The following column is reprinted with permission from Gordon Duff, staff writer and Senior Editor at Veterans Today.
The Tea Party And America’s Return To The “Good Ole Days”
© Gordon Duff
Source: Veterans Today
January 24, 2011
* “Outlaw Governors” Take On America
* “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
In Wisconsin, State Police cars are searching for missing legislators. The fist pounding on the door in the middle of the night, reminders of Germany, 1936.
A state governor is tape recorded taking orders from an Israeli billionaire. Children in state after state are being packed like cordwood into crowded classrooms as schools close. Not just teachers but police and firemen also, await pay cuts, elimination of health insurance and even firing as state governments seem to be declaring war on their own people.
Government services across the Midwest are slated to virtually disappear. Government protections, fire, safety, air, water, workplace and protection from frauds and financial abuses are on the chopping block. The very roots of civilization, even law and order are being sabotaged.
A region the size of France and Germany faces a bizarre hybridization, half fascism, half feudalism, open warfare, rich against poor, powerful preying on the weak.
Is there more to the political battle in the Midwest than just workers’ rights and closing schools and rationing health care? Have the new “extremist” state governors, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, gone too far, combining huge tax breaks to their friends while closing schools, firing teachers and gutting public services? What if the inflammatory measures taken by “reformist” Tea Party governors are, as many now believe, evidence that those who promised to “fix the system” are really tasked with a broader and more destructive agenda, that of bringing America to its knees?
Who would want America’s government weak and compliant, divided, perhaps even under foreign domination yet with her military intact, ready to lash out in response to phony intelligence, imaginary threats or a new 9/11 style false flag attack, one we hear predictions of daily?
Is there evidence that the Tea Party “reformers” are, as is so often the case nowadays, a solution “chosen to fail?”<br/
The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
— Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Are those who gravitate toward cynicism and conspiracy simply “situationally aware” and no longer a paranoid fringe? Have things in Washington deteriorated so far that only a handful of elected officials aren’t being bribed, blackmailed or both? Are there that many?
The media has rushed to defend the Koch Brothers, tied to the Israeli lobby AIPAC with its spy scandals and heavy handed agenda of pushing for war on Iran, bagmen and conduits for the Zionist move against the Obama administration, now believed by Israel to be an unenthusiastic “partner.”
Obama may “veto” on demand to save Israel from U.N. sanctions for human rights violations but has not met expectations on Iran. It will take a shipload of cluster bombs to do that, perhaps a bit more.
The “Koch boys” are tasked with closing that deal. America will be broken, this is what is believed. Thousands of Americans in the streets are saying a resounding “NO!”
As juicy a target as Iran may be, isolated, no air force, oil and gas wealth beyond imagination, America may well be easier to take down.
Defending the “Federal reserve franchise,” the gaggle of banks, many Rothschild controlled, that have repeatedly crushed America’s economy since 1913, the illegal and unconstitutional monstrosity that bleeds America dry, that is another task for Israel’s Tea Party commandos.
Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan were never the real target of AIPAC with its media arms, the Murdoch/Fox empire and Wikileaks. Drowning America in debt and war is, while Israel drowns in another way, in American cash and defense contracts.
Wikileaks is a sinister part of that empire too. Wikileaks is regrouping, hoping the public will quickly forget their alliances with the media giants and their special “sensitivity” to the needs and desires of Israel’s covert intelligence organization, the Mossad. Julian Assange says “sensitivity.” We say “alliance.”
In today’s world of game theory warfare, where “psy-ops” are “politics as usual,” an American political scene that is increasingly global and increasingly brutal. The “spin doctors” of the 80’s and 90’s have given way to “covert operatives” and “disinformation specialists,” products of the “War on Terror” years who are as quick with a gun or bomb as their predecessors were with briefcases filled with cash.
For years, Americans had been distracted by “boogeyman” terror scares, now appearing more than a bit overly “coincidental.”
Giving The Fox The Henhouse Keys
America is broke, most people know that but don’t understand what it means. One day Americans will wake up and money will be worthless. When this happens — and it is “when” and not “if” — a nuclear apocalypse would be an afterthought.
This will be the morning you wake up and find why the Department of Homeland Security was created.
What most Americans also know is that America is broke because of bank fraud, interest payments on debt caused by huge deficits run up under the Bush administration and the bloated military budget. The two wars, that are still going on and on, paying for them and the interest on 15 trillion dollars in national debt accounts for 99% of the waste.
America didn’t get this far gone by accident. The greatest minds money could buy, insidious, evil, twisted, planned this every step of the way starting with Reagan’s “trickle down” economics.
Without a middle class and a viable industrial economy, America simply doesn’t exist. America is now a nation of extremes, the very rich and the “less than poor,” a former middle class buried in debt and a working class with no jobs, a nation heading for disintegration, a nation posed for even more tyranny, more control and less and less freedom.
Feudalism: Thank The Supreme Court
The last insult, defiling the corpse of America, the Supreme Court granted international corporations (with a U.S. registered agent) unlimited access to buy and sell elected officials. Drug money from Mexico and Afghanistan, profits from defective vaccines, price fixed oil, “bail out” money, has flooded into the political system of America ending the last hope for freedom and progress, over $200 million during the last midterm election alone, enough to swing 100 key races.
It is guaranteed, it is truly written, life in America will all be down hill from now on, phony terror attacks, endless wars, new laws, restrictions, new humiliations. Expect the ultimate tax, runaway prices for everything, food, gas, utilities, tuition, more to pay with money now totally impossible for the average American to get.
Today we are drowning in money. That will end. Ask anyone who lived during the “great depression.” Movies cost 5 cents.
Nobody had 5 cents.
The new ploy has a first step, divide and conquer. The tool used, the Tea Party governors, now proven to be employees of the Israeli-American Koch brothers, tasked with orchestrating “the crash.”
“First we break the unions…”
When America’s patriotic resistance, those wanting a new 9/11 investigation and an end to illegal wars, massive debt and draconian rule at home formed the Tea Party, they created the means of their own destruction. As soon as the network publicity machines, starting with Fox, went into gear and the money began to flow, It was all over.
Real funding was not small donations from “grass roots” believers but “Israeli firster” bucks, the billionaire Koch brothers tied to Israeli ultra-nationalist Likudists picking up the bill.
“Them who pays, names the tune to be danced to.”
The Tea Party agenda went from ending constitutional abuses of the Patriot Acts, investigating the 9/11 cover-up and ending massive federal deficits to “samo-samo” Neocon drivel, but with a twist.
Despite the Neocon appearance to the Tea Party, it is something entirely different. There is nothing remotely conservative about feudalism.
Remember, there can be no feudalism without serfs. Being a serf “sucks”… wait and see.
America, at her weakest since the “great depression” has been singled out for destruction, destabilization, “balkanization” and class warfare. America’s Midwest is the target zone, rolling back the clock in state after state, plunging what had been America’s industrial heartland into generations of poverty and decline. We have seen the bank failures. Will breadlines be next?
Are breadlines “socialism?”
No business will stay in, no business will move to a region with closed schools, no reliable police and fire departments, crumbling highways, a region pre-staged for social unrest, outbreaks of crime, a region pre-staged for class warfare. This is no accident, not hardly. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin are only a beginning.
Wisconsin, from the folks who brought us Gaza…
Who could hate America this much? Who profits from debt, from social unrest, from war, who makes money when Americans are sick, hungry, afraid and oppressed?
Our “Bestest Friend” In The Whole World
Has anyone noticed that the Tea Party didn’t just forget about its beginnings as a 9/11 Truth movement? Did anyone notice that the Tea Party, not the minor “Ron Paul wing” but the “Koch Brothers’ Tea Party,” the real “Tea Party” is totally silent on the following issues:
· The wars can go on forever despite the fact they are bleeding America dry and are morally despicable
· Wiretapping, torture, airport groping, secret prisons, suspended habeas corpus, those “constitution” issues talked about so much, seem to have been forgotten
· The biggest financial ripoffs, oil and pharmaceutical price fixing, military-industrial racketeering, Wall Street… not a word
· If trillions were stolen, yes trillions, not billions, why isn’t anyone talking about arrests? Isn’t stealing illegal anymore?
The number one issue is Obamacare? Say what????
The Case: Divide And Destroy
Their theory is that of the spiral, entropy, debt, depression and discord. Decades of “dumbing down,” inferior schools, degenerate pop culture, propaganda and fear mongering are the tools.
A population that hates, itself, each other, believes in nothing, trusts no one, fears everything, every group ready to enslave the other.
Destroy public education and America is permanently derailed, relegated to third world status, a “Soviet Union” for the 21st century, dumb as hell and armed to the teeth.
The political answer being sold to Americans is one most are very familiar with. The “hate” list is getting out of hand. Topping the list is the old standby, African Americans, the underpinnings of American politics for 150 years. Every discussion of government spending, not counting the 80% stolen by banksters and the military industrial complex, is a “nod and wink” about “them.”
The race hatred from America’s shameful era of slavery is alive and well. The unbridled hatred spewed at President Obama originates from geography every American knows very well. “Red States” are where they hate “black people.” (and Jews)
Sadder still, the greatest social advancement “some” people of color have achieved in recent decades has been brought about by the refocused hated since 9/11, “Islamophobia.” It is though America, as a nation, existed as a macrocosm of an elementary school playground.
Should African Americans feel relief because the media is now relentlessly focused on bashing Muslims, gays and Hispanics?
Now we have added trade unions to the list, another danger to public order, or so we are told by those who want to return to the past:
· Millions of laborers in America lived in actual slavery. Coal miners made $5 a week, lived in hovels rented from mine owners, shopped at the “company store.”
· Milk in the United States was made with chalk. Crackers used axle grease for shortening. Bread was made from sawdust.
We forget how fragile our nation is. Americans live as though things were always as they are. But then, how are they? Between 20 and 30 million homes are vacant, each housed an American family, over 80 million Americans cast adrift.
Where are they now?
Between 2 and 3 million Americans are in prison with another 7 million on parole or probation.
The Soviet gulags were never so full.
No one is asking why.
Over a million Americans serve in the armed forces, some with more deployed time than any military force in our history. Most would leave the service if they didn’t face starvation.
Veterans from Vietnam, Gulf War I (Operation Desert Storm) and Gulf War II share the endless wait for veterans disability processing, some for illnesses and injuries over 40 years old. 3 generations wait, poisoned, vaccinated and irradiated to death.
They were last month’s target, before the move against the trade unions.
They will be targeted again. They are weak, they are vulnerable. They are expendable.
Will the children be next? Of course they will.
Gordon Duff is a U.S. Marine Vietnam veteran and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic officer of U.N. humanitarian groups. He is a widely published expert on military and defense issues.
Rising world oil prices threaten to raise cost of consumer electronics
February 22, 2011 12:41 AMT
(PanARMENIAN.Net) – Rising world oil prices threaten to raise the cost of consumer electronics and slow development by forcing Asian manufacturers to spend more on transportation and raw materials, regional economists say.
Oil prices have been pushed up by unrest in the Middle East and the cost of crude for April delivery moved close to US$100 a barrel on Feb 21. This threatens to jack up transportation expenses, which account for roughly 20 percent of the cost of products made in East Asia, according to analysts.
The cost of raw materials such as plastics for computer casing or chemicals for mobile phone printed circuit boards will also go up if petrochemical factories end up paying more for crude supplies.
Oil refiners or naptha crackers would pass on about 80 percent of their higher costs to electronics firms who buy from them, said Wai Ho Leong, regional economist with Barclays Capital in Singapore.
“I assume the oil price hikes would be passed through to end users,” Tim Condon, chief economist with ING in Singapore. “Activity would slow because consumers wouldn’t be parting with their money. Demand would go down, you’d see unwanted inventory accumulating, and you’d see product cutbacks and employment effects.”
So far oil prices that have tested their highest since mid-2008 haven’t cramped Asia’s momentum in PCs seen during the Western year-end holidays and China’s Lunar New Year, analysts say.
But if the prices stay above $100 per barrel – and fresh violence in Libya could push them into that groove – for six to 12 months, manufacturers will be pinched.
“There is already some moderation kicking in,” said Joanna Tan, economist with Forecast Ltd in Singapore. “With the oil prices up, we could see more moderation. It really depends on how long it drags on.”
A dent in general world consumer confidence driven by higher oil prices could reduce demand for electronics, prompting manufacturers to pull back on capital expenditures for development of new technology, said Tony Phoo, economist with Standard Chartered in Taipei.
Oil prices that topped $140 per barrel in 2008 contributed to a slowdown in the growth of India’s PC market and compounded the woes of manufacturers elsewhere as the world economy struggled against fallout from the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis.
Electronics firms are not assuming business as usual this year but keeping a wary eye on the second quarter of 2011 for any signs that oil prices will stay high, IDG New Service reports.
Demonizing the demon in Egypt and elsewhere
© Eric Sommer
February 21, 2011
I was personally involved in the movement against the U.S. intervention and bombing of Yugoslavia in the late 1990’s under Clinton. At that time I coined the phrase ‘Demonizing the demons’. I did so because I noted that progressive and well-meaning people in North America were often befuddled and divided as to whether to support the demonizing of Melosovik by the U.S. government or not.
The real problem was not that Melosovik was, in fact, a demon whose government had engaged in serious human rights violations in Croatia but that he was a demon whose actions had been, in a way, supported or condoned by the U.S. state and media to some extent previously before they decided to demonize and attack him.
At that time, I pieced together the following formula used by the U.S. government and media ever since World War II as a lynchpin of U.S. foreign policy:
Step 1: Actively support, or even instigate, the installation of a demonic dictator or semi-dictator. Especially do so in any case where there is danger of a socialist or even truly independent national government coming to power in a country.
Step 2: Support the U.S.-supported demonic dictator by continually supplying massive amounts of military equipment or funds each for such equipment each year, to prevent any internal opposition from gaining the upper hand. Mubarak in Egypt, for example, received around 1 Billion dollars in military aid each year. Also, impose IMF or other measures designed to advantage international capital, allowing for the looting of the local resources and cheap labour at ridiculously low rates when possible, and conceal or downplay any and all resulting extreme human rights violations and impoverishment of the dictators people;
Step 3: When it is no longer expedient to support the demonic dictator – either because internal opposition has grown too strong, or for geo-strategic or other reasons – then proclaim that he is a ‘Demonic Dictator’, ignoring the reality that he was installed and maintained in power by yourself.
This scenario of ‘Demonizing the Demon’ is the formula pursued ever since World War II by the U.S. state throughout the world.
Suharto in Indonesia, Marcos the dictator of the Philippines, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Pinochet in Chile, and many other ‘demons’ were installed with the support of the U.S. state and its CIA spy service and military aid; maintained in power by tremendous military and other non-socially-beneficial ‘aid’; and then ‘demonized’ and deposed with the help of the U.S. state when they were no longer needed.
The losers in all cases have been the ordinary people who suffered – first from the Demonic dictators, then from their removal, and then from their replacements (the new demons chosen for them by the U.S. state).
Sound exaggerated? Consider this:
The Egyptian Example
A few weeks ago the media reported on a possible successor to Mubarak in Egypt as follows: “Mohamed ElBaradei, the former United Nations nuclear chief who has become an opposition figurehead, said he would ‘serve if called on’. He earlier held his first negotiations with the American and British ambassadors, proposing potential scenarios for a transfer of power”.
Note that Mohamed ElBaradei held “negotiations” with “American and British ambassadors” for a ‘transfer of power’. Since when does a future ‘leader’ have to ‘negotiate’ with the representatives of the U.S. and British governments! Moreover, since when does a future leader need to “propose” to the representatives of two foreign powers the “scenarios for a transfer of power” in his own country!
It could not be any clearer that Mohamed ElBaradei – and the U.S. and British governments – do not really regard Egypt as a sovereign state; rather, they regard these two foreign powers as the real masters – or at least believe they should be the masters – of Egypt’s destiny.
In Egypt as elsewhere, the process of installing, propping up, and then deposing ‘demons’ is the game of U.S. foreign policy. It’s high time for the people of the world to put a stop to it.
Ghassan Al-Masri: U.S. veto ‘diplomatic terrorism’
© Ma’an News Agency
February 20, 2011 14:38
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The U.S. veto of a U.N. anti-settlement resolution was “diplomatic terrorism,” former PLO spokesman Ghassan Al-Masri said Sunday.
The U.S. on Friday torpedoed a Palestinian bid for a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity. The other 14 member states of the Security Council voted in favor of the motion.
President Mahmoud Abbas pursued the resolution despite a last-minute personal appeal from U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to abandon the bid.
Al-Masri said both the veto of the resolution and Obama’s attempt to dissuade the Palestinians from pursuing international law were forms of diplomatic terrorism, both of which failed, he added.
The veto revealed the true intentions of U.S. foreign policy, and undermined what remained of Washington’s credibility as a sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Al-Masri said.
Further, he said it highlighted that Obama was strategically allied with the settlement policies of Israel’s occupation, and demonstrated that the president’s declared support for a two-state solution was false.
The move would increase hostility toward the U.S. on the Arab street, which is rising up for freedom and democracy, Al-Masri said.
The former PLO official appealed to Abbas to reassess his approach to negotiations, and to reconsider the Palestinian people’s demands, which he said called for restructuring the components of national unity within the internationally recognized PLO.
He also called for the PLO to have a greater role in leading the people, and to form more strategic relations within the Arab world.
He also said the PLO should take the lead and seek strategic relations between the Palestinians and the Arab world, as well as taking advantage of the changes sweeping the region.
Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War
© Paul Craig Roberts
February 17, 2011
Obama’s new budget is a continuation of Wall Street’s class war against the poor and middle class. Wall Street wasn’t through with us when the banksters sold their fraudulent derivatives into our pension funds, wrecked Americans’ job prospects and retirement plans, secured a $700 billion bailout at taxpayers’ expense while foreclosing on the homes of millions of Americans, and loaded up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet with several trillion dollars of junk financial paper in exchange for newly created money to shore up the banks’ balance sheets. The effect of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” on inflation, interest rates, and the dollar’s foreign exchange value are yet to hit. When they do, Americans will get a lesson in poverty.
Now the ruling oligarchies have struck again, this time through the federal budget. The U.S. government has a huge military/security budget. It is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon, CIA, and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion federal deficit that the Obama administration forecasts for fiscal year 2012. This massive deficit spending serves only one purpose – the enrichment of the private companies that serve the military/security complex. These companies, along with those on Wall Street, are who elect the U.S. government.
The U.S. has no enemies except those that the U.S. creates by bombing and invading other countries and by overthrowing foreign leaders and installing American puppets in their place.
China does not conduct naval exercises off the California coast, but the U.S. conducts war games in the China Sea off China’s coast. Russia does not mass troops on Europe’s borders, but the U.S. places missiles on Russia’s borders. The U.S. is determined to create as many enemies as possible in order to continue its bleeding of the American population to feed the ravenous military/security complex.
The U.S. government actually spends $56 billion a year, that is, $56,000 million, in order that American air travelers can be porno-scanned and sexually groped so that firms represented by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff can make large profits selling the scanning equipment.
With a perpetual budget deficit driven by the military/security complex’s desire for profits, the real cause of America’s enormous budget deficit is off-limits for discussion.
The U.S. Secretary of War-Mongering, Robert Gates, declared: “We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril.” The military brass warns of cutting any of the billions of aid to Israel and Egypt, two functionaries for its Middle East “policy.”
But what are “our” global security responsibilities? Where did they come from? Why would America be at peril if America stopped bombing and invading other countries and interfering in their internal affairs? The perils America faces are all self-created.
The answer to this question used to be that otherwise we would be murdered in our beds by “the worldwide communist conspiracy.” Today the answer is that we will be murdered in our airplanes, train stations, and shopping centers by “Muslim terrorists” and by a newly created imaginary threat – “domestic extremists,” that is, war protesters and environmentalists.
The U.S. military/security complex is capable of creating any number of false flag events in order to make these threats seem real to a public whose intelligence is limited to TV, shopping mall experiences, and football games.
So Americans are stuck with enormous budget deficits that the Federal Reserve must finance by printing new money, money that sooner or later will destroy the purchasing power of the dollar and its role as world reserve currency. When the dollar goes, American power goes.
For the ruling oligarchies, the question is: how to save their power.
Their answer is: make the people pay.
And that is what their latest puppet, President Obama, is doing.
With the U.S. in the worst recession since the Great Depression, a great recession that John Williams and Gerald Celente, along with myself, have said is deepening, the “Obama budget” takes aim at support programs for the poor and out-of-work. The American elites are transforming themselves into idiots as they seek to replicate in America the conditions that have led to the overthrows of similarly corrupt elites in Tunisia and Egypt and mounting challenges to U.S. puppet governments elsewhere.
All we need is a few million more Americans with nothing to lose in order to bring the disturbances in the Middle East home to America.
With the U.S. military bogged down in wars abroad, an American revolution would have the best chance of success.
American politicians have to fund Israel as the money returns in campaign contributions.
The U.S. government must fund the Egyptian military if there is to be any hope of turning the next Egyptian government into another American puppet that will serve Israel by continuing the blockade of the Palestinians herded into the Gaza ghetto.
These goals are far more important to the American elite than Pell Grants that enable poor Americans to obtain an education, or clean water, or community block grants, or the low income energy assistance program (cut by the amount that U.S. taxpayers are forced to give to Israel).
There are also $7.7 billion of cuts in Medicaid and other health programs over the next five years.
Given the magnitude of the U.S. budget deficit, these sums are a pittance. The cuts will have no effect on U.S. Treasury financing needs. They will put no breaks on the Federal Reserve’s need to print money in order to keep the U.S. government in operation.
These cuts serve one purpose: to further the Republican Party’s myth that America is in economic trouble because of the poor: The poor are shiftless. They won’t work. The only reason unemployment is high is that the poor had rather be on welfare.
A new addition to the welfare myth is that recent middle class college graduates won’t take the jobs offered them, because their parents have too much money, and the kids like living at home without having to do anything. A spoiled generation, they come out of university refusing any job that doesn’t start out as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The reason that engineering graduates do not get job interviews is that they do not want them.
What all this leads to is an assault on “entitlements”, which means Social Security and Medicare. The elites have programmed, through their control of the media, a large part of the population, especially those who think of themselves as conservatives, to conflate “entitlements” with welfare. America is going to hell not because of foreign wars that serve no American purpose, but because people, who have paid 15% of their payroll all their lives for old age pensions and medical care, want “handouts” in their retirement years. Why do these selfish people think that working Americans should be forced through payroll taxes to pay for the pensions and medical care of the retirees? Why didn’t the retirees consume less and prepare for their own retirement?
The elite’s line, and that of their hired spokespersons in “think tanks” and universities, is that America is in trouble because of its retirees.
Too many Americans have been brainwashed to believe that America is in trouble because of its poor and its retirees. America is not in trouble because it coerces a dwindling number of taxpayers to support the military/security complex’s enormous profits, American puppet governments abroad, and Israel.
The American elite’s solution for America’s problems is not merely to foreclose on the homes of Americans whose jobs were sent offshore, but to add to the numbers of distressed Americans with nothing to lose the sick and the dispossessed retirees, and the university graduates who cannot find jobs that have been sent to China and India.
Of all the countries in the world, none need a revolution as bad as the United States, a country ruled by a handful of selfish oligarchs who have more income and wealth than can be spent in a lifetime.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.
Is Russia ripe for a Twitter revolution?
© RIA Novosti
By Natasha Doff
February 17, 2011
At 16.32 on January 24 a suicide bomber blew himself up at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. The news was first broken on Twitter at 16.44 after which international news sites picked up on the story. Almost two hours later, Russia’s state-run TV channels announced the attack.
“Television is dead,” was the response of many in Russia’s growing army of bloggers. Others mocked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a self-proclaimed Twitter-addict, for allegedly learning about the blasts on the micro-blogging site.
With his near-constant chatter about Russia’s innovative future, Medvedev is slowly waking up to the fact that many Russians now appear to be shunning state TV channels and embracing the free realms of the Internet. But the lightning effects of the so-called Twitter revolutions across the Arab world may be giving him cause for concern.
And so it should. The Internet has become one of the few outlets for political dissent in Russia and a recent blogger trend of uncovering the country’s rampant corruption is gaining steam.
By far the ringleader of the trend is Alexei Navalny, a lawyer and blogger who in November accused former executives at Russia’s state-owned pipeline company, Transneft, of embezzling around $4 billion of public funds during the construction of the East Siberian Pacific Ocean pipeline.
In December, the activist announced that he was collecting donations to fund a Wikileaks-style website, Rospil.info, to document corruption. He aimed to collect around $100,000 in a year. Within three hours the fund had amassed $5,230.
“Blogs like Navalny’s are the future of Russian politics,” said Dimitry Gudkov, chairman of the opposition youth organization Young Socialists of Russia, at An Internet forum in Moscow last week. “Today 18-20 million people are following blogs like Nevalny’s, tomorrow this figure could be more like 40-50 million.”
But an increase in Internet dissent does not necessarily mean an Egypt-style revolution is on the horizon. Writer and researcher Evgeny Morozov believes the Internet has just as much potential to breed complacency as it does to incite change.
“Young Russians spend countless hours online downloading videos and having a very nice digital entertainment lifestyle, which does not necessarily turn them into the next Che Guevara,” Morozov told the U.S.-based Mother Jones magazine.
So far in Russia, the Internet has played a bigger role in quashing protests than spurring them on. During nationalist riots in December, the security services tracked blogs and social networking sites to trace people spreading nationalist sentiment and police quickly quashed planned uprisings announced on the web.
Navalny’s movement has also fallen into difficulties. In late January, Rospil fell victim to a cyber attack and was shut down for several days, and a court case accusing Navalny of causing more than 1 million rubles ($32,000) worth of damage to a state-owned timber company was reopened last week.
Russia’s political opposition, which holds regular small-scale protests in Moscow, is fragmented both on- and off-line and a handful of local activist groups scattered across the country are far from united.
The ruling United Russia party has also cottoned on to the growing power of the blogosphere and has allocated a budget to fund Internet campaigns and research.
“For many opposition movements, the Internet, while providing the opportunity to distribute information more quickly and cheaply, may have actually made their struggle more difficult in the long run,” Morozov says.
But so-called Twitter revolutions are not born on the web, they just use it to take flight. Numerous parallels have been drawn between Russia and Egypt since the uprising began. Corruption, a massive wealth disparity, rising inflation, to name just a few. Some say it is only a matter of time before the ticking time bomb explodes.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
USA’s 2011 National Military Strategy: We’ve got the power!
By Sergei Balmasov
February 10, 2011
The USA has unveiled the 2011 National Military Strategy for the first time in seven years. The strategy, as usual, serves for the preservation of the U.S. predominance in the world. The appearance of the document is based on recent major changes on the planet. The authors of the strategy pointed out a number of challenges for the United States in particular and for the Western civilization in general.
U.S. strategists claimed that the shortage of resources in the world may trigger territorial disputes, which poses a direct threat to American interests. They are also concerned about the fact that the national debt of the United States “poses a significant national security risk.”
All of that is aggravated with a whole list of unsolved problems, which have become even more serious during the recent years. First and foremost, “the world’s preeminent power” has not been able to defeat terrorism and extremism. The war in Afghanistan continues, and the fire of Afghan unrest is spreading into neighboring Pakistan. The strategists of the U.S. national security wrote that terrorists had nested on the Arabian Peninsula, in the countries of north-western Africa and in Somalia.
Nevertheless, the authors of the document said: “We will be prepared to find, capture, or kill violent extremists wherever they reside when they threaten interests and citizens of America and our allies.” Therefore, it is not ruled out that the world will soon witness the USA launching another military adventure in the above-mentioned territories.
Secondly, the USA is concerned about the rising powers, India and China, as well as other regional powerful countries. The Americans are especially worried about China and its defense preparations in the Taiwan Strait.
In this connection, the Pentagon is not going to reduce its attention to South Asia and the Far East. However, the USA does not exclude increasing its military presence in potentially dangerous directions. “With partner nation support, we will preserve forward presence and access to the commons, bases, ports, and airfields commensurate with safeguarding our economic and security interests worldwide,” the strategy runs. Here, it goes about such old allies as Japan and South Korea.
Thirdly, the nuclear proliferation issue remains unsolved as well. North Korea has proved the possession of nuclear weapons to the whole world. Iran is just about to do the same. “The prospect of multiple nuclear armed regimes in the Middle East with nascent security and command and control mechanisms amplifies the threat of conflict, and significantly increases the probability of miscalculation or the loss of control of a nuclear weapon to non-state actors,” the document says.
To solve the problem, Washington intends to support regional allies, like Iraq, to develop the missile defense system, which Russia vehemently objects to, and to take defense measures against those violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The USA must be prepared to eliminate sources of weapons of mass destruction, the document runs.
Fourthly, by 2025, Washington predicts serious destabilization in a number of developing states because of the ongoing demographic explosion. The population of those countries will grow by 1.2 billion people, which will lead to serious food and water problems. “Conversely, in Europe and parts of Asia, populations are projected to decline and age with long term impacts to the global share of their economic output. Population growth and urbanization in the Middle East, Africa, and South Central Asia will contribute to increased water scarcity and may present governance challenges,” the report says.
In other words, the American supremacy is facing many challenges on different continents. One shall pay attention to the following telling phrase: “In this multi-nodal world, the military’s contribution to American leadership must be about more than power – it must be about our approach to exercising power.”
Thus, the U.S. National Military Strategy must be flexible to take account of all serious changes in the world. That is why the USA must be prepared to dealing with modern-day challenges without allies’ help.
“Let us not forget, the Nation remains at war abroad to defend against and defeat threats to our homeland. Our foremost priority is the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life.” “We will pursue deliberate acquisition process improvements and selective force modernization with the cost effective introduction of new equipment and technology,” the report says.
U.S. strategists point out the necessity to maintain high prestige of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to the document, the state must continue to pay increased attention to improving the well-being of its defenders. “Just as our Service members commit to the Nation when they volunteer to serve, we incur an equally binding pledge to return them to society as better citizens. We must safeguard Service members’ pay and benefits, provide family support, and care for our wounded warriors,” the report runs.
Needless to say that the Americans could not leave Russia out of their attention. On the one hand, the document declares the intention to develop military partnership, continue the reduction of arms and build security in Central Asia in cooperation with Russia. As for the Asian security, the Americans, most likely, are planning to get Russia involved in the Afghan war.
The new strategy also mentions more important things about Russia. For instance, the USA is going to continue its cooperation with Canada regarding the issues of regional security, such as the development of the Arctic region. It is an open secret that Russia claims its right on the Arctic shelf, which infuriates Canada in the first place.
Here is another, rather expressive statement: “NATO members act as a stabilizing force on its perimeter, which ranges from the Middle East and the Levant, Northern Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.” One shall assume that the Americans will continue to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
The authors of the new National Military Strategy are certain that the USA will preserve its economic and defense power in the foreseeable future. The USA still places its stake on brutal military force, which, as the authors of the report say, will contribute to America’s security and prosperity in the 21st century.