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Eric Margolis

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

3457858721 D085ffb98a

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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The Road to Nowhere: Kerry's Mideast Journey

Kerry Peres Abbas
photo: World Economic Forum

Here we go again, another round of Mideast peace talk kabuki.

A process in which Washington, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization hold intense talks over holding talks, a ritual as stylized as the traditional Japanese dance. In the end, it’s the same empty, cynical ritual, year after year.

This past week, US Secretary of State John Kerry has been leading the dance in the latest attempt to restart peace talks between Israel and the Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO. As of this writing, the talks appear off. But they may be on again just as quickly. It depends on how much Washington offers its feuding clients, Israel and the PLO.

Watching this annual charade is both painful and exhausting. It makes cynics of the most idealistic hopers for Mideast peace.

Israel holds all the cards, and knows it. Jewish settlements, roads, and security walls are roaring ahead, relentlessly gobbling up the occupied West Bank, Golan and their water resources. West Bank Palestinians are being crammed into future native Bantustans patterned after South Africa’s apartheid-era reservations for blacks.
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Those Old Colonial Lusts

Syria
photo: Zachary Baumgartner

That old colonial impulse keeps coming back. This past week, Britain and France pushed the rest of the European Union to lift the arms embargo in Syria – which in plain English means outright military intervention in that nation’s civil war.

Let’s recall that Britain once ruled a quarter of the earth’s surface and most of its oceans. France ruled much of West Africa, the Sahara and, after Word War I, what are today Syria and Lebanon. Britain ruled much of the rest of the Mideast.

Well, they’re back! France and Britain took the lead in attacking Libya and overthrowing its long-time leader and former ally, Muammar Ghadaffi. They now dominate Libya’s oil – a major source of energy for Europe. France just sent troops to protect its mining interests in former colonies, Mali and Niger.


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