. Human Rights Watch documented unlawful executions by ISIL in Sirte of at least 49 people by methods including decapitation and shooting. The civil war between west and east has waxed and waned with sporadic outbreaks of violence since 2014. In April 2016, United States President Barack Obama described post-intervention Libya as a “shit show”. It is difficult to disagree with this pithy assessment.

The Parliamentary report confirms that the Libyan war – like the Iraq war – has ended up spreading terrorism around the globe:

Libyan weapons and ammunition were trafficked across North and West Africa and the Middle East.

 

***

 

The United Nations Panel of Experts appointed to examine the impact of Resolution 1973 identified the presence of ex-Libyan weapons in Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Gaza, Mali, Niger, Tunisia and Syria. The panel concluded that “arms originating from Libya have significantly reinforced the military capacity of terrorist groups operating in Algeria, Egypt, Mali and Tunisia.” In the 2010-15 Parliament, our predecessor Committee noted that the failure to secure the Gaddafi regime’s arms caches had led to “a proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and some heavier artillery, across North and West Africa”. It identified that Libyan small arms had apparently ended up in the hands of Boko Haram militants.

 

***

 

In January 2014, Egyptian Islamist insurgents used an ex-Libyan MANPAD to shoot down an Egyptian Army helicopter in the Sinai.

 

***

 

The FCO told us that “Political instability in Libya has led to a permissive environment for terrorist groups in which to operate, including ISIL [i.e. ISIS] affiliated groups”.   Professor Patrick Porter, Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of Exeter, agreed with the FCO analysis, stating that “a lack of effective government is creating opportunities for the Islamic State.”

 

***

 

ISIL has used its presence in Libya to train terrorists. For example, Sefeddine Rezgui, the gunman who killed Western holidaymakers in Tunisia in June 2015, was trained by ISIL at its base in Sabratha along with the two gunmen who killed 22 tourists at the Bardo museum in Tunis. ISIL’s plans may extend beyond terrorism. Vice-Admiral Clive Johnstone, a Royal Navy officer and NATO commander, commented that

We know they [ISIL] have ambitions to go offshore … There is a horrible opportunity in the future that a misdirected, untargeted round of a very high quality weapons system will just happen to target a cruise liner, or an oil platform, or a container ship.

And the UK report confirms that the Libyan war has created a tidal wave of refugees:

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that some 1 million migrants were present in Libya in June 2016. This estimate comprised 425,000 internally displaced Libyans, 250,000 non-Libyan migrants and 250,000 returnees. Most non-Libyan migrants travelled from West Africa, the Horn of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The most common countries of origin for non-Libyan migrants were Niger, Egypt, Chad, Ghana and Sudan. Between 1 January and 31 May 2016, 47,851 migrants arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. A similar number of migrants attempted the crossing over the same period in 2015. Despite the increased resources committed to Operation Triton, however, crossing the Mediterranean is becoming increasingly hazardous for migrants transiting through Libya. The IOM recorded 2,061 migrants as dead or missing between 1 January and 31 May 2016, which showed a 15% increase in fatalities compared with the same period in 2015.

In other words – just like the Iraq war – the Libyan war was based on fake intelligence, was carried out for reasons having little to do with national security or protecting civilians, destroyed a nation and created a “shit show”, spread terrorism far and wide, and created waves of refugees.

By Philip Giraldi – September 20, 2016

On September 9th the Washington Post featured a front page article describing how the Defense Department had used warplanes to attack targets and kill suspected militants in six countries over the Labor Day weekend. The article was celebratory, citing Pentagon officials who boasted of the ability to engage “multiple targets” anywhere in the world in what has become a “permanent war.” The article did not mention that the United States is not currently at war with any of the six target countries and made no attempt to make a case that the men and women who were killed actually threatened the U.S. or American citizens.

deep-state

Actual American interests in fighting a war without limits and without an end were not described. They never are. Indeed, in the U.S. and elsewhere many citizens often wonder how certain government policies like the Washington’s war on terror can persist in spite of widespread popular opposition or clear perceptions that they are either ineffective or even harmful. This persistence of policies regarding which there is no debate is sometimes attributed to a “deep state.”

The phrase “deep state” originated in and was often applied to Turkey, in Turkish “Derin Devlet,” where the nation’s security services and governing elite traditionally pursued the same chauvinistic and inward-looking agenda both domestically and in foreign affairs no matter who was prime minister.

In countries where a deep state dominates, real democracy and rule of law are inevitably the first victims. A deep state like Turkey’s is traditionally organized around a center of official and publicly accepted power, which means it often includes senior government officials, the police and intelligence services as well as the military. For the police and intelligence agencies the propensity to operate in secret is a sine qua non for the deep state as it provides cover for the maintenance of relationships that under other circumstances would be considered suspect or even illegal.

It has been claimed that deep state activities in Turkey are frequently conducted through connivance with politicians who are able to provide cover for the activity, with corporate interests and sometimes even with criminal groups, which can operate across borders and help in the mundane tasks of political corruption to include money laundering. This connection of political power with the ability to operate under the radar and generate considerable cash flows are characteristic of deep state.

As all governments for sometimes good reasons engage in concealment of their more questionable activities or even resort to out and out deception, one must ask how the deep state differs. While an elected government might sometimes engage in activity that is legally or morally questionable there are normally some checks and balances in place to limit resort to such activity as well as periodic elections to repudiate what is done. For players in the deep state, there are no accountability and no legal limits and everything is based on self-interest justified through assertion of patriotism and the national interest if they are ever challenged.

Every country has a deep state of some kind even if it goes by another name. “The Establishment” or “old boys’ network” was widely recognized in twentieth century Britain. “Establishment” has often also been used in the United States, describing a community of shared values and interests that has evolved post-Second World War from the Washington-New York axis of senior government officials and financial services executives. They together constitute a group that claims to know what is “best” for the country and act accordingly, no matter who sits in the White House. They generally operate in the shadows but occasionally surface and become public, as when 50 foreign so-called policy experts or former senior officials write letters staking out political positions, as has been occurring recently. The “experts” are currently weighing in to both support and fund the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who, they believe, shares their views and priorities.

The deep state principle should sound familiar to Americans who have been following political developments over the past twenty years. For the deep state to be effective it must be intimately associated with the development or pre-existence of a national security state. There must also be a perception that the nation is in peril, justifying extraordinary measures undertaken by self-described patriots to preserve life and property of the citizenry. Those measures are generically conservative in nature, intended to protect the status quo with the implication that change is dangerous.

Those requirements certainly prevail in post 9/11 America and also feed the other essential component of the deep state, that the control should work secretly or at least under the radar. Consider for a moment how Washington operates. There is gridlock in Congress and the legislature opposes nearly everything that the White House supports. Nevertheless, certain things happen seemingly without any discussion, including the bipartisan, unconstitutional and extremely dangerous assumption of increased executive authority by the White House.

As the Post article demonstrates, there is also widespread acceptance by our country’s elites of the fiction that America is threatened and that Washington has a right to intervene preemptively anywhere in the world at any time. Unpopular and unconstitutional wars continue in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq while the American president routinely claims the meaningless title “leader of the free world” even as he threatens countries that do not adhere to norms dictated by Washington. In the case of Russia, some American leaders actually believe a potentially nuclear war can be won and should be considered while at least one general has taken steps to bring about such a conflict.

Meanwhile both targeted citizens and often innocent foreigners who fit profiles are assassinated by drones without any legal process or framework. Lying to start a war as well as the war crimes committed by U.S. troops and contractors on far flung battlefields including torture and rendition are rarely investigated and punishment of any kind is so rare as to be remarkable when it does occur.

Here at home banks are bailed out and corporate interests are protected by law. Huge multi-year defense contracts are approved for ships and planes that are both vulnerable and money pits. The public is routinely surveilled, citizens are imprisoned without being charged or are tried by military tribunals, the government increasingly cites state secrets privilege to conceal its actions and whistleblowers are punished with prison. America the warlike predatory capitalist operating with little interference or input from the citizenry might be considered a virtual definition of deep state.

Some observers believe that the deep state is driven by the “Washington Consensus,” a subset of the “American exceptionalism” meme. It is plausible to consider it a 1950s creation, the end product of the “military industrial complex” that Dwight Eisenhower warned about, but some believe its infrastructure was actually put in place through the passage of the Federal Reserve Act prior to the First World War. Several years after signing the bill, Woodrow Wilson reportedly lamented “We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

As I have noted, America’s deep state is something of a hybrid creature that operates along a New York to Washington axis. Where the Turks sometimes engage in unambiguous criminal activity like drug trafficking to fund themselves the Washington elite instead turns to the banksters, lobbyists and defense contractors, operating much more in the open and, ostensibly, legally. U.S. style deep state includes all the obvious parties, both public and private, who benefit from the status quo to include key players in the police and intelligence agencies, the military, the treasury and justice departments and in the judiciary. It is structured to materially reward those who play along with the charade and the glue to accomplish that comes ultimately from Wall Street. “Financial services” might well be considered the epicenter of the entire process. Even though government is needed to implement desired policies, the banksters comprise the truly essential element, capable of providing genuine rewards for compliance. As corporate interests increasingly own the media, little dissent comes from the Fourth Estate as the process plays out while many of the proliferating Washington think tanks that provide deep state “intellectual” credibility are similarly funded by defense contractors.

The cross fertilization that is essential to make the system work takes place through the famous revolving door whereby senior government officials enter the private sector at a high level. In some cases the door revolves a number of times, with officials leaving government before returning in an even more elevated position. This has been characteristic of the rise of the so-called neoconservatives. Along the way, those select individuals are protected, promoted and groomed for bigger things. The senior government officials, ex-generals, and high level intelligence operatives who participate find themselves with multi-million dollar homes for their retirement years, cushioned by a tidy pile of investments.

The deep state in American is completely corrupt because it exists to sell out the public interest and it includes both major political parties as well as government officials. Politicians like the Clintons who leave the White House “broke” and accumulate more than $100 million in a few years exemplify how it rewards its friends while a bloated Pentagon churns out hundreds of unneeded flag officers who receive munificent pensions and benefits for the rest of their lives. And no one is punished, ever. Disgraced former general and CIA Director David Petraeus is now a partner at the KKR private equity firm even though he knows nothing about financial services. More recently, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary and is publicly advocating assassinating Russians and Iranians, has become a Senior Counselor at Clinton-linked Beacon Global Strategies. Both Petraeus and Morell are being rewarded for their loyalty to the system.

What makes the deep state so successful? It wins no matter who is in power by creating bipartisan supported money pits within the system. Unending wars and simmering though hard to define threats together invite more spending on national security and make for good business. Monetizing the completely unnecessary and hideously expensive global war on terror benefits the senior government officials, beltway industries and financial services that feed off it. Because it is essential to keep the money flowing, the deep state persists in promoting policies that otherwise make no sense, to include the unwinnable wars currently enjoying marquee status in Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan. The deep state knows that a fearmongered public will buy its product and does not even have to make much of an effort to sell it.

The United States of America is not exactly deep state Turkey but to be sure any democracy can be subverted by particular interests hiding behind the mask of patriotism buttressed by phony international threats. Ordinary Americans frequently ask why politicians and government officials appear to be so obtuse, rarely recognizing what is actually occurring in the country. That is partly due to the fact that the political class lives in a bubble of its own creation but it might also be because many of America’s leaders actually accept and benefit from the fact that there is an unelected, un-appointed and unaccountable presence within the system that actually manages what is taking place from behind the scenes. That would be the American deep state.


[This article is a lightly edited version of a paper presented at the Ron Paul Institute’s conference on peace and prosperity held on September 10, 2016 in Dulles, Virginia]

 

September 18, 2016

By Chris Hedges

President Barack Obama is joined by presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Thomas Frank’s marvelous scorched-earth assault on the Democratic Party and professional elites in his book “Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” has one fatal flaw. Frank blames the liberal class, rather than the corporations that have seized control of the centers of power, for our descent into political dysfunction and neofeudalism.

Yes, self-identified liberals such as the Clintons and Barack Obama speak in the language of liberalism while selling out the poor, the working class and the middle class to global corporate interests. But they are not, at least according to the classical definition, liberals. They are neoliberals. They serve the dictates of neoliberalism—austerity, deindustrialization, anti-unionism, endless war and globalization—to empower and enrich themselves and the party. The actual liberal class—the segment of the Democratic Party that once acted as a safety valve to ameliorate through reform the grievances and injustices within our capitalist democracy and that had within its ranks politicians such as George McGovern, Gaylord Nelson, Warren Magnuson and Frank Church and New Deal Democrats such as Franklin D. Roosevelt—no longer exists. I spent 248 pages in my book “Death of the Liberal Class” explaining the orchestrated corporate campaign to erase the liberal class from the political landscape and, more ominously, destroy the radical labor and social movements that were the real engines of social and political reform in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Democratic and the professional elites whom Frank excoriates are, as he points out, morally bankrupt, but they are only one piece of the fake democracy that characterizes our system of “inverted totalitarianism.” The problem is not only liberals who are not liberal; it is also conservatives, once identified with small government, the rule of law and fiscal responsibility, who are not conservative. It is a court system that has abandoned justice and rather than defend constitutional rights has steadily stripped them from us through judicial fiat. It is a Congress that does not legislate but instead permits lobbyists and corporations to write legislation. It is a press, desperate for advertising dollars and often owned by large corporations, that does not practice journalism. It is academics, commentators and public intellectuals, often paid by corporate think tanks, who function as shameless cheerleaders for the neoliberal and imperial establishment and mock the concept of independent and critical thought.

The Democratic and the professional elites are an easy and often amusing target. One could see them, in another era, prancing at a masked ball at Versailles on the eve of the revolution. They are oblivious to how hated they have become. They do not understand that when they lambast Donald Trump as a disgrace or a bigot they swell his support because they, not Trump, are seen by many Americans as the enemy. But these courtiers did not create the system. They sold themselves to it. And if Americans do not understand how we got here we are never going to find our way out.

During Barack Obama’s administration there has been near-total continuity with the administration of George W. Bush, especially regarding mass surveillance, endless war and the failure to regulate Wall Street. This is because the mechanisms of corporate power embodied in the deep state do not change with election cycles. The election of Donald Trump, however distasteful, would not radically alter corporate control over our lives. The corporate state is impervious to political personalities. If Trump continues to rise in the public opinion polls, the corporate backers of Hillary Clinton will start funding him instead. They know Trump will prostitute himself to money as assiduously as Clinton will.

Our political elites, Republican and Democrat, were shaped, funded and largely selected by corporate power in what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a coup d’état in slow motion. Nothing will change until corporate power itself is dismantled.

The corporate elites failed to grasp that a functioning liberal class is the mechanism that permits a capitalist democracy to adjust itself to stave off unrest and revolt. They decided, not unlike other doomed elites of history, to eradicate the liberal establishment after they had eradicated the radical movements that created the political pressure for advancements such as the eight-hour workday and Social Security.

Lewis Powell, then the general counsel to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in August 1971 wrote a memo called “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” It became the blueprint for the corporate coup. Powell would later be appointed to the Supreme Court. Corporations, as Powell urged, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the assault, backing candidates, creating the Business Roundtable, funding The Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and Accuracy in Academia. The memo argued that corporations must marginalize or silence those who in “the college campus, the pulpit, the media, and the intellectual and literary journals” were hostile to corporate interests. Powell attacked Ralph Nader and called for a concerted campaign to discredit him. Lobbyists eager to dole out huge sums of cash flooded Washington and state capitals. It soon became difficult and often impossible, whether in the press, the political arena or academia, to challenge the dogma of neoliberalism.

“It laid out a strategy to attack democracy in America,” Ralph Nader said of the Powell memo. “He basically said to the business community, you’ve got to hire a lot more lobbyists swarming over Congress, you’ve got to pour a lot more money into their campaigns, both parties’, Republican and Democrat. You’ve got to get out on the campuses and get right-wing speakers to combat progressive speakers.”

The eight-page memo, Nader went on, said, “Look, galvanize, come into Washington like a swarm, media, lobbying, put your high executives into government offices, regulate offices, Department of Defense, and so on. But that wasn’t the most successful strategy, although it was successful. The most successful was that the Powell Memorandum led to the massive corruption of the Democratic Party. And that came at the same time that Tony Coelho, who was a congressman from California, took over the fundraising for the House of Representatives Democrats.”

The infusion of corporate money into the Democratic Party left the liberals in the party with a stark choice—serve corporate power or get pushed out. Those, like the Clintons, who were willing to walk away from the core values of liberalism profited. At that point they became liberals only in name. They were assigned their part in the empty political exercise, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Nader calls these faux liberals “rhetorical snake charmers.”

Once corporate money started to pour into the Democratic Party in the early 1970s, legislation that sought to check or regulate corporate power—the auto and highway safety laws, oil pipeline safety laws, product safety laws, the revised Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the measure that established the Environmental Protection Agency—was no longer possible. The Democrats began to compete with the Republicans to propose legislation that would provide tax loopholes for corporations. Such legislation now legally permits oligarchs such as Trump and corporations to engage in a de facto tax boycott. The system, designed to exclusively serve corporate power, fell into political paralysis. The consent of the governed became a joke.

“There hasn’t been a single major piece of legislation advancing the health, safety and economic rights of the American people since 1974, arguably since 1976,” Nader told me. “That’s the effect of money in politics. That’s the effect of a totally subservient strategy by the liberals.”

Labor, which once put about one in every four dollars into the Democratic Party, was sidelined as a political force. The corporate campaign of union busting, deregulation, automation and off-shoring of jobs accelerated. And the class of faux liberals, such as the Clintons, played its assigned role, speaking in the old language of liberal values while betraying working people.

“[Bill] Clinton was an enemy of environmental, consumer, and worker issues,” Nader said. “He broke the modest welfare system for single moms. He sold out to the agribusiness companies. He allowed huge mergers in a bill he signed for the communications and the media giants, all in 1996, and this was quite apart from bombing Iraq illegally, killing civilians. He never opposed a swollen military budget that was unauditable.

“If you can smile and have the right rhetoric—Reagan did that, too—you get away with it,” Nader said. “… All you’ve got to do in politics is say the right thing, even though your whole record is contrary, and you’re on your way.”

Those agencies tasked with protecting the citizen from corporate abuse were consciously underfunded or turned over to corporate-approved staff members. Politics, like very other aspect of American life, was commercialized. Everything, from public lands to politicians, was now for sale.

“There’s got to be sanctuaries in a democratic society where nothing is for sale,” Nader said. “Government shouldn’t be for sale. Childhood should not be commercialized and be for sale. The environment shouldn’t be for sale. Our genetic inheritance shouldn’t be for sale. Elections shouldn’t be for sale. They’re all for sale now.”

Out of this rot and corruption, as it always does, arose a class of privileged elites who wallow in self-adulation and will do anything to further their personal self-advancement. Thomas Frank, who is a gifted writer and reporter, peers into the hermetic and exclusive world of the professional Democratic power elite—the vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, the hipster innovation districts for budding tech entrepreneurs in cities such as Boston, the Ivy League pedigrees, the open disdain for the working class and the blind faith in a functioning meritocracy. The elites believe they are privileged, Frank writes correctly, because they are convinced they are the smartest, most creative, most talented and hardest working. They cap this grotesque narcissism, he points out, with a facade of goodness and virtue. They turn their elitism into a morality play.

In Frank’s book there is a wonderful depiction of an event called No Ceilings, held in March 2015 on the day after International Women’s Day and sponsored by the Clinton Foundation at New York City’s Best Buy Theater (now the PlayStation Theater). The participants spent most of the time gushing over each other and uttering vague and amorphous calls for innovation and empowerment that have become to economic advancement what phrenology once was to science. They, like all other courtiers, cannot distinguish between reality and the masquerade.

“This is not politics,” Frank writes. “It’s an imitation of politics. It feels political, yes: it’s highly moralistic, it sets up an easy melodrama of good versus bad, it allows you to make all kinds of judgments about people you disagree with, but ultimately it’s a diversion, a way of putting across a policy program while avoiding any sincere discussion of the politics in question. The virtue-quest is an exciting moral crusade that seems to be extremely important but at the conclusion of which you discover you’ve got little to show for it besides NAFTA, bank deregulation, and a prison spree.”

But Frank fails to grasp that, as C. Wright Mills understood, the Republican and the Democratic elites, along with our financial and corporate elites, are one entity. They are formed in the same institutions, run in the same social circles and cross-pollinate like bees. This has been true since the country’s formation. Harvard and Yale were designed, like Oxford and Cambridge in Britain, to perpetuate the plutocracy. They do an admirable job.

Hillary Clinton sat in the front row for Donald Trump’s third wedding. And Chelsea Clinton, living in a multimillion-dollar penthouse in New York City, was until the current presidential campaign a close friend of Ivanka Trump. George W. Bush, although doltish and inept, graduated from Andover, Yale and Harvard Business School. His appointees were no less steeped in elitist Ivy League credentials than those around Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Paul Wolfowitz attended Cornell and the University of Chicago. Donald Rumsfeld went to Princeton. Henry “Hank” Paulson graduated from Dartmouth and Harvard Business School before working for Goldman Sachs. Lewis “Scooter” Libby went to Yale and Columbia Law School (as well as the pre-prep school that I attended). Joshua Bolten, a chief of staff for President George W. Bush, went to Princeton and Stanford Law School.

The problem is not the liberal elites. The problem is the elites. They serve the same ideology. They work in the same financial institutions, hedge funds and foundations, including the Council on Foreign Relations, where government officials often are parked when they are out of power. They belong to the same clubs. They are stunted technocrats who function as systems managers for corporate capitalism. And no class of courtiers, going back to those that populated the Ottoman palaces, Versailles or the Forbidden City, has ever transformed itself into a responsible elite. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, “hedonists of power.”

I, like Frank, have no affection for liberals. They are, and have always been, a smug, self-absorbed group who talk eloquently, even passionately, about justice and equal rights until their own privileges and sense of entitlement are questioned and threatened. They supported Martin Luther King Jr., for example, as long as he confined his struggle to integration. They abandoned him when he began to call for economic justice. But to blame liberals for our corporate system of “inverted totalitarianism” is ridiculous. They saw what had to be done to serve the centers of power, and they obliged. Those liberals with integrity, those who actually believed—as McGovern did—in reform and a liberal democracy, have been pushed out of the political system.

Contrary to what Frank asserts, the Democratic Party was never the party of the people. It functioned, at best, as a safety valve during periods of discontent. It made possible modest reforms. It was tolerated by the elites because it set the limits of dissent. It permitted a critique of the excesses of the system but never a critique of capitalism, the structures of power or the supposed virtues of those who exercise power. Noam Chomsky has amply elucidated the role of liberals in a capitalist democracy. The liberal class is used to discredit radicals, like Chomsky, and radical movements. It carries out reforms, which are often later revoked, when capitalism extracts too much blood or when it breaks down as it did in the 1930s.

Roosevelt did not institute Social Security and public works projects, create 12 million jobs or give legal status to labor unions because he and other oligarchs cared about the working class. They enacted socialist reforms because—and we know this from Roosevelt’s private correspondence—they feared revolt or, in Roosevelt’s precise word, “revolution.” They established the New Deal programs in order to save capitalism, which Roosevelt later said was his greatest achievement. They realized they would have to give up some of their money; it was that or risk losing all of their money. And they allowed the New Deal to be born because they felt the growing pressure of radical movements such as those of the socialists and communists. Politics is a game of fear. And if you lose the capacity to make the power elites afraid, you become their plaything. This, in the simplest terms, is what has happened to us.

One of Frank’s most misguided attempts to pin our debacle on liberals is his critique of the 1972 campaign of George McGovern. He argues that this moment marked the Democratic Party’s pivot away from working people and organized labor and into the embrace of the white-collar professional class. The McGovern campaign, mistake-plagued though it was, had an admirable platform that called for full employment, a guaranteed minimum income—well above the poverty line—and a redistribution of wealth through a new system of taxation. McGovern had long been a proponent of universal health care. He called for a union-like organization to be formed to advocate on behalf of welfare recipients. These were not concerns of the professional class. McGovern also stood up to the war industry. And, not unlike what is happening to the Republican Trump, the elites in his own party joined with the elites in the other major party to attack their own candidate’s campaign.The big problem for McGovern was not that he or the Democrats abandoned labor but that labor through the numerous anti-communist purges during the previous decades had been domesticated and turned over to Cold War troglodytes like Lane Kirkland, Walter Reuther and George Meany who worked overseas with the CIA to break radical labor unions. Organized labor, especially the AFL-CIO, embraced Richard Nixon’s war in Indochina. It denounced the hippies in the streets. Labor was transformed into a junior partner of capitalism. It was severed from its radical roots. And its ideological capitulation to capitalism, along with deindustrialization, doomed it to oblivion.

McGovern’s last act of political courage was as chairman of the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. The committee issued a report in 1977 called the “Dietary Goals for the United States.” It warned of the health risks of having a diet rich in meat, sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol. McGovern hoped the report would “perform a function similar to that of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking.” His committee called on Americans to dramatically decrease their consumption of meat, dairy fat, eggs and other high-cholesterol sources. The animal agriculture industry went berserk. It exerted tremendous pressure to get the report rewritten to obliterate the health warnings. The committee was soon disbanded. Its functions were turned over to the Agriculture Committee, run by officials in the pocket of the animal agriculture industry. McGovern, like most liberal politicians who refused to sell out, lost his seat, ousted from the Senate in 1980 by a Republican cattle rancher.

The destruction of radical movements, begun by President Woodrow Wilson, removed the pressure placed on the liberal class. Once our radical movements were destroyed, corporations decimated the tepid liberal class itself. No institution in America can any longer be considered truly democratic. And self-identified liberals, like every other participant in the political charade, act out their assigned parts to maintain the fiction of electoral politics, voter choice and a liberal democracy. But it is a charade. We must not, however, confuse the courtiers with the tyrants.


 
Chris Hedges is an American journalist, activist, and author.
 

September 18, 2016

Racism, properly understood, is the acknowledgement of the reality of objective, biological differences between the races, differences that are so profound that racial mingling inevitably causes hatred and violence, thus racial separation is the best way to preserve all races.

Racism, properly understood, is also the recognition that it is perfectly healthy and normal and right to love what is one’s own more than what belongs to others. It is natural, normal, and right to show preferences to one’s self, one’s family, one’s friends, one’s homeland, one’s nation, and one’s race.

Why is so healthy, rational, and enlightened an outlook as racism smeared as “hate”? To prefer one’s family to the neighbors is not hate. To prefer one’s friends to strangers is not hate. To prefer one’s homeland to a foreign country is not hate.

I prefer whites to other races, but that fact alone does not mean that I hate other races. Preference does not mean hatred, but merely an inequality of loves. I love New Mexico, but I love California more. And I perfectly understand why a New Mexican might feel exactly the opposite.

Greg Johnson
Confessions of a Reluctant Hater
Counter-Currents Press, 2016

 

And the American taxpayer has no say in being made complicit in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians.

September 18, 2016

By Rania Khalek

On Wednesday I spoke with Jaisal Noor of The Real News about the Obama administration signing a $38 billion military aid pact with Israel. It is the largest military aid package for any country in US history.

I was joined by Phyllis Bennis, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, who noted that the aid deal has nothing to do with Israel’s security needs, as government officials say, but rather enables Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land and prolongs military occupation.

And as I wrote in an article earlier this week, Obama’s bloated giveaway prioritizes arming Israel above meeting the basic needs of millions of poor and working Americans who are struggling to feed their families.

By Paul Craig Roberts

September 10, 2016

There are many conspiracy theories about 9/11. The US government’s own expanation of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory in which a few Saudi Arabians outwitted the American national security state. Little doubt that many of the more imaginative conspiracy theories were created for the purpose of stigmatizing any skepticism, no matter how well reasoned and supported, of the official story.

worldtrade_7

When thinking about 9/11, it is important to differentiate expert opinion from improbable explanations.

Among the expert opinion are 2,600 structural engineers and high-rise architects who comprise Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth and have written to Congress asking for a real investigation, Firefighters for 9/11 truth, Pilots for 9/11 truth, physicists and chemists who analyzed the dust from the twin towers and report finding reacted and unreacted materials used in controlled demolitions, and former government officials who understand that a security failure as great as 9/11 would have produced an immediate and exacting investigation.

These groups of qualified and experienced people say that the official story of 9/11 is false.  Architects, engineers, and scientists say that the official story is physically impossible. Firefighters and WTC maintenance personnel say that there were numerous explosions within the towers and that the first explosions were in the sub-basements prior to the buildings being hit by airplanes. Experienced military and civilian pilots say the maneuvers of the aircraft are beyond the capability of the alleged hijackers. Both co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission and the legal counsel have written books in which they have said that information was withheld from the Commission, that the US government lied to the Commission, and that the Commission was set up to fail

In other words, the hard evidence simply does not support the official story.

We know that the official story is false. We don’t know who is responsible or the purpose the event was intended to serve. However, circumstantial evidence strongly supports suspicion of the neoconservatives whose high positions in the government would have enabled them to succeed with a false flag attack and to delay and divert any investigation until the official story was set in stone. We also know from the “dancing Israelis” that elements in the Israeli government had advance notice of the attack as Israeli agents were set up ready to film the destruction of the twin towers.

Neoconservative position papers written in the 1990s called for “a new Pearl Harbor” in order to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony, first in the Middle East.  These position papers signaled out Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Libya for attack prior to the event of 9/11. None of these countries had anything whatsoever to do with the official story of 9/11 that blames Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, a jihadist group set up by Washington in the 1970s to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

None of these countries had jihadist governments. Iran has a muted form of Islamic law, but Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Assad in Syria headed secular governments. Yet, neoconservatives falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein had “al-Qaeda connections.” This lie and the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the US were used to invade Iraq under the 9/11 banner. Then the rationale for the invasions changed. 9/11 dropped away, and the “war on terror” and “bringing democracy” took its place.

From my quarter century in Washington, it is clear to me that if such an event as 9/11 had actually happened for the reason given, the White House, Congress, and media would have been screaming for explanation of how a few Arabs outwitted the entire US National Security State—all 16 US intelligence agencies, the security agencies of Washington’s NATO allies and Israel, the National Security Council, Air Traffic Control, and airport security four times in one hour on the same day.  Instead the government refused any inquiry for one year until most of the evidence was destroyed. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/09/government-hid-destroyed-911-evidence.html  That a few Arabs defeated US national security would be the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on a superpower, but no one was held responsible.  This tells me that 9/11 was a State Crime Against Democracy.

9/11 was used by the US government to launch wars that have destroyed in whole or part seven countries, killing millions of peoples and producing millions of refugees.  9/11 was also used to create an American police state, which is a far greater threat to freedom and democracy than Muslim terrorism.

See
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/08/24/the-term-conspiracy-theory-was-invented-by-the-cia-in-order-to-prevent-disbelief-of-official-government-stories  

and
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/09/07/the-neoconservatives-who-gave-us-911-gave-us-the-american-police-state

and
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/09/07/the-tide-is-turning-the-official-story-is-now-the-conspiracy-theory-paul-craig-roberts

and
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/07/20/is-the-saudi-911-story-part-of-the-deception-paul-craig-roberts


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order

By Yonathan Amselem

September 10, 2016

diversity

The Left has drilled the immigrant “melting pot” fantasy into our heads for so many years that most people dare not question it. They should. The United States was founded by Anglo-Saxon Protestants from Western Europe. For most of America’s history, “immigrants” meant descendants of British Common Law raised in our Western Judeo-Christian ethic. Our culture, our traditions, and most importantly, our astronomical living standards are a direct result of that particular heritage. Don’t think so? What if our founding fathers were Aztec? Or Yoruba? What prosperity did those cultures leave to their descendants? Our Republic is rich because, despite its flaws, it was founded on a set of objectively better ideas. Immigrants to the United States do not make us wealthier by virtue of looking “diverse.” Quite the opposite. They make us and themselves wealthier when they assimilate to our Western tradition – when they become “one of us.” Before the rise of fraudulent victim advocacy organizations and our massive welfare state, American immigrants that couldn’t meet our standards or disliked our values would simply pack their bags and go home. This was a delicate and humane screening test for prospective migrants. No need for reams of paperwork, a massive immigration bureaucracy, or an army of ICE agents.

Yet, where would the political Left be if they weren’t “fixing” something? Open borders are the Left’s answer to Protestant America’s rejection of socialism. Marxists suffered a humiliating intellectual defeat during the post-war era and were badly in need of new voters. Americans peeked over the Iron curtain and gasped in horror at the mountain of dead bodies piled up across socialist Europe and Asia. For at least a part of American history, Communism became a bad word. Marxist academics muttered a collective “whoops” and retreated from the battlefield of ideas. They got to work on a new scheme for pushing big government socialism on Americans. If they couldn’t convince Protestant Christians to favor statism, why not just import statists? Enter Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration bill which not only limited immigration from Western Europe but also opened America’s front door to every medieval backwater on Earth. The supposed rationale? “Diversity is our strength!” And so the multiculturalism cult was born. Acknowledging that our galaxy-exploring Western Republic probably has nothing to learn from people who yell at clouds to make rain is now a thought crime. Besides the new mass of sympathetic voters, progressives also effectively shielded themselves from having to know anything about the cultures they import. After all, what does it matter? We’re all the same – y’know, “melting pot” and all that.

So what has America gained from its multi-decade project in 3rd world diversity? Apart from more restaurants serving meat and rice, nothing.  As of 2010, 71% of Hispanic immigrant households were on some form of government welfare compared to 39% of native households. As of 2013, that number was 91.4% for Middle Eastern refugees. In fact, not including later welfare expenditures, resettling one refugee costs US taxpayers almost $13,000 per year. Are these the people making us stronger via diversity? It sounds an awful lot like they’re making us a soup kitchen. 3rd world migrants tend to come from violent, tribal, and outrageously intolerant societies. Are we to assume only “nice” 3rd world immigrants come to America? Nearly 80% of undocumented Central American women and children are raped by other illegal immigrants during their trek across the US border. The idea that immigrants who live in horribly violent societies will simply drop those tendencies once they’re on American soil is utter nonsense. Illegal 3rd world aliens make up over a quarter of the federal prison population and commit murders and sexual assaults five to ten times as often as native-born Americans. America’s “melting pot” was not supposed to include this much rape in the broth.

Predictably, our politicians have learned precisely zero from this migration catastrophe. Should she win the election, Hillary Clinton has promised to import 65,000 Syrian refugees to our shores. Western Europe has experimented with Middle Eastern immigration for nearly four decades and it’s gone about as well as you’d expect. Sweden and Denmark suddenly have the highest number of sexual assaults in all of Europe, nearly 70% of French prisoners are Muslim, ungovernable Muslim ghettos are everywhere, and migrant welfare consumption has left European coffers with nothing but spider webs and IOUs. The gruesome, almost weekly terror attacks committed by Islamic militants are also unwelcome baggage.  At home, Somali immigrant communities in Maine and Minnesota have shared great, exotic traditions like sex slavery, credit card fraud, and insurance scams. Apart from warm and fuzzies, can the open borders crowd describe any tangible benefit to US citizens from importing Middle Eastern migrants?

Violence, poverty, and corruption in the third world are a direct result of the traditions and customs of the people who live there. A simple plane flight won’t change that. If fresh-off-the-tarmac Somali refugees are given US citizenship like any other native born, then US citizenship means nothing. America is not just a random mishmash of “melted cultures.” America is supposed to be a common law republic with a legal bias in favor of human liberty and property rights. It is a “melting pot” of Anglo-Saxons, Dutch, Normans, and other Western European tribes. The Guarani people of the Amazon were not consulted when the Founders drafted our Constitution. If we like all the bells and whistles of living in a (relatively) free country, we should stop importing voters that think otherwise.