Sunday, October 26, 2014

Islamic Extremists on Canadian Soil!

Canadian Fear Campaign: “Islamic Extremists” and the Dubious Role of Intelligence Agencies

By Julie Lévesque
Global Research, October 24, 2014
With the killing of a Canadian soldier in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on October 20, and the shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 22, the Canadian authorities and the mainstream media have already decided. Without evidence, they are blaming “Islamic extremism” for both incidents, even though we know practically nothing about the two men who acted alone.
No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but we are told that the two young men had converted to Islam and one of them, Martin Couture-Rouleau, who hit a soldier with his car in Saint-Jean, had “self-radicalized over the internet”. The Edmonton Sun said that “family and law enforcement try to find out why he followed ISIS kill commands.” Is there any evidence that he was “following ISIS Kill commands”?
We were told that both were known by the authorities who had confiscated their passports for fear that they would join terrorist organizations abroad. If the authorities went as far as confiscating their passports for fear they would commit terrorist attacks abroad, didn’t they fear that they would commit attacks here?
At this point we can only speculate about the motives of these two men. And one question that the media should ask, is whether the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had anything to do with these attacks, since it has a known history of using informants to infiltrate Muslim organizations and issue violent threats against Canadian citizens. Moreover, known and documented ISIS has been supported covertly by the US and its Persian Gulf allies since the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011.
But since the first killing on October 20, rather than being suspicious of the authorities, who have been warning us of the “homegrown terrorist threat” for months, the media relies almost exclusively on security and terrorism “experts” and law enforcement officials to provide “authoritative commentary” and they all agree on the “Islamic extremist” theory and self-radicalization on the internet.
It is very disturbing to say the least that security and terrorism “experts” are unaware that the root cause of terrorism, as demonstrated by studies, is not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology, but foreign occupation, not to mention the fact that Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists are supported covertly by Western intelligence.
Based on research from the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, and funded in part by the US Defense Department’s Threat Reduction Agency, Professor Robert A. Pape and James K. Feldman wrote a book in 2010 called “Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop.”
Abdus Sattar Ghazali summarized the book’s conclusions in 2010:
In 2000, before the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, there were 20 suicide attacks around the world, and only one (against the USS Cole) was directed against Americans. In the last 12 months, by comparison, 300 suicide attacks have occurred, and over 270 were anti-American. We simply must face the reality that, no matter how well-intentioned, the current war on terror is not serving U.S. interests.”
The authors examined more than 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90-percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90-percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.
In Cutting the Fuse, the authors pointed out: “Prior to 9/11, the expert debate on the causes of suicide terrorism was divided largely between two explanations — religious fanaticism and mental illness. In the years after 9/11, new research on who becomes a suicide terrorist showed that virtually none could be diagnosed as mentally ill, while many were religious and, most striking, nearly all emerged from communities resisting foreign military occupation.” (Abdus Sattar Ghazali, The root cause of suicide terrorism is occupation: New study, OpEd News, September 29, 2010)
Back in 2007, Alexandre Popovic wrote extensively about how CSIS informants “infiltrated the Canadian Muslim community and contributed to portray Islam in a negative way and fuel the stereotypes that Muslims are essentially dangerous extremists.” (Alexandre Popovic, Les manipulations médiatiques du SCRS, September 1, 2007)
One of the informants, Youssef Muammar, became the “leader of several organizations such as the International Islamic Foundation of Canada, Petro Action, the International Institute of Islamic Research, the Communauté de la nation musulmane du Grand Montréal, the Grand Mosque, Info-Islam and the magazine Le Monde islamique.” (André Noël, «Un drôle d’espion», La Presse, December 14, 2001, p. A7, cited in Alexandre Popovic, Les manipulations médiatiques du SCRS, September 1, 2007)
In other words, through its high-profile informants, CSIS was squarely in position to shape the public perception of the Canadian Muslim community.
Both informants in question are Gilles Joseph Breault, aka “Dr. Youssef Muammar” and “Abu Jihad” from Montreal, and Mubin Shaikh from Toronto. Note that we are not dealing here with mere speculation or an umpteenth conspiracy theory. First, both individuals publicly admitted working under the orders of CSIS. On the other hand, their multiple media interventions are largely documented in the archives of print media, which have gone so far as to portray the two informants as spokespersons of the Canadian Muslim community, even as their “leaders”.
From 1989 to 1994, Youssef Muammar seems to have been involved in all the controversies, be they large or small and associated directly or indirectly with radical Islam, such as the attempted coup in Trinidad and Tobago or the spread of heinous anti-Jewish propaganda [...]
After openly supporting anti-Israel terrorism and appealing to murder opponents of the Islamic Salvation Front, an Algerian Islamist party now dissolved, Muammar sent messages threatening of biochemical weapons attacks in the Montreal metro. (Ibid.)
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CSIS have been warning Canadians about “the very real terrorist threat” for months but, say they were “caught by surprise” by the two recent attacks committed by individuals they were monitoring close enough to confiscate their passports.
We were told that in Montreal people who are working in areas with a dense Muslim and immigrant population met with police and imams and were asked to “remain vigilant” and report “any suspicious activity” because they were “expecting something to happen.”
This method of relying on civilians to “spy” on their fellow citizens is reminiscent of the East German Stasi, the Ministry of State Security. “One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.”
Canadians need to keep in mind that the attacks are being used as a pretext for increased police state security measures and an integration of border security with the United States. The Ottawa shooter was actually identified by US sources even before the Canadian police had identified him. This raises serious questions on the extent to which the US and Canadian intelligence services are integrated. The Week reported:
Canadian police are yet to officially identify the suspect but US sources told Reuters he is Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian who recently converted to Islam. He was reportedly born and raised in Quebec, and later spent time in Libya and various regions of Canada as a labourer. His father is believed to be Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chair of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. (Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: the gunman behind the Ottawa shootings, The Week, October 23, 2014)
Knowing that most terrorist plots in the US are orchestrated by the FBI, as the extensive Mother Jones research showed, this integration between the two countries is far from reassuring.
We should also remember that NATO has a history of false flag terrorism. Operation Gladio, NATO’s secret army, was a clandestine operation to prevent the rise of communism in Europe and was used to commit terrorist attacks against the population, which were blamed on the Communists. The ultimate goal was to have people turn to the state for more security and reject communism. (See also Tony Cartalucci: Canadian Terror Wave: a Modern-Day Gladio)
In the past two days, in addition to calls for increased security measures, we are clearly seeing the glorification of the Canadian military, which has taken part in illegal bombings in the Middle East for many years in the name of democracy and other false humanitarian pretexts. Far from being a solution to terrorism, the Canadian Forces are part of the problem. The bombing of Libya, to cite the most recent example, helped fuel terrorism in the region.
And last but not least, why is it so easy for extremists to use Facebook and other social media to issue death threats and apparently radicalize young fragile minds when until recently Facebook “moderators were told to ban images of breastfeeding if the nipples were exposed”?
But most importantly, the Canadian media should be questioning Canada’s foreign policy and Ottawa’s military involvement in America’s wars instead of focusing on “self-radicalized individuals”.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What's with John Kerry?

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John Kerry: “Life as you Know it on Earth Ends”
Next to the immediate threats posed by Ebola and global jihad, climate change pales by comparison
By Joseph A. Klein 
October 13, 2014
John Kerry: Life as you Know it on Earth EndsSpeaking at the Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston Massachusetts on October 9th, the windsurfer and windbag-in-chief himself, Secretary of State John Kerry, pronounced that climate change, if left unaddressed, will result in the end of times: “Life as you know it on Earth ends,” Kerry said.
Last February, Kerry claimed that climate change was the world’s “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction. Not nuclear arms in the hands of the terrorist sponsoring regime of Iran or in the hands of ISIS or al Qaeda. Climate change is the real number #1 national security threat, according to Kerry.
Perhaps Kerry should take his head out of the clouds and take a hard look at the stark reality on earth that we are facing today. Think Ebola and global jihad for starters.
The World Health Organization called the Ebola outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” The Ebola epidemic has already killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West Africa. But the Ebola virus has spread to other parts of the world, including the United States. A Liberian man who had traveled to the U.S. has already died of Ebola in a Texas hospital. Now we learn that a nurse who treated him at the hospital is infected herself with the virus.
As usual, the Obama administration is scrambling to deal with the crisis by holding lots of meetings and taking half-hearted measures. It has refused to heed calls by an increasing number of people, including a leading epidemiologist, David Dausey, who works on controlling pandemics and said that we must do “whatever it takes to keep infected people from coming here.” This should include an immediate ban on travel from the countries with the largest rates of infection to the United States. A majority of Americans agree, according to an NBC News online survey. Instead, the Obama administration is more worried about such bans being seen as racist and disrupting the economies of the affected countries in West Africa than protecting the American people and easing their fears.
The breeding ground in West Africa for Ebola must be fully isolated
 “We don’t want to isolate parts of the world,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, earlier this month. John Kerry said that “we need borders to remain open,” while calling as usual for multilateral action by African nations to deal with the crisis. They are wrong. Except for vital medical supplies transported on military aircraft to help stem the further spread of the disease in West Africa, the borders should be closed. The breeding ground in West Africa for Ebola must be fully isolated lest the deadly disease turn into a global pandemic. To paraphrase John Kerry, an unchecked Ebola contagion will bring an end to many lives including possibly in the United States - a lot sooner than climate change.
ISIS is on the outskirts of Baghdad
ISIS is on the outskirts of Baghdad. It is also on the verge of capturing the key city of Kobani near the Turkish border. While apoplectic and apocalyptic all at the same time about climate change, Kerry sees the jihadist conquests as just part of the “ups” and “downs” there are “in any kind of conflict.” He has talked about so-called “climate refugees.” However, despite the threat of imminent ISIS conquest of Kobani and the flood of real refugees attempting to escape slaughter at the hands of the jihadists in Syria, Kerry said that the U.S. has other strategic objectives. “As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani, you have to step back and understand the strategic objective,” he remarked. Exactly what that strategic objective is, neither Kerry nor President Obama have been able to clearly explain.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shares ISIS’s supremacist Islamist ideology
Last month at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Kerry told reporters that the U.S. was getting all that it needed in the way of support from Turkey. But that was not true. Turkey has been dragging its feet ever since Kerry made that remark. Only in just the last several days has Turkey finally agreed to allow the use of its bases by coalition forces fighting against ISIS. Turkey still is preventing Kurds living in Turkey from joining their besieged Kurdish colleagues in Syria to save Kobani. And although Turkey is the NATO member most directly threatened on its border by ISIS, its Islamist government has not been willing to date to contribute any of its own ground troops to fight ISIS and prevent an invasion across its border. If Turkey is invaded by ISIS, will it expect the U.S. and other NATO members to come to its aid with air and ground combat forces under the collective security provisions of the NATO treaty?  What good is Turkey as a member of NATO and purported “ally” of the United States anyway so long as it is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who shares ISIS’s supremacist Islamist ideology, if not its methods, and has his own caliphate ambitions?
As for what is happening in Iraq – a direct consequence of the Obama administration’s decision to pull all U.S. troops out of the country in 2011 against the advice of military and policy advisers – Kerry said that it is up to the Iraqis to deal with what Kerry himself acknowledged was “an existential threat” to their country. U.S. airstrikes remain too little too late. And military supplies for the Kurds in Iraq to use in serving as the boots in the ground against ISIS in Iraq continue to be supplied through Baghdad rather than directly to the Kurds themselves.
During this past week’s international donor conference in Cairo concerning Gaza reconstruction, Kerry said casually that “There will be ups and there will be downs over the next days as there are in any kind of conflict.” But the conflict with ISIS is not just “any kind of conflict.” And ISIS and its jihadist cohorts are no ordinary combatants with local territorial, political or economic grievances. They are the carriers of the global ideology of Islamic supremacism that threatens, again to paraphrase Kerry, to end life as we know it in a civilized world.
Next to the immediate threats posed by Ebola and global jihad, climate change pales by comparison.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.
Joseph can be reached at: JKlein6234@aol.com
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Also See:
 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The People's Friend! The World Bank and Wall Street?

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Argentina and Wall Street’s Vulture Funds: “Economic Terrorism” and the Western Financial System

Global Research, October 10, 2014
“Today you pretend making a coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but in fact you’re their allies,” Those are the frank words by Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, the Argentinian President, spoken in a calm and secure voice at the UN General Assembly last Friday, 3 October 2014.
Similarly, she referred to the western financial system as economic terrorism, as in vultures – the vulture funds that thanks to New York judge Griesa have put Argentina – a solvent country, willing and capable of paying their debt, in default. He ruled that the vulture funds, Griesa’s clients and paymasters, needed to be paid in full, i.e. 100%, equal to US$ 1.5 billion, when close to 93% of all creditors agreed on a restructured reimbursement rate of about 20%.
Without any international right to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country, Griesa would allow the vultures reaping in a profit margin well in excess of 1,000%. — Paul Singer, king of the ‘vulture capitalists’, knows no merci. He is in bed with Wall Street and Griesa – and with whomever other financial hooligans who share his greedy endeavors. Greed is their prayer. It’s knocked around the world. Exploits poor nations, makes them poorer, and keeps them dependent on the powers of money, being well aware that the poor are too weak to defend themselves.
Except for Argentina. Her able President Cristina Fernandez, speaks not only for her country, when she talks about victims of economic and financial terrorism, but for all those African, Latin American and Asian countries which are oppressed by the killing boots of Wall Street and the IMF. It cannot be said often enough – the IMF is a mere extended arm of the US Treasury and the FED.
Vulture capitalism exerted by these usual villains and the European Central Bank, a mere puppet of Wall Street and led by a former Wall Street banker, are responsible for the economic collapse of the western economy. They have driven countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain – and lately also Ukraine – into misery.
They have stolen their social safety nets, pensions, employment, housing, education, health care, water supply and other public infrastructure – by privatizing public capital for their private benefits. They could do so thanks to the connivance of corrupt leaders they first put in place with sham elections – or no elections at all.
Case in point is Greece, where the Parliament decided to dismiss the socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou, who attempted to launch a referendum in December 2011, asking the people whether they wanted the troika’s (IMF, ECB, European Commission) imposed second ‘rescue’ package of 130 billion euros (after a first one on 110 billion euros) that would drastically increase Greece’s sovereign debt and force literally a killer austerity program upon its people. At the onset of the manufactured crisis, in May 2008, Greece’s debt to GDP ratio was a manageable 105%. In 2014 the ratio is 175%.
Under the structural adjustment program social health care was basically abolished. Many cancer and other chronically ill patients were deprived of their free medical attendance, unemployed and destitute could not afford to pay full price for their medication and treatment – and quietly died.
Under extreme pressure from Germany and France – the infamous tandem Sarkozy / Merkel called Papandreou to meeting in Nice at the beginning of November 2011, literally ordering him to withdraw the referendum – or else. Papandreou went home, canceled the referendum on 3 November and resigned. He was promptly replaced by Parliament – without a public vote – by the neoliberal Lucas Papademos, former deputy head of the ECB and – a former Goldman Sachs executive, who allowed the dance of debt and destruction to continue.
Argentina would not allow such financial terrorism on its shores – not since they dared to counter the economically suffocating peso-dollar parity in 2001, allowing the country to start breathing and growing again; a highly distributive GDP growth allowing to cut poverty from above 60% in 2001to below 10% today.
The same escape from the western kleptomania was – and still is – open to Greece and all those southern European countries in the fangs of greed capitalism. But their leaders and finance ministers are goose stepping to the financial marching orders of Washington’s money masters, Wall Street, FED and IMF.
Ms. Fernandez did not mince her words. She also talked openly about western military terrorism, “You killed many innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan under the name of war against terrorism,” or as the new refrain goes – “Making war for Peace”. She referred to the West in general and to Washington in particular, for whom war and conflicts, weapons sales, is a means of economic survival, as the US economy depends to more than 50% on the military / security industrial complex and related industries and services.
Shamefully, many western leaders and representatives left the assembly hall when Ms. Fernandez spoke, of fear they may be associated with her views if they listened to her calling a spade a spade. Perhaps they feared the ridiculous western sanctions, if they don’t behave. It is sad to see spineless world leaders; so-called leaders (sic), who bend over backwards to please the powers that utterly exploit them, stealing their natural resources, putting their people and the environment in peril.
A terrorist is whoever does not conform to the western doctrine, whoever insists on national sovereignty – whoever defends their national interests over the voracious interference of Washington and its European puppets – and their killing bulldozer, NATO.
The UN should make it an obligation and expression of mutual respect that every country leader and representative attending the UN General Assembly must listen to all the speeches. Each country has a message to give – a message that in one way or another concerns all of us, as we are all connected as humans in a solidary union, regardless of political alliances.
The latest economic terrorism inflicted on Russia by the US supported Wall Street et al financial cabal is the down manipulation of the ruble vs the US dollar and other ‘western’ currencies. The ruble has lost 22% of its value since the beginning of 2014 and 15% in the last quarter alone. Call it ‘sanctions’ – if you will – for not bending to the political demands of Washington on Ukraine. The western MSM would like you to believe it has to do with the chaos and continuous murderous atrocities in Ukraine’s Donbass area, for which – of course – Russia is made the culprit, not Kiev’s gang of thugs, a Nazi government, created and funded by Obama and his western puppets.
Russia is now forced to buy dollars and Euros – what they least want and need – to stabilize her currency, the ruble. Buying dollars – playing even more into the sledgehammer of the empire – is certainly the last thing Russia wants to do. Currency manipulation is only possible due to the predatory US dollar system, where all international transactions have to be channeled through Wall Street and cleared through the privately owned BIS – Bank for International Settlements, whose owners are a similar lot of financial shenanigans as are those owning the FED. The expected outcome is a devalued ruble, shunned by investors.Little do they know that this usual western shortsightedness is but accelerating the process of Russia and China issuing a new combined currency, delinked form the dollar-euro fiat money and its SWIFT exchange system. In fact, it has already begun. The Central Bank of China has recently offered a hand to the EU, inviting the Euro as one of several currencies that will no longer need the western clearing system for transactions with China.President Fernandez puts the finger right on the wound when she refers to the entire western monetary system as vulture economics. She knows that such an economy is bound to falter and be replaced – gradually as may be – by one that is based on fairness, integrity and that respects nations’ sovereignty.Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

US in the 21st Century

US Global Power in the 21st Century: Military or Economic Imperialism?

By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, September 29, 2014
Despite vast amounts of imperial data to the contrary, the great majority of writers on imperialism continue to describe and analyze US imperialism strictly in economic terms, as an expansion of “capital accumulation”, “accumulation on a world scale”.
In fact the major and minor US imperial wars have more to do with “capital dis-accumulation”, in the sense that trillion dollar flows have gone out from the US, hundreds of billions of dollars in profits from resource sites have been undermined, markets for exports have been severely weakened and exploitable productive labor has been uprooted. At the same time US imperialist state ‘dis-accumulates capital’, multi-national corporations, especially in the extractive sector are expanding, “accumulating capital” throughout Latin America.
This new configuration of power, the conflicting and complementary nature of 21st century US imperialism, requires that we anchor our analysis in the real, existing behavior of imperial state and extractive capitalist policymakers. The basic premise informing this essay is that there are two increasingly divergent forms of imperialism: military driven intervention, occupation and domination; and economic expansion and exploitation of resources, markets and labor by invitation of the ‘host country’.
We will proceed by examining the choices of imperial strategy, in a historical – comparative framework and the alternatives which were selected or rejected. Through an analysis of the practical decisions taken regarding ‘imperial expansion’ we can obtain insights into the real nature of US imperialism. The study of imperial strategic choices, past and present, state and corporate, requires three levels of analysis: global, national and sectoral.
Global Strategies: US Imperial State and the MNC
US imperial state invested trillions of dollars in military expenditures, hundreds of thousands of military personnel into wars in theMiddle East (Iraq, Yemen, and Syria), North and East Africa (Libya, Somalia), South Asia (Afghanistan) and imposed sanctions on Iran costing the US hundreds of billions in “capital dis-accumulation”.
The US corporate elite, driven out of Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere where US military imperialism was engaged, chose to invest in manufacturing in China and extractive sectors throughout Latin America.
In other words the US imperial state strategists either chose to expand in relatively backward areas (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen) or imposed under-development by destroying or sanctioning lucrative extractive economies (Iraq, Libya, Iran).
In contrast the MNC chose the most dynamic expanding zones where militarist imperialism was least engaged – China and Latin America. In other words “capital did not follow the flag” – it avoided it.
Moreover, the zones where extractive capital was most successful in terms of access, profits and stability were those where their penetration was based on negotiated contracts between sovereign nations and CEO’s – economic imperialism by invitation.
In contrast in the priority areas of expansion chosen by imperial state strategists, entry and domination was by force, leading to the destruction of the means of production and the loss of access to the principle sites of extractive exploitation. US military driven imperialism undermined energy companies’ agreements in Iraq and Libya. Imperial state sanctions in Iran designed to weaken its nuclear and defense capabilities undercut US corporate extractive, public-private contracts with the Iranian state oil corporations. The drop in production and supply in oil in Iraq, Iran and Libya raised energy prices and had a negative impact on the “accumulation of capital on a world scale”.
If imperial state decision-makers had followed the direction of economic rather than military driven policymakers they would have pivoted to Asia and Latin America rather than the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. They would have channeled funds into economic imperialist strategies, including joint ventures, high and medium tech trade agreements, and expanded exports by the high-end manufacturing sector, instead of financing 700 military bases, destabilization campaigns and costly military exercises.
Twentieth century military imperialism stands in stark contrast to late twentieth century economic imperialism. In the mid 1960’s the US announced a vast new economic program in Latin America – the Alliance for Progress which was designed to finance economic opportunities in Latin America via joint ventures, agrarian reform and investments in the extractive sector. The imperial state’s military policies and interventionist policies were designed to secure US business control over mines, banks, factories and agro-business. US backing for the coups in Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Peru led to the privatization of key resource sectors and the imposition of the neo-liberal economic model.
US policy in Asia under Nixon was directed first and foremost to opening economic relations with China, expanding trade agreements with Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The ‘pivot from war’ to free trade led to a boom in US exports as well as imports, in private investments and lucrative profits. Military expenditures declined even as the US engaged in covert operations in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Imperial intervention combined military and economic expansion with the latter dictating policy priorities and the allocation of resources.
The reversal set in with the US military backing of the jihadist extremists in Afghanistan and the demise of the USSR. The former set the stage for the rise of the Taliban to power and the emergence of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. The latter led US imperial strategists to pursue wars of conquest with impunity – Yugoslavia and Iraq during the 1990’s.
Easy military conquests and visions of a ‘unipolar’ world dominated by US military supremacy, encouraged and fostered the emergence of a new breed of imperial strategists – the neo-conservative militarists with closer ties to Israel and its military priorities than to the US extractive petrol capitalists in the Middle East.
Military versus Economic Imperialist at the ‘National Level’
In the post-Cold War period, the competition between the two variants of imperialism was played out in all the nation subject to US intervention.
During the first Iraq war the balance between militarists and economic imperialists was in play. The US defeated Iraq but did not shred the state, nor bomb the oil fields. Sanctions were imposed but did not paralyze oil deals. The US did not occupy Iraq; it partioned the north –so-called“Kurdish” Iraq but left the secular state intact. Extractive capital was actively in competition with the militarist neo-conservatives over the future direction of imperial policy.
The launch of the second Iraq war and the invasion of Afghanistan marked a decisive shift toward military imperialism: the US ignored all economic considerations. Iraq’s secular state was destroyed; civil society was pulverized; ethno-religious, tribal and clan warfare was encouraged. US colonial officials ruled by military fiat; top policymakers with links to Israel replaced oil-connected officials. The militarist “war on terror” ideology replaced free market, free trade imperialism. Afghanistan killing fields replaced the China market as the center of US imperial policy. Billions were spent, chasing evasive guerrillas in the mountains of a backward economy while US lost competitive advantages in the most dynamic Asian markets.
Imperial policymakers chose to align with sectarian warlords in Iraq over extractive technocrats. In Afghanistan they chose loyal ex-pat puppets over influential Taliban leaders capable of pacifying the country.
Extractive versus Military Imperialism in Latin America
Latin American neo-liberalism went from boom to bust in the 1990’s. By the early 2000’s crisis enveloped the region. By the turn of the century US backed rulers were being replaced by popular nationalist leaders. US policymakers stuck by their neoliberal clients in decline and failed to adapt to the new rulers who pursued modified socially inclusive extractivism. The US military imperialists longed for a return of the neo-liberal backers of the “war on terrorism”. In contrast, international multinational extractive corporations were realists – and adapted to the new regimes.
On a global scale, at the beginning of the new millennium, two divergent tendencies emerged. US military imperialism expandedthroughout the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Caucuses, while Latin American regimes turned in the opposite direction – toward moderate nationalism, and populism with a strong emphasis on poverty reduction via economic development in association with imperial extractive capital
In the face of these divergent and conflicting trends, the major US extractive multi-national corporations chose to adapt to the new political realities in Latin America. While Washington, the imperial state, expressed hostility and dismay toward the new regimes refusal to back the “war on terror” (military imperialism) the major MNCs, robust embrace of economic imperialism, took advantage of the investment opportunities opened by the new regimes’ adoption of a new extractivist model, to pour billions into the mining, energy and agricultural sectors.
The Specificities of Extractive Imperialism in the Era of “Post Neo-Liberalism”
Extractive imperialism in Latin America has several specific characteristics that sharply demark it from earlier forms agro-mineral imperialism.
(1) Extractive capital is not dominated by a single imperial country-like the Spanish in the 18t century, the British in the 19thcentury or the US in the 20th century. Imperial extractive capital is very diverse: Canadian, US, Chinese, Brazilian, Australian, Spanish, Indian and other MNCs are deeply involved.
(2) The imperial states of the diverse MNC do not engage in “gun boat diplomacy” (with the exception of the US). The imperial states provide economic financing and diplomatic support but are not actively involved in subverting Latin American regimes.
(3) The relative weight of US MNCs, in the new imperial extractivism is much less than it was a half century earlier. The rise of diverse extractive MNC and dynamism of China’s commodity market and deep financial pockets have displaced the US, the IMF and WB and established new terms of trade with Latin America.
(4) Probably the most significant aspect of the new imperial extractivism is that its entry and expansion is by invitation. The Latin American regimes and the extractive MNCs negotiate contracts – MNC entry is not unilaterally imposed by an imperial state. Yet the ‘contracts’ may result in unequal returns; they provide substantial revenues and profits to the MNC; they grant large multi –million acre tracts of land for mining or agriculture exploitation; they obligate the national state to dispossess local communities and police/repress the displaced. But they also have allowed the post-neo-liberal state to expand their social spending, to increase their foreign reserves, to eschew relations with the IMF, and to diversify their markets and trading partners.
In regional terms extractive imperialism in Latin America has “accumulated capital” by diverging from the military imperialism practiced by the US in other regions of the world political- economy. Over the past decade and a half, extractive capital has been alliedwith and relyies both on post-neoliberal and neoliberal regimes against petty commodity producers, indigenous communities and other anti-extractive resistance movements. Extractive imperialists do not rely on ‘their’ imperial state to quell resistance- they turn to theirnational political partners.
Extractive imperialism by invitation also diverges from the military imperial state in its view toward regional organizations. US military imperialism placed all its bets on US centered economic integration which Washington could leverage to political, military and economic advantage. Extractive capital, in the great diversity of its ‘national identity’, welcomed Latin American centered integration which did not privilege US markets and investors.
The predominance of economic imperialism, in particular the extractive version, however, needs to be qualified by several caveats.
US military imperialism has been present in several forms. The US backed the military coup in Honduras overthrowing the post neo-liberal Zelaya government; likewise it supported an “institutional coup” in Paraguay.
Secondly, even as MNC corporations poured capital into Bolivian mining and energy sectors, the US imperial state fomented destabilization activity to undermine the MAS government. And was defeated and the agencies and operatives were expelled. The crucial issue in this, as well as other, instances is the unwillingness of the MNC’s to join forces with the military imperialists, via boycotts, trade embargoes or disinvestment. Clearly the stability, profitability and long-term contracts between the Bolivian regime and the extractive MNC counted for more than their ties to the US imperial state.
US military imperialism has expanded its military bases and increased joint military exercises with most Latin American armed forces. Indoctrinated military officials can still become formidable potential allies in any future ‘coup’, if and when the US “pivots” from the Middle East to Latin America.
US military imperialism in its manifest multiple forms, from bankrolling NGO’s engaged in destabilization and street riots in Venezuela, to its political support of financial speculators in Argentina and rightwing parties and personalities in Brazil, has a continuous presence alongside extractive imperialism. The success of the latter and the eclipse of the former are based in part on two contingentcircumstances. The US serial wars in the Middle East divert attention away from Latin America; and the commodity boom fuels the growth of extractive capital. The economic slowdown in China and the decline of commodity prices may weaken the regimes in opposition to US military imperialism.
Paradoxically the weakening of the ties between the post-neo-liberal regimes and extractive imperialism resulting from the decline of commodity prices is strengthening the neo-liberal socio-political forces allied with US military imperialism.
Latin America’s Right Turn: The Co-Habitation of Extractive and Military imperialism?
Throughout Latin America the post-neoliberal regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade and a half face serious challenges – from consequential social opposition at the micro-level and from aggressive political-economic elites at the macro-level. It is worthwhile to survey the prospects for a return to power of neo-liberal regimes allied with military imperialism in several key countries.
Several factors are working in favor of a return to power of political parties and leaders who seek to reverse the independent and inclusive policies of the post neoliberal power bloc.
First the post-neo-liberal regimes development strategy of depending on foreign extractive capital, perpetuated and strengthened the economic basis of imperialism: the ‘colonial style’ trade relation, exporting primary commodities and importing finished goods, allowed the agro-mineral elites to occupy key positions in the politico-social structure. With the decline in commodity prices, some post-neoliberal regimes are experiencing fiscal and balance of payments shortfalls. Inflation and cuts in social expenditures adversely affect the capacity of the post-neo-liberal regimes to retain popular and middle class electoral support.
The divergences between post-neoliberals and economic imperialism are accentuating with return of the neoliberal right. The agro-mineral sectors perceive an opportunity to rid themselves of their power and revenue sharing agreements with the state and to secure even more lucrative arrangements with the advance of the neo-liberal right which promises tax and royalty reductions, deregulation and lower wage and pension payments.
Secondly, the post-neo-liberal regimes’ alliances with the building , construction, and other bourgeois sectors, was accompanied by corruption involving pay-offs, bribes and other illicit financial transactions designed to finance their mass media based electoral campaigns and patronage system which ensured electoral majorities. The neo-liberal right is exploiting these corruption scandals to erode the middle class electoral base of the post -neo-liberal regimes.
Thirdly, the post-neo-liberal regimes increased the quantity of social services, but ignored their quality – provoking widespread discontent with the inadequate public educational, transport, and health services.
Fourthly, inflation is eroding the decade long advance of wage, pension and family allowances. The post-neo-liberal regimes are caught between the pressures to “adjust” –to devalueand impose fiscal ‘austerity’ as proposed by the international bankers and lose mass support, or to engage in deeper structural changes which require among other things, changes in the extractive dependence model and greater public ownership. The crises of the post-neo-liberal regimes is leading to irresolution and opening political space for the neo-liberal right which is allied to military and economic imperialism.
Military imperialism, which was weakened by the popular uprisings at the turn of 20th century is never absent. US military imperialism is first and foremost powerfully entrenched in two major countries: Mexico and Colombia. In both countries neo-liberal regimes bought into the militarization of their societies, including the comprehensive and deep presence of US military-police officials in the structures of the state.
In both states, US military and economic imperialism operates in alliance with paramilitary death squads, even as they proclaimed “a war on drugs”. The ideology of free market imperialism was put into practice with the elimination of trade barriers, widespread privatization of resources and multi-million acre land grants to MNC.
Through its regional clients, US imperialism has a springboard to extend its influence. Mexican style ‘militarized imperialism’ has spread to Central America; Colombia serves as a launch-pad to subvert Venezuela and Ecuador.
Where dissident regimes emerged in regions claimed by militarized imperialism, Honduras and Paraguay, military and civilian coups were engineered. However because of the regional concentration of US military imperialism in the Middle East it relies heavily on local collaborators, political, military and economic elites as vehicles for “regime change”.
Extractive imperialism is under siege from popular movements in many countries in Latin America. In some cases, the political elites have increasingly militarized the contested terrain. Where this is the case, the regimes invite and accept an increased imperial military presence, as advisers, and embrace their militarist ideology, thus fostering a “marriage” between extractive and military imperialism. This is the case in Peru under President Humala and Santos in Colombia.
In Argentina and Brazil, the moderate reformist policies of the Kirchner and Lula/Rousseff regimes are under siege. Faltering export earnings, rising deficits, inflationary pressures have fueled a neo-liberal offensive, which takes a new form: populism at the service of neo-liberal collaboration with military imperialism. Extractive capital has divided -some sectors retain ties with the regime, others, the majority are allied with rising power of the right.
In Brazil, the Right has promoted a former environmentalist (Silva) to front for the hardline neo-liberal financial sector – which has received full support from local and imperial mass media. In Argentina, the imperial state and mass media have backed hedge fund speculators and have launched a full scale economic war, claiming default, in order to damage Buenos Aires’ access to capital markets in order to increase its investments in the extractive sector.
In contrast Bolivia, the extractive model par excellence, has moved successfully to oust and weaken the military arm of imperialism, ending the presence of US military advisers and DEA officials, while deepening and strengthening its ties with diverse extractive MNCs on the one hand, and on the other consolidating support among the trade unions and peasant-Indian movements.
In Ecuador the extractive regime of Correa has diversified the sources of imperial capital from the US to China, and consolidated his power via effective patronage machinery and socio-economic reforms.
The US-Colombian military threat to Venezuela and Ecuador has diminished, peace negotiations with the FARC are advancing and the regime now faces trade union and Indian-peasant opposition with regard to its extractive strategy and corporatist labor reforms.
In both Ecuador and Bolivia, imperial militarism appears to lack the vital strategic military-civilian allies capable of engineering a regime change.
The case of Venezuela highlights the continuing importance of imperial militarism in shaping US policy in Latin America. The pivot to a military policy, was taken by Washington prior to any basic social reforms or economic nationalist measures. The coup of 2001 and lockout of 2002 were backed by the US in response to President Chavez forceful rejection of the “War on Terrorism”. Washington jeopardized its important economic stake, petrol investments, in order to put in place a regime in conforming to its global military strategy.
And for the next decade and a half, the US imperial strategy totally ignored investment, trade and resource opportunities in this wealthy petrol state; it chose to spend hundreds of millions in financing opposition NGO, terrorists, electoral parties, mass media and military officials to effect a regime change. The extractive sector in the US simply became a transmission belt for the agencies of the militarized imperial state. In its place, Russia and China, interested especially extractive sector signed multi-billion dollar contracts with the Venezuelan state: a case of extractive imperialism by invitation – for economic and security reasons.
Apart from the ideological conflict over US militarist expansion, Venezuela’s promotion of Latin American centered regional integration, weakened US leverage and control in the region. In its struggle against Latin American centered regional organizations and to regain its dominance, US imperialism has upgraded its economic profile via the Trans-Pacific Alliance, which includes its most loyal neo-liberal allies – Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. The global eclipse of economic – driven imperial expansion in favor of the military has not totally displaced several key economic advances in strategic countries and sectors in Mexico, Colombia and Peru.
The privatization and denationalization of the biggest and most lucrative public petrol company in Latin America, PEMEX, the Mexican giant, opens up enormous profitable opportunities for US MNC. The rapid appropriation of oil fields by US MNC will enhance and compliment the militarization of Mexico undertaken by the US military-security apparatus.
The Mexican example highlights several features of US imperialism in Latin America.
Imperial militarization does not necessarily preclude economic imperialism if it takes place within an existing stable state structure. Unlike the imperial wars in Iraq and Libya, the military imperialist policies in Mexico advanced via powerful local political clients willing and able to engage in bloody civil wars costing over 100,000 civilian deaths in over a decade. Under the aegus and guidance of US imperial rulers, the US and Mexican military devastated civil society, but safeguarded and expanded the huge mining and manufacturing enclaves open to economic imperialist exploitation. Militarization contributed to weakening the bargaining rights of labor – wages have declined in real terms over the decades and the minimum wage is the lowest in the hemisphere.
Mexico highlights the crucial role that collaborator elites play in imperial capital accumulation. Mexico is an excellent example of ‘imperialism by invitation’ – the political agreements at the top impose ‘acquiescence’ below. The extraordinary levels of corruptionwhich permeates the entire political class, solidifies the longstanding links between Mexican political-business elite, the MNC and the security apparatus of the imperial state. Extractive imperialism is the principal beneficiary of this “triple alliance”.
In the case of Mexico, militarized imperialism laid the groundwork for the expansion of economic imperialism.
A similar process, involving ‘triple alliances’ is operative in Colombia. For the past decade and a half, militarized-imperialism poured over $6 billion in military aid(Plan Colombia) to finance the dispossession, assassination, arrest and torture and of over 4 million Colombians, including the killing of thousands of trade union and social movement leaders.
The scorched earth policy, backed by a substantial US military mission operated through the existing state apparatus and with the active support of the agro-mineral and banking elite ,aided by nearly 40,000 member paramilitary death squads and drug traffickers laid the groundwork for the large scale entry of extractive capital – particularly mining capital.
Military imperialism preceded the long-term, large scale ‘invasion’ by economic imperialism in the form of a free trade agreement and multi-million acre land grants to mining MNC.
This general pattern was repeated in Peru. The ‘war on terror” under Fujimori and the subsequent liberalization of the economy, under three subsequent Presidents, culminated in the massive primarization of the economy under President Humala – who deepened and extended the expansion of imperial extractive capital.
The economic downturn in some of the post-neo-liberal economies, namely Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, and the rightward moving political spectrum, has opened a window of opportunity for US economic imperialism to work in tandem with the rising neo-liberal political opposition. The military option, a military coup or US military intervention is not on the horizon for the present time. The central focus of imperial state decision makers regarding regime change is a combination of overt electoral and covert ‘street intervention’: adopting ‘populist’, moralist and technocratic rhetoric to highlight corruption in high offices, inefficiency in the delivery of social services with claims of bureaucratic interference in the operations of the market. Business disinvestment, financial speculation on the currency and negative mass media propaganda has coincided strikes and protests against shortages and lag between wage and price increases.
Despite costly and failed imperial wars in the Middle East, despite a decade of military retreat in Latin America, economic imperialism is advancing via the electoral route; it already has established a formidable array of allies among the political regimes in Mexico, Colombia and Peru and is posed to re-establish neo-liberal allies in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.
Conclusion
Imperialism as it has evolved over the past quarter of a century cannot be understood as a ‘unified whole’ in which the two basic components, military and economic are always complimentary. Divergences have been graphically illustrated by the imperial wars in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Convergences are more obvious in Latin America, especially in Mexico, Colombia and Peru, where ‘militarization’ facilitated the expansion of extractive capital.
The theoretical point is that the nature of the political leadership of the imperial state has a high degree of autonomy in shaping the predominance of one or another strand of the imperial expansion. The capacity for imperial capital to expand is highly contingent on the strength and structure of the collaborator state: militarized imperialism that invades and destroys states and the fabric of civil society has led to disinvestment; in contrast economic imperialism by invitation in neo-liberal collaborator states has been at the center of successful imperial expansion.
The ambiguities and contradictions intrinsic to the post-neo-liberal extractivist based development model have both constrainedthe military component of imperialism while expanding opportunities for economic imperial accumulation. Accumulation by invitation, and accumulation by dispossession are simply ‘moments’ in a complex process in which political regime changes intervene and establish the locations and timing for refluxes and influxes of capital.
The rise of new economic imperialist powers like China competing with established imperial powers like the US, has led to alternative markets and sources of financing, which erodes the effectiveness political, military and diplomatic instruments of imperial coercion.
Regional variations in political configurations, imperial priorities and choice of instruments of power, have deeply influenced the nature and structure of imperialism. And as the world historic record seems to argue, military driven empire building in the Middle East has been a disaster while economic driven imperialism shows signs of rapid recovery and successes in Latin America.
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