Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heading for Economic Ruin

Heading Toward Economic Ruin - by Stephen Lendman

Bad policies assure bad results. Destructive ones assure calamities. Well before Obama took office, bipartisan initiatives plotted a course for disaster.

Bush accelerated it. Obama much more, so today America hangs on the precipice of what a previous article called the banana republicanization of America - a kleptocracy run by corrupt politicians and corporate crooks, scamming the public with austerity, debt peonage, and banker occupation, heading them toward mass impoverishment, misery and neo-serfdom.

Washington's current debt ceiling/budget debate centers around slashing entitlements and other social benefits to avoid a manufactured looming crisis. Off the table, however, are:

-- cutting military expenditures minimally in half, ideally much more, including closing overseas bases, reducing force levels, ending foreign occupations, and renouncing imperial wars;

-- taxing speculators and the rich;

-- making corporations pay their fair share;

-- strengthening America's social contract, not destroying it;

-- stopping the offshoring of high-paying manufacturing and professional jobs plus many others;

-- real regulatory reform with teeth;

-- abolishing monopoly and oligopoly power;

-- returning money creation power to Congress as the Constitution demands; and

-- investing the nation's capital in productive growth, not handouts to Wall Street and other corporate favorites, as well as permanent imperial wars, turning America into a corrupted, fascist, lawless sinkhole not fit to live in, except for the elite few pulling the strings.

At the same time, political theater, malfeasance and machinations come at the time the economy is heading south. The latest Commerce Department data showed it stalled so far in 2011. In fact, conditions are much worse based on economist John Williams' calculations.

His Shadowstats Government Statistics (SGS) analysis "reflects the inflation-adjusted, or real, year-to-year GDP change, adjusted for distortions in government inflation usage and methodological changes that have resulted in a built-in upside bias (aka cooking the books) to official reporting."

As a result, his annual growth calculation bottomed out in early 2009 at minus 6% GDP, elevated to over minus 1% in early 2011, and now has it at over minus 2% heading south. In other words, the true state of economic America is bad, getting worse.

In response to it, Obama-headed political Washington plans forced austerity at a time massive stimulus is needed - for productive economic growth and job creation to get America healthy again.

Once accomplished, tackling out-of-control debt should be done responsibly, not on the backs of working households, giving corporate crooks and super-rich parasites a pass, people who made their money the old-fashioned way. They stole it.

On July 29, trends analyst Gerald Celente told Russia Today viewers to believe nothing politicians say. "Deal or no deal," America's debt problem is real, getting worse. Washington's "economic policy is a total failure."

Bush's policies didn't work. "Obama's stimulus didn't work. The (Fed's) backdoor loans and QE I and II didn't work. The Republican program is not going to work. The country is going bankrupt."

"The (policies and) numbers don't lie. The politicians lie. (Moreover), they're devaluating the dollar," reflected in rising gold prices, real value, not fiat paper losing it because privatized money power debases it.

The problem is "we don't have a representative form of government. That's only for little kiddies to believe. We have a government that only represents the very powerful and very rich, and that's all this is about - letting them keep their perks."

And look at what passes for government in Washington. "It's like looking at the three stooges and waiting for an intelligent answer to come from Larry, Moe or Curly, or Boehner, Reid or Polosi....Politics is nothing more than show business for ugly people."

"They're incapable. They're inept, and the same people who caused the problem. We're now looking for them to solve it. That's a definition of insanity (or better still stupidity)."

"They'll pay the debt. I don't see a default coming, but the collapse is coming regardless. Let's look at the real numbers." They're bad and getting worse. The solution is "let the people vote on these issues," not corrupt politicians only "representing the rich and powerful."

Congress operates like Mafia "mob rule, the Bonannos and Gambinos. Just put a different name on it. The Republicans and Democrats....At least if we the people vote, we'll get the future we deserve, not the one being foisted on us."

In his straight-talk analysis, Celente pulls no punches. Neither does Progressive Radio News Hour regular, economist Jack Rasmus. His latest economic analysis explains a "double dip recession on the horizon."

In fact, Obama's "recovery" was due "to what economists call inventory adjustment and export-driven manufacturing. But both are now slowing sharply." With the global economy decelerating, export sales "hit a wall."

Moreover, consumption is also slowing, except for "the wealthiest 10 percent." At the same time, "(r)eal weekly earnings continue to fall, meaning less real consumption spending as prices for gasoline, food, health care, education and local taxes continue to soar."

In addition, inventory accumulation ran its course. Housing is in depression. Job prospects are bad and heading south. John Williams calculates real unemployment at 22.7%. Expect it to rise as conditions weaken.

In 2011 Q I, 400,000 discouraged workers left the labor force. From December 2010 - May 2011, only 14,000 full time jobs were created. Most private sector ones are low pay, low or no benefit part time or temp ones.

Now, recent National Association of Independent Business surveys show small firms (responsible for creating half of all jobs) plan cutting back. So are larger companies. At the same time, state and local governments are slashing payrolls at a rate of about 25,000 a month.

Later in 2011 and next year, Washington plans the same. Meanwhile, corporate America is sitting on over $2 trillion in cash and liquid assets, "refus(ing) to invest in the US to create jobs" because profit potential is poor.

Overall, public and private sector cost-cutting is de rigueur across the board, making a bad situation worse. As a result, "there is little if anything on the economic horizon to suggest....renewed economic growth and recovery." Conditions are bad, getting worse, and planned budget cuts will be disastrous for working Americans.

On the July 30 edition of the Progressive Radio News Hour, Rasmus discussed "Teapublicans" v. "Timidcrats" theater. He also said pay more attention to August 6 than August 2 when the new July employment numbers are released.

Comparing the US economy to a "punched-out fighter in the 8th round," job creation from July through September may prove a knock out blow. "That's called a double dip recession."

And with planned budget cuts hammering most Americans, it's called Depression. Working households have experienced it since 2008 because political Washington abandoned them when they needed help, and now plans to hit them harder.

No wonder Gallup's latest July 26 - 28 daily tracking poll showed Obama's approval rating hit a new low at 40%. Earlier in July, Congress scored an abysmal 18%.

Expect political Washington's approval to head further south once Americans learn how an Obama-led bipartisan conspiracy scammed them by stealing their welfare and futures. Hopefully they'll get mad enough to react. It's their only chance.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

America's Media: Dancing Around the Budget Debate Charade

America's Media: Dancing Around the Budget Debate Charade - by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles explained an Obama-led bipartisan conspiracy to destroy America's social contract, returning the nation to 19th harshness harshness. But you'd never know it from major media reports, op-eds and editorials, ducking the issue even when critical.

The debate charade's gone on for weeks, both sides concealing their basic agreement on major cuts for political advantage.

Republican strategy is attacking big government, excluding its biggest part related to defense spending, imperial wars, and one-sided support for corporate interests and America's super-rich.

Waging no holds barred class war, they echo Ronald Reagan's 1976 Chicago's South Side presidential campaign speech theme when he attacked "welfare queens" without calling them Black. Today, all working Americans are "Black" in terms of struggling more than ever to make ends meet, and needing political Washington's help, not greater planned trickle-up poverty.

Obama and congressional Democrats agree with Republicans but won't admit it. According to Washington Post writer Zachary Goldfarb, Obama's also gambling on winning the political center saying:

His "political advisers have long believed that securing an agreement (even by slashing entitlements) would provide an enormous boost to his 2012 campaign, according to people familiar with White House thinking. In particular, they want to preserve and improve the president's standing among political independents, who abandoned Democrats in the 2010 midterm election and who say reining in the nation's debt is a high priority."

Perhaps Obama needs new advisers, given clear evidence that Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare with good reason. Their payroll taxes pay insurance premiums to receive them.

Taking the money and running may jeopardize any politician's reelection, especially for high office. That said, Obama's strategists may, in fact, count on winning by default, given no viable Republican candidate opposing him. At least, not so far.

There's no ambiguity where Murdoch's Wall Street Journal stands, including in a July 30 editorial headlined, "The Debt-Limit Hobbits: The GOP fantasy caucus is empowering Nancy Pelosi," saying:

"The shame is that the debt-limit absolutists have weakened (Boehner's) hand in negotiating a final bill with Senate Democrats. At the most practical level, (his) plan is better than (Reid's)."

In other words, under orders from Murdoch in charge of editorial policy, scorched earth slash and burn social contract cuts should leave none of them in place even if it takes multiple steps over many months to complete it. Failure will make Republicans "not (look) like adults to whom voters can entrust the government."

The editorial omitted saying what "voters" they mean. For sure, not working Americans.

Like the Journal, The New York Times also supports cuts, at the same time playing off good guy Obama v. irresponsible Republicans, instead of exposing political Washington's dark side.

On July 29, after Boehner's bill passed in the House, it's editorial headlined, "It's Up to the Senate," saying:

Only the Senate can avoid default by "piec(ing) together a compromise that can pass with bipartisan majorities in both chambers. (Doing so) would eliminate the imminent threat of financial chaos."

In fact, the debt ceiling will be raised. Default won't happen and Times writers know it. They also know both sides agree on destroying America's social contract, but won't denounce it responsibly. Doing so would expose its one-sided support for wealth, power and privilege, while pretending to care about working Americans it never did and doesn't now. Only its rhetoric differs from positions Murdoch's Journal endorses.

On July 26, columnist Thomas Friedman, a shameless free market fundamentalist, headlined "Can't We Do This Right?" endorsing slash and burn cuts as long as by strategic planning, saying:

"Only after" constructing one can we say, "OK, given our current fiscal predicament, where should we cut spending and where must we raise new tax revenues so that we can bring our government back to solvency and, at the same time, reinvigorate our formula for growth and success."

He then quoted Johns Hopkins University Professor Michael Mandelbaum ("a foreign policy expert," he said) stating:

"Such a plan requires cutting, taxing and spending. It requires cutting because we have made promises to ourselves on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that we cannot keep without reforming each of them."

Mandelbaum may know foreign policy. Neither he or Friedman understand economics or they'd know and admit Social Security and Medicare are fiscally sound, needing only minor adjustments to keep them that way, not major cuts.

Moreover, Medicaid provides essential healthcare to society's poor who'd get none or too little without it. Only a heartless corporatist would support policies denying them. Perhaps Friedman and Mendlbaum do without saying so.

In a July 24 column, Friedman also endorsed the "radical center," even though "it sounds gimmicky," he said. He explained the idea earlier in 2007, suggesting that if Obama won the Democrat nomination, he "might want to consider keeping Dick Cheney on as his vice president."

Why? Because he'd be much more effective with a Cheney "standing over his right shoulder, quietly pounding a baseball bat into his palm." For Friedman, in other words, mixing Obama's right wing politics with Cheney's is centrist. Maybe for zealots like himself, not for mainstream Americans, wanting better options they're denied.

On July 29, Times writer Jackie Calmes headlined, "That Aug. 2 Dealine? It May Be Impossible, Veteran Lawmakers Say."

Citing former Senator Tom Daschle as well as former Republican Reps. Tom Davis and Vin Weber's views in Calmes' words saying, "This time, be afraid. Be very afraid," instead of exposing the fraudulent debate, explaining the stakes responsibly, and endorsing what's best for all Americans. In addition, saying no deal is better than a bad one, causing irreparable harm to millions.

Instead Calmes also quoted a Chamber of Commerce headline, saying:

"Failure to Raise Debt Ceiling Could Turn the Economy Back Into a Recession." For Main Street, in fact, it's been in Depression since 2008, what neither the Chamber or Times writers will admit forthrightly. Instead, they shamelessly front for wealth and power, claiming it's for the good of the country.

In virtually all US managed news reports and opinions, supporting powerful interests at the expense of working Americans is standard policy, saying like a July 29 Washington Post editorial headlined, "Debt-ceilng sanity is now in the Senate's hands:

"(W)e continue to hope enough clear-thinking lawmakers will conclude that the time for compromise is now."

Unexplained was that any deal leaves working Americans in the cold, on their own and out of luck, especially after subsequent cuts eliminate what round one omits.

That's the ugly future no major media report will explain. That's why popular anger has to stop it.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Political Washington Fiddles While Rome Burns

Political Washington Fiddles While Rome Burns - by Stephen Lendman

With an approaching August 2 deadline, Paul Craig Roberts assessed the state of things accurately like he always does, saying in his new article headlined, "Disastrous Outcomes From An Orchestrated Crisis:"

"Americans need desperately to ask themselves why they put into political office such utterly irresponsible and incompetent people capable of creating such a totally unnecessary crisis loaded with such disastrous potential outcomes."

Michael Hudson's new article also covered important ground headlined, "The Debt Ceiling Set For Progressive Repealing," saying:

Obama's "blatantly empty threat (claims) there won't be money to pay Social Security checks next month (if Congress doesn't) 'tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform.' "

As always, Obama did what he does best. He lied. His threat "is not remotely true. But it has become the scare theme for over a week," and will be repeated until political Washington agrees on a deal destroying America's social contract, claiming it was done to save it.

In the end, of course, the debt ceiling will be raised as done routinely numerous previous times, including 10 times in the past decade and 74 times since 1962. Moreover, raised or not, no default will occur. Threatening otherwise is a lie. Failure to act, however, will lose America's AAA rating.

But that's virtually guaranteed anyway, given decades of reckless spending, largely on out-of-control militarism and handouts to Wall Street and other corporate favorites.

In contrast, America's entitlements are fiscally sound, needing only occasional tweaking to keep them steady-as-you-go for decades, maybe in perpetuity. But you'd never know it from bipartisan lying, regurgitated by managed new media deception.

America's Looming Debt Disaster

Worry also about financial expert/investor safety advocate Martin Weiss' assessment. Earlier he downgraded US debt to C-, the equivalent of S&P's BBB- or one notch above junk, heading for it eventually.

In doing so he said:

Regardless of the debt ceiling/budget debate charade outcome, "few will escape the far-reaching consequences of America's unfolding debt disaster."

Even if resolution is reached, "it could be just a dress rehearsal for the true tragedy of a nation unable to end its own financial decline any more effectively than a Greece, Ireland, or Portugal."

Why? "Among the 49 sovereign nations Weiss Ratings covers, the US has one of the heaviest debt burdens, the weakest international reserves, and the least stable economy."

More than any other nation, it depends on others for deficit financing, making up shortfalls by out-of-control money creation. The Fed, in fact, accumulated trillions on its balance sheet, making up for what foreign countries won't buy, plus trillions more in toxic debt, offloaded to them by Wall Street. Moreover, consumers are extremely debt dependent through mortgages, credit cards, and other ways they borrow.

Most dangerous, however, "America's largest banks have the greatest exposure to high risk derivatives - nearly 40% more today than during the debt crisis of 2008." They're a ticking time bomb able to explode anytime when least expected.

Today, in fact, "there are so many canaries in the coal mine, the din is deafening." Others include the nation's greatest ever housing depression with no end in sight, rising unemployment (much of it hidden and unreported), "skyrocketing" poverty (two or threefold the official rate), and many other deepening problems that won't quit. Moreover, the contagion is global.

Trends analyst Gerald Celente monitors it, offering Trend Alerts. On July 13, he headlined, "PIIGS, PRESSTITUTES AND THE GLOBAL MELTDOWN," saying:

Serious economic trouble keeps getting worse, highlighted by few jobs, and most around are low pay, low or no benefit ones, often temporary that workers can't count on for steady, reliable income.

As a result, "the more people out of work (or with too little income), the less they consume. And in (America) where consumer spending accounts for (around) 70% of GDP," less of it assures economic decline. Moreover, Europe is reeling under similar problems, and China faces a "ready-to-pop property bubble."

"And as goes the US, Europe and China, so goes the rest of the world....(N)o nation will escape the economic fallout and few will escape the political consequences."

No matter, major media scoundrels regurgitate lies, "cover(ing) for the politicians and financiers, the Presstitutes of the world - with their stable of 'well-respected' pundits - are accomplices in promoting" the Big Lie about recovery because they're well paid and secure to do it.

In fact, they're mindless of what ordinary people face - the greatest economic disaster in our lifetimes, worse than the Great Depression when a president actually focused on putting Americans back to work and reforming a corrupted system. Not perfectly but he tried.

Today, in contrast, despite a looming economic disaster, the combination of corrupt congressional leaders, a go-along majority in both Houses, and a cowardly, feckless president (the nation's worst by far) fiddles while Rome burns. Instead of governing responsibly, they're arranging an end game to rob people of their futures, while further wrecking a troubled economy heading south.

Representing Wall Street, not Main Street, they're arranging "to bury Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not save them," says Hudson, and he's right. It was planned long before Obama took office, but he jumped on it after his November 4, 2008 election. In fact, he set in motion what he didn't reveal, pretending he'd serve everyone equitably as America's first Black president. He lied, of course, and one led to another until every major pledge was broken.

That most of all highlights his tenure - a leader who promised one thing but did another, serving wealth, power and privilege, not millions counting on him for real "change to believe in." They're still waiting as the US ship of state sinks, its aristocracy safely offshore, plotting new ways to steal more.

A previous article explained that economist Arthur Okum began calculating America's Misery Index by adding the unemployment and inflation rates for a sense of public pain or lack of it in good times.

In May, it hit a record high, exceeding 25, surpassing the earlier June 1980 21.98 top, based on how both measures were calculated then, not today's methodology, distorted to hide painful truths.

However, it's currently approaching 30 based on 1980's formula, according to economist John Williams' calculations, putting unemployment at 22.7% and inflation at about 7%.

In fact, International Forecaster editor Bob Chapman estimates unemployment at about the same level with inflation at about 10%, heading for 14% by year end and still higher next year, explaining serious economic weakness getting worse.

A Final Comment

In August 1971, America's financial system unraveled when Nixon closed the gold window, ending the last link between gold, the dollar, and sound money. Thereafter, currencies floated, competing with each other in a casino-like environment, manipulated by Wall Street, powerful insiders, hedge funds, and governments.

Today, a new unraveling threatens because irresponsible politicians seek political advantage over what's best for the country and most people in it. As a result, the financial storm that struck in fall 2007 may turn out to be prelude to a catastrophic greater one coming.

International Forecaster editor Bob Chapman and others predict it, but it's anyone's guess precisely when. It may arrive by surprise when few people expect it. When it hits, however, it'll be with tsunami force, sweeping away everything in its path, except kleptocrats out of harm's way.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Abdul Fatah Younis Killing: War Death or Assassination?

Abdul Fatah Younis Killing: War Death or Assassination? - by Stephen Lendman

On July 28, New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick headlined, "Death of Rebel Leader Stirs Fears of Tribal Conflict," saying:

The killing of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) military commander, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis (Gaddafi's former Interior and Defense Minister) and two other rebel officers, "stirred fears that a tribal feud could divide" anti-Gaddafi forces.

On Thursday evening, NTC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil (former Gaddafi Justice Minister) announced it, saying Younis was recalled from Brega to Benghazi for questioning on the war's progress. He suggested pro-Gaddafi forces killed him, providing no further details, including why his body wasn't recovered.

Nor did he explain why soldiers from Benghazi's elite unit, 17 Brigade, surrounded his house earlier that day. In fact, ahead of his announced death, supporters said they'd use force to free him from NTC custody.

Reports last Sunday night said he died in fighting around Brega. It was retracted, however, when Younis was interviewed Monday, saying he was alive, well, and that rebels would prevail before Ramadan (around August 1). In response, TNC officials claimed someone impersonated him. Apparently, he was under arrest at the time.

Questions remain how a field commander, usually traveling in a heavily-guarded, multi-vehicle convoy armored car, could be easily gunned down with two of his aides.

Speculation swirled about whether Jalil either ordered him arrested or assassinated. Al Jazeera said he was "suspected of engaging in unauthorized communication with Gaddafi's representatives and had possibly even helped supply regime troops with weapons."

The latter comment is typical Al Jazeera, a mouthpiece for power, making uncorroborated untrue claims. As a result, its credibility is seriously compromised, a topic previous articles addressed.

Last April, however, Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, suggested Younis remained loyal to her father, saying a former top regime figure was talking with government officials, with no further details.

London Independent writer Kim Sengupta said Younis supporters claimed "fellow revolutionary fighters" killed him, adding he was "either executed with a shot to the head or died under torture while being interrogated."

Others close to him said he'd been detained on suspicion of collaborating or having unauthorized dealings with Gaddafi ministers in Tripoli, and that members of his family remained close to the regime.

The same day, roadblocks were set up in Benghazi after Younis loyalists reportedly left the front lines and returned to the opposition capital.

In fact, his supporters stormed the hall where Jalil announced his death, spraying the room with gunfire. No casualty information was given.

Reports suggested hours before his announced death, Younis supporters knew it. As a result, it raises questions why it wasn't divulged earlier. Instead, Jalil waited until 10PM Thursday, issuing a short statement only without answering questions.

Gaddafi Opponents and Younis Defection

Most were self-serving opportunists. Stratfor's George Friedman described them as "consist(ing) of a cluster of tribes and personalities, some within the Libyan government, some within the army, and many other longtime opponents of the regime. (However), it would be an enormous mistake to see what happened in Libya (last winter) as a mass, liberal democratic uprising. The narrative has to be strained to work in most countries, but in Libya, it breaks down completely."

In fact, most opponents came from the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) and a group called the Islamic Emirate of Barqa (northwestern Libya's former name), composed largely of former Al Qaeda fighters. Together they became the NTC, backed by Washington and other Western nations as a tool to colonize Libya.

On February 22, Younis defected, appointing himself rebel military commander. However, longtime CIA collaborator Khalifa Haftar (another former Gaddafi commander) also claimed the top military post. As a result, the two men clashed after creating parallel chains of command, an untenable situation as it turned out.

Foreign Policy writer David Kenner headlined, "The strange, unexplained death of the Libyan rebels' military chief," saying:

Before defecting last February 22, Younis was one of Gaddafi's "most trusted lieutenants," often called his second in command. At the same time, internal rebel feuding was well known.

Moreover, New Yorker writer Jon Lee Anderson said, even after defecting, Younis was "distrusted by the shabab (Libyan youth) and by many council members."

According to Dartmouth Professor Dirk Vandewalle:

The TNC "military is in disarray. It has never been able to really define a clear command strategy and my hunch is that it probably never will, despite all of the aid it is getting....You're seeing in a sense a proto-state that has no reference at all, has no institutions to go by (with) self-appointed representatives in the TNC" with no legitimacy. "So there remains an enormous amount of chaos."

It makes sense given rebel fighters' ineffectiveness on the ground. In fact, without heavy NATO air support, they easily would have been routed quickly. Daily bombings and air cover made it possible for them to continue, with considerable supplies of weapons and training by US and UK intelligence and special forces operatives.

In the aftermath of Younis' killing, Kenner questioned Jalil's inability or unwillingness to answer questions about the incident, especially how a significant security lapse happened. "Whatever the case may be," he said, "the honeymoon with the rebels is over; bring on the politics."

A Final Comment

On July 29, Mathaba.net reported "much shooting going on in (Benghazi after residents) came out en masse as the news spread." Reportedly, rebel-held prisoners were freed. People "also marched on the rebel (TNC) and attacked it and have made a new civilian leadership, according to reports received...." Moreover, "(t)he airport is back under popular control, as are the military bases."

On July 29, independent journalist Lizzie Phelan, reporting from Tripoli at 2:00 AM, said:

Before his death, Younis "gave a speech saying all he and his followers want is (the strategic oil city of) Brega, not Misrata or any of the west and that Gaddafi can take it."

She also concurred with Mathaba analysts that fighting among rebel factions forced NTC officials "to flee Benghazi and they closed all communications to" the city. A popular uprising took over Benghazi airport. "There are huge celebrations in Tripoli right now with fireworks and gunshots firing across the capital."

Mathaba also said pro-Gaddafi support "has grown to at least 80% of the population." It's unsurprising that Libyans angered by NATO bombings and rebel atrocities now strongly support their government, not cutthroat killers and their opportunist leaders representing Western interests, not theirs.

In addition, Mathaba analysts believe if conflict persists through Ramadan, pro-Gaddafi support may "rise to 95% and the active opposition will decrease below 1%."

Increasingly, NATO's Libya war looks lost, at least round one with likely more destabilization and perhaps future conflict planned.

For now, however on July 29, Financial Times writer Ian Bremmer may have headlined a sentiment official sources aren't admitting by saying "(d)on't start wars you don't know how to end," adding in the wake of Younis' death:

"NATO is unlikely to either force (Gaddafi out) or cut a politically salable deal with him anytime soon. Meanwhile, the opposition" is in disarray following their military leader's death. Going forward, "(t)he most likely outcome remains a country in pieces...."

Perhaps so, but if a popular Benghazi uprising grows, all bets are off on what's next. So far, things are fluid but bear close watching given the latest dramatic events.

A Final Comment

On July 29, Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya (from Tripoli) and Global Research.ca editor Michel Chossudovsky headlined, "The War on Libya: Divisions within the Transitional Council and Rebel Forces," saying:

Younis' death "created a vacuum in the military command structure...." Short-run military weakening will also follow, affecting NATO operations. At the same time, his assassination "tends to reinforce US-NATO control over the Islamist faction of the insurgency," covertly supported by CIA and MI6, as it's been well before conflict erupted last winter.

"What is unfolding in Libya is the 'Kosovo Model.' The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was integrated by Islamic brigades affiliated with Al Qaeda (and organized crime. It's also been) supported by the CIA, German intelligence (BND) and Britain's MI6."

In 1999, it was a NATO "instrument" in its Serbia/Kosovo war, later heading "an independent 'democratic' Kosovo 'Mafia State.' "

In Libya today, "The Big Lie" is also in play as "the US-NATO coalition....is 'on both sides' of their 'war on terrorism.' " They're also "on both sides of 'The Big Lie,'" supporting Al Qaeda against "Islamic terrorism."

In fact, the entire operation is a lie like all wars, fought for wealth, power, privilege and domination, not liberation, democratic values, or humanitarian reasons.

However, Nazemroaya also believes NATO may have bitten off more than it can chew. In his same day Global Research.ca article, written before Younis' death, he headlined, "The War on Libya: An Imperialist Project to Create Three Libyas," saying:

Libyans "are prepared to fix their problems at home for the sake of saving their country, their society, and their families," unwilling to be colonized by Washington and other NATO countries.

As a result, they're determined even if Western forces invade or increase "bombings to devastating levels. Although the conflict is far from over, in the end history will judge the NATO war against Libya as a huge mistake and as the beginning of the end for NATO."

Established for offense, not defense, NATO's operated a US imperial tool. Nobel laureate Harold Pinter called it a "missile (to consolidate) American domination of Europe." Strategically intervening under its control, it now threatens world peace and human survival.

As a result, hopefully Nazemroaya's right! Hope also Libyans manage to avoid the "Kosovo Model," or challenge and overcome it if it arrives.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt Ceiling Roulette

Debt Ceiling Roulette - by Stephen Lendman

In this game, the house always wins. Bipartisan complicity stacked the deck against millions of working households, needing to know that political Washington is scamming them.

The end result is the banana republicanization of America. American writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter: 1862 - 1910) coined the term (his fictional Republic of Anchuria) in his book, "Cabbages and Kings."

It refers to a country (often politically unstable and/or repressive) where a small percent of the population has a disproportionate share or wealth and power, where ordinary people are exploited, often persecuted, and where profits are privatized while working households bear the burden of debt.

It's also a kleptocracy run by criminals, complicit with corporate thieves who bribe them to get their way. It's corrupt, rotten to the core gangsterism, run for personal gain, both sides profiting at the public's expense.

It's in plain sight in Washington, the heart of darkness, where bipartisan crooks are destroying personal freedoms, democratic values, and general welfare to grab everything for themselves and their corporate partners.

Previous articles discussed it, accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/debt-ceiling-debate-charade-masks.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/fix-is-in-washingtons-planned-social.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/america-heading-for-tyranny-and.html

Read them and weep, or better still, react by refusing any longer to put up with bipartisan corruption, stealing us blind for the Big Monied interests that own them. Obama was made president to play ball, a Democrat engineering what no Republican would dare, at the same time duplicitously claiming populist credentials.

As president, he's been hardline and neocon, advocating Democrat Leadership Council ideology, around since the mid-1980s until operations ended early this year, perhaps because too many caught on to its scam.

Ralph Nader called it "corporatist (and) soulless," ideologically hardline. Obama fits the mold. He's anti-populist, anti-labor, anti-welfare, pro-business, while at the same time militaristic and pro-war for unchallengeable world dominance. Nader explained that:

"To the DLC mind, Democrats are catering to 'special interests' when they (pretend to) stand up for trade unions, regulatory consumer-investor protections, a preemptive peace policy overseas, pruning the bloated military budget now devouring (the federal budget), defending Social Security from Wall Street schemes, and pressing for universal health care coverage. So right-wing is the DLC....that even opposing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy....is considered ultra-liberal and contrary to winning campaigns."

Its ideology is indistinguishable from Republican extremism. It opposes rights for Blacks, Hispanics, Latino immigrants, Muslims, labor, the poor, consumer protections, populism, progressivism, environmental protection, peace and those for it, prosecuting corporate criminals, honest elections, and democratic governance.

It's for the privileged few at the expense of the many, the bipartisan cancer that's destroying America, Obama the point man in charge because who could imagine a Black president would dare. In fact, he was chosen for his commitment to wealth, power, global dominance, and grand theft at the expense of working Americans and ordinary people everywhere.

He's a fraud, a crime boss, a moral coward and serial liar, fronting for wealth, power and privilege. No wonder James Petras (weeks after his election) called him "the greatest con-man in recent history," comparing him to "Melville's Confidence Man."

"He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to fight wars in the Middle East....He solemnly mouths vacuous pieties while he empties your Social Security funds to bail out the arch financiers who swindled your pension investments. He appoints and praises the architects of collapsed pyramid schemes to high office while promising" better times ahead he won't tolerate to assure powerful interests get it all, the public crumbs at best.

In July 2009, Kevin Baker's Harper's article headlined, "Barack Hoover Obama: The best and brightest blow it again," saying:

"Three months into his presidency," it's hard imagining the unthinkable that Obama will fail because he won't "seize the radical moment" to change a broken system responsibly.

Even then, some observers ludicrously compared him to Franklin Roosevelt. A better comparison is Herbert Hoover who faced a similar crisis, though doing so isn't fair.

In early 2009, plenty of evidence showed how destructive Obama would be, unlike Hoover who at least tried some ways to confront the great crisis, if inadequately. He established national voluntary initiatives to create jobs, provide charity, and create a private banking pool, but failed.

He also set up a dozen Home Loan Discount Banks to help people refinance mortgages to save their homes. In 1932, he established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), capitalized with $500 million with authorization to borrow another $1.5 billion.

In its first six months, it loaned banks over $800 million to no effect. Like today, they retained reserves and shunned lending. Moreover, public trust was absent because political leadership lacked courage to do more, hidebound by ways no longer working.

Roosevelt then streamlined RFC's bureaucracy, increasing its funding to recapitalize troubled banks and corporations. Despite understanding the problem, Hoover failed because he was part of a broken system he wouldn't change.

In contrast, Roosevelt confronted the crisis aggressively in first 100 days, enacting 15 landmark laws, including:

The Bank Act of 1933 (Glass-Steagall), separating commercial from investment banks and insurance companies, among other provisions.

Streamlined the RFC with more capitalization and other measures to restore public trust, including by funding agencies like the Home Owners Loan Corporation, Farm Credit Administration, Rural Electrification Administration, Public Works Administration, and others, as well as emergency relief loans to states, something Hoover never did, let alone establish New Deal policies.

The Securities and Exchange Act of 1933, requiring offers and sales of securities be registered, pursuant to the Constitution's interstate commerce clause. Along with the 1934 SEC Act, it was to enforce federal securities laws, the securities industry, the nation's financial and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets, unknown in the 1930s along with derivatives and other forms of speculation.

It was also charged with uncovering wrongdoing, assuring investors weren't swindled, and keeping the nation's financial markets free from fraud. Nonetheless, its fulfillment fell short of its promise. Unlike today, however, it tried.

The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) to refinance homes and prevent foreclosures.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to create jobs building roads, bridges, dams, developing state parks, planting trees, and various forestry and recreational programs for the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, and Soil Conservation Service.

The Civilian Works Administration (CWA) to fund states to reduce unemployment.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), establishing the National Recovery Administration to revive economic growth, encourage collective bargaining, set maximum work hours, minimum wages, at times prices, and forbid child labor in industry.

The Public Works Administration also established projects to provide jobs, increase purchasing power, improve public welfare, and help revive the economy.

So did the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that became the largest New Deal agency, employing millions in every state, especially in rural and western areas.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), providing navigation, flood control, electricity generation, and economic development, as well as promote agriculture in the depression-impacted Tennessee Valley area, covering most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) that fell short by restricting production by paying farmers to reduce and/or destroy crops and kill livestock at a time millions were impoverished and hungry. The idea was to decrease supply and raise prices, at the worst possible time.

The Farm Credit Act of 1933 to help farmers refinance mortgages over an extended time at below-market rates, and by so doing, helped them stay solvent and survive.

The May 1933 Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, established during the time of the Dust Bowl, provided refinancing help for farmers facing foreclosure.

Despite its flaws and failures, FDR's New Deal accomplished much, if not enough. It helped people, put millions back to work, reinvigorated the national spirit, built or renovated 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and various other infrastructure, including much of Chicago's lakefront. It also cut unemployment from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937.

However, (because victory was declared too early), it spiked to 19% in 1938 before early war production revived economic growth and sent it lower, heading for full wartime employment.

Later came the Wagner Act that, for the first time, let labor bargain collectively on equal terms with management. Today it's entirely lost.

The 1935 Social Security Act was to this day the single most important federal program responsible for keeping seniors and others eligible out of poverty. Obama plans to destroy it, perhaps first by letting Wall Street privatize it, what Bush failed to do.

Unemployment insurance was instituted in partnership with the states. By 1935, nearly all the unemployed got social benefit payments.

The so-called "Soak the Rich" Revenue Acts of 1934 and 1935 made high income earners pay their fair share. In contrast, Obama favors the rich over working Americans and the poor.

The Revenue Act of 1936 established an "undistributed profits tax" on corporations. Today, profitable corporations pay minimal taxes. Many get large rebates. Yet Obama wants even lower taxes, perhaps eliminating them for business altogether, so only the little people pay them.

The Revenue Act of 1937 cracked down on tax evasion. Today, it's practically de rigueur along with sanctioned speculative excesses and grand theft.

A minimum wage, 40-hour week, and time-and-a-half for overtime was guaranteed under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Labor rights today are being eviscerated and lost, Obama as committed to do it as Bush.

Roosevelt also established other initiatives to reform a broken system, put people back to work, and revive the sick economy. Nonetheless, it didn't happen until WW II because much more was needed, including incentives for business to invest.

Under Obama, however, corporate crooks take the money and run, rewarding themselves with generous bonuses, stock options and benefits, investing some abroad, and stashing the rest in offshore tax havens.

Moreover, Obama wants all New Deal/Great Society programs ended, returning America to 19th century or earlier harshness. George Bernard Shaw might have had him in mind when he said:

"Democracy (especially American-style) is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few."

Promising change, he broke every key pledge he made, conspiring with Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate crooks to loot the nation's wealth, wreck the economy, and consign growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings, social services, or futures.

His legacy is already written, explaining how he betrayed the public trust, looted the nation's wealth, waged war on the world, presided over a bogus democracy under a homeland security police state apparatus, and initiated the destruction of America's social contract, governing to the right of George Bush.

In his latest article headlined, "Obama's Ambush on Entitlements," Michael Hudson explained, saying:

He's scamming old people to believe his budget deal will save them. "It is a con. Obama has come to bury Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to save but kill them."

It was clear before he took office. His economic dream team appointees told all, including Trilateralist Paul Volker, Geitner at Treasury, Fed chairman Bernanke assured of reappointment in 2010, and Larry Summers responsible for financial market deregulation and massive fraud under Clinton, as well as others chosen for their fealty to wealth and power.

At the time, Hudson compared him to Boris Yeltsin - a giver who kept giving to "kleptocrats to whom the public domain and decades of wealth were given with no quid pro quo." In other words, a license to loot until they've got it all, hollowing out America in the process.

In his latest article headlined, "The Political Theater and the Debt Ceiling Crisis: Are We Being Had?" Paul Craig Roberts suggest a possible political theater/charade end game, saying:

If August 2 (the nominal deadline) brings no resolution, Obama may accept Boehner's plan he already favors but won't admit it publicly to hold his weakening base.

Why? To assure "the troops are not cut off from supplies, Social Security checks can continue to go out, and the dollar (is) saved. Having (rhetorically) opposed Republicans to the last minute," he can do what he does best - lie, saying "he had no other recourse."

In other word, who "wants the troops deserted on the field of battle and the elderly without groceries? Who other than the rich can stand the higher prices from dollar devaluation?"

It's the perfect scam "for getting rid of the New Deal and the Great Society, (using) money (wanted for) wars and bailouts and tax cuts for the rich."

Instead of using existing presidential directives and executive orders to declare a national emergency, suspend the debt ceiling limit, and keep issuing it to avoid default (perhaps Plan B), he can use his preferred option (Plan A), gutting America's social contract for the corporate bosses who own him.

Perhaps he'll do it by "cut(ting) Social Security, Medicare....education (and other social programs) loose from the federal budget, (so his) Wall Street (friends) can privatize them," ripping off recipients like they scam investors.

In fact, the entire scheme may have been cooked up in Wall Street board rooms years ago, awaiting the right time under the right president to spring it on millions unsuspecting beneficiaries and future ones, unaware of the subterfuge planned to defraud them.

Before he took office, Petras nailed Obama cold, calling him "the greatest con-man in recent history." Perhaps the greatest ever, given the stakes.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Daily NATO War Crimes in Libya

Daily NATO War Crimes in Libya - by Stephen Lendman

Among them is waging war on truth, Western managed news calling lawless imperial wars liberating ones. No wonder John Pilger says journalism is the first casualty of war, adding:

"Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship (and deception) that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries...."

In their book, "Guardians of Power," David Edwards and David Cromwell explained why today's media are in crisis and a free and open society at risk. It's because press prostitutes substitute fiction for fact. News is carefully filtered, dissent marginalized, and supporting wealth and power substitutes for full and accurate reporting.

It's a cancer, corrupting everything from corporate-run print and broadcast sources, as well as operations like BBC and what passes for America's hopelessly compromised public radio and TV. They put out daily managed and junk food news plus infotainment, treating consumers like mushrooms - well-watered and in the dark.

During wars, in fact, they cheerlead them, reporting agitprop and misinformation no respectable journalist would touch.

On the Progressive Radio News Hour, Middle East/Central Asia analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya, in Tripoli, said some journalists also perform fifth column duties, collecting intelligence and locating targets to supply NATO bombing coordinates, notably civilian targets called military ones.

In a July 28 email, he said tell listeners that "NATO is trying to negotiate with the government in Tripoli." More on that below. He added that they're also "planning a new stage of the war against the Libyan people through (predatory) NGOs and fake humanitarian missions." A likely UN Blue Helmet occupying force also, paramilitaries masquerading as peacekeepers Gaddafi controlled areas won't tolerate.

NATO, in fact, calls civilian targets legitimate ones, including one or more hospitals, a clinic, factories, warehouses, agricultural sites, schools, a university, one or more mosques, non-military related infrastructure, a food storage facility, and others.

Notably on July 23, a Brega water pipe factory was struck, killing six guards. It produces pipes for Libya's Great Man-Made River system (GMMR), an ocean-sized aquifer beneath its sands, making the desert bloom for productive agriculture, and supplying water to Libya's people.

The previous day, a water supply pipeline was destroyed. It will take months to restore. The factory produced vital pipes to do it, a clear war crime like daily others. Moreover, the entire GMMR is threatened by a shortage of spare parts and chemicals. As a result, it's struggling to keep reservoirs at a level able to provide a sustainable supply. Without it, a humanitarian disaster looms, very likely what NATO plans as in past wars.

On July 27, AFP said that:

"NATO warned that its warplanes will bomb civilian facilities if (Gaddafi's) forces use them to launch attacks." At the same time, a spokesman said great care is taken to minimize civilian casualties.

NATO lied. Daily, it's attacking non-military related sites to destroy Libya's ability to function in areas loyal to Gaddafi. Earlier, in fact, a spokesman claimed there was "no evidence" civilian targets were hit or noncombatants killed, except one time a major incident was too obvious to hide. Reluctantly it admitted a "mistake," covering up a willful planned attack, knowing civilians were affected.

Libya (satellite) TV calls itself "a voice for free Libya....struggling to liberate Libya from the grip of the Gaddafi regime...." In fact, it's a pro-NATO propaganda service, reporting misinformation on air and online.

On July 25, it headlined, "No evidence to support Gaddafi's allegations that civilian targets were hit," when, it fact, they're struck daily.

Nonetheless, it claimed only military sites are bombed, saying Tripoli-based journalists aren't taken to affected areas, "suggesting NATO's gunners are hitting military targets, at least in the capital."

In fact, corporate and independent journalists are regularly taken to many sites struck. Independent accounts confirm civilian casualties and non-military facilities bombed. Pro-NATO scoundrels report managed news, complicit in daily war crimes.

On July 28, Libya TV claimed "captured Gaddafi soldiers say army morale is low," when, in fact, most Libyans support Gaddafi. Millions are armed. Gaddafi gave them weapons. They could easily oust him if they wish. Instead, they rally supportively, what Western media and Libya TV won't report.

Moreover, captured soldiers say what they're told, likely threatened with death or torture if they refuse, especially in rebel paramilitary hands, under NATO orders to terrorize areas they control.

As a result, civilian casualties mount, up to 1,200 or more killed and thousands wounded in pro-Gaddafi areas, many seriously as war rages. In addition, unknown numbers of combatant casualties on both sides aren't known, nor is the civilian toll in rebel held areas.

Nonetheless, daily sorties and strikes continue. Since mid-July alone through July 27, they include:

July 14: 132 sorties and 48 strikes

July 15: 115 sorties and 46 strikes

July 16: 110 sorties and 45 strikes

July 17: 122 sorties and 46 strikes

July 18: 129 sorties and 44 strikes

July 19: 113 sorties and 40 strikes

July 20: 122 sorties and 53 strikes

July 21: 124 sorties and 45 strikes

July 22: 128 sorties and 46 strikes

July 23: 125 sorties and 56 strikes

July 24: 163 sorties and 43 strikes

July 25: 111 sorties and 54 strikes

July 26: 134 sorties and 46 strikes

July 27: 133 sorties and 54 strikes

Daily patterns are consistent. However, information on numbers and types of bombs, as well as other munitions aren't given. Instead, misinformation claims a humanitarian mission protects civilians - by terrorizing, killing, and injuring them, solely for imperial aims. It's why all US-led wars are fought, never for liberating reasons.

The entire campaign is based on lies. It's standard war time procedure, to enlist popular support for campaigns people otherwise would reject.

In fact, no humanitarian crisis existed until NATO arrived. Moreover, in paramilitary controlled areas, Amnesty International confirmed only 110 pro and anti-Gaddafi supporter deaths combined, most likely more of the former than latter as rebel cutthroats rampaged through areas they occupy. Currently, the numbers of dead and injured civilians are many times that amount, largely from NATO attacks.

NATO, in fact, is code language for the Pentagon, paying the largest share of its operating and military budgets. Except for Germany and Britain, other members pay small shares, most, in fact, miniscule amounts.

Since NATO began bombing on March 19, daily attacks inflicted lawless collective punishment against millions in Gaddafi supported areas. Affected is their ability to obtain food, medicines, fuel and other basic supplies, exposing another lie about humanitarian intervention.

On July 25, OCHA's fact-finding team said Tripoli contained "pockets of vulnerability where people need urgent humanitarian assistance." Medical supplies are running low. The last major delivery was in January, and concerns are increasing about the "unsustainable food supply chain for the public distribution systems, especially as Ramadan approaches (on or around August 1 to about August 29) and the conflict persists."

Moreover, "Libyan oil experts warned that fuel stocks could run out in two weeks." Public transportation costs have tripled. Food prices have also soared. Tripoli residents experience electricity cuts, and clean water supplies are endangered.

Before conflict erupted, Libyans had the region's highest standard of living and highest life expectancy in Africa because Gaddafi's oil wealth provided healthcare, education, housing assistance and other social benefits. Imperial war, of course, changed things. Libyans now hang on to survive.

Seeking an End Game

On July 26, UPI headlined, "NATO seeks urgent exit strategy in Libya," knowing this phase of the war is lost. Nonetheless, future strategies and campaigns will follow.

For now, however, "NATO is seeking an urgent exit strategy (to end) fighting and decide the future of (Gaddifi), even if that means letting him stay in the country though out of power, it emerged Tuesday after British and French foreign ministers met in London."

In tribal Libya, Gaddafi's power, in fact, is far less than reported, social anthropologist Ranier Fsadni saying:

"Gaddafi's feeling for tribal Libya is certainly one factor that explains how he has managed to rule the country for so many years. (However), (t)here is no tribal office giving a single man a monopoly of institutional power at the apex....Several factors account for his longevity in power," including sharing Libya's oil wealth.

UPI said diplomacy is driven by a failed military campaign. As a result, "(i)ntense mediation efforts are underway at different levels at the United Nations and Europe, in African, European and Middle Eastern capitals and Russia."

Neither side is commenting, but some observers think operations may wind down in weeks, based on an unannounced face-saving solution, despite continued destabilization and future conflict planned. It's similar to Balkan and Iraq war strategies, a combination of tactics until Washington prevailed.

Libya faces the same end game, though years could pass before it arrives. As a result, Libyans can expect continued hardships. When imperial America shows up, that strategy persists until it prevails, no matter the pain and suffering inflicted.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Israeli Home Demolition Terrorism

Israeli Home Demolition Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman

Co-founded (with Meir Marglit) and directed by Jeff Halper, the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) "is a non-violent, direct-action organization established in 1998 to resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories."

ICAHD also helps rebuild homes. In addition, it resists "land expropriation, settlement expansions, by-pass road construction, policies of 'closure' and 'separation,' " as well as destruction of agricultural land and crops. It also works for peace, equity, and ending Israel's illegal occupation.

Access its web site through the following link:

http://www.icahd.org/

It estimates over 24,800 West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza houses demolished since 1967 (4,247 during Cast Lead, according to the UN).

It classifies demolition types as:

-- punishment for actions associated with the structures (about 8.5%);

-- administrative for lacking building permits (about 26%);

-- land-clearing/military demolitions for any reason, including achieving IDF goals or accompanying extrajudicial assassinations (about 65.5%); and

-- other undefined reasons.

In fact, Israel's demolition and displacement policies are serious international law breaches for any reason. Nonetheless, they continue as official state policy to steal Palestinian land for Israelis, an issue Western media ignore, as well as other Israeli crimes of war and against humanity.

On June 27, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee passed a first draft of a law requiring Palestinians to pay house demolition costs with no judicial review.

ACRI and Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights petitioned the committee, calling the measure extreme, adding that without judicial review "there is no option for the owners to demolish the structure themselves," a much cheaper procedure.

Moreover, this legislation gives administrative authorities "unbalanced" demolition freedom, including to bulldoze homes in "structurally disadvantaged communities such as Bedouins in unrecognized communities" and Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

A "softened version of the bill" lets courts decide whether costs should be imposed and how much. It's expected to become law.

On July 21, a new UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report documented alarming numbers of West Bank Area C demolitions and forced displacements, saying more occurred (342) so far in 2011 than in 2009 and 2010 combined.

Based on field visits to 13 Area C communities, the report said "restrictive policies and practices of the Israeli authorities, including movement and access restrictions, settlement activity and restrictions on Palestinian construction" force most Palestinians to leave.

It added that thousands more are at risk because 3,000 demolition orders have been issued, including against 18 schools.

On July 18, ICAHD reported "a new wave of demolition orders, stop-building orders, property confiscations, settler harassment and multiple warnings of imminent eviction(s) by the Israeli Civil Administration...."

Most affected are Jerusalem periphery Bedouin communities, "exhausted of alternative coping strategies." As a result, they're appealing for international protection against demolitions, forced displacements and relocations, what many of them have experienced before.

Khan al Ahmar and Wadi Abu Hindi communities (near Maale Adumim settlement) are especially targeted. Since May, all Wadi Abu Hindi structures got stop-building orders. The community was also told that their land was expropriated for the Separation Barrier.

Khan al Ahmar got four new stop-building orders and notification that final stop-work/demolition orders for 10 - 12 houses will be executed. Moreover, Jahilin community residents fear they may be next.

More Land Theft Planned

On July 22, Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar headlined, "IDF Civil Administration pushing for land takeover in West Bank," saying:

According to an internal IDF document, new construction is planned "not only around settlement blocs like Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, but also in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea."

Prepared by Lt. Col. Zvi Cohen, it says the custodian of government property may take possession of undefined ownership lands, including in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea. Doing so, however, will further cantonize Palestine, making it harder than ever to establish an independent continuous territory state.

In response, Rabbis for Human Rights said:

"(A) politically motivated land policy must not come at the expense of the rights of a population subjected to occupation, which is excluded from the decision-making processes of those shaping its destiny. The procedures empower the ability to use the mechanism Israel set up for declaring 'state lands' for the purpose of dispossessing Palestinian communities and individuals of their rights and lands."

According to Dror Etkes, an activist monitoring settlement construction, the IDF document reveals how political and military officials work against Palestinians' interests. Nearly always, procedures for declaring state lands benefit settlers alone.

"That's the main way Israel enforces its discriminatory land policy which aims to evict the Palestinians from most of the West Bank and take possession of these territories."

Moreover, Israel's Interior Ministry recently authorized "the enlargement of 2,000 illegal homes" in East Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

And now this, according to Haaretz writer Jack Khoury. On July 27, he headlined "Israel sues 34 Bedouin(s) for costs of repeated demolitions of their homes," saying:

The unprecedented suit seeks 1.8 million NIS (New Israeli Shekels) in damages. About 3.4 NIS = one dollar.

Despite Bedouins and other Palestinians building on their own land, the Israel Land Administration (ILA) claims those charged built homes in Al-Arakib, northeast of Be'er Sheva, "on what had been state land since the time of Ottoman rule."

It ended in 1918. Israel became a state in 1948. ILA's claim is bogus, offensive and illegal, but it's not deterred from its longstanding policy to steal as much Palestinian land as possible, destroying their property and dispossessing them lawlessly.

According to ILA:

"The squatters against whom the suit was brought, of the Abu Madigham and the Abu Jaber families, already have houses built on land the state gave them in the area of Rahat." It said they keep returning to disputed land, despite court orders prohibiting them from doing so.

Israeli audacity gives chutzpah new meaning, calling Palestinian land "disputed," prohibiting them from living on it, demolishing their property when they do, and now suing them for demolition costs.

ILA also claimed Bedouins use PR deception, accusing Israel of repression when they're in breach of the law. It said the disputed land was leased until 1998 for seasonal agricultural activities. However, "defendants ousted the leasees and began squatting on the land."

In 1999, state authorities acted to evict them. In March 2000, a permanent injunction barred them from the land, except to visit a cemetery and mosque, the only structures there at the time. ILA said suing is "an efficient way to deal with squatters and illegal construction."

Al-Arakib village leader Sheikh Siyah Abu Madigham said neither he or his family were told about the suit. In fact, he first heard of it through the media, saying:

"We also submit a lot of complaints but no one listens to us, about all the buildings of ours that they destroyed - that the state does not care. The first demolition cost us NIS 4 million. The trees that were uprooted in the village cost us NIS 500,000. They destroyed the village 27 times. That cost us NIS 150,000 each time."

Awad Abu-Frih, Al-Arakib activist against the demolition, said residents expect Israel to compensate them for damages, not the other way around, explaining:

"The state is afraid of a precedent over Al-Arakib, and so they talk to us in a language reserved for enemies who must be defeated, so the hold over the land won't be an inspiration to other Bedouin(s) in the Negev."

He added that every time Israel destroys their village, hundreds of Bedouins, Jews and foreign volunteers rebuild it.

According to Thabet Abu Ras of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights:

"The state recognizes ownership rights over the lands of Al-Arakib and is constantly offering (Bedouins) meager compensation for the land. What's more, a law requiring the builder of a house to pay for its demolition was not passed by the Knesset."

Previously, Israel demanded Galilee and central Israel Arab communities pay demolition costs, cases still being litigated. However, they're against homes built on private, not state, land. The new suit is the first time such a large number of Palestinians are affected. Indeed, it gives chutzpah new meaning.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

America: Heading for Tyranny and Impoverishment

America: Heading for Tyranny and Impoverishment - by Stephen Lendman

It's present, hardening, and threatening to subvert all constitutional and social rights. Among others, three previous articles discussed the danger, accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2007/12/police-state-america-look-back-and.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/continuity-of-government-coup-detat.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/fix-is-in-washingtons-planned-social.html

The first article covered post-9/11 police state laws, Executive Orders, Military Orders, as well as National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives (NSPDs and HSPDs). It addressed George Bush granting himself "Unitary Executive" authority to govern extrajudicially (a virtual dictator) in the name of national security, though no constitutional provisions permit it.

The second article discussed "Continuity of Government (COG)" authority under declared national or catastrophic emergency conditions, defined as:

"any incident (such as a terrorist attack), regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

COG is then defined as:

"a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency."

In other words, COG authority gives the president and DHS unprecedented police state powers to declare martial law without congressional approval, and be able to rule extrajudicially, free from constitutional constrains. It also lets the vice-president assume dictatorial powers:

"implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions."

COG authority is renewed annually. Obama did it twice and will again in September, letting him govern dictatorially if he chooses.

The third article discussed how complicit Democrats and Republicans plan to destroy America's social contract to transfer maximum wealth to corporations and super-rich elites. Obama's out in front arranging it in dirty back room deals. It's a take the money and run scam, hollowing out America and impoverishing millions in the process.

Now a new threat. Paul Craig Roberts mentioned it in his article headlined, "Debt Ceiling Intransigence: Unintended Consequences," saying:

The current debt ceiling/budget cutting debate conceals a hidden issue - namely, that if resolution isn't achieved, Obama can use extrajudicial "presidential directives and executive orders in place, put there by (Bush to) declare a national emergency, suspend the debt ceiling limit, and continue to issue Treasury debt. This is exactly what would happen" to avoid default. If it occurs, it would create "a crisis beyond anything the world has ever seen."

Avoiding it extrajudicially, however, involves giving the president COG authority by other means for a different purpose. It would end congressional power, already surrendered on war and peace issues. "Now Congress would lose its power over debt, taxes, and the budget itself."

In fact, it might as well close shop and leave if it gives the president sole governing power on issues mattering most. Will it happen? Perhaps with a looming August 2 deadline, but maneuvering could extend it until September 30. The FY end may be the real drop dead date by which the debt ceiling issue must be resolved.

It will be now or weeks later. Default won't happen because the consequences would be too catastrophic. However, popular interests will be sacrificed to avoid it.

At the same time, Senate party leaders have another solution in mind, weakening constitutional power with it. Proposed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV), it would establish a Super Congress, an idea a despot would love as one step from a Super President, aka a dictator.

The McConnell/Reid idea would empower 12 lawmakers, six from each party, to fast-track legislation through both Houses without amendments. In other words, Big Money-written bills would be voted on up or down, no changes. It will facilitate ending social contract protections and enact more police state enforcement laws, crushing opposition to transfer all public and private wealth to capital interests running America, making it more than ever unfit to live it.

The deal is done, perhaps with Super Congress authority, an idea House Speaker John Boehner (R. OH) endorses in two steps. In fact, multiple steps will entirely destroy America's social contract, leaving working households on their own sink or swim.

All New Deal/Great Society programs will end. Privatizing profits while socializing losses on steroids will accelerate more than ever. Poverty, homelessness, hunger, depravation and despair will grow. America will resemble Guatemala in the worst sense.

Obama's duplicitous rhetoric seduces Americans to support it, the same "shared sacrifice" baloney that's all sacrifice and no sharing. His latest July 25 monologue dripped with cynicism, asking Americans to endorse their own demise, at the same lavishing handouts on corporations and America's super-rich, omitting details to conceal them.

Last year, his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility (NCFRF) laid the framework, the hellish Simpson/Bowles agenda, calling for:

-- ending or capping middle class tax breaks, including deductions for home mortgage interest and tax-free employer provided medical insurance;

-- taxing capital gains and dividends the same as ordinary income; long-term capital gains and qualified dividends are currently taxed at 15%;

-- lowering income tax rates dramatically to 9, 15 and 24%, down from six current brackets ranging from 10 - 35% for income over $373,650;

-- slashing corporate tax rates from the top 35% rate to 26%, combined with eliminating some deductions, but creating loopholes that more than make up the difference;

-- making permanent the research and development tax credit;

-- making deeper Medicare cuts; increasing Medicaid co-pays; slashing $54 billion from graduate medical education; and enacting "comprehensive tort reform," making it harder for aggrieved patients to file malpractice suits;

-- raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 by 2075; reducing cost-of-living increases, now based on annual inflation rates; raising the payroll tax ceiling to $200,000, letting million dollar earners off the hook like now;

-- cutting the federal work force 10% by 2015, adding to unemployment rolls;

-- raising the federal gasoline tax by 15 cents a gallon and imposing "user fees" on motorists - to have workers fund the federal transportation and highway spending program, not big monied interests profiting most from them; and

-- cutting $100 billion in military spending, including administration, inefficiencies, "unnecessary" weapons (ones Pentagon brass don't want in lieu of others they won't sacrifice), force contingents on overseas bases, and healthcare benefits for military retirees through enacted premiums and higher co-pays.

Unmentioned were the Pentagon's open-ended black budgets, supplemental Iraq and Afghanistan appropriations, added spending for Libya and other operations, and commitment to permanent imperial wars. Also that military spending will grow annually, unimpeded because America's business is war, so working people have to sacrifice to fund them.

Under COG, Super Congress, or other authority, Big Money runs America. Obama serves it dutifully as a crime boss, subservient to a higher power. A moral coward, he's also unprincipled, dishonest and corrupt, a weasel impersonating a populist, a disgrace to his people and all working Americans who deserve better.

Never on his watch. He now even abandoned taxing the rich, what he never had in mind in the first place, putting a lie to his "shared sacrifice" deception.

In Obama's America, only wealth and power interests matter, everyone else abandoned on their own. Only a Democrat could pull it off, a smooth-talking con man. Who better than a Black one.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

US-Style Free Trade's Dark Side

US-Style Free Trade's Dark Side - by Stephen Lendman

Corporate predators seek cheap labor worldwide in countries like China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Jordan, and many others. Employed in global sweatshops, they work up to 90 or more hours a week for sub-poverty wages under horrific conditions, enduring harassment, beatings, sexual abuse and rape.

According to the group Sweatshop Watch:

"A sweatshop is a workplace that violates the law and where workers are subject to:

-- extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or long hours;

-- poor working conditions, such as health and safety hazards;

-- arbitrary discipline, such as verbal or physical abuse, or

-- fear and intimidation when they speak out, organize, or attempt to form a union."

It's mainly a women's rights issue as 90% of the workforce is female, between the ages of 15 - 25.

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (IGLHR) "investigates and exposes human and labor rights abuses committed by (transnational) corporations producing goods in the developing world."

Two June reports discussed hellish conditions in Jordanian garment factories, where workers are ruthlessly exploited and abused. According to IGLHR's Charles Kernaghan, they're:

"stripped of their passports, forced to work (up to) grueling 99 and a half hour work weeks (minimally 78 hours), while being shortchanged of their rightful wages, housed in overcrowded, primitive dorms infested with bedbugs (with no heat or hot water), and subjected to verbal and physical abuse."

In addition, "the food is awful." It's always the same, low quality, and never enough. For breakfast, it's two pieces of stale bread, lentil soup and tea. Lunch is rice and "old chicken." For dinner, women prefer preparing their own meals in their dorm, using an electric hotplate.

Moreover, despite garments entering America duty-free, under terms of the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), workers are prohibited from unionizing. In fact, Jordan's Ministry of Labor is complicit by not enforcing Jordan's labor laws.

Indian-owned Classic Fashion Apparel Industry Ltd is Jordan's largest garment export factory, producing clothing for Kohl's, Target, Macy's, Hanes, Wal-Mart, and other companies.

According to witnesses, young Sri Lankan women sewing for Wal-Mart and Hanes suffer routine sexual abuse and rape, even at times torture. If become pregnant, they're forcibly sent home. Moreover, women "who refuse the sexual advances of Classic's managers are also beaten and deported."

Anil Santha is Classic's general manager. Abusing women repeatedly, he and other managers ignore their culture where highly prized virginity is a prerequisite for marriage.

In October 2010, 2,400 Sri Lankan and Indian workers walked out, demanding Santha's removal. After leaving for month, he returned. Jordan's Labor Ministry knows about the problem but won't address it.

Classic's standard shift is 13-hour days, six or seven days a week, with 18 and a half hour shifts before garments are shipped to America. According to witnesses, workers are harassed, cursed, beaten, and shortchanged on wages for not reaching mandatory quotas. Pressing them to work faster, managers "grope and fondle them."

Coming from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Egypt, they earn from 61 - 74 and a half cents an hour. In the last five years, no increases were granted. With extremely limited freedom, they're let out of the factory compound one day a week for six hours. However, when forced to work longer hours, they get out only once or twice a month.

Wal-Mart, Hanes and other buyers do little to help. At the same time, managers threaten workers to say conditions are good. Since enacted in October 2000, the US-Jordan FTA failed to provide any protections for 30,000 exploited guest workers.

One recently deported Classic woman said:

"(A)ll the workers of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, everybody will testify that (Santha) raped the Sri Lankan women. Everybody knows. In a safe place," they'll say so.

Kernaghan said testimonies of courageous women revealed "the horrific sexual abuse and rapes that have been going on in Jordan since at least 2007." Information gotten stunned him, indicting Jordan's Labor Ministry, Wal-Mart, Hanes and Washington for doing nothing to stop it.

In fact, Jordan's Labor Ministry awarded Classic "Golden List" status for the last four and three-fourths years. It's supposed to be for companies that comply fully with Jordanian laws and labor rights provisions of the US-Jordan FTA.

A US-funded "Better Work Jordan" monitoring group also inspected Classic's factories for the past two years, saying:

"Better Work Jordan certifies Classic Fashion for producing garments (for) major retailers and brands like Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Hanesbrands, Jones Apparel, Sears, Lands End, to name a few."

"Social Accountability and Sustainability,"
Awards and recognitions
Classic Fashion website

In fact, Classic is a serial exploitive predator "running wild, abusing and torturing scores of young women guest workers, especially" from Sri Lanka. Their rights are grievously violated.

Complaints aren't tolerated. Women doing so are forcibly deported on false charges. Classic workers "are trapped in a hell hole with no exit and nowhere to turn for help.

Testimony of One Sri Lankan Woman in May 2011

Her name changed for her safety, Ms. Latha said:

"Please help us....Please do something to have (Santha) removed so that the lives and hopes of other innocent girls are not destroyed further."

"He summoned me to his office and made his demand, and warned me not to tell anyone....I feel so exposed and shameful sharing what he did to me....And it wasn't only me. There were three or four other girls there too. He did this to us in the presence of one another....If any one of us either talked about this episode or did anything about it, the person would be immediately deported to Sri Lanka....What is tragic is that (new arrivals) will continue to fall prey to this monster."

Other victims confirmed Ms. Latha's account. They also described sweatshop conditions, long hours, abuse on the job, and no one to turn to for help. Moreover, if ill, Classic's "free health care" means an "aspirin." Beyond that, workers are on their own.

Washington calls the US-Jordan FTA a model free trade agreement. It's similar to others with developing countries, exploiting and abusing workers for profit.

Rich Pine International Ltd - Another Corporate Abuser

Twiwanese owned, it employs about 750 Chinese guest workers (95% young women), 175 Bangladeshis, and nearly 300 Jordanians, producing clothing for Liz Claiborne, Macy's, Kohl's, Ralph Lauren, Hudson Bay and others.

Reminiscent of slavery, young Chinese workers "are fleeing the grueling 93-hour workweek. Nonetheless, Rich Pine also got "Golden List" status, including it among Jordan's best garment exporters.

However, according to one guest worker:

"Every month, every week, Chinese workers flee from the factory as they cannot survive all the excessive work hours."

"Our health and minds are broken. Here, nobody takes care of us. It is not a life of a human being. We have no enjoyment or recreation in our daily lives....We have no freedom at all....(W)e do not have time to even call our families each week....We have very little time to even wash our clothes. Exhausted."

At most, Rich Pine workers get one or two days off every two or three months. On a Karen Scott brand production line, they must complete 50 to 60 garments per hour, depending on the sewing complexity.

Besides an exhausting routine, they're housed in a dorm, six to eight workers on double-level bunk beds in 10' x 10' to 12' x 12' rooms. Without showers, buckets are used to wash. Each worker gets two per week, filled with lukewarm water. Dorms are unheated, making them "miserable" in winter. No electric outlets are available, so workers have no television.

Base pay is $180 a month ($2,160 per year), or 86 and a half cents an hour. Workers can earn up to $350 a month with enough overtime. However, they don't know how their wages are calculated so are easily cheated.

Monitoring is a "farce." It's planned, announced in advance, and managers order women to say everything is fine. When Labor Ministry representatives visit, they deal with management, not workers.

"Pseudo healthcare" is provided. Two doctors and a nurse provide it. If medicines are prescribed, workers are on their own, and paid sick days aren't allowed.

Sexual harassment is also widespread. It's why so many young Chinese women flee. Again, lack of oversight or concern lets the most abusive practices continue, facilitated by Jordanian authorities and the US-Jordan FTA, in place for profits, not worker rights.

No wonder IGLHR calls the world "a desperate place for the poor." Global trade rules don't protect them. They struggle to keep jobs they know will harm them because of no choice. It's do it or perhaps perish with no income or way to help support families.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Oslo Attacks: More False Flag Evidence

The Oslo Attacks: More False Flag Evidence - by Stephen Lendman

The memorable line from Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore explains what's so often true, saying:

"Things are seldom as they seem. Skim milk masquerades as cream."

With considerable mass media help, especially America's, misinformation diverts public attention from vital truths, playing their usual gatekeeper role, providing fiction and irrelevancies, not fact.

For example, initial reports cited Islamic militants, naming Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (aka Helpers of the Global Jihad), though no one knows if the group actually exists.

On July 22, New York Times writers Elisa Mala and J. David Goodman headlined, "At Least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting," claiming with no corroborating evidence:

"There was ample reason for concern that (Islamic) terrorists might be responsible. In 2004 and again in 2008, the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden, threatened Norway because of its support of the American-led NATO military operation in Afghanistan."

In fact, no verifiable evidence confirms it. The claim is based on an alleged April 2003 Al Qaeda tape, urging Muslims to strike US, UK, Australian and Norwegian embassies and commercial interests because of their Afghanistan and/or Iraq involvement.

However, past audio and video tapes were later proved fakes. Perhaps this one also. Nonetheless, America's media, including the New York Times, report them as fact, lying for the interests they represent.

The Times also avoided due diligence on why Norway was attacked, instead expressing surprise about an "assault on the ordinarily peaceful Scandinavian country."

Norway, of course, is a NATO member. It has token forces in Afghanistan, and agreed to be an anti-Gaddafi coalition partner for three months, saying in May it would scale down involvement and pull out entirely by August 1.

As a result, the State Department criticized its government's "lack of commitment," concerned it would influence other NATO states to drop out. On June 10, in fact, the Netherlands announced it would continue enforcing Libya's no-fly zone, but no longer engage in air strikes.

Since July 22, Western media, especially America's, highlighted the lone bomber/gunman story, focusing on right-wing Christian fundamentalist Anders Breivik, claiming he alone managed to do the near impossible - plan and engineer a sophisticated, possible multiple car bomb attack, then head off undetected to Utoeya Island, 19 miles away and singlehandedly kill dozens children.

On July 25, Norway's police revised the death toll down to 68, plus another eight bombing victims.

Breivik's alleged motive reflected his neocon right-wing sympathies, anti-Islamization views, and hostility to multiculturalism. Regardless of how many Breivik types agree, they don't bomb government buildings or mass murder children. On July 22, something entirely different happened. Two previous articles discussed it, accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/oslo-attacks-comment-and-analysis.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/07/possible-israeli-connection-to-oslo.html

The first one asked who gains and loses from every terror incident, certainly not suspects charged, convicted and imprisoned. Geopolitical interests always are key.

The second article suggested an Israeli connection because of Norway's Palestinian sympathies, including its support for independence and de jure UN membership, as well as criticism of Israeli settlements and belligerence.

Notably, Eileen Fleming observed that Friday's attack occurred on the 65th King David Hotel (1946) bombing anniversary, carried out by (pre-Israeli) Irgun terrorists led by future prime minister Menachem Begin.

It massacred 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounded 52 others, and Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion (then Jewish Agency head) approved it.

Preceding the incident to the present, Israel carried out numerous terror attacks, and committed or attempted many thousands of targeted killings. Perhaps Oslo on July 22 was its latest, alone or jointly with its CIA and/or other Western intelligence counterparts.

Analyst Bob Chapman, a frequent Progressive Radio News Hour guest, believes Friday's attack was a false flag, citing two reasons:

-- pulling out of NATO's Libya coalition entirely by August 1; and

-- withholding its $42 million contribution to Greece's bailout, calling it a waste of money, sensibly saying the Papandreou government should default.

As a result, Chapman said affected banks "are very unhappy with Norway, and I think that (and pulling out of Libya) was the basis for the attack," adding:

Breivik "at the island was probably there to kill (Labour Party) prime minister (Jens Stoltenberg) who (wasn't at Utoeya island) for some reason. The message to Norway is do what we tell you to do or we'll put a bomb in the middle of your city (as) payback from the banks...."

On July 25, Paul Joseph Watson's Prison Planet.com article headlined, "Anders Behring Breivik: Manufacturing a Patsy?" noting two different Facebook profiles (before and after July 22) describing him, saying:

"The first one in Norwegian was deleted minutes after (his) identity became public." A doctored English version replaced it, changing his profile to fit the crime.

His stated "interest in Winston Churchill and (anti-Nazi resistance) leader Max Manus" was deleted. In addition, his Internet postings "characterize himself not as a populist Christian conservative, but as a neo-con" pro-Israeli supporter.

Moreover, the Council of Conservative Citizens said none of his postings "are extreme or hint at a desire to commit violence." He did say he supported "Hans Rustad, a former Jewish left-winger turned neo-conservative."

The doctored Facebook profile turned a "socially liberal, pro-Israeli neo-con (into) a Christian conservative, white supremacist." Friends also contradict the new Breivik characterization, Ulav Andersson telling Russia Today it's not at all the man he knows, saying his racial antipathies were expressed in "mundane" mild terms, adding:

He wasn't opinionated, and "never came across as some kind of religious fanatic or anything." In fact, he had no defined ideology.

As the old US "To Tell the Truth" TV show used to ask: "Will the real Anders Breivik please stand up?" In fact, he did, but the tape showing it was deleted, replaced by a doctored one, conforming to how Western powers wish to portray him. Perhaps his manifesto was then altered.

Webster Tarpley also claimed a false flag in his July 24 article, accessed through the following link:

http://tarpley.net/2011/07/24/norway-terror-attacks-a-false-flag/

He cites the following:

On Friday, a "special (anti-terrorist) police unit had conducted drills or exercises near" Oslo's opera house downtown when the bombing occurred. Advance information about it was concealed.

In 2010, the same unit carried out live bomb detonation drills, similar to what happened on July 22. Notably, similar coincidental or earlier practice exercises often precede or coincide with real attacks, raising obvious false flag suspicions.

US intelligence agencies recruited Norwegian police, (including Oslo's former anti-terror head) for SIMAS Surveillance Detection Units (SDU), "operating outside of" Norwegian government control.

In fact, run out of US embassies, SIMAS surveillance and spying occurs worldwide. According to Norway's Justice Minister Knut Storberget and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, "We never knew about it." Secretary of State Clinton lied, saying they were told.

Washington wants to derail Palestinian independence and de jure UN membership, complicit with Israel, perhaps by any means, including intimidation and mass murder.

Also as payback for Norway's planned ending its anti-Gaddafi coalition participation, a warning perhaps not to do it.

Notably, several eyewitnesses saw two shooters. As in similar past cases, "there is credible to overwhelming evidence that (alleged suspects) could not have acted alone."

The Norwegian newpaper Verdens Gang (VG) said:

"Several of the youths who were at (Utoeya) told VG that they are convinced that there must have been more than one perpetrator. Marius Helander Roset believes the same thing," saying:

"I am sure that there was shooting from two different places on the island at the same time."

"Young people interviewed by VG describe an additional perpetrator - who was not wearing a police uniform. (He) had thick dark hair and a Nordic appearance. He had a pistol in his right hand and a rifle on his back. I believe that there were two people who were shooting, says Alexander Stavdal."

On July 23, Oslo police said several shooters could have been involved. An investigation into both incidents is ongoing.

On July 25, The Views and News from Norway web site (newsinenglish.no) reported that "(s)urvivors of the massacre (said) the shooting went on for nearly two hours," police taking 90 minutes to arrive.

On July 25, the Pakistan News Service (Pak Tribune) headlined, "Analyzing the Oslo attacks: terrorist event or false flag distraction?" saying:

The timing may not be coincidental, occurring "(a)s the sociopolitical tensions in Europe rise, the euro falls, and the debt crisis looms. (It's) another reminder of the ever-present al Qaeda (or in this case neocon Christian fundamentalist) bogeymen (able) to unite the people against an outside enemy."

The Friday attack also occurred after Israeli spies were found operating covertly in New Zealand, stealing identities for "sensitive" missions "like assassinations." In fact, Mossad operates throughout the Middle East, as well as in much of Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia, spying and engaging in other covert activities.

Pak Tribune speculated whether foreign intelligence was involved in Friday's attack "to draw attention away from the Israeli operations abroad, the looming financial crisis, the (planned and imposed) austerity measures, massive swindling of public funds, and the crumbling support for" America's multiple imperial wars.

Whatever final conclusions are drawn, Friday's attacks provide "an apt distraction and talking point for those seeking to continue the farcical war on terror."

A Final Comment

A previous article discussed Operation GLADIO (Latin for double-edged sword), NATO's Secret Armies, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/natos-secret-armies.html

Run by European secret services, collaborating with NATO, the CIA, as well as Britain's MI6 and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), it targeted the political left to prevent it from gaining power. Its clandestine missions included bombings, assassinations, and other belligerent acts, believed still ongoing.

Targeting Oslo on Friday resembled GLADIO, this time perhaps a CIA, Mossad, MI6 or joint operation, using Breivik for plausible deniability as a previous article noted.

It wasn't the first time stooges took a fall for others. Notable previous ones included Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray, the alleged 9/11 perpetrators, and numerous other falsely charged victims - never the treacherous Machiavellian villains.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.