zaterdag 1 augustus 2015

Geert Mak en de U.S. Military Industrial Complex

In zijn bestseller Reizen zonder John. Op zoek naar Amerika. 2012 beweerde Geert Mak dat de VS na 1945:

 decennialang als ordebewaker en politieagent [fungeerde] – om maar te zwijgen van alle hulp die het uitdeelde… En nog steeds zijn de Verenigde Staten het anker van het hele Atlantische deel van de wereld in de ruimste zin van het woord. Het is nog altijd de ‘standaardmacht’

Nu de werkelijkheid:

Global War Economy: The Empire of the US Military Industrial Complex

Arguably, since entering World War II, the United States of America’s economy has been a war economy. Starting or fostering wars became essentially, independently of geopolitical reasons, a “good” business proposition. The early 1940s marked the start of the era of  systematic wars for profit: war defined as the ultimate capitalist enterprise. The extraordinary war efforts of World War II turned the US  into a giant global arms factory for the war in Europe and in the Pacific. Manufacture for war was even, cynically, credited as being the main factor in ending the Great Depression that started in 1929.
This trend continued at a slower pace, but without any real interruption, with the Korean war in the early 1950s, the Vietnam war in the 1960s until the early 1970s, and various proxy wars worldwide,  including Afghanistan in the 1980s, against the Soviet Union. The events of 9/11/ 2001 gave American politicians the unique opportunity to start the perfect war on behalf of their friends and patrons of the military industrial complex. It is the endless war: the “war on terror” without geographic boundaries, time frame or even the necessity for a well-defined enemy.
This permanent war business proposition is criminal in nature but absolutely fool proof in terms of maximum returns on the investment. Money is made when the weapons are manufactured. They are used to kill millions and to destroy countries that eventually will get rebuild through programs such as the Marshall Plan used in the aftermath of World War II in Europe.
The blood-thirsty machine that is the US industrial-military complex makes billions at all three phases of the war industry process: the manufacture of ever more lethal and complex weapon systems, the destruction stage, and then finally the occupation and rebuilding phase in countries such as Germany, Japan, Korea, and more recently Iraq and Afghanistan. This war machine and its political associates always need new conflicts. The US is the uncontested juggernaut of the war business or war for profit, defining the economy of permanent war.
According to a report released August 24, 2012 by the Congressional Research Service ( CRS), business has been booming for the industrial-military complex, with export of US weapons abroad increasing more than three times from $21.4 billion in 2010 to $66.3 billion in 2011. This is the largest increase for a single year in the history of US arms export. The US is, by far, the largest arm dealer of the planet with 78.1 percent of the overall market. The CRS report puts Russia as a very distant second at $8.7 billion and Britain third at $3 billion.
The leading buyers of US weapons from 2004 to 2011 were Saudi Arabia with $75.7 billion, India with $46.6 billion, the United Arab Emirates with $20.3 billion, Egypt at $14.3 billion and Pakistan at $13.2 billion. The accumulation of weapons in the Middle East sold by the US to Saudi Arabia and the UAE — with the blessings of Israel — is unquestionably a  preparation for the next big profitable venture for the industrial-military complex: a war with Iran.
The “staging” for this war is under way, with the civil war in Syria serving as an appetizer or dress rehearsal. Iran appears to be the next victim of the criminal capitalist logic of war for profit. The accomplices to the war crimes are plenty. They are not limited to the politicians who declare the wars or the soldiers who pull the triggers; they are also the engineers who design the weapon systems, the workers who make them, the stock holders who buy the shares of publicly- traded companies of the military-industrial complex, and of course the ultimate war profiteers: the merchants of death  from Wall Street.

- See more at:

Goldman Sachs


Goldman Sachs: The bank that rules the world

An investigation into the role of one of the most influential banks in the world.

 | Business & EconomyGreeceUS & CanadaEurozone

Ever since the stock market crashed, on the night of September 15, 2008, the name Goldman Sachs, or GS, has been appearing everywhere: in the collapse of the financial system, the Greek crisis, the plunge of the euro, and the campaign to prevent regulation of financial markets.
The investment bank created in New York in 1868 has carved out its reputation and success by working silently behind the scenes.
But today GS stands accused of myriad charges: playing a key role in the subprime loan fiasco, pushing several of its competitors into bankruptcy, helping countries like Greece hide their deficits before speculating on their downfall, precipitating the fall of the euro, and influencing the consumer price index. And yet GS has come out of this latest crisis richer and more powerful than ever.
Source: Al Jazeera

Lea Tsemel


Israeli lawyer: Palestinians 'have the right to fight'

Lea Tsemel discusses the deportation and detention of Palestinians, torture, and discriminatory laws in Israel.

 | Human RightsLawMiddle EastIsraelPalestine

The Israeli parliament has passed a new law legalising the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes.
For Palestinians in Israeli jails, hunger strikes are a strong mode of protesting detention and occupation.
The United Nations, the Palestinian Prisoners Commission and the Israeli Medical Association have all condemned the new law. The country's medical association are urging doctors to not partake in force-feeding, saying it is effectively torture and violates medical ethics.
The majority of the Israeli Jews are right wing, they are blind and deaf to their own future, to their possibility to live here. They are misled by fear and false promises.... There is a series of laws that are unbearable for me. Laws that discriminate between Jews and Arabs in this country. 
Lea Tsemel
But Israel has said that Palestinian hunger strikes could lead to deaths and set off protests across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.   
It is a move that highlights the treatment of Palestinian prisoners and how those defending them face difficult odds.
One of these defenders is lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has had a career spanning more than four decades and is a rarity in Israel - almost all her clients have been exclusively Palestinian.
Tsemel has rarely ever turned a case down and has defended men, women, and increasingly children who are tried in Israeli courts for alleged crimes ranging from stone throwing to attempted suicide bombings.
In her view, as Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land, any reaction - violent or otherwise - is a direct result of the occupation.
"I believe that people who are under occupation have the right to fight it," she says.
Born in Haifa in 1945 to pro-Zionist parents, Tsemel worked as a volunteer for the Israeli army during the 1967 war. It was an experience that she says drove her into political activism and a career in law.
Tsemel's legal career has been marked, in her own words, by "major failures," but also important successes.
Her defense of Palestinians remains deeply controversial in Israel and she has even received death threats.
As she talks to Al Jazeera, Lea Tsemel says she is determined that nothing will prevent her from fighting for the rights of Palestinians. 
Lea Tsemel is photographed with a young lawyer and the father of a Palestinian prisoner in a military court in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank in 1973 [Courtesy Lea Tsemel]

U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Arsenal

The US Should Eliminate Its Nuclear Arsenal - 

Not "Modernize" It

Saturday, 01 August 2015 00:00 By David KriegerTruthout | Op-Ed 

Radiation symbol(Image: Radiation symbol via Shutterstock; Edited: JR/TO)There are still approximately 16,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of nine countries today, with more than 90 percent of these in the possession of the United States and Russia. Some 1,800 nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired within moments of an order to do so. Most of these weapons are many times more powerful than those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
On the 70th anniversary of the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is past time for the United States to change course. Rather than pursue current plans to spend $1 trillion on modernizing its nuclear arsenal, the United States should lead the world in negotiations to achieve the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons. This would make the world safer.
A History We Must Not Forget
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing some 90,000 people immediately and another 55,000 by the end of 1945. Three days later, the United States dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing some 40,000 people immediately and another 35,000 by the end of 1945.
In between these two bombings, on August 8, 1945, the United States signed the charter creating the Nuremberg tribunal to hold Axis leaders to account for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under well-established international humanitarian law - the law of warfare - war crimes include using weapons that do not distinguish between civilians and combatants or that cause unnecessary suffering. Because nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately and cause unnecessary suffering by radiation poisoning (among other grotesque consequences), the United States was itself in the act of committing war crimes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki while agreeing to hold its defeated opponents in World War II to account for their war crimes.
Those who doubt this conclusion should consider this hypothetical situation: During World War II, Germany creates two atomic bombs and uses them on British cities, killing tens of thousands of civilians. Under such circumstances, can you imagine the Nazi leaders who ordered these attacks not being held accountable at Nuremberg for these bombings of civilian targets?
The United States has always publicly justified its use of atomic weapons against Japan on the grounds that they ended the war sooner and saved US lives, but did they? Many key US military leaders at the time didn't think so, including Admiral William Leahy and General (later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Leahy, President Truman's chief of staff and the top US official presiding over meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his 1950 memoir based on his contemporaneous notes and diaries, "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender...." He went on, "In being the first to use it, we ... adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."
General Eisenhower reported in his memoir a discussion with Secretary of War Henry Stimson, during which he was told of plans to use the atomic bombs on Japan. Eisenhower wrote, "During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him [Stimson] my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives...."
In the decades that followed the atomic bombings in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in an insane nuclear arms race, reaching some 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world by the mid-1980s. Despite many accidents, miscalculations and international crises, nuclear weapons have not been used again in warfare.
Now Is the Time for Change
Nuclear weapons do not make the United States or the world more secure. On the contrary, they threaten civilization and the human species. Fortunately, steps may be taken to eliminate this threat.
The 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty obligates its parties, including the United States, to engage in negotiations in good faith for a cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and for nuclear disarmament. In a 1996 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice interpreted this obligation as follows: "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."
Because these negotiations have yet to take place, one small and courageous country, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has brought lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and in US federal court, seeking court orders for these countries to fulfill their obligations under international law.
The United States should mark the 70th anniversary of the suffering it caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by publicly acknowledging the criminal nature of these weapons. Doing so is the one true way to show respect for the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many of whom have worked tirelessly to assure that their past does not become someone else's future.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission

Geert Mak en de Werkelijkheid 2

Niemand die ooit een Amerikaanse verkiezingscampagne van nabij heeft meegemaakt… zal licht denken over het vitale karakter van de Amerikaanse democratie.
Uit Geert Mak's bestseller Reizen zonder John. Op zoek naar Amerika. 2012

Nu de werkelijkheid over 'het vitale karakter van de Amerikaanse democratie.'

Why Jimmy Carter Thinks The United States Isn’t A Real Democracy Anymore

 JUL 31, 2015 3:38PM
Former President Jimmy Carter believes the United States’ campaign finance system is so broken that the country is no longer a functional democracy. Appearing on the Thom Hartmann show this week, Carter said that “unlimited political bribery” is “the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president.” He said the same problems are present in elections for “U.S. senators and congress members.”
Carter’s comments mirror the conclusions of a Princeton University study released last year. Author Martin Gilens found that “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.” Meanwhile, “economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence.” 
Giles study, which he conducted with Northwestern’s Benjamin I. Page, found the United States was more of a system of “Economic Elite Domination” than a majoritarian democracy.

Zionist Fascism 254

Palestinian Teen Killed Amid Protests Against Arson Attack

Tensions are boiling after a sleeping toddler was burned to death in the West Bank.

Talia, the sister of Laith Khaldi, mourns during his funeral on Aug.1, 2015, in Jalazon refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian health officials say an 18-year-old protester shot by Israeli troops has died of his wounds.
Ahmad Betawi, the director of the Ramallah hospital, says Laith al-Khaldi died Saturday after being shot in the chest the previous day during a demonstration over the killing of a Palestinian toddler by suspected Jewish extremists.
The Israeli military says it shot al-Khaldi near Ramallah after he hurled a fire bomb at them.
Tensions remain high after suspected Jewish assailants set fire to a West Bank home and burned the sleeping Palestinian toddler to death. The attack drew Palestinian anger and widespread Israeli condemnation.
About 2,000 Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron. Israel fears the incident could spark wider unrest and has called for calm.
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AFP/Getty Images/Said Khatib