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Eric Margolis

Al-Qaeda is Everywhere!

Osama

How did al-Qaeda, a tiny anti-Communist group in Afghanistan that had no more than 200 active members in 2001 become a supposed worldwide threat?

How can al-Qaida be all over the Mideast, North Africa, and now much of black Africa? This after the US spent over $1 trillion trying to stamp out al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

The answer is simple. As an organization and threat, al-Qaeda barely exists. But as a name, al-Qaeda and “terrorism” have become the west’s handy universal term for armed groups fighting western influence, corruption or repression in Asia and Africa. Al-Qaeda is nowhere  but everywhere.

If you’re a rebel group seeking publicity, the fastest way is by pledging allegiance to the shadowy, nowhere al-Qaeda.

Take Iraq, where fighting currently rages between the Shia government and Sunni militias in Anbar Province. Interestingly, the Sunni uprising is centered on Fallujah, which was almost flattened by US Marines and blasted apart by depleted uranium shells and illegal white phosphorus as a dire warning to Iraqis who resisted.
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World Danger Spots for 2014

Kiev Nov

Where are the world’s most dangerous places in 2014?

*Mostly forgotten, but the highly dangerous, Indian-controlled portion of disputed Kashmir. Rebellion against Indian rule by Kashmir’s majority Muslims is again boiling. Over 1.6 million Indian and Pakistani troops, backed by nuclear weapons, are in confrontation. Skirmishing along Kashmir’s Line of Control is frequent. The nuclear strike forces of both India and Pakistan are on a perilous hair-trigger alert, with about three minutes warning of an enemy attack.

A false warning of incoming missiles or aircraft, a border clash, or a massive offensive by India exasperated by guerilla attacks from Pakistan could set off a war that could kill millions and pollute the entire planet with radioactive dust. India and Pakistan aside, hardly anyone even thinks about beautiful, remote, perilous Kashmir.



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The Phony Pullout From Afghanistan

Soviet Afghanistan

Those wondering what lies in store for Afghanistan need only look at the way the British Empire ruled Iraq in the 1920’s. As Shakespeare wrote, “what is past is prologue.”

Imperial Britain created the state of Iraq after World War I to secure Mesopotamia’s vast oil deposits that had become vital for the Royal Navy. To control this artificial nation seething with unrest, Britain imposed a puppet king, Faisal, and created a native army commanded by British officers.

Britain’s colonial rule was formalized by the 1930 Anglo-Iraq Treaty, a deal between puppet and master.

But real power in Iraq was held by the Royal Air Force, which was “granted” two permanent bases at Habbaniyah and Basra. The RAF ruled supreme over the open wastes of Iraq.
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Iran Gets Short End Of The Nuclear Deal

Iran Surrounded

After all the gnashing of teeth, beating of breasts and tearing of hair coming from Israel and its American supporters, you’d think last week’s nuclear deal in Geneva has opened the way for Iran to become a mighty nuclear weapons power.

Nonsense. Coolly examined, Tehran came off with the short end of the stick at the so-called P5 + 1 big power talks in Geneva. Here’s why:

Bowing to intolerable sanctions and economic warfare from the US, Tehran agreed to limit uranium enrichment to only 5% (over 80% is needed to make a nuclear weapon). This low level is sufficiently only for power generation. Iran is to stop enriching to 20%, the level needed for medical isotopes.

Iran further agreed to halt construction of its Arak heavy water reactor that could eventually produce plutonium, a key nuclear weapons fuel. Tehran agreed not to build any new nuclear facilities, including next generation centrifuges, and grant daily access to UN nuclear inspectors at its top-secret Nantaz and Fordow plants. It will provide design plans for its Arak reactor.
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America's Little Spy Helpers Down Under Create an Uproar

Five Eyes

Indonesians are usually an easy-going, amiable people. But this week, they are boiling with anger and a sense of betrayal after revelations that Australia’s Signals Directorate had been tapping the phones of senior Indonesian government officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and, worst of all, his wife, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono.

Aussie intelligence was also spying in the very same senior Indonesian cabinet officials who, like the president, are regarded as staunch allies of the US and Australia. This electronic spying was part of the by now notorious, top secret Five Eyes joint intelligence operation between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – aka “the white man’s spy agency.”

Five Eyes is run by the US National Security Agency; its other Anglo-Saxon members act as loyal junior partners, spying on their neighborhoods and, often, their own people. How much of their local data is passed to Washington is unknown, but it is likely substantial. Disturbingly, it was recently revealed that the US NSA passes information on US citizens to another ally, Israel.
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Ben Franklin Was Right About the NSA

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In 1975, I was invited to join the US Senate’s Church Committee that was formed after the Watergate scandals. Its goal was to investigate massive illegalities committed by the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI.

As a then staunch Republican, and having worked on President Nixon’s reelection campaign developing Mideast policy, I declined.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I should have joined the investigation.

Senator Frank Church warned: “ If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. “
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Stasi Meets Steve Jobs


“Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail” sniffed US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 when told that American cryptographers had broken Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes.

Stimson, who later headed the War Department, ordered code-breaking shut down.

Alas, there are not any old-school gentlemen left in Washington these days. Revelations of US electronic spying by whistleblower Edward Snowden have ignited a furor across Latin America and now Europe.
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The Real Reason for US Syria Attack

Syria Protest


Let’s face some hard facts about the vicious conflict in Syria.

If the US directly attacks Syria, the real cause will not be the recent chemical attacks. What are 300 or so dead in a 2-year old war fuelled by the western powers that has so far killed over 100,000?

Chemical weapons are horrible. So are bullets, shells, bombs, cluster bombs, fuel-air explosive, white phosphorus, and napalm. All wars are crime writ large.

We don’t yet know if the recent chemical massacre in Damascus was a real chemical attack using Sarin nerve gas, a rebel provocation, an industrial accident, or an attack by rogue Syrian army units? After Iraq, we can’t trust western intelligence and so-called evidence.

This is not even the main issue at hand though it makes an excellent pretext for outside powers to intervene.

The Syrian conflict is a proxy war being waged against Iran by the United States, conservative Arab oil producers, and three former Mideast colonial powers, Britain, France and Turkey who are seeking to restore their domination in the region. Israel, hoping to isolate Hezbollah and cement its annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights, cheers from the sidelines. Syria and Hezbollah are Iran’s only Arab friends.
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Storm on the Nile

Clashes In Cairo In December Moud Barthez

Egypt’s US-financed armed forces have gone to war against Egypt’s people. Arab spring has become Arab winter.

So far, army and security police have scored brilliant battlefield victories against unarmed men, women and children, killing and wounding thousands who were demanding a return to democratic government.

The latest Cairo protests by supporters of the elected Morsi government have been scattered by gunfire and huge armored bulldozers resembling the giant vehicles used by Israel to smash Palestinian barricades and protesters. All Egyptians opposing the Sisi dictatorship are now officially, “terrorists.”

Egypt’s generals and hard right Mubarakist supporters have ditched any pretense of civilian government and now rely on the bayonet and tank. The men with the guns make the rules.
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Japan Must Face Up To China

China Protest
photo: guccio@文房具社

World War II has never really ended for Japan. Sixty-eight years after the battleship US “Missouri” sailed into Tokyo Bay to receive the surrender of the Japanese Empire, Japan still behaves like a meek, defeated nation rather than one of the world’s great powers – and great peoples.

Economically, Japan is a giant, albeit a staggering one. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party just secured full control of both houses of Japan’s parliament. Abe’s “three-arrow” reform program has injected new life in Japan’s formerly stagnant $5 trillion economy industry and driven down the over-valued yen.

But military, Japan remains a midget. Its so-called Self-Defense Forces were designed to stop a Soviet amphibious invasion of the northern islands. Japan’s US-written pacifist constitution prohibits all offensive military operations or exports of arms and military equipment.
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