Pipeline

Battle of Black Snake

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 30, 2016

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In less than a week from now as I begin writing this article, the Army Corps of Bozos threatens to dismantle the encampment of mainly First Nations people which has grown nearby the Standing Rock Reservation of the Lakota, the small neighborhood these folks  have left as they were rounded up while Europeans marched across the continent and stole everything from these people.  They stole the land, they stole their culture and they stole the lives of millions, bringing disease incubated in the agricultural system they developed to them as well.  https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/books/a-plus/disease-250.jpg Diseases like the Smallpox were intentionally inflicted on these people to clear them from the land, passing out the Smallpox infected blankets.  They had no immunity to this disease, since they were not running farming for the most part and did not live in close proximity to many other mammals that could spread such a disease.  The population was decimated, more than 90% of the aboriginal population disappeared within a century.  It was the greatest exercise in Genocide ever performed on this planet, far surpassing the genocide of the Jews during the Holocaust in the WWII era.  It was entirely purposeful, and every "law" the Europeans had on their own books was violated along the way.  Every treaty was broken, there was no justice ever in all of it. It was pure and simple theft and murder all along the way.

Disease was not the only vector for Death though, the Indian Wars were non-stop through the 1800s as the Manifest Destiny of Europeans to conquer the continent was undertaken.  They came to a close more or less with the Massacre at Wounded Knee, which occured on Dec 29, 1890.  It occured at the Lakota Reservation at Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890,[4] near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála) on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/52/Wounded_Knee_aftermath3.jpg/320px-Wounded_Knee_aftermath3.jpg The previous day, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk's band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them 5 miles (8.0 km) westward to Wounded Knee Creek, where they made camp. The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth, arrived and surrounded the encampment. The regiment was supported by a battery of four Hotchkiss mountain guns.[5]

On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it.[6] A scuffle over the rifle ensued and by the time it was over, more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300.[1] Twenty-five soldiers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded later died).[7] At least twenty soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor.[8] In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them.[9] The site of the battlefield has been designated a National Historic Landmark.[4] In 1990, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution formally expressing "deep regret" for the massacre.[10]

Nearly a century later, there was yet another Standoff at Wounded Knee which began on February 27, 1973, as Russell Means and Dennis Banks led a standoff between the FBI and AIM, the American Indian Movement of the 1970s on the Pine Ridge reservation.  Dennis Banks eventually got jail time, Russell Means became a famous Movie Star portraying such characters as Chingachcook in "Last of the Mohicans"

The Wounded Knee incident began on February 27, 1973, when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The protest followed the failure of an effort of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO) to impeach tribal president Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption and abuse of opponents. Additionally, protesters criticized the United States government's failure to fulfill treaties with Native American people and demanded the reopening of treaty negotiations.

Oglala and AIM activists controlled the town for 71 days while the United States Marshals Service, FBI agents, and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area. The activists chose the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre for its symbolic value. Both sides were armed, and shooting was frequent. A U.S. marshal was shot and paralyzed in March.[2] A Cherokee and an Oglala Lakota were killed by shootings in April 1973. Ray Robinson, a civil rights activist who joined the protesters, disappeared during the events and is believed to have been murdered. Due to damage to the houses, the small community was not reoccupied until the 1990s.

The occupation attracted wide media coverage, especially after the press accompanied the two U.S. senators from South Dakota to Wounded Knee. The events electrified American Indians, who were inspired by the sight of their people standing in defiance of the government which had so often failed them. Many American Indian supporters traveled to Wounded Knee to join the protest. At the time there was widespread public sympathy for the goals of the occupation, as Americans were becoming more aware of longstanding issues of injustice related to American Indians. Afterward AIM leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means were indicted on charges related to the events, but their 1974 case was dismissed by the federal court for prosecutorial misconduct,[3] a decision upheld on appeal.

Wilson stayed in office and in 1974 was re-elected amid charges of intimidation, voter fraud, and other abuses. The rate of violence climbed on the reservation as conflict opened between political factions in the following three years; residents accused Wilson's private militia, Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs), of much of it. More than 60 opponents of the tribal government died violently during those years, including Pedro Bissonette, director of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO).[4]

So now here we are once again, and this time it looks like the LAST STAND for the Lakota.  Thousands of "Water Protectors" have gathered at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  According to press releases over the last week, the Army Corps of Bozos expects these folks to leave the encampment on December 5th and go…somewhere else.  To an officially sanctioned Protest Spot where in theory they won't hinder the continuing construction of the pipeline…

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/oceti-sakowin-protest-camp.jpg?itok=W7iOvqrr

Now, let me ask you, how effective could a protest be if it is not actually at the site of where the problem is?  It would be like Occupiers occupying some park in New Jersey while protesting against shenanigans going on on Wall Street, rather than Zucchini Park in the Belly of the Beast.  If a State is Sanctioning a "protest", then HTF is it a protest?  If you only have Free Speech when and where the state says you have Free Speech, HTF is that Free Speech?  Not to mention of course, if you're not causing SOME kind of ruckus, nobody in the media will cover it!  That includes the alt-media as well as the MSM.  The Dakota Access protest has been ongoing and building for a solid 7 months, but even here on the Diner I only got wind of it back in August, and made my first post on this movement back then.  It had been going on since at least April before that physically, and in meetings and legal actions before that.  But nobody knew about this, including yours truly.

So, to get this particular exercise in protest going, the Water Protectors had to get publicity, which at first came just through the Social Media, but expanded to YouTube with the publication of Amy Goodman's video documentary for Democracy Now!  That REALLY revved it up for the Water Protectors, as the DAPL Security Gestapo sicked Attack Dogs on the Water Protectors.  That was such bad publicity it got Obama-sama to ask the Army Corps of Bozos to do a review of their permits, and there was a brief period of VICTORY celebration for the Water Protectors.  Destined not to last of course, and construction on the pipeline quickly resumed after this brief commercial interruption.

So now here we are this week, with the Gauntlet supposedly thrown down by the Army Corps of Bozos for these folks to get off the "Federal Property" they are currently occupying and move to a Free Speech Zone.  Ostensible reason for this is that winter is hitting any they're not "safe" where they currently are.  How stupid is that?  It's not going to be any warmer a few miles away in the FSZ.  Plus they already have their current encampment winterized.

Now, one question posed inside the Diner was, "So how come the tribal leaders didn't show up at the hearings when the original permits were granted?".

The answer to that should be obvious.  Nobody in the First Nations believes that any treaty will be upheld or they can get any real justice in the White Man's Court. You can hardly blame them after 250 years of having one treaty after another broken and watching their lands taken from them and being forced down to ever smaller reservations on the worst land.  They have the highest rates of incarceration of any group and the highest rates of poverty.  If they're not on the reservation, they're in prison.

So, particularly when facing down Big Oil and the Big Banks salivating over the big commissions they would get to seal this deal, they simply stood no chance at a hearing, and going to Washington would have been a waste of time and money.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/hVo1llcoCGVqPNHKdWXyoYfC3MtsE4snbbkA6YwPFiLSBPMfhDJJFVhcLey-HHC0bNTI3mDNiH2NLWmo7CAENiCSi1IlRJoRIIwnk8KSn0d_vNEnhyxY2kyfVpmz7HWemiHQ0HDniwvZ_PBQZt4grVnKEWmvq-j8DFIYm68UhknUQ29QHxZDwz81eg4O=w426-h283 What changed the equation in April was that a Movement began after one of the locals put up a video on Facepalm and asked people to come join her and make a stand.  Come they did, slowly at first just a few dozen, but then the word got out and it snowballed.  They came by the thousands, currently there are estimated to be 5000 Water Protectors on site.  A group of Veterans, the "Oath Keepers" are set to bring in another 2500 or so to stand with the First Nations people, along with many white folks from the Environmental movement.  Between when I am writing this now and when I publish,  there is time for a lot more people to show up there as well.  So you are probably looking at at least 10,000 people there on D-Day for the Water Protectors, possibly more.

From Da Goobermint side, how many Gestapo can they field or will they field to try and clear this camp?  Da Goobernator of North Dakota, Dailpimple has already spent over $10M to send in militarized police to try and intimidate the Water Protectors, and for this shindig has thrown the ball back at Da Feds saying it's THEIR job to clear the encampment.  That would mean Obama-sama has to call in the National Guard, and lots of them.  Now, how does that one look for the legacy of an outgoing POTUS who supposedly was a champion of the underclass?

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Standing-Rock-water-protectors-e1478015078825.jpg These folks are not going to leave that spot unless they are forcibly removed, a request from His Highness Obama-sama is not going to do the trick.  To do that will take a LOT of boots on the ground, along with stuff like LRAD, Water Cannon and Tear Gas.  That may get the people off the spot for now, but it will produce a lot of ugly publicity, through the Social Media at least if not on the MSM where it is sure to be whitewashed and the blame placed on the Water Protectors for not obeying the command of the state.

What seems more likely is that this will get stretched out until Trumpty-Dumpty is installed as POTUS, and he will certainly be happy to send in the Goon Squad to prove how tough he is.  Besides, he owns stock in DAPL.

Another question raised is if these folks are so concerned about their water supply, how come they aren't out protesting the millions of gallons of toxic sludge pumped into rivers every day all over the country?  Well, the thing is that is precisely what they are protesting, this particular pipeline is a symbol for that.  People have been protesting these pipelines for more than a decade now, but they virtually always get beaten down by the Energy industry and Da Goobermint which backs it up and takes it's orders from Big Money, not the will of the people.

http://read.html5.qq.com/image?src=forum&q=5&r=0&imgflag=7&imageUrl=http://mmbiz.qpic.cn/mmbiz/kKic6aX5Vqy7e31NcUDGMNckhlRxRF8EtxAqmicqg50a9GeoY9j0EO18l7YRnhcn2EFsMKUD2ZcOWEO8mHokNT4g/0?wx_fmt=jpeg There have been ongoing protests against Environmental Destruction going back at least as far as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, with the heyday of the movement in the 1970s with the first "Earth Day".  Environmentalists won a few battles, but mostly only because factories and mining were being shipped offshore to other countries with cheaper labor.  With respect to the Energy Industry though, they have mostly lost all the battles, with all the "accidents" like the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon, and the many pipeline leaks and oil train derailments and leaking ash ponds that occur all the time but generally don't get much new attention.

According to the DAPL press department releases, the pipeline is "safe", and they also are building a new water intake pipeline to serve the reservation, some 70 miles away from the current location.  This is a contradiction right off, because if the oil pipeline is truly safe, then why would you need to build a new water intake?  It's also ridiculous because in the event of pipeline failure, you have millions of other people living downstream of it, and you can't build new water intakes for all of them.  Even if you could, the water source would still be polluted.

https://i.redditmedia.com/UxYkZFIpljfzi8PCOv-t9WiCDLfY9FMig-vzC-OhXTQ.jpg?w=320&s=4757b191f2a369cdf46e37542b95bfad It's also ridiculous to claim such a pipeline is "safe", when everybody knows that ALL infrastructure wears out and breaks eventually.  How long does a typical car last?  Usually 5-10 years MOST before all the piping and systems are breaking down. These companies can always get the upfront money to build them, but they never have enough money to keep them maintained and replace them.  So all over the country you have aging pipelines that are starting to crack and leak.  There were two in the southeast when I took my trip to the Carolinas for the SUN☼Project.  This brand spanking new pipeline might have a low probability of leaking now, but in a few years it would be in the same sad shape as all the rest of our infrastructure, which includes not only the pipelines but the electrical grid and the roads and bridges too.

As we spin down here in the final days of the Age of Oil, people are sick and tired of being steamrolled over, particularly the underclass which never really saw many of the benefits of the industrial economy.  Many of them are so impoverished even inside the FSoA  they can't even afford a Used Car and the gas it takes to run it, so they don't get that benny.  Most of them probably don't grasp that the end of this also means the end of electricity on demand and that food will become a lot more scarce here as the system breaks down.  However, the current system is not working for them and never has, and they would like to see it ended.

TriangleofDoomAlthough protests like the DAPL may be an increasing feature of life as we move forward in collapse, in the end this is not what will kill the "Black Snake" that is supposed to bring oil from the Dakotas to Illinois, then further on down to refineries in Lousiana and Texas to be turned into gasoline and diesel to keep the Happy Motoring lifestyle going. What will kill it in the end is the economics of it.  Industrial society depends on CHEAP oil, and the Oil they can drag out of Bakken Shale deposits does not come cheap.  An increasingly impoverished population is not going to be able to afford the Oil fracked up there and ejaculated at the other end to make refined products from it.  Besides that, fracked wells deplete rapidly, so there are only at best a few years to get more product up, and that's not enough time to pay off the debt issued out to build the pipeline in the first place, much less to enable continuing maintenance on it.  One can only hope the oil stops flowing through it before it starts pouring into the Missouri River.

https://avidabloga.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/ganges6.jpg?w=300 What we are witnessing here is the Death Throes of a Civilization based on the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels.  Through the 250 years or so since it began in Jolly Old England with the invention of the Steam Engine, the promise of a Better Tomorrow for everyone on the planet has been used to keep this system going, making a few people rich beyound measure and a relatively small group of nations in the First World living in comfort.  Third World people saw the images from Hollywood and they all aspired to the same thing.  Overall though, most of the world never got the bennies provided by industrialization, what they got were jobs at slave wages and their own subsistence farming cultures destroyed by the cheap food coming from industrial farming.  Now this is all going away, and all that is left is a disgusting sewer of pollution, which is probably worst in places like India and China, but not all that great in the FSoA either.

The realization is penetrating the minds of all now, and so you begin to see these sort of resistance movements cropping up.  The standard political dialogue is breaking down and new war theaters pop up each day, creating still more refugees streaming toward places that are already overcrowded themselves.  Goobermints try to maintain control through the use of the force of the Police State, and what is occuring in North Dakota is a prime example of that.  While they may succeed with this one, the writing is on the wall and the same type of civil wars you have seen over the last decade in MENA will come to the First World also.  Probably Europe before the FSoA, but it will make it here too.  There is no Exceptionalism in a Civilization Collapse.

If in this battle the Water Protectors lose and the Energy Profiteers win and they are forced off the land and the pipeline is completed, I believe it will only spawn a larger movement to follow.  I also highly doubt that this movement will remain non-violent if the non-violence isn't working to rectify the issues they are protesting.

Dec 5th, 2016 will not be the end of the battle against the Black Snake. It is not even the Beginning of the End. It does mark however, the End of the Beginning.

Ukraine and the Battle for South Stream

Off the keyboard of Tony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on June 27, 2014

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June 27, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, admittedly an attempt to expand both NATO and the European Union (EU),  has escalated in terms of dominating Europe’s energy markets. Attempts to halt the ongoing construction of Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline appears to be a direct attempt to further penalize Russia for its role in defending Ukrainians currently under siege by aircraft, artillery, heavy armor and irregular troops.Toward a Europe “Whole and Free,” and its Energy Market Too 

“Toward a Europe Whole and Free” was literally the title of NATO’s Atlantic Council’s May 2014 event celebrating NATO’s continuous expansion since the fall of the Soviet Union and its aspirations to integrate all along Russia’s borders and even Russia itself into its geopolitical socioeconomic order. The Atlantic Council’s official program webpage for the event stated:

This two-day conference will honor the historic milestones that have forged a strong and prosperous Atlantic community and explore the most pressing challenges to the completion of a Europe whole and free. This vision, successfully implemented for two decades with a bipartisan and transatlantic strategy, has been called into question both within current NATO and EU members and by Russia’s aggressive actions. Leaders and experts will gather at the Council’s headquarters to debate the opportunities and challenges in Europe’s east and south with the aim of exploring a renewed common transatlantic approach.

What is essentially a celebration of expansionism, military aggression, and extraterritorial political subversion, the event featured many of the chief protagonists in Ukraine’s current crisis. These included US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Vice President Joseph Biden, along with NATO commanders and US corporate-financier funded policymakers who have authored America’s decades of “exceptionalism.” It also included US Senator John McCain who literally flew to Kiev during the height of the “Euromaidan” protests and took the stage with ultra-right Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party leaders.
In their own words, those attending the Atlantic Council gathering describe the battle for Ukraine being fought to “complete” their socioeconomic consolidation in Europe – this includes “integrating Russia.” Secretary John Kerry at the gathering would literally state:

Our European Allies have spent more than 20 years with us working to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community.

By “integrating” Russia, of course, Kerry means overthrowing any independent national political order that exists in Moscow and replacing it with one that answers to Wall Street, London, and now Brussels. This can be seen clearly in attempts by the West to replicate its model of “color revolution” within Russian territory itself.


But Kerry and the rest of EU-NATO, recognizing that efforts to subvert and overthrow an independent political order in Russia have failed, have resorted to a policy of encirclement, containment, and confrontation, with Ukraine being only one of many battlefields the West is fighting upon. Kerry would declare Europe’s energy market as another.

He stated (emphasis added):

“…if we want a Europe that is both whole and free, then we have to do more together immediately, with a sense of urgency, to ensure that European nations are not dependent on Russia for the majority of their energy. In this age of new energy markets, in this age of concern about global climate change and carbon overload, we ought to be able to rush to the ability to be able to make Europe less dependent. And if we do that, that will be one of the greatest single strategic differences that could be made here. We can deliver greater energy independence and help to diversify energy sources that are available to the European markets, and we can expand the energy infrastructure across Europe, and we can build up energy storage capacity throughout the continent.”

And immediately they did. After resisting pressure from the EU regarding Russia’s South Stream pipeline, Bulgaria has been forced to suspend ongoing construction, jeopardizing interests and opportunities not only for Russia, but for the nations the pipeline is to pass through.

The Battle for South Stream 

The halting of construction followed a visit by US Senators John McCain, Christopher Murphy, and Ron Johnson – with McCain in particular directly supporting the armed overthrow of the Ukrainian government earlier this year. In a Washington Post article titled, “Bulgaria halts work on South Stream gas pipeline,” it states:

Bulgaria’s prime minister has ordered on Sunday a halt to construction work on the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidating Russia’s energy grip in Europe.

Plamen Oresharski said after meeting U.S. Sens. John McCain, Christopher Murphy and Ron Johnson that he has ordered all work on the disputed project to continue only after consultations with Brussels.

Moscow responded by pointing out the obvious nature of what are in all intents and purposes sanctions against Russia. The Moscow Times reported in an article titled, “Russia Sees Underhanded Sanctions in Bulgaria’s Suspension of South Stream,” that:

Bulgaria’s decision to suspend construction of the Russia-led South Stream pipeline project on its territory, undermining Russia’s efforts to diversify its gas transportation infrastructure to Europe away from Ukraine, is an underhanded economic sanction thrust on Russia by the West, a top Russian diplomat and Russian industry analysts said Monday.

The article would also point out that once the South Stream pipeline is completed it will diminish Ukraine’s importance as a transit point for Russian natural gas into Western Europe. It appears that the moves against South Stream are designed to at the very least, delay this inevitable outcome for as long as possible, to maintain leverage as the West struggles to consolidate power on behalf of their teetering proxy regime in Kiev.

For Bulgaria’s part, not only have they disregarded US sanctions on Russia, choosing a Russian firm to build the pipeline, they appear eager to resolve the legal obstacles conveniently laid down amid the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, and complete the pipeline as soon as possible.

Exploiting South Stream’s Delay 

The West’s plans to use South Stream’s delay to extort concessions from Russia and those working with it on the project. Additionally the delay will help preserve the benefits of Ukraine’s current monopoly on transporting Russian natural gas to Western Europe. To ensure maximum leverage, the West is placing key personnel within Ukraine’s energy sector, in addition to propping up the regime in Kiev. Perhaps the most indicative of the overall illegitimacy and criminal nature of the current EU-NATO posture was the appointment of Hunter Biden, son of US Vice President Joseph Biden, as a member of Ukraine energy giant Barisma’s board of directors.

Biden Jr.’s nepotist appointment is not where the conflict of interest begins or ends. Biden Jr. was also a director of the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) subsidiary National Democratic Institute (NDI). The NED/NDI played an admitted role in building up opposition parties in Ukraine prior to the so-called “Euromaidan” protests and admittedly engineered the so-called “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004. More recently, they served as “election monitors” lending their stamp of approval of polling in Ukraine where entire provinces failed to vote in the east, opposition parties were unable to campaign in the west, and the aerial bombardment of cities across the country was underway.

In effect, Biden Jr.s NDI overthrew a government ahead of himself being appointed as a director in the targeted nation’s largest energy company – a dizzying conflict of interest. Coupled with the stated US agenda of reducing Russia’s influence in Europe’s energy market, this conflict of interest becomes a self-evident impropriety and an obvious component of the West’s agenda of encircling and containing Russia.

It remains to be seen how long the South Stream delay lasts and what other moves the EU, NATO, and Ukraine’s openly foreign-influenced regime and industries take in implementing Secretary Kerry’s stated goal of confronting Russia. For nations like Bulgaria, the cost to their sovereignty upon entering the European Union can now be acutely felt. Bulgaria is now unable to pursue their own interests because of dictates from Brussels made on behalf of special interests operating well beyond their borders and in aboslute disregard to the peace and prosperity of the Bulgarian people. It is a cautionary tale for other nations around the world seeking to enter into similar supranational “communities,” most notably Southeast Asia’s ASEAN/AEC.

NATO and the EU’s open intent to “integrate” all of Europe including Russia into their geopolitical order, clearly by force if necessary, their abuse of the EU’s legal framework to impose thinly veiled sanctions on Russia, overt nepotism, as well as obstructing the completion of projects that are demonstrably beneficial to their own member states reveals an emerging political order of immense criminality unbound by the rule of law and a clear and present danger to global stability. For those in eastern Ukraine weathering air raids, artillery barrages, and mechanized “national guard” composed of ultra-right Neo-Nazi militants, that instability is already a deadly, daily reality.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Weak Sister

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 24, 2014

 

Was it such a good thing in the post-cold-war decades that the US was regarded as the supreme sole super-power? Look what we did with that privilege: fumbled around like an overfed stumblebum, blundering from one foreign occupation to another, breaking a lot of things and killing a lot of people — under the clownishly-conceived rubric of a “war on terror.”

     Why is it in our interest which way Ukraine tilts? It has been in the Russian orbit for hundreds of years under one administration or another. Are we disappointed now that Kiev won’t answer to the floundering Eurocrats of Brussels? Was that ever a realistic expectation? Really, the best outcome for western Europe would be a return to the prior condition of Ukraine as a mute bearskin rug with oil and gas pipelines running through it to the oil and gas starved West. The idea that the US could supply Europe with oil and gas instead of Russia is a preposterous fantasy. Anybody wondering whether Ukraine might turn its armed forces loose on Russian forces supposedly massing at its border should ask themselves how Ukrainian soldiers will get paid.

     I’m sure Russia can’t afford to annex all of Ukraine. Russia can barely maintain its paved roads. But it obviously couldn’t afford to give up its rented warm water ports and naval bases in the Crimea, either, with the new Kiev government making so much anti-Russian noise since the “revolution.” The annexation of Crimea changes nothing materially about the disposition of Russian military force in the region. They were already there. Given the size of their navy compared to the other nations in the neighborhood, the Black Sea is Russia’s bathtub and has been as long as anyone can remember. Was the brass at the US State Department shocked to discover this two weeks ago?

     The recognition that there are some places on the planet where the US can’t exert its influence has also come as a shock to the so-called American Deep State — that matrix of bureaucratic toxic sludge that labors to pretend to control everything and succeeds mainly in embarrassing itself in a world that is now deeply tending away from the centralized control of anything. Nations are breaking up everywhere and for the moment there is no coherent public discussion of the ramifications. Venice voted the other day to secede from Italy — that is, to not send anymore tax revenue to Rome. That should be interesting. How about Scotland’s independence vote scheduled for September? Judging by the British newspapers, there is next-to-zero concern about that. Then there is the list of failed states, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and probably half the manufactured nations of sub-Saharan Africa, places with no viable economy or polity and too many clamoring poor people. These are parts of the world that will neither develop nor redevelop. In a hundred years they could be no-go zones or just return to howling wilderness.

     The US would be better served these days to literally mind its own business. With Detroit in bankruptcy, why would we send Kiev billions of dollars? American urban infrastructures — water, sewer, gas, and electric lines — are falling apart. We have no idea how we’re going to manage most of the crucial economic activities of daily life in ten years, when the illusions of shale gas and shale evaporate in a dark cloud of disenchantment, when we no longer have an airline industry, and most Americans won’t have the means to own automobiles, and there’s not enough diesel fuel to plow Iowa mega-farms, or enough oil and gas based fertilizers or herbicides to pour into the eroding topsoil, and not enough fossil water left in the Oglala aquifer or enough electricity to run the center-pivot sprinklers where the prairie meets the desert? How are Americans going to live and eat and get from Point A to Point B and keep a roof over our heads in this beat-down land?

    We’re having no conversation about these things and the political landscape in this country is a wasteland of mirages and dust devils. That is the true weakness of the USA now. We’re incapable of seeing the disorder in our own house. Why should we even glance overseas at others?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

The Anti-Empire Report

From the keyboard of William Blum

Published  in The Anti-Empire Report, June 4th, 2013

 

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The Anti-Empire Report #117

What our presidents tell our young people

In this season of college graduations, let us pause to remember the stirring words of America’s beloved scholar, George W. Bush, speaking in Florida in 2007 at the commencement exercises of Miami Dade College: “In Havana and other Cuban cities, there are people just like you who are attending school, and dreaming of a better life. Unfortunately those dreams are stifled by a cruel dictatorship that denies all freedom in the name of a dark and discredited ideology.” 1

How I wish I had been in the audience. I would have stood up and shouted: “In Cuba all education is completely free. But most of the young people sitting here today will be chained to a large, crippling debt for much of the rest of their life!”

As the security guards came for me I’d yell: “And no one in Cuba is forced to join the military to qualify for college financial aid, like Bradley Manning was forced!”

As they grabbed me I’d manage to add: “And Congress has even passed a law prohibiting students from declaring bankruptcy to get rid of their debt!”

And as I was being dragged away, with an arm around my neck, I’d squeeze out my last words: “Do you know that $36 billion in student debt belongs to Americans who are 60 or older? … (choke, gasp) … and that students have committed suicide because of their debt?”

I don’t know if Professor Bush would have found any words within his intellect to respond with, but the last words I’d hear from the students, as the handcuffs were being tightened, would be: “If you don’t like it here, why dontya move to Cuba?”

Bad enough they have to pay highway-robbery tuition, but they wind up brainwashed anyhow.

Let us now turn to the current president. Here he is at the May 19 graduation ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Martin Luther King’s alma mater:

I know that when I am on my deathbed someday, I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not be thinking the Nobel Prize I received. I will be thinking about that walk I took with my daughters. I’ll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I’ll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they were loved. And I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by all of them.

And I, like Woody Allen’s Zelig, would have shown up at this graduation as well, and I would have shouted out: “What about the family sitting happy and healthy around the dinner table in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and a missile – your missile – comes screaming through the roof, reducing the precious family to bones and blood and dust. What about the nice happy and healthy families in Yemen and Iraq and Somalia and Libya whom you’ve droned and missiled to death? Why haven’t you returned the Nobel Prize? In case you’ve forgotten, it was a PEACE prize!”

Oh, that taser does hurt! Please contribute to my bail fund.

Pipelineistan

I have written on more than one occasion about the value of preaching and repeating to the choir on a regular basis. One of my readers agreed with this, saying: “How else has Christianity survived 2,000 years except by weekly reinforcement?”

Well, dear choir, beloved parishioners, for this week’s sermon we once again turn to Afghanistan. As US officials often make statements giving the impression that the American military presence in that sad land is definitely winding down – soon to be all gone except for the standard few thousand American servicemen which almost every country in the world needs stationed on their territory – one regularly sees articles in the mainstream media and government releases trying to explain what it was all about. For what good reason did thousands of young Americans breathe their last breath in that backward country and why were tens of thousands of Afghans dispatched by the United States to go meet Allah (amidst widespread American torture and other violations of human rights)?

The Washington Post recently cited a Defense Department report that states: The United States “has wound up with a reasonable ‘Plan B’ for achieving its core objective of preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”

“Preventing a safe haven for terrorists” – that was the original reason given back in 2001 for the invasion of Afghanistan, a consistency in sharp contrast to the ever-changing explanations for Iraq. However, it appears that the best and the brightest in our government and media do not remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.

President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” 2

Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.

Never mind – even accepting the official version of 9/11 – that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why didn’t the United States bomb those countries?

Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with a table and some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere. At the present time there are anti-American terrorist types meeting in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, London, Paris, and many other places. And the Taliban of Afghanistan would not be particularly anti-American if the United States had not invaded and occupied their country. The Taliban are a diverse grouping of Afghan insurgents whom the US military has come to label with a single name; they are not primarily international jihadists like al-Qaeda and in fact have had an up-and-down relationship with the latter.

The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia – reportedly containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world – and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is well situated for such pipelines to serve much of South Asia and even parts of Europe, pipelines that – crucially – can bypass Washington’s bêtes noire, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” 3

Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 4

Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:

The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.

When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not go along with American demands. On August 2 in Islamabad, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca reiterated to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” 5 The talks finally broke down for good a month before 9-11.

The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.

“We are literally backing the same people in Syria that we are fighting in Afghanistan and that have just killed our ambassador in Libya! We must finally abandon the interventionist impulse before it is too late.” – Congressman Ron Paul, September 16, 2012 6

How it all began:

“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson – that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.” – President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983

A Modest Proposal

Washington’s sanctions against Iran are a wonder to behold, seriously hampering Tehran’s ability to conduct international commerce, make payments, receive money, import, export, invest, travel … you name the hardship and the United States is trying to impose it on the government and the people of Iran. In early May a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress aimed at stopping Iran from gaining access to its billions of dollars in euros kept in overseas banks – money that represents up to a third of Tehran’s total hard-currency holdings. In addition, Congress is looking to crack down on a weakness in current sanctions law that allows Iran to replenish its hard-currency accounts by acquiring gold through overseas markets.

Washington has as well closed down Iran’s media operations in the United States, is putting great pressure on Pakistan to cancel their project to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran, and punished countless international companies for doing business with Iran.

After a plane crash in Iran in 2011, the Washington Post reported: “Plane crashes are common in Iran, which for decades has been prevented from buying spare parts for its aging fleet by sanctions imposed by the United States.” 7

There are many more examples of the sanctions of mass destruction.

All this to force Iran to abandon any program that might conceivably lead someday to a nuclear weapon, thus depriving Israel of being the only nuclear power in the Middle East. The United States doesn’t actually say this. It instead says, explicitly or implicitly, that a nuclear Iran would be a danger to attack the US or Israel, without giving any reason why Iran would act so suicidal; at the same time Washington ignores repeated statements from various Israeli and American officials that they have no such fear.

Now, a group of US lawmakers is proposing a more drastic remedy: cutting off Iran entirely from world oil markets. Oil sales provide Iran with the bulk of its foreign-currency earnings. The plan would require all countries to stop buying oil from Iran or risk losing access to the US banking system. 8

And Iran ignores it all, refusing to bend. Islamic fanatics they are.

I have a much simpler solution. Why not cut off all exports of food to Iran? Worldwide. And anything that goes into producing food – seed, fertilizer, farm equipment, etc. Let’s see how good they are at ignoring it when their children’s bellies start to balloon. And medicines and medical equipment as well! Let’s see how good they are at producing whatever they need themselves.

Officials at The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated that as many as 6,000 Iraqi children died each month in the early 1990s primarily due to the sanctions imposed by the US, the UK and others. As proof of the lasting effectiveness and goodness of that policy, today blessed peace reigns in Iraq among its citizens.

And if all else fails with Iran … Nuke the bastards! That may be the only way they’ll learn what a horrible weapon a nuclear bomb is, a weapon they shouldn’t be playing around with.

In recent times Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran have been the prime forces standing in the way of USraeli Middle East domination. Thus it was that Iraq was made into a psychotic basket case. Libya’s welfare state was wiped out and fundamentalists have imposed Islamic law on much of the country. The basketizing of Syria is currently in process. Iran’s basketizing has begun with draconian sanctions, the way the basketizing of Iraq began.

It’s worth noting that Iraq, Syria, and Libya were the leading secular states of the Middle East. History may not treat kindly the impoverishment and loss of freedoms that the US-NATO-European Union Triumvirate has brought down upon the heads of the people of these lands.

What are we going to do about our sociopathic corporations?

Scarcely a day goes by in the United States without a news story about serious ethical/criminal misbehavior by a bank or stock brokerage or credit-rating agency or insurance agency or derivatives firm or some other parasitic financial institution. Most of these firms produce no goods or services useful to human beings, but spend their days engaged in the manipulation of money, credit and markets, employing dozens of kinds of speculation.

Consider the jail time served for civil disobedience by environmental, justice and anti-war activists, in contrast to the lifestyle enjoyed by the wicked ones who crashed the financial system and continue to fund the wounding of our bleeding planet.

The federal and state governments threaten to sue the financial institutions. Sometimes they actually do sue them. And a penalty is paid. And then the next scandal pops up. And another penalty is paid. And so it goes.

Picture this: A fleet of police cars pulls up in front of Bank of America’s Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A dozen police officers get out, enter the building, and take the elevator to the offices of the bank’s top executives. Minutes later the president and two vice-presidents – their arms tightly bound in handcuffs behind their back – are paraded through the building in full view of their employees who stare wide-eyed and open-mouthed. The sidewalk is of course fully occupied by the media as the police encircle the building with tape saying “No tresspassing. Crime scene.”.

But remember, just because America has been taken over by mendacious mass-murdering madmen doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, April 29, 2007
  2. Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
  3. Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007
  4. See, for example, the December 17, 1997 article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas”.
  5. Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, September 12, 2012 (Information Clearing House)
  6. The Hill, daily congressional newspaper, Washington, DC
  7. Washington Post, January 10, 2011
  8. Washington Post, May 13, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

william_blum

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

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